the blasphemy challenge, comments from a theist

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the blasphemy challenge, comments from a theist

 hi all, I'm a Christian; I'm not here to rant or anything, but I just have 2 quick comments regarding the blasphemy challenge:

 1. I really don't see why anyone would bother asking someone to give up something which they don't believe has any value and/or even exists. If there is no God, no soul, no salvation or damnation, then there's no point. Selling one's soul by blaspheming the holy spirit is, in that case, an excersize in futility. Better, I would think, simply to give the DVD's away-- especially since those who have some reluctance to take up the challenge are the very ones who, in your view, most need to have it!   2. The whole premise is based on a faulty understanding of what constitutes "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit". In the context of the passage, blaspheming the Holy Spirit does not mean denying the Holy Spirit; it means giving credit to the power of evil for something that was done by the power of Good (Jesus spoke of this unforgivable sin in response to the accusation of the pharisees that he was performing miracles and casting out demons "by Beelzebub", that is, by the devil. This was a serious slur against the holy spirit through whom these works had actually been done; but not one that an Atheist can commit, not believing in either a Holy Spirit or a being known as Satan).

 


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StoryMing wrote:  I

StoryMing wrote:

  I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

I used to tell people "my god is my conscience". (con meaning against or negative, and of course science.) The thoughts of right and wrong have nothing to do with science. I could go on but I don't want blake jumping my ass.

I hope this helps, because society is the main driving force for humans and behavior, not god. The idea of god is only a motivator, for good OR bad.

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


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Since it is obvious that

Since it is obvious that cooperation in a social group increases the chances of all members to survive, evolution of the urge to cooperate, and suppression of damaging urges such as to maim and kill is a natural and inevitable consequence. We see it in all social species. General sociopathy could not evolve naturally, since groups where it was the rule would be less likely to survive than groups dominated by more cooperative urges.

We do not require immaterial souls to have these drives to cooperate, 'merely' sufficiently complex nervous systems/brains to manifest such things.

More complex brains allow us to have more complex relationships with others, to make more perceptive judgements of the best strategies to gain what we want from other members of society.

Complex behaviour of any kind requires complex internal organization and structure. Simple entities, whether homogenous chunks of matter, pure energy, even supernatural 'soul' stuff, require such internal complexity, and 'mere' matter can demonstrably support indefinitely complex things. A separate 'soul' is simply not necessary, and it is not even clear how it could manifest thoughts and intentionality, which all observation here in our reality is intimately associated with complex nervous systems, with the most complex behaviour seeming to require a specialized organ, the brain.

So far from it being impossible for mere matter to behave like this, serious study of the subject points to the opposite conclusion, that material structures is the only thing we know that can support complex behaviour.

Remember, intuitive judgements about anything at all subtle or complex are very ineffective ways to get to truth.

A similar counter-intuitive notion applies to 'randomness'.

An element of random generation of possible structures, along with some deterministic process favouring certain kinds of structure, is the surest way to 'create' genuinely novel things, 'designs' which are not limited to derivations of existing designs. The evolutionary process of random variation, where the basic selection mechanism is the requirement to survive and reproduce, is the ultimate creative force, much more effective in coming up with surprising new patterns than direct design. As the continual emergence of new dangerous forms of micro-organisms demonstrates. 

Human designers and planners will utilise similar processes when direct conscious design runs out of ideas, such as the 'brain-storming' session, and genetic computer algorithms.

Complexity requires matter, and creativity requires randomness.

EDIT: Now I think about it, matter IS structured energy, energy manifest in some localised relatively stable form, as sub-atomic particles.

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

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

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

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iwbiek wrote:D33PPURPLE

iwbiek wrote:

 

whoops, just caught this, and i have to say it depends on which gospel you read.  luke 11.23 and matthew 12.30 say this, but mark 9.40 says, "he who is not against us is with us."

   iwbiek, forgive the distraction, but who is that in your current avatar ?  For some reason the person in the picture looks familiar....is it a Soviet female sniper ?  If I remember correctly Soviet women were in frontline combat roles long before their western counterparts.  Just curious.....

   

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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StoryMing wrote:jcgadfly

StoryMing wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

What you believe atheism is is colossally incorrect. It goes far to explain why you fell into Christianity.

 

I am not saying that I think Atheism, or Atheists, do not act morally and humanely; I am saying they are logically inconsistent when they do.

Again, because you have an incorrect idea of atheism. Atheism is the lack of belief in god(s). The stuff you added on is propaganda.

I respect your opinion but it need not be grounded in falsehoods

"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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ProzacDeathWish wrote:iwbiek

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

 

whoops, just caught this, and i have to say it depends on which gospel you read.  luke 11.23 and matthew 12.30 say this, but mark 9.40 says, "he who is not against us is with us."

   iwbiek, forgive the distraction, but who is that in your current avatar ?  For some reason the person in the picture looks familiar....is it a Soviet female sniper ?  If I remember correctly Soviet women were in frontline combat roles long before their western counterparts.  Just curious.....

   

no problem, my pleasure.  the lady in my avatar and the lady above are one and the same: the lovely miss lyudmila pavlichenko, a ukrainian patriot and red army sniper credited with killing 309 nazis, making her the most successful female sniper of all time. 

she signed up for the army at the age of 24, a very attractive university student who was fashion-conscious and took great care of her appearance.  the recruiter asked her if she wouldn't rather be a nurse.  she politely refused and showed him a certificate of excellent marksmanship received from a shooting club she'd been attending with her father since she was 14.

she was hailed as a hero by all the allies, feted at the white house by president roosevelt and given a colt automatic pistol.  she also spoke before the international student assembly and the CIO while in the US.  in canada, she was given a sighted winchester rifle.  back home, she was awarded the gold star of the hero of the soviet union.

the greatest honor, though, came from woody guthrie:

and, to top it all off, she didn't even end up in the gulag.   

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


ProzacDeathWish
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iwbiek wrote:ProzacDeathWish

iwbiek wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

iwbiek wrote:

 

whoops, just caught this, and i have to say it depends on which gospel you read.  luke 11.23 and matthew 12.30 say this, but mark 9.40 says, "he who is not against us is with us."

   iwbiek, forgive the distraction, but who is that in your current avatar ?  For some reason the person in the picture looks familiar....is it a Soviet female sniper ?  If I remember correctly Soviet women were in frontline combat roles long before their western counterparts.  Just curious.....

   

no problem, my pleasure.  the lady in my avatar and the lady above are one and the same: the lovely miss lyudmila pavlichenko, a ukrainian patriot and red army sniper credited with killing 309 nazis, making her the most successful female sniper of all time. 

she signed up for the army at the age of 24, a very attractive university student who was fashion-conscious and took great care of her appearance.  the recruiter asked her if she wouldn't rather be a nurse.  she politely refused and showed him a certificate of excellent marksmanship received from a shooting club she'd been attending with her father since she was 14.

she was hailed as a hero by all the allies, feted at the white house by president roosevelt and given a colt automatic pistol.  she also spoke before the international student assembly and the CIO while in the US.  in canada, she was given a sighted winchester rifle.  back home, she was awarded the gold star of the hero of the soviet union.

the greatest honor, though, came from woody guthrie:

and, to top it all off, she didn't even end up in the gulag.   

  That's pretty neat.  Whether one's political tendencies are sympathetic with Soviet Communism or not, it's obvious from history that Soviet women were definitely allowed to compete with their male counterparts on virtually even terms.  I believe Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, and that record was established ...in 1963.    Anyway I should stop hijacking this thread.  Thanks for the info.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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NoMoreCrazyPeople

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

 Ok.  So what are you saying exaclty?  I've read the gospels many times over and spent 15 years completely surrounded by "jesus" everything.  How exactly do you "know" this jesus character better than I.  Tell me one thing about jesus that I don't know. 

 

Well, I can't be sure, of course; but it seems a likely guess that you don't know that he is not in fact out to make your life miserable; and it seems reasonable to assume you do not know what there is about him that would possibly cause anyone to prefer death by torture rather than to renounce him.

 

  Excuse me, their are plenty of things about your jesus/god that would make me prefer death by torture than to to give myself to him, so quit your poor assumptions, we're not all pussies some of us would stand up for what is right in the face of great danger. How about let's start with the fact you have to choose between DEATH BY TORTURE, or GIVING YOURSELF TO A BAT SHIT CRAZY DIETY.  The fact that death by torture, or torture at all by diety or not is even on the table is reason enough for me to dispise your god and anyone who is assosiated with and alligned with him (jesus/himself).  IF you are trying to make the argument that we are talking about the "good" jesus of the gospels you won't get far.  First of all Jesus is either also the god of abraham, a part of the god of abraham, or his son and alligns himself with his fathers philosophies and ways of bat shit crazyness.  So making an argument about jesus' "good/kind" character is futile as Jesus' character is inherantly alligned with that of the god of abraham, so that doesn't work.  I can be a great guy, If my best friend is a rapist and let him do it I am a rapist by assosiation.  Second, this character jesus has 2 sides, 2 distict massively inconsistent characteristics. Your jesus seems to have a little war general in him, and it is clear in your bible that if anyone defies him he will come WITH THE SWORD.  Jesus seems to like swords.  Here are just some verses from the gospels painting a not to pippy Jesus, and NO I didn't go find these on some website, I wrote these ones down when I was reading the bible.  There are more, and don't even get me started on revelations.

