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post #41 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
Yes (including me)...but...have you read my post on this matter?

Yes indeed, I did read your posts in the thread you linked to and one phrase that struck me was this:

Quote:
The Bible has parts that (I believe) are intended to be read and understood literally.

I understood from this that you did not personally take the whole Bible literally as you specified 'parts' - maybe you meant by 'parts' all the parts in toto but if so then I think you were being disingenuous and more than a little evasive.

Anyway, I don't want to bash or criticize but I must say that I cannot personally reconcile a literal interpretation of ANY religious book with which I am familiar without sacrificing logical principles - this I am not prepared to do.

The question really is whether one adheres to the spirit of a religion or the actual letter. Unfortunately the two are in conflict.

At least with Islamic literalists (with whom I also disagree) they really do want a literal interpretation. Christians seem to pick and choose which bits of their book to focus on and resort to tortuous explanations, pseudo-theology and special-pleading in their literalism.

It would be far more honest if they actually did try to go the route of Leviticus (or divorce the OT form the New) but then they would still be left with the issue of the contradictions inherent in the text and have to ignore the wealth of supplementary academic material gathered by secular researchers.

Both Islam and Christianity have a massive problem in this regard imo - it is particularly upsetting in Islam's case as the religion had a long and glorious tradition of scientific and philosophical enquiry. This tradition arose from a religious attribute: humility - ie the belief that one knows very little about the world and God and an acceptance of one's small place in the scheme of things.

For quite some time now humility has gone out of the window and theologians of all faiths think they know it all - that's why they feel they have a license to kill, to convert, to argue, to not listen - to preach even.

These are the guys who will be arguing with JC when he shows back up. They'll even argue with God about who's right if they get the chance.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #42 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
I understood from this that you did not personally take the whole Bible literally as you specified 'parts'

This is exactly right...because I believe that there are parts that are not intended to be read in that way. For the most part these parts are obvious. Sometimes there are parts that are more gray.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
maybe you meant by 'parts' all the parts in toto but if so then I think you were being disingenuous and more than a little evasive.



Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
The question really is whether one adheres to the spirit of a religion or the actual letter. Unfortunately the two are in conflict.

Not sure what you mean here?

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Christians seem to pick and choose which bits of their book to focus on and resort to tortuous explanations, pseudo-theology and special-pleading in their literalism.

Really? "Christians"? All Christians? Every single one? Most?

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
but then they would still be left with the issue of the contradictions inherent in the text

We can discuss these if you'd like.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
This tradition arose from a religious attribute: humility - ie the belief that one knows very little about the world and God and an acceptance of one's small place in the scheme of things.

I would say that correct Christian belief has this view too.

Personally, the more I go on in life, the more mysterious God becomes. God (if He is who Jews/Muslims/Christians basically think He is) cannot be "figured out" (completely). Certainly there would be aspects we could begin to see and understand and comprehend. But I wouldn't think His totality...no. I am equally suspicious of folks that appear to have the Bible and/or God "figured out"...this includes those that criticize it with such certainty and "authority" (not).

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
For quite some time now humility has gone out of the window and theologians of all faiths think they know it all - that's why they feel they have a license to kill, to convert, to argue, to not listen - to preach even.

While I agree that there is lack of humility in many ways today...you are mixing up a lot in this statement. Just because all is not known...doesn't mean that all teaching is invalid or wrong. Killing wrong. Argue (debate) still seems fair. Listening always important.

Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
These are the guys who will be arguing with JC when he shows back up. They'll even argue with God about who's right if they get the chance.

In fact there were examples in the N.T. of exactly this.
post #43 of 211
Thread Starter 
How is it that we here are all so good at derailing threads? Very rarely do these threads ever stay on topic.

\
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post #44 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by CosmoNut
How is it that we here are all so good at derailing threads? Very rarely do these threads ever stay on topic.

\

It just happens. Sorry. Something comes up and just needs to get addressed (rather than just being allowed to "hang out there" without challenge).

I'll try to behave myself.

post #45 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Back on topic: Most people know the model of Schroedinger's Cat in quantum physics - a cat is in a sealed box with a glass of poisonous gas.

Oh, do I hate it when quantum mechanics is used as an excuse for mysticism.
Quote:
According to a conventional outside observer asked to comment without opening the box the cat is in one of two states - alive (if it the poison vial is intact) or dead if it has broken the container.

It would therefore be true to say that the statement 'the cat is either alive or dead' is true. Only it isn't - it is false. Quantum physics teaches that the cat is in neither state and that is the act of an observer actively observing the cat that determines its state.

It's very important to realize that Schroedinger's Cat is a thought experiment, meant to be illustrative of a concept, and this illustration doesn't say anything that would ever be true of a real cat in a real box.

The thought experiment's "box" is not a physically possible box. It is a purely theoretical box which isolates the entire universe outside of the box from any effect caused by events within the box. Human eyes and human thoughts are not the issue, but the relationship between waveforms inside and outside of the box.

