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 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 291
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On the Existence of God and Other Sundry MattersPage 6 of 30    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)

what about the story Tele Savalous tells of runnin 0uta gas hitches ride2garagè n back with gas by a bloke in old sedan in a white suit n a high voice . . . Next day Tele phones no. To repay
Only to find woman on ph. His wife who buried him in a white suit 2years before
A suicide who shot self in throat ??? !! ¿ ?
Discect that with science.

Dissect why you would post a completely unsubstantiated apocryphal story typical of hoax email jokes that alleges Telly Savalas hitch-hikes, allegedly carries no money with him, and allegedly got a ride with a person who had risen from the dead and was still driving around you mean?
Or dissect the story as if it actually meant something you mean and wasn't clearly a made up fantasy invented by some demented person who's lost touch with reality?
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 292
view profile
History
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/30/2011 2:32:17 AM

well it was a show on tele
About parallel worlds
Tele Savalous was a guest
n that was his story .

well itmust be truethen
since tv is alwaysfactual
andtelly savalas neverlies
or is mistaken aboutanything
holds no outlandish views
and is a completely authoritative source
on matters of philosophysciencebiologymetaphysicsandlifeafterdeath
requiring no corrobarative backup or independentverification.

They should have got him to write The Encyclopedia Of Everything hey? It would have saved a lot of time wasted on pointless research, investigation, and fact checking.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 295
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History
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/30/2011 11:21:18 AM

'Atheism' is neither a 'religion' nor a 'religious belief'.
It isn't even a 'belief'. It's an absence of belief. This is obvious if one considers that 'belief' is the opposite, the complete antithesis, to the atheist position. The atheist doesn't just 'believe' this or that, the atheist paradigm tends to be restricted to rational concepts, those that have evidentiary support, or those that follow logically from known facts.

You keep repeating your own definition of "Atheism", the one that other Atheists here claim. But I've repeatedly pointed out that authoritative sources don't agree with you. According to the Oxford Companion to Philosophy, and the Encyclopedia Brittannica, Atheism is the belief that no God exists.

You can repeat your made-up definition as much as you want to, but it's still only your made-up definition.

Funny how your scholarly adherence to authoritative definitions only kicks in when you want to challenge other people's definitions.
The reply above was in response to your claim that, and I quote -

No, all I said was that Atheism isn't a religion, but is only a religious belief.

So... where in Encyclopedia Brittanica does it say 'atheism' is a 'religious belief'?

Nit-picky quibbling about other people's definition of atheism, while re-defining it yourself, is typical of your corrupt debating technique.
It's a distraction, a strawman in regard to the thread topic.

Interestingly, in parallel with your insistence that only (your) definitions of atheism are allowed, you reject, not only any definitions of deities that may be implied by the discussion, but even the 'right' of anyone to ask what the definitions of these alleged deities might be - palming off such questions with a wave of the hand and vaguely superior assurances that 'atheists' aren't qualified to understand. hahahaa


But what if they aren't saying that you should believe? What if they've merely answered the original thread's yes/no question? Then, when you demand proof or a definition from them, you're asking them for something they aren't obligated to give you. You're asking for their help from them. You're asking for their generosity in giving you help that they have no obligation to give you.

As I said before, you'd need to ask for the help in a much more humble manner. In fact, you'd need to have _initially_ been more humble in your approach.

Besides, you don't seem to understand how much you're asking for. Atheists who demand proof or definition of God are like someone demanding to enrole in Spanish-3 without having taken Spanish-1 or Spanish-2.


But anyway, the fact is, despite your ridiculous and completely illegitimate attempts to pigeonhole it, atheism doesn't have a single definition.
And nor is anyone required to comply with your silly attempts to narrow the debate to parameters you pronounce are the only legitimate ones. You don't seem to comprehend that your point of view is, not only a single subjective opinion, it's one that appears to have gone down an irrelevant side-track in hot pursuit of trivialities.

None the less, it's still worth demolishing your petty objections for the benefit of anyone reading who may mistakenly think you're talking sense. To that end, here are some definitions of 'atheism', including one from Brittanica that - note - doesn't support your blithe assurances that atheism is only ever a 'belief', let alone a (snicker) 'religious belief'.


From Merriam-Webster OnLine
atheist; one who believes that there is no deity
atheism; (1) archaic ; UNGODLINESS, WICKEDNESS. (2) a ; a disbelief in the existence of deity, b ; the doctrine that there is no deity

disbelief; the act of disbelieving ; mental rejection of something as untrue
disbelieve; transitive senses ; to hold not worthy of belief ; not believe
intransitive senses ; to withhold or reject belief
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From the Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Ed. 1989
Atheist; 1. One who denies or disbelieves the existence of a God.
2. One who practically denies the existence of a God by disregard of moral obligation to Him; a godless man.
B. attrib. as adj. Atheistic, impious.

(Note; The last word usage example for sense #1 is; 1876 GLADSTONE in Contemp. Rev. June 22 By the Atheist I understand the man who not only holds off, like the sceptic, from the affirmative, but who drives himself, or is driven, to the negative assertion in regard to the whole Unseen, or to the existence of God.)

Atheism; Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God. Also, Disregard of duty to God, godlessness (practical atheism).

Disbelieve; 1. trans. Not to believe or credit; to refuse credence to;
a. a statement or (alleged) fact; To reject the truth or reality of. (With simple obj. or obj. clause.)
b. a person in making a statement.
2. absol. or intr.
3. intr. with in; Not to believe in; to have no faith in.
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From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. 2000.
atheist; One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
atheism; 1a. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
2. Godlessness; immorality.

ETYMOLOGY; French athéisme, from athée, atheist, from Greek atheos, godless ; a-, without; see a–1 + theos, god;

disbelief; Refusal or reluctance to believe.
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From the 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
atheist; 1. One who disbelieves or denies the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.
2. A godless person. [Obs.] Syn. -- Infidel; unbeliever. See Infidel.

atheism;1. The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.
2. Godlessness.

disbelief;The act of disbelieving;; a state of the mind in which one is fully persuaded that an opinion, assertion, or doctrine is not true; refusal of assent, credit, or credence; denial of belief.