Alright, hold on, hold on, wait a minute. S-l-o-o-o-w down.

Breathe.

Okay. Now, first of all, the assumption I was making was that you do not know (nor care to know) anything good about Jesus (or his father). Your response would appear to indicate that this assumption was exactly correct. So, what, exactly, are we arguing about? There seems to have been a misunderstanding: perhaps I did not word my statement clearly. My comment about death by torture had nothing to do with what you, yourself, would choose. It was simply pointing out that some people DO choose Jesus, over everything and anything else, and evidently see something in him to value and treasure which you do not. 

If you are trying to pick a quarrel with me for being "weak" enough, and "sissy" enough to give my life to him, I'm not going to even bother. If you choose to consider me weak, you have every right to your own opinion.
 


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NoMoreCrazyPeople

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

 If there is not an objective Reality behind our human conception of  righteousness, truth, justice, and love, then those ideas are worthless. That means there is no way to say that a Hitler is evil or a Ghandi is good-- other than as a matter of personal preference, like liking chocolate better than vanilla.

OMG.  NO!!!!  Do you understand how badly you just insulted yourself?  Comparing hitler to ghandi is nothing like comparing vanilla to chocolate.   This a terrible, terrible comparision.  If your saying you need a god to determine ghandi being generally "good" and hitler being generally "bad" you are a bafoon, I'm sorry but thats the truth.  In essence here you have said "I'm a dumbass who can't figure things out myself, i have no internal sense of morality,  so I base my opigions on what (insert god of coice)  "said".  And how can you say "without god truth, justice and love are worthless," HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT, honestly, that's the problem right there you can't find worth in life without god, and that's so sad, truly sad.  You want to believe in god go ahead I have no problem with that, but don't sit here and say all the virtues we live by and the goodness we strive for is meaningless unless a god exists, ITS NOT and that is the biggest problems I have with what you are saying here.   

 

StoryMing wrote:

I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

You are still making the assumption tha without the "god" concept we would be all raping a murdering eachother.  This is such non-sense.  Would you be???  WIthout the bible to guide you are you an "evil" person?  It will never cease to amaze me and piss me off how the Christian says "I have no purpose without god, without god there is no point to be good, there is no point to love, I'm just a sick  twisted sad creature that needs saving"  How can you tell yourself that, how dare you think  so poorly of yourself.   That is such a terrible way to look at life, and I refuse to live in a world full of weak depressed poopy pant people who can't find meaning in life without god and cheating death, it's so sad and babyish.  What a crock, what a horrible philosophy.  We have to find meaning in our dambselves or our species is doomed, I have found peace and meaning in the natural world, in myself and through  my friends and family.  You will always have this massive hole in you you fill with god, and that's fine but don't you DARE assume the rest of the world is as needy, incomplete and babyish as you, and that we need a "god" concept to act like moral rational adults.      

 

Nomorecrazy, you have missed the point entirely.

It is not that we need a God concept to act like moral rational adults; obviously, an Atheist is just as moral as the next person.

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

And once again, no, without the God concept we would not all be raping and murdering each other. But if matter is all there is, why ever shouldn't we? Because it's wrong? Where does this idea of "wrong" come from? From our brains? bits of conscious carbon-based protoplasm?


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StoryMing

StoryMing wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

 If there is not an objective Reality behind our human conception of  righteousness, truth, justice, and love, then those ideas are worthless. That means there is no way to say that a Hitler is evil or a Ghandi is good-- other than as a matter of personal preference, like liking chocolate better than vanilla.

OMG.  NO!!!!  Do you understand how badly you just insulted yourself?  Comparing hitler to ghandi is nothing like comparing vanilla to chocolate.   This a terrible, terrible comparision.  If your saying you need a god to determine ghandi being generally "good" and hitler being generally "bad" you are a bafoon, I'm sorry but thats the truth.  In essence here you have said "I'm a dumbass who can't figure things out myself, i have no internal sense of morality,  so I base my opigions on what (insert god of coice)  "said".  And how can you say "without god truth, justice and love are worthless," HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT, honestly, that's the problem right there you can't find worth in life without god, and that's so sad, truly sad.  You want to believe in god go ahead I have no problem with that, but don't sit here and say all the virtues we live by and the goodness we strive for is meaningless unless a god exists, ITS NOT and that is the biggest problems I have with what you are saying here.   

 

StoryMing wrote:

I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

You are still making the assumption tha without the "god" concept we would be all raping a murdering eachother.  This is such non-sense.  Would you be???  WIthout the bible to guide you are you an "evil" person?  It will never cease to amaze me and piss me off how the Christian says "I have no purpose without god, without god there is no point to be good, there is no point to love, I'm just a sick  twisted sad creature that needs saving"  How can you tell yourself that, how dare you think  so poorly of yourself.   That is such a terrible way to look at life, and I refuse to live in a world full of weak depressed poopy pant people who can't find meaning in life without god and cheating death, it's so sad and babyish.  What a crock, what a horrible philosophy.  We have to find meaning in our dambselves or our species is doomed, I have found peace and meaning in the natural world, in myself and through  my friends and family.  You will always have this massive hole in you you fill with god, and that's fine but don't you DARE assume the rest of the world is as needy, incomplete and babyish as you, and that we need a "god" concept to act like moral rational adults.      

 

Nomorecrazy, you have missed the point entirely.

It is not that we need a God concept to act like moral rational adults; obviously, an Atheist is just as moral as the next person.

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

And once again, no, without the God concept we would not all be raping and murdering each other. But if matter is all there is, why ever shouldn't we? Because it's wrong? Where does this idea of "wrong" come from? From our brains? bits of conscious carbon-based protoplasm?

Congratulations! You claim a standard as God that the God of your holy book doesn't follow.

Isn't it great to be more moral than your God?

"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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StoryMing

StoryMing wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

 If there is not an objective Reality behind our human conception of  righteousness, truth, justice, and love, then those ideas are worthless. That means there is no way to say that a Hitler is evil or a Ghandi is good-- other than as a matter of personal preference, like liking chocolate better than vanilla.

OMG.  NO!!!!  Do you understand how badly you just insulted yourself?  Comparing hitler to ghandi is nothing like comparing vanilla to chocolate.   This a terrible, terrible comparision.  If your saying you need a god to determine ghandi being generally "good" and hitler being generally "bad" you are a bafoon, I'm sorry but thats the truth.  In essence here you have said "I'm a dumbass who can't figure things out myself, i have no internal sense of morality,  so I base my opigions on what (insert god of coice)  "said".  And how can you say "without god truth, justice and love are worthless," HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT, honestly, that's the problem right there you can't find worth in life without god, and that's so sad, truly sad.  You want to believe in god go ahead I have no problem with that, but don't sit here and say all the virtues we live by and the goodness we strive for is meaningless unless a god exists, ITS NOT and that is the biggest problems I have with what you are saying here.   

 

StoryMing wrote:

I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

You are still making the assumption tha without the "god" concept we would be all raping a murdering eachother.  This is such non-sense.  Would you be???  WIthout the bible to guide you are you an "evil" person?  It will never cease to amaze me and piss me off how the Christian says "I have no purpose without god, without god there is no point to be good, there is no point to love, I'm just a sick  twisted sad creature that needs saving"  How can you tell yourself that, how dare you think  so poorly of yourself.   That is such a terrible way to look at life, and I refuse to live in a world full of weak depressed poopy pant people who can't find meaning in life without god and cheating death, it's so sad and babyish.  What a crock, what a horrible philosophy.  We have to find meaning in our dambselves or our species is doomed, I have found peace and meaning in the natural world, in myself and through  my friends and family.  You will always have this massive hole in you you fill with god, and that's fine but don't you DARE assume the rest of the world is as needy, incomplete and babyish as you, and that we need a "god" concept to act like moral rational adults.      

 

Nomorecrazy, you have missed the point entirely.

It is not that we need a God concept to act like moral rational adults; obviously, an Atheist is just as moral as the next person.

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

And once again, no, without the God concept we would not all be raping and murdering each other. But if matter is all there is, why ever shouldn't we? Because it's wrong? Where does this idea of "wrong" come from? From our brains? bits of conscious carbon-based protoplasm?

Yes there is a clear difference in between a Hitler and a Ghandi, apart from the fact Hitler believed in the Christian God and Ghandi didn't.

That does not mean there is an absolute, 'ultimate', 'true' standard. That is an explicit logical error!

The reference point for collective ideals of good and evil is whatever common denominator there is in our reactions to various actions.

The idea of wrong comes from our naturally evolved aversion to suffering and pain, and its extension to our feelings toward other members of our social group derived from the great benefits to social cohesion by empathy. This degree of commonality is as close as we get to an objective standard.

Matter and energy (note, not just matter), is all there is at the most basic level of description, at what makes up everything we actually see.

