A question to theists without prejudice

Nordmann
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A question to theists without prejudice

A question to god-believers (and I'm genuinely interested in the answer you give).

 

If a definitive incontrovertible proof should force you to abandon your belief in a deity what do you reckon you would lack which you presently have? (Or more importantly "miss"?).

 

I ask as a person who only experiences huge benefit from a rational conviction that your blind faith in other people's wild assertions is actually a handicap to achieving happiness, happiness being a concept I closely identify with the superiority of knowledge over assumption. Personally, I experience proofs daily that the reversal of this stance leads to terrible problems for the individual bordering sometimes on psychiatric illness in its effect and intensity. I promise not to gainsay or treat with disrespect your assertions - I am really curious as to what they are founded on.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


Christos
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That's a good question. I

That's a good question. I probably wouldn't lose a whole lot. I would still try and focus my life on service, love, peace and all that jazz. God doesn't need to exist for justice and  charity to be important to me.

Also, I'm not sure that you'll get a lot of responses. There aren't a whole lot of theists left on these forums.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading." (CS Lewis)


Ciarin
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Didn't you already ask this?

Didn't you already ask this?


JustAnotherBeliever
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Christos wrote:That's a good

Christos wrote:

That's a good question. I probably wouldn't lose a whole lot. I would still try and focus my life on service, love, peace and all that jazz. God doesn't need to exist for justice and  charity to be important to me.

Also, I'm not sure that you'll get a lot of responses. There aren't a whole lot of theists left on these forums.

I agree. Though one issue is that its hard to reflect on the question as its stated. By definition, our assertions are unprovable to begin with so I'm not sure what proving theyre not true means. We still havent agreed on definitions for God - which is kind of impossible anyway. But trying to answer anyway, I would miss the fact that there is no "universal constant" right and wrong. I would tend to say whatever I was doing was automatically right for me. How would I know if I was just ahead of my time or had my head up my ass.

 


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I was going to leave it, but

I was going to leave it, but I can't. It's been said a couple times in the last week or so, and it needs to be addressed.

Christos wrote:

Also, I'm not sure that you'll get a lot of responses. There aren't a whole lot of theists left on these forums.

In all the time I have posted here, and that's approaching three years now, there has never been more than a handful of theists at any given moment. Your suggestion of there not being many left ignores the reality that there was never many to begin with. The most common theist posting on this site is a drive-by where they never come back again. The second most common is the theist who will stick around for a month or two, and then vanish. Sometimes to return as an atheist, sometimes to never be heard from again.

And then you have Captain Pineapple, and a few like her, who stick it in our sides forever. And we love them for it. Smiling

Ciarin wrote:

Didn't you already ask this?

He did, but that thread got derailed, and he wanted it to start fresh. I think I'm coming perilously close to doing the same thing to this thread as was done to the last one, so I'll stop here.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Nordmann wrote:A question to

Nordmann wrote:

A question to god-believers (and I'm genuinely interested in the answer you give).

 

If a definitive incontrovertible proof should force you to abandon your belief in a deity what do you reckon you would lack which you presently have? (Or more importantly "miss"?).

I would lack a god belief I suppose, not much else would change though.

 


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Nordmann wrote:A question to

Nordmann wrote:

A question to god-believers (and I'm genuinely interested in the answer you give).

 

If a definitive incontrovertible proof should force you to abandon your belief in a deity what do you reckon you would lack which you presently have? (Or more importantly "miss"?).

I don't know if the appropriate word, is to be "miss", but I already long understood what it would mean to lose my belief in God, it's the abondoning of Love as a supreme value, and abandonment of hope at least in its most meaningful form for me. It would be the telling of the Gospel story not with its ending of promise and triumph over misery, but one of tragedy and failure. The narrative would now become a haunting one. 

My sense of indifference and apathy, that were hallmarks of my disbelief would rear their heads again, as my perspective on life with a sense of an overpowering beauty and hope that surrounds it even in impossible odds, is lost, and eternally abandoned. 

 

"I'm really an idiot! I have my own head way the fuck up my ass! Watch me dig myself into a hole over and over again!" ~Rook Hawkins (just citing sources)


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 .

 .


butterbattle
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Loltheidiot wrote:Love as a

Lol

theidiot wrote:

Love as a supreme value,

Don't need Yahweh for that.

Quote:
hope

Or that.

Quote:
It would be the telling of the Gospel story not with its ending of promise and triumph over misery, but one of tragedy and failure. The narrative would now become a haunting one.

Well, most of the Gospels would be fiction, so it wouldn't matter.

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My sense of indifference and apathy, that were hallmarks of my disbelief would rear their heads again,

Jeez, I'm glad the "hallmarks of your disbelief" aren't representative of all non-theists.

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as my perspective on life with a sense of an overpowering beauty and hope that surrounds it even in impossible odds,

Don't need God for that.

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is lost, and eternally abandoned. 

Eternally?

 

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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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

Lol

theidiot wrote:

Love as a supreme value,

butterbattle wrote:
Don't need Yahweh for that.

theidiot wrote:
hope

butterbattle wrote:
Or that.

When a God belief is emblematic of such beliefs, than sure you do.

But perhaps in some sort of way you and others can hold such beliefs without any belief in a divine, but it'd be far from convincing for me. I'm more than aware of secular hopes, and humanist idealism, but they are perspectives far from convincing for me to buy. 

Perhaps you don't need God for such beliefs, but for me and countless others, from slaves, to the oppressed they do, the would perceive the grounding of your own beliefs here, as more delusional than their own. 

Quote:
Well, most of the Gospels would be fiction, so it wouldn't matter.,

Well, that's kind of silly, even fiction itself often attempts to convey truths even if it's not in the scientific sense of the word. Those tails we tell our children like the one about the tortoise and the hare even do so. Fiction works like Dostoevsky "The Brothers Karamazov" have been praised by the likes of Freud, Einstein, Nietzsche for conveying a sense of truth far greater than any other respective medium before them. 

The Gospel truth is not a scientific statement about life, but a statement of meaning, that even fictive works can convey, the "Brother Karamazov" is a one of the great fictive works, that does just this. 

butterbattle wrote:
Jeez, I'm glad the "hallmarks of your disbelief" aren't representative of all non-theists.

That's good, most of them live in glass houses, so its understandable why this may be so. 

Quote:
as my perspective on life with a sense of an overpowering beauty and hope that surrounds it even in impossible odds,

butterbattle wrote:
Don't need God for that.

Notice I said "my" perspective, you may have some other silly myth in play that allows this belief to also be yours, but it's far from convincing to anyone but a few. I'll take the religious myth composed in the face of misery, suffering, and humiliation known as the cross, than the secular one created in the house of the well off swede somewhere, or from the likes of Ted Turner, and Richard Dawkins of those humanist societies whose point of reflection is privilege. 

This is why the Gospel Story would haunt me, long after the death of god for me, no narrative would ever be such a continual point of reflection for me whether in belief or disbelief. 

But I understand in this forum we deal with children most of the time, men whose toughening experiences in life consists of losing a game of Halo, who have barely lived, or seen life from its most tragic and most beautiful perches, that lack any sense of poetic resonance to ever mean anything to the most of us. 

 

 


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theacrobat wrote:When a God

theacrobat wrote:

When a God belief is emblematic of such beliefs, than sure you do.

But perhaps in some sort of way you and others can hold such beliefs without any belief in a divine, but it'd be far from convincing for me. I'm more than aware of secular hopes, and humanist idealism, but they are perspectives far from convincing for me to buy. 

Perhaps you don't need God for such beliefs, but for me and countless others, from slaves, to the oppressed they do, the would perceive the grounding of your own beliefs here, as more delusional than their own.

I can't imagine a better way to express this, so I'll just say that I really don't care what worldview would emotionally entice a person enough to buy it or what kind of personal situation would swindle a person into accepting a false, but comfortable worldview. By direct observation and by definition, we don't need God for love, hope, compassion, honesty, or anything of the sort.

theacrobat wrote:
It would be the telling of the Gospel story not with its ending of promise and triumph over misery, but one of tragedy and failure. The narrative would now become a haunting one.

butterbattle wrote:
Well, most of the Gospels would be fiction, so it wouldn't matter.,

theacrobat wrote:
Well, that's kind of silly, even fiction itself often attempts to convey truths even if it's not in the scientific sense of the word. Those tails we tell our children like the one about the tortoise and the hare even do so. Fiction works like Dostoevsky "The Brothers Karamazov" have been praised by the likes of Freud, Einstein, Nietzsche for conveying a sense of truth far greater than any other respective medium before them. 

The Gospel truth is not a scientific statement about life, but a statement of meaning, that even fictive works can convey, the "Brother Karamazov" is a one of the great fictive works, that does just this.

What I meant was that the validity of the Gospels doesn't change it's message; regardless of your belief, it will still be presenting a message of salvation. What you would have lost is your application of the fictive work to reality, which is a negative consequence that can be applied to losing any belief system that makes promises. If the belief system is false, then, undoubtedly, most of the promises will be false as well. Yet, you wouldn't have actually lost anything real, only a hope in something illusory. 

Quote:
That's good, most of them live in glass houses, so its understandable why this may be so.

Hmmm, sorry, I don't understand what you're saying.

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Notice I said "my" perspective, you may have some other silly myth in play that allows this belief to also be yours,

Silly myth?

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but it's far from convincing to anyone but a few.

A few?

Quote:
I'll take the religious myth composed in the face of misery, suffering, and humiliation known as the cross, than the secular one created in the house of the well off swede somewhere, or from the likes of Ted Turner, and Richard Dawkins of those humanist societies whose point of reflection is privilege.

You've got to be kidding me. The NT was compiled by the elite to control the masses. This is how religion always works. The "righteous" and "correct" religion is always the one represented by those in power. If you want class warfare based on religion, look at where you're standing first.

Quote:
This is why the Gospel Story would haunt me, long after the death of god for me, no narrative would ever be such a continual point of reflection for me whether in belief or disbelief.

I still don't understand.

Quote:
But I understand in this forum we deal with children most of the time, men whose toughening experiences in life consists of losing a game of Halo, who have barely lived, or seen life from its most tragic and most beautiful perches, that lack any sense of poetic resonance to ever mean anything to the most of us.  

You've been appealing to emotion this entire thread and now you're insulting everyone else to give your emotional pleas more credit? Is that supposed to be funny?, because I'm not laughing. Do you know me? No, you don't.

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


Nordmann
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christos wrote:I probably

christos wrote:

I probably wouldn't lose a whole lot. I would still try and focus my life on service, love, peace and all that jazz. God doesn't need to exist for justice and  charity to be important to me.

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

But trying to answer anyway, I would miss the fact that there is no "universal constant" right and wrong. I would tend to say whatever I was doing was automatically right for me. How would I know if I was just ahead of my time or had my head up my ass.

Ciarin wrote:

I would lack a god belief I suppose, not much else would change though.

theidiot wrote:

I already long understood what it would mean to lose my belief in God, it's the abondoning of Love as a supreme value, and abandonment of hope at least in its most meaningful form for me. It would be the telling of the Gospel story not with its ending of promise and triumph over misery, but one of tragedy and failure. The narrative would now become a haunting one. 

