The Question that Stumps Atheists

Paisley
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The Question that Stumps Atheists

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:TomJ wrote:I

Paisley wrote:

TomJ wrote:

I say that something only exists as long as there is a consciousness around to experience the something.  If all conscious things were to die and cease to exist, then nothing would exist anymore until something arose and was able to think (cognito ergo sum).

The materialist believes that an objective, physical world exists independent of consciousness.

TomJ wrote:

The concepts of something and nothing are abstractions.  They are not real.

Essentially the question reduces to "why is there consciousness?"  The best answer I have is that consciousness is an emergent property of the local solar system and billions of years of evolution.  It may arise in other places and times in the universe as well.  We don't know, we haven't found any other conciousness 

You are now contradicting yourself. Does something exist independent of consciousness or not?

 

What I am saying is that nothing exists until an observer observes it.  Existence is meaningless unless there is a consciousness.  The only consciousnesses that we know of live on Earth having evolved over 4 billion years.  Consciousness most likely evolved from the competition of prey and predators in an effort for each to live longer and have more offspring.

Human consciousness evolved to the point where we no longer have to hunt prey or be prey.  After we invented animal herding and agriculture, we broke the cycle and now use our consciousnesses to imagine imaginary consciousnesses.  In comparison to other forms of life and consciousness on Earth, humans are gods.

Remember how you figured out there is no Santa? Well, their god is just like Santa. They just haven’t figured out he’s not real yet.


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Paisley wrote: "Why is

Paisley wrote:

 "Why is there something rather than nothing?"  

A god would be something anyway. So even if there was a god, that wouldn't explain why there is something rather than nothing. What was the purpose of this question?


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BobSpence1 wrote:That is not

BobSpence1 wrote:

That is not describing consciousness as an 'abstraction'. The concept of pattern or process itself is an abstraction, but when applied to describe something specific, such as consciousness, it is a description of something which itself is not an 'abstraction'.

The relationship between physical objects which would be described by some abstract concept, such as 'complexity', most certainly doesn't require a mind to exist.

This is one of your more stupid misconceptions, a version of the codified fallacy of TAG.

Previously, you stated that you subscribe to "non-reductive physicalism." This term appears to be an oxymoron. If consciousness does NOT reduce to some kind of physical process, then what is your basis for calling it physical?

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

And you are denying that consciousness has any causal influence on the environment. Of course, the measurement problem in QM suggests that consciousness has a causal role.

No again. Consciousness is a manifestation of a process which, among other things, is modelling the external world, which directly contributes to our conscious perception of reality. This process allows some prediction, which can trigger more 'intelligent' responses to our environment.

Computers have the capacity to perform these functions. No consciousness required.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Our conscious experience is tightly coupled to the underlying fully conventionally 'physical' processes.

"Supervenient theory" and "epiphenomenalism" are the two basic forms of "non-reductive physicalism." On these views, mental states are either correlated with or byproducts of brain states, but the mental states themselves are not causally-efficacious.

BobSpence1 wrote:

That is clear. But the exact relationship between conscious decisions and the underlying process is not quite clear - is the conscious aspect purely a byproduct of the underlying decision circuitry, or does it contribute in some more direct way to the overall process?

I see that you are attempting to "move the goal posts" again. The only possible causal role that consciousness can exhibit is the exercising of free will. However, materialism specifically precludes this possibility. Therefore, you have NO explanation whatsoever for why consciousness was naturally selected -none, nada, ZILCH! If materialism is true, then organic "robots without consciousness" could theoretically be running the world rather than conscious human beings.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You believe that consciousness can be adequately explained in terms of information processing. If that is so, then you have failed to provide me with an explanation why I should not infer that the operating system on my personal computer is presently experiencing subjective awareness even as I type in this sentence.

Because of what I have already said, it requires a specific type of processing pattern, which is not required by current computers. Why do you find that so hard to grasp?

I am finding it so difficult to grasp for the same reason you are. If it were an established fact that consciousness is simply a "specific type of processing pattern," then you should be able to code a computer program and generate that "specific type of processing pattern." The fact that you cannot leads me to believe that you are simply engaging in wishful-thinking while making a pretension of knowledge.

BobSpence1 wrote:

You might as well query that, since mouse brains are composed of the same basic stuff as ours, why aren't they just as aware and intelligent as we are?

I have never argued that consciousness does not involve information processing. What I have argued is that consciousness is not completely reducible to information processing. Or, if it is, then I should infer that the entire natural process is conscious because it can apparently be explained in terms of information processing (i.e. information theory and digital physics). (Certainly, a computer program is more complex than any of its subprograms by virtue of the fact that the subprograms contribute to the total complexity of the whole program). Having said that, I have no reason to doubt that mice experience subjective awareness. In fact, I believe bacteria experience subjective awareness and I have  already cited evidence on which we can make that inference.

Philosophers of mind generally divide consciousness into two categories: access-conscioussness (or a-consciousnes) and phenomenal consciousness (or p-consciousness). "A-consciousness" can be explained in functional terms (e.g. cognitive functions and the processing of sensory data). This is sometimes referred to as the "easy problem of consciousness" (not that it is necessarily easy to explain...but because it can be explained by cognitive psychology and neuroscience). "P-consciousness" (i.e. qualia or subjective experience itself) cannot be explained in functional terms. This is why it is referrred to as the "hard problem of consciousness" (a term originally coined by philosohper David Chalmers). Daniel Dennett denies that there is any "hard problem" and this is why he is considered to be an eliminative materialist.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Krauss argued that something emerged from nothing. Dennett is an eliminative materialist (i.e. he denies the reality of subjective experiences). And Harris promotes spirituality and mysticism. I have provided sources to back all these claims.

Something emerging from nothing, in Kraus' terms, does not imply any dualistic ideas, or in any way imply the necessity of a 'mind as 'cause'.

I never stated that Krauss did imply this. However, now that you bring it up, I would argue that it does imply a form of dualism - namely, the dualism of "something" and "nothing."

BobSpence1 wrote:

Dennett does not deny that subjective experiences exist.

I have already discussed this throughly and every claim I made was backed up with cited sources.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Harris does not promote the religious aspects of mysticism, just the possible psychological benefits of some of the disciplines and practices involved. 'Spirituality' he addresses as an essential aspect of our mental world, not in the sense implying the reality of a separate soul or any other religious ideas. I have provided more sources to put your quote-mining in context.