But if we look at collections of matter, interacting with each other, merely describing in terms of the motions of individual atoms does not explain what we see, even at the level of inanimate objects. You cannot meaningfully describe a solar system or a tree atom by atom.

So we understand that to understand reality we must study the behavior and attributes of identifiable persistent collections of atoms, which requires many concepts not applicable to individual particles.

The more complex the 'objects' the more complex is the possible behaviour they can display.

By the time we reach a level of description which makes sense of life-forms such as ourselves, the get emergent phenomena such as sentience, awareness. This is not an intrinsic property of individual bits of matter, it us an attribute of a certain kind of complex structure and process, which requires a certain type of physical substrate, such as a nervous system and a brain. It does not depend on particular kind of matter, as long as it is capable of being arranged into the sort of things which interact the way neurons do.

Emergence of new properties and attributes in assemblages of basic bits, which are not present in those individual bits, is a concept fundamental to understanding 'Life, the Universe , and Everything'. It can be as basic as the observation that water has a attribute of 'wetness', that elemental hydrogen and oxygen do not. Or that, while salt is an important ingredient of our diet, elemental sodium and chlorine are poisonous. This process has no inherent upper limit.

So there is more than 'just matter', in a sense, there is pattern, structure, process, complexity.

Describing us as 'just matter' would be more blind to truth than describing the Empire State as just a collection of building materials. There is a difference between a pile of bricks and a house....

The God concept is an unnecessary distraction from these truths.

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

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

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

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


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StoryMing wrote:The point is

StoryMing wrote:

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

So what if God arbitrated some laws? How does that make them more true than if a man arbitrated them?


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StoryMing

StoryMing wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

 If there is not an objective Reality behind our human conception of  righteousness, truth, justice, and love, then those ideas are worthless. That means there is no way to say that a Hitler is evil or a Ghandi is good-- other than as a matter of personal preference, like liking chocolate better than vanilla.

OMG.  NO!!!!  Do you understand how badly you just insulted yourself?  Comparing hitler to ghandi is nothing like comparing vanilla to chocolate.   This a terrible, terrible comparision.  If your saying you need a god to determine ghandi being generally "good" and hitler being generally "bad" you are a bafoon, I'm sorry but thats the truth.  In essence here you have said "I'm a dumbass who can't figure things out myself, i have no internal sense of morality,  so I base my opigions on what (insert god of coice)  "said".  And how can you say "without god truth, justice and love are worthless," HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT, HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT, honestly, that's the problem right there you can't find worth in life without god, and that's so sad, truly sad.  You want to believe in god go ahead I have no problem with that, but don't sit here and say all the virtues we live by and the goodness we strive for is meaningless unless a god exists, ITS NOT and that is the biggest problems I have with what you are saying here.   

 

StoryMing wrote:

I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

You are still making the assumption tha without the "god" concept we would be all raping a murdering eachother.  This is such non-sense.  Would you be???  WIthout the bible to guide you are you an "evil" person?  It will never cease to amaze me and piss me off how the Christian says "I have no purpose without god, without god there is no point to be good, there is no point to love, I'm just a sick  twisted sad creature that needs saving"  How can you tell yourself that, how dare you think  so poorly of yourself.   That is such a terrible way to look at life, and I refuse to live in a world full of weak depressed poopy pant people who can't find meaning in life without god and cheating death, it's so sad and babyish.  What a crock, what a horrible philosophy.  We have to find meaning in our dambselves or our species is doomed, I have found peace and meaning in the natural world, in myself and through  my friends and family.  You will always have this massive hole in you you fill with god, and that's fine but don't you DARE assume the rest of the world is as needy, incomplete and babyish as you, and that we need a "god" concept to act like moral rational adults.      

 

Nomorecrazy, you have missed the point entirely.

It is not that we need a God concept to act like moral rational adults; obviously, an Atheist is just as moral as the next person.

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

And once again, no, without the God concept we would not all be raping and murdering each other. But if matter is all there is, why ever shouldn't we? Because it's wrong? Where does this idea of "wrong" come from? From our brains? bits of conscious carbon-based protoplasm?

 

But they both thought they were 'right'.  They both had followers that thought they were doing the 'right' thing.  We think having sex with 13 year olds is 'wrong' but in other times and cultures no-one considered it 'wrong'.  We think owning slaves is 'wrong' even though in other times and places it was considered 'right'.  A suicide bomber is 'bad', but not to his family.  A kamikaze pilot in WW2 was 'bad' to Americans, but not to his own nation.  America was 'bad' for nuking whole cities, but only to certain people.  A Nazi shooting a Jew was bad to many people in the world, but not to those who thought Jews were subhuman.  I don't think I am bad for eating meat, but many in my own culture think that act is evil.  I think it is 'good' when women share the same rights as men, but the Bible says that is bad.  I think genocide is 'wrong' but God ordered genocide personally.  I think democracy and freedom of speech is 'good' but many cultures reject them.  I think a black person should be able to marry a white person.  Many thing that is evil.  I do not believe sex outside of marriage is evil, but many do.

 

I could go on.

 

You are defining objective morality based on what you think is moral in the time and place you happen to be.  If morality was truly constant, it would not shift so drastically based on time and place.  How can you show morality is objective when real life disagrees?

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


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StoryMing

StoryMing wrote:

 

Nomorecrazy, you have missed the point entirely.

 

The point is that good and evil ARE REAL, not just a matter of personal opinion. There IS a difference betweeen a Ghandi and a Hitler. There is, then, an ultimate-- a true standard by which to measure. This ultimate, this standard, is what we theists call "God". You want to call it by some other name, that's fine, but it does exist.

Yes well I would argue they "are real" in a sense as well.  This ultimate, this standard you say must exist, well ofcourse it does depending on how you see moral truth.  Ultimetly the awnser to this isn't "god" as all that does in increase the mysetery of where god got his morals from and how those morals are ojective if "god" has no "god" to measure his standard of morality against.  As you can see the argument quickly goes in infinite circles.  The awnser to where this true good/evil comes from is in us, me and you, rational people.  I say rational not to represent rational people, I am not all rational, no one alive is.  The best we can do is imagine what a group of perfectly rational people would think is right or wrong, and how they would govern these laws and then do the best we can to immulate what a perfectly rational being would do. 

  These moral standards begin with the basic foundation "don't hurt others, and help others in need"   It is not difficult in any way to come to this philisophical foundation on ethics by thinking about how you feel about yourself, and how you feel about people you care about.  There is no god needed to come to these understandings.   Now ofcourse there are an infinite amount of variables that could make a decision difficult if trying to allign yourself with this simple foundation and we could discuss them forever (causing harm in self defense etc...) but in the end it makes absolutely no diference if god exists or not, the reason you are wrong for harming someone (i.e hitler) is not some cosmic universal eternal deity inspired reason, it is a simple human reason, because you don't want to be harmed and you don't want your niece and nephew to be harmed either.  We create these truths because we have the ability to understand them, if we did not have the capabilty to self reflect on these issues they would not exist.  They exist because we exist to think about them, not because god exists. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

And once again, no, without the God concept we would not all be raping and murdering each other. But if matter is all there is, why ever shouldn't we? Because it's wrong? Where does this idea of "wrong" come from? From our brains? bits of conscious carbon-based protoplasm?

You can refer to the above.


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We certainly don't

We certainly don't get modern views of slavery from God. The Bible encourages slavery; modernity doesn't. The following link gives 24 seperate verses from the Bible either condoning or regulating slavery. http://etori.tripod.com/slave-verses.html

So obviously there must be some moral source other than God.

 


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The concept of 'wrong' does

The concept of 'wrong' does indeed come from our brains. Not from a 'bit of protoplasm' - something so simple would not be able to contain the complex hierarchy of concepts needed to make such an idea meaningful.

Rather it requires a complex collection of cells interconnected and interacting in sufficiently complex patterns to support such concepts as awareness of other similar conscious entities, and the need to decide how to interact with them.

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

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

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

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


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BobSpence1 wrote:The concept

BobSpence1 wrote:

The concept of 'wrong' does indeed come from our brains. Not from a 'bit of protoplasm' - something so simple would not be able to contain the complex hierarchy of concepts needed to make such an idea meaningful.

Rather it requires a complex collection of cells interconnected and interacting in sufficiently complex patterns to support such concepts as awareness of other similar conscious entities, and the need to decide how to interact with them.

You mean, the concept of "wrong" comes from the same place that other concepts come from? Unbelievable.


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I'm sorry, Bob. I still do

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?


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StoryMing wrote:I'm sorry,

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?

Perhaps because he's not arguing for such a system?

How do you derive moral imperatives from an immoral creation of humans you call God?

"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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StoryMing wrote:I'm sorry,

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?


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NoMoreCrazyPeople

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

What? Yes, sure, probably much of my belief has to do with the fact that I want to believe. So? It seems to me that your Atheism has just as much to do with what you *don't* want to believe.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if anyone came out with solid evidence for God's existance, you would impartially and openmindedly follow the evidence wherever it led?

