Some questions for theists.

Joker
atheist
Joker's picture
Posts: 180
Joined: 2010-07-23
User is offlineOffline
Some questions for theists.

Hey, just coming to put some questions forward to various theists, if some of these questions don't apply to your beliefs, cool.

 

1) Let us alter Pascals wager slightly, given that there are many religions, quite a few of which have a reward/punishment system for post death experience is it not worthwhile to objectively study each religion? IE shouldn't all people that really and truly believe analyze their own faiths with all the dilligence of the most vicious opponent of their faith? After all, your immortal soul could be on the line.

 

2) Given that humanity is imperfect how can we be sure that any religious texts are correct? Even assuming some kind of inspiration there are inevitably going to be translation errors or simple misunderstandings as contexts and languages evolve and shift. Also, some changes could be made for political or personal reasons, or simple human error when copying pages during the time of scribes. I ask how you can be sure of any holy texts, and what sort of tests we could use to verify their accuracy.

 

3) Is it possible that the 'true' religion might be dead? IE the worship of Mithras, Sol Invictus, or any number of ancient gods and goddesses or powerful primal entities could be the actual true deities but for whatever reason the pretenders to the throne, IE the fables made up by some other group turned out to be more popular/successful and people simply attribute the attempts of these beings to contact them as the work of their own deities or pantheons or the enemy thereof.

 

4) Why is it that we aren't seeing verifiable miracles? You don't get to claim individual survivors or something that is statistically unlikely in a disaster since that could be blind luck and it seems to rain on the just and unjust alike. I'm talking Jehova who sent pillars of fire and the like. Not saying that I want something vicious happening (IE the plagues of Egypt), but I find it strange that in ancient times in written accounts we get all kinds of amazing crap but in modern times in our age of tech and easy communication, bupkis.

 

5) Can a divinity be judged? This is simply me wondering if a deity can be judged by human standards. Can we point to actions done and say, "Well that was immoral"  If you can show me a being that is totally blameless I can agree with you on them being good but plenty of these deities are absolute monsters but we're told that we aren't allowed to judge them and that to think to do so is arrogance, I call it reason. Do as I say, not as I do is horrid for parents, dangerous for leaders and if a divine being claims that I'll tell them where they can head in.

 

6) If there is an opposition force to the deity in question why doesn't it act directly in order to trick people, IE offer powers or claim to be a true deity? After all, such a thing would surely cause great anguish to the true deity or are we saying they aren't smart enough to do that? If I'm smarter than the opposition to your deity and/or if they don't have the ability to pull that off due to constraints then your deity is playing football against preschoolers


Wowzers1
Theist
Wowzers1's picture
Posts: 312
Joined: 2011-04-03
User is offlineOffline
Joker, I will preface this

Joker, I will preface this by saying this: I want to answer your questions, not a start a debate. If you want to deal with one of these topics in particular, start a new thread for the particular topic.

Joker wrote:
1) Let us alter Pascals wager slightly, given that there are many religions, quite a few of which have a reward/punishment system for post death experience is it not worthwhile to objectively study each religion? IE shouldn't all people that really and truly believe analyze their own faiths with all the dilligence of the most vicious opponent of their faith? After all, your immortal soul could be on the line.
One should do this, and if one is going to be Pascalian about it, one should figure out which belief system has the greatest probability of being correct and the greatest probability of obtaining salvation.

Joker wrote:
2) Given that humanity is imperfect how can we be sure that any religious texts are correct? Even assuming some kind of inspiration there are inevitably going to be translation errors or simple misunderstandings as contexts and languages evolve and shift. Also, some changes could be made for political or personal reasons, or simple human error when copying pages during the time of scribes. I ask how you can be sure of any holy texts, and what sort of tests we could use to verify their accuracy.
I'm a Christian, so I speak for Christian Bible. I do not assume that the Christian Bible as we know it is perfect. But what we have is a plethora of available texts from which we can through careful study of language, politics, history, and texts themselves ascertain with what the original texts may have looked like.