I have already cited Sam Harris' own words in the "End of Faith" were he explicitly states that physicalism is an article of faith. I would say that would put him completely at odds with Dennett.

Harris used "spirituality" (and the term itself presupposes the the reality of the spiritual..duh!) and "mysticism" as interchangeable terms in his first book.

Wikipedia defines "mysticism" as follows:

Quote:

(source: Wikipedia: Mysticism)

Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion)[1] is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.

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

Why do many of the exponents of metaphysical "naturalism" (i.e. materialism) and "atheism" feel so compelled to confiscate the terms "spirituality" and "mysticism" from the religious domain (as if the two are not somehow inextricably linked with religious practice and experience)? I find this kind of behavior to be slightly duplicitous.

Just for the sake of clarity. Do you consider your brand of militant atheism to be compatible with spirituality and mysticism? If so, then I would kindly ask you, as a high-level moderator, to use your political influence and sway the powers that be here at RRS to open up a new forum and entitle it "Spirituality and Mysticism." I have much to contribute on this subject matter.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley- I just need

Paisley- I just need clarification of your view in regards to conscious.  Do you perceive it as black and white- have it or don't.  Are animals, all the way down to the most simple, conscious?  Are they in an altered state of conscious from our own?  Is their inability to speak a sign that they are less conscious?  If there is no connection between the brain and the conscious, then wouldn't it be possible for earthworms to be more conscious than we?  With no way to convey their conscious to us, who's to say they are not? 

Our consciousness (and your idea of a soul) is a function of the brain.  An injury to cognitive cortical areas (especially areas 9-12) will completely change who a person is.  What happens to their soul?  Is it the same?  Is it now mirrored off of the new personality?  What if the new personality is not religious?  Does the soul go to heaven or hell?  Does the new personality somehow aquire its own brand new soul?

 

 


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

That is not describing consciousness as an 'abstraction'. The concept of pattern or process itself is an abstraction, but when applied to describe something specific, such as consciousness, it is a description of something which itself is not an 'abstraction'.

The relationship between physical objects which would be described by some abstract concept, such as 'complexity', most certainly doesn't require a mind to exist.

This is one of your more stupid misconceptions, a version of the codified fallacy of TAG.

Previously, you stated that you subscribe to "non-reductive physicalism." This term appears to be an oxymoron. If consciousness does NOT reduce to some kind of physical process, then what is your basis for calling it physical?

I have already explained why 'reducible' in this context is not a valid concept, it ignores that fact that 'higher-levels' of explanation incorporate concepts that are not expressible in terms of the 'lower-level' elements. A house is fundamentally dependant on the materials it is built from, but its significance is not describable in terms of the properties and methods of manufacture of bricks.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

That is clear. But the exact relationship between conscious decisions and the underlying process is not quite clear - is the conscious aspect purely a byproduct of the underlying decision circuitry, or does it contribute in some more direct way to the overall process?

I see that you are attempting to "move the goal posts" again. The only possible causal role that consciousness can exhibit is the exercising of free will. However, materialism specifically precludes this possibility. Therefore, you have NO explanation whatsoever for why consciousness was naturally selected -none, nada, ZILCH! If materialism is true, then organic "robots without consciousness" could theoretically be running the world rather than conscious human beings.

You are again equating my attempts to find a way to put into words a difficult and still evolving science with 'moving the goal-posts'. Science is about continually 'moving the goal-posts', as we gain new data and understanding.

And you have not explained just how we would actually distinguish betweem robots with and without consciousness, if they both had similarly complex and subtle responses to the world.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You believe that consciousness can be adequately explained in terms of information processing. If that is so, then you have failed to provide me with an explanation why I should not infer that the operating system on my personal computer is presently experiencing subjective awareness even as I type in this sentence.

Because of what I have already said, it requires a specific type of processing pattern, which is not required by current computers. Why do you find that so hard to grasp?

I am finding it so difficult to grasp for the same reason you are. If it were an established fact that consciousness is simply a "specific type of processing pattern," then you should be able to code a computer program and generate that "specific type of processing pattern." The fact that you cannot leads me to believe that you are simply engaging in wishful-thinking while making a pretension of knowledge.

People have of course been attempting to do this for some time, but it is not a trivial task. We can recognize that it should in principle be 'programmable', but reverse-engineering such a complex structure is not trivial. Brain scanners can still not resolve down to the level of individual neurones, but they continue to improve. That would be one thing which would allow us much more insight into the low-level processes involved, which is where we would have to start, if we want to really simulate the brain.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

You might as well query that, since mouse brains are composed of the same basic stuff as ours, why aren't they just as aware and intelligent as we are?

I have never argued that consciousness does not involve information processing. What I have argued is that consciousness is not completely reducible to information processing. Or, if it is, then I should infer that the entire natural process is conscious because it can apparently be explained in terms of information processing (i.e. information theory and digital physics). (Certainly, a computer program is more complex than any of its subprograms by virtue of the fact that the subprograms contribute to the total complexity of the whole program). Having said that, I have no reason to doubt that mice experience subjective awareness. In fact, I believe bacteria experience subjective awareness and I have  already cited evidence on which we can make that inference.

Philosophers of mind generally divide consciousness into two categories: access-conscioussness (or a-consciousnes) and phenomenal consciousness (or p-consciousness). "A-consciousness" can be explained in functional terms (e.g. cognitive functions and the processing of sensory data). This is sometimes referred to as the "easy problem of consciousness" (not that it is necessarily easy to explain...but because it can be explained by cognitive psychology and neuroscience). "P-consciousness" (i.e. qualia or subjective experience itself) cannot be explained in functional terms. This is why it is referrred to as the "hard problem of consciousness" (a term originally coined by philosohper David Chalmers). Daniel Dennett denies that there is any "hard problem" and this is why he is considered to be an eliminative materialist.

I did not actually disagree that mice might well have subjective awareness, I was responding to your argument that since computers can already do much of, if not all, that we think brains do, why are they not aware? I was referring to questions of degree or level of awareness. It really depends just what you define 'awareness' as, and what signs you regard as indicating that an entity is 'conscious' to a meaningful degree.  

FWIW, have you read Dennett's specific response to Chalmers on this? http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/chalmers.htm

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Krauss argued that something emerged from nothing. Dennett is an eliminative materialist (i.e. he denies the reality of subjective experiences). And Harris promotes spirituality and mysticism. I have provided sources to back all these claims.