 

You call the God of Christianity crazy. I suppose you're right. If a powerful sovereign living in the Taj Mahal or Buckingham palace were to go voluntarily to one of the concertration camps, and offer to take the place of a prisoner headed for the gas chambers in return for that prisoner's freedom-- a prisoner, moreover, who had spat at and slapped him in the face, or robbed or wronged him in some other way-- I guess you could call that crazy.

 

Let me guess. Not impressed, you say, when that ruler was the one who supposedly made the concentration camp and sent the victims there, in the first place.

If I go and put my hand on a hot stove, do I burn my hand because some whacko decided I need a sadistic punishment for doing what I was not supposed to? Or, was I not supposed to touch a hot stove because it would burn my hand?

In the story of the Prodigal Son, is it the Father who insists that his son should go into exile and famine, for wanting to leave?

 


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jcgadfly

jcgadfly wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I must be an exception then. When I say I was raised no-religion, I mean NO RELIGION. Never brought to church, never knew anyone in my family to pray, God was not generally a topic of discussion in conversation.

If you are an American, you can't avoid being exposed to religion in one form or another unless you were locked in your house, never interacted with people and never used money.

 

 

Yes, that's like me being an American and yet saying that I've never been exposed to democracy or capitalism because none of my family members are bankers or politicians.

No - it's more like you've never talked with Christians without knowing that they were (and they never mentioned church or God) or you never got money and read "In God We Trust" on it. In capitalism's case, you must never get money, have a job or buy things in order to completely avoid exposure to capitalism.

I will amend my statement to it being extremely difficult to avoid exposure to religion (or capitalism for that matter - there is no democracy in America).

 

I never said I was not exposed to Christianity. I said I was raised no-religion. A person can grow up in America, and be exposed to Christianity, and be raised Jewish by their family (or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Wiccan, or Atheist)


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StoryMing wrote:If I go and

StoryMing wrote:

If I go and put my hand on a hot stove, do I burn my hand because some whacko decided I need a sadistic punishment for doing what I was not supposed to? Or, was I not supposed to touch a hot stove because it would burn my hand?

In the story of the Prodigal Son, is it the Father who insists that his son should go into exile and famine, for wanting to leave?

I'm so glad that even in this place filled with dirty heathens some small wisdom can be found.  See, its not like God is forcing people to go to hell.  It just that people choose to go to hell themselves!  It's like this.  A man heats up a stove then pointed a gun at you and gives you a choice of either worshiping him or burning you hand against the red hot metal (or maybe you face which ever you prefer). Now if you chose to burn your self on the stove it's not the mans fault.  It completely your CHOICE!  Why can't you see that?  That why God gave us free will, so we can choose to worship him or choose to suffer a horrible horrible fate.  The choice is purely yours.  God isn't forcing you to do anything.  


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StoryMing

StoryMing wrote:

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

And there you go. 

What? Yes, sure, probably much of my belief has to do with the fact that I want to believe. So? It seems to me that your Atheism has just as much to do with what you *don't* want to believe.

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if anyone came out with solid evidence for God's existance, you would impartially and openmindedly follow the evidence wherever it led?

 

You call the God of Christianity crazy. I suppose you're right. If a powerful sovereign living in the Taj Mahal or Buckingham palace were to go voluntarily to one of the concertration camps, and offer to take the place of a prisoner headed for the gas chambers in return for that prisoner's freedom-- a prisoner, moreover, who had spat at and slapped him in the face, or robbed or wronged him in some other way-- I guess you could call that crazy.

 

Let me guess. Not impressed, you say, when that ruler was the one who supposedly made the concentration camp and sent the victims there, in the first place.

If I go and put my hand on a hot stove, do I burn my hand because some whacko decided I need a sadistic punishment for doing what I was not supposed to? Or, was I not supposed to touch a hot stove because it would burn my hand?

In the story of the Prodigal Son, is it the Father who insists that his son should go into exile and famine, for wanting to leave?

 

 

Why would any of us not jump at the chance to be immortal?  Why wouldn't we believe in God, were there evidence?  Christianity isn't even hard.  You could believe Jesus is Lord and suck up to him without *liking* him and still get your Golden Ticket.

 

I would call a leader crazy if he made a giant torture chamber, set up a no-win scenario with the torture chamber as a punishment for failure, then say the only way to be saved from their fate is to suck up to the dear leader.

 

I still don't buy any of the theistic excuses for Hell.  To you, God didn't just make Hell, It made humans, It made Human morality, It made Humans weak, It made the tempter that helped start our 'fall', It made the law that It knew would be violated, It created the situation for that choice to be made, It made the curse and applied it to all humans who would ever be born after the fact, then It spends a couple thousands years murdering and generally screwing with humans, then It changes It's mind about the whole system and carved off a piece of Itself so it could kill Itself then raise Itself from the dead and suck Itself into space to create a loophole in the law that It created, then It disappears.

And you come on here and tell us how it all makes sense, God is love, and you don't understand why we think the world makes more sense without invoking your deity.

 

Your avatar is apt, because you need to do a lot of logical tap dancing and hand waving to make the story sound plausible in any way.

 

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


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StoryMing wrote:jcgadfly

StoryMing wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I must be an exception then. When I say I was raised no-religion, I mean NO RELIGION. Never brought to church, never knew anyone in my family to pray, God was not generally a topic of discussion in conversation.

If you are an American, you can't avoid being exposed to religion in one form or another unless you were locked in your house, never interacted with people and never used money.

 

 

Yes, that's like me being an American and yet saying that I've never been exposed to democracy or capitalism because none of my family members are bankers or politicians.

No - it's more like you've never talked with Christians without knowing that they were (and they never mentioned church or God) or you never got money and read "In God We Trust" on it. In capitalism's case, you must never get money, have a job or buy things in order to completely avoid exposure to capitalism.

I will amend my statement to it being extremely difficult to avoid exposure to religion (or capitalism for that matter - there is no democracy in America).

 

I never said I was not exposed to Christianity. I said I was raised no-religion. A person can grow up in America, and be exposed to Christianity, and be raised Jewish by their family (or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Wiccan, or Atheist)

Then you're not an exception. Your exposure led to your conversion.

"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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TruthbringerOfTrueTruthiness wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

If I go and put my hand on a hot stove, do I burn my hand because some whacko decided I need a sadistic punishment for doing what I was not supposed to? Or, was I not supposed to touch a hot stove because it would burn my hand?

In the story of the Prodigal Son, is it the Father who insists that his son should go into exile and famine, for wanting to leave?

I'm so glad that even in this place filled with dirty heathens some small wisdom can be found.  See, its not like God is forcing people to go to hell.  It just that people choose to go to hell themselves!  It's like this.  A man heats up a stove then pointed a gun at you and gives you a choice of either worshiping him or burning you hand against the red hot metal (or maybe you face which ever you prefer). Now if you chose to burn your self on the stove it's not the mans fault.  It completely your CHOICE!  Why can't you see that?  That why God gave us free will, so we can choose to worship him or choose to suffer a horrible horrible fate.  The choice is purely yours.  God isn't forcing you to do anything.  

 

You know guys, a loving parent would take your hand or face, and say, firmly with love, "Sweetheart, don't touch the stove, you will hurt yourself.  See?  It's hot, and I don't want you to have a nasty burn."

Instead, god/s/dess holds the gun to your head.  Get shot or get burned.  How loving.  </sarcasm>

Perhaps you would like to change your analogy?

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

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

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


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cj

cj wrote:

TruthbringerOfTrueTruthiness wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

If I go and put my hand on a hot stove, do I burn my hand because some whacko decided I need a sadistic punishment for doing what I was not supposed to? Or, was I not supposed to touch a hot stove because it would burn my hand?

In the story of the Prodigal Son, is it the Father who insists that his son should go into exile and famine, for wanting to leave?

I'm so glad that even in this place filled with dirty heathens some small wisdom can be found.  See, its not like God is forcing people to go to hell.  It just that people choose to go to hell themselves!  It's like this.  A man heats up a stove then pointed a gun at you and gives you a choice of either worshiping him or burning you hand against the red hot metal (or maybe you face which ever you prefer). Now if you chose to burn your self on the stove it's not the mans fault.  It completely your CHOICE!  Why can't you see that?  That why God gave us free will, so we can choose to worship him or choose to suffer a horrible horrible fate.  The choice is purely yours.  God isn't forcing you to do anything.  

 

You know guys, a loving parent would take your hand or face, and say, firmly with love, "Sweetheart, don't touch the stove, you will hurt yourself.  See?  It's hot, and I don't want you to have a nasty burn."

Instead, god/s/dess holds the gun to your head.  Get shot or get burned.  How loving.  </sarcasm>

Perhaps you would like to change your analogy?

I think he is playing sarcasm though he lacks true infinite drip style.

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


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StoryMing wrote:What? Yes,

StoryMing wrote:

What? Yes, sure, probably much of my belief has to do with the fact that I want to believe. So? It seems to me that your Atheism has just as much to do with what you *don't* want to believe.

 

How dreadfully cliche, and highly innacurate.  I don't believe because:

A-There is no evidence to support your cliams about the god of abraham

B-Even if there was your religion and holy book make no sense, the deity is absolutely horrible, and therefore I wouldn't serve your deity or allign myself with his philosophies. 