Syn. -- Distrust; unbelief; incredulity; doubt; skepticism. -- Disbelief, Unbelief. Unbelief is a mere failure to admit; disbelief is a positive rejection. One may be an unbeliever in Christianity from ignorance or want of inquiry; a unbeliever has the proofs before him, and incurs the guilt of setting them aside. Unbelief is usually open to conviction; disbelief is already convinced as to the falsity of that which it rejects. Men often tell a story in such a manner that we regard everything they say with unbelief. Familiarity with the worst parts of human nature often leads us into a disbelief in many good qualities which really exist among men.

disbelieve; Not to believe; to refuse belief or credence to; to hold not to be true or actual.

deny;(transitive verb) 1. To declare not to be true; to gainsay; to contradict; -- opposed to affirm, allow, or admit. &hand; We deny what another says, or we deny the truth of an assertion, the force of it, or the assertion itself.
2. To refuse (to do something or to accept something); to reject; to decline; to renounce. [Obs.]
3. To refuse to grant; to withhold; to refuse to gratify or yield to; as, to deny a request.
4. To disclaim connection with, responsibility for, and the like; to refuse to acknowledge; to disown; to abjure; to disavow.
(intransitive verb) To answer in negative; to declare an assertion not to be true.

denial;

1. The act of gainsaying, refusing, or disowning; negation; -- the contrary of affirmation.
2. A refusal to admit the truth of a statement, charge, imputation, etc.; assertion of the untruth of a thing stated or maintained; a contradiction.
3. A refusal to grant; rejection of a request.
4. A refusal to acknowledge; disclaimer of connection with; disavowal; -- the contrary of confession; as, the denial of a fault charged on one; a denial of God. Denial of one's self, a declining of some gratification; restraint of one's appetites or propensities; self-denial.
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From the MSN Encarta Dictionary
atheism; disbelief in the existence of God or deities
atheist; somebody who does not believe in God or deities

disbelief; the feeling of not believing or of not being able to believe somebody or something.
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From The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
atheism; denial of the existence of God or gods and of any supernatural existence, to be distinguished from agnosticism, which holds that the existence cannot be proved. The term atheism has been used as an accusation against all who attack established orthodoxy, as in the trial of Socrates. There were few avowed atheists from classical times until the 19th cent., when popular belief in a conflict between religion and science brought forth preachers of the gospel of atheism, such as Robert G. Ingersoll. There are today many individuals and groups professing atheism. The 20th cent. has seen many individuals and groups professing atheism, including Bertrand Russell and Madalyn Murry O’Hair.
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From the article "Atheism and Agnosticism" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.
Smart, J. J. C., "Atheism and Agnosticism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2004 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
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From Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 18 Jan. 2004
Introduction

Atheism;

In general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. As such, it is usually distinguished from theism, which affirms the reality of the divine and often seeks to demonstrate its existence. Atheism is also distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open the question whether there is a god or not, professing to find the questions unanswered or unanswerable.

The dialectic of the argument between forms of belief and unbelief raises questions concerning the most perspicuous delineation, or characterization, of atheism, agnosticism, and theism. It is necessary not only to probe the warrant for atheism but also carefully to consider what is the most adequate definition of atheism. This article will start with what have been some widely accepted, but still in various ways mistaken or misleading, definitions of atheism and move to more adequate formulations that better capture the full range of atheist thought and more clearly separate unbelief from belief and atheism from agnosticism. In the course of this delineation the section also will consider key arguments for and against atheism.

Atheism as rejection of religious beliefs

A central, common core of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is the affirmation of the reality of one, and only one, God. Adherents of these faiths believe that there is a God who created the universe out of nothing and who has absolute sovereignty over all his creation; this includes, of course, human beings—who are not only utterly dependent on this creative power but also sinful and who, or so the faithful must believe, can only make adequate sense of their lives by accepting, without question, God's ordinances for them. The varieties of atheism are numerous, but all atheists reject such a set of beliefs.

Atheism, however, casts a wider net and rejects all belief in “spiritual beings,” and to the extent that belief in spiritual beings is definitive of what it means for a system to be religious, atheism rejects religion. So atheism is not only a rejection of the central conceptions of Judeo-Christianity and Islam, it is, as well, a rejection of the religious beliefs of such African religions as that of the Dinka and the Nuer, of the anthropomorphic gods of classical Greece and Rome, and of the transcendental conceptions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Generally atheism is a denial of God or of the gods, and if religion is defined in terms of belief in spiritual beings, then atheism is the rejection of all religious belief.

It is necessary, however, if a tolerably adequate understanding of atheism is to be achieved, to give a reading to “rejection of religious belief” and to come to realize how the characterization of atheism as the denial of God or the gods is inadequate.

Atheism and theism

To say that atheism is the denial of God or the gods and that it is the opposite of theism, a system of belief that affirms the reality of God and seeks to demonstrate his existence, is inadequate in a number of ways. First, not all theologians who regard themselves as defenders of the Christian faith or of Judaism or Islam regard themselves as defenders of theism. The influential 20th-century Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, for example, regards the God of theism as an idol and refuses to construe God as a being, even a supreme being, among beings or as an infinite being above finite beings. God, for him, is “being-itself,” the ground of being and meaning. The particulars of Tillich's view are in certain ways idiosyncratic, as well as being obscure and problematic, but they have been influential; and his rejection of theism, while retaining a belief in God, is not eccentric in contemporary theology, though it may very well affront the plain believer.

Second, and more important, it is not the case that all theists seek to demonstrate or even in any way rationally to establish the existence of God. Many theists regard such a demonstration as impossible, and fideistic believers (e.g., Johann Hamann and Søren Kierkegaard) regard such a demonstration, even if it were possible, as undesirable, for in their view it would undermine faith. If it could be proved, or known for certain, that God exists, people would not be in a position to accept him as their sovereign Lord humbly on faith with all the risks that entails. There are theologians who have argued that for genuine faith to be possible God must necessarily be a hidden God, the mysterious ultimate reality, whose existence and authority must be accepted simply on faith. This fideistic view has not, of course, gone without challenge from inside the major faiths, but it is of sufficient importance to make the above characterization of atheism inadequate.