Something emerging from nothing, in Kraus' terms, does not imply any dualistic ideas, or in any way imply the necessity of a 'mind as 'cause'.

I never stated that Krauss did imply this. However, now that you bring it up, I would argue that it does imply a form of dualism - namely, the dualism of "something" and "nothing."

That reduces the concept to a triviality. I think it is intended to refer to more than just the existence of dichotomies of any kind.

Quote:

Why do many of the exponents of metaphysical "naturalism" (i.e. materialism) and "atheism" feel so compelled to confiscate spirituality and mysticism from their respective religious domain (as if the two are not somehow inextricably linked)? I find this kind of behavior to be slightly duplicitous.

Just for the sake of clarity. Do you consider your brand of militant atheism to be compatible with spirituality and mysticism? If so, then I would kindly ask you, as a high-level moderator, to use your political influence and sway the powers that be here at RRS to open up a new forum and entitle it "Spirituality and Mysticism." I have much to contribute on this subject matter.

I would argue that history shows that it is religion which has 'confiscated' those ideas, which refer to specific types of mental experience, states of mind, that our brains are capable of manifesting, and overlaid them with a lot of metaphysical and 'supernatural' crap - Harris wants to get back to the basis of those states. There could indeed be value in spending more time on those, and clarifying the differences between the religious interpretations and what Harris is pursuing, as much for Harris' sake as anything.

I have not bothered to respond to points which have already been pretty much exhausted in previous interchanges, and which contained little or nothing new. As much to stop the length of the post from getting out of control, as anything else. Just so you don't try and accuse me of ignoring 'difficult' points.

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

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

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

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Paisley wrote:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

If you are conceding that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental, then you are conceding to some kind of God-concept. Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue. After all, deism is a God-belief, albeit, a belief in a deadbeat one.

Sorry bud, but by definition God must have spiritual relevance. You see, God is defined as a SUPERNATURAL SPIRIT. This has little correlation with an "intelligent consciousness". Of course, we can redefine the word "god" so it includes this concept, but then the word loses all meaning. 

As you point out, since "intelligent consciousness" does not necessarily mean anything spiritual; the concept can exist outside the realm of spirituality and religion, meaning that the question is useless when you are trying to prove that some sort of God must exist. Way to kill your own argument. 

There is little correlation between the concept of God and "intelligent consciousness?" What drugs are you taking? If you believe that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental or a brute fact of existence, then you obviously have a God-belief. 

 

How many times do I have to say it? God by definition must be a spirit. But you yourself pointed out that "intelligent consciousness" can exist without having anything to do with the supposed spiritual realm. Therefore, using the "intelligent consciousness" concept to prove that God exists is futile. I think everyone but you understands what I'm saying.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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D33PPURPLE wrote:God by

D33PPURPLE wrote:

God by definition must be a spirit.

 

that's certainly the definition 1 john gives.

 

 

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I said, 'Father change my name.'
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with fear and filth and cowardice and shame."
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rdklep8 wrote:Paisley- I

rdklep8 wrote:

Paisley- I just need clarification of your view in regards to conscious.  Do you perceive it as black and white- have it or don't. 

I view subjective awareness (i.e. what philosophers of mind have labeled as phenomenal-consciousness) as a brute fact of existence.

rdklep8 wrote:

Are animals, all the way down to the most simple, conscious?  Are they in an altered state of conscious from our own?  Is their inability to speak a sign that they are less conscious?  If there is no connection between the brain and the conscious, then wouldn't it be possible for earthworms to be more conscious than we?  With no way to convey their conscious to us, who's to say they are not? 

I believe all living organisms are conscious.

rdklep8 wrote:

Our consciousness (and your idea of a soul) is a function of the brain.  An injury to cognitive cortical areas (especially areas 9-12) will completely change who a person is.  What happens to their soul?  Is it the same?  Is it now mirrored off of the new personality?  What if the new personality is not religious?  Does the soul go to heaven or hell?  Does the new personality somehow aquire its own brand new soul?

Consciousness is nonlocal. Therefore, at a fundamental level we are all interconnected, not separate.

What happens to the soul of a person which undergoes a brain injury? I suppose it registers a new experience. Heaven and hell? I really don't know. Quite honestly, I really don't focus on the afterlife, but only on the here and now because that's where salvation lies.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:rdklep8

Paisley wrote:

rdklep8 wrote:

Are animals, all the way down to the most simple, conscious?  Are they in an altered state of conscious from our own?  Is their inability to speak a sign that they are less conscious?  If there is no connection between the brain and the conscious, then wouldn't it be possible for earthworms to be more conscious than we?  With no way to convey their conscious to us, who's to say they are not? 

I believe all living organisms are conscious.

So in each animals consciousness, do they have a soul?  Or is the soul a human condition only?  And what is this based off of? 

Paisley wrote:

Consciousness is nonlocal. Therefore, at a fundamental level we are all interconnected, not separate.

What happens to the soul of a person which undergoes a brain injury? I suppose it registers a new experience. Heaven and hell? I really don't know. Quite honestly, I really don't focus on the afterlife, but only on the here and now because that's where salvation lies.

I am also focusing on the here and now.  If this person undergoes a brain injury that radically alters their view on religion, and they become atheist, are they not saved?  If their current state renounces Jesus, but previous to the injury they were devout catholics... what happens? 

This is a very real and fairly common scenario with TBI's.  Which personality is judged?  Don't TBI's in themselves show that consciousness (or if you want to say soul) is a function of brain matter and nothing else?  Therefore when the brain dies the soul dies with it. 

 


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

There is little correlation between the concept of God and "intelligent consciousness?" What drugs are you taking? If you believe that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental or a brute fact of existence, then you obviously have a God-belief. 

How many times do I have to say it? God by definition must be a spirit. But you yourself pointed out that "intelligent consciousness" can exist without having anything to do with the supposed spiritual realm. Therefore, using the "intelligent consciousness" concept to prove that God exists is futile. I think everyone but you understands what I'm saying.

Who is denying that God is spirit? I am simply pointing out that the concept of God has also been described with the attributes of consciousness and intelligence. And if you believe that fundamental reality is in some sense conscious and intelligent (which you seem to be suggesting), then you have a "spiritual" belief...and we call that spiritual belief God.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

There is little correlation between the concept of God and "intelligent consciousness?" What drugs are you taking? If you believe that "intelligent consciousness" is fundamental or a brute fact of existence, then you obviously have a God-belief. 

