master theist

Ralph Stewart
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master theist

I an in over my head with a theist. He has a masters in theology. ( Never understood why bother to study theology when the most average person will understand it with no work on being dead.)

I responded to an email. Lots of God, America, guns, love it or leave it type.

My response:

On a belief in a god or gods I prefer the thinking of Carl Sagan,
Bertrand Russell, Stephen Jay Gould and David Hume.
All revealed religions are ludicrous.

 

My theist response:

> Fortunately, you live in America, where the thinking of those
> individuals is tolerated, as is your reading of their books, as well
> as my reading of them. Personally, I am fortunate to have met and
> spoken with Raymond E. Brown, have read his books, and ascribe to his
> thoughts regarding religion. I have also read John Tully Carmody,
> Patrick Grant, Jan Lambrecht, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Hans Küng, A. N.
> Wilson, Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Luke Timothy
> Johnson, David J. Harrington, not to mention the Gospels. I have tried
> not to steep myself along one line of thought (philosophy?).
> One-dimensionalism is so restrictive. Like traveling down a highway at
> full speed, looking only straight ahead, without being able to stop
> and smell the roses.

> In your readings of Sagan, perhaps you ran across writings by Carl's
> colleague, Harvard astrophysicist & former chair of the history of
> science dept., Owen Gingerich along with Cambridge theoretical
> physicist & Anglican priest, John Polkinghorne, who rationally
> reaffirm the hope of Christianity?

> Incidentally, Russell seemed to have a bit of difficulty both job-wise
> and in his relationships with his three wives. Not that that would
> reflect on his thinking or reputation as a philosopher. As a professor
> at Trinity College, wasn't he discharged for his teachings on
> morality? Not really the kind of person I'd model my life after, I think.

> To say that Sagan thought all religion ludicrous is inaccurate. My
> summarization of Sagan, religion-wise, is that he took no particular
> stand either way, but went out of his way to discredit myth and
> pseudo-science.
>
> Hume's major goal in his thinking, from my perspective, was to
> separate religion from philosophy, and thus be able to pursue "pure"
> philosophy with no inferrential persuasions from the discipline of
> religion. Of course the political times and locales dictated that
> religion be treated very cautiously, which may have unintentionally
> had an impact on Hume's writings, religion-wise, don't ya think?

> Regarding Gould, I enjoyed his rather free-wheeling evolutionary
> theories, but think perhaps he is better known for his works in the
> field of paleontology.

> Actually, I find none of the sources you name consider religion
> "ludicrous."  But then, you perhaps read (or studied?) them with a
> different expectation. If you could direct me to the specific works
> from which you drew your conclusion, I'd like to read them.

 

Now the statement “All revealed religions are ludicrous.” is my thinking on the subject of religion.

Would there be some that could point to specific points that are laughable in revealed religion?


iwbiek
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oh my god.  oh holy fucking

oh my god.  oh holy fucking christ.  this guy is begging for an ass-whooping.  i fucking hate pompous fucking assholes.  i mean, listing all those goddamn theologians he's read like it's something to be proud of or like anybody gives two shits.

i mean, i have a sheepskin and several shelves of heavy, obscure books too.  guess what?  my dick's still the same length, and i sit on the pot and have to wipe my ass afterwards like everybody else.

dude, don't back down from this fucktard.  basically, he's just trying to overwhelm you with useless erudition and play the intellectual bully.  his email is nothing but one long appeal to popularity.  stick with what you know: his belief in a sky-daddy is based on nothing but preconceptualism and deductive reasoning, and all his precious degrees are built around the study of minutiae relating to shit that doesn't exist.  i mean, it would be like me getting a phd in "middle earth studies."

 

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


nigelTheBold
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iwbiek wrote:dude, don't

iwbiek wrote:

dude, don't back down from this fucktard.  basically, he's just trying to overwhelm you with useless erudition and play the intellectual bully.  his email is nothing but one long appeal to popularity.  stick with what you know: his belief in a sky-daddy is based on nothing but preconceptualism and deductive reasoning, and all his precious degrees are built around the study of minutiae relating to shit that doesn't exist.  i mean, it would be like me getting a phd in "middle earth studies."

Or a degree in philosophy.

Yeah. His response wasn't in the same vein as yours: you were trying to clarify your position by referring to a few well-known scientists and philosophers. (Hume and Russell are a couple of philosophers to whom I'll give a pass for being philosophers.) He responds with a laundry-list of obscure theist apologists, as if he can overwhelm you with names.

Hume didn't merely wish to divest philosophy from the burden of theology: he considered theology to be useless. Sagan was a spiritual man, but in the same style as Einstein: in awe of the universe, no God necessary (in fact, God is completely irrational). Gould got kinda wishy-washy at the end, partly because of his autistic son; however, he remained extremely skeptical concerning the existence of God.

His masters doesn't matter. He is well-trained in the art of theistic bullshit, but I suspect his achilles' heel is in logic and epistemology. Attack him where he is weak, and don't let him drag you into his philosophical nonsense.

And if you need help, come back with specific ideas about how we can help you, and we'll gang up on this motherfucker.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Quote: As a professor at

Quote:

As a professor
at Trinity College, wasn't he discharged for his teachings on
morality? Not really the kind of person I'd model my life after, I think.

( regarding Russell )

For this bit alone, the guy deserved to be treated as a an intellectually dishonest twat. Doesn't even establish that his teachings were 'bad' or 'immoral', just that they conflicted with the extremely prudish ideas of the time.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Quote:  To say that Sagan

Quote:
  To say that Sagan thought all religion ludicrous is inaccurate

I agree.

 

Having read every book Sagan has published, watched Cosmos, watched a variety of media appearances made by Sagan and read a number of his personal correspondences, I would contest it far more accurate to say that Sagan thought of all religion as downright dangerous and unhealthy, as well as empty-handed in the evidence department.

Pointing-out ironic coincidences and smiling is in no way the same as ascribing belief in supernatural influence.

 

Ask this fellow if he ever read 'Demon Haunted World or 'Dragons of Eden'. If he says he has, but refuses to retract his above assertion, you know he's made of 100% douche.

EDIT:

Quote:
Sagan was a spiritual man

I've always contested this notion. Sagan was very high when he wrote partsof some of his books, and some people have confused this fact with him being spiritual. Now that enough people have surrendered to the confusion, Sagan's been labelled a deist.