Finally, and most important, not all denials of God are denials of his existence. Believers sometimes deny God while not being at all in a state of doubt that God exists. They either willfully reject what they take to be his authority by not acting in accordance with what they take to be his will, or else they simply live their lives as if God did not exist. In this important way they deny him. Such deniers are not atheists (unless we wish, misleadingly, to call them “practical atheists”). They are not even agnostics. They do not question that God exists; they deny him in other ways. An atheist denies the existence of God. As it is frequently said, atheists believe that it is false that God exists, or that God's existence is a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.

Yet it remains the case that such a characterization of atheism is inadequate in other ways. For one it is too narrow. There are atheists who believe that the very concept of God, at least in developed and less anthropomorphic forms of Judeo-Christianity and Islam, is so incoherent that certain central religious claims, such as “God is my creator to whom everything is owed,” are not genuine truth-claims; i.e., the claims could not be either true or false. Believers hold that such religious propositions are true, some atheists believe that they are false, and there are agnostics who cannot make up their minds whether to believe that they are true or false. (Agnostics think that the propositions are one or the other but believe that it is not possible to determine which.) But all three are mistaken, some atheists argue, for such putative truth-claims are not sufficiently intelligible to be genuine truth-claims that are either true or false. In reality there is nothing in them to be believed or disbelieved, though there is for the believer the powerful and humanly comforting illusion that there is. Such an atheism, it should be added, rooted for some conceptions of God in considerations about intelligibility and what it makes sense to say, has been strongly resisted by some pragmatists and logical empiricists.

While the above considerations about atheism and intelligibility show the second characterization of atheism to be too narrow, it is also the case that this characterization is in a way too broad. For there are fideistic believers, who quite unequivocally believe that when looked at objectively the proposition that God exists has a very low probability weight. They believe in God not because it is probable that he exists—they think it more probable that he does not—but because belief is thought by them to be necessary to make sense of human life. The second characterization of atheism does not distinguish a fideistic believer (a Blaise Pascal or a Kierkegaard) or an agnostic (a T.H. Huxley or a Leslie Stephen) from an atheist such as Baron d'Holbach or Thomas Paine. All believe that “There is a God” and “God protects humankind,” however emotionally important they may be, are speculative hypotheses of an extremely low order of probability. But this, since it does not distinguish believers from nonbelievers and does not distinguish agnostics from atheists, cannot be an adequate characterization of atheism.

It may be retorted that to avoid apriorism and dogmatic atheism the existence of God should be regarded as a hypothesis. There are no ontological (purely a priori) proofs or disproofs of God's existence. It is not reasonable to rule in advance that it makes no sense to say that God exists. What the atheist can reasonably claim is that there is no evidence that there is a God, and against that background he may very well be justified in asserting that there is no God. It has been argued, however, that it is simply dogmatic for an atheist to assert that no possible evidence could ever give one grounds for believing in God. Instead, atheists should justify their unbelief by showing (if they can) how the assertion is well-taken that there is no evidence that would warrant a belief in God. If atheism is justified, the atheist will have shown that in fact there is no adequate evidence for the belief that God exists, but it should not be part of his task to try to show that there could not be any evidence for the existence of God. If the atheist could somehow survive the death of his present body (assuming that such talk makes sense) and come, much to his surprise, to stand in the presence of God, his answer should be, “Oh! Lord, you didn't give me enough evidence!” He would have been mistaken, and realize that he had been mistaken, in his judgment that God did not exist. Still, he would not have been unjustified, in the light of the evidence available to him during his earthly life, in believing as he did. Not having any such postmortem experiences of the presence of God (assuming that he could have them), what he should say, as things stand and in the face of the evidence he actually has and is likely to be able to get, is that it is false that God exists. (Every time one legitimately asserts that a proposition is false one need not be certain that it is false. “Knowing with certainty” is not a pleonasm.) The claim is that this tentative posture is the reasonable position for the atheist to take.

An atheist who argues in this manner may also make a distinctive burden-of-proof argument. Given that God (if there is one) is by definition a very recherché reality—a reality that must be (for there to be such a reality) transcendent to the world—the burden of proof is not on the atheist to give grounds for believing that there is no reality of that order. Rather, the burden of proof is on the believer to give some evidence for God's existence; i.e., that there is such a reality. Given what God must be, if there is a God, the theist needs to present the evidence, for such a very strange reality. He needs to show that there is more in the world than is disclosed by common experience. The empirical method, and the empirical method alone, such an atheist asserts, affords a reliable method for establishing what is in fact the case. To the claim of the theist that there are in addition to varieties of empirical facts “spiritual facts” or “transcendent facts,” such as it being the case that there is a supernatural, self-existent, eternal power, the atheist can assert that such “facts” have not been shown.

It will, however, be argued by such atheists, against what they take to be dogmatic aprioristic atheists, that the atheist should be a fallibilist and remain open-minded about what the future may bring. There may, after all, be such transcendent facts, such metaphysical realities. It is not that such a fallibilistic atheist is really an agnostic who believes that he is not justified in either asserting that God exists or denying that he exists and that what he must reasonably do is suspend belief. On the contrary, such an atheist believes that he has very good grounds indeed, as things stand, for denying the existence of God. But he will, on the second conceptualization of what it is to be an atheist, not deny that things could be otherwise and that, if they were, he would be justified in believing in God or at least would no longer be justified in asserting that it is false that there is a God. Using reliable empirical techniques, proven methods for establishing matters of fact, the fallibilistic atheist has found nothing in the universe to make a belief that God exists justifiable or even, everything considered, the most rational option of the various options. He therefore draws the atheistical conclusion (also keeping in mind his burden-of-proof argument) that God does not exist. But he does not dogmatically in a priori fashion deny the existence of God. He remains a thorough and consistent fallibilist.

Comprehensive definition of atheism

Reflection on this should lead to a more adequate statement of what atheism is and indeed as well to what an agnostic or religious response to atheism should be. Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons (which reason is stressed depends on how God is being conceived); for an anthropomorphic God, the atheist rejects belief in God because it is false or probably false that there is a God; for a nonanthropomorphic God (the God of Luther and Calvin, Aquinas, and Maimonides), he rejects belief in God because the concept of such a God is either meaningless, unintelligible, contradictory, incomprehensible, or incoherent; for the God portrayed by some modern or contemporary theologians or philosophers, he rejects belief in God because the concept of God in question is such that it merely masks an atheistic substance—e.g., “God” is just another name for love, or “God” is simply a symbolic term for moral ideals.