My sense of indifference and apathy, that were hallmarks of my disbelief would rear their heads again, as my perspective on life with a sense of an overpowering beauty and hope that surrounds it even in impossible odds, is lost, and eternally abandoned. 

theacrobat wrote:

I'm more than aware of secular hopes, and humanist idealism, but they are perspectives far from convincing for me to buy. 

 

Thank you for your replies so far, which I appreciate are honest, even if they are necessarily incomplete. But they do help me understand something about theism and theists which I have had difficulty with for a long time and still struggle with - the promotion of feeling over knowledge to an extent that detracts from the value of the latter as it is superseded by the perceived  requirement to adhere in allegiance to the former.

 

Christos, you admit that you do not require belief in a deity to continue living a highly principled lifestyle. I agree with that sentiment of course, but you can understand that it simply begs a question then about what you would actually "lose" or "miss" should you take such a step.

 

Ciarin, you seem to say something very similar. I am aware however that your version of theism accommodates a pantheon of gods unlike the christian one in that they do not function primarily as either moral arbiters or sources of principle. Your statement therefore makes total semantic sense but does not actually answer the question at all. When you say you would lose "a god belief" what exactly would be lost at all?

 

JustAnotherBeliever, you give a more typical christian response in that you seem to equate standard moral arbitration with divine function rather than human. When exercised by a human, you suggest, it becomes individualistic. You will understand that I of course must disagree with that synopsis - given the evidence that diverse human experience has produced a standard set of moral principles which are pretty universal - but I would be interested in knowing why you think your moral character would actually alter should the universal moral principles attributed by you to your god be proven to your satisfaction to be humanly developed and maintained after all. It appears a tenuous and suspiciously weak argument for investing blind faith in a supreme being, and abandoning that stance, I would imagine, should serve to strengthen rather than diminish your moral resolve. But perhaps I'm mistaking your message?

 

Theidiot, yours is also a typical christian response in its employment of "love" as a prime value. The christian interpretation of that particular claim on their god's behalf is that it equates to being "looked after" - hence its function as a source of hope to people too. I agree completely that this is one of christianity's strongest selling points traditionally, but it is also one which history tends to contradict has ever materialised into anything concrete. But you are right - for any person to whom this notion represents christianity's prime worth then it would indeed induce a sense of loss should it be proven to be unfounded.

 

Theacrobat, I realise your statement was not a direct answer to my question but I appreciate its utterance on this thread. It illustrates succinctly that which often prevents theists from logically concluding the premise on which they have invested their faith is wrong. You are right to allude to the fact that hopes and ideals can be expressed and even formulated without reference to religion at all, and even that such formulae rarely compare in terms of impact and adherence to those expressed religiously. But it is interesting nevertheless that they exist, and that in their formulation they compare favourably in terms of substance to their religious counterparts, and often excel them in terms of general applicability. This should raise questions regarding the source and requirement for religious moral codes, but to the religious adherent they are dismissed all the same as unworthy "challengers". It is an interesting, and very revealing, stance common to theists the world over, regardless of their particular faith (which also should raise doubts in discerning minds).

 

Thanks again. I am actually no nearer really understanding what might induce a sense of loss, besides that of the comfort induced from believing - however improbably - that you were no longer being protected by a god. Since I derive no small comfort from knowing such phoney protection is a burden rather than a boon to the development of ethical behaviour, I must confess I am a little shocked - given the pulling power of religious belief - that this is the only thing of substance which would actually be missed, at least by the theists who have been kind enough to answer my query so far.

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RhadTheGizmo
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 Ah.. it seems appropriate

 (I copied my notepad writing into here.. and all my paragraphs breaks were gone.  I guess I've missed something since I've been gone.  Any help on creating paragraph breaks now? [/p] definitely doesn't work...)


Ah.. it seems appropriate that my first response in awhile be addressed to a Nord thread.  Very fascinating topics..

 


Quote:
But they do help me understand something about theism and theists which I have had difficulty with for a long time and still struggle with - the promotion of feeling over knowledge to an extent that detracts from the value of the latter as it is superseded by the perceived  requirement to adhere in allegiance to the former.
What does this mean? Based upon our last conversation, I presume you will accuse me of oversimplifying.  Maybe I do, but, nevertheless, I interpret the import of your statement simply as: "Theists promote feeling over knowledge." 
Fair enough. 
 Yet, I believe the hypothetical presented necessitates such a finding.   
 Restatement: "If incontrovertible proof forces you to abandon a belief regarding knowledge," how can it ever be that what you lost is something other then the belief and the feelings associated with that belief? 
In otherwords, it seems to me that the above stated hypothetical necessarily results in a gain of knowledge--e.g., knowledge of something's falsity--and a "loss" of of nothing--assuming you believe that the loss of the prior belief and the associated feelings is not itself a "loss". 
If my assumption is correct then once again I say, "fair enough;" but it seems a bit strange that you've written a hypothetical that necessitates the very conclusion you will end up criticizing. 
This strangeness is made even more so by the fact that such necessity is not caused by the fact that it is a "theistic belief" your hypothetical addresses, but rather that anything placed within your hypothetical's particular logical structure would necessitate the conclusion that "nothing is lost but the [thing] and the corresponding feelings associated with that [thing]."   
For instance, consider the hypothetical: "If incontrovertible proof existed that forced you to abandon the belief that 2+2=5, what have you lost?" 
Or: "If you were forced to give up an apple, what have you lost?" 
Albeit you could frame the loss of an apple as a loss of "the unique bits of matter that constituted that apple and no other;" how is that any different than saying "I lost my apple and the feelings associated with having that apple." 
If you would be equally critical of the latter formulations of your hypothetical, great; although, I would still find your critical stance problematic.  If you would not be critical of the other instances, why not? 
Still, moving on the assumption that you would be consistent, I will address my problem with that stance. 
It seems obvious to me that what you will only be "satisfied" by an answer that entails more than "loss of the belief and its corresponding feelings." I think, instead, that you are looking for something of "real importance" that is lost, or "objectively important, whose importance is uniquely tied to the belief."  That's fair enough, so I address my analysis with that as my understanding of what you are looking for. 
So your hypothetical presents a definite problem for the theist. 
Unless he/she characterizes the "belief" as consisting of an inherently unique, and objectively important, quality/qualities; then, any response would be subject to one of two equally valid (although ultimately irrelevant) criticisms: (1) the loss, although objectively important, can be subjectively gained through other means, i.e., is not inherently unique; (2) is not objectively important.
Why I find these particular criticisms ultimately irrelevant is that they discount the possibility that a "subjectively important, and/or subjectively unique, quality gained from a 'belief'" can itself be objectively important. 
I wonder whether you would accept such a contention. 
If not, then your hypothetical logically requires the very end that you seek to criticize.  Which is fine, but as stated above this end is not unique to theistic beliefs but rather necessitated by the way you ordered your hypothetical. 
My personal answer to your question: "I would lose the belief, and the feelings associated with that belief, that is subjectively important and, as far as I know, are subjectively unique to the belief itself." 
In other words, I would lose the apple.   
P.S. 
Your responses support the point I am trying to make:
Quote:
I agree with that sentiment of course, but you can understand that it simply begs a question then about what you would actually "lose" or "miss" should you take such a step.
 
Not inherently unique argument. 
Quote:
Your statement therefore makes total semantic sense but does not actually answer the question at all. When you say you would lose "a god belief" what exactly would be lost at all?
 
Not objectively important argument. 
Quote:
You will understand that I of course must disagree with that synopsis - given the evidence that diverse human experience has produced a standard set of moral principles which are pretty universal - but I would be interested in knowing why you think your moral character would actually alter should the universal moral principles attributed by you to your god be proven to your satisfaction to be humanly developed and maintained after all.
 
Not inherently unique and not objectively important argument. 
Quote:
I agree completely that this is one of christianity's strongest selling points traditionally, but it is also one which history tends to contradict has ever materialised into anything concrete. But you are right - for any person to whom this notion represents christianity's prime worth then it would indeed induce a sense of loss should it be proven to be unfounded.
 
Here it seems as though you actually accept the subjective importance of the belief, but discount the objective importance. 
Quote:
But it is interesting nevertheless that they exist, and that in their formulation they compare favourably in terms of substance to their religious counterparts, and often excel them in terms of general applicability.
Not inherently unique and not objectively important.  
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This should raise questions regarding the source and requirement for religious moral codes, but to the religious adherent they are dismissed all the same as unworthy "challengers".
This is just an overgeneralization. 
In closing:
Quote:
Thanks again. I am actually no nearer really understanding what might induce a sense of loss, besides that of the comfort induced from believing - however improbably - that you were no longer being protected by a god.
 
This mischaracterizes what has been stated (IMO). While it might be your understanding of the underlying rationale for most theistic beliefs, their is no saying that the "comfort" (assuming that is the belief's only feeling of import) is, or must be, derived from the idea that one is "protected by God." 
The comfort can be derived from many different things. 
In my opinion, however, its irrelevant as to where the comfort is derived from.  Instead, the inquiry should be whether something "objectively important" has been lost.  Such a question might be answered by asking the following questions: (1) Is it subjectively important to you? (2) Does your belief cause harm to others? 
If the answers are respectively yes and no, then the overall value of the belief is positive, and therefore, objectively important. 
Important for the purpose of this post is defined as "of value."  While I could have used "of value," or "relevant," I used the word "important" instead.. although perhaps not definitionally correct. 
 I also am assuming for the purpose of this response that only something of "positive value" can be lost.
Disclaimer: I could be wrong on my analysis.  Stranger things have happened. :]

 


Nordmann
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Hi Rhad. I struggle to

Hi Rhad.

 

I struggle to understand your post, and most of all your apparent objections. You seem to think that my question invites an answer which is dictated by the question itself, which of course - as is evidenced by the variety of responses already received - is not the case. And nor is your "restatement" relevant or applicable since its premise, that a "belief based on knowledge" is comparable to one based on presumption, is itself indicative in its phraseology of the fact that the person who phrased it fails to understand the essential underlying point of the original question.

 

Your further criticisms of my comments to those who did respond as not being "inherently unique" or "objectively important" arguments completely defeat comprehension. What on earth are you talking about there? So what if my "argument" is not unique? And how subjectively did you arrive at the definition of "objective importance"? It all sounds like waffle, I'm afraid.

 

You are right to say that the "comfort" derived from theistic faith can come from different perceptions, but I am also right to state that they are all facets of the overlying protectivism by which theism defines its focus. Whether that feeling of protection is based on a belief that one's god proactively intervenes to that end or is simply based on the security of feeling that one is in a group defined by allegiance to that god is irrelevant in real terms. Some even derive a sense of protection from the certainty that they are "right" based on a presumed validation of that feeling from a divine source. What matters is that one must shed that notion of being protected (regardless of whatever level of protection one had assumed) when one abandons theistic belief and embraces rational logic.