  

  So in no way shape or form do I not believe because I don't want to believe, I actually take offense to the assumption as I have spend over a decade trying to "find god".  And why the heck wouldn't I want to believe that somehow I get to live forever.  But I can't come to any reasonable conclusion studying the bible and other other holy books that any of it is true.  And if any of it is all we are left with is a very strange and confusing wacko god name yahweh or allah or whatever you wish to call him, and I would NEVER EEEVVVEEERRR worship such a god.  Infact I would never worship anyone!!! Anyone who demanded worship of me would inherantly be someone not deserving of worship.  I'm glad you admitted here with your words a big part of why you believe is becasue you want to, this shows how irrational you are.  I do not make decision on what is true or not in reality because I want things to be true or not.  This would make me a baby, this is not how things work after you are 5 and people stop lying to you.  I want to be a billionaire but I am not, wanting it does not make it anymore true.  This PROVES you make your decisions on what IS true based on what you WANT to be true, and this is irrational.  So right off the bat I know your opigion on the matter of moral truth is bias and plays to your emotions making every word that comes out of your mouth less credible.  You want to make arguments about moral truth and be taken seriously, don't say thing like "a big reason of why I believe is because I want to."  Taking this position alerts us we are dealing with someone who believes in things they WANT to be true, and this is a dead givaway your mind isn't working as rationally as it could/should be. 

 

 

StoryMing wrote:

Or are you seriously going to tell me that if anyone came out with solid evidence for God's existance, you would impartially and openmindedly follow the evidence wherever it led?

Ummm, I have been open-mindedly following eveidence for god for over 10 YEARS.  I have openmindedly listened to every jew, christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist, falong gong practioner etc.. beliefs and evidence for there beliefs for as long as I can remember.  I have so openly followed the trail of evidence for god I am actually surprised now when I look back at how onpen minded I was along my search.  The more I searched the more I became confident there was no truth behind any of the big claims, EVER!!!  The more I searched the more I ran into to people saying the following garbage:

"I believe because I want to believe" 

"I don't have any awnsers for your questions, god works in mysterious ways"

"Only my religion is correct"

"I don't know why god didn't awnser your 1000 prayers to him asking for revelation"

"That stuff isn't relevant anymore, we pick and choose which parts to believe"

"How, I don't know how, we just pick the verses we like I guess, I listen to someone with authority"

 

To sit there and say YOU because you are a believer have more crediblity on the matter, or are more likely to "follow" the evidence for god is such rubbish.  Most athiests have done plenty of evidence searching in there own regard, why do you think they are athiests?  I always tell new athiests that haven't done alote of research into other religions and there claims that they should, just so they know more about what they are denying instead of like you say not believing because they don't want to believe.  Your not going to get far atall trying to argue settled athiests (many years into their athiesm) don't follow up on god claims, they do, ALOTE I could argue more than the believers.  Athiests in general seem quite motivated to learn about god claims and the evidence for  and against them, Isn't that what we're all here for, so what the heck are you talking about ming. 

 

StoryMing wrote:

You call the God of Christianity crazy.

Ok

 

StoryMing wrote:

I suppose you're right.

Wait I can smell a strange twist coming.

StoryMing wrote:

If a powerful sovereign living in the Taj Mahal or Buckingham palace were to go voluntarily to one of the concertration camps, and offer to take the place of a prisoner headed for the gas chambers in return for that prisoner's freedom-- a prisoner, moreover, who had spat at and slapped him in the face, or robbed or wronged him in some other way-- I guess you could call that crazy.

 

  No I would call that almost unimaginably noble and brave.  However if the powerful soverein had created the concentration camps in the first place, as well as the people in them and the people running them, had all the power necessary to STOP the concentration camps, had all the power to free ALL the people, had all the power to do a BILLION different things to better this situation and that's what he came up with, yes I would consider that person crazy, BAT SHIT CRAZY INDEED!  One of the most pathetic and inefficent plans at helping the people in the concentration camps he could have come up with with all of his power.  Let's put the contents and backdrop of your creepy preachy comment in laymans:

God makes universe/earth/man and woman, god then destroys woman and recreates her for man, then he temps man with apple tree, man eats apples, god gets mad at man and punishes him and his children and his childrens children and sentences them to pain and death forever, god chills for a few thousand years to watch all of his creation dying and in pain.  God then decides this should be dealt with, so God come up with the LAMEST PLAN EVER.  God becomes man.  God-man sacrifices himself to himself for the hole apple eating fiasco (what does that even do???) he set up in the first place.  But this plan doesn't seem to work, and people keep dying in pain.  God-man now god again chills for a few thousand more years while he comes up with a better plan.  And that brings us to today and modern day Christianity.

 

It's really hard to deny the non-sense when it is stated in laymans isn't it Ming.  It takes thousands of pages and millions of sicifants to turn the above paragraph into anything other that non-sense.  It is some "amazing" work that you do.

StoryMing wrote:

Let me guess. Not impressed,

Unfathomably, with you and Christianity in general.  I've been waiting a decade to be impressed intellectually by a bible thumping Christian, still waiting...

 

 


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StoryMing wrote:I'm sorry,

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?

 

Dear StoryMing,

 

I think there should be no disagreement on that the highest moral imperative for any species should be based on the survival of the species.   Humans are social animals, they cannot survive as individuals (this applies to many other species).  Hence, individuals have to protect each other and work together to insure their survival.  If you have a murderer, he/she weakens the society.  So, you shall not murder.   

 

You can see that here I did not use any theological or idealistic concept to conclude that "you shall not murder".  

 

Best,

100%

 


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StoryMing wrote:I'm sorry,

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?

Ok, let me see if if I can explain it to you.

I am not really saying that there is such a thing as a 'moral imperative' as a absolute thing in itself, just that moral guidelines can be derived purely by considerations of the sort of behaviour most likely to lead to the kind of society that most people would prefer to live in. That only requires beings that behave in complex ways, have preferences, things they like, and things that cause them distress and pain.

Now let me show you why I think that "purely materialistic system, no matter how complex" could at least in principle behave in ways virtually indistinguishable from human beings:

Only systems based on material structure can be truly complex. What makes material what it is is its ability to support a persistent shape and structure, unlike non-matter such as energy.

Try building anything out of something that cannot manifest as a solid object. 

Living things are extremely complex.

Leaving aside for the moment the idea of awareness, consciousness, etc, can you see that we could in principle construct 'robotic' things which could behave like animals reacting purely on instinct?

Can you not see that such 'robots' could have indefinitely complex behaviour patterns, given enough 'transistors' and memory cells and logic gates?

Can you not see that, given sufficiently complex programming,

"if A happens when B is true, and C instructed me yesterday to do D when this occurs, after checking with E first, then if my level of fuel is F, I will do D if E approves", only indefinitely more complicated,

they could be made to behave in ways that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish from the way humans behave, IOW to 'simulate' humans?

As a very simple, primitive step along that way, think of the latest chess-playing programs.

You could assume these simulated persons were 'zombies', with no actual 'soul'.

Are you going to deny that such things could, in principle, be designed and constructed out of 'mere' matter?

Then ask yourself on what basis do you decide whether something has a 'soul' or not. This scenario is actually an old question.

I will also leave aside the question of whether only a God could design and build such sophisticated 'robots', since I am only, for the moment anyway, addressing what you see as the impossibility of 'mere' matter being able to make 'moral' decisions.

 

I am going beyond just 'agreeing to disagree' since you seem to be more thoughtful and reasonable than many who challenge us, and I am assuming you are capable of at least considering fresh ideas, and came to this forum, and continue to participate, out of more than just the desire to simply tell us what you believe and why. IOW I assume you are prepared to listen to us as we are listening to you, and give our point of view some consideration rather than automatically rejecting everything we say that contradicts your ideas.

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StoryMing wrote:...I still

StoryMing wrote:
...I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system...

Moral imperatives don't have to be derived from science for them to have value for anybody.

Why would God sanctioning certain things make them more valuable or objectively right?

If God sanctioned evil that wouldn't make it good, would it?


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testing?

hey, what happened? The webpage isn't giving me access to the rest of this thread, just the 1st page... I think this computer has an old browser...


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Okay, trying

Okay, trying again.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?

Perhaps because he's not arguing for such a system?

How do you derive moral imperatives from an immoral creation of humans you call God?

 

Right, sorry, I had meant to add: --just as many here cannot understand how Christians dervie a loving, merciful God from the Yahweh of the old testament.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

Again, because you have an incorrect idea of atheism. Atheism is the lack of belief in god(s). The stuff you added on is propaganda.

I respect your opinion but it need not be grounded in falsehoods

 

thank you. I hope I have been respectful of yours as well.

If my view of Atheism is based on a serious misunderstanding, it seems to me that the view of the God of the Bible as a vengeful, tyrannical bully is equally mistaken. Several billion people may indeed be wrong, but I doubt that the God they are worshiping, whether real or imaginary, is the God that nomorecrazy, for example, has in mind. And if a third or so of the world's population reads the same scripture, and do see in it a just, caring, forgiving God... does that not at least raise the *possibility* that there is something there they are seeing that you have missed?