This is nonsense. He was not a deist, professed zero faith in anything and constantly reminded people of the dangers of faith-based or emotional decision-making, even when it came to issues he was passionate about (such as the exploration of mars)

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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If a person possesses a

If a person possesses a master's degree in any field, then the individual should at least be relatively intelligent. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Quote:
I have tried not to steep myself along one line of thought (philosophy?). One-dimensionalism is so restrictive. Like traveling down a highway at full speed, looking only straight ahead, without being able to stop and smell the roses.

Pay very close attention to the implications of this. Observing only this segment, I would wager that most of the members of this forum could easily beat up your theist (intellectually, of course).      

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Written as if I were

Written as if I were responding here.

 

 

Quote:
Fortunately, you live in America, where the thinking of those
 individuals is tolerated, as is your reading of their books, as well
 as my reading of them.

Tolerated? The amount of time it is taking to encourage the reading of all books is akin to allowing their burning or censorship. Would you agree?

 

Quote:
Personally, I am fortunate to have met and
 spoken with Raymond E. Brown, have read his books, and ascribe to his
 thoughts regarding religion.

Are there differences that you can be specific about since I have not read this person's work yet? If reading Raymond Brown will give me a better understanding of your position than you are willing to elucidate then I am willing to read and discuss later.

 

Quote:
I have also read John Tully Carmody,
 Patrick Grant, Jan Lambrecht, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Hans Küng, A. N.
 Wilson, Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Luke Timothy
 Johnson, David J. Harrington, not to mention the Gospels. I have tried
 not to steep myself along one line of thought (philosophy?).

That's very admirable. I will make the assumption that all of those mentioned are proponents of your ideology.


 

Quote:
One-dimensionalism is so restrictive. Like traveling down a highway at
 full speed, looking only straight ahead, without being able to stop
 and smell the roses.

I would agree. However, trying to fit the roses onto the road or vise versa can be problematic.
 
 

Quote:
In your readings of Sagan, perhaps you ran across writings by Carl's
 colleague, Harvard astrophysicist & former chair of the history of
 science dept., Owen Gingerich along with Cambridge theoretical
 physicist & Anglican priest, John Polkinghorne, who rationally
 reaffirm the hope of Christianity?

That seems to be a relatively large attribution of credit to their works.
 
 

Quote:
Incidentally, Russell seemed to have a bit of difficulty both job-wise
 and in his relationships with his three wives. Not that that would
 reflect on his thinking or reputation as a philosopher. As a professor
 at Trinity College, wasn't he discharged for his teachings on
 morality? Not really the kind of person I'd model my life after, I think.

As an allegedly learned individual, One would expect you to be above the ad hominem attack and focus on what was written rather than who wrote it.
 
 

Quote:
To say that Sagan thought all religion ludicrous is inaccurate. My
 summarization of Sagan, religion-wise, is that he took no particular
 stand either way, but went out of his way to discredit myth and
 pseudo-science.

Many different perceptions of his stance on god(s) are debatable. However, with regard to religions, Sagan was clear that we cannot allow it/them to cloud the reality of the world and examine the cosmos for what it is rather than what a few people see it as.

That was a recurring message in his books as well as the 'Cosmos' series. In his examination of the library at Alexandria and its subsequent destruction at the hands of Pope Theo, Sagan declaratively asserts:

“History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value, which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again.”

He was filmclipped into a cgi rendition of the library while speaking this.
 
 

Quote:
Hume's major goal in his thinking, from my perspective, was to
 separate religion from philosophy, and thus be able to pursue "pure"
 philosophy with no inferrential persuasions from the discipline of
 religion. Of course the political times and locales dictated that
 religion be treated very cautiously, which may have unintentionally
 had an impact on Hume's writings, religion-wise, don't ya think?

Again. I think analysis of the writing and not the individual is important. There is no doubt that contextually all writers can be influenced by their environment.
 
 

Quote:
Regarding Gould, I enjoyed his rather free-wheeling evolutionary
 theories, but think perhaps he is better known for his works in the
 field of paleontology.

Given your apparent stance on religion, one would think you would be receptive to the concept of Gould's NOMA assertion.
 
 

Quote:
Actually, I find none of the sources you name consider religion
 "ludicrous."  But then, you perhaps read (or studied?) them with a
 different expectation. If you could direct me to the specific works
 from which you drew your conclusion, I'd like to read them.

I would ask the same of you regarding your examination of the aforementioned works excluding the authors' particular viewpoints. We can skip the quote mining in favor of more direct argumentation.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists.


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 It's not like he wasn't

 It's not like he wasn't going to be defensive. If you've decided to argue with him about the topic he's spent every waking hour studying for the last several years, he's going to exhibit some justification of effort. I wouldn't recommend continuing the argument, unless you want to read more argument from authority and pages of rationalization.

He's most likely a first-born child with heavy, heavy insecurities and a depth of trust in authority that gives us rebellious types the creeps. I laughed my ass off reading iwbiek's response, because it's so true. Just being near one of these children (for those who a parent's approval in adulthood are still children) is enough to cross my eyes.

With these guys, my standard dirty trick is short answers and questions. Like, "Where's the God?" So many people have written about this thing, and there's nothing there. He's in the smile of every child, and in the laughter of lovers, the piddle of puppies and the silicone enhancements of porn stars. Right. What differentiates that kind of talk from an insane rant?

Anyway, my crystal ball tells me that this argument will last for a long time. Although iwbiek is right, he's just begging for a boot in the ass.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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"One dimensionalism (in

"One dimensionalism (in thinking) is restrictive..." parentheticals and the rest mine.

Unless, of course, you completely agree that my dimension of thinking is the correct one - you'll go to hell if you don't.

Why do theists accuse those who choose not to be bound by their way of thinking of being one dimensional?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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nigelTheBold wrote:And if

nigelTheBold wrote:

And if you need help, come back with specific ideas about how we can help you, and we'll gang up on this motherfucker.

I've started to feel bad about this, Nigel. No joke, I'm finding it too easy to take apart these arguments. It's like the apologist side isn't even trying anymore. The sources they quote can't produce a God or any other magical creature in reality.