 

But if I understand your final comments correctly (and they do not present themselves easily to such a presumption on my part) then you are saying that you think my original question presumed that whatever might be "lost" - should incontrovertible proof destroy the basis of one's religious faith - was of "positive value". I would suggest that this is a truism, though what is most important is not whether that which was lost was of positive value, but that it was perceived as having that quality by the person who feels its loss. That religion claims adherents in the numbers it does suggests that this is a given. However that does not mean their evaluation stands up to critical and logical scrutiny.

 

So, in summary, I really can't see what your "analysis" has contributed here. It seems to me to be a mixture of stating the obvious, concurrence with my own stated hypothesis, and irrelevant and badly worded objections to it. But essentially we seem to agree about one thing - that abandoning blind belief for experiential logic involves some degree of a feeling of loss on the part of the person taking the step.

 

My question, asked in the manner of one for whom a step in the opposite direction represents feasible and unimaginable loss of reason itself, simply asks theists what exactly is it that they think they would lose?

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RhadTheGizmo
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  Dear Nord,Please forgive

  Dear Nord,

Please forgive any rudeness perceive in my response.  It's very early in the morning, and not much sleep.  I hold respect for you, in many ways, even though you may "rub me the wrong way" from time to time.

 

Quote:
I struggle to understand your post, and most of all your apparent objections. You seem to think that my question invites an answer which is dictated by the question itself, which of course - as is evidenced by the variety of responses already received - is not the case.

I did say your question invites the answer.  In fact I said your question necessitates an answer.  But as my initial response clearly stated, the answer I thought was necessitated was broadly described as "something lost that you would not consider objectively important because (1) you would not consider something 'subjectively important and/or subjectively unique' as something 'objectively important' and (2) any claim that the loss was something 'objectively important' on any other grounds could easily be criticized by any number of arguments." (paraphrase)

 

Your responses, instead of "evidenc[ing]" something contrary to my analysis' conclusion, in fact supports my analysis' conclusion.

 

Quote:
And nor is your "restatement" relevant or applicable since its premise, that a "belief based on knowledge" is comparable to one based on presumption, is itself indicative in its phraseology of the fact that the person who phrased it fails to understand the essential underlying point of the original question.

Please see my restatement again: I said "regarding," this is not the same as "based on."  I think it only fair that you quote me correctly.

 

If you still think I fail to understand the underlying point, then argue so again.  But I think you'd be hard pressed to support that a belief regarding the existence of God is not a belief regarding knowledge.

 

Quote:
Your further criticisms of my comments to those who did respond as not being "inherently unique" or "objectively important" arguments completely defeat comprehension. What on earth are you talking about there? So what if my "argument" is not unique? And how subjectively did you arrive at the definition of "objective importance"? It all sounds like waffle, I'm afraid.

If you need me to define "objectively important" or "inherently unique," then I really don't feel like helping you.  The definitions are plainly comprehensible and I won't be wasting my time defining clearly comprehensible phrases.

 

(I will humor you this once: "Objectively important" (def) something that would be considered important based upon commonly held standards; commonly held standards, for the purpose of this definition, need only really be understood as a standard accepted by you and me, e.g., grammar is good cf. chocolate ice cream is good.

 

I present at least one standard by which "objective importance" might be agreed upon: (1) is it subjectively important? (2) does it harm others?)

 

If, instead, your argument is really a miscomprehension of the substance, then I will try to explain further.

 

(1) I never said your argument needed to be unique. 

 

"Uniqueness," I presumed, was only important with regard to any answer, i.e., that you would only be "satisfied" by an theistic answer, to the initial question, that entailed the loss of something "inherently unique" or "objectively important."

 

Quote:
You are right to say that the "comfort" derived from theistic faith can come from different perceptions, but I am also right to state that they are all facets of the overlying protectivism by which theism defines its focus.

Okay.

 

Quote:
Whether that feeling of protection is based on a belief that one's god proactively intervenes to that end or is simply based on the security of feeling that one is in a group defined by allegiance to that god is irrelevant in real terms.

Okay.

 

Quote:
Some even derive a sense of protection from the certainty that they are "right" based on a presumed validation of that feeling from a divine source. What matters is that one must shed that notion of being protected (regardless of whatever level of protection one had assumed) when one abandons theistic belief and embraces rational logic.

So.. what you're saying is that one must (1) abandon the "notion of comfort associated with theistic belief" when one (i) "abandons theistic belief" and (ii) "embraces rational logic"?

 

Of course one must abandon something entailed within a belief when one gives up that belief, it's stupid to consider anything other possible.  But why you feel it necessary make such a statement, I cannot understand.

 

Furthermore, your attachment of "embraces rational logic" is not a required element of the abandoning the "notion of comfort associated with theistic belief" (hereinafter referred to as ANC), even assuming arguendo that they are inconsistent with one another. So, unless you were meant to convey merely one replacement of a theistic belief that would involve the ANC, then I really don't know what is added by the "embraces rational logic."  

 

But, if you meant "embraces rational logic" is necessary part of the ANC, then you're logically incorrect.

 

If you meant it as merely one of a million possibilities, then your statement is as devoid of all import as if I had said within this conversation that "1 is equal to 1, or 0+1."

 

Quote:
But if I understand your final comments correctly (and they do not present themselves easily to such a presumption on my part) then you are saying that you think my original question presumed that whatever might be "lost" - should incontrovertible proof destroy the basis of one's religious faith - was of "positive value".

Okay.

 

The relevant portion of my final comments, however, was that your hypothetical did nothing to further the understanding of what should be considered "of positive value."

 

Instead I argued that your original question necessitated an answer that would be unsatisfactory to you because you are unwilling to accept the concept that a "loss of something subjectively important and subjectively unique" could be something that is itself "objectively important."

 

Quote:
I would suggest that this is a truism, though what is most important is not whether  that which was lost was of positive value, but that it was perceived as having that quality by the person who feels its loss.

Okay.

 

Quote:
That religion claims adherents in the numbers it does suggests that this is a given. However that does not mean their evaluation stands up to critical and logical scrutiny.

The evaluation of what? That the belief had positive value?

 

Positive value as defined as...?

 

As I stated at the end of my initial response, I believe it is defined as, for the purposes of our discussion, something beneficial to the person holding the belief and not harmful to another.

 

So what exactly is being evaluated?

 

Certainly not the subjective benefit.  As you stated, this is a given.

 

Then, the only thing that is relevant to any "evaluation of positive value" would be the harm created to others.  Present another definition of "positive value." If not, then I will assume you find mine acceptable.  And if mine is acceptable, then great.  

 

But how exactly does your initial question progress the understanding of whether the belief causes harm or not?

 

(Consequently, that is part of my initial argument.  That your hypothetical is "irrelevant" if you don't accept the possibility that "a belief with subjective importance and/or subjective uniqueness" can itself be "objective important," or "of positive value."  If you do accept that possibility, then your hypothetical is irrelevant because it doesn't entail any evaluation of "harm" created by the belief).

 

Quote:
So, in summary, I really can't see what your "analysis" has contributed here. It seems to me to be a mixture of stating the obvious, concurrence with my own stated hypothesis, and irrelevant and badly worded objections to it.

I would disagree with this conclusion.  Instead, I present a contrary conclusion, that you simply fail to understand my argument, not because of any shortcoming on its part but rather yours.

 

I don't mean to say that you have some intellectual shortcoming, merely that for some reason other than the clarity of my argument you failed to understand its import.

Quote:
But essentially we seem to agree about one thing - that abandoning blind belief for experiential logic involves some degree of a feeling of loss on the part of the person taking the step.

We do not agree that it is (1) blind belief or (2) not experiential logic.

 

You're right on at least one thing, we both do agree that it is "taking a step."

 

 

 


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Quote:I don't mean to say

Quote:

I don't mean to say that you have some intellectual shortcoming, merely that for some reason other than the clarity of my argument you failed to understand its import.

 

I must indeed come short intellectually, Rhad, since even the statement above is unclear to me. I am not sure either of us can decide the import of your argument, unless the definition of the word has been changed while I wasn't watching. Nor am I sure the points you choose to criticise really makes a crucial difference to the sense or purpose of my original question.

 

But thanks for your input all the same. I am sure if I understood all your points I might even find them interesting. However my question to theists still stands as I asked it, and I am still interested in all responses received.

 

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I think what he is saying is

I think what he is saying is the following: any answer you get will have one or both of the following properties...

1, something that isn't unique and can be gotten elsewhere (morals as an example)

2, something that isn't objectively important (the transsubstantiation of Christians as an example).  In other words, losing it isn't really a big deal if you don't believe in it

Thus, his conclusion is that the question is flawed because you he thinks there is not a "good" answer to the question that you will accept.  Which, I think, is your point.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: (I

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 (I copied my notepad writing into here.. and all my paragraphs breaks were gone.  I guess I've missed something since I've been gone.  Any help on creating paragraph breaks now? [/p] definitely doesn't work...) 

[ /p ] is not needed, using it might be what is causing the problem.

Simply compose your post in notepad and hit the enter key to create paragraphs

then copy and paste it into the comment window without any php codes

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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 Didn't work for me, but

 Didn't work for me, but thanks for at least attempting.  It might be because I'm using Google Chrome?  The whole copy and paste worked when I used Safari... weird stuff.


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Balkoth wrote:I think what

Balkoth wrote:

I think what he is saying is the following: any answer you get will have one or both of the following properties...

1, something that isn't unique and can be gotten elsewhere (morals as an example)

2, something that isn't objectively important (the transsubstantiation of Christians as an example).  In other words, losing it isn't really a big deal if you don't believe in it

Thus, his conclusion is that the question is flawed because you he thinks there is not a "good" answer to the question that you will accept.  Which, I think, is your point.

My point also being that if that is his point, then the same "point" can be made regardless of thing it is directed at.

For instance, my apple hypothetical.

(1) Something that isn't unique and can be gotten elsewhere (glucose molecules as an example)

(2) Something that isn't objectively important (the joy of eating an apple as an example).  In other words, losing it isn't really a big deal if you don't like apples.

So.. that's fine if that's his point, but what was really accomplished by making it?

I contended that perhaps the more relevant question is whether or not (2) is a correct framing of the issue.  I don't think he would find it problematic to say thier is "objective importance" in the joy people get from eating the foods they like; yet the same reasoning does not apply to the comfort people get from believing something they want to believe.

The counter, of course, is that the theistic belief may cause harm to others, even if it does bring comfort to the individual--unlike the apply scenario in which a person would be hard pressed to explain how the enjoyment of an apple would hurt someone else.  

Yet, whatever the case may be with regard to harm, the relevant inquiry is still whether or not "subjective importance" as a category can also constitute "objective importance" in some cases, more specifically in the case of theistic beliefs.


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Nordmann wrote:Quote:I don't

Nordmann wrote:

Quote:

I don't mean to say that you have some intellectual shortcoming, merely that for some reason other than the clarity of my argument you failed to understand its import.

 

I must indeed come short intellectually, Rhad, since even the statement above is unclear to me. I am not sure either of us can decide the import of your argument, unless the definition of the word has been changed while I wasn't watching. Nor am I sure the points you choose to criticise really makes a crucial difference to the sense or purpose of my original question.