How many times do I have to say it? God by definition must be a spirit. But you yourself pointed out that "intelligent consciousness" can exist without having anything to do with the supposed spiritual realm. Therefore, using the "intelligent consciousness" concept to prove that God exists is futile. I think everyone but you understands what I'm saying.

Who is denying that God is spirit? I am simply pointing out that the concept of God has also been described with the attributes of consciousness and intelligence. And if you believe that fundamental reality is in some sense conscious and intelligent (which you seem to be suggesting), then you have a "spiritual" belief...and we call that spiritual belief God.

I was hoping you wouldn't post this "argument". No, simply because God has been described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent", it doesn't mean that everything that can be described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent" must be a God. If that were the case, humans, apes, and a number of other animals would also qualify as God/gods. Also, any person who is described as "benevolent" would also be god. I mean, after all, they are an intelligent, benevolent consciousness.

The Bolded part is contradicted by what you said here: "Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue". Which brings me back to my original point. It isn't a God-concept if it isn't spiritually relevant, and if the spiritual qualities of said "intelligent consciousness" are another issue independent of the consciousness as you said in that quote, then it has no bearing on the issue of God's existence. Yes, the "consciousness" can be God, but it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be God.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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Paisley wrote:Consciousness

Paisley wrote:

Consciousness is nonlocal. Therefore, at a fundamental level we are all interconnected, not separate.

 

Hey, this is what Deepak Chopra claims.  You're in good company Paisley!

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Who is denying that God is spirit? I am simply pointing out that the concept of God has also been described with the attributes of consciousness and intelligence. And if you believe that fundamental reality is in some sense conscious and intelligent (which you seem to be suggesting), then you have a "spiritual" belief...and we call that spiritual belief God.

I was hoping you wouldn't post this "argument". No, simply because God has been described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent", it doesn't mean that everything that can be described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent" must be a God. If that were the case, humans, apes, and a number of other animals would also qualify as God/gods. Also, any person who is described as "benevolent" would also be god. I mean, after all, they are an intelligent, benevolent consciousness.

Apparently, we are not communicating. If an individual believes that a universal intelligent consciousness is a fundamental  aspect of existence (like a materialist believes that space-time, mass/energy are the fundamental aspects of existence), then that individual has a God-belief. IOW, if you believe the consciousness through which I experience the world is the same consciousness through which you and all other sentient beings experience the world and that this consciousness is eternal, then you have a God-belief.

D33PPURPLE wrote:

The Bolded part is contradicted by what you said here: "Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue". Which brings me back to my original point. It isn't a God-concept if it isn't spiritually relevant, and if the spiritual qualities of said "intelligent consciousness" are another issue independent of the consciousness as you said in that quote, then it has no bearing on the issue of God's existence. Yes, the "consciousness" can be God, but it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be God.

I see what the problem is. I was using the term "spiritual" in a different context here - specifically to emphasize the point I made earlier. Previously, you seemed to be suggesting that a "universal intelligent consciousness" does not qualify as "spirit." I could not disagree more; it most certainly does qualify as spirit (I probably should say "Spirit" here). And if you believe in the existence of a universal intelligent consciousness (which you seemed to be hinting at before), then you have a spiritual belief, not necessarily because you believe it has religious relevance for you, but because you believe in the existence of the "Spirit."

"Deism" is belief in God. I suspect that deism holds little or no religious relevance to those who subscribe to it. But that does not diminish the fact that deists have a God-belief. Having said  that, I can assure you that a belief in the "universal intelligent consciousness" that I described above forms the basis for most of the major mystical traditions of the world.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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rdklep8 wrote:I am also

rdklep8 wrote:

I am also focusing on the here and now.  If this person undergoes a brain injury that radically alters their view on religion, and they become atheist, are they not saved?  If their current state renounces Jesus, but previous to the injury they were devout catholics... what happens? 

This is a very real and fairly common scenario with TBI's.  Which personality is judged?  Don't TBI's in themselves show that consciousness (or if you want to say soul) is a function of brain matter and nothing else?  Therefore when the brain dies the soul dies with it. 

I don't see an answer from Paisley, but I can give you my answer from the perspective of a former Lutheran.  Yes, when I was young, I talked the pastor into baptizing me as a Lutheran.  In the Lutheran faith, once baptized, you are in a state of grace and WILL go to heaven when dead.  It doesn't matter if you renounce your faith, eat babies, or what - you will go to heaven.  So according to my former pastor, I am stuck.  Even if I don't want to go to heaven now, I will have no choice. 

I imagine, the same would hold true for TBI's.  Once baptized Lutheran, they will go to heaven, willy-nilly.  Sort of frightening, I can't imagine what possessed me when I was younger.  As far as I know, Lutherans are the only ones with this particular belief.  All the rest of them are going to say that if you lost the faith, you have lost your state of grace.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:As far as I know,

cj wrote:

As far as I know, Lutherans are the only ones with this particular belief.  All the rest of them are going to say that if you lost the faith, you have lost your state of grace.

 

no, there are plenty of "low church" denominations that teach this as well.  they call it "eternal security" or "once saved, always saved."  most baptists believe this.

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


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Yah, I can confirm that at

Yah, I can confirm that at least the Landmark baptists are into the always saved thing as well. In fact, they are so into it that they have invented a category called the carnal christans, which basically means the people who have been saved but returned to the sinful life. I am not sure but that would seem to work against them in the long run because they would basically be selling fire insurance to arsonists.

 

I am reasonably sure that you can get out of the deal if you commit blasphemy though. You could try posting pictures of raptor jesus. Be careful with that one though. Romans 1:23-24 is pretty specific that pictures of raptor jesus will make you gay.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, I can confirm that at least the Landmark baptists are into the always saved thing as well. In fact, they are so into it that they have invented a category called the carnal christans, which basically means the people who have been saved but returned to the sinful life. I am not sure but that would seem to work against them in the long run because they would basically be selling fire insurance to arsonists.

 

 

 

yeah, "carnal christian" is popular coinage in evangelical theology these days.  we always used it a lot in campus crusade, whose theology is basically baptist.

there's also the concept of the difference between "relationship" and "fellowship" with god.  christians are saved from hell by their relationship with god and this can never be endangered.  fellowship with god is much more vague (partly because its basis in the bible is rather spurious) and basically means if we live a "carnal" life our fellowship with god is "interrupted" and thus we're somehow less happy.

holy fuck, i'm sooooooo much happier now...