Example: I know a table's real, and if we're all wrong about that, then fine. But what's the point of dealing with the possibility that we're only perceiving the table to be real when it isn't? I mean, that completely screws with our collective "real", right? So if God is "real", then we're all so wrong about "real" that a table isn't real, and neither are we. Since that's blathering nonsense, the reasonable mind arrives at the natural conclusion without much difficulty.

The apologist, however, handles this revelation with aplomb. Knowing for sure that nothing can be known for sure, they dive right in and say even less than a politician on a subject they know exactly nothing about.

It feels like bullying.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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HisWillness wrote: I've

HisWillness wrote:

 

I've started to feel bad about this, Nigel. No joke, I'm finding it too easy to take apart these arguments. It's like the apologist side isn't even trying anymore. The sources they quote can't produce a God or any other magical creature in reality.

Example: I know a table's real, and if we're all wrong about that, then fine. But what's the point of dealing with the possibility that we're only perceiving the table to be real when it isn't? I mean, that completely screws with our collective "real", right? So if God is "real", then we're all so wrong about "real" that a table isn't real, and neither are we. Since that's blathering nonsense, the reasonable mind arrives at the natural conclusion without much difficulty.

The apologist, however, handles this revelation with aplomb. Knowing for sure that nothing can be known for sure, they dive right in and say even less than a politician on a subject they know exactly nothing about.

It feels like bullying.

thanks for all the compliments, will.  i tend to result to vulgarity in the face of sophistry in order to show as much disrespect as possible--also to show (to those smart enough to get it) that vulgarity and sophistry are just about on the same intellectual plane.

i recall once being faced with the usual "how do you know anything is real?" argument from a theist.  we were sitting at a table in the dining hall at college and he was being very smarmy.  he asked me a question--really about a five-minute monologue (which clearly had been rehearsed and probably used before)--which, once you peeled away all the layers of bullshit, was basically, "how do you know even this table we're sitting at is real?" 

i looked him right in the eye, let a few pregnant seconds go by (i'm a shamelessly self-conscious performing musician, so i know how to work timing), tapped on the table with my knuckles, and said, "knock on god, motherfucker."  of course it didn't shut him up, but it got an explosion of laughter from the rest of the table and clearly threw him off-balance.  i excused myself a couple minutes later anyway because he was interfering with my digestion.

my point is, i agree with you that the quick "piss off" is usually the most effective response.  nobody outside the religious community really takes apologists seriously anyway.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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Once you actually believe

Once you actually believe that the Universe is being influenced by a conscious being of unlimited power, it follows that you can be certain of nothing, since the motives and purposes and interests of such a being must be intrinsically beyond our comprehension. 'He' could change the 'rules' at a whim, 'His' intentions toward us, if any, would be unfathomable, 'He' would have an infinite capacity to deceive us, so 'His' word is utterly of no value.

At least with a naturalistic assumption, we have some justification in assuming that the underlying laws, based as they are on the regularity of structure and attributes of the fundamental particles, will remain consistent over time. And that for something to display the more apparently indeterminate, unpredictable behaviour we associate with consciousness, it must have certain identifiable complexities of structure, as we see in the human brain.

Even the actual unpredictability of a system is, in principle, predictable, and subject to study and estimation, whether it be due to Quantum uncertainty, chaotic feedback, or the complexity of a finite brain.

Throw a God in there, then all bets are off.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Throw a God

BobSpence1 wrote:

Throw a God in there, then all bets are off.

or then he wouldn't be god at all.  that was one of spinoza's main arguments: that a god who intervenes in the laws of the universe with anomolous, supernatural "miracles" is only demonstrating his own impotence.

that's why i laugh when theists say einstein believed in god.  when asked if he believed in god, einstein often replied, "i believe in spinoza's god."  theists show they're woefully unfamiliar with one of the most influential philosophers of the last 300 years, a man who basically invented biblical criticism, when they claim these words as a victory.

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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BobSpence1 wrote:At least

BobSpence1 wrote:

At least with a naturalistic assumption, we have some justification in assuming that the underlying laws, based as they are on the regularity of structure and attributes of the fundamental particles, will remain consistent over time.

But that's the thing: as long as we've been measuring, and as often as we have measured, the results have been consistent. The Egyptians and Sumerians, long before we were all saved by any messiah I can think of, were getting the same measurements as we do now for many astronomical phenomena. That means that any consciousness influencing the universe (even our tiny square foot of it) hasn't changed its mind in around 10,000 years. This, despite the fact that we've changed our vision of a magical parent several times since then.

I know we're collectively preaching to the choir, here, but I think I now share Dawkins' "Oh, come ON" attitude about the whole thing. It's just so ridiculous. We all got the Santa Claus joke. We don't hate our parents for lying to us - it was a fun ruse. We grow up and say "Santa got me something special!" and it's funny. I don't see why we can't do that with "The Lord" or "The Gods" or whatever. Even the Romans didn't take their gods all that seriously.

BobSpence1 wrote:
Throw a God in there, then all bets are off.

Exactly. How does reality reflect a governing consciousness? How has it ever?

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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iwbiek wrote:thanks for all

iwbiek wrote:
thanks for all the compliments, will.

The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away. (See? It's fun! You can use The Lord any time you want to be a dick!)

iwbiek wrote:
i tend to result to vulgarity in the face of sophistry in order to show as much disrespect as possible--also to show (to those smart enough to get it) that vulgarity and sophistry are just about on the same intellectual plane.

A big "amen" to that.

iwbiek wrote:
i looked him right in the eye, let a few pregnant seconds go by (i'm a shamelessly self-conscious performing musician, so i know how to work timing), tapped on the table with my knuckles, and said, "knock on god, motherfucker."

I had roughly the same experience with a dear friend, who was going through a rough patch, so almost the opposite situation emotionally speaking. He had just finished up his PhD in philosophy (!) and was still doing mental cartwheels. In my case, it was a footstool. My response was more clumsy: "It really is there, it's okay to say it. It really is there. Can I get you a beer? I mean, like, a real beer." The poor guy laughed and then just broke down. I swear psychotherapy could cure theology.

iwbiek wrote:
my point is, i agree with you that the quick "piss off" is usually the most effective response.  nobody outside the religious community really takes apologists seriously anyway.