This atheism is a much more complex notion, as are its various reflective rejections. It is clear from what has been said about the concept of God in developed forms of Judeo-Christianity that the more crucial form of atheist rejection is not the assertion that it is false that there is a God but instead the rejection of belief in God because the concept of God is said not to make sense—to be in some important way incoherent or unintelligible.

Such a broader conception of atheism, of course, includes everyone who is an atheist in the narrower sense, but the converse does not obtain. Moreover, this conception of atheism does not have to say that religious claims are meaningless. The more typical and less paradoxical and tendentious claim is that utterances such as “There is an infinite, eternal creator of the universe” are incoherent and that the conception of God reflected in such a claim is unintelligible, and in that important sense the claim is inconceivable and incredible—incapable of being a rational object of belief for a philosophically and scientifically sophisticated person touched by modernity. It is this that is a central belief of many contemporary atheists. There are good empirical grounds for believing that there are no Zeus-like spiritual beings, and as this last, more ramified form of atheism avers, if there are sound grounds for believing that the nonanthropomorphic or at least radically less anthropomorphic conceptions of God are incoherent or unintelligible, the atheist has the strongest grounds for rejecting belief in God.

Atheism is a critique and a denial of the central metaphysical beliefs of systems of salvation involving a belief in God or spiritual beings, but a sophisticated atheist does not simply claim that all such cosmological claims are false but takes it that some are so problematic that, while purporting to be factual, they actually do not succeed in making a coherent factual claim. The claims, in an important sense, do not make sense, and, while believers are under the illusion that there is something intelligible to be believed in, in reality there is not. These seemingly grand cosmological claims are in reality best understood as myths or ideological claims reflecting a confused understanding of their utterers' situation.

It is not a well-taken rejoinder to atheistic critiques to say, as have some contemporary Protestant theologians, that belief in God is the worst form of atheism and idolatry, since the language of Jewish and Christian belief, including such sentences as “God exists” and “God created the world,” is not to be taken literally but symbolically and metaphorically. Christianity, as Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian who defends such views, once put it, is “true myth.” The claims of religion are not, on such account, to be understood as metaphysical claims trying to convey extraordinary facts but as metaphorical and analogical claims that are not understandable in any other terms. But if something is a metaphor it must at least in principle be possible to say what it is a metaphor of. Thus metaphors cannot be understandable only in metaphorical terms. There can be no unparaphrasable metaphors or symbolic expressions though, what is something else again, a user of such expressions may not be capable on demand of supplying that paraphrase. Moreover, if the language of religion becomes simply the language of myth and religious beliefs are viewed simply as powerful and often humanly compelling myths, then they are conceptions that in reality have only an atheistic substance. The believer is making no cosmological claim that the atheist is not; it is just that his talk, including his unelucidated talk of “true myths,” is language that for many people has a more powerful emotive force.

Agnosticism has a parallel development to that of atheism. An agnostic, like an atheist, asserts either that he does not know that God exists—or, more typically, that he cannot know or have sound reasons for believing that God exists—but unlike the atheist he does not think that he is justified in saying that God does not exist or, stronger still, that God cannot exist. Similarly, while some contemporary atheists say that the concept of God in developed theism does not make sense and thus that Jewish, Christian, and Islamic beliefs must be rejected, many contemporary agnostics believe that the concept of God is radically problematic. They maintain that they are not in a position to be able to decide whether, on the one hand, the terms and concepts of such religions are so problematic that such religious beliefs do not make sense or whether, on the other, though the talk is indeed radically paradoxical and in many ways incomprehensible, such talk has sufficient coherence to make reasonable a belief in an ultimate mystery. Such an agnostic recognizes that the puzzles about God cut deeper than perplexities concerning whether it is possible to attain adequate evidence for God's existence. Rather, he sees the need to exhibit an adequate nonanthropomorphic, extralinguistic referent for “God.” (This need not commit him to the belief that there are any observations independent of theory.) Believers think that, though God is a mystery, such a referent has been secured, though what it is remains a mystery. Atheists, by contrast, believe that it has not been, and indeed some of them believe that it cannot be, secured. To talk about mystery, they maintain, is just an evasive way of talking about what is not understood. Contemporary agnostics (those agnostics who parallel the atheists characterized above) remain in doubt and are convinced that there is no rational way of resolving the doubt about whether talk in a halting fashion of God just barely secures such reference or whether it, after all, fails and that nothing religiously acceptable is referred to by “God.”

Intense religious commitment, as the history of fideism makes evident, has sometimes gone hand in hand with deep scepticism concerning man's capacity to know God. It is agreed by all parties to the dispute between belief and unbelief that religious claims are paradoxical. Furthermore, criteria for what is meaningless and what is not or for what is intelligible and what is not are deeply contested. It is perhaps fair enough to say that there are no generally accepted criteria.

Keeping these diverse considerations in mind in the arguments between belief, agnosticism, and atheism, it is crucial to ask whether there is any good reason at all to believe that there is a personal creative reality that is beyond the bounds of space and time and transcendent to the world. Is there even a sufficient understanding of such talk so that such a reality can be the object of religious commitment? (One cannot have faith in or take on faith what one does not at all understand. People must at least in some way understand what it is that they are to have faith in to be able to have faith in it. If a person is asked to trust Irglig, he cannot do so no matter how strongly he wants to take something simply on trust.)

It appears to be a brute fact that there just is that indefinitely immense collection of finite and contingent masses or conglomerations of things and processes the phrase “the universe” refers to. People can come to feel wonder, awe, and puzzlement that there is a universe at all. But that fact, or the very fact that there is a world at all, does not license the claim that there is a noncontingent reality on which the world (the sorry collection of things entire) depends. It is not even clear that such a sense of contingency gives an understanding of what such a noncontingent thing could be. Some atheists think that the reference range of “God” is so indeterminate and the concept of God so problematic that it is impossible for someone fully aware of that reasonably to believe in God; believers, by contrast, think that, though the reference range of “God” is indeterminate, it is not so indeterminate and the concept of God so problematic as to make belief irrational or incoherent. It is known, they claim, that talk of God is problematic, but it is not known, and cannot be known, whether it is so problematic as to be without a religiously appropriate sense. Agnostics, in turn, say that there is no reasonable decision procedure. It is not known and cannot be ascertained whether or not “God” secures a religiously adequate referent. What needs to be kept in mind, in reflecting on this issue, is whether a “contingent thing” is a pleonasm and “infinite reality” is without sense and whether, when people go beyond anthropomorphism (or try to go beyond it), it is possible to have a sufficient understanding of what is referred to by “God” to make faith a coherent possibility.

