A variation on Pascals Wager and logical conclusions thereof

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A variation on Pascals Wager and logical conclusions thereof

(This admittedly avoids theists that have faiths that are not exclusionary and/or promises of good or punishing afterlives, though they are of course free to weigh in)

I'm sure this was brought up more than once before but I got into a discussion recently and wanted to see what others thought, and what theists might think about it. A basic question has to do with a slight variation on Pascals Wager, or at least how it's frequently used. The basic idea being of course that you should believe in a higher power and assent to its demands because if you're wrong, well there's no problem and if you're right there is a chance of reward. If you refuse to believe, then if you're wrong there is a great risk and there is no problem if you're right. What I find fascinating in this is that it is rarely applied outside the main religion or considered how it worked when used on similar principles by various pogroms instigated by protestant against catholic and catholic against protestant.

To put it another way, how do you know your religion is right, after all there are dozens of faiths out there, and there are statistically more people out of your faith than in it. What I mean in that is that most christians have denominations, baptist, lutheran, catholic, methodist, episcopal, etc. And the denominations might not seem like a huge deal but they were apparently distinct and different enough that it warranted various splits and theological changes and most people wouldn't happily jump to a different one if they were happy with theirs. Wo how can you know that yours is the right one? Do we go by which one is oldest? Which one has the largest number of converts? Perhaps study genetic makeup, intelligence, wealth and social placement among each group (after all if there is an omniscient all powerful being presumably those that please it most would have the best traits it could offer and show signs of its favor, see also the divine right of kings). Too simplistic or arbitrary? How about a genuine miracle-off. We set up a panel of judges and device a series of tests and opposing miracles, things that can be shown to genuinely work and not just be a random act of fate or blind luck nor be attributed to human action/intervention. Now let's also remember the other faiths, and we need to remember that whatever divinity we're trying to understand, if it cares, should have some good means of communication, after all if it cares about its creation it would need to be able to communicate clearly and provide information to its prophets that are correct and consistent. Maybe we study and compare religious texts, check them for internal consistency, consistency to the modern world, etc. It also has to be able to function in any translation, an all powerful being that genuinely cares wouldn't give us information that went haywire due to translation errors nor would it require a special scholar to decode it (though for dead languages it can be used for the purposes of clarification). 

Now we go to the next question, if you truly believe as you do that yours is correct and that there is a great punishment awaiting those that are wrong, and that ignorance won't save anyone then why aren't you doing more? This goes beyond proselytizing, shouldn't you be forcing conversions at weaponpoint? Or at least arguing for it, after all their literal immortal essence is on the line, why aren't you arguing that maybe your faith should consider kidnapping, brainwashing, etc? I would deplore such activities but that's also because I don't believe this stuff. Shouldn't you be sharing the knowledge if its true by any means necessary? If it's against what your deity wants then why can't they be a bit more overt in showing their power and existence? Now this also could mean that there are many competing pantheons with limited powers, if so wouldn't showing off abilities and offering what they could for believers be a wiser role if they merely want more people in their particular house of worship? Or why not have your deity insurmountably prove itself, cause the sahara to bloom without scientific aid overnight, or get rid of a major problem for humanity as proof of its existence and benevolence?

And to ask it differently, how many theists really do believe? I mean if you think there is a risk shouldn't you be running around comparing doctrines with a critical eye. Be skeptical of ALL faiths since any one of them could be wrong and then go to whichever one stands up under scrutiny and has proper internal logic? If anything one would think that atheists would be sought out to argue and debunk the best arguments for each faith in order to find the right one, after all in the face of our harshest critics we often find our weaknesses and are able to grow stronger from them. Just a thought.


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My apologies on the stuff on

My apologies on the stuff on the top, my computer needed to restart for an update so I did a quick copy paste into word then back out, if anyone could edit out that giant table at the top and the bracketed stuff I'd appreciate it.


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You might be able to do it

You might be able to do it yourself. Editting op's is slightly different than responses. Instead of the edit button being at the bottom of the post, it is at the top.

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I agree theists would behave

I agree theists would behave quite differently if they did actually believe. As annoying as many hard core 'believers' are, it would be a million times worse if they actually did believe what the claim to believe.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:I agree theists

EXC wrote:

I agree theists would behave quite differently if they did actually believe. As annoying as many hard core 'believers' are, it would be a million times worse if they actually did believe what the claim to believe.

True enough.

It always irritates me, when debating certain fanatical theists, that will say " I KNOW there is a god,".

Really ? I always have to ask. Then I add to that : Then why do you call your religion a faith ? After all, faith/knowledge are two very different things.

When some of these people have to shout that they KNOW about god, I wonder who they are trying to convince ? Me ? Or themselves ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Well that touches on a

Well that touches on a problem I have with religious faith. I don't believe you can have faith if you don't at least know there is a god. The faith comes in when you decide to believe the god is good and loves you. That the god has a plan and you trust in it (have faith) that it is good. Without at least knowing there is a god, I cannot have faith in one. It is impossible.

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Vastet wrote:Well that

Vastet wrote:
Well that touches on a problem I have with religious faith. I don't believe you can have faith if you don't at least know there is a god. The faith comes in when you decide to believe the god is good and loves you. That the god has a plan and you trust in it (have faith) that it is good. Without at least knowing there is a god, I cannot have faith in one. It is impossible.

You have got a good point there.

I hate it when theists try to give me crap about : Well, you believe that your motorcycle will crank in the morning, so that means that you have faith in something.

That is a bullshit fallacy of equivocation.

I can SEE my motorcycle, I think it is going to crank because I work on it, maintenance it, take care of it and it cranks 99%  of the time. By theist reasoning, sometimes the motorcycle will crank and sometimes it will not.

I could give several other examples, but you get the idea of what I am talking about, I am sure.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:Vastet

harleysportster wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Well that touches on a problem I have with religious faith. I don't believe you can have faith if you don't at least know there is a god. The faith comes in when you decide to believe the god is good and loves you. That the god has a plan and you trust in it (have faith) that it is good. Without at least knowing there is a god, I cannot have faith in one. It is impossible.

You have got a good point there.

I hate it when theists try to give me crap about : Well, you believe that your motorcycle will crank in the morning, so that means that you have faith in something.

That is a bullshit fallacy of equivocation.

I can SEE my motorcycle, I think it is going to crank because I work on it, maintenance it, take care of it and it cranks 99%  of the time. By theist reasoning, sometimes the motorcycle will crank and sometimes it will not.

I could give several other examples, but you get the idea of what I am talking about, I am sure.

Even if you ignore the clear stretching of the context, it is failing to acknowledge clearly different usages of the word 'faith'.

1. The everyday usage, as 'trust' in a person or thing, when you have insufficient real evidence, but maybe some emotional or loyalty reason to give them your trust.

2. The religious usage, which is totally emotional, held to even in the face of counter evidence. A kind of test of your commitment to the Deity of choice.

Of course in the case of your motorcycle starting, you have a pretty reasonable, justified confidence that it will start, based on experience, so even (1) doesn't really apply.

You could also see it as conflating 'faith' and 'belief' - faith is belief, but not all belief is faith. Faith specifically refers to 'belief' with little or no real evidence or objective justification.

It also involves another issue that I am seeing more and more as important in theist 'reasoning', the inability/unwillingness to grasp that knowledge is not absolute, and does not need to be, to be perfectly adequate for going about our life. They insist that any uncertainty means you don't really 'know', therefore you are acting on 'faith'. They cannot grasp the realities of degrees of confidence as part of all 'knowledge' of reality, as all we have, all we can have.

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

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Phillip J. Fry
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A Christian Perspective on Faith

harleysporster wrote:
Then why do you call your religion a faith ? After all, faith/knowledge are two very different things.

I am a Christian and I don’t call my belief a faith (this word has become way too overused ambiguous and unclear). I also don’t call my belief a religion either for the same reason
Vastet wrote:
Without at least knowing there is a god, I cannot have faith in one. It is impossible.
I Agree
BobSpence wrote:
1. The everyday usage, as 'trust' in a person or thing, when you have insufficient real evidence, but maybe some emotional or loyalty reason to give them your trust.
2. The religious usage, which is totally emotional, held to even in the face of counter evidence. A kind of test of your commitment to the Deity of choice.

I agree that both definitions 1 and 2 are commonly understood definitions of the word faith. However I do not think either of these definitions are suitable in relation to how the word faith is used within the context of the Bible.
Below is a discussion I wrote recently for another purpose which I thought I would share here if it helps contribute to this discussion on the Christian use of the word Faith – it basically summarises my personal understanding of a correct Christian definition of the word ‘faith’ as understood from the context of the Bible. This is obviously reasonably long – so if you don’t find it of interest please ignore it Smiling

_____________________________


Faith is a word that has been given many different meanings over the years which had caused much confusion and disagreement in relation to a correct understanding of how the word faith is used within the Bible.


Some people see faith as meaning a belief that something is true without material evidence to support that belief – a.k.a. “taking a leap of faith”. This interpretation sees faith as something totally separate from knowledge – based purely on emotion – an irrational hope. This definition of the word faith can be seen as a stubborn assertion of a belief - even despite evidence to the contry. Based on this definition, faith would be something you could never be 100% certain about – as it cannot be proven with evidence. It would always just be an optimistic perspective on things.
 

The word faith is also commonly applied to religious contexts - referring to someone’s relationship with respect to their particular deity – e.g. “I have ‘faith’ in God/Jesus/Mohammad etc...  Because of this, faith can sometimes even be used to describe an attribute that we must acquire in order to hold some status in relation to your particular deity e.g. – “You just need to have more faith” or “That person is a man of great faith”. With this definition faith almost becomes a commodity that must be collected and held in order to hold status amongst your fellow theist peers (Something like gaining experience points and leveling up in video games).


While these are all correct definitions of how the word faith is used in everyday speech, the problem is that these definitions are all very different to how the word faith is used in the bible. In the bible the word faith is used to convey the action of trusting a person. The translators of the English versions of the bible also use the words trust, believe and rely – in addition to the word faith in their translations to convey a similar meaning to the root words used in the original.
The most important difference with the Bible’s definition of faith, is that faith is an action, it is not a thing. We do not acquire faith like we acquire money or stuff. We show faith in our actions. If you said that you trusted your friend was a great driver but would never let him drive your own car when he asks to borrow it, your actions would show that you didn’t really trust his driving. In the same way if someone claims to have faith or trust in God and His promises, but clearly is not living in a way that shows that he truly believes that God will keep those promises – then it is clear to everyone that that persons faith (or trust) in God is fake, and is not genuine.   


The second important thing about how the word faith is used in the bible is that it is almost always used in relation to a person – not in relation to an object. The common usage of faith in the bible is particularly to have faith in God (who is like a person), rather than having faith in inanimate objects like tables or chairs. Even though using this definition of faith (a.k.a. trust), in relation to inanimate objects is technically correct (e.g. I have faith/trust that this chair will support me) this is not how the word faith is commonly used in the Bible – it is used in relation to people and God. This is an important distinction to make, because the action of trusting a chair is quite different to the action of trusting a person or God.  So the Bible’s use of the word faith is much closer to how we use the word faith in our everyday relationships with people – rather than having the additional religious connotations that this word has been given in recent years.


We use the word faith-ful to describe people who show faith – and by this we mean that people who have shown themselves to be reliable, trustworthy and dependable – and because of this we can have confidence that they will continue to keep their promises. This is why in relation to marriage people who are faithful spouses are spouses who keep their wedding vows – they can be trusted. If they were un-faithful and broke their wedding vows it would be much harder to continue trusting (or having faith in) them.
 

The Bible is very clear that when we have faith in a person, or in God – we are taking the action of trusting that person or trusting God. Now when we decide to trust someone this decision should not be made without knowledge – as the alternate definitions of faith might suggest. If we just trusted every single person we met without thinking at all about whether they deserve to be trusted or not – we would probably find that we would eventually be betrayed, cheated, tricked, deceived or ripped off at one point or another. Our trust of a person should be based on good evidence on the character, personality, reliability and trustworthiness of that person. We need to look at the evidence of the persons past behavior and assess their credibility before we decide to trust them in the future. We must see if they have delivered on keeping their promises consistently – whether they have a good track record or whether they have been shown to be dishonest or unreliable. Only then should we decide to trust them. Therefore once we have made a decision to trust someone we can have some confidence in our decision as it is based on the evidence of our knowledge of that person – rather than being based on nothing. 


However, it would be incorrect to say that our faith or trust in a person is solely based on knowledge and our rational response. This is because humans are not just rational/logical beings (Vulcans) – we are also emotional beings, and our emotions will almost always have some effect on how we relate to others. How we feel about someone will alter our decision as to whether or not we will trust them. This emotional response can sometimes even outweigh the rational response in our decision making process. For example you would probably be much more likely to forgive a close family member if they continually failed to keep a promise, than to forgive a loose acquaintance (with the same track record as your family member) who failed to do the exact same thing. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but if we let this emotional response dominate our decision making process, this can also be quite unhelpful. However it does not mean the emotional response should be dismissed all together - as our emotions are still very important to us – you would not give up on a family member just because they had a record of making bad choices and are rationally ‘untrustworthy’. So, because our emotions are also important to us also, it is good to consider both our emotional response and our rational response with respect to the people we choose to trust. However both of these responses need to be kept in balance.


In the Bible the same concept of how we have faith in/trust people is applied to how we should have faith in/trust God. We should not trust God without first rationally considering our knowledge about Him and assessing the evidence of His past behavior, character, personality, reliability, credibility, consistency and trustworthiness. The God of the Bible claims to be perfectly trustworthy and claims he has and will keep every promise he has made. The Bible also claims that this Gods faithfulness has been clearly demonstrated through the history of the Israelites people and in the life and work of Jesus Christ – all of which can be examined and tested today. It is also important to consider what our emotional response to God is – is it hostile, neutral or positive? The Bible claims that everybody’s natural emotional response towards God is hostile – and that this hostility even causes some people (a.k.a. atheists) to deny the very existence of this God  (And also dismiss this alleged hostility towards a non-existent God as illogical).


Once all this is considered people can make an informed decision with a degree of confidence – weather or not they choose to trust this God or not.  I have found this God to be trustworthy based on His character and behavior – and based on this evidence, I trust (have faith in) this God.
 


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Fry, (damn I hate seeing

Fry, (damn I hate seeing that avatar and name associated with Christianity...)

your description of 'faith' seems fairly close to my defn. 1, as applied to a person. And I certainly agree that the trust-worthiness of a person should be judged by their actions rather than their words.

Although you do claim you have strong evidence/justification for your 'fsith' in God. I see little or no justification for your confidence that you actually have knowledge about him, how you can know that your knowledge is certain to a high degree, not just mistaken beliefs and assumptions?

The Bible is a very poor basis, since much of its history is being increasingly being thrown into serious question from modern archeological studies, especially the whole story of the Israelites and the Exodus. Although to me, what is described in the bible, pretty much throughout the whole OT, makes God an abominable creature, not worthy of 'faith' in the slightest degree.

Don't twist this as me 'hating' God, I just find it a bit bizarre that people can accept such stories as in any sense demonstrating the loving or just nature of the being they claim has created everything and has total power over all.

The rest of history, and the nature of the environment this assumed being has supposedly created for us, I find only reinforces my assessment.

I was wondering what purported actions of this assumed being you find make him most worthy of your faith?

 

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:Fry, (damn

BobSpence1 wrote:

Fry, (damn I hate seeing that avatar and name associated with Christianity...)

Take some comfort from the fact that the cartoon character's creator is an atheist.  Oh, I'm sorry, he publically claims being an agnostic.   That's the buzz word for, "I'm an atheist but I don't want to talk about religion. So I'm an agnostic." No really, that means that person doesn't believe in a god.   By definition Atheist.   I am myself an agnostic atheist like 95% of all the atheists I've ever met.

We just blurt out the word agnostic without mentioning atheist to not get involved in a discussion.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


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What a huge amount of waffle

What a huge amount of waffle aimed solely at missing the point. You assume your god exists (and that no other faither's does). Well, if your god exists then trusting it will be a damn good idea because it is going to wipe the bloody floor with you if you don't. Trust his word on that, it shows in his record; presumably parts you like to ignore. Your "faith based on rationality" is entirely circular.

Meanwhile, may we do without the usual straw man that atheists "deny the very existence of this god"? That is an anti-theist position, where the "a" in atheism means "without".

Question time, I guess. What are the properties of your god, and how do you know?

Please be brief, and skip bible quotes or we will quote some other bits back at you.

 


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Pacioli wrote:What a huge

Pacioli wrote:

What a huge amount of waffle aimed solely at missing the point. You assume your god exists (and that no other faither's does). Well, if your god exists then trusting it will be a damn good idea because it is going to wipe the bloody floor with you if you don't. Trust his word on that, it shows in his record; presumably parts you like to ignore. Your "faith based on rationality" is entirely circular.

Meanwhile, may we do without the usual straw man that atheists "deny the very existence of this god"? That is an anti-theist position, where the "a" in atheism means "without".

Question time, I guess. What are the properties of your god, and how do you know?

Please be brief, and skip bible quotes or we will quote some other bits back at you.

 

Exactly.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Phillip J. Fry

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


Faith is a word that has been given many different meanings over the years which had caused much confusion and disagreement in relation to a correct understanding of how the word faith is used within the Bible.


Some people see faith as meaning a belief that something is true without material evidence to support that belief – a.k.a. “taking a leap of faith”. This interpretation sees faith as something totally separate from knowledge – based purely on emotion – an irrational hope. This definition of the word faith can be seen as a stubborn assertion of a belief - even despite evidence to the contry. Based on this definition, faith would be something you could never be 100% certain about – as it cannot be proven with evidence. It would always just be an optimistic perspective on things.
 

The word faith is also commonly applied to religious contexts - referring to someone’s relationship with respect to their particular deity – e.g. “I have ‘faith’ in God/Jesus/Mohammad etc...  Because of this, faith can sometimes even be used to describe an attribute that we must acquire in order to hold some status in relation to your particular deity e.g. – “You just need to have more faith” or “That person is a man of great faith”. With this definition faith almost becomes a commodity that must be collected and held in order to hold status amongst your fellow theist peers (Something like gaining experience points and leveling up in video games).


While these are all correct definitions of how the word faith is used in everyday speech, the problem is that these definitions are all very different to how the word faith is used in the bible. In the bible the word faith is used to convey the action of trusting a person. The translators of the English versions of the bible also use the words trust, believe and rely – in addition to the word faith in their translations to convey a similar meaning to the root words used in the original.
The most important difference with the Bible’s definition of faith, is that faith is an action, it is not a thing. We do not acquire faith like we acquire money or stuff. We show faith in our actions. If you said that you trusted your friend was a great driver but would never let him drive your own car when he asks to borrow it, your actions would show that you didn’t really trust his driving. In the same way if someone claims to have faith or trust in God and His promises, but clearly is not living in a way that shows that he truly believes that God will keep those promises – then it is clear to everyone that that persons faith (or trust) in God is fake, and is not genuine.   


The second important thing about how the word faith is used in the bible is that it is almost always used in relation to a person – not in relation to an object. The common usage of faith in the bible is particularly to have faith in God (who is like a person), rather than having faith in inanimate objects like tables or chairs. Even though using this definition of faith (a.k.a. trust), in relation to inanimate objects is technically correct (e.g. I have faith/trust that this chair will support me) this is not how the word faith is commonly used in the Bible – it is used in relation to people and God. This is an important distinction to make, because the action of trusting a chair is quite different to the action of trusting a person or God.  So the Bible’s use of the word faith is much closer to how we use the word faith in our everyday relationships with people – rather than having the additional religious connotations that this word has been given in recent years.


We use the word faith-ful to describe people who show faith – and by this we mean that people who have shown themselves to be reliable, trustworthy and dependable – and because of this we can have confidence that they will continue to keep their promises. This is why in relation to marriage people who are faithful spouses are spouses who keep their wedding vows – they can be trusted. If they were un-faithful and broke their wedding vows it would be much harder to continue trusting (or having faith in) them.
 

The Bible is very clear that when we have faith in a person, or in God – we are taking the action of trusting that person or trusting God. Now when we decide to trust someone this decision should not be made without knowledge – as the alternate definitions of faith might suggest. If we just trusted every single person we met without thinking at all about whether they deserve to be trusted or not – we would probably find that we would eventually be betrayed, cheated, tricked, deceived or ripped off at one point or another. Our trust of a person should be based on good evidence on the character, personality, reliability and trustworthiness of that person. We need to look at the evidence of the persons past behavior and assess their credibility before we decide to trust them in the future. We must see if they have delivered on keeping their promises consistently – whether they have a good track record or whether they have been shown to be dishonest or unreliable. Only then should we decide to trust them. Therefore once we have made a decision to trust someone we can have some confidence in our decision as it is based on the evidence of our knowledge of that person – rather than being based on nothing. 


However, it would be incorrect to say that our faith or trust in a person is solely based on knowledge and our rational response. This is because humans are not just rational/logical beings (Vulcans) – we are also emotional beings, and our emotions will almost always have some effect on how we relate to others. How we feel about someone will alter our decision as to whether or not we will trust them. This emotional response can sometimes even outweigh the rational response in our decision making process. For example you would probably be much more likely to forgive a close family member if they continually failed to keep a promise, than to forgive a loose acquaintance (with the same track record as your family member) who failed to do the exact same thing. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but if we let this emotional response dominate our decision making process, this can also be quite unhelpful. However it does not mean the emotional response should be dismissed all together - as our emotions are still very important to us – you would not give up on a family member just because they had a record of making bad choices and are rationally ‘untrustworthy’. So, because our emotions are also important to us also, it is good to consider both our emotional response and our rational response with respect to the people we choose to trust. However both of these responses need to be kept in balance.


In the Bible the same concept of how we have faith in/trust people is applied to how we should have faith in/trust God. We should not trust God without first rationally considering our knowledge about Him and assessing the evidence of His past behavior, character, personality, reliability, credibility, consistency and trustworthiness. The God of the Bible claims to be perfectly trustworthy and claims he has and will keep every promise he has made. The Bible also claims that this Gods faithfulness has been clearly demonstrated through the history of the Israelites people and in the life and work of Jesus Christ – all of which can be examined and tested today. It is also important to consider what our emotional response to God is – is it hostile, neutral or positive? The Bible claims that everybody’s natural emotional response towards God is hostile – and that this hostility even causes some people (a.k.a. atheists) to deny the very existence of this God  (And also dismiss this alleged hostility towards a non-existent God as illogical).


Once all this is considered people can make an informed decision with a degree of confidence – weather or not they choose to trust this God or not.  I have found this God to be trustworthy based on His character and behavior – and based on this evidence, I trust (have faith in) this God.
 

IOW, you hope the bible is true....yawn...

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

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" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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So Fry, would you be willing

So Fry, would you be willing to address any of the points or questions I brought up in the original post? Or are you the first and last theist in this thread?


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Joker wrote:So Fry, would

Joker wrote:
So Fry, would you be willing to address any of the points or questions I brought up in the original post? Or are you the first and last theist in this thread?

I apologise for not addressing the OP as well – I was just responding to the comments on faith. So I will attempt to address that now.

I don’t think Pascals Wager necessarily a is a very good reason for people to adopt Christianity or any other belief for that matter. This is because the motivation is solely fear so there is very little hope or comfort regardless of which option is selected.

While my God certainly demands and deserves to be respected, my God has also shown himself to be loving and generous too - so this should also be considered in someone’s motivation for following such a God. I think that simply giving into threats/ intimidation is a terrible reason for following someone. I am motivated out of thankfulness not fear.

The only time that I have seen the concept of Pascals wager used outside of religious contexts is with respect to global warming (Although I don’t think it works very well). Basically it was presented like this> if global warming is true and we don’t do anything that will result in a very bad outcome for everyone, therefore we should spend heaps of money trying to fix the things we think cause global warming just in case it is true. If it turns out global warming isn’t happening than all we have wastes is some money.

How do I know my belief is correct? I don’t know absolutely 100% that my belief is correct just like everyone else on the planet. My belief is based on trusting the truthfulness of various evidence, and people, and also the people who have collected and recorded that evidence. I have looked at various theory’s that explain how and why the world functions. In my opinion the Bible provides the best explanation.

I terms of the various Christian denominations I can agree with the majority of the doctrine of a lot of protestant denominations, and I disagree with others as well. There are some doctrines within my own denomination that I disagree with. All denominations are flawed – but that doesn’t really matter anyway. A denomination does not make a church – People make a church. You get good Christians in some churches and you get Bad Christians in others – denomination really has very little to do with it. My God could’t care less about which denomination you say you are – all He cares about is How you respond to his Son Jesus. Denominations are human inventions.
I get my doctrine/belief from God directly via his Word.

No-one has any unique traits or attributes that would make them more favourable to God. We are all Gods enemies and Highly unfavourable to him.
 

As for a ‘miracle-off’ - Gods already done that (see 1 Kings 18). God gets bored with doing reruns.

God does cares about his creation and has communicated thoroughly and very clearly with us.

Joker wrote:
“Maybe we study and compare religious texts, check them for internal consistency, consistency to the modern world”


Sounds like a good place to start

You make a lot of assumptions and apply a lot of limitations concerning how a powerful God is required to function which I don’t think you are in a position to make. Who is to say any God has to be bound by our rules and definitions of things?

Of course I believe my belief is true – otherwise I wouldn’t believe it. This means I believe in judgement & hell. That is why I am willing to go online and talk with random people who live on the other side of the world to me (except Bob), about what my belief would mean for you - if it is true


As for militarising evangelism, brain washing, kidnapping etc.. these approaches are condemned by the bible – which is why I would not use these methods. These methods also fail to recognise how people come to trust in God – I cant do anything to change your mind while you are hostile to God – only He can do anything. No amount of logic or force is going to genuinely change someone’s mind.

Joker wrote:
“why can't they be a bit more overt in showing their power and existence?”


He has already shown his power sufficiently in resurrecting Jesus – if you won’t accept this evidence you won’t accept any amount evidence.

Joker wrote:
“Now this also could mean that there are many competing pantheons with limited powers, if so wouldn't showing off abilities and offering what they could for believers be a wiser role if they merely want more people in their particular house of worship? “


All other created beings apart from God – Satan, Demons etc are all completely under Gods authority – God is not intimidated or jealos of them – so why would he feel like he needs to prove his power compared to them.

Joker wrote:
Or why not have your deity insurmountably prove itself, cause the sahara to bloom without scientific aid overnight?


As I said before he has already provided enough evidence in resurrecting Jesus – Most people deny the evidence because they are biased against God

Joker wrote:
“I mean if you think there is a risk shouldn't you be running around comparing doctrines with a critical eye.”


This is a very good approach – one that is encouraged multiple times in the bible. This is what I do. In my experience the Bible has held its ground

Joker wrote:
If anything one would think that atheists would be sought out to argue and debunk the best arguments for each faith in order to find the right one, after all in the face of our harshest critics we often find our weaknesses and are able to grow stronger from them. Just a thought.


This is one of the reasons I Joined the atheist forum and not a theist one – I appreciate the critical scrutiny of my own belief because it helps me to consider aspects which I have not considered before.
 

 


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Phillip J. Fry wrote:God

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
God gets bored with doing reruns.

 Your god gets bored, you say? Interesting....

I'm thinking of a two words. One starts with an A, the other with an H.  We'll focus on the A word first. Any guesses? Give up?

 According to www.dictionary.com the definition of anthropomorphism goes as follows: 

anthropomorphism

-N  The attribution of human form or behavior to a deity, animal, etc.

It seems to me that boredom is a very human emotion/state of being and by anthropomorphizing your god you are assigning him human limitations. Well, FANCY THAT!?!? It was my humble understanding that your god was supposed to be beyond mere human emotion (if we are to exclude the whole of the OT). Perhaps I was incorrect! If he is NOT beyond mere human emotion (assuming that he exists)...well...absolute power corrupts absolutely, no? Add that to emotions like boredom, jealousy, hatred, etc and that might make for a mighty scary character to be in control of things, don't you think? If he does exist and your assertions are correct, we ought to be focusing on doing something about this character asap before he/she/it has a bad day.

Then you go on to say of Joker:

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
You make a lot of assumptions and apply a lot of limitations concerning how a powerful God is required to function which I don’t think you are in a position to make. Who is to say any God has to be bound by our rules and definitions of things?

But...wait...didn't you just do that in asserting that god was bored? Which brings us to the H word. Can you guess it yet?

As to the actual power of your god, I believe I will stand on the shoulders of a giant and leave you with a quote to ponder.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?-Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC)

 

 

 

 

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


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Phillip J. Fry wrote: While

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
 

While my God certainly demands and deserves to be respected, my God has also shown himself to be loving and generous too - so this should also be considered in someone’s motivation for following such a God. I think that simply giving into threats/ intimidation is a terrible reason for following someone. I am motivated out of thankfulness not fear. 

 

So hellfire, and condemnation had nothing to do with it right  ?

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


How do I know my belief is correct? I don’t know absolutely 100% that my belief is correct just like everyone else on the planet. My belief is based on trusting the truthfulness of various evidence, and people, and also the people who have collected and recorded that evidence. I have looked at various theory’s that explain how and why the world functions. In my opinion the Bible provides the best explanation.

Is that in the literal sense that the world was spoken into existence in seven days or do you see the bible in terms of symbolism ? Do you accept or deny the theories of evolution, DNA testing, the Large Haldron Collider Theory, the Big Bang  theory, astrophysics, string theory, M-theory or the possibilities of science ? Or do you take the creationist standpoint ?

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


I get my doctrine/belief from God directly via his Word.

No-one has any unique traits or attributes that would make them more favourable to God. We are all Gods enemies and Highly unfavourable to him. 
 

As for a ‘miracle-off’ - Gods already done that (see 1 Kings 18). God gets bored with doing reruns.

God does cares about his creation and has communicated thoroughly and very clearly with us.

First you said that we are all god's enemies and highly unfavorable to him and now you say that god does care about his creations. If he cared about his creations, why should he consider them enemies ? Did he not give us the attributes, that makes us his enemies ?
 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

You make a lot of assumptions and apply a lot of limitations concerning how a powerful God is required to function which I don’t think you are in a position to make. Who is to say any God has to be bound by our rules and definitions of things?

Yet that is exactly what you have been doing.  Now, although you will say that your getting your inspiration from the bible, please explain to me why so many different christian sects, all with VERY different ideas, all claim to have the TRUE word and all others to be interpreting it wrong ? Seems like if god wanted to communicate with us, he would have left clear cut instructions, with no room for interpretation, error, or misrepresentation. Could have saved thousands of years of Protestants/Catholics killing one another.  I am sure you have read about all of the Lutheran burnings that took place at the time of the reformation, Queen Mary's mass execution of protestants, Elizabeth's mass persecution of Catholics, The northern Ireland conflict and countless others. That's just amongst Christians killing other Christians, not to mention the Holy Wars between Christianity vs. Judaism, Islam vs. Christianity, and Islam vs. Judaism. Each relgions believing itself to be the correct religion of course.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


He has already shown his power sufficiently in resurrecting Jesus – if you won’t accept this evidence you won’t accept any amount evidence.

There is no physical evidence of any resurrection taking place. Not of Lazarus or Jesus.
 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


As I said before he has already provided enough evidence in resurrecting Jesus – Most people deny the evidence because they are biased against God

Provide me with some physical evidence from sources outside of the bible. PHYSICAL evidence and I will reconsider. As for your assertion that most people deny the evidence because they are biased, that is pure conjecture on your part.


 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Misty

Misty wrote:

 

anthropomorphism

-N  The attribution of human form or behavior to a deity, animal, etc.

 

 

 

Ironic, how all of the priests in my local catholic church, growing up, were so quick to tell us, "Who are you to say what the will of god might be ?,". Yet, they would always proceed to tell me exactly what god thought, wanted and how he had to handle it.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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@ Harley: It is ironic,

@ Harley: It is ironic, isn't it. I'm glad you had the steam to take on all of that. I kept noticing more and more as I was formulating my short response and simply didn't have the energy to take it all on. The repetition of these arguments can certainly leave one exhausted.  It seems that the same tired old excuses crop up from the theists. Never anything new, novel, or sound. On your above response, well spoken!

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


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Phillip J. Fry wrote: I

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
I don’t think Pascals Wager necessarily a is a very good reason for people to adopt Christianity or any other belief for that matter...

... I think that simply giving into threats/ intimidation is a terrible reason for following someone. I am motivated out of thankfulness not fear.

You're not making sense. You're 'motivated' to adopt Christianity out of 'thankfulness'?

That's about the best spin doctoring I've heard on this forum yet, to try and cover up the fact that you are fearful that you may not be 'granted' a life after death.

There's nothing to 'fear' about missing out on an afterlife if there's no god.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
 ... my God has also shown himself to be loving and generous too

The theist definition of 'loving or generous just' is mentally disturbed.

A promise of "Do this, this, and that, and don't do this, this, and that, or I will send you somewhere to suffer infinitely" is tyrannical and draconian.

Threatening to sentence someone infinitely for a 'finite' exercising of their 'supposed' liberty and autonomy, completely debunks the concept of being 'generously' given 'free will'.

The concepts of the bible legends are incoherent.

It's disturbing that people in the 21st century can actually reconcile these non sequiturs.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
I get my doctrine/belief from God directly via his Word.

 

 

God didn't author any books, so you're kidding yourself.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
I appreciate the critical scrutiny of my own belief because it helps me to consider aspects which I have not considered before.

You haven't considered strongly enough how gullible you are. The best stopgap measure for gullibility is to increase your level of skepticism.

You talk about 'evidence' as if it's something other than 'anecdotal evidence'. Anecdotal evidence is rumor and speculation. The two terms are not interchangeable.

Whenever someone making a claim begins equivocating in such a manner, the most intelligent and practical people become skeptical so that they don't wind up drinking any 'koolaid'.

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Misty wrote:

Misty wrote:
anthropomorphism -N  The attribution of human form or behavior to a deity, animal, etc.
It seems to me that boredom is a very human emotion/state of being and by anthropomorphizing your god you are assigning him human limitations.
Well, FANCY THAT!?!? It was my humble understanding that your god was supposed to be beyond mere human emotion (if we are to exclude the whole of the OT). Perhaps I was incorrect! If he is NOT beyond mere human emotion (assuming that he exists)...well...absolute power corrupts absolutely, no?

Firstly I was joking about the boredom Smiling but while we are on the topic of anthropomorphism
I can see why you think I am anthropomorphizing my god. But this is not the case it is actually the other way round. I am not assigning character traits to my God. God has always had these character traits/emotions. When God has created man in His own image, He assigned these same character traits and emotions into us - so humans have emotions because God always has had emotions. God Hates, gets jealous, gets angry etc.. there are references to this throughout the bible. However unlike our emotions God’s emotions are controlled, uncorrupted, and perfect. It is a good thing to be angry when you see injustice. It is not good to be angry for no good reason.
But an important thing to remember with this is that it would not be correct to try and apply our human understanding/experiance of emotions like anger, happiness etc… and then apply them back to understanding God – because our human emotions have become corrupted, flawed and are imperfect – unlike God’s perfected emotions.

absolute power corrupts absolutely, No?
With Humans Yes it certainly Does – Humans are instinctively selfish.
With God No – God is perfect.

Misty wrote:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?-Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC)


 This quote is full of ambiguity because it fails to recognise that the word ‘Will’ has 2 different meanings to consider.
> Your will is what you desire to happen
> Your will is also what action you plan to take

No parent desires to hurt their children, But good parents will plan to discipline their children even through it involves hurting their children. In this case both wills are in opposition to each other and one ‘will’ must over ride another ‘will’. In this case the planned action over-rides the personal desire – because there is a greater purpose at hand.

So before God created the world He was powerful enough to create it in a way which would be free of evil. However he also desired humans to have free will - which has resulted in evil (This privilege of free will has since been revoked from humanity). So now that Evil exists God has planned to destroy evil and is currently carrying that plan out. He is powerful enough to destroy all evil right now, but instead chooses not to - as it would involve destroying the universe and more people would be lost so He is patient – waiting for the best time to do it. 

harleysportster wrote:
Is that in the literal sense that the world was spoken into existence in seven days or do you see the bible in terms of symbolism ? Do you accept or deny the theories of evolution, DNA testing, the Large Haldron Collider Theory, the Big Bang  theory, astrophysics, string theory, M-theory or the possibilities of science ? Or do you take the creationist standpoint ?


In terms of the creation account. I was not around when the world was created and the bible account in not detailed enough for me have definitive knowledge of what happened. The most important information I get from the creation account is what I learn about God – He created the universe, he is ordered, creative, powerful etc… literal 7 day creation, the big bang & evolution are all acceptable theories and are compatible with the bible. God would be powerful enough to carry about either way effectively. I don’t know which one is correct and probably never will. Honestly I don’t think it matters too much.
 

There certantly is alot of evidence that supports the preposes scientific theories concerining the origin of the universe. I cannot dismiss this evidence - so therefore the scientific theories hold alot of weight in my opinion - and these theories would still be compadible with the bible. However at the same time i do not consider my God to be so weak that he could not have decided to plant this evidence within his creation  to fool the proud intellectuals who thought they knew more than Him... that would also seem possible


harleysportster wrote:
First you said that we are all god's enemies and highly unfavorable to him and now you say that god does care about his creations. If he cared about his creations, why should he consider them enemies ? Did he not give us the attributes, that makes us his enemies ?

God has always cared for his creation – even after they became his enemies. God considers us his enemies because we are actively hostile to him, opposing him in all our actions. But that does not mean he does not care for us. It is possible to care for your enemies.

harleysportster wrote:
please explain to me why so many different christian sects, all with VERY different ideas, all claim to have the TRUE word and all others to be interpreting it wrong ?

The bible gives a better explanation than I can give – The bible warns consistently about false prophets and anti-Christs entering the church and distorting the true gospel. This is the work of satan and is the reason for so much disunity amongst Christians and church organisations that call themselves Christians. God has left clear cut instructions – people then distort and blur these instructions because they don’t like what they say and change them into something more appealing to people.
There has certainly been a lot of bloodshed under the banner of Christianity throughout history. I do not approve or support any of it. It has caused much damage to name of Christianity.

harleysportster wrote:
There is no physical evidence of any resurrection taking place.

Of course not, I don’t know what physical evidence you would expect to find that would prove such an event – an empty tomb? That wouldn't prove anything? –  there isn’t going to be a body to find – Jesus flew back to heaven. what physical evidance would you be exopecting to be left behind after Jesus's aledged ressurection other than eye witness accounts?


We have the testimony of the witnesses to this event – this should be sufficient evidence. I accept these testimonies as credible and truthful - you dismiss and discredit these testimonies.

harleysportster wrote:
Ironic, how all of the priests in my local catholic church, growing up, were so quick to tell us, "Who are you to say what the will of god might be ?,". Yet, they would always proceed to tell me exactly what god thought, wanted and how he had to handle it.

I am only summarising what God speaks about himself and his will in the bible. I have no authority in myself to know what God thinks other than what he has told me in his word.

RedneF wrote:
A promise of "Do this, this, and that, and don't do this, this, and that, or I will send you somewhere to suffer infinitely" is tyrannical and draconian.


With my God it is “If you want nothing to do with me, then I will grant you what you want… good luck with that”
 


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Phillip J. Fry wrote:RedneF

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

RedneF wrote:
A promise of "Do this, this, and that, and don't do this, this, and that, or I will send you somewhere to suffer infinitely" is tyrannical and draconian.


With my God it is “If you want nothing to do with me, then I will grant you what you want… good luck with that”

Bullshit.

It's "If you want to ignore my demands, I will ensure that you suffer for eternity."

'Baby Jesus doesn't want to hurt you unless you make Him hurt you! '

'Yay, Baby Jesus!'

You can kid yourself all you want, but it's long overdue to abolish your rights to emotionally and psychologically abuse your children with those kinds of "Piss Sky Daddy off and you will burn in hellfire for eternity" threats.

 

You people are fucking pricks. Plain and simple. And the internet is your worst nightmare.

I'm glad you delusional pricks can't keep your stupid fucking mouths shut, and want to fill it up with stupid talk. Way to advertise how fucking dumb and mentally disturbed you are.

I love that about you guys.

 

Keep it up...

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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The Definition of "is"

Alright then, I see we're breaking out the Clinton era multiple definitions of words. It echoes in my mind, "Um...heh heh, that depends on your definition of is.." So, let's forget the quote entirely and allow me to ask the same question with a bit less ambiguity. I will try to make my meanings as clear as possible.

 

Does your god want (as in desire) to not have bad things/evil/sin in the world, but cannot (as in unable, incapable, or ineffectual) make all the bad (the opposite of good, as in genocide, rape, murder, etc.) things go away?

 

Example: Does your god want (again, as in desire) to rid the world of pedophiles, but finds himself not able to?

 

Is your god all powerful and able/capable, as you say, but does not want (as in desire) to make the bad things/evil/sin go away?

 

Example: Is your god able to rid the world of pedophiles but doesn't because he doesn't want/desire to? Perhaps he enjoys their company, maybe?

 

Is your god both all powerful/able/capable of making all the bad things/evil/sin go away, and does he also want/desire these things to not be present on the earth?

 

Example: Is your god all fired up and ready, willing, and able to smite down all the pedophiles? If the answer is yes, then why are they still here?

 

 I sincerely hope this line of questioning is unambiguous enough to avoid any more linguistic distractions and we can finally get to the heart of the matter.

 

 

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


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Why do you assume your God

Why do you assume your God is 'perfect'? What does that really mean?

The Bible is equally, probably more, consistent with a malicious, lying God as a loving one, and there is no logical reason why even a powerful, universe-creating being need be honest, loving, or 'perfect'. That is all wishful thinking with no basis. Even if you accept on face value the reports of Jesus being encountered after the crucifixion, it proves nothing about the ultimate cause or motivation of such a stunt.

It is all based on primitive superstition.

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

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Misty wrote:As to the actual

Misty wrote:
As to the actual power of your god, I believe I will stand on the shoulders of a giant and leave you with a quote to ponder.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?-Epicurus (341 BC – 270 BC)

Exactly.

Christianity: Disproven 300 years before it even existed.

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Phillip J. Fry wrote:Joker

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
So Fry, would you be willing to address any of the points or questions I brought up in the original post? Or are you the first and last theist in this thread?

I apologise for not addressing the OP as well – I was just responding to the comments on faith. So I will attempt to address that now.

I don’t think Pascals Wager necessarily a is a very good reason for people to adopt Christianity or any other belief for that matter. This is because the motivation is solely fear so there is very little hope or comfort regardless of which option is selected.

While my God certainly demands and deserves to be respected, my God has also shown himself to be loving and generous too - so this should also be considered in someone’s motivation for following such a God. I think that simply giving into threats/ intimidation is a terrible reason for following someone. I am motivated out of thankfulness not fear.


Ok, let's look at some of the problems here, one of the biggest is frankly that 'thankfulness' means that there are a few things that would have to be assumed first. The biggest one of course being the existence of said deity and that said deity was not inclined against us. After all, a god that made us to torture us would not be worthy of worship, though worship out of fear to make it stop might occur frequently. Your generous god might be better described as being bipolar (I should note that reading the bible was a big part of what led to my atheism). We could start with the claims of the flood, wipe out all life save for a few, including children and newborns. Not to mention animals that hadn't done anything wrong, all creatures great and small, all things that did breathe in the air your lord god drowned them all. Noah9:20-25 justifies slavery for an essentially all time. I could point out that he demanded Abraham sacrifice his son as a show of faith. And you might say 'well he didn't do it, he gave him a goat to do it at the end' it doesn't change the fact that your god apparently loves blood and wants people willing to murder their children for him. We call people that act like that cult leaders. But yeah, if you want we can go further on this but between the others I am hoping the point will be made.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

The only time that I have seen the concept of Pascals wager used outside of religious contexts is with respect to global warming (Although I don’t think it works very well). Basically it was presented like this> if global warming is true and we don’t do anything that will result in a very bad outcome for everyone, therefore we should spend heaps of money trying to fix the things we think cause global warming just in case it is true. If it turns out global warming isn’t happening than all we have wastes is some money.

How do I know my belief is correct? I don’t know absolutely 100% that my belief is correct just like everyone else on the planet. My belief is based on trusting the truthfulness of various evidence, and people, and also the people who have collected and recorded that evidence. I have looked at various theory’s that explain how and why the world functions. In my opinion the Bible provides the best explanation.

I terms of the various Christian denominations I can agree with the majority of the doctrine of a lot of protestant denominations, and I disagree with others as well. There are some doctrines within my own denomination that I disagree with. All denominations are flawed – but that doesn’t really matter anyway. A denomination does not make a church – People make a church. You get good Christians in some churches and you get Bad Christians in others – denomination really has very little to do with it. My God could’t care less about which denomination you say you are – all He cares about is How you respond to his Son Jesus. Denominations are human inventions.
I get my doctrine/belief from God directly via his Word.

No-one has any unique traits or attributes that would make them more favourable to God. We are all Gods enemies and Highly unfavourable to him.

All Gods enemies, hmmm, interesting choice of words there. I'll avoid the global warming thing but I will point out that you seem to have less problem with gambling your immortal soul than spending money that has other benefits even if the concerns are wrong (which science would point out are not wrong). Ok, trusting truthfulness and the like, here is a list of all the contradictions in your bible: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html   I figure this might help a bit, since if the book is not internally consistent with itself that would be a sign of a problem, since any true deity would keep the book uncorrupted, no? Ah, but if the denominations and beliefs aren't important then why do they exist? And more to the point, if there is really no difference then catholicism is totally the same faithwise and protestantism?  I also never said traits that made them more favorable to your god, my point was that since your god decides peoples genetics and things that will happen to them, wouldn't those that are generally lucky on those fronts be considered gifted by your God, or does he not intervene there because that would lead to inconvenient questions?
 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

As for a ‘miracle-off’ - Gods already done that (see 1 Kings 18). God gets bored with doing reruns.

God does cares about his creation and has communicated thoroughly and very clearly with us.

While you said being bored with reruns was a joke let's examine it a bit. If your God is unwilling, why? After all he proved willing to do it in the past to prove his power and the power of his prophets. I'm not necessarily asking for a choir of angels, though that would be helpful.  Also if he truly cared about the creation then why not try what I mentioned? I mean a book that is totally consistend with reality (IE the earth NOT having a firmament and NOT being a flat disc and outer space NOT being full of water). And showing miracles seems reasonable, I mean it's not like it's the only game in town. I could also say that Krishna clearly loves the world and communicates clearly with us, or that Thor or Odin or Zeus do the same, for that matter Mythras, I mean we could go at this for weeks if we wanted. And actually your god LIKES reruns, see also the endless "holy holy holy is the lord God Almighty..." in Revelation 4:8
 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
“Maybe we study and compare religious texts, check them for internal consistency, consistency to the modern world”


Sounds like a good place to start

You make a lot of assumptions and apply a lot of limitations concerning how a powerful God is required to function which I don’t think you are in a position to make. Who is to say any God has to be bound by our rules and definitions of things?

Of course I believe my belief is true – otherwise I wouldn’t believe it. This means I believe in judgement & hell. That is why I am willing to go online and talk with random people who live on the other side of the world to me (except Bob), about what my belief would mean for you - if it is true

Actually, if your God sticks his arm in the universe it would be dripping in physics. It would have demonstrable results, he moves the sun, gravity would definitely alter planetary rotation and cause some fair havoc. Now if you're going to make your God all powerful but undetectable by any means regardless...well please see the counter argument: Dragon in my garage. Except couldn't that belief also kill them or doom them? To put it another way, what if you are wrong? Then your evangelism is only putting these poor people in danger.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

As for militarising evangelism, brain washing, kidnapping etc.. these approaches are condemned by the bible – which is why I would not use these methods. These methods also fail to recognise how people come to trust in God – I cant do anything to change your mind while you are hostile to God – only He can do anything. No amount of logic or force is going to genuinely change someone’s mind.

Esther 8:17 disagrees rather strongly with you.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
“why can't they be a bit more overt in showing their power and existence?”


He has already shown his power sufficiently in resurrecting Jesus – if you won’t accept this evidence you won’t accept any amount evidence.

Aww, you actually think that would count as proof. While I hate using rage comics, I feel that this is probably the fastest way to list it all http://www.randompics.net/?p=15298  And guess what, I would accept evidence, Odin proved his existence by coming back from his self sacrifice on the world tree after hanging upside down for nine days, after which he learned the magic of the runes. The proof you use can be claimed by any and all supernatural groups. The grand sky dragon proved his existence by allowing the sun to rise today, if that doesn't convince you of his existence then no amount of evidence ever would.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
“Now this also could mean that there are many competing pantheons with limited powers, if so wouldn't showing off abilities and offering what they could for believers be a wiser role if they merely want more people in their particular house of worship? “


All other created beings apart from God – Satan, Demons etc are all completely under Gods authority – AhGod is not intimidated or jealos of them – so why would he feel like he needs to prove his power compared to them.

Ah, assertions again, lovely. If you look at the roots of Judaism it was actually most likely a polytheistic religion, many of the deities becoming the various archangels from the time. Also, I am amused by how quickly you dismiss the possibility of any other group out there. And Yes, in fact your god is jealous of them, or did you not actually read the full stuff on the 10 commandments in the bible?

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
Or why not have your deity insurmountably prove itself, cause the sahara to bloom without scientific aid overnight?


As I said before he has already provided enough evidence in resurrecting Jesus – Most people deny the evidence because they are biased against God

...right. So the fact that a lot of us were Christians before meant that we were biased against God while we believed...your mental gymnastics are astounding. And apparently anyone that grew up in another faith is also biased against your deity, it can't be that you're biased against Allah, or Krishna, or Vishnu, no of course not.

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
“I mean if you think there is a risk shouldn't you be running around comparing doctrines with a critical eye.”


This is a very good approach – one that is encouraged multiple times in the bible. This is what I do. In my experience the Bible has held its ground

Your experience doesn't seem to hold well with reality, but examples might help.
 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:

Joker wrote:
If anything one would think that atheists would be sought out to argue and debunk the best arguments for each faith in order to find the right one, after all in the face of our harshest critics we often find our weaknesses and are able to grow stronger from them. Just a thought.


This is one of the reasons I Joined the atheist forum and not a theist one – I appreciate the critical scrutiny of my own belief because it helps me to consider aspects which I have not considered before.

Well then I guess I'm glad to help. I could also point out that the way your deity promises salvation creates some rather large problems. Or I could point out that in Leviticus 21:17-23 points out that the handicapped are apparently not fit for the kingdom of heaven, even though your god frequently made them that way in the womb, or they were injured doing things to help others, but hey, I guess your God doesn't really can only love the 'right kind' of person. Then there's also the fact that your deities salvation model doomed people in North and South America, Japan, Australia, and Arguably China and Sub-sharan Africa since these places were likely not known of by your prophets nor could they be reached by the technology of that time. So all these people were sent to hell because God chose to put them there, real nice guy your God.


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Ok, I hate to dogpile, but I

Ok, I hate to dogpile, but I have to say that if god knows us at all, and it doesn't need omnipotence for this, then god knows the same thing about people that kids learn in kindergarten (at least I learned it there). It is that people are not very good at communicating an idea without modifying it. It's that excersise where you all sit in a circle, and everyone whispers to the person next to them what was said by the other person next to them. Rarely is the original concept intact after doing the circle.
So god getting bored with a miracle-off is insufficient, because it will only be a few generations before whatever he did becomes something else. Or nothing. Likely something grander, considering that people tend to exaggerate. But also likely nothing, as more religions are dead than alive today
Therefore in order to maintain belief and to keep the message uncorrupted, interference is absolutely necessary. The god MUST return and refresh the knowledge from time to time or the knowledge becomes lost or wrong.

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Philip is not answering.

 Mr Fry, I asked in #11 what are the properties of your god and how do you know?

You have not responded directly but I glean from your further waffling that you think your god is perfectly and uncorruptedly hating, which you apparently consider to be "justice". No doubt when you referred to justice you had in mind the dashing of babies heads against rocks or killing of children for calling someone a baldy.

When discussing science you said explicitly that you could not be sure whether or not the bible was literally true. Well, if you do not even know what you consider true in the bible then please answer my original question: how do you know what are the properties of your god?

Quoting the bible is circular argument, not to mention self-defeating through the bible's obvious inconsistencies, lies and self-contradiction. Again, what are the properties of your god and how do you know? Be brief.


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You can see, Oh Exalted One, he

 

Phillip J. Fry wrote:


I can see why you think I am anthropomorphizing my god. But this is not the case it is actually the other way round. I am not assigning character traits to my God. God has always had these character traits/emotions. When God has created man in His own image, He assigned these same character traits and emotions into us - so humans have emotions because God always has had emotions.

God Hates, gets jealous, gets angry etc.. there are references to this throughout the bible. However unlike our emotions God’s emotions are controlled, uncorrupted, and perfect. It is a good thing to be angry when you see injustice. It is not good to be angry for no good reason.

But an important thing to remember with this is that it would not be correct to try and apply our human understanding/experiance of emotions like anger, happiness etc… and then apply them back to understanding God – because our human emotions have become corrupted, flawed and are imperfect – unlike God’s perfected emotions.
 

 

who knows the mind of god, why we see you as blatantly anthropomorphising the concept of god - a creature which you claim possesses human qualities replete with additional features and functionalities with no known definitions and whose specifications cannot be measured and whose repository is solely in the minds of men, such as yourself.

Almost everything you say here is an assertion of such staggering proportions it's hard to see how you get about behind such a titanic cognitive blind spot.  

"I am not assigning character traits to my god!", you cry, as you cheerily assign character traits to your god. 

Phil, I recommend you try not to apply your human understanding and experience to understanding god. Your understanding is corrupted, flawed and imperfect...instead accept what can adequately be proven to be true using testable explanations. 

 

 

 

 

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


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Phillip J. Fry wrote: God

Phillip J. Fry wrote:
 God has always had these character traits/emotions.

How do you know that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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Atheistextremist wrote: who

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

who knows the mind of god, why we see you as blatantly anthropomorphising the concept of god - a creature which you claim possesses human qualities replete with additional features and functionalities with no known definitions and whose specifications cannot be measured and whose repository is solely in the minds of men, such as yourself.

Almost everything you say here is an assertion of such staggering proportions it's hard to see how you get about behind such a titanic cognitive blind spot.  

"I am not assigning character traits to my god!", you cry, as you cheerily assign character traits to your god. 

Phil, I recommend you try not to apply your human understanding and experience to understanding god. Your understanding is corrupted, flawed and imperfect...instead accept what can adequately be proven to be true using testable explanations. 

 

First they tell you that god is beyond human comprehension, then they go to tell you exactly what god thinks about, what he wants for us, and what he is going to do for us.

First they tell us that Atheists are in denial of the proof, then they say the only proof is that there is no proof and that in of itself proves god.

First they tell us that god gave us free will to do what we choose, then they tell us that god will eternally punish us if we don't do what HE wants.

First they tell us we are all god's children, then they tell us how we are all filth and disgusting in the eyes of our creator.

First they tell us that god loves us, then they tell us that he will smote us down the first time that we really fuck things up.

First they tell us that god is perfect love and a perfect being, then they tell us that he has wrath, jealousy,  can be vengeful, and punishes us.

First they say that Christ died for all of our sins, then they say that only those who accept him will be saved.

How many times, I wonder, have theists thrown these contradictions at me ?

If I had a penny, just a penny for every time I have heard these and similiar arguments, I would never have to work again.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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And neither would your

And neither would your childrens children.

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Vastet wrote:And neither

Vastet wrote:
And neither would your childrens children.

Laughing out loud The Harley Dynasty.


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I think we might have

I think we might have frightened off the theist. Somewhat annoying, that, as I was actually hoping for an argument.


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@Joker Sound reason and

@Joker

 

Sound reason and valid questions usually do. It's like cryptonite to their super-indoctrinated minds. Causes meltdown. Poor fella is probably rocking back and forth reciting the Nicene Creed and trying to re-reconcile his worldview.

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


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Misty wrote:@Joker Sound

Misty wrote:

@Joker

 

Sound reason and valid questions usually do. It's like cryptonite to their super-indoctrinated minds. Causes meltdown. Poor fella is probably rocking back and forth reciting the Nicene Creed and trying to re-reconcile his worldview.

Laughing out loud

If it is anything like the Bible Belt of the Southern United States, where I currently reside, the preacher probably told him to stay away from those secular, humanist, communist, socialist, pro-gay, pro-abortion, anti-american, anti-patriotic, false  prophet, satanically driven, god-hating, atheistic devil worshippers that are a sure sign that the apocalypse is at hand.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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That could be, too. I'm not

That could be, too. I'm not in the south, but definitely in the bible belt of the Mid-west.  The number of churches here rivals the number of bars and we live in a college town!

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
– Madalyn Murray O’Hair


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Misty wrote:That could be,

Misty wrote:

That could be, too. I'm not in the south, but definitely in the bible belt of the Mid-west.  The number of churches here rivals the number of bars and we live in a college town!

Wow, that is a frightening thought.

I have to pass by seven or eight billboards every morning that promise me I am going to hell if I don't follow them.

Biblical influences and ignorance run pretty rampant here.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Sometimes the theist

Sometimes the theist disappears because you got through to them on some level, in some way, and they have a lot of thinking to do.
Unfortunately, many of those go to church for a brainwashing refresher.
But some do their own thinking, and the shackles crumble.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.