But it hurts when they speak. I get that same visceral response as you do. Sort of like when you hear someone obviously lie or make shit up, and the social situation is such that it wouldn't be to your advantage to point out the lie.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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iwbiek wrote:that's why i

iwbiek wrote:
that's why i laugh when theists say einstein believed in god.

You can laugh harder. Here are Einstein's thoughts on God:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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HisWillness wrote:iwbiek

HisWillness wrote:

iwbiek wrote:
that's why i laugh when theists say einstein believed in god.

You can laugh harder. Here are Einstein's thoughts on God:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion

i have tears welling up now, seriously.  if i can even approximate the level of genuine humanity that man reached by the time i'm 90, i'll be satisfied

"I asked my father,
I said, 'Father change my name.'
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
--Leonard Cohen


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HisWillness wrote:iwbiek

HisWillness wrote:

iwbiek wrote:
my point is, i agree with you that the quick "piss off" is usually the most effective response.  nobody outside the religious community really takes apologists seriously anyway.

But it hurts when they speak. I get that same visceral response as you do. Sort of like when you hear someone obviously lie or make shit up, and the social situation is such that it wouldn't be to your advantage to point out the lie.

The worst part is, the lie is a fundamental part of the social situation. It is such an invisible lie that few recognize as a lie at all.

How do we counter the lie? I recognize that fighting one masters student at a time is inefficient, but it's something. I'm a pacifist, so violence is out. I respect others' rights, so stealing, lieing, bullying, and otherwise restricting thought is also out. So, what do we do? What do I do?

I guess I can just start ignoring them. But then I only have myself to blame as their ideology becomes public policy (such as teaching "Intelligent Design" in science class), as I've done nothing to help suppress the disease.

But I do want to do what's right. I don't want to comprimise my own scrupples.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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responce

Thanks Gentlepersons,

I will stick with what I know or at least suspect. Which will keep everything short.

Here is my next response. Please stupid check. Please note we were both in the Marine Corps.

 

Dear ,

The authors are skeptic thinking persons. It is my skeptic thinking that all revealed religions are ludicrous.

I get the impression that if left up to you, you would not be so tolerate of those individuals.

You win with the reading list. John Allen Paulos, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins I call out as you pile on.

If you don't like an idea, say something bad about the person saying it. Is the Russell remark an ad hominem attack? No fair, he's dead.

If someone today tells me they heard a voice from a burning bush, a bright light or a cloud I would say bull shit. If that same person proceeded to give rules for me to live by I would say they are fucking crazy. Even a person hearing a small still voice that thinks it is coming from from outside his own mind is fucking crazy. I would not believe such today and I don't believe it from years ago.

I will consider a rational religion, please point one out.

Shall we throw quotes?

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

Semper Fi,

Ralph


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Ralph Stewart wrote: If you

Ralph Stewart wrote:

If you don't like an idea, say something bad about the person saying it. Is the Russell remark an ad hominem attack? No fair, he's dead.

Huh?

You've exposed why an ad hominem attack is a fallacy, that the validity of an idea is completely detached from the proponent of the idea. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but that doesn't change the wording of the Declaration of Independence. However, I don't understand how whether Russell is deceased changes the strength of the theist's argument. I would also advise against using the word "fair," and focus on whether something is logically valid or backed up by evidence.   

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Ralph, here's a take on this that you can try...

...ahem:

 

"Theology is a fancy way of saying, "I want...."

 

Does this sound too harsh?  Stop and think for a minute: an allegedly perfect God, who allegedly loves us, would never deceive us, and wants us to have the truth, gave us...a Bible which contradicts itself at every turn, and shows us some horrible excuses for morality and "truth;"...and (for Catholics) a Tradition/Magisterium  which is, in this regard, exactly the same as the Bible...or (for Latter-Day Saints) a prophetic authority which behaves in exactly the same way.  Only the particulars change.

 

So what is the believer to do?  Why...try to make some kind of sense out of it all.  This is why Catholics will argue vehemently with other Catholics on the topic of whether or not non-Catholics have any chance at all to get to Heaven, absent a conversion to Catholic belief.  This is why Evangelicals have to believe the most improbable, and even impossible, excuses for "logic;" (...uh...light being created in transit, anyone?) that is the only way that they can continue to believe in the literal truth of the Bible, particularly its opening and closing books.  This is why Latter-Day Saints must resort to such evasions as questioning whether "a prophet was indeed acting as a prophet," and accusing others of reading material that is "not faith-building."  And on, and on it goes.

 

Oh, there are supposed to be boundaries...but in most churches, you really can get away with believing anything at all, especially if you keep your mouth shut.  Even the Roman Catholic Church, at one time infamous for its excommunications (somewhat unfairly, one must admit,) rarely, if ever, so much as threatens a person with excommunication, these days.  This is why it is such an issue when it comes up in general elections: by traditional lights, there are quite a number of modern theologians who "should have been excommunicated"...and aren't.  The average Catholic becomes somewhat surprised that excommunication is still considered an option, at all.  And sometimes theologians who *do* get officially questioned...end up with no action taken against them.  (Fr. Jacques Dupui, famous for his writings on interreligious theology, is a case in point.)

 

So what happens, after all of this?  Simple: the person does what seems right to them.  And although they may expend great effort to show that it is "Scriptural,"...and/or "Traditional,"...and/or "obedient"...it still reduces to that person throwing up their hands and saying, "I pick this."   Because at the end of the day...there is simply no other way to resolve the numerous outright contradictions on (...to use Catholic examples...) usury, the salvation of non-Catholics, slavery, etc., etc.  And you may rest assured that the various non-Catholic groups have their fair share of analogous issues.  Like I said, only the particulars change.

 

Oh...and on top of it all...religion makes its demand that you have your theology absolutely right.  Because if you err, religion has one Hell of a solution for those who didn't pass the Divine Theology Exam.  So make sure that you sweat bullets while, ahem, "doing theology."  Because there's no makeup, and only a score of 100% passes...oh, and there's no reliable help while you're here on earth. Just so you know.

 

You see? You have no hope of being able to deduce the right answer.  So all that's left to you is simply to decide what you want, create a defense of your position that you can swallow...and hope and pray that you're right.

 

Some "loving God," huh?

 

Conor


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 The arrogance of religion

 

The arrogance of religion so often shines through, as it does with this theist. 