Finally, it will not do to take a Pascalian or Dostoyevskian turn and claim that, intellectual absurdity or not, religious belief is necessary, since without belief in God morality does not make sense and life is meaningless. That claim is false, for even if there is no purpose to life there are purposes in life—things people care about and want to do—that can remain perfectly intact even in a godless world. God or no God, immortality or no immortality, it is vile to torture people just for the fun of it, and friendship, solidarity, love, and the attainment of self-respect are human goods even in an utterly godless world. There are intellectual puzzles about how people know that these things are good, but that is doubly true for the distinctive claims of a religious ethic. The point is that these things remain desirable and that life can have a point even in the absence of God.
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University of Cambridge - http;//www.investigatingatheism.info/index.html

Definition of Atheism
Atheism is a complex term to define, and many definitions fail to capture the range of positions an atheist can hold. Perhaps the most obvious meaning to many people now is the absence or rejection of a belief in a God, or gods. However, it has been used through much of history to denote certain beliefs seen as heretical, particularly the belief that God does not intervene in the world. More recently, atheists have argued that atheism only denotes a lack of theistic belief, rather than the active denial or claims of certainty it is often associated with. This is held to follow from its etymology; it stems from the Greek adjective atheos, deriving from the alpha privative a -,'without, not', and 'theos', 'God'. It is not clear, however, that this could not equally mean 'godless' in the earlier sense as meaning a heretical or immoral person.

The exact meaning of 'atheist' varies between thinkers, and caution must always be shown to make sure that discussions of atheism are not working at cross purposes. Michael Martin, a leading atheist philosopher, defines atheism entirely in terms of belief.[1] For him, negative atheism is simply the lack of theistic belief, positive atheism is the asserted disbelief in God, and agnosticism is the lack of either belief or disbelief in God. This suggests that negative atheism, the minimal position that all atheists share, divides neatly into agnosticism and positive atheism. It is worth noting that the 'positive atheist' need not have certainty that God doesn't exist; it is a matter of belief, not knowledge.

This understanding of atheism is fairly commonly accepted by other atheists, although some theists complain that 'negative atheism' is trivial or evasive. William Lane Craig argues that Martin is 'redefining' the term to argue for the presumption of atheism,[2] and it is certainly clear that atheists involved in these debates tend to be positive atheists. As well as the claim that it represents the etymology of the term, atheists tend to favour this definition because it treats atheism as the 'null hypothesis', and seems to clearly put the burden of proof on the believer. Martin is clear that defence of negative atheism merely requires refutations of theistic argument, while defence of positive atheism requires reasons for disbelief to be given.[3] One criticism of Martin's definition is that it is not what is commonly understood by 'atheism', and may therefore be confusing and unhelpful. As well as Martin's acknowledgement that dictionaries tend to define atheism positively, many surveys have shown that far fewer people identify as atheists than lack belief in God. For example, Greeley's 2003 survey found that 31% of Britons did not believe in God, but only 10% considered themselves 'atheist'.[4] Martin's appeal to etymology does not necessarily make his definition more helpful if it is not how the word is understood; and his use of agnosticism to be a question of belief rather than knowledge sits uneasily with this etymological approach. Putting to one side the question of what atheism 'should' or 'really' means, the positive-negative distinction is certainly useful in philosophical discussions as a shorthand for different sorts of atheism.

Richard Dawkins does not provide such a strict definition of atheism, and the fact he opposes describing a child as 'Atheist' or 'Christian'[5] suggests that he views atheism as a conscious position and thus leans towards the dictionary definition of atheism as necessarily an active disbelief; Martin's 'positive atheism'. Dawkins' central argument against religion is probabilistic, and his scale of belief reflects this, ranging from 1; 'Strong theist. 100% probability of God' to the equivalent 7; 'Strong atheist'. He doesn't see 7 as a well-populated category, placing himself as 6; 'Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist'.[6] Again, this terminology suggests that he sees atheism as strictly requiring certainty. It should not be taken for a lack of certainty in a practical sense, however; Dawkins states 'I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden'.[7]

Dawkins divides agnosticism into TAP (temporary agnosticism in practice) and PAP (permanent agnosticism in principle), identifying the first as Sagan's stance on alien life. All but 1 and 7 on his scale can be identified as TAP. The second, PAP, he rightly argues would not be on the scale at all, even in the middle,[8] though it is not clear if this is not sometimes true for TAP as well; Sagan does not give a probabilistic response to the question of alien life. Dawkins reserves PAP for questions that can never be answered by science; and it is central to his thought that God can be shown to be incredibly improbable scientifically. As such, committed agnostics tend to be portrayed as obscurantist, and Dawkins attempts to claim that Huxley overlooked the question of probability, perhaps in an attempt to accommodate the religious to make his central points more effective. Whether this can be squared with Huxley's references to Kant and his 'pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble' is another question.[9] In any case, Dawkins' reading of agnosticism makes a useful distinction and seems fairer to the etymology and common use of the term 'agnostic', and most agnostics can be helpfully placed in the TAP or PAP categories.

Another useful distinction can be made between a broad sense of atheism (positive or negative), according to which an atheist lacks a belief or positively disbelieves in any God or gods, and a narrow sense of atheism (positive or negative) according to which an atheist lacks a belief or positively disbelieves in the personal God believed in by members of the Abrahamic religions, or some other subset of gods. Certain thinkers are positive atheists about Abrahamic religion, but best described as agnostic (whether TAP or PAP) about a deist God, or some other possible sort of God.