 

But thanks for your input all the same. I am sure if I understood all your points I might even find them interesting. However my question to theists still stands as I asked it, and I am still interested in all responses received.

 

Then I guess a relevant question would be what is the sense or purpose of your original question? Because it certainly seems as though its purpose or sense is to discount the importance of subjective loss.

In any case, I'll restate what I think I would lose:

I would lose my belief as well as the corresponding comfort I gain in the belief which is derived from the understanding that, if true, despite thousands of years of history humanity will come to peace with itself.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: Didn't

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 Didn't work for me, but thanks for at least attempting.  It might be because I'm using Google Chrome?  The whole copy and paste worked when I used Safari... weird stuff.

Try the html version of paragraph i.e. <p> and </p>

maybe that will work

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 <p>Alright.. let's see if

Nope. Didn't work either.

Hmm.. one day I will figure it out.

Thanks again Aiia.


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Nordmann

Nordmann wrote:

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

But trying to answer anyway, I would miss the fact that there is no "universal constant" right and wrong. I would tend to say whatever I was doing was automatically right for me. How would I know if I was just ahead of my time or had my head up my ass.

JustAnotherBeliever, you give a more typical christian response in that you seem to equate standard moral arbitration with divine function rather than human. When exercised by a human, you suggest, it becomes individualistic. You will understand that I of course must disagree with that synopsis - given the evidence that diverse human experience has produced a standard set of moral principles which are pretty universal - but I would be interested in knowing why you think your moral character would actually alter should the universal moral principles attributed by you to your god be proven to your satisfaction to be humanly developed and maintained after all. It appears a tenuous and suspiciously weak argument for investing blind faith in a supreme being, and abandoning that stance, I would imagine, should serve to strengthen rather than diminish your moral resolve. But perhaps I'm mistaking your message?

I don't think my moral character would automatically alter right away. And I am not arguing that humans are not part of the loop in divine inspiration. But if there really is no moral standard, and I know that, how could that not affect my actions over time. We've just voted on what works up til now. Its free to change. But I can understand the idea that we shaped our own morals as a society.

There's the letter of the law and the "spirit" of the law. Why should I follow the spirit of the law if I'm smart enough to find loopholes or get away with as much as I can. Do those concepts even make sense if there is no God. If my motivation is to be self-righteous so I can brag to myself, what good is that either. Someone has to explain how there can be right and wrong with no universal standard. Just having the belief that there is a "right" thing to do makes me search for it.

But maybe I could be persuaded that if everyone just "believes" there is a standard, then that is enough for society to flourish even if there really is no standard.

 

 


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Quote:Why should I follow

Quote:

Why should I follow the spirit of the law if I'm smart enough to find loopholes or get away with as much as I can. Do those concepts even make sense if there is no God. If my motivation is to be self-righteous so I can brag to myself, what good is that either. Someone has to explain how there can be right and wrong with no universal standard. Just having the belief that there is a "right" thing to do makes me search for it.

 

The reason one follows the spirit of the law, even when one is capable of using loopholes to observe the law but defeat its intention, is the innate recognition that the meaning of the law has been decided mutually and therefore protects its observer on two levels - both in terms of the topic being legislated and on the broader level of socially applied contracts, something we all depend on to survive. In other words there is an acceptance on the part of the person observing the spirit of the law that there is a risk in participating in its circumvention. Incidentally this recognition applies also to those who employ loopholes - they do so in the knowledge that they are circumventing a mutually agreed convention. The only difference is that they are prepared to take that risk, even if they are not cogniscant of the full implications of the action or the responsibility they share in the eventual outcome of the act.

 

So yes, the concept makes total sense without any requirement for a god to be thrown into the equation.

 

In fact throwing "god" in acts as a serious flaw in many cases if, as your reasoning implies, god is the element in the equation without which compunction to do right or a standard of what is right cannot apply. If one thinks like this, and therefore diminishes the socially mutual origin of laws, the moral ethics undderlying them and the individual's role in maintaining them, then one creates the biggest loophole of all - the one whereby the religious person plays the "god card" and opts for a subjective ethic which is by definition partially or totally removed from the common social contract. In instances where the social contract currently being applied contains aberrational ethical standards this can be a good thing, but in the vast majority of cases no such aberration exists and the religious stance is a threat rather than a benefit to achieving a common good.

 

Your penultimate sentence above - "Someone has to explain how there can be right and wrong with no universal standard" - illustrates my point exactly. This is essentially a key area where the theist and the atheist part company in reasoning. In fact this declaration of what is "right and wrong" without reference to the actual machinery by which the concepts have been established, is the essential fallacy common to all religious codes and in fact could be described as religion's sole purpose. In such unilateral declarations of moral ethics religion places a false division between its adherents and the truth. The atheist, not subject to such intrusive and illogical obligations, is therefore freer to identify the truth behind how and why morals exist and one's true relationship to the process (which is incidentally a much more responsible and powerful one than many religions would have you believe).

 

Your last sentence - "Just having the belief that there is a "right" thing to do makes me search for it" - has really nothing to do with being religious or irreligious. It is a sentiment common to anyone who, in responding to social pressure to be "good", explores both the compunction and its source - even if, as religious people do all the time, they wrongly identify the latter.

 

An interesting area - thanks for bringing it up.

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JustAnotherBeliever wrote:I

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I don't think my moral character would automatically alter right away. And I am not arguing that humans are not part of the loop in divine inspiration. But if there really is no moral standard, and I know that, how could that not affect my actions over time. We've just voted on what works up til now. Its free to change. But I can understand the idea that we shaped our own morals as a society.

There's the letter of the law and the "spirit" of the law. Why should I follow the spirit of the law if I'm smart enough to find loopholes or get away with as much as I can. Do those concepts even make sense if there is no God. If my motivation is to be self-righteous so I can brag to myself, what good is that either. Someone has to explain how there can be right and wrong with no universal standard. Just having the belief that there is a "right" thing to do makes me search for it.

But maybe I could be persuaded that if everyone just "believes" there is a standard, then that is enough for society to flourish even if there really is no standard.

 

I think the sentiments you've expressed here are illustrative of how religion provides bad reasons for making moral judgments. Your reason for making moral judgments actually preclude consideration of any other reasons that may exist for making those judgments.

Consider a brutal case of child abuse. There are many things wrong with child abuse. It's malicious among other things. But your idea about god being the ultimate moral authority means that you can't recognize any of those reasons as important because the obvious implication is that if god didn't exist then child abuse wouldn't be wrong. However, even if god doesn't exist, child abuse is still malicious.

So instead of wondering how people can have morals at all without believing what you believe, maybe you should acknowledge it is your own failing that you don't regard malice as being wrong.

 

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That's a good point,

That's a good point, Gauche.

 

The crux of the religious person's dilemma (whether he or she knows they have one or not) is that extra layer of validation they feel they must secure before committing themselves morally. On the surface it seems a good thing to do in that it forces the adherent to recognise a moral standard which can run quite contrary to their own, and religions elevate this misconception to a virtue in itself, but in reality it is at best superfluous and at worst an avenue left open for manipulation of the individual's sense of ethics by others - an opportunity which is used rarely for reasons of exalting the target to higher moral standards but more normally for alterior motives which can be very nasty indeed.

 

To the religious adherent this manipulation is almost invisible since of course both it and their own predisposition to invite it are based on the concept that morals are not entirely of human, natural devisement but are something over which an invisible and powerful arbiter resides. Hence JustAnotherBeliever's tortuous logic in attempting to distinguish between the two ideas. When one understands that one of these ideas is actually a simple fact of nature and the other an invention based on no factual input then the dilemma disappears.

 

But of course so too then must the religion disappear.

 

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Gauche

Gauche wrote:

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I don't think my moral character would automatically alter right away. And I am not arguing that humans are not part of the loop in divine inspiration. But if there really is no moral standard, and I know that, how could that not affect my actions over time. We've just voted on what works up til now. Its free to change. But I can understand the idea that we shaped our own morals as a society.

There's the letter of the law and the "spirit" of the law. Why should I follow the spirit of the law if I'm smart enough to find loopholes or get away with as much as I can. Do those concepts even make sense if there is no God. If my motivation is to be self-righteous so I can brag to myself, what good is that either. Someone has to explain how there can be right and wrong with no universal standard. Just having the belief that there is a "right" thing to do makes me search for it.

But maybe I could be persuaded that if everyone just "believes" there is a standard, then that is enough for society to flourish even if there really is no standard.

 

I think the sentiments you've expressed here are illustrative of how religion provides bad reasons for making moral judgments. Your reason for making moral judgments actually preclude consideration of any other reasons that may exist for making those judgments.

Consider a brutal case of child abuse. There are many things wrong with child abuse. It's malicious among other things. But your idea about god being the ultimate moral authority means that you can't recognize any of those reasons as important because the obvious implication is that if god didn't exist then child abuse wouldn't be wrong. However, even if god doesn't exist, child abuse is still malicious.

So instead of wondering how people can have morals at all without believing what you believe, maybe you should acknowledge it is your own failing that you don't regard malice as being wrong.

 

I never said right and wrong is because God made it that way. I get that that is a meaningless statement. Still not sure how you think I think child abuse isnt wrong. All youre saying is there are universal standards and no God. There have to be rational reasons for standards. Youre saying people can believe in standards without believing in God. I am saying they are equivalent.

God is not a thing. He does not exist in any of the standard ways we talk about existing. Our way of communicating standards is to say "God wants x" but its just a convention. God doesnt think or want or decide or change his mind. Those are just human conventions to be able to talk to each other. God is a way of looking at coincidences to ascribe meaning. (But I still believe the apostle Pauls experiences. Cant really explain why he had them or what they mean. I've had my own God experiences.)


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JustAnotherBeliever wrote:I

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:
I never said right and wrong is because God made it that way. I get that that is a meaningless statement. Still not sure how you think I think child abuse isnt wrong. All youre saying is there are universal standards and no God. There have to be rational reasons for standards. Youre saying people can believe in standards without believing in God. I am saying they are equivalent.


Just to clarify, I was not insinuating that you think child abuse is right. I chose the example of child abuse because I was fairly certain that most anyone would consider it to be wrong. Furthermore, I'm not saying that there are universal standards and no gods. I don't know if there are universal standards or gods and frankly since both of those claims have no evidence whatsoever in their favour I'm perfectly willing to dismiss both outright as arbitrary.
 
There are reasons to think that something may be right or wrong, some of which are dependent on the concept of god and some which are not. Even if you acknowledge that fact, you need to know that your statements heretofore do not reflect acceptance of that fact. What your statements reveal is very much to the contrary. Otherwise, how is one to interpret this?

Quote:

But if there really is no moral standard, and I know that, how could that not affect my actions over time.[sic]


If you accept that there are reasons to have moral standards that have nothing to do with god's existence then why would god's non-existence mean that "there really is no moral standard"?