I've known several people with degrees in theology (sister and brother-in-law among the group) .  Good luck with this project.  It is good to see someone willing to take on theologians.  As Will mentioned, this person has devoted much of their life and personal identity to theism.  Please do be prepared to get back replies that try to make you feel like an insignificant idiot who knows absolutely nothing about either rational thought or what being human means.   It would be good to hear how this goes.  While my discussions with these folks have never gotten anywhere, maybe I can live vicariously through you! 

 

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


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If he keeps acting like a

If he keeps acting like a fucktard just take a page from my book and call him an asshat.


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Quote: 


You are not in over your head anymore than you would be if a Dungeons and Dragons fan literally believed that the game was a religion and was trying to convince you that it was real. Exactly what are they an expert in? There were some Star Trek fans who literally wrote a Klingon language for sport, but you know that Klingons are not real.

If we are splitting hairs here, it all boils down to the omni-atributes of any claimed deity, not just the person you are dealing with.

Epicuris deals with the moral delima quite well, even if one were to accept such an absurdity for argument's sake which makes any scientific inconsistancy irelivent. Even if a omni powerfull god were real why the fuck would anyone worship such a self centered being?

You feel you are in over your head because you fail to see their end goal and it is always the same, "Pay no attention to the magic behind the curtain". Even Dorathy from Kansas saw through the crap and realized that it was just a dream.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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nigelTheBold wrote:How do we

nigelTheBold wrote:
How do we counter the lie? I recognize that fighting one masters student at a time is inefficient, but it's something.

It's something culturally. That's important. When someone like me, who isn't qualified to do much of anything, can take apart the arguments of a masters student of theology, then something's up. That shakes even the common person (who most likely believes that Albert Einstein invented the atomic bomb). Once it's plain that we are without extra-reality intervention, then the religious get as marginalized as cult members. You or me arguing successfully (in fact, casually) with a masters student just looks bad.

Actually, you're qualified, but you know what I mean. Years of concentrated study on a totally fictional entity without it being called "Literature" is ... embarrassing.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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anniet wrote:Please do be

anniet wrote:
Please do be prepared to get back replies that try to make you feel like an insignificant idiot who knows absolutely nothing about either rational thought or what being human means.

This is what I don't get: why is the person who talks about a fictional character like it's a fictional character the crazy one in the room? God acts a lot like a fictional character, and never shows up in reality. So ...

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Remember, anyone who claims

Remember, anyone who claims to be an expert in the supernatural, god or the "spiritual" is no better than a person being an expert on the mating habits of unicorns.  Tear this idiot a new one and laugh while you do it.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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Quote:You can laugh harder.

Quote:

You can laugh harder. Here are Einstein's thoughts on God:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/13/peopleinscience.religion

Y'know what would be a fun little trick? Getting Dinesh D'Souza to crawl out of his hole for another debate and, when it comes time to ask him a question, read this letter aloud - maybe even project it up on the wall as a big power-point presentation - and then have him try to guess who the author was. Eye-wink

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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master theist

This is a response from my theist friend.

I had sent him the Conor post. Did not mean for him to think it was me writing that. Will make that point clearer.

 

Ralph, I appreciate your taking the time to copy someone else's thoughts on religion, but you really haven't provided support for your statement that certain philosophers find religion "ludicrous." I see nothing in your rather extensive (and obfuscating) borrowed monologue. Though to your credit, you 'kinda' ducked direct response by stating "The authors were skeptic thinking persons. It is my skeptic thinking that all revealed religions are ludicrous." Nevertheless, I doubt that Hume, Sagan, et al, would permit you to speak for them. One difficulty in extracting summary condensations of recognized authorities in any particular field and applying them as representative of their totality of thinking is that the summary is all-too-often prejudiced by our own perspective, thus lending erroneous interpretation and claiming its authenticity.

 

The writing you sent (the style doesn't fit yours, so I presume it is borrowed) seems to vent and rail against some religions, primarily Christian, if I don't miss the mark. That writer (and it may be you, or may, to some degree, echo your feelings) states "...but in most churches, you
really can get away with believing anything at all, especially if you keep your mouth shut.
 " and "This is why it is such an issue when it comes up in general elections: by traditional lights, there are quite a number of modern theologians who "should have been excommunicated"...and aren't.  The average Catholic becomes somewhat surprised that excommunication is still considered an option, at all." 

 

I tend to agree, generally, with these words. However, he states "in most churches" without specifying. In actuality, there are probably as many non-Catholic churches as there are streams and rivers in the United States. There are also many Catholics who have a very rudimentary understanding of the foundations of their faith. But I see no reason to go there. When your contributor says that there are many theologians who should be excommunicated, but aren't, he should be aware that there are most definitely many, many theologians who aren't Catholic. Additionally, he/she should be more familiar with just what "excommunication" means. Most non-Catholics, and many Catholics, have no idea; it's just a "word" that means they've been "bad."

 

So there you have it, Ralph. I am very interested in your thoughts and your processing, but still have not seen evidence to support your statements regarding ludicrosity (that's my word, btw) of religion. Oh. And, incidentally, there is a difference between Theology and Religion; there is also a distinction between the related, but non-interchangeable, disciplines of Theology and Philosophy.

 


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Pretentious proponent of a

Pretentious proponent of a silly myth wrote:

Oh. And, incidentally, there is a difference between Theology and Religion; there is also a distinction between the related, but non-interchangeable, disciplines of Theology and Philosophy

 

Wow, something that's actually correct. Philosophy can actually be useful, when combined with observations of the real world. Theology is the "study" of figments of people's imagination. It's the self-appointed notion that mythology, dogmatically held as truth, is something worthy of being called a "discipline". It has no method, no data, produces no verifiable results and is indistinguishable from any other batch of incoherent nonsense, but is dressed in fancy clothes (just like the Emperor). It is as such the greatest waste of human intellectual resources in history. Excuse me while I fart in theology's general direction, I am off to read a real scientific article, you know, something that deals with reality.


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HisWillness wrote:anniet

HisWillness wrote:

anniet wrote:
Please do be prepared to get back replies that try to make you feel like an insignificant idiot who knows absolutely nothing about either rational thought or what being human means.

This is what I don't get: why is the person who talks about a fictional character like it's a fictional character the crazy one in the room? God acts a lot like a fictional character, and never shows up in reality. So ...