In the current atheist debates the New Atheists generally deny that there are good reasons to believe in the sort of personal God believed in by members of the Abrahamic religions. This is because they perceive the great Abrahamic religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam - as the greatest threat to the integrity of science and the rule of secular law. However, they also reject deism - the belief in a God that is not based on revelation but on evidence from nature and does not intervene in the world - polytheism (belief in many gods), and pantheism (belief that God is identical with nature). The last is described by Dawkins as 'sexed-up atheism', as he sees it as seeing the natural world in a spiritual way; probably very true for modern pantheists, though by no means universal amongst earlier pantheists, many of whom were more accurately panentheists, seeing the world as within God, rather than exhausting a description of him.

If we apply this distinction to the contemporary debates, the three chief public atheists, (Dawkins, Dennett and Harris) should probably be categorised as positive atheists in the broad sense. Dawkins, for example, denies not only of the personal God of the Abrahamic religions but also the more minimal deist God; he also dismisses the gods of the polytheistic religions, as well as the alleged pantheism of scientists such as Einstein, which he interprets as mere religious metaphor. The Abrahamic God is their primary target, but they broadly dismiss all other forms of belief in God as well.

Moreover, although this is not entailed by atheism in any of the abovementioned senses, avowed atheists tend also to disbelieve in supernatural entities of any kind (e.g., spirits, disembodied souls) and also in supernatural interventions of any kind in the course of nature or events inexplicable in terms of the best contemporary (orthodox) scientific understanding of the universe (for example, parapsychological occurrences).

It is noteworthy, however, that the strident atheist Sam Harris has signalled an openness towards the possibility of parapsychological events in nature.[10] This, of course, does not affect his status as an atheist, since the existence of phenomena such as telepathy and precognition is compatible with there being no God or gods. However, this puts him at odds with Dawkins and Dennett, for whom belief in such things is inextricably associated with the religious mentality.

The attitude to the term 'atheist' also varies, with some thinkers wishing to escape its negative connotations, or purely reactive definition. Sam Harris did not use the term in his first book, 'The End of Faith', and argued at a recent conference that 'our use of this label is a mistake-and a mistake of some consequence', objecting on both 'philosophical and strategic' grounds.[11] Alternatives proposed or used include 'free- thinker', 'rationalist' and the controversial 'Bright'.

You might find the links and definitions on this page informative also - http;//atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/a/definition.htm

As I already said... continuing to repeat the same discredited ideas amounts to discursive dishonesty. Given that your posts are, generally, mere repetitions of previously discredited fallacies, erroneous comparisons, and wrong definitions, then... any sensible person would be well advised to either disregard them entirely or at the very least exercise extreme caution in taking anything you say seriously.


No, nonspecific won't do. If you can't specifically give one example of illogic, then you aren't supporting your contention.

It's ridiculous to suppose that mass examples in the form of the content of any of your posts don't suffice while a single example will prove the point, but I'll oblige your eccentricity.

Some Theists make assertions about their Theism. Theists here don't, for the most part. As I said, all of the asserting here is done by Atheists.

Apart from being factually wrong (one need only read a few recent pages to prove the lie), it's both irrational and illogical to imply that theism doesn't contain an explicit claim as to the existence of deities while basing many of your outlandish and irrelevant refutations on the assumption that atheism, ipso facto, does.

As with many of the claims your argument rests on, the one quoted above contains the full trifecta - it's a lie, it's irrational, and it's illogical.


'Science' is a methodology that is neutral to ideas of value, or worth, neutral to philosophical concepts, and immune to your strange idea that your beliefs are sacred.

As soon as you, or anyone, asserts that supernatural beings either do, or might, or could, exist then - for anyone who hasn't lost their mind - it's natural to ask what you mean, or why you are saying it. Those questions are the beginning of science.

One suspects your 'confusion' as to the 'role' of science and attempts to limit the scope of rational investigation are motivated by self interest regarding the set of irrational beliefs you presumably hold.

You don't know what science is. But I'll be brief, and just say that science says nothing about the existence of God, or any other ontological matter, such as the validity of Physicalism.

I've repeated many times what science is. But that won't change your beliefs in that regard. That's because you're a dogmatic Science-Worshipper, who, in his worship of science, is entirely clueless about what science is.

heh heh heh At least I know better than to erect strawmen, continually move the goalposts, and pile non sequitur upon non sequitur.

Here's a couple of definitions of 'science' -

Science (from Latin; scientia meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world. An older and closely related meaning still in use today is that of Aristotle, for whom scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained.

Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the two words, "science" and "philosophy", were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, "natural philosophy" (which is today called "natural science") had begun to be considered separately from "philosophy" in general. However, "science" continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

In modern use, science is "often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use." This narrower sense of "science" developed as a part of science became a distinct enterprise of defining "laws of nature", based on early examples such as Kepler's laws, Galileo's laws, and Newton's laws of motion. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as "natural science". Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the disciplined study of the natural world including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. This sometimes left the study of human thought and society in a linguistic limbo, which was resolved by classifying these areas of academic study as social science. Similarly, several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general rubric of "science", such as formal science and applied science.
http;//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science

Strange, that definition doesn't corral the operational realm of 'science' in quite the same way you seek to?
But maybe this one will -

Science - noun
1.a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws; the mathematical sciences.
2.systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3.any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4.systematized knowledge in general.
5.knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
6.a particular branch of knowledge.
7.skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.

Origin; 1300–50; Middle English < Middle French < Latin scientia knowledge, equivalent to scient- (stem of sciens ), present participle of scire to know + -ia -ia
http;//dictionary.reference.com/browse/science

Nuh, that one doesn't restrict science the way you try to either. The fact is, that both the definitions and scope of 'science' are wider than you like to pretend. But since your whole fragile argument is based on pretence and disinformation I can see why you so strenuously try to defend it from rational scrutiny.

In light of all of the above, being picky about rigorous definitions and such like, which is generally only an obsession of yours and largely irrelevant anyway, it's illuminating to notice your approach to the word 'supernatural'.

Also, the supernatural refers to movie plots in which physical law is contravened. Werewolves, vampires, mummies that chase people around, etc. You can find all manner of definitions of that word, of course, but this paragraph's definition is what the word connotes to everyone. Of course that's why you use it.

Actually, what's most "natural" depends on what you believe. To a Theist, God is most natural, and therefore, decidedly not "supernatural".