I also wanted to ask what it is that *I* am missing- if Atheism allows for more than just a materialistic universe-- matter, energy, and impersonal forces of nature- then what else is there? --only, as Bob Spence already made a heroic effort to explain, and I am still not getting it, perhaps I should not waste your time.


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chndlrjhnsn wrote:Actually

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

Actually preferring good to evil is far more ethically valuable than following the dictates of a leader.

I have two problems with this: one, you are defending sociopaths. You are not just talking about other people out there, but you actually believe that if human beings are made of "atoms and molecules", then it would be right to torture them to death. This, my friend, has no "logical validity". But if this is really what you believe, then maybe it is fortunate for your neighbors that you also believe in an eternal soul.

But how immortality of the soul makes you think murder is worse is beyond me. Murder is wrong because it causes death. What you are saying is just crazy-talk.

In preferring good to evil, is that not following the "dictates" of the good, or conscience?

I am not defending sociopaths. I am saying that in a materialistic worldview/ Atheism as I have understood it, there should be no reason (that I can see) why a rearrangement of atoms and molecules should be seen any differently because they happen to belong to a human body; why death should be any different than, say, the shutting down of a computer. The fact that we feel and know that murder IS wrong points to the existence of something more than scientific laws.  I don't know if this 'something' is what you would call an immortal soul... perhaps"personhood" might be a better word?

 

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

You are saying that you believe in Christianity because that's how the world should be, but not how it is. That means you don't really believe in Christianity.

 

Not quite.

I was not a Christian for a good many years because I could not resolve the conflict between what my heart wanted to believe, and what my head could accept as true. It was not until I felt sure I could become a Christian without committing intellectual suicide, that I became one. No doubt most, if not all, of you would say that intellectual suicide is precisely what I commited, and would remain unconvinced by what persuaded me; but in my own mind, at least, I was.

The thing of it is,  it was not the intellectual arguments which brought me to faith; they simply cleared the way so that I could come to faith.


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robj101 wrote:I think he is

robj101 wrote:

I think he is playing sarcasm though he lacks true infinite drip style.

 

???

 


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jcgadfly wrote:StoryMing

jcgadfly wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I never said I was not exposed to Christianity. I said I was raised no-religion. A person can grow up in America, and be exposed to Christianity, and be raised Jewish by their family (or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Wiccan, or Atheist)

Then you're not an exception. Your exposure led to your conversion.

I believe the original comment to which I was responding mentioned something about most people who come here and say they were raised no religion having been dragged to church as children.

My exposure, such as it was, may certainly have played a part in having led to my conversion; but exposure is not indoctrination.


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BobSpence1 wrote:StoryMing

BobSpence1 wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I'm sorry, Bob. I still do not see how one derives moral imperatives from a purely materialistic system, no matter how complex. Perhaps we can agree to disagree on this one?

Ok, let me see if if I can explain it to you.

I am not really saying that there is such a thing as a 'moral imperative' as a absolute thing in itself, just that moral guidelines can be derived purely by considerations of the sort of behaviour most likely to lead to the kind of society that most people would prefer to live in. That only requires beings that behave in complex ways, have preferences, things they like, and things that cause them distress and pain.

Now let me show you why I think that "purely materialistic system, no matter how complex" could at least in principle behave in ways virtually indistinguishable from human beings:

Only systems based on material structure can be truly complex. What makes material what it is is its ability to support a persistent shape and structure, unlike non-matter such as energy.

Try building anything out of something that cannot manifest as a solid object. 

Living things are extremely complex.

Leaving aside for the moment the idea of awareness, consciousness, etc, can you see that we could in principle construct 'robotic' things which could behave like animals reacting purely on instinct?

Can you not see that such 'robots' could have indefinitely complex behaviour patterns, given enough 'transistors' and memory cells and logic gates?

Can you not see that, given sufficiently complex programming,

"if A happens when B is true, and C instructed me yesterday to do D when this occurs, after checking with E first, then if my level of fuel is F, I will do D if E approves", only indefinitely more complicated,

they could be made to behave in ways that would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish from the way humans behave, IOW to 'simulate' humans?

As a very simple, primitive step along that way, think of the latest chess-playing programs.

You could assume these simulated persons were 'zombies', with no actual 'soul'.

Are you going to deny that such things could, in principle, be designed and constructed out of 'mere' matter?

Then ask yourself on what basis do you decide whether something has a 'soul' or not. This scenario is actually an old question.

I will also leave aside the question of whether only a God could design and build such sophisticated 'robots', since I am only, for the moment anyway, addressing what you see as the impossibility of 'mere' matter being able to make 'moral' decisions.

 

I am going beyond just 'agreeing to disagree' since you seem to be more thoughtful and reasonable than many who challenge us, and I am assuming you are capable of at least considering fresh ideas, and came to this forum, and continue to participate, out of more than just the desire to simply tell us what you believe and why. IOW I assume you are prepared to listen to us as we are listening to you, and give our point of view some consideration rather than automatically rejecting everything we say that contradicts your ideas.

Thanks Bob- for the explanation, and for the vote of confidence. I will have to read through this more closely when I have time to parse it out (and have not already been frying my brains in front of a computer for 2 hours straight). I do indeed hope and intend to give the same consideration to your/ others' ideas that I would want given to my own.

For the present I will say that yes, a robot could be programmed with infinite complexity; behavior can be seen as instinctive. But that is not how we experience right and wrong, good and evil; a glitch in the programming does not cover what we mean by words like "should" and "ought".


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StoryMing wrote: Several

StoryMing wrote:

 Several billion people may indeed be wrong, but I doubt that the God they are worshiping, whether real or imaginary, is the God that nomorecrazy, for example, has in mind.

I have to pick this out.  I NEVER said the people who worship yahweh see him the way he is portrayed in half the bible, they do not.  That is the hole point!  My hole point!  People seem good in general, so they disregard the verses portraying the god of abraham in a different light, or twist them to suite there own internal moratily.  I don't for a second think that all christians stand behind what THEY believe is a violent and bat shit crazy diety ofcourse this is silly.  The point is they have not taken the book as a hole, they have changed it or simply disregarded verses without offering a logical method for others to use to decipher the "true" and  "untrue" depictions of yahweh's personality.  And that is unexceptable, it is inconsistant.  We have to look at all the verses in order to paint a portrait of the god of abrahams character not just the ones that suite your pleasant image of him. 

Can you please give me a logical method everyone can use to decipher the "true" from the "untrue" in your particular holy book?

 

 

 


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StoryMing wrote:jcgadfly

StoryMing wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

StoryMing wrote:

I never said I was not exposed to Christianity. I said I was raised no-religion. A person can grow up in America, and be exposed to Christianity, and be raised Jewish by their family (or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Wiccan, or Atheist)

Then you're not an exception. Your exposure led to your conversion.

I believe the original comment to which I was responding mentioned something about most people who come here and say they were raised no religion having been dragged to church as children.

My exposure, such as it was, may certainly have played a part in having led to my conversion; but exposure is not indoctrination.

I'm sorry but the more I read the less I buy your story. You couldn't be that far wrong about atheism without having someone drum into your head.

Or is this just "whip the world" zealotry? Your preacher told you all this new information and you just couldn't wait to share?

"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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StoryMing wrote:chndlrjhnsn

StoryMing wrote:

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

Actually preferring good to evil is far more ethically valuable than following the dictates of a leader.

I have two problems with this: one, you are defending sociopaths. You are not just talking about other people out there, but you actually believe that if human beings are made of "atoms and molecules", then it would be right to torture them to death. This, my friend, has no "logical validity". But if this is really what you believe, then maybe it is fortunate for your neighbors that you also believe in an eternal soul.

But how immortality of the soul makes you think murder is worse is beyond me. Murder is wrong because it causes death. What you are saying is just crazy-talk.

In preferring good to evil, is that not following the "dictates" of the good, or conscience?

I am not defending sociopaths. I am saying that in a materialistic worldview/ Atheism as I have understood it, there should be no reason (that I can see) why a rearrangement of atoms and molecules should be seen any differently because they happen to belong to a human body; why death should be any different than, say, the shutting down of a computer. The fact that we feel and know that murder IS wrong points to the existence of something more than scientific laws.  I don't know if this 'something' is what you would call an immortal soul... perhaps"personhood" might be a better word?

It is true that there is no reason to respect a collection of molecules because it happens to be part of a human body, but there is reason to respect a functional human person, whatever he/she is made of, because they are like ourselves, and can interact with us in ways that we can understand. The fact that most, but not all, regard deliberate, unjustified killing of another as being wrong, is most definitely fully explicable by scientific understanding of psychology, neuroscience, and evolution.

Whether or not you understand the mechanism that allows the emergence of beings capable of self-perception, and manifesting a drive to continue to exist as such, and recognizing that other similar beings are more likely to assist them in mutual survival in a sprit of cooperation rather than conflict, can be based on 'bits' that by themselves cannot display that complexity, complex structure is the only viable explanation for the manifestation of complex behaviour. It is not something that is 'obvious' to many people, who intuitively reject the idea that 'awareness', 'self-consciousness', can be manifest by stuff which does not somehow possess that attribute in some sense in the individual fundamental bits that it is made of.