When and if a cat dies in any sort of real-world box, the outside world is most definitely affected by the cat's death -- not necessarily in a way that would make it easy to determine the state of the cat's health, but affected nonetheless. The amount of heat and pattern of heat radiation emitted from the box changes with the cat's health and vitality. The center of gravity of the box changes with every movement or lack thereof of the cat, as well as the exact pattern of the gravitational field of the box/cat combination. Vibrations within the box, however much dampened, from things like the cat's beating heart, breathing, and other movements, leak out into the world at large through the box, and the outside world is changed when those vibrations change or stop.

So, whether or not you "see" the state of the cat with your eyes, in a quantum mechanical sense you can't in reality prevent the state of the cat from being "observed", because the wave functions of the cat's constituent particles are hopelessly intertwined with wave functions outside of the box, wave functions which you will be observing. You don't need to be able to extract meaningful information from your observations in order to be tied the set of wave functions which ends in a definitive one-way-or-the-other collapse of the wave function which specifies the emission of the radiation which either kills or doesn't kill the cat.
Quote:
Therefore truth is variable.

Therefore I call bullshit.

QM brings up some very interesting philosophical questions, especially regarding the role of observation in measurement, but it certainly doesn't provide any justification for the vague, New-Agey "create your own reality" crap that some claim to find there.

While the waveforms of the set of particles which comprise a human brain may indeed interact in some complex way with what that human brain observes, there is nothing but wishful thinking and fanciful speculation behind the notion that human beliefs, desires, fears, wishes, etc. would in any systematic way interact with that which is observed to produce outcomes which would be related in any humanly meaningful sense. There is nothing in QM at all (should you consider the multiverse interpretation of QM) to lead one to give any credence to the idea that a mind which wishes to believe in a particular thing is going to be so lucky (or unlucky if the belief is unpleasant) to inhabit a branch of the multiverse where that belief corresponds to factual conditions along the chain of outcomes which specify that multiverse.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #46 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Oh, do I hate it when quantum mechanics is used as an excuse for mysticism.

It's very important to realize that Schroedinger's Cat is a thought experiment, meant to be illustrative of a concept, and this illustration doesn't say anything that would ever be true of a real cat in a real box.

The thought experiment's "box" is not a physically possible box. It is a purely theoretical box which isolates the entire universe outside of the box from any effect caused by events within the box. Human eyes and human thoughts are not the issue, but the relationship between waveforms inside and outside of the box.

When and if a cat dies in any sort of real-world box, the outside world is most definitely affected by the cat's death -- not necessarily in a way that would make it easy to determine the state of the cat's health, but affected nonetheless. The amount of heat and pattern of heat radiation emitted from the box changes with the cat's health and vitality. The center of gravity of the box changes with every movement or lack thereof of the cat, as well as the exact pattern of the gravitational field of the box/cat combination. Vibrations within the box, however much dampened, from things like the cat's beating heart, breathing, and other movements, leak out into the world at large through the box, and the outside world is changed when those vibrations change or stop.

So, whether or not you "see" the state of the cat with your eyes, in a quantum mechanical sense you can't in reality prevent the state of the cat from being "observed", because the wave functions of the cat's constituent particles are hopelessly intertwined with wave functions outside of the box, wave functions which you will be observing. You don't need to be able to extract meaningful information from your observations in order to be tied the set of wave functions which ends in a definitive one-way-or-the-other collapse of the wave function which specifies the emission of the radiation which either kills or doesn't kill the cat.

Therefore I call bullshit.

QM brings up some very interesting philosophical questions, especially regarding the role of observation in measurement, but it certainly doesn't provide any justification for the vague, New-Agey "create your own reality" crap that some claim to find there.

While the waveforms of the set of particles which comprise a human brain may indeed interact in some complex way with what that human brain observes, there is nothing but wishful thinking and fanciful speculation behind the notion that human beliefs, desires, fears, wishes, etc. would in any systematic way interact with that which is observed to produce outcomes which would be related in any humanly meaningful sense. There is nothing in QM at all (should you consider the multiverse interpretation of QM) to lead one to give any credence to the idea that a mind which wishes to believe in a particular thing is going to be so lucky (or unlucky if the belief is unpleasant) to inhabit a branch of the multiverse where that belief corresponds to factual conditions along the chain of outcomes which specify that multiverse.

Yeah - your right. Fuck Schroedinger and QM.

Personally I hate it when mysticism becomes polluted with science. Don't know what happened there......

What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #47 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
See my post here on the subject of biblical literalism. You seem to be falling into the same simplistic trap on this matter as so many do.

And you wrote in said thread...
Quote:
The Bible has parts that (I believe) are intended to be read and understood literally. Typically that begins with the historical narrative parts. Parts that are describing (allegedly) some historical person and/or events...

The bottom line of all this is that the "literal interpretation of the Bible" is a more complex topic than our simplistic, sound-bite culture today seems willing to acknowledge and accept.

For many, many people (regardless of whether you are one of them or not) the "historical" parts of the Bible include nonsense like the story of Noah's Ark. Believing that kind of story is literally true, and in other such "history", qualifies in my book as "barking at the moon mad".

No "simplistic trap" is needed for me to reach my opinion. I've heard loud and clear strident pronouncements of literal belief in many particular absurdities from the Bible, without having to personally take any psalms or parables out of context to reach my conclusions.
Quote:
This is almost laughable. Poor you...your life is made miserable because of the beliefs of others.