I would totally agree with you - not that it matters to the theist though.  

I'm curious.  Have you ever had a discussion with a theist in which they didn't speak to either pityingly or condescendingly once they realized you really don't see god?  (I'm not all that familiar with the attitudes of non-fundie theists. )

"I am that I am." - Proof that the writers of the bible were beyond stoned.


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Quote:Ralph, I appreciate

Quote:
Ralph, I appreciate your taking the time to copy someone else's thoughts on religion, but you really haven't provided support for your statement that certain philosophers find religion "ludicrous."

And, almost instantly from the starting gate, he lobs a veiled insult at you and begins conducting the theist art of argumentation through repetition.

Quote:
I see nothing in your rather extensive (and obfuscating) borrowed monologue. Though to your credit, you 'kinda' ducked direct response by stating "The authors were skeptic thinking persons. It is my skeptic thinking that all revealed religions are ludicrous." Nevertheless, I doubt that Hume, Sagan, et al, would permit you to speak for them.

How is this issue even debatable? Many brilliant philosophers thought religion was ludicrous. If he wants to dodge reality more, realize that we have philosophers on this very forum who know that all religions are false and irrational. 

Quote:
One difficulty in extracting summary condensations of recognized authorities in any particular field and applying them as representative of their totality of thinking is that the summary is all-too-often prejudiced by our own perspective, thus lending erroneous interpretation and claiming its authenticity.

Due to his college education, he apparently has the ability and dishonesty to intimidate someone who's not a native English speaker by applying jargon. In the long run, it makes very little difference since he's just spewing the same bull****.

This entire argument is a red herring. The fact that we can't obtain perfect knowledge of a philosopher's position is completely irrelevant; we know many philosophers had identified the flaws of religion and considered it ludicrous. What is the point?

Quote:
When your contributor says that there are many theologians who should be excommunicated, but aren't, he should be aware that there are most definitely many, many theologians who aren't Catholic.

I believe we are aware of that. Thank you very much.

Quote:
Additionally, he/she should be more familiar with just what "excommunication" means. Most non-Catholics, and many Catholics, have no idea; it's just a "word" that means they've been "bad." So there you have it,

If that is his interpretation of the word "excommunication," then perhaps he needs to go pick up a dictionary. No offense, but most Christians have a sizable problem with the meaning of words on often discussed topics; for example, theory, god, atheism, etc.

Also, if he holds the position that excommunication in all or even most Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal churches, etc. means that they give you a symbolic slap on the hand, then perhaps he also needs to go back to college and study some comparative religion. When theists in many churches, especially in backwater areas or fundamentalist churches, declare non-belief or conversion to another faith, they are shunned from their society, and believe me, I've met multiple former Christians who told me this. The members of their own church stare at them as if they are the enemy. They lose mentors, friends, often even the respect of their own family members. In some churches, like Pentecostal or Mormon, they officially erase your name and blacklist you.    

Quote:
Ralph. I am very interested in your thoughts and your processing, but still have not seen evidence to support your statements regarding ludicrosity (that's my word, btw) of religion.

Why does he require you to submit more evidence for this statement? Is he insinuating that there are virtually no philosophers in the history of humanity that believed religion was ludicrous? What kind of doublethink is this?

Quote:
Oh. And, incidentally, there is a difference between Theology and Religion;

Religion is the belief in the irrational, and theology is the study of those beliefs.

Quote:
there is also a distinction between the related, but non-interchangeable, disciplines of Theology and Philosophy.
 

<sarcasm >Oh, I didn't know that. Why, thank you, master theist. </ sarcasm>

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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master theist

Sending this off:

 

"There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

I agree with that statement.

There has never been a god or gods except as created in the minds of humans. The list of supernatural imagined things is long and open ended. They represent thinking that was trying to connect the dots. There are better data dots now. To stick with such thinking now is delusional, laughable and ludicrous. (Except yours,of course.) For laughable I offer the SUVs in the Detroit church along with the anointing with oil. Will there be argument over straight oil vs synthetic.

As to revealed religion.

We can skip Scientology. That seems to be an authored-for-profit religion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I want to stay away from. They are sort of like a hedge fund. I heard about performing posthumous conversions. So Spider and I want to form an insurance company, Cover Your Ass. For five dollars we will put your name on a list. After death we submit your name to send you a get-out-hell card. Not sure of the optimal time after death to send. Would I need to hire a theologian to figure that out?

Now I am using other peoples' words here. But as I understand the words that lead to the concepts in my head, I agree with the statements.

“Judaism, Christianity and Islam by virtue of the messages from God/Allah via Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and various angels' messages to others, are religions which claim to be founded primarily on the revelations of a god or gods to humankind." ( It was pointed out that there should be only one.)

I repeat. There has never been a god or gods except as created in the minds of humans. Whatever the state of that mind that heard the voice, it is still delusional, laughable, ludicrous by rational standards.

(At the time when these revelations were heard they did not even know what the brain was for.)

I do indeed seek help on this subject. I posted your opening salvo. There are some that think you are an arrogant asshole. That is not a revelation. We were both trained to be that way. I am working on being a perfect one. I had a relationship breakup in rather dramatic fashion in a restaurant once. The lady used those exact words.

The added text was by Conor Wilson. It was not some copied text, he had taken the time to respond directly to your email.

The forum is on The Rational Response Squad. Motto: Believe in God? We can fix that. Join that group and point out their mistakes. It should be intellectually challenging to you. For myself, I am like the dog in the car with head out window just enjoying the ride.

The bad news is that when our brains neurons stop firing, it is over. The good news is that when our brain neurons stop firing, it is over.

 

 

 


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anniet wrote:I'm curious. 

anniet wrote:

I'm curious.  Have you ever had a discussion with a theist in which they didn't speak to either pityingly or condescendingly once they realized you really don't see god?  (I'm not all that familiar with the attitudes of non-fundie theists. )

Oh yeah, of course. But not often, considering I don't make my beliefs known outside of my group of atheist friends that often. The problem is that I'm terrible at diplomacy where that's concerned. I shouldn't say "terrible", I just don't care if they believe in the supernatural. I've usually just done a kind of "no thanks" to hearing about whatever they're peddling and move on. That can strike some as extremely insulting, as I must be offending their core beliefs. But their beliefs aren't actually helping me at all, and I have "faith" that they won't any time soon.