What I'm saying is that religion provides bad reasons for making a value judgement because it includes the caveat (which you apparently accept) that all other reasons for making that judgement are merely excuses.
 

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 You said before "Consider

 

You said before "Consider a brutal case of child abuse. There are many things wrong with child abuse. It's malicious among other things. But your idea about god being the ultimate moral authority means that you can't recognize any of those reasons as important because the obvious implication is that if god didn't exist then child abuse wouldn't be wrong. However, even if god doesn't exist, child abuse is still malicious."

I think youre saying that again in the last post but I still don't get it. If God does not exist which I interpret as there is no universal standard then I have to admit the possibility that even though I dont like child abuse, there may be a place and a reason that its the right thing to do for that person. Even though I still think its malicious. And I can't imagine that reason. Besides saying its against our current law and I dont like it what can I say to an abuser. What if society votes to marry again at age 10 someday. But I believe there is a universal standard, although debatable exactly what the age is but 10 is below that cutoff.

You would probably agree with that so what are we really arguing about. Without the idea that there is a cutoff, there is nothing from society slowly moving it to 10 over time. There is the idea of a standard, which seems to be universal.

So there is the idea of a standard and there is the debating you are talking about, about what exactly the standard should be. We need both.


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JustAnotherBeliever wrote:I

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I think youre saying that again in the last post but I still don't get it. If God does not exist which I interpret as there is no universal standard then I have to admit the possibility that even though I dont like child abuse, there may be a place and a reason that its the right thing to do for that person. Even though I still think its malicious. And I can't imagine that reason.

You have to admit that anyway. If god came down from heaven and told you to murder a child wouldn't you do it? If you say "yes"  then you're in exactly the same position as someone with no "universal standard". If you say "no" then what could you possibly be basing your standard on if not the idea that god is always right?

That's the problem with absolutes it always leads to some contradiction. But I'm starting to derail this thread so I won't continue this here.

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Nordmann wrote:Christos, you

Nordmann wrote:

Christos, you admit that you do not require belief in a deity to continue living a highly principled lifestyle. I agree with that sentiment of course, but you can understand that it simply begs a question then about what you would actually "lose" or "miss" should you take such a step.

I'm not sure what I would lose. I might lose the hope somehow people who have suffered will be rectified. I don't believe in traditional concepts of Heaven and Hell, but I certainly hope that people who live life in the face of poverty and injustice will somehow be rewarded. Probably isn't going to happen, but I still hope it will.

And although we agree that we don't require belief in a deity to live a moral life, I think that Nietzsche would disagree with us. Kant held that we need God to exist for morality to be a rational enterrpise. Without God and a final judgement, Kant thought morality wasn't rational or necessary. Nietzche essentially takes Kant's view, but deletes the beleif in God. Thus for Nietzsche, we don't need to be moral because there is no higher standard for morality. What do you think? Just playing devil's advocate here.

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (CS Lewis)

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It's rather a slight

It's rather a slight derailment as the issue touches on one of the aspects to religionism that my original question was hoping to shed some light on in its answering by theists.

 

JustAnotherBeliever's definition of "god" as stated above is one which in fact marks him out as a rather non-fundamentalist theist in that he refuses to allow his god to be defined using any descriptive phrase which would limit it to a quasi-human entity, dismissing attempts to do so as mere convention which do not convey the true character of the subject. He retains the right however, having established the entity's vagueness, to then ascribe it - albeit indirectly - the ability to exercise a most unvague and real effect which, he claims, both he and St Paul can vouch for through personal experience.

 

This tendency to vacillate between abstract and concrete in describing what one knows about a subject is one to which we can all relate having been there ourselves on occasion, though most of us experience the need more usually when in the early stages of comprehension of a fact, especially a complex one requiring some study to appreciate. The big difference between that and the religionist's stance however is whereas I would experience this as an uncomfortable and hopefully transient limitation on the way to acquiring enough knowledge about the subject to avoid having to do so again, the religionist however actually stops at that point, declaring his ignorance of how better to express what he means as proof of the superlative nature of the subject matter.

 

"God exists because it defies description" is the mantra - a phrase so contemptuous of logic that it ranks with any of the worst excesses of arrogant anti-intellectual assertions the fundamentalist might throw out.

 

When I asked that theists explain what it might be about theism they would miss should they be shown through incontrovertible proof that it is a fallacy, I was also wondering if the freedom to stop in that transient state of comprehension might be one of them. Speaking as someone who would often have loved to spare himself the exertion of completing his study of a particularly esoteric subject and just declaring the bit unknown to me "a mystery" I must admit a slight envy for those who do so without shame and in fact extol it as a virtue. But to do that is to insult oneself, at least in my book, and I personally would not want to subscribe to a practise where such insults to one's own intelligence abound.

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Hi Christos - you posted as

Hi Christos - you posted as I was answering the post just before you.

 

The notion that god is required in order to validate and add a rationale to what is happening anyway is one attractive only to a person who willingly entertains the need to believe in a god. If your summation of Kant's view is accurate then Kant is simply trying to state a "proof" for god but (as usual with such attempts) bases it on a false assumption - in this case namely that people have only developed a notion of morality and a compunction to abide by such codes through religious means. It is a limited and essentially wrong view of human history and social mechanics, and is therefore meaningless as a "proof" of anything, or even as a logical statement.

 

Nietzche's views on morality are often misrepresented or misunderstood. While he often questioned the need to behave ethically he did so to demonstrate that we still do, despite the lack of obvious logic to it. He favoured a nihilistic definition for man's true state but spent considerable ink and effort in examining why the evidence of history suggests that this is not the complete truth.

 

I imagine what both men were missing in their philosophical theses was a proper understanding and appreciation of the true breadth in the dynamics of social interchange. They both, for different reasons, held rather a blinkered view of this side of human existence and tended to woefully underestimate the amount of diversity human existence as a progressive evolutionary process has engendered, has harnessed as a regenerative force, and ultimately rewards.

 

On the subject of what you would miss - it is natural to empathise with others and for that empathy to be expressed in a manner such as yours, translated into a hope for justice and/or reward which logically requires belief in an "afterlife" to be realised. But I would suggest that this is in fact a very small thing to lose and need not be missed at all, at least as long as the same empathy drives one to do what one can to ensure that there is a better chance such justice and/or reward can be meted out while the person is still alive to benefit from it. 

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Gauche

Gauche wrote:

JustAnotherBeliever wrote:

I think youre saying that again in the last post but I still don't get it. If God does not exist which I interpret as there is no universal standard then I have to admit the possibility that even though I dont like child abuse, there may be a place and a reason that its the right thing to do for that person. Even though I still think its malicious. And I can't imagine that reason.

You have to admit that anyway. If god came down from heaven and told you to murder a child wouldn't you do it? If you say "yes"  then you're in exactly the same position as someone with no "universal standard". If you say "no" then what could you possibly be basing your standard on if not the idea that god is always right?

That's the problem with absolutes it always leads to some contradiction. But I'm starting to derail this thread so I won't continue this here.

I still don't understand this parable. I read hambys article on it but I still dont get it. In the bible which I take as parable, God asks Abe to kill a child but then stops it. Is there a just war where its alright for children to get killed? Sounds like even if the war is just, children should not be killed. What if its damien, the antichrist? I dont know. Maybe, at least in movies it seems like a good idea. What about death penalty for kids under 18. I think 11 year olds can be ruthless killers after a few years in street gangs. Execution is not murder anyway because it is not illegal killing. So what is the question? Its like saying if 2+2 = 5 then you're an idiot for trusting addition. Ok. Thats true, but with everything I believe, 2+2 =4. I think I need that question rephrased. Maybe you cant point me to another OP which Im sure is already argued in the past on several occasions.


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aiia wrote:RhadTheGizmo

aiia wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 Didn't work for me, but thanks for at least attempting.  It might be because I'm using Google Chrome?  The whole copy and paste worked when I used Safari... weird stuff.

Try the html version of paragraph i.e. <p> and </p>

maybe that will work

If you plan on using HTML tags make sure you put them in the source. There's a button on the top right labeled source. Click it to view and/or edit the source. HTML will only work in the source. Other than that you'll have to use the forums defined tags. I'm not familiar with them as I use the HTML tags. One of the mods may have a list.

 

P.S. Source....

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butterbattle wrote:I can't

butterbattle wrote:

I can't imagine a better way to express this, so I'll just say that I really don't care what worldview would emotionally entice a person enough to buy it or what kind of personal situation would swindle a person into accepting a false, but comfortable worldview.

I doubt anyone here could demonstrate that my worldview is false, anymore so than they could demonstrate that their's is true. So let's not make nitwitted assumptions, of what you imagine my worldview to be. 

My worldview is far from comfortable, if i sought that sort of comfort,  humanism would sure knows how to coddle me, with that feel good pat yourself on the back sort of feeling prominent atheist such as Richard Dawkins and the like, prefer to peddle. If I sought a comfortable worldview I'd only have to accept yours. And if I sought a false one, there's plenty of false perspectives sold here as supposedly true. 

Quote:
By direct observation and by definition, we don't need God for love, hope, compassion, honesty, or anything of the sort.

Well, if you read what I wrote, you would have understand this is not what I said. I never said that I needed a belief in God for love, in that i'd still love my mother and sister without God, but a belief in Love is needed for extents of love. To believe in such a statement as "Love conquers All" requires faith, and can only believed in a religious sense, or a cheap religious sense that masquerades itself as secular.

Only the religious sense can I preserve the belief in love for my enemies, or even love for mankind, rather than just for my beloved kin. The reason for this loss, is that with a religious sense of love, I can't have faith in love, in a faith in loves eventual triumph, even in the face of all odds.

This is vital center of my worldview is lost, in that I would not longer be able believe that love will triumph in the end, in fact I may often see love in it's extension as a failure. The ideal example of love, whether i be a believer of not, is Jesus Christ, and look were he ended up? on a humiliating, and miserable cross.

The notion is somewhat similar to a team that knows it's going to lose, with very little hope of winning, what's lost is their sense of motivation, and a sense of not caring becomes prevalent. 

Without God, the christian sense of Agape Love, a real and concrete Love that remains even in the face of suffering and death, that's grounding for my hopes, and joys, becomes a pipe dream, incapable of comforting, because it could no longer believed to be real.

It's not as if I desire for my indifference to prevail, but i don't raise the falsity of our human condition, as our typical atheist does, in a sense that our feelings are governed by our rational sensibilities, and that what i feel, is what I decide to feel, as if I can decide if should love or be indifferent, as if I were deciding if i'd like tea in the afternoon. 

Without God, love loses its power to be the orienting point of our worldview, and without this indifference rears its head. Godless ideals may attempt to rise and takes it's place, but thinking men would realize it's a load of crock, much harder to swallow than those now dismissed religious myths. 

Even if we look at the world, when we perceive suffering and oppressed communities, where love for one another becomes a necessity, atheism rarely exist. In fact, where atheism abounds is among the well-off, the most prosperous regions of the world, where love for one's neighbor is a luxury rather than a necessity. 