Ah, the beauty of Christian charity and compassion for others.

My own personal life isn't too bad, but what of the people living in repressive Islamic theocracies who yearn for greater freedom? You find their misery "laughable", do you?

And even if my own personal condition doesn't not reach the level of "misery", have I no right to complain on my own behalf, and on behalf of others, when our freedoms great and small are limited by the political power of those who are driven by beliefs I find supremely irrational?
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #48 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
For many, many people (regardless of whether you are one of them or not) the "historical" parts of the Bible include nonsense like the story of Noah's Ark. Believing that kind of story is literally true, and in other such "history", qualifies in my book as "barking at the moon mad".

And you are entitled to your belief.

Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Ah, the beauty of Christian charity and compassion for others.

I don't think compassion is the correct response for ludicrous statements. Unless it is compassion for the sadly delusional nature that has produced them.



Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
My own personal life isn't too bad, but what of the people living in repressive Islamic theocracies who yearn for greater freedom? You find their misery "laughable", do you?

Not at all.

Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
And even if my own personal condition doesn't not reach the level of "misery", have I no right to complain on my own behalf, and on behalf of others, when our freedoms great and small are limited by the political power of those who are driven by beliefs I find supremely irrational?

You have the right to complain...and to be wrong. How are your "freedoms great and small are limited by the political power of those who are driven by beliefs I find supremely irrational"?
post #49 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Oh, do I hate it when quantum mechanics is used as an excuse for mysticism.

It's very important to realize that Schroedinger's Cat is a thought experiment, meant to be illustrative of a concept, and this illustration doesn't say anything that would ever be true of a real cat in a real box.

The thought experiment's "box" is not a physically possible box. It is a purely theoretical box which isolates the entire universe outside of the box from any effect caused by events within the box. Human eyes and human thoughts are not the issue, but the relationship between waveforms inside and outside of the box.

Just wait until the String Theorists start to chime in with crackpot versions...

Because you just know (stop me if you can see this coming)...






Cat + String = hours of Schroedingerling comedy fun
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"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them" -Isaac Asimov
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post #50 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Cuilla
And you are entitled to your belief.

Why go through these silly games?

I said I considered people who took the Bible as literal truth to be crazy.

You responded with "You seem to be falling into the same simplistic trap on this matter as so many do", and linked to something that you wrote in another thread, pretending as if I'd have to work hard at it, having to take psalms and parables and the like out of context before I'd ever, ever run into anything that one might consider blatantly absurd in the Bible.

Slogging along, I then have to make it utterly and perfectly clear for you what kinds of too-absurd-to-take-literally things I'm talking about, with a clear-cut example -- Noah's Ark -- a tale of the kind written by primitive superstitious goatherders for audiences of primitive superstitious goatherders.

Your response to having my point made utterly plain? A lame "And you are entitled to your belief" -- in other words, admitting there's no "simplistic trap" involved or needed here, and coming damn close, without straight-out saying so, "Yes, I'm one of those nuts you're talking about."

Now, while you are indeed apparently afflicted with the form of insanity I speak of, I'd think you'd still want me to give you credit for having for having at least half a brain. Giving you such credit, I'd know you had to know what I originally meant and know there were places I could easily go, even if you don't agree with my assessment, for Biblical crazy-to-take-as-literal-truth absurdity.

So why even bother with such pretense? What possible rhetorical benefit do you imagine you gain by playing dumb, by behaving as if you can't even see half a move forward in the argument you're having?
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
Reply
post #51 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Why go through these silly games?

I said I considered people who took the Bible as literal truth to be crazy.

You responded with "You seem to be falling into the same simplistic trap on this matter as so many do", and linked to something that you wrote in another thread, pretending as if I'd have to work hard at it, having to take psalms and parables and the like out of context before I'd ever, ever run into anything that one might consider blatantly absurd in the Bible.

Slogging along, I then have to make it utterly and perfectly clear for you what kinds of too-absurd-to-take-literally things I'm talking about, with a clear-cut example -- Noah's Ark -- a tale of the kind written by primitive superstitious goatherders for audiences of primitive superstitious goatherders.

Your response to having my point made utterly plain? A lame "And you are entitled to your belief" -- in other words, admitting there's no "simplistic trap" involved or needed here, and coming damn close, without straight-out saying so, "Yes, I'm one of those nuts you're talking about."

Now, while you are indeed apparently afflicted with the form of insanity I speak of, I'd think you'd still want me to give you credit for having for having at least half a brain. Giving you such credit, I'd know you had to know what I originally meant and know there were places I could easily go, even if you don't agree with my assessment, for Biblical crazy-to-take-as-literal-truth absurdity.

So why even bother with such pretense? What possible rhetorical benefit do you imagine you gain by playing dumb, by behaving as if you can't even see half a move forward in the argument you're having?


Help me see where this relates to the original topic (not just this post, but this whole conversation) and I'll leave it here, otherwise start your own thread on the matter.
post #52 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I considered people who took the Bible as literal truth to be crazy.... a tale of the kind written by primitive superstitious goatherders for audiences of primitive superstitious goatherders.

Shetline, do you realize by your reckoning, that the country you live in was started by "crazy" people, who got their ideas from English common law which was congealed by even more "crazy" people, and the that the legal code of these "superstitious goatherders" is chisled into the walls of the American Supreme Court?