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


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Paisley wrote:D33PPURPLE

Paisley wrote:

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Who is denying that God is spirit? I am simply pointing out that the concept of God has also been described with the attributes of consciousness and intelligence. And if you believe that fundamental reality is in some sense conscious and intelligent (which you seem to be suggesting), then you have a "spiritual" belief...and we call that spiritual belief God.

I was hoping you wouldn't post this "argument". No, simply because God has been described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent", it doesn't mean that everything that can be described as a "consciousness" and "intelligent" must be a God. If that were the case, humans, apes, and a number of other animals would also qualify as God/gods. Also, any person who is described as "benevolent" would also be god. I mean, after all, they are an intelligent, benevolent consciousness.

Apparently, we are not communicating. If an individual believes that a universal intelligent consciousness is a fundamental  aspect of existence (like a materialist believes that space-time, mass/energy are the fundamental aspects of existence), then that individual has a God-belief. IOW, if you believe the consciousness through which I experience the world is the same consciousness through which you and all other sentient beings experience the world and that this consciousness is eternal, then you have a God-belief.

No, that individual by no means implies a God-belief. From what I can gather, this "consciousness" is merely what allows us to perceive what is around us. That's great, but that tells me nothing that comes close to qualifying as "God". God, at least in the Abrahamic tradition is "A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions". Clearly this adds a number of attributes to this "intelligent consciousness". As for other definitions of God, such as "a supernatural spirit" or a "divine object or spirit", one must wonder, what's supernatural or divine about something that allows us to perceive the natural? I suppose you can redefine god to include the "intelligent consciousness" with no other attributes, but this is a rather silly definition of God for a number of reasons, and certainly not the kind of "God" I don't believe in. For me, when I say I don't believe in God, I mean I do not believe in the Abrahamic interpretation of God, or any divine, omnipotent, etc. being that controls our lives. Why? Because it makes too many assumptions. If I were to grant as necessary this "intelligent consciousness" (which, by the way, I do not), to justify my existence, then all I am doing is making a reasonable assumption. There is nothing reasonable of ascribing to this consciousness a son, a book, or anything else. It's merely some unknowable being which makes perception possible. How is that God-like at all?

D33PPURPLE wrote:

The Bolded part is contradicted by what you said here: "Whether it is religiously or spiritually relevant is another issue". Which brings me back to my original point. It isn't a God-concept if it isn't spiritually relevant, and if the spiritual qualities of said "intelligent consciousness" are another issue independent of the consciousness as you said in that quote, then it has no bearing on the issue of God's existence. Yes, the "consciousness" can be God, but it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be God.

Paisley wrote:
I see what the problem is. I was using the term "spiritual" in a different context here - specifically to emphasize the point I made earlier. Previously, you seemed to be suggesting that a "universal intelligent consciousness" does not qualify as "spirit." I could not disagree more; it most certainly does qualify as spirit (I probably should say "Spirit" here).

Well, it depends on your definition of a "spirit". We can play semantics all day to cloud the matter, as you have here. In the Abrahamic tradition, a spirit is merely the breath. This is not compatible with the "intelligent consciousness". The other definition, of course, is an intelligent being without a material corpse. Since we cannot ascribe anything other than "intelligent" and "consciousness" to describe this being, it may indeed be spirit, or, then again, it could be something completely different--something indeterminate, something unknown, or even something material that exists much differently than we do. Quite simply, we cannot determine what other qualities this "consciousness" may have, be it spiritual, material, or other. It's one big if. To say it is a spirit with certainty is as folly as to say it is or has material properties.

Paisley wrote:
And if you believe in the existence of a universal intelligent consciousness (which you seemed to be hinting at before), then you have a spiritual belief, not necessarily because you believe it has religious relevance for you, but because you believe in the existence of the "Spirit."

No, I have not been hinting at anything. All I've been saying is that, even if for argument's sake we concede an intelligent consciousness as necessary, there's no reason in the world to attribute anything else--even spiritual qualities--to it.

Paisley wrote:
"Deism" is belief in God. I suspect that deism holds little or no religious relevance to those who subscribe to it. But that does not diminish the fact that deists have a God-belief.

Deists believe that God created everything rationally and that this God's work can be determined through observation, not on some "consciousness" that allows us to perceive things.

Paisley wrote:
Having said  that, I can assure you that a belief in the "universal intelligent consciousness" that I described above forms the basis for most of the major mystical traditions of the world.

And those mystical traditions are only speculation on what other things could be attributed to the consciousness. You've made a sorry case for it's existence anyway.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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iwbiek wrote: Answers in

iwbiek wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, I can confirm that at least the Landmark baptists are into the always saved thing as well. In fact, they are so into it that they have invented a category called the carnal christans, which basically means the people who have been saved but returned to the sinful life. I am not sure but that would seem to work against them in the long run because they would basically be selling fire insurance to arsonists.

 

 

 

yeah, "carnal christian" is popular coinage in evangelical theology these days.  we always used it a lot in campus crusade, whose theology is basically baptist.

there's also the concept of the difference between "relationship" and "fellowship" with god.  christians are saved from hell by their relationship with god and this can never be endangered.  fellowship with god is much more vague (partly because its basis in the bible is rather spurious) and basically means if we live a "carnal" life our fellowship with god is "interrupted" and thus we're somehow less happy.

holy fuck, i'm sooooooo much happier now...

I didn't know that about Baptists, guys, but it doesn't sound identical to the Lutherans.  Remember, part of what got Luther going was the practice of the Catholic church in his time to sell pardons for your sins.  If you were rich enough, you could be forgiven for anything and you didn't have to do penance.  You know, like fasting or being kind to the serfs.  So one of Luther's innovations was to do away with the bought pardon and therefore, the confession.  Confession was not required at my church, but counseling and advice were always available if you asked the pastor and he never bothered me unless I asked.  No confession meant that no one felt they had the right to question your actions when you weren't at church - though outright lawlessness was frowned on.

Yeah, I know Baptists don't have confession, either.  What they have instead is a lot of busy-bodies.

Maybe there is another ex-(or not)Lutheran around to help me out.  But this is the way I understood it when it was explained.  You really are in a state of grace once baptized, you can never do anything to remove yourself from that state.  Wikipedia doesn't agree with me, in that it says you can be out of grace if you refuse grace.  More than likely I didn't understand at the time, but I'm happy with Wiki's definition, because that means I can get out of heaven.  Whooppeee!!!