Joker wrote:
3) Is it possible that the 'true' religion might be dead? IE the worship of Mithras, Sol Invictus, or any number of ancient gods and goddesses or powerful primal entities could be the actual true deities but for whatever reason the pretenders to the throne, IE the fables made up by some other group turned out to be more popular/successful and people simply attribute the attempts of these beings to contact them as the work of their own deities or pantheons or the enemy thereof.
It's possible, but I don't believe it is probable. The resurrection of Jesus gives one reason to believe that Christianity is true religion because it is historical fact, and the teology of Christianity is contingent upon the facts. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is in vain.

Joker wrote:
4) Why is it that we aren't seeing verifiable miracles? You don't get to claim individual survivors or something that is statistically unlikely in a disaster since that could be blind luck and it seems to rain on the just and unjust alike. I'm talking Jehova who sent pillars of fire and the like. Not saying that I want something vicious happening (IE the plagues of Egypt), but I find it strange that in ancient times in written accounts we get all kinds of amazing crap but in modern times in our age of tech and easy communication, bupkis.
I believe my grandmother's healing from cancer was a miracle. Check out this thread for a discussion the matter.

Joker wrote:
5) Can a divinity be judged? This is simply me wondering if a deity can be judged by human standards. Can we point to actions done and say, "Well that was immoral"  If you can show me a being that is totally blameless I can agree with you on them being good but plenty of these deities are absolute monsters but we're told that we aren't allowed to judge them and that to think to do so is arrogance, I call it reason. Do as I say, not as I do is horrid for parents, dangerous for leaders and if a divine being claims that I'll tell them where they can head in.
As a matter of belief and logic, I do not think that an unjust God is worth believing in, and if the God I believe is not perfect, then his sacrifice on my behalf not good enough.

Joker wrote:
6) If there is an opposition force to the deity in question why doesn't it act directly in order to trick people, IE offer powers or claim to be a true deity? After all, such a thing would surely cause great anguish to the true deity or are we saying they aren't smart enough to do that? If I'm smarter than the opposition to your deity and/or if they don't have the ability to pull that off due to constraints then your deity is playing football against preschoolers
That could be answered any number of ways... Demons, bad theology that leads one astray, and even humanity's own pride trick people. If these are not "direct" enough, I don't know what else is...In any case, a good enemy would be more crafty and subtle, I think, such that he turns people against God such that the people blame God, blame other men, or simply reject God outright.

It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist. -Blaise Pascal


Ciarin
Theist
Ciarin's picture
Posts: 778
Joined: 2008-09-08
User is offlineOffline
1) I consider it a good

1) I consider it a good thing to study the world's religions.

 

2) This is why it's important to study the worldview of the people from that culture and time. Translations are subjective and it's good to read from variable translations to get a better idea of the text. It'd be even better to learn the ancient language the text is written in.

 

3) The ancient gods are still worshipped.

 

4) miracles are subjective.

 

5) divinity can be judged, just liek anything can be judged. Whether or not the judgment is accurate depends on the amount of information has about the subject.

 

6) some opposition forces to deities aren't necessarily deities. Some people do worship them though.


robj101
atheist
robj101's picture
Posts: 2481
Joined: 2010-02-20
User is offlineOffline
Wowzers1 wrote:Joker, I will

Wowzers1 wrote:

Joker, I will preface this by saying this: I want to answer your questions, not a start a debate. If you want to deal with one of these topics in particular, start a new thread for the particular topic.

 

 

el oh el

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


Joker
atheist
Joker's picture
Posts: 180
Joined: 2010-07-23
User is offlineOffline
@ Ciarin, let me start by

@ Ciarin, let me start by thanking you for answering, for 1 we seem to agree and for 2 I agree with you at least in some regards. Part of my problem is that if an entity is all powerful then shouldn't they be able to ensure that they won't be misinterpreted due to translation errors or malign focus? If they are not all powerful but merely very powerful, if they care about being worshiped why not send direct information to humanity complete with major events like lightning storms spelling out messages or something similar? I suppose you are correct in that many ancient faiths still exist but plenty have died out, been absorbed into other religions, or are simply lost to history. 