But yes, I've had people try to "save" me, which can be a mind-altering experience for those people. I usually have to explain several times that I'm not trying to be mean, I just see the world in a different way that they do, and only a couple of times, I've had very emotional reactions (presumably because I would be going to hell or something).

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Ralph,

It was never my intention to get involved in a discussion of religion. Nor was it my expectation that you would share my words and thoughts with other (C.W.?). No arrogance was intended on my part. If it was perceived, I apologize for a perhaps inaccurate choices of words. Getting back to the basics, you made a statement that certain philosophers (astronomers? - you didn't specify their field, though they should have been recognizable) thought religion "ludicrous."  I was not aware that any of them had made that statement or inference, and asked you the source of the statement. I have not escalated or broadened the initial request. Nor do I now. My father told me, long ago, that there is no sense in arguing with someone who has made his mind up, but the question as to the source of your summary statement about "ludicrous" remains.

 

Ralph, I have great respect for your intelligence, and gain from in-person discussions with you. I didn't send you the "list of books" for any reason other than to offer some "food" for the "other" wolf.

 

Semper Fi. 

 


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Ha

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Thanks for the source of quotes. Sending this off to my theist friend.

 

 

 

Dear ,

 

If you were not interested in a religion discussion, you sure fooled me.

 

I stand by the statement that all revealed religions are ludicrous.

 

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan

 

"God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it." - Carl Sagan

 

Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism -- and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency. […] Skepticism's bad rap arises from the impression that, however necessary the activity, it can only be regarded as a negative removal of false claims. Not so […]. Proper debunking is done in the interest of an alternate model of explanation, not as a nihilistic exercise. The alternate model is rationality itself, tied to moral decency -- the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known.-- Stephen Jay Gould

 

It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.-- Bertrand Russell

 

Examine the religious principles which have, in fact, prevailed in the world, and you will scarcely be persuaded that they are anything but sick men's dreams.-- David Hume

 

Immortality is a belief grounded upon other men’s sayings, that they knew it supernaturally; or that they knew those who knew them that knew others that knew it supernaturally.— Thomas Hobbes

 

"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." - Voltaire

 

"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." --Thomas Jefferson

 

What gods are there, what gods have there ever been, that were not from man's imagination?
-- Joseph Campbell

 

". Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain." - Gene Roddenberry

 

"History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it." - Robert Heinlein.

 

"Those to whom his word was revealed were always alone in some remote place, like Moses. There wasn't anyone else around when Mohammed got the word either. Mormon Joseph Smith and Christian Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, had exclusive audiences with God. We have to trust them as reporters---and you know how reporters are. They'll do anything for a story."--Andy Rooney

 

“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job.”–George W. Bush

 

I can't remember a quote from my father. But I liked the fatherly type advice “Try and marry a woman with small hands, it makes your dick look bigger.”

 

As to “mind made up”. A bit of reason to be anything other than an atheist would be nice. I listened to a Richard Dawkins interview with Father George Coyne. I missed any evidence for his belief. Seems it is what ever religion a person is imprinted with is it.

 

Last quote: "I'd rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief." Gerry Spencer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Here is my theist friend reply.

I can read the words but don't get the point.

Who is lost in the desert here?

 

 

 

 

 

Ralph, there's a difference between "I stand by the statement that all revealed religions are ludicrous."  and your original statement. I can accept that YOU may feel one way or another about just about any subject, but you DO have a qualifier, you know. It's all revealed religions.  I feel you (and some of your heroes) confuse religion with philosophy, and philosophy with theology, and I think that you (and they) are possibly searching for a rational, logical connection between the physical, or perceived, world, and that of theology. To be married to one, "forsaking all others," or to make vain attempts to connect the dots is, to my way of thinking, living in a mental desert. Those are my thoughts, though. I won't pass them off as someone else's that I happen to agree with at the moment.

 


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Ralph Stewart wrote: Here is

Ralph Stewart wrote:

Here is my theist friend reply.

I can read the words but don't get the point.

If he had written "fuck off", it would have been easier to understand. I'll translate.

Dude wrote:
Ralph, there's a difference between "I stand by the statement that all revealed religions are ludicrous."  and your original statement. I can accept that YOU may feel one way or another about just about any subject, but you DO have a qualifier, you know. It's all revealed religions.

"Dodge." Wouldn't want to actually address the question, he's just clarifying that he can write more than necessary on any topic you choose.

Dude wrote:
I feel you (and some of your heroes) confuse religion with philosophy, and philosophy with theology, and I think that you (and they) are possibly searching for a rational, logical connection between the physical, or perceived, world, and that of theology.

Ad hominem, nonsense, straw-man, and accusing you of being a kiss-up. Nice.

Dude wrote:
To be married to one, "forsaking all others," or to make vain attempts to connect the dots is, to my way of thinking, living in a mental desert.

"I'm insane." The man considers being "married" to reality living in a mental desert. One point he brings up is that attempting to reconcile reality with theology is "vain". True enough.

Dude wrote:
Those are my thoughts, though. I won't pass them off as someone else's that I happen to agree with at the moment.

"Stop sending me other people's words." That's a kind translation. What he's saying is "You're weak-minded." But hey, did you expect anything but passive-aggressiveness? I know I didn't.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Quote:To be married to one,

Quote:
To be married to one, "forsaking all others," or to make vain attempts to connect the dots is, to my way of thinking, living in a mental desert.

Hehe.

But, of course, if you have no desire to stay in this world, then by all means, walk towards the oasis, or, better yet, the mirage. Abandon your reason and individuality and embrace his supernatural world, for its cookies, for its muffins; everything except for merit and the honest search for truth.

edit: He doesn't have a point. He's just playing more word games with you. He's saying that he rejects your approach to the world because it's a "mental desert." Translation: It's too boring and harsh for him, so he chooses bullshit instead.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Okay, I screwed up last time...

My last post on this thread *did* ramble...a lot.  So let me see if I can rescue the idea I was trying to communicate.  I was trying to explain my assertion that "Theology is a fancy way of saying, 'I want...'"

 

1. Ostensibly, religion is about truth.  Thus, if a religion is to be accepted, it is so to the extent that it is true.  If a religion is to be rejected, it is so to the extent that it is false.

 

2. Flowing from this, theology, which for our purposes we may define as the study of a body of religious doctrine, is likewise purportedly about the truth.

 

3. Flowing from this further, we entertain two expectations.  One, that a genuinely "true religion" will be entirely self-consistent.  Otherwise, it would be at least a partially false religion, and thus have no advantage over the other religions.  The second expectation is that religions which are *not* the true religion may have any amount of truth in proportion to any amount of falsehood.  These "false religions," if you will, are thus seen to be human, and not divine, creations.  As such, they do not rule us, but rather, we rule and judge them.  A false religion can command...absolutely nothing.

 

4. Now we have a test.  We can check for self-consistency.  Note that different religions have different standards, and thus, different tests for consistency.  In, for example, the Roman Catholic case, it is considered to be entirely possible for theologians, saints, and even Fathers and Doctors of the Church to be in error regarding some teaching or another.  So...if you point out such an error to the knowledgeable Catholic, said Catholic will be unimpressed.  So far, so good for Catholicism.  But then we find out that Catholicism has backed itself into a corner with the doctrine of ecclesial infallibility.  This infallibility is expressed in three major ways: through the Pope acting alone (ex cathedra); through the Pope teaching with the Bishops in an Ecumenical Council; or through the ordinary operation of authoritative teaching (the "ordinary Magisterium.&quotEye-wink  These teachings must be consistent with each other.  Now, I know from earlier years that the immediate impulse will be to insert the idea of "development of doctrine" here.  Suffice to say, such an insertion does not help Catholicism once it is properly understood.  Even in the teaching of John Henry Cardinal Newman, "development of doctrine" does *not* allow for a teaching to "develop" into its diametrical opposite.  And, sadly for the Catholic Church...that is exactly what has happened, within the "ordinary Magisterium" with regard to usury, slavery, and a number of other inconvenient topics.

 

Lest this seem like mere Catholic-bashing, the same approach can show similar things about non-Catholic Christianity.  For example, look at Evangelicals.  Their rules are fairly simple: the Bible alone counts, the Bible is to be understood literally, especially with respect to the first and last books of the Bible, and it is entirely possible for human understanding of the Bible to err.  (Enter the examination of the Bible for errors.)  Oh...and this, by far, is not limited to Christianity.  Islam, for example, has issues with, for example, Koranic notions concerning the origin of humans.

 

5. So the individual believer in Catholicism (...or Evangelicalism, or the LDS Church, or Islam, or...well...whatever) is in a difficult situation.  As long as he/she remains ignorant of these problems, it is conceivable that such a person can conscientously remain in his/her religion.  But once these problems come to light...ah, there's the rub.  The attempts to answer these questions all come under the heading of "theology."  The trouble is, religions being religions, some such answers will be--or already have been--ruled out.

 

6. But there very often is no official solution to these problems.  Or, if there is an officially-accepted answer, it falls apart upon examination, almost as quickly as soap bubbles burst when you touch them.  So what is left for the believer who is grappling with this?  Why...the heterodoxy of his/her choice.  Either that, or a continual struggle to claim to believe that which is by this time, positively known to be false.  It is here that theology stands nakedly revealed as nothing more than "I want..."  It is either "I want the old orthodoxy to be true."  or "I want this new set of ideas to be true."  By this point, all of the authorities (Popes, Bibles, and whatever else) have simply failed, and the only thing left to do is pick something to believe.  But note carefully: this is no longer an "obedience" to "God's established authority;" it is now nothing more than the individual making a choice, as an individual.  Anything that is added to it is ratiocination, in an effort to shore up one's own "faith."

 

7. Once you have done this, the Bible is no longer your authority, and neither is any Pope, Council (Ecumenical, or otherwise,) Tradition, Magisterium, prophet, book or any other resource outside of yourself.  At this point, *you* have decided what is, or is not, "God's truth."  You have then made yourself into your own personal Pope.  And yet, this is the only thing possible, given the circumstances.  Sometimes you literally *cannot* obey; I found myself in this exact spot with respect to the question of whether or not non-Catholics could possibly be saved.  If I went one way, I was denying the teaching of the Ecumenical Council of Florence.  If I went the other way, I was denying the teaching of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.  Either way, I was denying the teaching of the Catholic Church; either way, I was a heretic; either way, I was going to Hell, for all eternity, for presuming to know better than the Holy Spirit.  You see?  The only way to answer this question while remaining a Catholic was to set myself up as my own authority, and say "I want to believe..."

 

This is what I was trying to get at with my...admittedly rambling...post.  I apologize for the inferior post.  I hope that this one is better for you, Ralph.

 

Conor


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another round

Hi ,

Universal rule: A person that hears a voice inside his head and thinks it is coming from somewhere else is mentally ill, possibly mistaken, or married. Now which revealed religions do you believe are true? Which ones are false?

I am assuming the mental desert is what I would be calling a rational universe. Do you have the supernatural in your would? If you need it, keep it.

There are no theistic gods that gives a fuck about you or me. You and I can give a fuck about each other.

Where do we get our thoughts? If we speak only original thoughts it will lead to a great quiet.

In my mental desert today I read articles about primates being sneaky and a human brain implant that will cause organism. Trying to put those together for an original joke/thought. What is going on in your world?

Semper Fi

Ralph

 

CW offers these thoughts on theology.

copy of CW post


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the end

I think this dialog is over. Here is his reply and I will leave the subject.

 

Raph, as I said in a previous email, my did had the wisdom to tell me never to try to argue points with someone who has made his mind up. I try to remember that adjoinder.

 

He did misspell my name and he now has a “did.”

Thanks to you all for the thoughts.

Special thanks to Conor. I believe I had some understanding of your writing.

 


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You're welcome, Ralph...

...at least I tried.  And at least you understood some of what I was getting at.

 

Are there any questions I can answer?  I won't promise you the moon and the stars, but I will give it a go.

 

Conor


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Well not that I'm trying to

Well not that I'm trying to tell you what to say but. I would have been much more blunt with him. I would have asked him how many years of theological training he had, and if his answer was for example, 8 years. My reply would have been; 8 years? And you still didn't catch on? Now you now why you don't see many MENSA members bragging about their theology degree's.