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Butterbattle, your synopsis

Theacrobat, your synopsis is well presented and your own obviously altruistic and laudable principles are eminently obvious from what you say. I would humbly suggest however that this whole "love" issue, at least as you define it, is a bit of a blind.

 

Religion, even christian ones which purport to share your sentiments as founding and abiding principles of their various forms of observance, has tended in the past to employ such terms in a manner which - to me - contains an assumption which is at the same time hypocritical and egregious. That assumption is that the ability to see the sense in extending trust and friendship to one's most implacable foe is restricted to those who most completely live up to the "ideal" attributed to one of the religion's gods (incidentally in terms of character christianity officially presents two, if not three, gods and in its observance its followers ascribe even more often contradictory characteristics to these deities).

 

Of course this is sheer nonsense. Norway for example - one of those countries I assume you would include amongst the more prosperous regions, and one where atheism most deinitely prevails -, has a proud record of humanitarian effort far exceeding that of much larger, ostensibly christian countries. It is at its most obvious in its committment to foreign aid and conflict resolution on the international stage, but a visitor to Norway can see how the energy to sustain such a huge and benign committment originates from within the society itself, how its members interact, and most importantly the values they esteem. And nor is the Norwegian example a unique one. If you look throughout history at the reforms which gradually hauled global human society out of the petty tit-for-tat squabbles which ensured greater conflict and those inhumane values which allowed ruthless exploitation and disregard for human life to flourish, you find that many of the greatest leaps along the way were made by people for whom religion played no important role at all, but for whom the principles you endorse were equally dear.

 

So your synopsis, good and all as it is in describing your own personal take on morality, does not even begin to address the general truth of the matter. If all christians, for example, practised what you yourself have decided is the crux of what their religion preaches, then indeed you would have made a great point regarding what a tug it would be to lose "god" as the focus for non-committal "love".

 

I would suggest however that "god" is a lousy prism for such a focus. Humanitarian principles which, despite being under constant duress and threat manage to shine throughout history, have won the day sufficiently to at least allow us to measure a progress - however incomplete that progress sadly is. They represent therefore a much better lens to achieve that focus you require. Such a lens at least is factual and honest and exposes the frailties, failures and mistakes along the way - a much better lesson to the rest of us who would not want to meet the same failures in promoting a benign approach to emnity-engendered hatreds. The christian ethic proposes the ideal without going much further. The historical application of that ideal predates and transcends christianity's limited advice on the matter and is eminently more useful in its propagation, not least because in appreciating this application one can readily see that it is no way the easy option you claim prominent atheists declare it to be (I disagree strongly, by the way, that they do).

 

I appreciate therefore what you mean by your remarks, but I still think whatever sense of loss you might experience should theism be exposed as a fallacy would be way offset by the realisation that the very thing you place most value on from within its ideology persists regardless, and in fact persists best when it is not needlessly complicated by christianity's proprietorial assumptions.

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Nordmann wrote:If you look

Nordmann wrote:
If you look throughout history at the reforms which gradually hauled global human society out of the petty tit-for-tat squabbles which ensured greater conflict and those inhumane values which allowed ruthless exploitation and disregard for human life to flourish, you find that many of the greatest leaps along the way were 

made by people for whom religion played no important role at all, but for whom the principles you endorse were equally dear.

 

I know of no atheist "prophets" of moral reform, no Rev. Kings, no Oscar Romeros, no Isaiahs, or Micahs voice among Atheist that endear men to their guilt for inaction, and brought them to their knees to act. Moral reform, the progression of mans morality is a confrontation between guilt, love, and forgiveness, and in this arena there are no poignant voices among atheist. 

 

There are those who followed in such movement, but no leaders, or piercing voices. 

 

The reasons for this, contrary to what you claimed, is that religion, as the only spectrum of any spiritual assent can ever be made, is the only language such movements can ever succeed in, in that it takes faith in a life far more than a godless one, but one endowed with meaning and purpose, from the promise land of Rev. King, to the Divine Provide of Declaration of Independence. To speak of life with such poetic, and empowering meaning can only be religious. 

 

Nordmann wrote:
Of course this is sheer nonsense. Norway for example - one of those countries I assume you would include amongst the more prosperous regions, and one where atheism most definitely prevails-, has a proud record of humanitarian effort far exceeding that of much larger, ostensibly christian countries. It is at its most obvious in its commitment to foreign aid and conflict resolution on the international stage, but a visitor to Norway can see how the energy to sustain such a huge and benign commitment originates from within the society itself, how its members interact, and most importantly the values they esteem. And nor is the Norwegian example a unique one.
 

 

Notice in my previous post I wrote of morality as a luxury, and morality as a necessity. Morality as a necessity, is being moral even with consequences, is to stand for love even if it means being strung up on a cross. Morality as luxury, is morality as what our biggest corporations afford. You don't find love for mankind in Norway, you get trumpets that sound it, acts that seem like it, but the sense of love is non-existent. Its like a slave owner who frees his slaves, because he sees it's no longer economically feasible to maintain them, not out of a guilt and compassion for them, but yet fools himself into believing afterwards that he did so out of dignity for men. 

 

What one finds in Denmark are non-emotive, indifferent, yet  people who imagine themselves to be moral creatures, yet rarely face those moral dilemmas, that proves themselves as such. It's easy for a prosperous man to never have to steal bread for his neighbor, it's not as easy for a poor man. Travel to a poor country, and you find love, travel to Norway, and we find robots. 

Any individual here who promotes a prosperous nation as the ideal of morality, are those who believe in a joke, like saying the upper class are the ideals of morality, because their crime rates are lower than the poor. 

We understand those we raise as ideals, like our Oscar Romero's and Rev. Kings not because of their bells and whistles, but because of the sacrifices they willing made for love, even when it was their own lives. An ideal for morality, is a witness of love in consequences. The Christian Ideal, is Jesus Christ, raised as God himself, willing to die for love of all, from those who nailed him, to those that brought water to his lips. Norway, which you raise is not an ideal, it's a fickle delusion.

Quote:
I would suggest however that "god" is a lousy prism for such a focus. Humanitarian principles which, despite being under constant duress and threat manage to shine throughout history, have won the day sufficiently to at least allow us to measure a progress - however incomplete that progress sadly is.[...]That assumption is that the ability to see the sense in extending trust and friendship to one's most implacable foe is restricted to those who most completely live up to the "ideal" attributed to one of the religion's gods
 

Well, i suggest you read some of the substantial works of human psychology, Erich Fromm might be a good start for you. Man needs ideals, an object  of deviation to orient our worldview. The dichotomy of our self-awareness, and our instinctual nature are dependent on it, without suchwe are confused and unable to act purposely and consistently.

In the Christian worldview that ideal is not a vague God, but a concrete one, Jesus Christ, as God in flesh and bones, as the embodiment of Love as John claims. I know of none as Dostoesky would claim, more beautiful or perfect than him. You raise norway as an ideal, I raise Jesus Christ. 

The assumption is that the ability to see the sense in extending trust and friendship to one's most implacable foe is restricted to those who raise as their ideal, the one who is raised to the status of God, Jesus Christ. 

The Christian Gospel is the narrative of this Love, and to believe in this sense of love that triumphs even the cross, is to have faith in Jesus Christ. 

And lives that live with sense of Love as their orienting point, that act purposely and consistently with it, can only be religious. 

Quote:
If all christians, for example, practiced what you yourself have decided is the crux of what their religion preaches, then indeed you would have made a great point regarding what a tug it would be to lose "god" as the focus for non-committal "love".

I never said I was speaking for all Christians, seeing as how it is that there are different reasons why individuals see themselves as Christian to begin with, why they hold on to the Christian faith. Some may to do say to preserve their social structure, and ties, some may be nominally only because they born as such, and choose to preserve their religion, as they would their culture.

I can only speak for those who are like me, who have come to faith, not by any of these things, but as witnesses to the testament of Love, found in Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

 

 

 

 


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theacrobat wrote:So let's

theacrobat wrote:
So let's not make nitwitted assumptions, of what you imagine my worldview to be.

Fair enough.

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Well, if you read what I wrote, you would have understand this is not what I said. I never said that I needed a belief in God for love, in that i'd still love my mother and sister without God, but a belief in Love is needed for extents of love.

Okay.

Quote:
My worldview is far from comfortable, if i sought that sort of comfort, humanism would sure knows how to coddle me, with that feel good pat yourself on the back sort of feeling prominent atheist such as Richard Dawkins and the like, prefer to peddle. If I sought a comfortable worldview I'd only have to accept yours. And if I sought a false one, there's plenty of false perspectives sold here as supposedly true.

Quote:
Without God, the christian sense of Agape Love, a real and concrete Love that remains even in the face of suffering and death, that's grounding for my hopes, and joys, becomes a pipe dream, incapable of comforting, because it could no longer believed to be real.

You claim that if you desired comfort, "humanism would sure knows how to coddle" you, but in the same post, you portray a strong support for the theistic worldview for its "Agape Love" and that if it was lost, then this "real and concrete Love" would become a pipe dream. How is this not the epitome of strengthening a worldview based on comfort? This "Love" that you speak of neither makes the worldview more likely to be accurate nor morally superior unless it is presupposed, for if God is invented, then you can choose any reason you want to Love, since, obviously, this would have been the source in the first place. So, individually, comfort is exactly what you lose, and the only thing you would lose if God didn't exist, comfort in clinging to those very hopes, joys, and dreams that you noted.  

Quote:
Even if we look at the world, when we perceive suffering and oppressed communities, where love for one another becomes a necessity, atheism rarely exist.

Perhaps, but I would argue for the opposite chain of causality. Why, in suffering and oppressed communities, do you say that there is a necessity for love? Well, it's because there's a lack of love, for it follows that if everyone actually loved each other, then there would be virtually no suffering and oppression. Conversely, if few people loved each other, then there would be more suffering and oppression. Do you not see that the love that you speak of is necessarily tied to the suffering and oppressed communities that you speak of?

Quote:
In fact, where atheism abounds is among the well-off, the most prosperous regions of the world, where love for one's neighbor is a luxury rather than a necessity.

Is this is a cycle, where necessity produces theism and luxury produces atheism while atheism produces necessity and theism produces luxury? Or more of a balance, where atheism produce luxury, which is why prosperous nations are secular, and theism produces necessity, which is why poor nations are religious? You know which one makes more sense to me.

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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theacrobat wrote:I know of

theacrobat wrote:
I know of no atheist "prophets" of moral reform, no Rev. Kings, no Oscar Romeros, no Isaiahs, or Micahs voice among Atheist that endear men to their guilt for inaction, and brought them to their knees to act. Moral reform, the progression of mans morality is a confrontation between guilt, love, and forgiveness, and in this arena there are no poignant voices among atheist.

It has only been in very recent times (in the US at least) that an atheist could declare his atheism without being shunned for it. It is still a problem today.

So, it is no surprise that you don't find many outspoken atheists for moral reform. However, deists like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abe Lincoln were as close to atheists as you could find at the time. If it weren't for religious oppression, at least Thomas Paine, and likely more, would have been an out atheist. And he was one of the most vocal of the bunch for moral reform.