As to your point that miracles are subjective, while this is technically true I actually pointed out what I meant for quantifiable miracles. In most mythologies modern and otherwise deities aren't having a person 'miraculously' heal after seeing a doctor, we're seeing freak storms that fly out of nowhere or pillars of fire setting wet stones alight. We're talking about darkness that cloaks an area for days where none can find their way through it, or statues being made animate and alive. Yes, to some people the birth of a child is a miracle, that's lovely, but the problem is that in many of these tales the deities in question were happy to prove their divine mojo with some very big, very flashy, very obvious actions.

The Judgement comment seems to be a bit of a cop out in my view. If I remember your other posts I believe you are neo-pagan and many of the deities aren't of the 'do things this way exactly or get thrown into the furnace' that we see in western monotheism but their actions would still seem to have some kind of ability to be judged, correct? And as to your last one, I sort of get what you seem to be saying, but I'm not fully sure, in part because I don't fully know what your beliefs are so context might not be clear here for me.

@Wowzers, while I also want to thank you for answering I do find it interesting that you want to 'avoid an argument' on a forum that is based around debate and will likely see any requests for clarification that I have or problems with your answers as arguing. Fine, but I will point out areas where I disagree. On the first one, I can agree to an extent, but the problem is that how do you determine that? How can you be sure what books are more accurate and what religion is most likely? Do you focus more on accuracy or potential bad results if you're wrong? As to the second point, part of the problem is that the book you use has undergone multiple translations and many of them are imperfect, not to mention that many of the books in the new testament were written decades or more after the alleged events of the Nazarene. I am glad that you are willing to accept that your scriptures could be flawed, but then we get to the question of how or why an omnipotent being would allow the texts to be corrupted. For that matter, how do you know that your texts are accurate, you might need to do certain things or perform certain acts that got removed or mistranslated, or simply are not part of standard teachings.

As to the alleged resurrection of Jesus I have to ask what evidence you have that makes it a historical fact? If you only cite your scriptures then is it also historic fact that the Gods live on mount olympus and that due to the cries of an angered priest Apollo cut down dozens of Grecian soldiers with a speedy plague loosed from his bow? As to calling her healing from cancer miraculous I would have to ask for greater clarification on that. Are you saying that literally with no medical intervention, no chance at all her cancer just spontaneously went into remission or vanished entirely?

Your next answer gets you some credit from me since you are at least willing to admit that an unjust deity would be unworthy of worship, etc. I assume then that you also agree that any claimed divinity is subject to human judgement, is it not? Your last point works to an extent but why be subtle about turning man from the 'right' divinity? I mean if you have the ability to go 'follow me and you get powers and provable examples of my existence' then one would think that would get a rather large chunk of people on the ol' bandwagon.


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5095
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
What does this mean, Wows?

 

Wowzers1 wrote:

...even humanity's own pride trick people...

 

Now we can't trust our our judgments, our moral compasses, that everything that might suggest an alternative to entirely unsubstantiated dogma can be conveniently written off by thoughtless theists as no more than human 'pride'?

I'm extrapolating your few words into a broader argument with no input from you, granted, but given the vagaries of the word 'pride' as a sin, you can only be suggesting that attempts by humans to know things that lead them away from christian dogma actually constitute a crime.

Not for the first time I feel that christians and muslims should have to go without the fruits of science. They should live in bark humpies wearing toadskin jackets and should pray to their non existent god for a cure for heart disease, tinea and encroaching leprosy until they are cured of moral pride.

It's probably not occured to you and your subjective miracle worship Wows but one swallow doesn't make a summer. Every year using advances gleaned by painstaking empirical research doctors save the lives of tens of millions of people unrelated to you.

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Brian37
atheistSuperfan
Brian37's picture
Posts: 13547
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is onlineOnline
Ciarin wrote:1) I consider

Ciarin wrote:

1) I consider it a good thing to study the world's religions.

 

2) This is why it's important to study the worldview of the people from that culture and time. Translations are subjective and it's good to read from variable translations to get a better idea of the text. It'd be even better to learn the ancient language the text is written in.

 

3) The ancient gods are still worshipped.

 

4) miracles are subjective.