A similar feeling used to be more common, even among thinkers on the subject, that this applied to the phenomena of life itself, that living 'matter' had to be different fundamentally from non-living, a favorite idea being that it harbored a magic 'life force' or 'elan vitale', which imbued it with the necessary attributes.

Earlier still, it was thought that what we now know to be different states of the same stuff, namely solid, liquid and gas, plus combustion, were separate 'elements' in themselves, that those different properties, of solidity, 'wetness, insubstantiality, and heat, were substances in themselves.

Then it was thought that all the different chemical elements were individual, separate substances with their different properties as inherent attributes of fundamentally different stuff.

And now we know them to be 'merely' different combinations of a few common components, namely sub-atomic particles.

I see a common thread here, an inherent but mistaken intuition that can be hard to overcome.

Even among people who reject conventional religious ideas, it persists in those who would call themselves 'panentheists', who believe that some fundamental property of life, and/or consciousness , is possessed by every 'bit' of matter.

It is often expressed as 'the whole cannot be more than the sum of its parts', which is contradicted manifestly by the very existence of the computers people are using to participate in this forum. 

Try using a pile of the unassembled and unconnected bits that a computer is constructed from to 'surf' the internet.

Or as far as self-consciousness is concerned, try striking up an friendly relationship with someones liver, or skin cells.

I appreciate that you don't 'get it', it is against our evolved intuitions, as is our natural tendency to implicitly trust our intuitions over direct evidence to the contrary.

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

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

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

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 Quote:That's pretty

 

Quote:
That's pretty neat.  Whether one's political tendencies are sympathetic with Soviet Communism or not, it's obvious from history that Soviet women were definitely allowed to compete with their male counterparts on virtually even terms.  I believeValentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space, and that record was established ...in 1963   Anyway I should stop hijacking this thread.  Thanks for the info.

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, this was more a result of consequence than design; the Soviet Union was desperate for fresh bodies of any sort by the time the Wehrmacht ground to a bitter halt in the streets of Stalingrad. A huge slice of the male population was carved-out by the Nazis, so women were pressed into roles that were traditionally male territory both during & after the war (...in fact, largely due to a sort of alcohol epidemic, my understanding on the present situation is that females still dramatically dominate the demographics in Russia).

 

And call me skeptical about anyone caring about a thread that is this freakin' old getting derailed. Sticking out tongue

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Kevin R Brown wrote:    A

Kevin R Brown wrote:
    A huge slice of the male population was carved-out by the Nazis....


 

   ..which made remember an entry from one of my books:

  "The Great Patriotic War was, for the Soviet Union, a trauma that is still difficult for westerners to understand.  One adult male in four was killed or seriously injured during the war."   Carey Schofield, author "Inside The Soviet Military"

 

  Although obviously I'm no fan of Soviet Communism I eventually became impressed with the sometimes brutal pragmatism of that culture.  I  recall from one of my other books a story from WW 2 where an incident of friendly fire occurred where an American fighter pilot accidently strafed a column of Russian soldiers ( somewhere in Germany ? ) and the American brass assured them that the pilot would be severely reprimanded.  Their Russian counterparts were appalled by this lack of resolve shown by the Americans regarding this offense.  They assured that if the situation were reversed, any Soviet pilot would have been shot.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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jcgadfly wrote:I'm sorry but

jcgadfly wrote:

I'm sorry but the more I read the less I buy your story. You couldn't be that far wrong about atheism without having someone drum into your head.

Or is this just "whip the world" zealotry? Your preacher told you all this new information and you just couldn't wait to share?

Okay then, I will ask it (directly, this time): What am I getting wrong? If Atheism is not what I have thought, what, then, *IS* it? Dis-belief in God, of course, but what does that mean, exactly? I had thought I understood it to mean, by extension, ruling out the spiritual and the supernatural (unlike pantheism, which does include those things). Am I correct so far? IF so, wherein lies the numinous? In what does it consist?

 


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StoryMing wrote:>jeffrick

StoryMing wrote:

>

jeffrick wrote:

Then how did you fall off the deep end into the world of fantasy & fairy tales; or better yet, why?

chndlrjhnsn wrote:

But why do you believe in God? Is it because you feel his presence when you believe in his presence? Is it because a gazillion people can't be wrong? Is it because we don't have a fossil of every single creature that ever lived? Is it because science doesn't, and probably won't ever, have all the answers? Is it because you don't want to make Jesus and your dead grandmother cry at the same time?

I don't get it. Why do you believe in God?

 

I believe in 'fairy tales', because I do not believe that humanity can survive an existence without meaning, purpose, and hope; I know I can't.

I believe, because no one can consistently live as though good and evil don't exist. Money is just bits of paper and metal without resources or assets to back them. If there is not an objective Reality behind our human conception of  righteousness, truth, justice, and love, then those ideas are worthless. That means there is no way to say that a Hitler is evil or a Ghandi is good-- other than as a matter of personal preference, like liking chocolate better than vanilla.

I believe, because if Atheism is right, if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm, then sociopaths, who can do anything
to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity.
     And I refuse to live in a world like that.

 

"Life as it is.
I have lived, and I've seen life as it is:
    pain... misery... cruelty beyond belief. [...]
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?
Perhaps to be too practical is madness.
To surrender dreams, this may be madness.
To seek treasure where there is only trash.
Too much sanity may be madness.
And maddest of all, to see life as it is, and not as it should be."
                                --Cervantes, Man of LaMancha



 

 

This is answer to your "What am I getting wrong?" post to me.

1. No atheist that I have been in contact with says that there is no meaning, purpose or hope to life. what I usually hear is that you as a human being bring that into your life and you don't need to disguise it by wrapping it up in a god. Who have you been talking to?

2. If there was an objective standard of righteousness, truth, justice, and love - wouldn't your deity be following it? Your holy book is full of examples where he works in opposition to the standard he allegedly set for us. Perhaps that's because the rules of right and wrong are defined by societies. Again, no need to wrap things in a God blanket.

3. "if the universe is a random chance accident, and human beings are merely a complex amalgam of atoms and molecules, amino acids and protoplasm" - Atheism has nothing to do with this.

4. "sociopaths, who can do anything to anyone without a qualm, have it right; and kind and humane actions have no logical validity." Atheism has nothing to do with this. Also, how may atrocities have been committed in the names of gods?

You are forging connections where none exist.

"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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I'll try to keep it simple.

 

 

 

        Atheisim means we have NO theisim, A-theist, get  it. No gods and No theology.  We go through life without any fear of imaginary beings,  super or otherwise.  We deal with reality in a realistic mannor,  rationaly; that is why we gather here at the Rational Response Squad.

 

 

         It is also true that some of us "don't get it!!"  We do not understand why anyone believes in a diety and rearranges their entire lives around such irrationality with not one piece of evidence to support any such belief.   We have heard the evidence to believe and there is not any.

 

 

        Even theists proclaim,    "they have no evidence of a god and no reason to believe it yet they believe it anyways",  that is the most irrational claim of all.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

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StoryMing wrote: Okay then,

StoryMing wrote:

Okay then, I will ask it (directly, this time): What am I getting wrong?

If Atheism is not what I have thought, what, then, *IS* it? Dis-belief in God, of course, but what does that mean, exactly? I had thought I understood it to mean, by extension, ruling out the spiritual and the supernatural (unlike pantheism, which does include those things). Am I correct so far? IF so, wherein lies the numinous? In what does it consist?  

 

I'll butt in here and add my definition(s) so you can get a feel for the diversity.

A-theist.  Some one who does not believe in god/s/dess.  That's me.

Spiritual.  How one relates to oneself, others, and the environment around you.  This is my own definition, not the dictionary one.  But it is fairly close to definition #1.

Merriam-Webster wrote:

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : incorporeal <spiritual needs>
2 a : of or relating to sacred matters <spiritual songs> b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal <spiritual authority> <lords spiritual>
3 : concerned with religious values
4 : related or joined in spirit <our spiritual home> <his spiritual heir>
5 a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic

What I need for inner peace and tranquility.  That doesn't include god/s/dess - in fact, for me, trying to include some such being degrades my inner peace.

Supernatural - those objects and entities that are not natural in the sense of being of this physical universe.  As far as I am concerned, all such are just as unlikely as god/s/dess.  So I don't include them in my view of reality.

NONE of these definitions involves morals or personal goals or purpose of life. 

Morals are derived from society's requirements.  And the major requirement for human society is economics - business.  We frown on murdering and stealing because it is not good for business.  I personally subscribe to a variant of "do or cause no harm, do or cause no devaluing".  Because it is the right thing to do.   And I don't need some jealous god/s/dess to tell me not to run out and gun down my neighbors.  As for all the other no-nos, I am a 59 year old grandmother, married 25 years, haven't had sex with anyone but my husband for the entire time, and a big night out is to have two glasses of wine with dinner.  No dancing boys, no orgies, no painting the town red.  Sigh, we are very boring people in my house.