As for those who are for moral reform who do not mention religion to do so, there are many: Florence Nightingale, Pierre Trudeau, Jane Goodall, countless secular charities such as the Red Cross and the Peace Corps, just about every modern politician outside the US, most modern activists, etc.

As for out and out atheists: Carl Sagan, Noam Chomsky, Christopher Reeve, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Susan B. Anthony, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, James Randi, Mark Twain, and the list goes on.

Quote:
There are those who followed in such movement, but no leaders, or piercing voices.

If Richard Dawkins wasn't a piercing voice of moral reform who happens to be an atheist, would you even be visiting this site?

(Cue the theist sour-grapes. Now he's going to denigrate all these voices for moral reform, because they don't fit into his mold of 'morality'.)

Quote:
The reasons for this, contrary to what you claimed, is that religion, as the only spectrum of any spiritual assent can ever be made, is the only language such movements can ever succeed in,

The atheist movement is growing and growing. Your declaration of its death is a denial of reality. But then, you're a theist, so you're used to denying reality.

Quote:
To speak of life with such poetic, and empowering meaning can only be religious.

Bullshit. Carl Sagan, George Carlin, Douglas Adams, and Salman Rushdie all put that lie to rest.

Quote:
Notice in my previous post I wrote of morality as a luxury, and morality as a necessity. Morality as a necessity, is being moral even with consequences, is to stand for love even if it means being strung up on a cross. Morality as luxury, is morality as what our biggest corporations afford. You don't find love for mankind in Norway, you get trumpets that sound it, acts that seem like it, but the sense of love is non-existent.

Sanctimonious bullshit. Who are you to say there's no love of humanity in Norway? While you show no love for Norwegians. What a hypocrite!

Quote:
What one finds in Denmark are non-emotive, indifferent, yet  people who imagine themselves to be moral creatures, yet rarely face those moral dilemmas, that proves themselves as such. It's easy for a prosperous man to never have to steal bread for his neighbor, it's not as easy for a poor man. Travel to a poor country, and you find love, travel to Norway, and we find robots.

Yes, my Norwegian friend will be happy to hear that a Christian robot has called him a robot.

You've got it backwards. Those who live in moral countries live prosperous and healthy lives. Those who live in religiously intolerant countries end up poor and oppressed. The US is no exception. Of the western nations, it is the most religious, and also the one plagued by the most crime, the most poverty, the most sexually transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, and divorce. Etc. etc.

The only reason you find so many religious activists in recent US history is because the religion that they are part of has kept them oppressed for so long. They are only now learning to fight against religion itself. Maybe in a couple decades the fight will be won, the US will become more moral, and there will no longer be so many activists for morality, since the largest source of immorality, religion, will finally have been neutralized.

Quote:
Any individual here who promotes a prosperous nation as the ideal of morality, are those who believe in a joke, like saying the upper class are the ideals of morality, because their crime rates are lower than the poor.

Again, backwards. Why is it you always find highly religious countries are crowded with the poor and oppressed? Your 'morality' is the joke here.

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The total crimes per captia

The total crimes per captia for Norway is 71.8639 per 1,000 people

 

The total crime rate per capita for America is 80.0645 per 1,000 people

 

Not that much higher considering the massive difference in religon.

 

Oh and for the record The crime rate for Poland is 32.8573 per 1,000 people way lower than Norway

 

 

Where as 80% of Poles believe in God according to the Eurobarometer Poll in 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 


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Getting this thread back on

Getting this thread back on the rails again -

 

Theacrobat's rather loose and badly researched assertions regarding Norwegian "robots" and what motivates high-profile campaigners for civic justice were an attempt by him to justify his earlier assertion regarding what he would miss should his theistic stance be proven invalid. He is trying to infer that a morality predicated on believing that a person called Jesus was also a god is a more meaningful justification, at least to him, than any other basis for trying to do right. That facts have to be manipulated and misrepresented in order to support this idea of course simply highlights the problem every theist must face when attempting to explain innate morality in religious terms.

 

The truth is that christianity does not teach such ideals, at least not in isolation. And the further assertion that it is only through a religious committment to such ideals that any advance is made in matters of social justice is of course egregious in the extreme. Even the notion that social change for the better happens only when it is fronted by an eloquent spokesman is so obviously contradicted by history that it tends to invalidate every point made thereafter.

 

But that he feels he has to resort to such wild assertions simply reinforces my own understanding that religious adherents will always tend to subvert reality at every turn, simply in order to preserve the existence of their particular "faith". What theacrobat claims he would miss is actually something that does not really exist, however committed he is to te notion that it must because he thinks it. While the tenor of his last contribution might raise a few eyebrows with regard to just how much "love" for his enemies he is truly willing to extend, his motivation to do just that is one which he shares with many more of his fellow humans than he seems to realise, and for reasons which transcend the narrow interpretation placed on that motive by religion.

 

He's at once a better and more average person than he knows, in other words, but it would take ditching his misplaced faith for him to realise it. Here in Norway, amongst us "robots", we know that.

 

PS: Norwegian propensity to altruism, just like its atheism, is born out of an historically lengthy period of often abject poverty (wealth only came to Norway in the 1980s) coupled with a healthy dose of realism engendered by its political unwillingness to kowtow to aggressive neighbours who controlled it for centuries, or for that matter kowtow to a state religion which attempted to extract tithes and obligations from what it thought was a captive clientele without giving anything in return except the advice that they should be happy with their impoverished lot. It is most definitely not a "luxury" enjoyed by privileged people. It is in essence an extension of its people's practicality and an aspect to the country's character which its people are rightly proud of since they know how long it took to be in a position to be altruistic in a meaningful and practical way.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:The

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

The total crimes per captia for Norway is 71.8639 per 1,000 people

 

The total crime rate per capita for America is 80.0645 per 1,000 people

 

Not that much higher considering the massive difference in religon.

 

Oh and for the record The crime rate for Poland is 32.8573 per 1,000 people way lower than Norway

 

 

Where as 80% of Poles believe in God according to the Eurobarometer Poll in 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Isn't that comparing violent crime to non-violent crime though? That's like saying the shoplifting rate in Orange county is the same as the murder rate in Mexico city, so people in Orange county must be as unscrupulous as people in Mexico city.

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natural wrote: As for those

natural wrote:

As for those who are for moral reform who do not mention religion to do so, there are many: Florence Nightingale, Pierre Trudeau, Jane Goodall, countless secular charities such as the Red Cross and the Peace Corps, just about every modern politician outside the US, most modern activists, etc.

As for out and out atheists: Carl Sagan, Noam Chomsky, Christopher Reeve, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Susan B. Anthony, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, James Randi, Mark Twain, and the list goes on.

...

If Richard Dawkins wasn't a piercing voice of moral reform who happens to be an atheist, would you even be visiting this site?

...

The atheist movement is growing and growing. Your declaration of its death is a denial of reality. But then, you're a theist, so you're used to denying reality.

...

Bullshit. Carl Sagan, George Carlin, Douglas Adams, and Salman Rushdie all put that lie to rest.

...

Sanctimonious bullshit. Who are you to say there's no love of humanity in Norway? While you show no love for Norwegians. What a hypocrite!

Damn... Way to stick it to 'em.

I think he calls himself theacrobat because of all the mental acrobatics he has to do to evade the truth.

After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.

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Hi Gauche - it might be a

Hi Gauche - it might be a bit gauche of me but there is another thread already up and running discussing comparative international crime statistics - as Pineapple should know since she contributed to it. I'd prefer to keep this one on topic if it's ok with you and the Ananas Comosus. I smell derailment.

 

Hi Spike - a lot of those intellective gymnastics and tortuous abuses of semantics are designed, whether the theist realises it or not, simply in the hope of arriving at an irrefutable declaration in support of religious belief and preferably one which can not be gainsaid by the application of logic. This approach produces two quite typical results in the main; edicts (thou shalt not contradict me, I'm a believer) and blatant casuistry (my presumptions feel as much like facts to me as your facts feel like facts to you so of course they're logical, whereas yours aren't). But for all the contortions of language and logic the inescapable fact is that the religionist holds dearest a subjective opinion which does not bear up to scrutiny when presented as fact, and the subjective satisfaction derived from this is confused with universal principle as a matter of course (sometimes intentionally).

 

However I am quite charitable to those who employ this approach - at least they are thinking, even if their particular education has not equipped them enough to recognise specious deduction. Where the solution to a person's problem is further education there is no point in chasing students away with invective.

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 All right, all right, I

 

All right, all right, I apologise... I'm really really sorry, I apologise unreservedly...I do, I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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Thanks mate, I knew you'd

Thanks mate, I knew you'd understand and not be one of those people who overreacts to the slightest admonition.

I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy


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Nordmann wrote:Hi Spike - a

Nordmann wrote:

Hi Spike - a lot of those intellect gymnastics and tortuous abuses of semantics are designed, whether the theist realizes it or not, simply in the hope of arriving at an irrefutable declaration in support of religious belief and preferably one which can not be gainsaid by the application of logic.

Please, first of all I have not advocated theism, in fact my thoughts on the subject, are far more influenced from reading works of such persons as Erich Fromm, a humanist psychoanalyst, and atheist philosophers such as John N. Gray, than theistic thinkers.  In fact I would just as easily make similar arguments if I was an atheist, just as such persons have. If anyone should be accused of a bias, it should be you, since you continually seem stuck on this notion that the theist argument is one based on theistic bias, rather than understanding the real culprit is your atheistic  bias, that likes to believe that all theist arguments are drowned in the individuals theism, even when far from the case.

Regardless if my ideas, or arguments are wrong, it would take a real nitwit to claim, that my arguments are wrong exactly because I'm a theist, in fact I have plenty of writings were I argued similarly when i was a disbeliever. 

Notice we haven't argued the truth of the statement that I hold dearest "Love conquers all", in fact the arguments have gone about claiming that plenty of atheist go about believing the statement as well, though in reality a belief in such is no less silly than a belief that an intelligent hand tinkered with genetic mutations to get us here. In fact my own religious beliefs have not been argued at all, in fact they seem more to be encouraged, even if it's by a lack of contemplation, by the naivety of such individuals who present Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Ben Franklin, as pretty much atheist, even though they didn't go by the name, claiming that such persons worldviews were secular ones, rather than a religious.

Of course any thinking man, who is actually "aware" of the facts understands that not to be the case, that notions these men believed, such as in divine providence, in inalienable rights given to us by the creator, in God as the image of morality, and love we are to live up too, are as far from godless as Philadelphia is from the sun. 

In fact such claims rather than refuting my argument become clear supports for it. The belief that these men's notions of love, and morality fall easily into the atheistic worldview, even though they are no less silly to believe in than the assumptions of Micheal Behe, proves two things that I have argued since the beginning. 

One, that such notions of Love, can only be held in a religious worldview, or that many atheistic worldviews are cheap masquerades of religious ones. 

Quote:
This approach produces two quite typical results in the main; edicts (thou shalt not contradict me, I'm a believer)

You can contradict me all you want, just don't delude yourself into believing you're contradicting me as a believer. So far no one has really argued in opposition to my religious beliefs, they have only argued in opposition to my beliefs aside from my theism. 