But if you are Lutheran and the only way out of grace is to refuse grace, that means there is no carnal or not so carnal, no "interruption" as long as you still profess belief.  Regardless of your acts or life style.  It was my experience at the time I was church attending that Lutherans were much less likely to comment on your life choices than any of the Baptists I ever met.  That was one of the reasons I choose Lutheranism over many other choices.  My pastor liked a glass of wine or beer with dinner just as much as I did.  And we both liked to dance at the socials - ahem, with our respective spouses.  Much more reasonable than those nutsy Baptists.  It may have changed in the last 30 years, after all just about everything else has changed since then.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:iwbiek wrote:

cj wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, I can confirm that at least the Landmark baptists are into the always saved thing as well. In fact, they are so into it that they have invented a category called the carnal christans, which basically means the people who have been saved but returned to the sinful life. I am not sure but that would seem to work against them in the long run because they would basically be selling fire insurance to arsonists.

 

 

 

yeah, "carnal christian" is popular coinage in evangelical theology these days.  we always used it a lot in campus crusade, whose theology is basically baptist.

there's also the concept of the difference between "relationship" and "fellowship" with god.  christians are saved from hell by their relationship with god and this can never be endangered.  fellowship with god is much more vague (partly because its basis in the bible is rather spurious) and basically means if we live a "carnal" life our fellowship with god is "interrupted" and thus we're somehow less happy.

holy fuck, i'm sooooooo much happier now...

I didn't know that about Baptists, guys, but it doesn't sound identical to the Lutherans.  Remember, part of what got Luther going was the practice of the Catholic church in his time to sell pardons for your sins.  If you were rich enough, you could be forgiven for anything and you didn't have to do penance.  You know, like fasting or being kind to the serfs.  So one of Luther's innovations was to do away with the bought pardon and therefore, the confession.  Confession was not required at my church, but counseling and advice were always available if you asked the pastor and he never bothered me unless I asked.  No confession meant that no one felt they had the right to question your actions when you weren't at church - though outright lawlessness was frowned on.

Yeah, I know Baptists don't have confession, either.  What they have instead is a lot of busy-bodies.

Maybe there is another ex-(or not)Lutheran around to help me out.  But this is the way I understood it when it was explained.  You really are in a state of grace once baptized, you can never do anything to remove yourself from that state.  Wikipedia doesn't agree with me, in that it says you can be out of grace if you refuse grace.  More than likely I didn't understand at the time, but I'm happy with Wiki's definition, because that means I can get out of heaven.  Whooppeee!!!

But if you are Lutheran and the only way out of grace is to refuse grace, that means there is no carnal or not so carnal, no "interruption" as long as you still profess belief.  Regardless of your acts or life style.  It was my experience at the time I was church attending that Lutherans were much less likely to comment on your life choices than any of the Baptists I ever met.  That was one of the reasons I choose Lutheranism over many other choices.  My pastor liked a glass of wine or beer with dinner just as much as I did.  And we both liked to dance at the socials - ahem, with our respective spouses.  Much more reasonable than those nutsy Baptists.  It may have changed in the last 30 years, after all just about everything else has changed since then.

 

sure there are plenty of differences between baptists and lutherans both in terms of theology and in terms of typical behavior.  the lutheran church is mostly what we would call "high church" protestantism: very liturgical, ceremonial, ecclesiastical, with the idea of consubstantiation.  also, let's face it, demographically lutherans are mostly WASPs who are at least upper middle-class.

the baptist church, however, is very much "low church": populist, congregational, emotional, at least semi-charismatic, with a purely symbolic communion.  their demographic is mostly lower to lower middle-class, rural whites (for southern and american baptist) and urban or suburban blacks (for missionary baptist).

of course there are differences between the lutheran and baptist theologies of grace.  first of all, the baptists, contrary to their name, put no soteriological emphasis on baptism.  baptism is a purely symbolic act that expresses an inward transformation accomplished when one "receives" christ into one's heart (another popular modern doctrine with spurious biblical foundations).  baptism does not impart any "grace" itself.  the salvific act is accomplished instantaneously in the believer by the imparted grace of jesus at the precise moment he or she spiritually assents to christ's sacrifice.  baptism is necessary to join the church: it is not necessary to be "saved."

second of all, and this is where i think your misunderstanding is, the baptist idea of "eternal security" is ironclad.  it is different from the lutheran conception, but not in the way you think.  to the baptist, salvation cannot be lost.  period.  it is an impossibility.  you can't renounce it, you can't sin your way out of it, you can go to the front of the church and scream "i deny the holy spirit" until you're purple and yes, a deacon will probably escort you out and you'll be gossiped about to the ends of the earth, but no one will ever say you're no longer saved.  (incidentally, verbally "denying" the holy spirit is also a spurious interpretation of jesus's words about "blaspheming the holy spirit," but that's another story.)

the idea of "fellowship" with god essentially means nothing.  it has no bearing whatsoever on one's "state of grace" (this is a term baptists don't use very often; they prefer "salvation" ).  it's a stop-gap, and a poor one at that, meant to be a half-hearted deterrant against "backsliding."  the idea of "eternal security" is too fundamental to give up, but we can't just have members running around having fun any way they want.  so we write up some claptrap with no real biblical foundation about "yes, technically you can sin like a pagan and still get into heaven BUT while you're still on earth you won't be able to live the 'abundant life' promised by christ" (just as it reads, a nebulous concept that is never really explained).  this meaningless state of the "abundant" or "spirit-filled" life is the only thing that is "interrupted"--not one's "state of grace."  it's a state that, even theologically speaking, can only be judged by one's emotions.

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


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“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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cj wrote:iwbiek wrote:

cj wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Yah, I can confirm that at least the Landmark baptists are into the always saved thing as well. In fact, they are so into it that they have invented a category called the carnal christans, which basically means the people who have been saved but returned to the sinful life. I am not sure but that would seem to work against them in the long run because they would basically be selling fire insurance to arsonists.

 

 

 

yeah, "carnal christian" is popular coinage in evangelical theology these days.  we always used it a lot in campus crusade, whose theology is basically baptist.

there's also the concept of the difference between "relationship" and "fellowship" with god.  christians are saved from hell by their relationship with god and this can never be endangered.  fellowship with god is much more vague (partly because its basis in the bible is rather spurious) and basically means if we live a "carnal" life our fellowship with god is "interrupted" and thus we're somehow less happy.

holy fuck, i'm sooooooo much happier now...