It's unbelievable comical, in a post littered with nit-picking related to your novel approach to definitions, that you simultaneously attempt to disregard the actual meaning of supernatural while re-defining 'god' as 'natural', and not therefore supernatural at all. Unlike all the other ghosts, spirits, and miscellaneous bogeymen.
Special pleading much?


Definition of SUPERNATURAL
1; of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially ; of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
2a ; departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.
b ; attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)
http;//www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural
______________________________________________________________________________________
Supernatural
The supernatural or supranatural (Latin; super, supra "above" + natura "nature") is anything above or beyond what one holds to be natural or exists outside natural law and the observable universe.

Supernatural themes are often associated with paranormal and occult ideas, suggesting the possibility of interaction with the supernatural by means of summoning or trance. In secular societies, religious miracles are typically perceived as supernatural claims, as are spells and curses, divination, and the afterlife. Characteristics for phenomena claimed as supernatural are anomaly, uniqueness, and uncontrollability. Thus, the conditions in which such phenomena are thought to manifest may not be reproducible for scientific examination.

Supernatural phenomena are sometimes referred to as paranormal. The field of study dealing with the supernatural is sometimes called metaphysics, theology or the occult.
http;//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural

Bearing in mind the actual real definition of 'supernatural', your claim that 'god/s' aren't really supernatural at all is... odd to say the least. Especially taking into account your other claims regarding the alleged attributes of the 'god' thing.
Like this one for instance -

According to Theism, God doesn't possess any physical location(s). God isn't in space at all. Therefore, God is not located in the physical universe, because God is not located.

But all perfectly 'natural' according to you, not 'supernatural' at all hey?

And finally, since this post is mostly about your tendency to be... somewhat inconsistent in your approach to definitions, one last one.

The idea that matter is composed of atoms (et.al. and etc etc) isn't a 'belief', it's a fact supported by evidence and exploratory investigation.

And, by the way, "etc." was correct, in your passage above, but "et al." was not. Et Al. is, I presume, short for et alii, meaning "and others". Etc. is short for et cetera, meaning "and the rest", if I remember correctly. You used "et al." incorrectly.

Not realising I was writing for an audience of classical scholars I was using 'et al.' in the commonly understood sense of "and others".
This nit-picky correction of someone else is... inconsistent, perhaps even odd considering your wild re-definitions of 'supernatural', 'god', and 'atheism', not to mention 'science'.
Besides, as usual, you're wrong anyway.

'Et al' can stand for several derivations, the context is the clue.


Et alii/aliae - Other persons/things

Et cetera/etcetera (etc.) - And the rest.
______________________________________________________________________________________
et alii (et al.) and others. Used similarly to et cetera ('and the rest'), to stand for a list of names. Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women; the feminine, et aliae (or et aliæ), is appropriate when the 'others' are all female. Et alia is neuter plural and thus properly used only for inanimate, genderless objects, but some use it as a gender-neutral alternative.

You'll need to try harder.


Do not parents guide their children toward rationality in regard to irrational beliefs about 'The Bogeyman'?

1. You assert that Theism is as irrational as belief in the Bogeyman, and yet you also claim that you don't believe that God doesn't exist.

Additionally, you rule on the matter of the rationality of a belief, without knowing what the belief is. Theists have not defined God for you. So, when you assert that God doesn't exist, you don't know what you're asserting the nonexistence of.

2. So you're saying that you're proselytizing for Atheism here, because you have a mission?

Huh? You got all that from a question about telling children that bogeymen don't exist?

Though it's worth noting that we have no evidence that bogeymen don't exist... so perhaps truly responsible parents, in an 'Appreciative' possibility universe should refrain from such assurances and rather inform their terrified children that, well... no one can say, there might really be an invisible cannibalistic demon bogeyman with supernatural powers under the bed just waiting until Mummy or Daddy leave the room so they can suck the blood out of the squirming children through their eyeballs because that's how invisible cannibalistic demon bogeyman with supernatural powers could possibly get their kicks...
 ohwhynot46
Joined: 6/28/2009
Msg: 298
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On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/31/2011 5:34:40 PM
With all of the (forgive me for so being so frank...) self centered drivel in the last few pages, thank you PaulYTOO!

For the life of me, I can not understand the apparent incessant need to put down anyone else simply because they don't agree with you. One would think we all aspired to BE God!
 Inicia
Joined: 12/21/2007
Msg: 301
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 7/31/2011 11:16:47 PM
and only because you are alive... if you were a dead soldier we wouldn't have your marvelous words of wisdom... but hey it is always good to kill people to prove a point...(tongue in cheek very_)
 Riskbreaker
Joined: 6/28/2007
Msg: 307
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Posted: 8/2/2011 7:55:29 AM
Some of you guys have a good point. The concept of a god cannot be proven or disproven, using reason. The thing you can rule out though, are SPECIFIC claims about god. If you follow the bible, THAT description of god can be easily tossed out with even the smallest amount of critic thinking and logic. Is there something bigger than us? Beyond the universe as we know? We may never find out, but none of the religions man has made up bring up a convincing argument, especially since most contradict very understood elements of nature.
 UnixGrand
Joined: 5/9/2011
Msg: 314
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Posted: 8/4/2011 3:39:52 PM

There WAS a God, but not anymore ( not since I finished my lunch).



I hope it was tasty. You could actually call it the ultimate sandwich.
 abelian
Joined: 1/12/2008
Msg: 321
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 8/7/2011 6:49:43 AM

Attention: nojjoka ->   If you are going to post again, please try to write something using standard English instead of some incomprehensible version of textspeak. Thank you.


in the mind of the eg0
They Rdrr the gods of their perseptions as we allR
til selfRealization dawns


The above is not acceptable.
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 323
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Posted: 8/7/2011 3:57:11 PM
Likewise, all the interpretations, via different languages over the ages, on oral history, generations past, tends to change the meaning of and reference of events. To try to reconcile the olde testaments and new, is to read several different versions of that god. If we look at how language has evolved for the typical 60 year old alive on the planet today, just speaking english, we would have a hard time imagining a teenager now trying to talk to one in the 50s. Just the differences in tolerance for race and religion and gays would lead to fist fights from the kids in that era. And the tweet speak of today vs. the language of that era would lead to even more misunderstandings. And thats a mere 2 or 3 generations. Extrapolate that to a thousand or so generations, or even the changes in just one generation in the MTV world of today.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-lose/4-good-reasons-not-to-read-bible-literally_b_919345.html
 UnixGrand
Joined: 5/9/2011
Msg: 329
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Posted: 8/11/2011 7:59:14 PM
Sooner or later, us reglar U. S. of A citizens will take back our own country.