 

5) divinity can be judged, just liek anything can be judged. Whether or not the judgment is accurate depends on the amount of information has about the subject.

 

6) some opposition forces to deities aren't necessarily deities. Some people do worship them though.

There are no such thing as "miracles" and that is why they are subjective.

It is merely an ignorant way of saying, "Since I don't know that it was( or don't want to accept) merely circumstances, odds and luck, I'll falsely attribute it to magic".

It is merely reading magic into nature. It is gap filling when answers lack.

If you die from something funny how that suddenly is not a miracle.

This utopia gap filling  is caused by a bad sample rate. If you take a wide enough sample over a long period of time of similar events what you will see is a range of outcomes, none good or bad, having to do with "miracles".

If for example, 50 percent of passengers survive a plane crash, some call that a "miracle".

If only one passenger dies, they call that a "miracle".

If only one passenger survives they call that a "miracle".

SO OF COURSE it is subjective because it has nothing to do with science, and the multiple countless factors, such as the plane's mechanical safety record, pilot experience, weather conditions, angle of impact ect ect ect. THOSE determine how the outcome will end up, not finger crossing or invisible deities, prayer or 4 leaf clovers or lucky socks.

"Miracle" is the word used by the ignorant who just shit their pants because they almost died. The rationalist may still shit their pants, but simply say, "I got lucky".

Using words like "miracle" is like using a Kaliedescope to look at the stars. What we use to minimize  future plane crashes are the black boxes and study of the data, not prayer, not polytheistic gods, not new age gods, not superstition of any kind.

People die in plane crashes because planes crash. People survive plane crashes because of pilot training and technology, not "miracles".

I loved Sully's response after the Hudson landing when asked if he said a prayer, he said, "I didn't have time to". I am glad he didn't in an event like that he didn't have time to take his mind of the task at hand, FOR ANYTHING, much less a stupid superstition.

Clarion, you may not subscribe to the most popular myths today, but you are not in any different of a boat than any other. If you think "miracle" is a credible word to measure reality, you really need to rethink that. If it were credible, you wouldn't have to use such a dodge by calling it "subjective". Black boxes are not subjective and I am glad we have that data so we can learn from accidents and not depend on placebos.

 

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


Wowzers1
Theist
Wowzers1's picture
Posts: 312
Joined: 2011-04-03
User is offlineOffline
Joker wrote:@Wowzers, while

Joker wrote:

@Wowzers, while I also want to thank you for answering I do find it interesting that you want to 'avoid an argument' on a forum that is based around debate and will likely see any requests for clarification that I have or problems with your answers as arguing. Fine, but I will point out areas where I disagree. On the first one, I can agree to an extent, but the problem is that how do you determine that? How can you be sure what books are more accurate and what religion is most likely? Do you focus more on accuracy or potential bad results if you're wrong? As to the second point, part of the problem is that the book you use has undergone multiple translations and many of them are imperfect, not to mention that many of the books in the new testament were written decades or more after the alleged events of the Nazarene. I am glad that you are willing to accept that your scriptures could be flawed, but then we get to the question of how or why an omnipotent being would allow the texts to be corrupted. For that matter, how do you know that your texts are accurate, you might need to do certain things or perform certain acts that got removed or mistranslated, or simply are not part of standard teachings.

If you want to start a discussion on one of the issue, start a thread for it... Is that not what I said? Having an open ended thread like this is likely to get muddy really fast. I'm not wanting to "avoid and argument", rather focus on a single issue, that's all.

It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist. -Blaise Pascal


Wowzers1
Theist
Wowzers1's picture
Posts: 312
Joined: 2011-04-03
User is offlineOffline
Atheistextremist wrote:Now

Atheistextremist wrote:

Now we can't trust our our judgments, our moral compasses, that everything that might suggest an alternative to entirely unsubstantiated dogma can be conveniently written off by thoughtless theists as no more than human 'pride'?

For clarity's sake, This issue is humility -- Not being willing to admit one is wrong is the pride to which I'm alluding to. I don't think all pride is bad.