This is a quite durable 'tale', especially when you consider it's audiance over the centuries.

As to Noah's ark, I find it odd that a legend that shows up in nearly every single culture on Earth, is an 'impossibility.' Naturally, you can point to geological records and rule out any such global catastrophe?

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 #53 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
As to Noah's ark, I find it odd that a legend that shows up in nearly every single culture on Earth, is an 'impossibility.' Naturally, you can point to geological records and rule out any such global catastrophe?

The records from 'nearly every single culture on Earth' that you speak of do not in any single case support the Biblical version.

Gilgamesh was a solitary hero minus entire animal Kingdom (and God)
The Babylonian myths referred to localised floods
Islamic is vastly different in emphasis and location

And on and on.....

Therefore, the literalist who believes in the Bible stories must deny these as they differ and in many cases, are contradictory.

It's either that or admit that the Bible story is just another folk-memory alongside them and subject to the same deteriorations over time.

In any event it has been proved that the dimensions given for the ark in the Bible could result in a vessel big enough to house the animals it claimed to house. Another nail in the coffin.....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #54 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
The records from 'nearly every single culture on Earth' that you speak of do not in any single case support the Biblical version.

Gilgamesh was a solitary hero minus entire animal Kingdom (and God)
The Babylonian myths referred to localised floods
Islamic is vastly different in emphasis and location

And on and on.....

Therefore, the literalist who believes in the Bible stories must deny these as they differ and in many cases, are contradictory.

It's either that or admit that the Bible story is just another folk-memory alongside them and subject to the same deteriorations over time.

In any event it has been proved that the dimensions given for the ark in the Bible could result in a vessel big enough to house the animals it claimed to house. Another nail in the coffin.....

This goes to the point of the flood being "impossible" -- not 'unlikely', 'improbable', etc. The legend exists in many forms, yes; it would be reasonable to assume that it had it's roots in an actuall event.

Impossible is quite a statement.

(and there have been feasability studies that worked -- although I am still confused why fully grown animals have to be used)

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 #55 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Shetline, do you realize by your reckoning, that the country you live in was started by "crazy" people, who got their ideas from English common law which was congealed by even more "crazy" people, and the that the legal code of these "superstitious goatherders" is chisled into the walls of the American Supreme Court?

Do you realize that they rejected the supernatural aspects of religion, including the trinity, the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus, and any intervention whatsoever of the Deity? These people were products of the Enlightenment, an age characterized by the downplaying of centuries of religious dogma in favor of humanism and rationality. It was their lack of religiosity, at least in the way that modern American Christians view religiosity, that stood them apart in history. As an American I'm very proud of that legacy.
post #56 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
This goes to the point of the flood being "impossible" -- not 'unlikely', 'improbable', etc. The legend exists in many forms, yes; it would be reasonable to assume that it had it's roots in an actuall event.

Impossible is quite a statement.

(and there have been feasability studies that worked -- although I am still confused why fully grown animals have to be used)

You would still need food for them which would double the payload. Anyway, why would God need Noah to build such a vessel?

Why couldn't He use His God powers? He does elsewhere in the OT with lightning bolts, salt pillars and such and in the NT by raising people from the dead.

Why is he reliant on some dubiously constructed craft built by an old dodderer with no nautical or zoological experience? It isn't as if He couldn't start the world from scratch again anyway or even stop time and roll it back.

This ark stuff doesn't hold water.....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #57 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Do you realize that they rejected the supernatural aspects of religion, including the trinity, the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus, and any intervention whatsoever of the Deity? These people were products of the Enlightenment, an age characterized by the downplaying of centuries of religious dogma in favor of humanism and rationality. It was their lack of religiosity, at least in the way that modern American Christians view religiosity, that stood them apart in history. As an American I'm very proud of that legacy.

Ah yes, you're trying to leave out the Reformation, but that's not a position that is grounded in the reality of what happened. You had the Enlightenment, but there was enough comingling, philosophically, to make a West Virginan family blush.

If you leave out the Reformation, that would preclude a feasible explanation for the 'Christian Lockeanism' that was generally prevelant at America's founding.

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 #58 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
You would still need food for them which would double the payload. Anyway, why would God need Noah to build such a vessel?

Why couldn't He use His God powers? He does elsewhere in the OT with lightning bolts, salt pillars and such and in the NT by raising people from the dead.

Why is he reliant on some dubiously constructed craft built by an old dodderer with no nautical or zoological experience? It isn't as if He couldn't start the world from scratch again anyway or even stop time and roll it back.

This ark stuff doesn't hold water.....

There are many questions on the Ark, and yes those are some long odds. Some say it could be done -- in any event I don't think it's 'impossible'.

In any event, the flood itself would be supernatural and hence 'impossible' and once you say that then you run into the problem of making universal negative statements on what may or may not exist.

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 #59 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Ah yes, you're trying to leave out the Reformation, that's not a position that is grounded in the reality of what happened.

If you leave out the Reformation, that would preclude a feasible explanation for the 'Christian Lockeanism' that was generally prevelant at America's founding.

Oh sure, the Reformation (and the Renaissance) were part of the same trajectory of human history that led to the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, and has since reversed course in 21st-century America.