I didn't know that about Baptists, guys, but it doesn't sound identical to the Lutherans.  Remember, part of what got Luther going was the practice of the Catholic church in his time to sell pardons for your sins.  If you were rich enough, you could be forgiven for anything and you didn't have to do penance.  You know, like fasting or being kind to the serfs.  So one of Luther's innovations was to do away with the bought pardon and therefore, the confession.  Confession was not required at my church, but counseling and advice were always available if you asked the pastor and he never bothered me unless I asked.  No confession meant that no one felt they had the right to question your actions when you weren't at church - though outright lawlessness was frowned on.

Yeah, I know Baptists don't have confession, either.  What they have instead is a lot of busy-bodies.

Maybe there is another ex-(or not)Lutheran around to help me out.  But this is the way I understood it when it was explained.  You really are in a state of grace once baptized, you can never do anything to remove yourself from that state.  Wikipedia doesn't agree with me, in that it says you can be out of grace if you refuse grace.  More than likely I didn't understand at the time, but I'm happy with Wiki's definition, because that means I can get out of heaven.  Whooppeee!!!

But if you are Lutheran and the only way out of grace is to refuse grace, that means there is no carnal or not so carnal, no "interruption" as long as you still profess belief.  Regardless of your acts or life style.  It was my experience at the time I was church attending that Lutherans were much less likely to comment on your life choices than any of the Baptists I ever met.  That was one of the reasons I choose Lutheranism over many other choices.  My pastor liked a glass of wine or beer with dinner just as much as I did.  And we both liked to dance at the socials - ahem, with our respective spouses.  Much more reasonable than those nutsy Baptists.  It may have changed in the last 30 years, after all just about everything else has changed since then.

 

Ok, I was raised as a Lutheran and I went through all of the training they give young people, was baptized as an infant and was confirmed as a teenager.  In classes, they told us our state of grace could not be lost, but I remember being told that blaspheming would doom you...I just don't remember who I heard it from, that was a long time ago.  Google does not clear it up for me.

It has been so long since I was a member of the church (well, I suppose I'm still a member, technically) that I don't have anyone I would want to ask.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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iwbiek wrote:<..... a lot of

iwbiek wrote:

<..... a lot of stuff .........>

Thank you for the explanation.  I think I understand, but even if I don't, please don't explain again. 

 

 

Seriously, I am impressed with your knowledge about various religions.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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exactly

Kapkao wrote:


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CRS

mellestad wrote:

Ok, I was raised as a Lutheran and I went through all of the training they give young people, was baptized as an infant and was confirmed as a teenager.  In classes, they told us our state of grace could not be lost, but I remember being told that blaspheming would doom you...I just don't remember who I heard it from, that was a long time ago.  Google does not clear it up for me.

It has been so long since I was a member of the church (well, I suppose I'm still a member, technically) that I don't have anyone I would want to ask.

That is my problem - CRS.  But it is okay.  Funny, my daughter-in-law's family is Lutheran.  So when the grandson was born, we showed up for his infant baptism.  The proud paternal grandparents (my husband and I) were introduced as "not being a member of the Lutheran faith".  Which was fine with me.  What few responses I once knew, I had totally forgot by then.  How quickly it all fades away -

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:iwbiek wrote:<.....

cj wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

<..... a lot of stuff .........>

Thank you for the explanation.  I think I understand, but even if I don't, please don't explain again. 

 

 

Seriously, I am impressed with your knowledge about various religions.

 

sorry.  it really wasn't my intention to impress anybody there.  it was one of my areas of study so i enjoy talking about it and sometimes forget other people don't.

 

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


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Ok one thing I can say is

Ok one thing I can say is this much about Lutherians....ok the 3 people that I know, tell them to pray to Mary and that they should be following the pope after all they are Lutheran Catholics so why not just join the party again.....watch them go off it's freaking funny.


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Paisley wrote:iwbiek

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

Just curious. Are you only atheistic in regards to Christianity. Or, does your atheism also extend to Judaism?

 

Did you guys miss this LMFAO 

he doesnot even know what an atheist is hahahaha

 

what a moron 


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Adventfred wrote:Paisley

Adventfred wrote:

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

Just curious. Are you only atheistic in regards to Christianity. Or, does your atheism also extend to Judaism?

 

Did you guys miss this LMFAO 

he doesnot even know what an atheist is hahahaha

 

what a moron 

Oh, you missed him being cynical. It's the new technique. When you can't answer an Atheist's question, you simply pretend to be "skeptical" as to their lack of faith or some other cheap technique.

"The Chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. Just no Character."

"He...had gone down in flames...on the seventh day, while God was resting"

"You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You should be taken outside and shot!"


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iwbiek wrote:

cj wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

<..... a lot of stuff .........>

Thank you for the explanation.  I think I understand, but even if I don't, please don't explain again. 

 

 

Seriously, I am impressed with your knowledge about various religions.

 

sorry.  it really wasn't my intention to impress anybody there.  it was one of my areas of study so i enjoy talking about it and sometimes forget other people don't.

 

I know that wasn't your intent, that is one of the reasons I am impressed!  I can see that you enjoy the subject.  It isn't your fault that I'm fatally bored by the subject.  My short-coming, not yours.  I'm sure the time or two or three I've talked about my fav subjects has been just as boring for you. 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Adventfred

D33PPURPLE wrote:

Adventfred wrote:

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

seriously, i'd love to see this question put to a theist of solid intellectual caliber--a real honest-to-god theorist, and see if they would give it the merit paisley relentlessly does.

hmmm...we'd probably have to rule out most of christendom for this one.  we might need to dig up some graves.  i might be curious to see karl barth's reaction.  but, no--in the end, i nominate the great jewish theologian, philosopher, psychologist, political scientist, novelist, and preserver of hasidic lore, martin buber.

i see the conversation going something like this:

Just curious. Are you only atheistic in regards to Christianity. Or, does your atheism also extend to Judaism?

 

Did you guys miss this LMFAO 

he doesnot even know what an atheist is hahahaha

 

what a moron 

Oh, you missed him being cynical. It's the new technique. When you can't answer an Atheist's question, you simply pretend to be "skeptical" as to their lack of faith or some other cheap technique.

 

he sure is a man of skill Sticking out tongue


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Paisley wrote:Below is a

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

We say "That which exists, is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

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


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D33PPURPLE wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

We say "That which exists, is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Of course this question is

Of course this question is really just as much a problem, insofar as it is a problem, for any breed of Deist or Theist, as it is for an Atheist.