Atheistextremist wrote:
It's probably not occured to you and your subjective miracle worship Wows but one swallow doesn't make a summer. Every year using advances gleaned by painstaking empirical research doctors save the lives of tens of millions of people unrelated to you.

If you want do discuss this, raise the issue on the thread created for it...

It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is incomprehensible that he should not exist. -Blaise Pascal


Ciarin
Theist
Ciarin's picture
Posts: 778
Joined: 2008-09-08
User is offlineOffline
Brian37 wrote:There are no

Brian37 wrote:

There are no such thing as "miracles" and that is why they are subjective.

 

It's a good thing we have a word for it then.

 

Quote:

It is merely an ignorant way of saying, "Since I don't know that it was( or don't want to accept) merely circumstances, odds and luck, I'll falsely attribute it to magic".

 

Or it's just an expression.

 

Quote:

It is merely reading magic into nature. It is gap filling when answers lack.

 

Not necessarily.

 

Quote:

If you die from something funny how that suddenly is not a miracle.

 

Maybe not to you, but to someone else it might be.

 

Quote:

This utopia gap filling  is caused by a bad sample rate. If you take a wide enough sample over a long period of time of similar events what you will see is a range of outcomes, none good or bad, having to do with "miracles".

 

This is irrelevant.

 

Quote:

If for example, 50 percent of passengers survive a plane crash, some call that a "miracle".

If only one passenger dies, they call that a "miracle".

If only one passenger survives they call that a "miracle".

SO OF COURSE it is subjective because it has nothing to do with science, and the multiple countless factors, such as the plane's mechanical safety record, pilot experience, weather conditions, angle of impact ect ect ect. THOSE determine how the outcome will end up, not finger crossing or invisible deities, prayer or 4 leaf clovers or lucky socks.

 

Yes, it's subjective, like I said. Glad you agree with me on that.

 

Quote:

"Miracle" is the word used by the ignorant who just shit their pants because they almost died. The rationalist may still shit their pants, but simply say, "I got lucky".

 

Not necessarily.

 

Quote:

Using words like "miracle" is like using a Kaliedescope to look at the stars. What we use to minimize  future plane crashes are the black boxes and study of the data, not prayer, not polytheistic gods, not new age gods, not superstition of any kind.

 

It's a good thing no one is making that argument then.

 

Quote:

People die in plane crashes because planes crash. People survive plane crashes because of pilot training and technology, not "miracles".

 

Some people might consider them miracles though. Hence the subjective bit.

 

Quote:

I loved Sully's response after the Hudson landing when asked if he said a prayer, he said, "I didn't have time to". I am glad he didn't in an event like that he didn't have time to take his mind of the task at hand, FOR ANYTHING, much less a stupid superstition.

 

I agree about the efficacy of prayer.

 

Quote:

Clarion,

 

I know I'm not Clarion, but I decided to answer anyway, since you quoted me.

 

Quote:
you may not subscribe to the most popular myths today, but you are not in any different of a boat than any other.

 

My boat has an awesome dragon head on the prow.

 

Quote:

If you think "miracle" is a credible word to measure reality,

 

If you think I do, then you are mistaken, as usual.

 

Quote:

you really need to rethink that.

 

You probably need to rethink you're whole argument. I don't believe in miracles.

 

Quote:

If it were credible, you wouldn't have to use such a dodge by calling it "subjective". Black boxes are not subjective and I am glad we have that data so we can learn from accidents and not depend on placebos.

 

I'm not dodging. Miracles are subjective.

 

Typical failsauce argument Bryan.


Presuppositionalist
Theist
Presuppositionalist's picture
Posts: 344
Joined: 2007-05-21
User is offlineOffline
 My religion has the

 My religion has the prerequisites for understanding the universe, and the others don't, etc., etc., I'm right, etc.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


Joker
atheist
Joker's picture
Posts: 180
Joined: 2010-07-23
User is offlineOffline
Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

 My religion has the prerequisites for understanding the universe, and the others don't, etc., etc., I'm right, etc.

 

I'm unsure if you're giving me a straw-theist answer because you think I expect it, if you're just doing it to be snarky, or if you honestly believe it.