Quote:
religionist holds dearest a subjective opinion which does not bear up to scrutiny when presented as fact, and the subjective satisfaction derived from this is confused with universal principle as a matter of course (sometimes intentionally).

Weak generalizations about my opinions, particularly when you insinuate that they arise out of my religious beliefs may rile up the choir over here, but they fall into the dug heap when they fall on to me. I suggest you keep them at home, particularly when they have no basis in reality. If any ones subjective opinion doesn't bear up to scrutiny when presented with facts, it's atheist who make arguments like Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, where pretty much atheist, even though they didn't go by that name.  

Now back to Norway....

Societies that are prosperous, that allow for a sense of individualism, and independence, rather than dependencies on communities, or ones neighbor, that notions such as stealing from ones neighbor is rarely contemplated, because one already has what his neighbor has; when Governments are the big providers of welfare, live under the illusion or morality, a notion that many atheist seem to support, that some how we can reason ourselves to be better moral creatures. That statements we make in hindsight about our morality, showcase what our sense of morality really is, even when the instinctual pulls that lead us to be immoral are not there.

This amounts to statements by an individual living in a glass house claiming he is not a coward, and we are to believe that statement because he believes he's not, not because his courage has been tried. 

Notice in the list of living atheist supposed moral reformers, the names gives, where Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, Hitchens, and though deceased I'll still mention his name, Carl Sagan. These are the ivory tower crowd, their sense of morality amounts only to words, and token gestures brought on by their affluence. 

The reason for why I claim that we find real love, or even a real sense of morality among the suffering and the oppressed, is not because this sense is dominant among them, but that among them we find those whose morality and love is tried. Anyone can claim they'll love their eventual oppressor when they don't have one, but this amount to empty words, when compared to the individual who loves his oppressor,  when he is about to hang him. 

Suffering and oppressions produces two extremes in the human condition. You get destructive passions such as those of 9/11 suicide bombers, or an extreme sense of hatred, or they can produce creative passions, such as those found in Jesus Christ, Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffor, MLK, etc..., an extreme sense of love. Not manifested by empty words, or faith in reason, but out of trial, what the well off Norwegian escapes. We can see any point in time how suffering unites people, even if it sometimes unites us for destructive aims such as the holocaust, but it can also unite individuals for creative causes, that are no less extreme, but rather than radical hatred, we get radical love, such as the civil rights movement.

And here's where the clearest example of our atheist confirmation bias will display. When we deal with extreme hatred, such as Nazism, or Stalinism, atheist such as Dawkins and others are quick to claim that such notion rather than being secular in nature are quite religious. In fact I concede this point, that an extreme sense of hatred as a uniting force, as the motivation for a movement, or an ideal is rarely if ever, not religious.

But the atheist confirmation bias doesn't allow them to see, that when dealing extreme love, the turning of the other cheek, the civil rights movement, Gandhi's movement etc, are rarely if ever, not religious as well.

The reason that they are religious, is that such movements require a faith in Love that a Godless view of the world can not afford. They require a faith in Love as a power more so than any random chance can afford it, with a sense of an innate meaning and purpose to human existence. They require a view of Love no different than those who believe in an intelligent design, but rather than seeing an order and purpose in biological life, they see it in the heart (metaphorical).

To loves ones enemy, isn't believed because someone said so, but it's believed out of faith in the redemptive power of Love, and in the face of human cruelty and suffering, such a belief, as is my own, can only be religious, because it affords a majesty to love, greater than if a hundred foot tall Jesus were walking down the streets of NY. 

Such beliefs from a godless perspective, even if they are delusionally imitated by men of atheism, is no less silly to believe, than a belief that our biological parts seem to reveal a gifted hand that tinkered with them to get us here.

Quote:
at least they are thinking, even if their particular education has not equipped them enough to recognize specious deduction. 

Ah, let's see whose gifted in specious deductions, you and your comrades, or me.

Quote:
Where the solution to a person's problem is further education there is no point in chasing students away with invective.

I see you like to present yourself as a sort of teacher, and I as your student, thank you professora. I doubt individuals who's best understanding of religion comes from the works of men like Dawkins, and Harris, have much to teach me, but you can take a stab at it. This is the equivelent of saying my best understanding of Atheism coming from Jimmy Fallwell, and Rick Warren, and since I'm so well learned on the subject I should venture to teach atheist about their atheism. 

You're cockiness will only work against you my friend, but if you desire you can keep using it to no avail, because I sure am having fun with it. 

 

 


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Holy projection and

Holy projection and hypocrisy, Batman!

theacrobat wrote:

Notice we haven't argued the truth of the statement that I hold dearest "Love conquers all"

Love conquers all, eh? Let's see....

Quote:
One, that such notions of Love, can only be held in a religious worldview, or that many atheistic worldviews are cheap masquerades of religious ones.

So, our worldviews are cheap masquerades. Doesn't sound like something a loving person would say.

Quote:

Societies that are prosperous, that allow for a sense of individualism, and independence, rather than dependencies on communities, or ones neighbor, that notions such as stealing from ones neighbor is rarely contemplated, because one already has what his neighbor has; when Governments are the big providers of welfare, live under the illusion or morality, a notion that many atheist seem to support, that some how we can reason ourselves to be better moral creatures.

So, you can only be loving and moral by being completely aloof and individualistic. I see.

Quote:
Notice in the list of living atheist supposed moral reformers, the names gives, where Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, Hitchens, and though deceased I'll still mention his name, Carl Sagan. These are the ivory tower crowd, their sense of morality amounts only to words, and token gestures brought on by their affluence.

I see, so your post, being only words and token gestures, is telling us a great lesson in morality, whereas these other jokers don't know anything about it. Right.

Quote:
The reason for why I claim that we find real love, or even a real sense of morality among the suffering and the oppressed, is not because this sense is dominant among them, but that among them we find those whose morality and love is tried. Anyone can claim they'll love their eventual oppressor when they don't have one, but this amount to empty words, when compared to the individual who loves his oppressor,  when he is about to hang him.

I see, so the only way to be moral is to be oppressed to the point of death and to love your oppressor while he's killing you. I never knew that. Is that because your God is your oppressor, and he demands that you love him? And he threatens you with something worse than death, so therefore you are even more moral because you love him in spite of it.

So, I guess the battered wife who still loves her abusive husband is a paradigm of morality. Got it.

Quote:
Suffering and oppressions produces two extremes in the human condition. You get destructive passions such as those of 9/11 suicide bombers, or an extreme sense of hatred, or they can produce creative passions, such as those found in Jesus Christ, Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffor, MLK, etc..., an extreme sense of love. Not manifested by empty words, or faith in reason, but out of trial, what the well off Norwegian escapes.

I see, so because the Norwegians are not suffering oppression, they cannot feel any love.

And I suppose you are suffering great oppression, right? Oh, yeah, I forgot, that threat of hell. That's a pretty great oppression your god is putting you through.

Wow, you sure are a loving guy.

Quote:
And here's where the clearest example of our atheist confirmation bias will display. When we deal with extreme hatred, such as Nazism, or Stalinism, atheist such as Dawkins and others are quick to claim that such notion rather than being secular in nature are quite religious. In fact I concede this point, that an extreme sense of hatred as a uniting force, as the motivation for a movement, or an ideal is rarely if ever, not religious.

I see, so your extreme hatred of atheists is a reflection of how religiously pious you are. Wait, I thought you were supposed to be all loving and stuff. I'm confused....

Quote:
I see you like to present yourself as a sort of teacher, and I as your student, thank you professora. I doubt individuals who's best understanding of religion comes from the works of men like Dawkins, and Harris, have much to teach me, but you can take a stab at it. This is the equivelent of saying my best understanding of Atheism coming from Jimmy Fallwell, and Rick Warren, and since I'm so well learned on the subject I should venture to teach atheist about their atheism.

I see, so your extreme religiosity makes you unqualified to teach us atheists anything. But wait, why are you posting here again?

Quote:
You're cockiness will only work against you my friend, but if you desire you can keep using it to no avail, because I sure am having fun with it.

"My Kung Fu is stronger than yours, you cocky bastard!" Damn, your hypocrisy and projection is fun to watch.

So, love conquers all, eh?

Why don't you try figuring out how to love us, and then come back once you've figured that out. Then you can preach to us all about love.

By the way, love didn't conquer the bullets that killed MLK. Love failed to conquer the 9/11 terrorists. Love failed to keep GWB from being elected twice. Love doesn't seem to be pulling its weight around the world. Hey, Love, start conquering, wouldja?

Love 'conquers'. What an oxymoron. No wonder you're so backwards in your thinking, if that's the core of your belief.

Are you here trying to 'conquer' us with your love? What a laugh!

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natural wrote:So, our

natural wrote:

So, our worldviews are cheap masquerades. Doesn't sound like something a loving person would say.

My george I think he's got it!

Yep my "lack of love" for a particular worldview translates to a lack of love for a the person who holds them. 

Quote:
So, you can only be loving and moral by being completely aloof and individualistic. I see.

Seriously?

Yep, in that entire lengthy paragraph that you quote, this is exactly what i said.

Comprehend much?

Quote:

I see, so your post, being only words and token gestures, is telling us a great lesson in morality, whereas these other jokers don't know anything about it. Right.

Yep, that's exactly what I'm doing, giving everybody a great moral lesson. 

Quote:

I see, so the only way to be moral is to be oppressed to the point of death and to love your oppressor while he's killing you. I never knew that.

Well, we learn something new every day. And this is exactly what I claimed, that you can't be moral unless you're on the verge of death.

Quote:

I see, so because the Norwegians are not suffering oppression, they cannot feel any love.

Yey! Hooah! those dirty little Norwegians can't feel no love, prick em with a needle and they do not bleed. 

Quote:
Wow, you sure are a loving guy.

Aw, thank you, so are you.

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I see, so your extreme hatred of atheists is a reflection of how religiously pious you are. 

Yey, I so hate atheist, they should all be flogged by a pretty girl who tells them they've been very bad boys. 

Quote:
But wait, why are you posting here again?

To save you, and bring you back to church. We have a bake sale coming up next Sunday, we need all the help we can get. 

Quote:

"My Kung Fu is stronger than yours, you cocky bastard!"

It might be, but I have a gun. 

Quote:
Why don't you try figuring out how to love us, and then come back once you've figured that out. Then you can preach to us all about love.

smiles...and waves.

I don't typically respond to people who read what's written, and make assumption that are way out the ball park from them. Some how from what I've written you've gathered that I'm trying to give everyone a great moral lesson, win over converts to Christianity, project myself as the picture of morality and love, and that I hate atheist. Good for you. 

Now, I can sit here and go over every one of these weirdly erroneous assumptions of yours, but why bother? You'll just continue to make them, and waste my time in the process. I understand, I have some sympathy, you've been butt hurt by some Christian dude somewhere, so anytime a theist pops up somewhere you foam at the mouth, and can barely think straight. There, there, I'll leave you alone.