But that trajectory was one of reducing the superstitious aspects of religion in favor of rationality and science, of limiting the power and scope of religion in government, and of emphasizing humanism over "God-ism." Those are the kinds of principles that guided our founding fathers.
post #60 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Shetline, do you realize by your reckoning, that the country you live in was started by "crazy" people, who got their ideas from English common law which was congealed by even more "crazy" people, and the that the legal code of these "superstitious goatherders" is chisled into the walls of the American Supreme Court?

It's certainly not the case that those who started this country, while nearly all Christian to one degree or another, were all Biblical literalists -- and that's the issue here -- that they were people who insisted on the Absolute TRVTH of the Bible in each and every word (parables and the like aside as you wish).

They certainly didn't found the kind of government that men who believed in the absolute authority of the Bible would have created, annoying chiselings driven by poorly contained religious sentimentalism or not. BRussel has already spoken to this point quite well.
Quote:
This is a quite durable 'tale', especially when you consider it's audiance over the centuries.

As to Noah's ark, I find it odd that a legend that shows up in nearly every single culture on Earth, is an 'impossibility.' Naturally, you can point to geological records and rule out any such global catastrophe?

I'm supposed to prove that the flood didn't happen? Interesting shift of the burden of proof there!

And if I can't prove the negative that means that all of the particulars of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark get to go along for a free ride as Absolute Historical TRVTH given that there was any world-wide flood at some time?

First of all, I'd say it's the more spectacular claim that demands spectacular evidence, and a globe-enveloping flood having occurred sometime in the past few thousand years qualifies as a spectacular claim.

The common theme of great flood legends is not at all surprising. Where is the most fertile farmland in the world found? Drum roll please... the flood plains of great rivers! Tah dah!

Many, many cultures will naturally have experienced enormous and devastating floods -- floods which would have encompassed each culture's entire "world", or at least enough such that, as is the nature of legends, in the retelling of these tales the whole world would be subsumed.

I suppose I should start another thread on this tangent if I'm to continue, and perhaps I shall in AO/PO later.
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post #61 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I suppose I should start another thread on this tangent if I'm to continue, and perhaps I shall in AO/PO later.

Please God no. I'll repent and be kind to small children and animals....
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post #62 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
Please God no. I'll repent and be kind to small children and animals....

Dare I ask what you've been doing to small children and animals up until now?
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post #63 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
It's certainly not the case that those who started this country, while nearly all Christian to one degree or another, were all Biblical literalists -- and that's the issue here -- that they were people who insisted on the Absolute TRVTH of the Bible in each and every word (parables and the like aside as you wish).

They certainly didn't found the kind of government that men who believed in the absolute authority of the Bible would have created, annoying chiselings driven by poorly contained religious sentimentalism or not. BRussel has already spoken to this point quite well.

No, shetline Brussel did not address this very well at all: you can't willy nilly ignore the progression of English common law, with it's metaphysical underpinnings being Christian. This talk about the enlightenment and leaving "godism" behind, what is that all about, it just doesn't describe the scene in America, 1775. Shetline, they tried that in France in 1789, they were very self-conscious when they did it; compare the general 'rights of man' with the declaration of Independence -- they are polar opposites.

Without the concept of the sovereignty of God, God's laws, rights endowed by their creator we would have had no American Rebellion. And that notion comes from a "crazy" take on the Bible, which most subscribed to at that time.

You called "people who took the Bible as literal truth to be crazy." Well the greatest president America ever had, America's second president, as well as majority of the people who formed the first congress, were "crazy". I wish I had a nickel for every time Washington and Adams penned the word "providence". They understood the principle of revelational truth, and they took it self-consciously, and very seriously. These were great men, some of the greatest and bravest that America will ever produce -- they weren't "primitive superstitious goatherders".

Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I'm supposed to prove that the flood didn't happen? Interesting shift of the burden of proof there!

You said it was impossible.

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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and in that lies not liberation but alienation, the cutting off from things as they really are. --...

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post #64 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
Dare I ask what you've been doing to small children and animals up until now?

hehe - I'm building a Biblical themepark in my back yard with a life size ark (it's very small) crammed full of critters and a realife Abraham and Isaac installation.

I'm a bit worried because I forgot to ask God for planning permission.....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #65 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
You called "people who took the Bible as literal truth to be crazy." Well the greatest president America ever had, America's second president, as well as majority of the people who formed the first congress, were "crazy".

The second president, our greatest president? Are you sure you want to go there? He referred to Christianity as "the most bloody religion that ever existed." He said, about the divinity of Jesus, that "God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world." He signed a treaty with a Muslim country that said "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." And I know you don't want to get into the president after him.

Adams and the rest of them, including all of the first presidents (in fact just about all up until the 20th cenntury) and almost all of the important founders, rejected most of the supernatural beliefs that you subscribe to, dmz. They did believe in God, a creator, and perhaps shetline would fault them for that. But they relegated God to an unknowable force with no interaction with the universe, a kind of place-holder for the Big Bang.

What makes them unique in human history is how far they went in rejecting superstition and advocating humanism and rationality, not how religious they were, and certainly not in how many supernatural stories they took as literal.
post #66 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
No, shetline Brussel did not address this very well at all: you can't willy nilly ignore the progression of English common law, with it's metaphysical underpinnings being Christian...

I wish I had a nickel for every time Washington and Adams penned the word "providence".

Whoa, there! Binary thinking alert!

There's a big, big difference between believing in Providence, putting faith of some sort in the Bible on one hand, and on the other being a rigid Biblical literalist who insists that down to the literal serpent in a literal tree, down to the literal pillar of salt, down to every literal and exact width, breath and depth of cubits for a wooden ark carrying seven pairs of every "clean" animal, and one pair of every "unclean" animal, that this is all literal, historical fact.

That's the real insanity of -- the "in for a penny, in for a pound" abdication of any critical thought whatsoever in the face of gasping absurdity.

On top of that, there's an amazing amount of scientific knowledge which has been gained since the time of Washington and Adams too, knowledge which can at least help relieve some people of this madness, in cases where it is due more to mere ignorance than willful, mind-numbing credulity.
Quote:
They understood the principle of revelational truth, and they took it self-consciously, and very seriously. These were great men, some of the greatest and bravest that America will ever produce -- they weren't "primitive superstitious goatherders".

More of the same ridiculous binary thinking.
Quote:
You said it was impossible.

I backtracked over this entire thread and found not one use of the word "impossible" by me. Maybe you're arguing with those voices in your head again.

At any rate, what one believes in should, I would hope, have some grounding in what's likely and probable. Mere lack of utter impossibility is a pretty poor metric for believability.

For a story like Noah's Ark, "well, it's a miracle!" hardly cuts it as an explanation. It's details of the story, and taking those details as literal truth that, in my book, takes one from run-of-the-mill credulity to a kind of madness.

If God wanted all of these creatures gone, and if He is all-powerful, He could have, with a mere thought, made all that offended him disappear in the blink of an eye. But no. For some reason, the story instead follows exactly the kind of cartoonish logic we find in many old myths. Would you wish to claim that God decided to make a Cecil B. DeMille production out of his bad people/bad animal purge just so that the story would could be retold in a goatherder-pleasing way?

The ark and the flood would have been nothing more than meaningless props in the whole fiasco, with so many other miracles upon miracles needed to make the big production number come off:
  • Making so much extra water appear so quickly.
  • Making it disappear.
  • Patching up all of the bad genetics cause by drastically reducing the gene pool.
  • Resurrecting all the fish and other aquatic species, not carried in the ark, killed by the indiscriminate mixing of salt and fresh water, not to mention all of the other problems of water contamination, incompatible pressure and temperature conditions, etc.
  • Resurrecting all of the plant species killed by being under water for so long.
  • Gathering the vast variety of animals from all over the world into one small space over such a short period of time.
  • Keeping all of those animals, with vastly different dietary and environmental requirements, alive in the same Middle Eastern environment while they're being assembled.
  • Maintaining livable conditions for all of the creatures in the ark over the long voyage.
  • After the flood, redistributing all of those animals in a timely fashion to their correct environments, before they die of starvation and exposure to the wrong environments.
  • Speaking of starvation, keeping all of those animals alive after they reach their proper environs, while the herbivores wait for sufficient vegetation to reestablish itself, and while the predators wait for the prey species to multiply to the point that their first few meals won't kill off all they've got to eat forever.
  • Etc., etc.
To ponder all of that, and, instead of seeing the obvious tell-tale signs of myth, decide it's more important to swallow the story whole and unquestioned as some sort of required act of faith, especially when one had much more education and a much better sense of the scale of the world and the variety of life than the goatherders who wrote the story -- yes, I call that barking-at-the-moon mad.
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post #67 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline
I backtracked over this entire thread and found not one use of the word "impossible" by me.

So it is possible?

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 #68 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
They did believe in God, a creator, and perhaps shetline would fault them for that.....

Adams, if you read his writings, makes mention of the giving of the ten commandments as a historical event and statements like "The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion." He also makes repeated mention of God's predestinating will, His "constant and vigilant direction".

The same sorts of things can be said of Washington, except in his case, he was a member of the Episcopal Church of America and served as vesrtyman and churchwarden, which would have required a statement of Faith.

I supposed that Adams could be said to have played footsie with Universalism, etc. and that with Washinton, there is some evidence that he refused communion after the American Rebellion. But both men, in their own words, can be condemned as 'crazy' many times over by shetline's standards. And in neither case was God a 'placeholder for the Big Bang", in any way, shape, or form for either of them. BTW, in many cases the 'unitarian' business was not so much a repudiation of the Bible, as such, but a continuing fleshing out the question of trinitarian theology. You need to keep that country and time period in a little more context.

(and "Adams, the greatest president" should have read 'Adams and the greatest president')

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 #69 of 211
Facts are stupid things.

~Ronald Reagan


It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.

~Alec Bourne


If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.

~Albert Einstein


...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

~Umberto Eco
You need skeptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic. -James Lovelock
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You need skeptics, especially when the science gets very big and monolithic. -James Lovelock
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post #70 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
Adams, if you read his writings, makes mention of the giving of the ten commandments as a historical event and statements like "The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount contain my religion." He also makes repeated mention of God's predestinating will, His "constant and vigilant direction".