Arguably more so, since they have to 'explain' the existence of something far more significant in scale and attributes than the raw formless energy field, or quantum foam, or whatever, that is all that is required, if anything, for a Big Bang event to initiate from.

EDIT: I certainly don't care what difficulties a philosopher, atheist or otherwise, might have with it. Most philosophers are seriously mired in outdated concepts.

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

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

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

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


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Paisley wrote:nigelTheBold

Paisley wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Below is a link to an online video produced by PBS's TV series "Closer To Truth".  Here, producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn asks atheist philosopher Quentin Smith: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" What follows is Smith's painful struggle to weasel out of a trap that he initially sets up for himself. His response amounts to nothing more than unintelligible babbling. It is truly pathetic.

http://www.closertotruth.com/video/Why-is-There-Something-Rather-than-Nothing-Quentin-Smith-/984

We say "That which exists, is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

no, he isn't.  he's being sarcastic, and showing you how that your argument, which isn't an argument at all, can be used for anything.

We say "Pete's dragon is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

We say "The hot dog is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

We say "Blue shit on a stick is," and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless.

all those statements literally make as much sense as the one you made.  i'd bet money that was nigel's point.

 

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


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Paisley wrote:I see. You are

Paisley wrote:

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

paisley's style of "debate":

 

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


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I suppose it is just

I suppose it is just possible Paisley was attempting his version of sarcasm in response, but it is very hard to tell - he seems to make similar kinds of statements in all seriousness.

 

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

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

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

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:Of course

BobSpence1 wrote:

Of course this question is really just as much a problem, insofar as it is a problem, for any breed of Deist or Theist, as it is for an Atheist.

No, this is not entirely true. The question does not actually pose as a problem for the mystic. God is not a problem to be explained, but a mystery to be experienced.

 

 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:BobSpence1

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Of course this question is really just as much a problem, insofar as it is a problem, for any breed of Deist or Theist, as it is for an Atheist.

No, this is not entirely true. The question does not actually pose as a problem for the mystic. God is not a problem to be explained, but a mystery to be experienced.

 

 

So you shut down your thought process and call it a mystical experience?

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


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iwbiek wrote:Paisley wrote:I

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

no, he isn't.  he's being sarcastic, and showing you how that your argument, which isn't an argument at all, can be used for anything.

 

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:iwbiek

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

no, he isn't.  he's being sarcastic, and showing you how that your argument, which isn't an argument at all, can be used for anything.

 

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Paisley wrote:You are

Paisley wrote:
You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

Oh, I "got" your response. It was a pale imitation of a Zen koan. It's kinda funny that you have to retreat from rationality into "intuition." Especially since intuition has been shown to be very unreliable in matters of reality.

I can see how it has appeal to those with feeble minds. It allows them to claim to "know" as much or as little as they want, with no real pressure to validate their claims.

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


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cj wrote:

cj wrote:

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Paisley wrote:iwbiek

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

no, he isn't.  he's being sarcastic, and showing you how that your argument, which isn't an argument at all, can be used for anything.

 

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

So you wrote without thinking and were hoping that those who had their brains shut off as well found it useful?

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


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Paisley wrote:iwbiek

Paisley wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

Paisley wrote:

I see. You are embracing "atheistic mysticism." This is becoming very fashionable these days, especially in "naturalistic circles."

no, he isn't.  he's being sarcastic, and showing you how that your argument, which isn't an argument at all, can be used for anything.

 

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

what would you say at this moment?

 

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


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jcgadfly wrote:Paisley

jcgadfly wrote:

Paisley wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Of course this question is really just as much a problem, insofar as it is a problem, for any breed of Deist or Theist, as it is for an Atheist.

No, this is not entirely true. The question does not actually pose as a problem for the mystic. God is not a problem to be explained, but a mystery to be experienced.

So you shut down your thought process and call it a mystical experience?

Pretty much.

But hey, no worries. It only becomes a problem if they don't like being ignorant and closed-minded. 

 

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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Paisley wrote:You are

Paisley wrote:

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

 

paisley, even in my most theistic days i wouldn't have found that satisfying.  you're as inept a mystic as you are a logician.

 

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


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Paisley wrote:You are

Paisley wrote:
You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

In other words, his response encourages you to stop thinking ("pacify the analytical mind" ) and just have faith ("eliciting a direct spiritual insight" ). 

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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nigelTheBold wrote:Paisley

nigelTheBold wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

Oh, I "got" your response.

Oh, I believe "you got it." That's why you're currently throwing this hissy fit.

nigelTheBold wrote:

It was a pale imitation of a Zen koan.

It was an aphorism.

nigelTheBold wrote:

It's kinda funny that you have to retreat from rationality into "intuition." Especially since intuition has been shown to be very unreliable in matters of reality.

Religious epistemology is based on the cultivation of one's spiritual intuition (which is a form of perception, albeit a nonsensory one). The finite mind is not capable of intellectually grasping the infinite mind. But we do have the capacity to directly experience the divine.

nigelTheBold wrote:

I can see how it has appeal to those with feeble minds. It allows them to claim to "know" as much or as little as they want, with no real pressure to validate their claims.

There are scientific studies that suggest the practice of meditation expands one's brain capacity.

Quote:

Studies done by Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that meditation increases gray matter in the brain and slows down certain brain deterioration. The experiment included 20 individuals with intensive Buddhist "insight meditation" training and 15 who did not meditate. The brain scan revealed that those who meditated have an increased thickness of gray matter in parts of the brain that are responsible for attention and processing sensory input.

(source: Wikipedia: Health applications and clinical studies of meditation)

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

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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butterbattle wrote:Paisley

butterbattle wrote:

Paisley wrote:

You are "right" and "wrong."  You are right to say that my response is not really an argument at all. You are wrong to imply that my response has no pragmatic value whatsoever. My response was a mystical one - a response with the potential to pacify the analytical mind while simultaneously eliciting a direct spiritual insight from the intuitive mind. Those who "got it" appreciate my response and found it to be spiritually satisfying. Those who did not are currently voicing their intellectual frustrations.

In other words, his response encourages you to stop thinking ("pacify the analytical mind" ) and just have faith ("eliciting a direct spiritual insight" ). 

It encourages the of cultivation the intuitive mind which enhances creative intelligence.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead