The unknowable mind of your god?

triften
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The unknowable mind of your god?

This question is for theists who believe that the mind of god is unknowable and we can't fathom his motives, etc., etc.:

If god's mind/motives are so unfathomable, how can you presume to have any idea about what god wants you or other people to do? They seem mutually exclusive. Either, you know what god wants of you OR god's mind is unknowable.

-Triften


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   hee Haw, that's maybe

   hee Haw, that's maybe the best question of the month !

WE win, god of abe is dead. It's been a long funeral,,, of mourning theists .... comfort them .... 


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Bravo, Triften. Isn't the

Bravo, Triften.

Isn't the standard answer to that, "the book tells me" ?

 (for the record I don't believe in the unknowable mind of God thing, in my view the challenge of figuring it out is the main attraction of theism).

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Thank ye, both. Eloise:

Thank ye, both.

Eloise: generally, I think that would be the answer from a lot of people, but it's not a good one and ignores the problem I was trying to bring up: Even under the assumption that the book was written by god, how do you know that you are following the book correctly, if god's motives are so inscrutable? What if god really wanted you to not follow parts of it. (etc. etc.)

A co-worker of mine was recently baptized and was talking about a speaker who went on about how mysterious the mind of god is which led me to this question. I considered bringing it up then, but I'll probably wait until she says something about what god wants us to do.

-Triften 


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Never underestimate the

Never underestimate the ability of a theist to dodge a blatant contradiction to logic. You have to understand that intelectuall honesty is not a requirment to justify defense of wishfull thinking.

Simple human phycology explains why the mental gymnastics happen in their mind. "How can I be wrong?" and the fear of being wrong allows the theist to fester in fantacy in order to defend it.

For the same reason the Egyptians prayed to a sun god for 3 thousand years, people today pray to disimbodied beings who knock up girls and pray to a god who promise them a harem in the afterlife. "I cant be wrong, my holy book wouldnt lie to me". 

It never occures to these people that they simply buy a myth just like the ancient Egyptians did. They can do their best to defend it, but when put up to the scrutiny of reason and logic, HOCUS POCUS will always be shown for what it is, myth and fiction. 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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triften wrote: This

triften wrote:

This question is for theists who believe that the mind of god is unknowable and we can't fathom his motives, etc., etc.:

If god's mind/motives are so unfathomable, how can you presume to have any idea about what god wants you or other people to do? They seem mutually exclusive. Either, you know what god wants of you OR god's mind is unknowable.

-Triften

Sounds about a simple as Lewis's trilemma.  We can call this Triften's dilemma.  Either you know what God wants of you, or God's mind is unknowable...or perhaps it's a revealing process, perhaps we don't know it just yet, etc.   


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I don't understand how my

I don't understand how my daughter's mind works either (just over a year old). I just have to muddle along and try to figure out what WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

means THIS time as best i can. And yet i know when she is sitting in a pile of poo.

 

Your question contains a logical inconsistancy. You are linking the absolute (as in we cannot understand the mind of god) with the partial (as in how can we have ANY idea what he wants of us)

Possession of partial knowledge does not equate to posession of full knowledge. Likewise admitting the lack of total knowledge does not render opining of partial knowledge (or indeed tentative conjecture of partial knowledge) impossible. 


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jmm wrote:

jmm wrote:
triften wrote:

This question is for theists who believe that the mind of god is unknowable and we can't fathom his motives, etc., etc.:

If god's mind/motives are so unfathomable, how can you presume to have any idea about what god wants you or other people to do? They seem mutually exclusive. Either, you know what god wants of you OR god's mind is unknowable.

-Triften

Sounds about a simple as Lewis's trilemma. We can call this Triften's dilemma. Either you know what God wants of you, or God's mind is unknowable...or perhaps it's a revealing process, perhaps we don't know it just yet, etc.

Or you can pray to the jug of milk. He answers prayers in the forms "Yes", "No", or "Wait" just like God does.

And just like God, it can't be wrong.

That's what your "revealing process" sounds like.

Seeker: As you can't have total knowledge of God, I don't think one can have partial knowledge of him/her/it/them either. In my opinion, those who claim partial knowledge simply go with what they think is right and apply it to God later. 

 

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


As per request have switched away from the retina scorching red font.

 As you can't have total knowledge of God, I don't think one can have partial knowledge of him/her/it/them either.

Of course you can think that, although it is not a logical progression. 

 

In my opinion, those who claim partial knowledge simply go with what they think is right and apply it to God later.

Fair enough. If thats your opinion. I'm sure it happens.

 

How refreshing to talk to someone who has opinions rather than presume they have the only true answer and that everyone else is too dumb to see it. 

 

 


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a seeker wrote: I don't

a seeker wrote:

I don't understand how my daughter's mind works either (just over a year old). I just have to muddle along and try to figure out what WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

means THIS time as best i can. And yet i know when she is sitting in a pile of poo.

 

Your question contains a logical inconsistancy. You are linking the absolute (as in we cannot understand the mind of god) with the partial (as in how can we have ANY idea what he wants of us)

Possession of partial knowledge does not equate to posession of full knowledge. Likewise admitting the lack of total knowledge does not render opining of partial knowledge (or indeed tentative conjecture of partial knowledge) impossible.

 

Did a theist just admit that religion is just conjection with partial facts?  That's pretty damn close to saying it's "made-up" isn't it?


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 Did a theist just admit

 Did a theist just admit that religion is just conjection with partial facts?

conjecture n. Inference or judgment based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence;  

Yep thats pretty much how i see it. There is no "evidence" in the purest sense and what there is is obviously inconclusive (if it were conclusive then we'd all beleive it would'nt we.)

That's pretty damn close to saying it's "made-up" isn't it?

No. Its Saying that the "evidence" such as it is is incomplete or inconclusive and that my christian faith is my inference based on my personal experiance rather than a provable scientific hypothesis.

Mind you if we were being strict about our definitions a large number of the scientific models and theories we take for granted are based on incomplete evidence.

I think that to consider christianity in a personal sense as a concept to which scientific principles can be applied is a catagory error. I don't look for evidence that i like pretzels or seek to empirically validate my fondness for classical music. But i know a good musical when i hear one and i tell my friends about it.

Regards

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a seeker wrote: I think

a seeker wrote:

I think that to consider christianity in a personal sense as a concept to which scientific principles can be applied is a catagory error. I don't look for evidence that i like pretzels or seek to empirically validate my fondness for classical music. But i know a good musical when i hear one and i tell my friends about it.

However, you CAN experiment with why you might like pretzels or classical music.   Might be related to psychology, why your brain craves certain things, makes preferences, etc.  Could also test them from biological/nutritional basis (the food) and found out how your body responds to the stimulus.  Your verbal communication can also be evidence of your preferences.

Psychology might also help us figure out why certain brains make up or accept god concepts, why they get stuck in that logic loop.

Also it's not a matter of incomplete vs. full evidence.  No evidence is the big red flag.   


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However, you CAN

Quote:

However, you CAN experiment with why you might like pretzels or classical music.   Might be related to psychology, why your brain craves certain things, makes preferences, etc.  Could also test them from biological/nutritional basis (the food) and found out how your body responds to the stimulus.  Your verbal communication can also be evidence of your preferences.

Psychology might also help us figure out why certain brains make up or accept god concepts, why they get stuck in that logic loop.

Also it's not a matter of incomplete vs. full evidence.  No evidence is the big red flag.   

Ah this is what i came for. Intelligent discussion from sensible people.

As you say, it would be possible to scientifically investigate WHY i like pretzels. I'm sure there are reasons which may be connected to the points you make above. Howver two questions arise from this. I shall, for the sake of argument presume that you like pretzels also, if not please substitute pie, pizza, or the food group of your choice.

1. Do you base your perception that you like pretzels on the fact that they are packaged thus, contain x nutrients that the body craves etc OR did you reach the conclusion intuitively and work the science back to justify your hypothesis.

2. If you enjoy pretzels and you set out to discover everything about why, understand the biochemistry, understand the psychology,  Dissect your affection for salty wholesomesness to the Nth degree is there not a danger you get so caught up in WHY you like them that you don't any more?

A better model for this would be in a relationship. I would pity the couple who fully understood the attraction they felt for one another. Where would be the mystery?

Quote:
Psychology might also help us figure out why certain brains make up or accept god concepts, why they get stuck in that logic loop.

I suspect it would. I can certainly identify a number of "reasons" for my faith which have nothing to do with the supernatural. The experiance of my conversion for EG had a lot in common with my experiance of shrooms. However i choose to beleive that the way god showed himself to me caused the chemical response rather than that the psychosocial stimulation caused it.

 

Quote:
Also it's not a matter of incomplete vs. full evidence.  No evidence is the big red flag.  
 

If i was seeking to publish in a peer review journal then yes. However in everyday life we all accept things as fact without any evidence. The fact that you think there would be evidence for why you like pretzels is not the same as there being any!

 And to you... 


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a seeker wrote:  However

a seeker wrote:

 However in everyday life we all accept things as fact without any evidence. The fact that you think there would be evidence for why you like pretzels is not the same as there being any!

What do we accept as fact without any evidence? The evidence for your liking of pretzels is obvious...youget a pleasurable sensation when you put it in you mouth. The evidence is obvious to others, too. You keep eating pretzels...we wouldn't expect you to do that if you didn't like them. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
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Tilberian wrote: a seeker

Tilberian wrote:
a seeker wrote:

However in everyday life we all accept things as fact without any evidence. The fact that you think there would be evidence for why you like pretzels is not the same as there being any!

What do we accept as fact without any evidence? The evidence for your liking of pretzels is obvious...youget a pleasurable sensation when you put it in you mouth. The evidence is obvious to others, too. You keep eating pretzels...we wouldn't expect you to do that if you didn't like them.

I have a sense of pleasure derived from my belief. This is obvious to others. I would stop believing if I didn't. 


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wavefreak wrote: Tilberian

wavefreak wrote:
Tilberian wrote:
a seeker wrote:

However in everyday life we all accept things as fact without any evidence. The fact that you think there would be evidence for why you like pretzels is not the same as there being any!

What do we accept as fact without any evidence? The evidence for your liking of pretzels is obvious...youget a pleasurable sensation when you put it in you mouth. The evidence is obvious to others, too. You keep eating pretzels...we wouldn't expect you to do that if you didn't like them.

I have a sense of pleasure derived from my belief. This is obvious to others. I would stop believing if I didn't.

Glad it works for you. What ticks me off are those folks who claim my life is totally bereft of pleasure if I don't believe the way they do.

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


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a seeker wrote: 1. Do you

a seeker wrote:

1. Do you base your perception that you like pretzels on the fact that they are packaged thus, contain x nutrients that the body craves etc OR did you reach the conclusion intuitively and work the science back to justify your hypothesis.

 

I think this is a red herring.  The concept I was trying to convey is that there's lots of things we probably take on a day-to-day basis as normal mental functions that we need very little background on.  (craving a bag of pretzels and then eating some)  However, the point is that if you WANTED to find the natural/scientific reasons for appetite, cravings, mental preferences,  and so on we could setup tests that would help discover how they work.   I don't think the point is thinking you already know the answer then trying to fit the pieces in.  This would be the process to discover the pieces and being able to falsify ones that don't fit.

 

 

a seeker wrote:

2. If you enjoy pretzels and you set out to discover everything about why, understand the biochemistry, understand the psychology, Dissect your affection for salty wholesomesness to the Nth degree is there not a danger you get so caught up in WHY you like them that you don't any more?

 I guess I don't see this as an issue.  Just because you could get sick of or too caught up in the subject you're testing or studying, doesn't mean there isn't a natural explanation for the behavior you're trying to look at.

 

 

a seeker wrote:
A better model for this would be in a relationship. I would pity the couple who fully understood the attraction they felt for one another. Where would be the mystery?

 People study this all the time tho. Whether or not you understand the biology or psychology behind a relationship or attraction doesn't mean there isn't something to learn about it.  Check out books like this one: http://tinyurl.com/336v4k

Like if you make a declaritive statement/hypothesis about relationships: "All woman like men with foot long schlongs."   You could very well believe this without testing it, but it would give you a starting point to test and confirm or falsify this idea.  It would seem pretty likely that SOME woman (especialy gay ones) don't give a shit about foot long schlongs.  An easily falsified hypothesis.

The difference between all these other things you're mentioning is that we CAN test them.  Entire areas of science are devoted to some of them.  Religious claims often have untestable or unfalsifiable properties.  The claim "god built this world" obviously leads to a lot of open ended problems.  What did the god use to build it?  Where is the world factory?  What is the god made of?  Where is it?  Often people prone to these religious concepts make excuses.  Well it's invisible, we can't possibly understand it, it's out of our detectable universe.   

Best it seems you can get into here is logical circles, empty assertions, stories of fiction, etc.  

 

 

a seeker wrote:

If i was seeking to publish in a peer review journal then yes. However in everyday life we all accept things as fact without any evidence. The fact that you think there would be evidence for why you like pretzels is not the same as there being any!

And to you...

And you know that not everything in life that we accept without such scrutiny serves as the basis for a worldview that shapes our entire life, how we treat people, why we start wars, why we elect politicians, etc.  When the newscast tells me it's snowing in Buffalo, I can be relatively confident it's the truth because:

A) It's known that during the winter, snow is common in Buffalo.

B) If news/weather services were constantly making this shit up,  people would stop putting any trust in them and they'd be replaced with better sources.

C) I've been in areas similar to Buffalo as well as Buffalo itself and have witnessed this snow in other cases, so it doesn't seem out of bounds that it could still be happening.

D) They show someone out there near a known Buffalo landmark standing in snow.

E) If I really really wanted to... I could fly to Buffalo and check this claim. 

 

However, it turned out this weather service was lying or misrepresenting the facts I wouldn't suddenly change my entire outlook on life.  But, if someone could prove this all powerful being that judges everything and is actually threatening to roast me (for real) I might want to see this evidence, you know?  


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jcgadfly wrote: Glad it

jcgadfly wrote:

Glad it works for you. What ticks me off are those folks who claim my life is totally bereft of pleasure if I don't believe the way they do.

 

They tick me off too. Strange,too, considering Jesus explicitly admonished his followers to not judge others. Maybe he was speaking metaphorically. 


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stuntgibbon wrote: E) If I

stuntgibbon wrote:

E) If I really really wanted to... I could fly to Buffalo and check this claim.

 

Or you could just ask me. I have first hand experience (or maybe I made that up Tongue out)


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wavefreak wrote: I have a

wavefreak wrote:

I have a sense of pleasure derived from my belief. This is obvious to others. I would stop believing if I didn't.

And I have no doubt that your belief exists, erroneous as it may be. Your point? 

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wavefreak wrote: jcgadfly

wavefreak wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Glad it works for you. What ticks me off are those folks who claim my life is totally bereft of pleasure if I don't believe the way they do.

 

They tick me off too. Strange,too, considering Jesus explicitly admonished his followers to not judge others. Maybe he was speaking metaphorically.

They don't bother with that Jesus character - they have Paul to live by instead. 

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


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"If god's mind/motives are

"If god's mind/motives are so unfathomable, how can you presume to have any idea about what god wants you or other people to do?"

Suppose you see a stranger on the street whom you've never met and you'll never see again. You will only hear a few sentences from him or her. The stranger says you should do X, Y, and Z. Because the mind of this stranger is essentially unknowable to you, does that mean you cannot understand what the stranger wants you to do?

Stultior stulto fuisti, qui tabellis crederes!


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a seeker wrote: I don't

a seeker wrote:

I don't understand how my daughter's mind works either (just over a year old). I just have to muddle along and try to figure out what WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

means THIS time as best i can. And yet i know when she is sitting in a pile of poo.

 

Your question contains a logical inconsistancy. You are linking the absolute (as in we cannot understand the mind of god) with the partial (as in how can we have ANY idea what he wants of us)

Possession of partial knowledge does not equate to posession of full knowledge. Likewise admitting the lack of total knowledge does not render opining of partial knowledge (or indeed tentative conjecture of partial knowledge) impossible. 

I think that this is what he is trying to highlight. If you only know partially what you need to be doing and this is based on the flimsiness of a book and what your pastor tells you then how do you know?? I think he is pointing out that if you only know partially then you are not being honest when you push these beliefs and idea on others. What if your God doesn't want you to be a missionary or have a church?? What if he wants you to worship on Monday?? Making hard and fast rules based on this flimsy information is dangerous.

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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Visual_Paradox wrote: "If

Visual_Paradox wrote:
"If god's mind/motives are so unfathomable, how can you presume to have any idea about what god wants you or other people to do?"

Suppose you see a stranger on the street whom you've never met and you'll never see again. You will only hear a few sentences from him or her. The stranger says you should do X, Y, and Z. Because the mind of this stranger is essentially unknowable to you, does that mean you cannot understand what the stranger wants you to do?

No, no doubt you can draw several defensible conclusions about what the stranger wants you to do. However you can't claim to know much about the stranger based on this interaction, and, as such, one would wonder why you would feel any particular impetus to obey his instructions.

Of course, this example is a false dichotomy anyway since no one has ever actually spoken to God. If we had any kind of reliable record of a man/God interaction, we might have something to work from, but since all we have are myths and fairy tales we really can't even acheive that level of understanding.

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RationalSchema wrote: I

RationalSchema wrote:

I think that this is what he is trying to highlight. If you only know partially what you need to be doing and this is based on the flimsiness of a book and what your pastor tells you then how do you know?? I think he is pointing out that if you only know partially then you are not being honest when you push these beliefs and idea on others. What if your God doesn't want you to be a missionary or have a church?? What if he wants you to worship on Monday?? Making hard and fast rules based on this flimsy information is dangerous.

 

Thats a very good question. And the answer is, i think you are right. Making hard and fast rules based on a book i admit can be misleading and / misinterpreted is dangerous. Which is why i don't. The Bible is my starting point and i take most of my "lifestyle instructions" from it. However i run the "rules" through three filters. 

1. Does it contradict another rule or more importantly a theme of the bible. 

2. Does it contradict a basic set of personal moral core values (all of which are derived from the bible)

3. If i have followed that rule before, did it result in a bad outcome for myself or others?

 It is quite rare, BTW, that i find something which breeches the 3 above rules, in fact i cannot think of a single time number 3 has been relevant. 

 

So far as pushing my beleifs on others, I don't. Thats a generalisation in the same mould as "all atheists are crack smoking depressives". Not all christians are pushy.

 

So far as the "what if you've got it wrong" question, on a secular level its never got me into trouble yet and on a spiritual level i don't beleive that god would punish me for an honest mistake so long as i'm trying to get it right. 


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Here's a

Here's a thought:

 

Although it seems reasonable to claim god's mind is partially knowable but not absolutely knowable, there is a difference between god's mind, the stranger's mind, and the infant's mind.

When a stranger makes a request, it's true that we partially understand his mind via the request he has communicated; however, we don't know his mind absolutely. He may have alterior motives of some kind, or he may just be a person in need. We don't know. The difference here is that whatever we wanted to know about the stranger's mind could be asked for. Granted, the stranger may choose not to answer our question, or he may lie, etc. But the point is that it IS possible to ask what the stranger is thinking or what he is planning about whatever topic.

With the child it's much the same, but we run into difficulty since the child's communication skills are horribly unsophisticated. They basically amount to screaming until someone figures out what's wanted, as was said before. But we can still communicate with the baby. We can try various things and get feedback (i.e. smiles or screaming). And most importantly, we can teach the baby to communicate, and over time, we can eventually communicate with the child using physical language, and learn whatever we want about what the child is thinking, should the child be kind enough to tell us.

 

With the mind of God, a person doesn't have that luxury. As with the baby's mind, a person can guess and guess as much as they like to figure out what god wants, but how do they know when they've come upon the right answer? The baby's feedback is physical. The stranger's feedback is physical. We can ask questions, we can try different things. We can't ever know the minds of either absolutely, but whatever part we wish to know, we COULD find out.

God's mind is completely off limits. You can't ask him what he's thinking. You can't ask him what he plans on doing. There is no feedback system in place---a vital part of the communication process. For that reason, we know it's not that he just refuses to impart the information, because there would have to be some kind of feedback that would tell us that was the case.

Until there is an objective feedback system, we can't discuss even the partial mind of anything, especially god.

All we can do is take shots in the dark and choose the shots in the dark that sound good TO US. 

 

Thoughts?

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Hey stuntgibbon Your reply

Hey stuntgibbon

Your reply was fulsome and extensive so i won't quote all of it lest we end up writing books at each other. I'll pick up a few points. Stop me if i've misunderstood you.

 

1. You seem to contend that the difference between the pretzel analogy and god is that we COULD scientifically investigate pretzels and we almost by definition CAN't investigate god. 

Here i must conceed that you are correct.

2.

Just because you could get sick of or too caught up in the subject you're testing or studying, doesn't mean there isn't a natural explanation for the behavior you're trying to look at.

This too i conceed is true. However the risk of disrupting the subject of study which every scientist must respect has greater implications when the subject is the basis for a way of life. It MIGHT be true that i could live without oxygen but i'd be awfully cautious about how i tested that hypothesis!

 

3.

It seems you make a point about the essential tautology of any religious argument, that you cannot unravel it to a start point, that each argument or contention rests on the last.

This too i would conceed is possibly true. This represents the problem with any debate between atheist and christian. When you are within the logical loop the benifits of christianity seem self evident and there is momentum to continue in the loop. From outside there is no start point and thus there seems no logic to the process,

 

4.

It seems you contend that the "there does'nt need to be evidence" view cannot be applied to a hypothesis which, if true, has the most profound consequences.

This is a fair argument but, from my perspective, a flawed one. You give 4 examples of the "consequences" of christianity. How we live, electing presidents, starting wars and being roasted.

The first is something which can only be argued individually. For myself i did a very bad job of "how i lived my life" until i became a christian at which point i began to do a much, much better job. That may be because i was shitty at it before, but i'm not going to argue with what worked! 

 

Electing presidents and starting wars are, IMO things which people use religion as an excuse for rather than are actually motivated by religion. So far as being roasted is concerned, well if there is NO god then you're safe. If you've got the wrong one, well i'm not so arrogant as to claim certainty. However i have had what i interpret as a subjective experiance of the christian religion which is more than i have had of any other faith. So on the basis of no evidence whatsoever of any of the other faiths and purely subjective and personal experiance of my faith which could easily be explained in a number of other ways... i've got to go with the latter.   


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Archeopteryx wrote: Here's

Archeopteryx wrote:

Here's a thought:

 

Although it seems reasonable to claim god's mind is partially knowable but not absolutely knowable, there is a difference between god's mind, the stranger's mind, and the infant's mind.

When a stranger makes a request, it's true that we partially understand his mind via the request he has communicated; however, we don't know his mind absolutely. He may have alterior motives of some kind, or he may just be a person in need. We don't know. The difference here is that whatever we wanted to know about the stranger's mind could be asked for. Granted, the stranger may choose not to answer our question, or he may lie, etc. But the point is that it IS possible to ask what the stranger is thinking or what he is planning about whatever topic.

With the child it's much the same, but we run into difficulty since the child's communication skills are horribly unsophisticated. They basically amount to screaming until someone figures out what's wanted, as was said before. But we can still communicate with the baby. We can try various things and get feedback (i.e. smiles or screaming). And most importantly, we can teach the baby to communicate, and over time, we can eventually communicate with the child using physical language, and learn whatever we want about what the child is thinking, should the child be kind enough to tell us.

 

With the mind of God, a person doesn't have that luxury. As with the baby's mind, a person can guess and guess as much as they like to figure out what god wants, but how do they know when they've come upon the right answer? The baby's feedback is physical. The stranger's feedback is physical. We can ask questions, we can try different things. We can't ever know the minds of either absolutely, but whatever part we wish to know, we COULD find out.

God's mind is completely off limits. You can't ask him what he's thinking. You can't ask him what he plans on doing. There is no feedback system in place---a vital part of the communication process. For that reason, we know it's not that he just refuses to impart the information, because there would have to be some kind of feedback that would tell us that was the case.

Until there is an objective feedback system, we can't discuss even the partial mind of anything, especially god.

 

Thoughts?

 

I think thats a bloody good argument!!

You will often hear christians talk about "a relationship with god". What they tend to mean is that they DO have a two way relationship with God. Yep thats right, we hear voices.

Well not literally hear voices obviously.  But the whole being "born again" (hate that phrase) / experiance of the holy spirit thing implies a perceived two way relationship. Its not a definite thing for most people but so far as most christians are concerned god DOES give feedback.

 Of course the scientist in me would seek to test this assertion by ask why, if god talks to christians, they disagree on so many things, especially when they all claim that god is telling them THEY are right. This seems to disprove the hypothesis.

 

The Christian in me would answer that god might speak clearly... but that we don't listen so well! He might also say that while there are many things we don't agree on, there are many more that we do...

 


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Tilberian wrote: wavefreak

Tilberian wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

I have a sense of pleasure derived from my belief. This is obvious to others. I would stop believing if I didn't.

And I have no doubt that your belief exists, erroneous as it may be. Your point?

Who said which belief? How can you say that it is erroneous?  The point is that deriving pleasure (or not) from something does not tell us much about its truth value. 


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a seeker wrote: The

a seeker wrote:

The Christian in me would answer that god might speak clearly... but that we don't listen so well! He might also say that while there are many things we don't agree on, there are many more that we do...

So the communication abilities of an omnipotent God are inferior to those of a fast-food marketing company, seeing as more people can probably accurately name the ingredients of a big Mac than can agree on what God wants. 

Isn't it more likely that the whole God thing is a myth and the people who think they are hearing voices are a) lying b) confusing their own imagination with an outside source and/or c) insane? 

 

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wavefreak wrote: Who said

wavefreak wrote:

Who said which belief? How can you say that it is erroneous? The point is that deriving pleasure (or not) from something does not tell us much about its truth value.

If the belief is that something (like pretzels) tastes good, then this is an entirely subjective value judgement that is validated by the very fact that the subject thinks it. If Seeker thinks pretzels are good, then they are...to him. He has ample evidence from his taste buds that he thinks pretzels are good, so he is not required to hold his belief in good pretzel taste on faith.

You appeared to be making the point that you know you have beliefs on the same evidence. To which I replied that I'm sure you do have beliefs, even if they are erroneous. I don't know which belief you were talking about, so it isn't surprising that you don't know what belief I'm talking about now. I didn't say your belief was erroneous, I said "erroneous as it MAY BE." 

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Tilberian wrote:a seeker

Tilberian wrote:
a seeker wrote:

The Christian in me would answer that god might speak clearly... but that we don't listen so well! He might also say that while there are many things we don't agree on, there are many more that we do...

So the communication abilities of an omnipotent God are inferior to those of a fast-food marketing company, seeing as more people can probably accurately name the ingredients of a big Mac than can agree on what God wants. 

 

Ingrediants of a big mac. Any rat in it?

I think that the ABILITIES of god are infinite. I also think that god does not necessarily USE those abilities. To infer that the capacity of something can be represented by its contents is fallacious.

 

Quote:

Isn't it more likely that the whole God thing is a myth and the people who think they are hearing voices are a) lying b) confusing their own imagination with an outside source and/or c) insane? 

Hmmm. More likely you ask. Possible certainly. But i would not like to specualte on the probability.

 I'm probably not best qualified to comment as i am, by your definition either right, bad, baffled or mad. Given that i don't much like the last 3 i am unlikely to be impartial as to my judgements.

Mind you, your choice is that you are either right or intellectually invested in the most profound of errors. So you are also not likely to be impatial.

Got to laugh.


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Tilberian wrote: If the

Tilberian wrote:

If the belief is that something (like pretzels) tastes good, then this is an entirely subjective value judgement that is validated by the very fact that the subject thinks it. If Seeker thinks pretzels are good, then they are...to him. He has ample evidence from his taste buds that he thinks pretzels are good, so he is not required to hold his belief in good pretzel taste on faith.

Let's see if I can split this hair.

Pretzels have taste - this is an objective thing.

Joe thinks pretzels taste good. - this is a subjective evaluation of an objective experience. 

Joe has a trancendant experience while ohming his mantra. - this is an objective thing (the experience happened).

Joe thinks it is good - a subjective evaluation of the experience.

If joe says he had a good taste, you are OK with that

If Joe says he saw god, you think he is an idiot. 

 

 


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a seeker wrote:   Thats a

a seeker wrote:

 

Thats a very good question. And the answer is, i think you are right. Making hard and fast rules based on a book i admit can be misleading and / misinterpreted is dangerous. Which is why i don't. The Bible is my starting point and i take most of my "lifestyle instructions" from it. However i run the "rules" through three filters. 

1. Does it contradict another rule or more importantly a theme of the bible. 

2. Does it contradict a basic set of personal moral core values (all of which are derived from the bible)

3. If i have followed that rule before, did it result in a bad outcome for myself or others?

 It is quite rare, BTW, that i find something which breeches the 3 above rules, in fact i cannot think of a single time number 3 has been relevant. 

 

So far as pushing my beleifs on others, I don't. Thats a generalisation in the same mould as "all atheists are crack smoking depressives". Not all christians are pushy.

 

So far as the "what if you've got it wrong" question, on a secular level its never got me into trouble yet and on a spiritual level i don't beleive that god would punish me for an honest mistake so long as i'm trying to get it right. 

First, you are right about the generalization, but it does say in the bible to teach others??

Anyway I have two questions for you based on your response.

1. How have you not found something contradictory in the bible. There are many instances of contradiction. Or do you just ignore those parts as intranslatable, only good for the context??

2. Sounds like you have thought on your own about what is right and wrong and even have a method of testing decisions, behaviors, beliefs, etc....... in #3. Therefore, why do you need the bible to tell you and why do you need to believe in a God in order to hold onto those core beliefs??

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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a seeker wrote:   Electing

a seeker wrote:
 

Electing presidents and starting wars are, IMO things which people use religion as an excuse for rather than are actually motivated by religion. So far as being roasted is concerned, well if there is NO god then you're safe. If you've got the wrong one, well i'm not so arrogant as to claim certainty. However i have had what i interpret as a subjective experiance of the christian religion which is more than i have had of any other faith. So on the basis of no evidence whatsoever of any of the other faiths and purely subjective and personal experiance of my faith which could easily be explained in a number of other ways... i've got to go with the latter.

There's probably both types of people who actualy make descisions based on their religious world view and use it as an excuse for choices they may make anyway.   Even just anecdotally, I've run into several people who voted in the last election the way their preacher told them to.  Only now are they looking at the current bunch of yahoos and thinking "hmmm, maybe i should have looked into the matter more instead of simply trusting the church."

 There's definitely more severe cases of folks who seem to favor policies that could bring forth the end of the world quicker in order to encourage the return of Christ.  (this is a minority I'm sure, but still seems like a pretty crappy way to run things.)   I've also heard this type of thinking enter into environmental discussions. If the world's going to end soon anyway, who cares if we screw up the air...  I don't think I'd want to elect school boards that teach FSM or young earth as science, either.  

 

I guess my long-winded point before was simply that there are probably many things in our lives that we accept without testing, but also understand they could be tested and examined if we so chose.  The basis for almost any religious worldview had very little  (if any) backing evidence for it being "right."  We can examine their claims, test them with what we observe in the world and choose to accept or dismiss them.

 

When people accept them, it tends to shape their worldview.  This seems like a big deal to me, and not something I'd want to shape lightly. The ways in which you have dismissed other religions are very similar to the way I reject yours.  I've chose poorly, so be it.  However, I'll make the most of my short life as I can without expecting another one. Smiling


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  Quote: You will often


 

Quote:

You will often hear christians talk about "a relationship with god". What they tend to mean is that they DO have a two way relationship with God. Yep thats right, we hear voices.

Those are the ones I would call delusional. Or insane, if they are seriously hearing voices. =P

Quote:
 

Well not literally hear voices obviously.

Thank God! Oh wait...

Quote:
 

  But the whole being "born again" (hate that phrase)

Me too.

Quote:
 

/ experiance of the holy spirit thing implies a perceived two way relationship. Its not a definite thing for most people but so far as most christians are concerned god DOES give feedback.

Yes, but most of the people who describe feeling the holy spirit are talking about feelings of euphoria or bliss of some kind. What they're not stopping to consider is that feelings of all kinds are absolutely physical in nature. Granted, the deeply religious hate it when atheists start talking about emotions in terms of chemicals, but the truth is that that is how your body is able to feel anything.

So my next question would be how God goes about making his followers feel these intense emotions. It would have to be triggered somehow.

I don't believe that god is actually the one triggering these emotions. It's probably the individuals themselves.

Experiment: Right now you can close your eyes and think of someone you love very much, and your body will have a favorable reaction you can feel. You did that, and your brain's ability to trigger chemical feedback helped you do it. And any man who has ever had a dirty thought knows that the body can VERY EASILY react to women who are not actually present.

It's not that God is making them feel intense emotions. It's that they simply make enough positive associations with their concept of God that they are able to stir up positive feedback when they think intensely about him. But it's actually the individual who is causing this reaction, not the god himself.

This seems more likely to me.

Quote:
 

 Of course the scientist in me would seek to test this assertion by ask why, if god talks to christians, they disagree on so many things, especially when they all claim that god is telling them THEY are right. This seems to disprove the hypothesis.

I agree that it's a problem. 

 

Quote:

The Christian in me would answer that god might speak clearly... but that we don't listen so well!

But this still amounts to us mortals not receiving any feedback. Even if there is some kind of feedback we're simply missing, we can't know that this feedback is there and we definitely can't make use of it.

 

Quote:

He might also say that while there are many things we don't agree on, there are many more that we do...

Probably. God is but one discussion of the many a person could have.


Quote:

I think that the ABILITIES of god are infinite.

You think.

Quote:
 

I also think that god does not necessarily USE those abilities.

You think. 

 

I think unicorns, as herbivores, are probably fond of most grass and foliage, but they probably don't care much for poison ivy. I mean, that just makes sense. It's poisonous.

It's easy to pack a lot of sense into a nonsensical container.

 

Quote:

Mind you, your choice is that you are either right or intellectually invested in the most profound of errors. So you are also not likely to be impatial.

Got to laugh.

I know this wasn't directed at me, but as an atheist I want to respond to it.

It's true that I'm either right or invested in the most profound of erros, but if the latter is true, I would honestly want someone to correct me. Even if admitting I was wrong made me pissed as hell, it's a fact that people (most people) would rather be miserably right than joyfully wrong.

The problem is that I find no convincing evidence. If there is a God, he is a bastard for being so elusive while expecting us to blindly accept his existence.

This, of course, leads into the faith question, which I don't agree with, but that's for another thread. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx wrote: The

Archeopteryx wrote:


The problem is that I find no convincing evidence. If there is a God, he is a bastard for being so elusive while expecting us to blindly accept his existence.

This, of course, leads into the faith question, which I don't agree with, but that's for another thread.

A god that expected blind acceptance of his existence would not be too well liked by me. I truely believe that we are supposed to ask questions. It is fundamentalists that, sure in thier understanding, insist no questions be asked.  


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RationalSchema wrote: a

RationalSchema wrote:
a seeker wrote:

 

Thats a very good question. And the answer is, i think you are right. Making hard and fast rules based on a book i admit can be misleading and / misinterpreted is dangerous. Which is why i don't. The Bible is my starting point and i take most of my "lifestyle instructions" from it. However i run the "rules" through three filters.

1. Does it contradict another rule or more importantly a theme of the bible.

2. Does it contradict a basic set of personal moral core values (all of which are derived from the bible)

3. If i have followed that rule before, did it result in a bad outcome for myself or others?

It is quite rare, BTW, that i find something which breeches the 3 above rules, in fact i cannot think of a single time number 3 has been relevant.

 

So far as pushing my beleifs on others, I don't. Thats a generalisation in the same mould as "all atheists are crack smoking depressives". Not all christians are pushy.

 

So far as the "what if you've got it wrong" question, on a secular level its never got me into trouble yet and on a spiritual level i don't beleive that god would punish me for an honest mistake so long as i'm trying to get it right.

First, you are right about the generalization, but it does say in the bible to teach others??

Anyway I have two questions for you based on your response.

1. How have you not found something contradictory in the bible. There are many instances of contradiction. Or do you just ignore those parts as intranslatable, only good for the context??

2. Sounds like you have thought on your own about what is right and wrong and even have a method of testing decisions, behaviors, beliefs, etc....... in #3. Therefore, why do you need the bible to tell you and why do you need to believe in a God in order to hold onto those core beliefs??

Good questions again. I'm enjoying this

0.5

Yes it does say the bible to teach others. But it also says to use judgement and forebearance, to be non judgemental and to have the utmost respect for others. These themes which are repeated often, inform the way in which we should "teach". In fact teach is a bad word because it implies condesension and superiority. I'd use share.  

1. Yes i have found parts of the bible which seem contradictory to me. I don't ignore them, they are a major headache.If i find one I first so some checking to see if i could have misunderstood one or both passages or if one of them is meant to be contextual (imo). If i cannot find a satisfactory answer i look for which passage fits more closely with the rest of the passage in context and with the rest of the bible. I also consider where there are contradictions that as a rule of thumb the NT trumps the OT and the gospels trump the pauline writings. Whilst it is easy to name a few dozen contradictions  in the areas of docterine or historical account there are not that many which are relevant in terms of day to day life. 

2. I need the bible for the set of beleifs because the set of core beleifs i came up with by myself sucked quite hard. I did a very bad job of being a person.

I cannot just take the beleifs as a "self help scheme" and ignore god because without god the beleifs have no validity. Added to that i could not apply the beleifs without the context of the source. Comes back to the concept of the relationship with god thing. I need that to make the bible work.

 

Other replies to follow. Baby crying. 

 


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a seeker

a seeker wrote:

2. I need the bible for the set of beleifs because the set of core beleifs i came up with by myself sucked quite hard. I did a very bad job of being a person.

I cannot just take the beleifs as a "self help scheme" and ignore god because without god the beleifs have no validity. Added to that i could not apply the beleifs without the context of the source. Comes back to the concept of the relationship with god thing. I need that to make the bible work.

Hello a-seeker. I was wondering concerning your desire for a set of beliefs, were you seeking a moral code to follow for the sake of its own merits ? ...to do good for the sake of doing good alone ? Why is belief in God introduced ?

Concerning Christian morality the element of Divine coercion comes in to play, does it not ?

This complicates the Christian system of morality becauses it is coupled with a system of reward and punishment.

One can never be sure that their good deeds are performed for the sake of their own noble merit or if they are simply done to appease the God who will one day judge each and every believer based upon their obedience.

Although it is of course possible for a kind-hearted Christian theist to embrace morality for the sake of principle alone, the threat of punishment or reward seems likely to arouse suspicion as to how pure their motives are. Altruism is to be commended but if it is ultimately based upon a sense of personal welfare it changes the moral aspect altogether.

Within this context selfless acts end up being anything but acts of selflessness.

PS, Personally, from what I have learned about you so far I perceive you as not being a superficial "turn or burn" type of Christian who operates within a spirit of mindless servitude.

You appear to me to be a thoughtful person who is motivated by genuinely kind desires ( for that I both envy and admire you. Smile)

I just wondered how much..if any..the desire for reward or the fear of punishment, played a part in your personal theology. You come across as too kind to embrace such cruel theology....in fact I would say that you would be a much more likely fit for *Buddhism.

(* funny thing for an atheist to say, eh ? ) 

Cheers.

 

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a seeker wrote:   Good

a seeker wrote:

 

Good questions again. I'm enjoying this

0.5

Yes it does say the bible to teach others. But it also says to use judgement and forebearance, to be non judgemental and to have the utmost respect for others. These themes which are repeated often, inform the way in which we should "teach". In fact teach is a bad word because it implies condesension and superiority. I'd use share.  

1. Yes i have found parts of the bible which seem contradictory to me. I don't ignore them, they are a major headache.If i find one I first so some checking to see if i could have misunderstood one or both passages or if one of them is meant to be contextual (imo). If i cannot find a satisfactory answer i look for which passage fits more closely with the rest of the passage in context and with the rest of the bible. I also consider where there are contradictions that as a rule of thumb the NT trumps the OT and the gospels trump the pauline writings. Whilst it is easy to name a few dozen contradictions  in the areas of docterine or historical account there are not that many which are relevant in terms of day to day life. 

2. I need the bible for the set of beleifs because the set of core beleifs i came up with by myself sucked quite hard. I did a very bad job of being a person.

I cannot just take the beleifs as a "self help scheme" and ignore god because without god the beleifs have no validity. Added to that i could not apply the beleifs without the context of the source. Comes back to the concept of the relationship with god thing. I need that to make the bible work.

 

Other replies to follow. Baby crying. 

 

People develop beliefs about all types of things, just not morality. I have beliefs about politicians, sports, food etc.......

What are some of you core beliefs?

"Those who think they know don't know. Those that know they don't know, know."


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wavefreak wrote: Let's see

wavefreak wrote:

Let's see if I can split this hair.

Pretzels have taste - this is an objective thing.

Joe thinks pretzels taste good. - this is a subjective evaluation of an objective experience.

Joe has a trancendant experience while ohming his mantra. - this is an objective thing (the experience happened).

Joe thinks it is good - a subjective evaluation of the experience.

If joe says he had a good taste, you are OK with that

If Joe says he saw god, you think he is an idiot. 

First of all, you can't have an objective transcendent experience. Transcendent things, beyond being incoherent and without definition, can certainly not exist as objects. You might just as well said that Joe nirgl fargle burble whoosh and you would have made just as much sense.

Leaving that aside, I'm certainly willing to accept Joe's testimony that he had a weird experience and it was good. There is ample evidence for that. However attaching the word God to it brings in a whole new planeload of baggage. Unless Joe can, first of all, define God, then show me a lot more evidence that his experience had something to do with such a being, I do indeed think he's an idiot for irrationally pointing to God. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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a seeker wrote: Quote: So

a seeker wrote:
Quote:

So the communication abilities of an omnipotent God are inferior to those of a fast-food marketing company, seeing as more people can probably accurately name the ingredients of a big Mac than can agree on what God wants.

Ingrediants of a big mac. Any rat in it?

I think that the ABILITIES of god are infinite. I also think that god does not necessarily USE those abilities. To infer that the capacity of something can be represented by its contents is fallacious.

Ah. So God does not want us to believe, but rather to fall into error and burn in eternal hellfire. Nice guy. 

a seeker wrote:

Quote:

Isn't it more likely that the whole God thing is a myth and the people who think they are hearing voices are a) lying b) confusing their own imagination with an outside source and/or c) insane?

Hmmm. More likely you ask. Possible certainly. But i would not like to specualte on the probability.

It's not as hard as you think, given that my three explanations for the voices in the head come from mundane, well-understood, frequently observed phenomena and your explanation requires the addition of an ill-defined supernatural being with powers and characteristics that violate every other thing we know about the universe.

a seeker wrote:

I'm probably not best qualified to comment as i am, by your definition either right, bad, baffled or mad. Given that i don't much like the last 3 i am unlikely to be impartial as to my judgements.

Mind you, your choice is that you are either right or intellectually invested in the most profound of errors. So you are also not likely to be impatial.

Got to laugh.

I'm sorry, but I must correct you. I haven't arrived at my conclusion by comparing which conclusion will make me happy and choosing the one that will. That is what theists do. I have arrived at my conclusion using rational means, namely, logic, my understanding and knowledge of how the world works and Occam's Razor. I was, am and will be perfectly willing and eager to arrive at the conclusion that it is God that is speaking to people. Such a thing would be very interesting and amazing to me. But the facts don't support it. I also have had great difficulty finding a coherent definition of God, which rather paralyzes the inquiry.

It would also be interesting and amazing if hobbits really existed. But I haven't been able to find one. I suppose I could start considering all short people to be hobbits and find satisfaction that way, but I would be making a grevious category error, wouldn't I? 

Voices in heads are well understood by psychologists and neurologists. Usually, they are caused by a lag in communication between the two halves of the brain, causing one half to receive fully formed thoughts as if they are coming from an outside source. There is simply no reason that I have ever heard of to postulate God in these cases. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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Hey dinobird. Yes, but

Hey dinobird.

Yes, but most of the people who describe feeling the holy spirit are talking about feelings of euphoria or bliss of some kind. What they're not stopping to consider is that feelings of all kinds are absolutely physical in nature. Granted, the deeply religious hate it when atheists start talking about emotions in terms of chemicals, but the truth is that that is how your body is able to feel anything.

Agreed. The similarity between the experiance of god and magic mushrooms is considerable.

So my next question would be how God goes about making his followers feel these intense emotions. It would have to be triggered somehow.

I don't believe that god is actually the one triggering these emotions. It's probably the individuals themselves.

Possibly true. But if i can only experiance these feelings by my "contact" with god, is it not true that i am getting them because of him? No beleif in god= no experiance. Beleif in god = experiance. Whether god is intervening directly to flip the chemical switches or whether i am hard wired to get those experiances only by trying to be in contact with god does not matter to me.

Experiment: Right now you can close your eyes and think of someone you love very much, and your body will have a favorable reaction you can feel. You did that, and your brain's ability to trigger chemical feedback helped you do it. And any man who has ever had a dirty thought knows that the body can VERY EASILY react to women who are not actually present.

For me that is a completely different experiance. Like i say i got something slightly similar with drugs but that came with serious complications. This is free, on tap, switch offable and socially acceptable.

It's not that God is making them feel intense emotions. It's that they simply make enough positive associations with their concept of God that they are able to stir up positive feedback when they think intensely about him. But it's actually the individual who is causing this reaction, not the god himself.

See earlier answer.

It's true that I'm either right or invested in the most profound of erros, but if the latter is true, I would honestly want someone to correct me. Even if admitting I was wrong made me pissed as hell, it's a fact that people (most people) would rather be miserably right than joyfully wrong.

The problem is that I find no convincing evidence. If there is a God, he is a bastard for being so elusive while expecting us to blindly accept his existence.

This, of course, leads into the faith question, which I don't agree with, but that's for another thread. 

Now thats the pith is'nt it. If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent why not make himself obvious so that everyone benifits?

That is a tough one. For me the answer is free will. I think if we had a definate proof and obvious sight and evidence of god we would be unable to make any kind of reasonable choice (unless we were really dumb!). CS lewis wrote a lot about this. To paraphrase, he (god) cannot ravish, he can only woo. He cannot over ride out wills AND have us be free thinking individuals. Its like when you reach the stage of having to let your kids make their own mistakes.


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ProzacDeathWish

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Hello a-seeker. I was wondering concerning your desire for a set of beliefs, were you seeking a moral code to follow for the sake of its own merits ? ...to do good for the sake of doing good alone ? Why is belief in God introduced ?

Nothing so grand i'm afraid. I was'nt trying to become a good person, merely a happy / balanced / complete one.

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Concerning Christian morality the element of Divine coercion comes in to play, does it not ?

This complicates the Christian system of morality becauses it is coupled with a system of reward and punishment.

One can never be sure that their good deeds are performed for the sake of their own noble merit or if they are simply done to appease the God who will one day judge each and every believer based upon their obedience.

Quite true. Of course one could argue that ultimatly no philanthropic action is possible because most people do it to make themselves feel good.

Personally i don't much go in for "doing good deeds". It smacks of being pious and superior. The closest i get is when i want to be nice to people because it makes me happy.

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Although it is of course possible for a kind-hearted Christian theist to embrace morality for the sake of principle alone, the threat of punishment or reward seems likely to arouse suspicion as to how pure their motives are. Altruism is to be commended but if it is ultimately based upon a sense of personal welfare it changes the moral aspect altogether.

Indeed.

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Within this context selfless acts end up being anything but acts of selflessness.

Again true. Mind you who said doing nice things had to be hard or come without reward? If the person doing the "selfless act" gain by feeling good and the recipient gains because its a nice act who loses?

The closest i can get to answering this question for myself (the only christian i can speak for) is to say that god rarely asks me to do anything. But sometimes i find myself WANTING to do those things.

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PS, Personally, from what I have learned about you so far I perceive you as not being a superficial "turn or burn" type of Christian who operates within a spirit of mindless servitude.

You appear to me to be a thoughtful person who is motivated by genuinely kind desires ( for that I both envy and admire you. Smile)

Oh don't get the wrong idea about me! I am frequently an evil minded petty little b*****d. But i'm glad you don't think i'm in with the turn or burn posse. Because that hacks me off as much if not more than it does you. After all i share a faith with these people. They are farting in my spiritual elevator!

 

So far as mindless servetude, if God did'nt want me to think, he would'nt have given me a brain. I don't think he's after mindless drones.

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I just wondered how much..if any..the desire for reward or the fear of punishment, played a part in your personal theology. You come across as too kind to embrace such cruel theology....in fact I would say that you would be a much more likely fit for *Buddhism.

(* funny thing for an atheist to say, eh ? ) 

Cheers.

LMAF

That is funny!

Fear of punishment does not feature at all for me. Desire for reward... yeah i'll hold my hands up to that. Not in a pie in the sky when i die sense, purely in an immediate improvement in the quality of my physical circumstances, psychological health and wellbeing, and spiritual situation (feel free to lump number 2 with number 3 if you likeEye-wink). For me the rewards of christianity are all immediate and in many ways tangiable in the same way as the rewards of, say, marriage or a good mate you like to drink beer and shoot pool with.

 

Later bud.

 

 


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Quote:

Hey dinobird.

Peace.

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Agreed. The similarity between the experiance of god and magic mushrooms is considerable.

I wasn't trying to compare the god experience to the drug experience; I was only trying to convey that the god experience is described as a strong positive feeling. But feelings are physical.

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Possibly true. But if i can only experiance these feelings by my "contact" with god, is it not true that i am getting them because of him?

Did you just make a pun about contact buzzes? *snicker*

You're silly...

Back to business!

*ahem*

I was not asserting that you get these feelings by actual contact with god. I was asserting (though I guess this is only apparent after you read a bit further) that you get these feelings from a perceived (not literal) contact with a god that is nothing more than a mental image toward which you have many strong, positive associations. The experiment I proposed was my way of demonstrating that your biochemistry doesn't know that the attractive woman you are imagining is a lie. It still reacts as if she were the truth. It works with food as well. When you're hungry and you imagine a delicious cheeseburger, your body has a reaction, because it doesn't know the cheeseburger you are imagining is a lie. One part of your brain does (the one you pilot); another part of your brain does not (the one that runs on autopilot).

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No beleif in god= no experiance.

Beleif in god = experiance.

I used to believe in god, and I used to believe that I had god experiences. I can remember one day in particular where I was on top of the world, believing I was experiencing an unbelievable closeness with the big guy.

Now I look back on it in much the same way I look back on that time I kissed Allison behind the monkey bars in 4th grade.

Awww... that was cute.

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Whether god is intervening directly to flip the chemical switches or whether i am hard wired to get those experiances only by trying to be in contact with god does not matter to me.

But this is an important question. If the former is true, we would have to ask how God goes about toying with our body chemistry. He would somehow have to get inside of our bodies and manually change the quantity and location of certain chemicals, manually alter heart rate and respiration, etc.

But if the latter is true, there doesn't have to be a real god. A child becomes extremely happy when thinking about Santa Claus and the prospects available there, but it doesn't mean that it's true. Of course, it doesn't mean that it's false either. It only means that it can't be used as evidence for Santa's truth. We'd have to examine it in some other way.

So my point is that there is no way to accept that God is manually toying with our insides unless some kind of inexplicable magic is proposed. So I excuse that notion immediately. But the emotions we feel in our own bodies, originating in our own brains, triggered by our own thoughts and associations, cannot be used as evidence for something external. You need something else.

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For me that is a completely different experiance. Like i say i got something slightly similar with drugs but that came with serious complications. This is free, on tap, switch offable and socially acceptable.

I'm definitely aware that it's a different experience. If God gave you a hard-on, I would be extremely worried about you.

I was only saying that they are all emotions, albeit different ones, and they all come about in roughly the same way, which I am unconvinced is via God. We do it ourselves and attribute it to God. This makes sense, since god is the concept on the mind when the emotions are triggered, but he is not the trigger-puller. He is only the target at which the gun is aimed.

(Didn't mean to invoke an image of shooting him in the face with a gun or anything. Think of it more like a carebear stare!)

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Now thats the pith is'nt it. If God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent why not make himself obvious so that everyone benifits?

Of course that's only pertinent of the version of god in question is the omnibenevolent and omnipotent one. But these are only qualities of god.

When asking whether or not Santa Claus exists, we do not ask why such a jolly man would not want to be noticed on any day except for Christmas, and then only by the clues he leaves behind. His own goals and desires are irrelevant to our question. We simply ask, if he exists, where in the hell is this guy? If he cannot be found, and if there is good evidence that he is a made-up story, we have to conclude that he is a made up story.

For the general atheist, god falls victim to the fate. But god also suffers the problem of being a nebulous, poorly defined concept.

He tends to be presented as an undefined word with a voice.

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That is a tough one. For me the answer is free will. I think if we had a definate proof and obvious sight and evidence of god we would be unable to make any kind of reasonable choice (unless we were really dumb!).

Why? If we had definite confirmation of God, we would still have the free will, we would just be extremely unlikely to pursue paths that oppose god. If someone hands you an envelope with $1,000 inside, and you can clearly see that it does, in fact, have $1000 inside, you still have free will; there's just no way in hell you're giving up that envelope, but you still could, if you really wanted to. But that would be the stupidest thing you ever did. You, being an intelligent person, could clearly see that.

Revealing himself with certainty would not take away our free will, it would only make doubting his existence really, really idiotic.


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CS lewis wrote a lot about this. To paraphrase, he (god) cannot ravish, he can only woo.

Then I would appreciate it if he would woo me from a place where I could see him and in a way that is clear and unambiguous. Otherwise, he can't blame me for not noticing him. That's his own fault. In the meantime, I'll stick with Darwin. He woos me properly.

*swoon*

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He cannot over ride out wills AND have us be free thinking individuals.

As said before, he wouldn't actually be doing that.

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Its like when you reach the stage of having to let your kids make their own mistakes.


Of course, but we're not talking about letting the children fend for themselves or anything. We're talking about whether or not the parents actually exist. Your analogy puts us in place of the parents, and we know that we exist. We don't know that god exists. That is the problem. There is no stage where you have to let your kids decide for themselves whether or not you actually exist.

He could just say, "Hey, everyone! Here I am! Now do what you want!"

The fact that we would probably all want to chill with him after that doesn't mean we have no free will, it just means that we're not idiots. Because let's face it, denying that the sun exists when it's right there in front of you is really, really, really stupid. The sun doesn't have to hide for us to have free will about it.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Hey tilberian. Sorry i

Hey tilberian. Sorry i did'nt get to your reply sooner, i'm trying to find time for three really interesting conversations at once.

Ah. So God does not want us to believe, but rather to fall into error and burn in eternal hellfire. Nice guy. 

I kinda covered this in my last reply. And i should reiterate that i can only speak for what i think, i don't claim to understand God, (if i could, he would'nt be god). I don't think he wants us to go to hell (which, btw is not something i've read much of in the bible, mainly a "scare the proles into line" invention of the church i suspect). But i think he wants us to have a choice.

It's not as hard as you think, given that my three explanations for the voices in the head come from mundane, well-understood, frequently observed phenomena and your explanation requires the addition of an ill-defined supernatural being with powers and characteristics that violate every other thing we know about the universe.

Fair enough. Thats obviously a judgement made on the basis of what we know and what we don't. Occams razor points to the atheist position.

I'm not too worried about the concept of violating what we know about the universe because for me science is only good for what we DO know and CAN prove. It has little to say about what we do not (yet) know. The concept of god in the sense i am talking about does not violate the natural laws, it is by definition outside of those natural laws. Imagine fish in a fishtank who had studied their fishtank carefully und understand many true things about the water, the glass, the filter etc. Imagine further they had a vague hypothesis about there being something outside the tank. Now imagine a fish coming up with a bizarre and ill defined notion about super beings who walk around outside the tank and who take you to the great white toilet bowl when your time is done.

Such beings would be outside of the understanding of the fish. How do they "walk" when they float? Why do the fish in the loo not just swim up and out? Such being would violate all the fish knew and understood and the fish would probably do a very poor job of understanding them. 

I'm sorry, but I must correct you. I haven't arrived at my conclusion by comparing which conclusion will make me happy and choosing the one that will. That is what theists do. I have arrived at my conclusion using rational means, namely, logic, my understanding and knowledge of how the world works and Occam's Razor.

I would be uncomfortable about generalising why "theists" beleive what they do. Its a big group and i can't speak for any bar one.

I will hold my hands up to my choice being heavily influenced by what has made me happy and what "works" in my life. I freely admit to looking more enthusiastically for the information which would support the hypothesis i like.

There are exceptions. Areas where the theist viewpoint directly contradicts what i think i know (eg light not originating from the sun etc) or areas where my beleifs would cause me to function less well as a clinician / researcher (eg creation vs evolution). In these i cannot acheive the mental gymnastics to beleive something i know not to be true or where my beleifs would unfairly impinge on others (patients).

Voices in heads are well understood by psychologists and neurologists. Usually, they are caused by a lag in communication between the two halves of the brain, causing one half to receive fully formed thoughts as if they are coming from an outside source. There is simply no reason that I have ever heard of to postulate God in these cases. 

I'm more interested in cognitive psychology but this sounds entirely plausible to me. 

I agree that there is nothing about religion in my experiance which cannot be explained away.

Regards

seeker

 


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I was not asserting that

I was not asserting that you get these feelings by actual contact with god. I was asserting (though I guess this is only apparent after you read a bit further) that you get these feelings from a perceived (not literal) contact with a god that is nothing more than a mental image toward which you have many strong, positive associations. The experiment I proposed was my way of demonstrating that your biochemistry doesn't know that the attractive woman you are imagining is a lie. It still reacts as if she were the truth. It works with food as well. When you're hungry and you imagine a delicious cheeseburger, your body has a reaction, because it doesn't know the cheeseburger you are imagining is a lie. One part of your brain does (the one you pilot); another part of your brain does not (the one that runs on autopilot).

That is plausible. I would say that i don't get these kinds of feelings thinking about anyone or anything else, but then perhaps the subject defines the reaction. Like i say, it could be.

Didn't mean to invoke an image of shooting him in the face with a gun or anything. Think of it more like a carebear stare!)

Laughing LOL

When asking whether or not Santa Claus exists, we do not ask why such a jolly man would not want to be noticed on any day except for Christmas, and then only by the clues he leaves behind. His own goals and desires are irrelevant to our question. We simply ask, if he exists, where in the hell is this guy? If he cannot be found, and if there is good evidence that he is a made-up story, we have to conclude that he is a made up story.

SurprisedNo presents for YOU this year you bad boy!

For the general atheist, god falls victim to the fate. But god also suffers the problem of being a nebulous, poorly defined concept.

See for me that is the other way around. If we thought we understood god then we could look for him and if we did not find the beard in the cloud and the big guy in red tights in a deep pit mine somewhere we could say it does'nt exist. However God, if he exists in the format i beleive, would be invisible whether we looked for him or not. The poor definition and abiguity is a problem only if you are seeking to DISproove it, you can't disprove what you cannot define. If you are seeking to beleive (i won't say prove) then its not a problem.

Why? If we had definite confirmation of God, we would still have the free will, we would just be extremely unlikely to pursue paths that oppose god. If someone hands you an envelope with $1,000 inside, and you can clearly see that it does, in fact, have $1000 inside, you still have free will; there's just no way in hell you're giving up that envelope, but you still could, if you really wanted to. But that would be the stupidest thing you ever did. You, being an intelligent person, could clearly see that.

I'm not sure that i agree there. With the £1000 pound envelop you would still have freedom because its a reward for one decision with no downside. If you were fully aware of god and knew his will for everything there would be NO aspect of your life which you would get to choose on anything other than the most superficial level. And the choice between absolute knowledge of a perfect right answer and the wrong answer is no kind of choice at all. We would be spoon fed all the answers and would not NEED the free will.

Then I would appreciate it if he would woo me from a place where I could see him and in a way that is clear and unambiguous. Otherwise, he can't blame me for not noticing him. That's his own fault. In the meantime, I'll stick with Darwin. He woos me properly.

*swoon*

Its the beard is'nt it. Dig the beard.

I'm curious. You spoke earlier in your post about an "unbeleivable sense of closeness to the big guy" you experianced as a christian. Do you get that from darwin and if not, do you miss it?

Of course, but we're not talking about letting the children fend for themselves or anything. We're talking about whether or not the parents actually exist. Your analogy puts us in place of the parents, and we know that we exist. We don't know that god exists. That is the problem. There is no stage where you have to let your kids decide for themselves whether or not you actually exist.

Two different questions here. One is why does god not show himself and two is is he a b*****d for not. My analogy was aimed at the second.

If you want to extend it to the first it becomes flawed. Because as i said i don't think if God gave us the proof he exists (as the parent) it would be the same. Teenagers need to ignore their parents and mess up because they convince themselves they know best and that their parents are dumb. You could'nt do that with god.

He could just say, "Hey, everyone! Here I am! Now do what you want!"

The fact that we would probably all want to chill with him after that doesn't mean we have no free will, it just means that we're not idiots. Because let's face it, denying that the sun exists when it's right there in front of you is really, really, really stupid. The sun doesn't have to hide for us to have free will about it.

 

If he was human yeah, he could just reveal himself. But if as an infinite God he did that we would not just be idiots to go off our own way, we would be mentally ill.

 

I guess a lot hinges on how you define free will. I guess i think that if we truly understood an infinite and omnibenevolent god and know his will on everything (which would come with knowing him) then the free will we have is not so free. If we had all the answers we would never learn to think. Something we never need to use will inevitably atrophy.

Be lucky

 

 

 


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Quote: People develop

Quote:
People develop beliefs about all types of things, just not morality. I have beliefs about politicians, sports, food etc.......

What are some of you core beliefs?

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Yeah we all develop beleifs on everything, its part of being human. I'm just saying that the ones in the bible have worked out better for me than the ones i came up with (or rather failed to) myself; on a n=1 trial and error basis.

 

I'll leave my core beleifs to one side if thats ok. Couple a reasons, one is that we judge ourselves by what we beleive and others on what we do. On the basis of what i beleive i'd come across pious and decent. On the basis of who i actually am i'd come across as much more faliable. Piety is, i think, one of the seven deadly sins which christians commit. Piety makes my fists itch. I'd hate to come over that way. The other is that where possible i'd prefer to discuss generalities and issues rather than people. I know i cannot avoid doing that because i only claim subjective experiance rather than objective truth but still....


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[quote] That is plausible. I

[quote]

That is plausible. I would say that i don't get these kinds of feelings thinking about anyone or anything else, but then perhaps the subject defines the reaction. Like i say, it could be.

It could just be an extremely rare and special type of response. The feeling you get from an adrenaline rush is very rare and special, so you don't feel it except in regard to very specific types of situations. The god concept could invoke a similar reaction. The specialness doesn't necessarily mean that such a feeling could come from god alone. 

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See for me that is the other way around. If we thought we understood god then we could look for him and if we did not find the beard in the cloud and the big guy in red tights in a deep pit mine somewhere we could say it does'nt exist. However God, if he exists in the format i beleive, would be invisible whether we looked for him or not. The poor definition and abiguity is a problem only if you are seeking to DISproove it, you can't disprove what you cannot define. If you are seeking to beleive (i won't say prove) then its not a problem.

But the problem YOU have is that you cannot have a belief in a concept that is undefined.

Suppose we were speaking of a Snarfel, for example. We could say that this Snarfel character is kind, jealous, intelligent, observant, and all kinds of secondary, qualifying things.

But you also have to ask yourself, WHAT IS this Snarfel? If you have no idea, then you don't believe in. You only believe all of the qualifiers you've attached to it. "Snarfel", in that sense, is nothing more than a metaphor for a collection of favorable secondary characteristics.

You don't know what "god" is. Saying what he does and what his personality is like, etc, does not solve this problem.

For me to suggest that ambiguity is only a problem if we want to know what Snarfel is, but that ambiguity is not a problem if we want to believe in Snarfel, does not solve the problem. It ignores the problem.

If I believe in Snarfel, I have no idea what I believe.  Just as you have no idea what I mean when I say it.

It's an ambiguous, undefined word with a voice. =)

 

Quote:

I'm not sure that i agree there. With the £1000 pound envelop you would still have freedom because its a reward for one decision with no downside. If you were fully aware of god and knew his will for everything there would be NO aspect of your life which you would get to choose on anything other than the most superficial level. And the choice between absolute knowledge of a perfect right answer and the wrong answer is no kind of choice at all. We would be spoon fed all the answers and would not NEED the free will.

Just because we would no longer need it doesn't mean we wouldn't have it. People don't need their appendix, but it still hangs out in their intestines, and sometimes explodes and kills them. We used to need it, but then we stopped needing it, and now it just hangs out down there.

The difference is that with free will, we could start using it again if we (stupidly, in that case) wanted to, whereas the appendix we could not.

To put it another way, I once took a final exam at my university where the professor very mercifully stood in front of the classroom and told all the students the answers. This was because the test covered a lot of material that hadn't been taught because unexpected circumstances had caused the professor to be absent for a few weeks. But he was still required to give us a test, and we were still required to take it.

If we failed that test (which we surely would without his help), it would be pretty bad news for us. An easy pass, though, is something every student wants. But we COULD HAVE tried to take the test on our own, if we felt like it. But no one did.

Just because we allowed ourselves to be spoonfed does not mean we had no freewill on the matter. I understand what you mean when you say that freewill in that situation is useless, because obviously we are always going to choose what is clearely the best course, but that doesn't mean our free will is gone.

What you are implying is that free will only exists when the correct decision is not obvious. In other words, god would only be giving us free will if he put us in a situation where he knew we would definitely sometimes fail---probably even half of the time.

Firstly, I don't think freewill is gone just because the decision is painfully easy.

Secondly, if god did give us the hard-choice-only version of free will, then he should not expect to judge us for making the wrong choice, since we did not ask for that situation. He gave it to us, and he gave it to us specifically because it would be hard, and specifically knowing that some of us would fail.

Couldn't we have been given a choice which version we wanted? Eye-wink

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Its the beard is'nt it. Dig the beard.

Everyone loves the beard.

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I'm curious. You spoke earlier in your post about an "unbeleivable sense of closeness to the big guy" you experianced as a christian. Do you get that from darwin and if not, do you miss it?

Ah, a good question. No, I don't get the experience from Charles Darwin. I don't feel close to Darwin or like I have a relationship with him or anything like that. Even talking about such a thing hypothetically feels like craziness.

I get similar feelings to the one I experienced then every once in a while these days. The only way I have been able to describe it is as a feeling of deep profundity. For example, when I traveled to the top of the Smoky Mts or saw the sunset over an ocean for the first time (I am located severely inland), there was a deep, profound feeling there. It wasn't just an appreciation, but it was something more. A little bit of appreciation, a little bit of knowing that I may not ever see something like this ever again, a little bit of knowing that this is the only thing like this on earth, a little bit of wonder that so many millions of things could come together so elegantly and collectively form this single beautiful thing, a little bit of wishing everywhere could be this great, a little bit of regret that everyplace and everything is not, a little bit of philosophizing over the previous two points, a little bit of feeling at one with nature, a little bit of feeling wonderfully isolated from the world, a little bit of regret knowing the moment couldn't last forever, a little bit of thinking about all the things I take for granted, and millions of other thoughts, all inspired by this one awe-inspiring thing.

Sometimes it can be caused by something as simple as the weather. Sometimes the weather and the way the atmosphere feels while just walking around gives me this deep feeling of profundity.

I used to associate this with a god talking to me or "moving" in me, but now I associate it with my own ability to appreciate, contemplate, respect, and imagine. I know that nobody else in the world sees the world through my eyes, or through the lens of my personal experiences, so I know that no one is looking at what is before me in the exact way that I am, and I know that I will never be able to see the world exactly the same as someone else.

The feeling of closeness is just the personal relationship I have with my unique perspective, my unique appreciation, my unique respect, etc, for all the things I see. The feeling of mystery is knowing that there is so much there that I don't see because I haven't---and couldn't have---experienced everything.

It is somewhat difficult to describe, because it's like trying to describe my own character to you. It's complex and hard to fit into a paragraph of words.

But the key element here is that the true greatness is in me, and in everyone.

And I mean that in the strictest natural way, as zen-like as it may sound. =) 

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Two different questions here. One is why does god not show himself and two is is he a b*****d for not. My analogy was aimed at the second.

Then if he did exist, the answer would be yes. =)

Quote:
 

If you want to extend it to the first it becomes flawed. Because as i said i don't think if God gave us the proof he exists (as the parent) it would be the same. Teenagers need to ignore their parents and mess up because they convince themselves they know best and that their parents are dumb.

Your analogy doesn't work because it is founded on a massive generalization. 

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You could'nt do that with god.

Sure you could. It would just be stupid. I could slam my finger in a door if I wanted to, too, but I'm sure as hell not going to do it.

 

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If he was human yeah, he could just reveal himself.

Revision: If there was anything to be revealed, he could just reveal himself.

Quote:
 

But if as an infinite God he did that we would not just be idiots to go off our own way, we would be mentally ill.

The solution is easy: Chill with god. This isn't the only decision that exists. For example, when I woke up this morning, I asked myself: What shall we have for breakfast on this lovely morning? Captain Crunch, perhaps? Or shall we go with the scrambled eggs and toast? Whether or not I knew there was a god or not, the answer to that question is an expression of free will.

But even with the god question, we would still have it, we would just be stupid to refuse the obviously best decision. 

 

Quote:

I guess a lot hinges on how you define free will. I guess i think that if we truly understood an infinite and omnibenevolent god

I'm still wondering how you know he is infinite or omnibenevolent.

Please don't say the bible, or I will have to quit this conversation crying. =( 

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and know his will on everything (which would come with knowing him)

What are god's feelings toward truffles? I personally find them exquisite. Does he fancy them?

 

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then the free will we have is not so free. If we had all the answers we would never learn to think. Something we never need to use will inevitably atrophy.

This only pertains to the question of god's existence though. God's revealing himself would not remove our ability to make decisions on our own in every aspect of our lives. 

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Be lucky

That sure would be nice.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


a seeker
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Hey you. Great post. You

Hey you. Great post. You are definitely causing me to stretch my brain here.

 

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It could just be an extremely rare and special type of response. The feeling you get from an adrenaline rush is very rare and special, so you don't feel it except in regard to very specific types of situations. The god concept could invoke a similar reaction. The specialness doesn't necessarily mean that such a feeling could come from god alone. 

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Agreed. Its by no means proof. It fits the god "model" but it fits just as neatly in the psychology model.

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But the problem YOU have is that you cannot have a belief in a concept that is undefined.

Suppose we were speaking of a Snarfel, for example. We could say that this Snarfel character is kind, jealous, intelligent, observant, and all kinds of secondary, qualifying things.

But you also have to ask yourself, WHAT IS this Snarfel? If you have no idea, then you don't believe in. You only believe all of the qualifiers you've attached to it. "Snarfel", in that sense, is nothing more than a metaphor for a collection of favorable secondary characteristics.

You don't know what "god" is. Saying what he does and what his personality is like, etc, does not solve this problem.

For me to suggest that ambiguity is only a problem if we want to know what Snarfel is, but that ambiguity is not a problem if we want to believe in Snarfel, does not solve the problem. It ignores the problem.

If I believe in Snarfel, I have no idea what I believe.  Just as you have no idea what I mean when I say it.

It's an ambiguous, undefined word with a voice. =)

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 Firstly i googled snarfel (i'm that kind of guy) to find out what one is. This http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=snarfel site gave me two definitions. If its the second one it might be considered kind but also highly dangerous and i wonder if it is entirely possible! LMAO.

Sorry, back to seriously.

You are quite correct. I do not know what god is except in the broadest possible terms. By definition god is beyond our understanding. So i guess (for me)a beleif in god is to beleive in something we don't know. I beleive in particle accelerators but i have no idea what they are or what they do or anything about them!

Perhaps a better analogy (and analogies always fall short) is light. I can't see light. I don't really understand how it works. I CAN se objects from which light is reflected and observe the effects of light. This leads me to adopt a very simplistic, probably incorrect psychological model of what light is based on its observable effects.

Now i know that light CAN be understood by very clever people with beards, glasses and level 2000 bards in AD&D where as god cannot. However my point is that i will never understand light in that way. But i still beleive in it in my ignorant and simplistic way. This does not provide evidence that anyone else should beleive in god, it merely explains how i can beleive in something i don't understand and cannot really define.

 

Re your experiance of profundity you did a fantanstic job of verbalising what you feel. Perhaps you understand those feelings better than I, i would simply slap a "GOD" sticker on the whole package and leave it there. This is a heuristic, a mental shortcut based on an incomplete model which renders the process inaccessible to correction or scrutiny. Dashed bad form in science but quite normal in everyday life. It is possible that your feeling is also a heuristic allbeit of a much more sophisticated and intellictual ilk. The way we usually identify a heuristic is the direction of the thought process. If you start at the end (with the feeling) and work backward (to explain it), the chances are good you are rationalising something you do not fully understand.

 I like my heuristic because it is accessable, reproducable and for the most part, pleasing. You prefer yours, i suspect, because a natural sense of curiousity leads you to wish to "unpack" such feelings and find explanations for them which you can understand.

From a religious point of view i would say that it is erronious to separate these feelings from "god" just because they have natural explanations as well as superficially supernatural appearences. I think these feelings represent that part of us which is somehow greater or different from our standard batch of evolutionary drives and biological necessities.

Re the free will thing, i think we will have to agree to differ there. I still think that giving us free will but no need to use it would be like giving us roller skates in zero gravity. Yes we've got them but whats the point in having them if you don't get to or need to use them.

 

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I'm still wondering how you know he is infinite or omnibenevolent.

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I don't. Well, i do, but only in a circular way. Thats the model i apply to something i don't understand because being human i cannot comprehend the infinite. In the christian model, god defines what benevolence or "rightness" is. As i say its circular logic but its the best i can do. Sorry.  

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Please don't say the bible, or I will have to quit this conversation crying. =( 

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Would'nt dream of it.Wink 

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What are god's feelings toward truffles? I personally find them exquisite. Does he fancy them?

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I think he is delighted that you enjoy truffles, in that sense he loves them. Laughing

 Be happy

 


triften
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Ack! Don't for get forget

Ack! Don't for get forget to close the quote tags! After each block of what someone said, you should put in a [ / quote ] (without the extra spaces in there.)

So, a quote will look like this:

Quote:
Blah blah blah...

Then finish up and go back to normal. Feel free to use Preview Comment to make sure all's well.

I hope none of your comment get sqeezed into nothing by the quote problem... Sad

-Triften