I'd like to see the references to Adams' belief that the 10 Commandments were an historical event, because that's inconsistent with what I've read about him elsewhere. I think the statement that the Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are his religion could be agreed to buy most secular humanists. Contemporary American conservative Christianity certainly cannot be reduced to just a set of moral behavioral guidelines like that.
Quote:
The same sorts of things can be said of Washington, except in his case, he was a member of the Episcopal Church of America and served as vesrtyman and churchwarden, which would have required a statement of Faith.

I supposed that Adams could be said to have played footsie with Universalism, etc. and that with Washinton, there is some evidence that he refused communion after the American Rebellion. But both men, in their own words, can be condemned as 'crazy' many times over by shetline's standards. And in neither case was God a 'placeholder for the Big Bang", in any way, shape, or form for either of them. BTW, in many cases the 'unitarian' business was not so much a repudiation of the Bible, as such, but a continuing fleshing out the question of trinitarian theology. You need to keep that country and time period in a little more context.

(and "Adams, the greatest president" should have read 'Adams and the greatest president')

I was wondering why you were referring to Adams as our greatest president.

I do think the context is very important. My view of the context is what I said earlier, that it was all part of the growth of humanism and rationality beginning with the Renaissance. I wouldn't discount the Protestant Reformation, it was a key part of those same trends, and the Age of Enlightenment was arguably its culmination.

My understanding of shetline's comments was that he was criticizing literal acceptance of religious fables, like the Great Flood. If that's the test, the founders of the US pass, but unfortunately the majority of Americans today fail.
post #71 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I'd like to see the references to Adams' belief that the 10 Commandments were an historical event

It's in a letter he wrote to Jefferson, he talks about being on Sinai with Moses for the forty days. (Jefferson was, to quote the Kurgan, an effete snob; and a total contradiction of a man.)

Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I do think the context is very important. My view of the context is what I said earlier, that it was all part of the growth of humanism and rationality beginning with the Renaissance. I wouldn't discount the Protestant Reformation, it was a key part of those same trends, and the Age of Enlightenment was arguably its culmination.

My understanding of shetline's comments was that he was criticizing literal acceptance of religious fables, like the Great Flood. If that's the test, the founders of the US pass, but unfortunately the majority of Americans today fail.

I'm not certain that any of us can lay our hands on the official position Washington or Adams had on "religious fables". But if the existence of Moses, the gift of the Ten Commandments, Christ, etc., is any indication, along with the overpowering uber-Calvinistic predestination bent, I'd have to say they were under the 'delusion' of their day.

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 #72 of 211
In response to the original question...

It amazes me that with all this discussion of Christian history, nobody has mentioned the distinction between "truth" and "fact" made in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indi tells his class that archeology is the search for "fact"--and if they want "truth," the philosophy department is just down the hall.

WHile I'm not able to put exact words to this distinction, it makes perfect sense to me. "Facts" are concrete, objective pieces of information, ascertained with the sciences--whether they be social sciences or natural sciences. "Truths" are in the realm of philophy and religion. You don't measure truth with electronic instruments, and you don't discover facts by sitting there and thinking about existence.

Does that make sense to anyone else? Can anyone else put words to that distinction in a clearer manner?
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post #73 of 211
Interesting observation, but in order for you to recognize a "fact" it has to be exhaustively defined -- you have to know everything surrounding it, what makes it so, etc. -- otherwise it's not a 'fact', it's 'what works for the moment'.

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 #74 of 211
I see it as this....

"Facts" are objective, in that they are provable by defined methods of scientific or logical inquiry and "Truths" are subjective, in that they are relative to religion, creed, sex and every other "thing" that manages to separate us silly little human beings from each other.
"The world is all that is the case"
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
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"The world is all that is the case"
~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
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post #75 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
It's in a letter he wrote to Jefferson, he talks about being on Sinai with Moses for the forty days. (Jefferson was, to quote the Kurgan, an effete snob; and a total contradiction of a man.)

Haha, I found the quote. He says:
Quote:
Had you and I been forty days with Moses on Mount Sinai, and admitted to behold the divine glory, and there been told that one was three and three one, we might not have had the courage to deny it, but we could not have believed it.

As I understand the context, he's kibbutzing with that other known "freethinker," Jefferson, about how silly the idea of miracles is, and how God is really Nature and available through reason rather than revelation. I think he's also denying the trinity with his reference to one and three. In any case, he most certainly is not professing a belief in the historicity of Moses getting the tablets as you suggested.

Quote:
I'm not certain that any of us can lay our hands on the official position Washington or Adams had on "religious fables". But if the existence of Moses, the gift of the Ten Commandments, Christ, etc., is any indication, along with the overpowering uber-Calvinistic predestination bent, I'd have to say they were under the 'delusion' of their day.

I think their religious beliefs are pretty clear: They believed in a distant, ineffable creator and in the pure moral teachings of Christianity, and they rejected the miraculous supernatural phenomena embraced by most Christians today.
post #76 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Haha, I found the quote. He says:
As I understand the context, he's kibbutzing with that other known "freethinker," Jefferson, about how silly the idea of miracles is, and how God is really Nature and available through reason rather than revelation. I think he's also denying the trinity with his reference to one and three. In any case, he most certainly is not professing a belief in the historicity of Moses getting the tablets as you suggested.