My personal goals at this time revolve around finding work.  I've been unemployed for over a year and things could be desperate soon.  My purpose of life is to at a minimum do no harm and to the best of my ability, leave my little patch of the world a little better than I found it.  I never could see how pushing your religion off on someone else constituted anything but blatant arrogance.  "My god is perfect for me, so s/he/it has to be perfect for you, too."

Merriam-Webster wrote:

Main Entry: ar·ro·gance Pronunciation: \ˈer-ə-gən(t)s, ˈa-rə-\ Function: noun Date: 14th century

: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

When you assume atheists have no morals, no purpose or direction or goals in life, no wonder or fun or perfect days, you are being arrogant.  And it is no wonder some of us are a little tired of you.

 

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

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

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


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StoryMing wrote:Okay then, I

StoryMing wrote:

Okay then, I will ask it (directly, this time): What am I getting wrong?If Atheism is not what I have thought, what, then, *IS* it? Dis-belief in God, of course, but what does that mean, exactly?I had thought I understood it to mean, by extension, ruling out the spiritual and the supernatural (unlike pantheism, which does include those things). Am I correct so far? IF so, wherein lies the numinous? In what does it consist? 

An atheist might still believe in the spiritual or the supernatural. I don't know of any atheists who believe in the supernatural, but that wouldn't place them outside the definition.

I think Gandalf is probably an atheist, but he believes in magic. Hell, he's a wizard.

When it comes to spirituality, people's definitions can be various, and are usually pretty vague. I think spirituality has to do with spirit. If it doesn't have to do with spirit it shouldn't be called spirituality, in my opinion.

Am I spiritual? The answer depends on what is meant by "spirit".

I believe in a certain kind of spirit. Words and other symbols have a spirit. Laws and rules have spirits. In this context spirit just means intent. So by extension I could say that a hammer has a spirit, and that killing someone with it, giving someone a massage with it, or tenderizing beef with it is going against the spirit of its design. It was meant for hammering nails.

Does this make me spiritual? I guess. Whatever.

There are songs that are called "spirituals", and this is another kind of spirit that I believe in. It refers to the sort of spirit we are talking about when we say, "he has spirit". "Spunk" is a synonym. Slaves sung "spirituals" to keep their "spirits" alive. Do I have spunk? I guess. I sing and don't mind working.

A Jehova's Witness once told me that the Holy Spirit was a magical power that God used to change things, or something like that.

I don't believe in that sort of spirit.

I've heard that there are spirits, like ghosts and numin, which indwell objects, and haunt houses. I don't see any reason to believe this.

What do you think, Story, am I spiritual?

To my understanding, pantheism is different from atheism in that they believe the universe is God. I'm not sure if this means that God is inanimate, or that the universe is animate, but either way it doesn't sound right to me.

As far as I know, if you believe everything is God, you are a pantheist. It doesn't matter if you believe in the spiritual or the supernatural (this god could be a natural one). But I have not thought pantheism worth studying in great depth, so I could be mistaken.

Wikipedia says that some pantheists believe God is just a special way of relating to nature. This is stretching the definition of god too far in my opinion. Just as moral should not suffice to mean spiritual. So some pantheists believe that nature should be revered. That's not the same thing as believing in a god. Richard Dawkins said pantheism was just "sexed-up atheism". I tend to agree with that, but don't think that necessarily lends it merit. I think that makes it a misnomer.

If numinous means "evincing God", then atheists must experience it rarely. If numinous means "evincing reverence", then I see no reason why an atheist couldn't experience that all the time.


StoryMing
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As I have tried repeatedly

As I have tried repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to explain, I AM NOT saying that Atheists do not have morals, hopes or goals. And I am most certainly not advocating sociopathy. What I am saying is that I do not see anything in Atheism which adequately accounts for the existence of such a thing as morality, or can prove WHY evil is wrong and what makes it so-- nothing that explains the immense difference there is between terminating the most complex computer or robot possible, and killing a human. Jcgadfly, you say that Atheism has nothing to do with the mechanistic, impersonal universe I was describing. But where does Atheism find room for anything else? When you rule out "the spiritual", what else is there beyond the laws of science and Darwinian evolution-- and human reason, which is a product of these? If the origin of life-- and of the universe itself-- in the view of Atheism is not a random, chance accident, an astronomical coincidence, then what is it? It certainly wasn't planned.

As to arrogance; I apologize for anything I have said that has been disrespectful or insulting to anyone else, their views, or their right to hold those views. And if I and my views are becoming tiresome, I can leave- -although this site does say "theists welcome" and I presume that does not mean they have to check their beliefs at the door to participate.  But most people do believe they are right, I think, or they would change their minds; and I do not see that being right necessarily means someone is better or worse; I certainly do not think I'm anyone special because I happen to know, or think I know, the answer to a math problem or geography question. And I do not see how the idea that everyone needs to be rescued from bondage to sin by Jesus is any more or less arrogant than the idea that everyone needs to be rescued from bondage to religion by rationalism.


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StoryMing wrote:I do not see

StoryMing wrote:

I do not see anything in Atheism which adequately accounts for the existence of such a thing as morality,...

People have morals. Morality exists when people choose to act morally. There is no reason why atheism should account for that. Atheism is the disbelief in God. Do impressionism or environmentalism account for the existence of morality? No. But that is not an argument against them.

StoryMing wrote:

...or can prove WHY evil is wrong and what makes it so.

If that is the case for atheism, then it is the case for theists as well. False premises do not save an argument.

There is no need to prove the existence of something as commonplace as morality. That is like saying, without God we cannot prove the existence of trees, because God created trees. I have described above what morality is. If you have not witnessed firsthand examples of it, you are living on a deserted island (without internet).

It sounds to me like there is something wrong with your argument for the existence of morality, if it is based on God.

Even if there was a God, that wouldn't make morality more real.

 

StoryMing wrote:

If the origin of life-- and of the universe itself-- in the view of Atheism is not a random, chance accident, an astronomical coincidence, then what is it? It certainly wasn't planned.

This depends on the atheist. Most atheists I have talked to lately seem to be against calling it a random accident, but I have no problem with that. Value can be created by an accident. There is no reason why everything should be planned (except idealistically). Everything had to wind up some way; why not this? Every specific scenario is as unlikely as every other, given no assumptions as to origins. Why not this?

StoryMing wrote:

As to arrogance; I apologize for anything I have said that has been disrespectful or insulting to anyone else, their views, or their right to hold those views. And if I and my views are becoming tiresome, I can leave

Actually, Story, you are a breath of fresh air compared to the other theists I have argued with on here. You'd have to try pretty hard to compete with some of the trolls I've seen.

edit: that's not you with the flute is it? (avatar)


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You cannot derive morality

You cannot derive morality from Theism. All you get from that is a set of edicts, commandments, backed up by threats and rewards.

That is not morality, that is a legal system, altho a crude one.

There is no way to derive the idea of the 'good' from religion.

If a biblical edict is 'good' because God issued it, that is just 'might makes right', and  every cruel dictator is 'moral'.

If it is 'good' in an absolute sense, ie not just because God said it is, then God is not the standard of morality, just the 'enforcer', and you have not explained where the idea comes from.

There is simply no way to 'prove' God is 'good'.

This is an old argument, but still valid.

The rules incorporated into religious dogma come from the practices of the peoples who wrote the scriptures, which in turn came from the natural mechanisms we have already described, based on empathy and the need for cooperation.

EDIT: When those people were writing the scriptures, they probably believed that those moral rules did ultimately come from God. That seems to be just how such intuitive, instinctive ideas feel to most people who believe in God. 

Whereas the way such instincts and intuitions develop through practical experience and evolutionary processes is pretty easy to understand when you look at it from a natural perspective.

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

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

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

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


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Scientists have identified

Scientists have identified parts of the brain which are a key part of driving the way we interact with others, which help us estimate the state of mind other individuals, based on our perceptions of their behaviour and the way they react and interact with us and others. They are called 'mirror neurons'. They help us work out how best to deal with others to achieve our purposes.

This doesn't inevitably produce a friendly loving 'positive' society, but it helps make the society work. There are different forma of 'society'.

Chimpanzees seem to be very competitive and prone to getting together in smaller groups to attack other groups or individuals, whereas bonobos are much more friendly and cooperative.

Different human societies and sub-groups show the same sort of variation. With our more complex brains, we can show more complex patterns of behaviour, but the point is that the complex 'circuitry' of our brains is clearly deeply involved in all aspects of our behaviour, including those categories of thought and behaviour that we think of as 'moral'.

I was not trying to say that computers are capable of morality merely because they are complex, just that the indefinitely complex behaviour that computers are in principle capable of demonstrates that any argument based on the supposed limitations of 'mere matter' are baseless. These studies of brain 'mechanisms' deeply involved in high level behaviour are further evidence that complex physical structures are quite adequate to 'explain' any behaviour, at least in principle. There has been no drive to develop computers displaying empathy, so it is not exactly surprising that they don't display it.

The details are still complex, so it is not something that will be described in perfect detail next week or next year, but progress continues.

 

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

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

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

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