I think their religious beliefs are pretty clear: They believed in a distant, ineffable creator and in the pure moral teachings of Christianity, and they rejected the miraculous supernatural phenomena embraced by most Christians today.

Brussell, you're trying to separate Adams from his historical context -- the fact of Moses -- and all his carrying on -- was a historical certainty for him. His hyperCalvinistic bent, and the fact that they lived Under the ten commandments -- with "no other gods" and sabbatarian rules -- it is more Christian by default than most people realize. And 'crazy' in any case.

I'm out until the weekend -- Busy busy busy.

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 #77 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by dmz
So it is possible?

Perhaps I'll answer this later (if you can't see that, in a way, I already have), but not now. You're doing everything you can to avoid mentioning the elephant standing in the room, and I see no reason to assist you in that game.

Imagine our favorite poster boy for insanity: the man in the tinfoil hat, trying to keep the alien thought waves or government spy beams out of his head.

Any argument here that the word "insane" aptly applies to such a person?

Let's take the element of paranoia out of the picture, and imagine a man who sleeps with his head in a wok every night, because he wants to talk to the aliens, and he figures that the wok will help focus alien transmissions into his head, and help him beam his own thoughts back. Without the paranoia, this guy is probably less of a threat to himself and others, and if he keeps his wok-wearing ways to himself, and only wears the wok when he's in bed at night, he can probably go about his day-to-day life much like anyone else, perhaps even making great positive contributions to society.

He is still, however, a bit crazy -- even if it is "possible" that their are aliens beings out there somewhere and "possible" that a wok on a pillow behind your head will assist in communication with said aliens.

Now, please explain to me how the mental gymnastics necessary to swallow whole every literal detail of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark as historical fact is in any way materially different than the kinds of thought processes needed to convince yourself that a wok is going to help you communicate with space aliens, or different than the thought processes that convince you that the government has spy beams that can read thoughts, that the government cares enough about your own thoughts to use these beams on you, and that, given such extraordinary circumstances, that an aluminum sombrero is going to protect you?
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #78 of 211
Yes Chris,

some lives are made miserable by the religeous beliefs of others. Earlier was mentioned women in muslim countries. That's a general point.

A more specific case, speaking as a Londoner, is me. My life has got distinctly worse since the Islamic nutters decided random bombs on the Underground is a valid expression of their belief system. Instead of me relaxing on the subway and reading the sport & news, I now eye up any muslim looking individual carrying a large bag. Not healthy for me, nor the guy I'm looking at.

Anybody who is seriously religeous is dangerous. I'll accept that you may not have physically harmed anybody. But if you were involved (and I have zero evidence to supoort this, but am using it as an example) in pushing forward legislation that forces school to teach creationism as a valid possibility, then you are involved in mentally damaging young impressionable minds, which is unforgiveable.

To finish, you've avoided answering the question as to whether you believe the Ark to be a truthful accurate description of a genuine event.

Is that because

a) you do believe it is true, and can't face the ridicule?

b) you do believe it is true, but realise logically it can't be, and so your whole belief system is under threat, so you'd rather not think about the question?

c) you don't think it is true, but don't wish to say so as you don't want to give more ammunition to your detractors.

David
post #79 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by iMac David
To finish, you've avoided answering the question as to whether you believe the Ark to be a truthful accurate description of a genuine event.

Is that because

a) you do believe it is true, and can't face the ridicule?

b) you do believe it is true, but realise logically it can't be, and so your whole belief system is under threat, so you'd rather not think about the question?

c) you don't think it is true, but don't wish to say so as you don't want to give more ammunition to your detractors.

David

Interesting questions, I wonder which one it is?
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #80 of 211
Quote:
Originally posted by iMac David
some lives are made miserable by the religeous beliefs of others. Earlier was mentioned women in muslim countries. That's a general point.

A more specific case, speaking as a Londoner, is me. My life has got distinctly worse since the Islamic nutters decided random bombs on the Underground is a valid expression of their belief system.

Those are actions. Not all who believe X, take the same actions. I believe that abortion wrong, immoral, the termination of a human life. I don't bomb abrtion clinics or shoot abortion doctors or obstruct anyone's access to a clinic. For example.

Quote:
Originally posted by iMac David
Anybody who is seriously religeous is dangerous.

Is that a fact? Truth? Opionion?



Quote:
Originally posted by iMac David
pushing forward legislation that forces school to teach creationism as a valid possibility, then you are involved in mentally damaging young impressionable minds, which is unforgiveable.

Oh geez...the hyperbole machine is in high gear today!

Quote:
Originally posted by iMac David
To finish, you've avoided answering the question as to whether you believe the Ark to be a truthful accurate description of a genuine event.

Sorry, your multiple-chice answers were loaded.

I believe that the event is possible, though I do not pretend to comprehend all of the details (of course the Bible does not provide ALL of the details either). I certainly cannot prove that it did not happen.

I recognize the "far-fetchedness" that many people see. But...

far-fetched != impossible
improbable != impossible

Anyone's belief that it did not happen is based on faith as is my own belief that it did happen.
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