Won't happen so fast krebby. Not until the upper greedy 1% finish eating the middle classes lunch. Just like the Chinese are doing to this once great country. In God We Trust. Hmmmmm......
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 333
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Posted: 8/15/2011 7:50:27 PM
"people don't need to be born again. they need to grow up."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtIREJVPfQY&feature=player_embedded#at=19

see related videos. I like this guy and his consistency on being good.
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 337
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Posted: 8/16/2011 7:22:25 PM
Eric Weiner did a book, "The Geography of Bliss...the Happiest nations on earth...", but as I read it, they seemed to crumble in a row, chapter, by chapter, as the global dream collapsed. Pretty bad timing for such a good idea. Just goes to show ya how fleeting bliss can be and the more you brag about it the more likely the karma kontrol krowd will react to your happiness. Very dark Lutheran of them.

I actually quit reading the book before the last 3 chapters, to do my part in averting the global financial appolcalypse. Looking forward to the pretense of the good old days happening again when I can finish the last chapters...and...
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 340
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Posted: 8/22/2011 6:17:41 AM

The construct, God, is built on Faith, not Science.

Therefore, let Faith travel its own route. And let Science travel its own route.

And, never the twain should meet.

But we know better, don't we?

For religion always seems to tread where it does not belong. And it refrains from treading where it should belong.

What's up with that?
It might be that way where you grew up.

But it was a non-religious poster here on this site, who pointed out to me, that when Darwin published his book on evolution, that leaders in both the English branch of Protestantism, and the English branch of Catholicism, both said that religion and science are 2 different disciplines, each performing different functions in society, and as long as science does not mess in matters of religion, they would ensure that religion would not mess in science.

But then again, the UK hadn't separated church and state completely at that point. The state could still mandate just how far religion could go, and could dictate that religion could not encroach on science's area, because the church was still connected to the state, and so the state had a measure of power over it.

Likewise, at that point, science was still being funded on a country-by-country basis. So each country's government had the power and influence to dictate that scientists not encroach on religion's area.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
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Posted: 8/22/2011 11:46:03 AM

Quite often, the leaders of the various religions have no problem keeping science & faith seperate. It is generally local churches, local church groups and splinter factions of the major religions that intrude into the realm of science & attempt to control what teachers are allowed to teach, and want to have the rules of science ( at least in the classroom) "adjusted" in an attempt to show "scientifically" that what's in the Bible is proven. They seem to dislike science & regard it as evil but also seem determined to warp science in a vain effort to prove their beliefs.
You have a good point.

Some people who work running local organisations, could get themselves a high-flying position in the world, but choose to do so, because they believe they can do the most good there. They tend to be praised by everyone who talks about them behind their backs, even the people who don't like them.

However, some people who work running local organisation, are there, because no-one in the professional world wants them, because they are angry, obnoxious, don't work hard, and don't pay enough attention to what they are doing to even do a half-way good job. I've seen them in all walks of life. Jumped-up petty little bureaucrats, who have no real power in their lives, and not even at home, and just try and lord it all over everyone else, because that's really all the power anyone will give them, for good reason. They tend to be criticised by everyone who talks about them behind their backs, even their friends.

However, in the local world, these weaknesses tend to be ignored, because all too often, the better workers go off to the big leagues, so they don't really have much choice of who to get to run local groups.

It's the same sort of phenomena as people moving from towns and villages to the cities. Some good people choose to stay. But most of the best move. Those who would like to move, but are incompetent or too obviously corrupt to get away with corruption, cannot make it in the big city. So they end up moving back to their home town. As that drain goes on, the ratios change. More and more of the people in the town are incompetent or corrupt, and less and less are quality people who choose to live there. Eventually, many people think that ONLY the people in the town are incompetent or corrupt.

So I think that such phenomena within the bounds of religious groups, is just a much smaller indication of what is going on in society as a whole. It's the tip of the iceberg, and it wasn't the tip that sunk the Titanic. It was the 7/8th beneath the surface.

Individuality is very important, as it leads to flexibility, and flexibility makes one more able to adapt in the face of change, and so make one more in tune with evolution. But we still need cohesion within society, or society fragments, and splits into lots of conflicts.

To make a happy human society, we need BOTH: Individuality AND Cohesion, in EVERY part of society, not just religion. After all, we don't want to find that we've fixed the religious conflict, only to find our country goes down the tubes even faster and worse than we thought possible.
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
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Posted: 9/1/2011 8:14:56 PM
Gonna have to get back to god's great, great, great, great, great, ad infinitum, great, great, great, greats...etc. great, great, great, grandparents to see which uncle he took after when he wrote that really hateful, vengeful, jealous, crazyazz, tome called the olde Testament. When we can truly understand the lineage of these sorts of godlike beings, then we can choose to accept them, their strange ways, continue to sacrifice livestock and drink the blood and eat the flesh of these gods, and they can survive a Jerry Springer show and still seem sane...Yup.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 349
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Posted: 9/4/2011 7:35:35 AM
One of the greatest, and perhaps THE greatest, challenges that face those who want to advocate for a general belief in gods, is that the history of human kind is PACKED with folks who want to USE the pursuit of understanding of all existence to gain personal advantage.

That means that you can NEVER know whether anything that has been said, or is claimed to have been "discovered" about a god, was innocently arrived at.

Our histories AND our present days are full of examples of people who pretend to simply want the "truth", but who actually wanted to use existing beliefs, superstitions, and prejudices, to get some OTHER part of life to go their way.

Christianity was HUGELY corrupted by it's own "success," in that once the Emperor of Rome took charge of it, it stopped being a pursuit of personal salvation, and became an instrument of state control of the populace. Islam has had that same problem since it's inception, from what little I know of it. Judaism also was a mixture of State and Belief, so it too had it's "seeking" aspects adjusted directly into supporting the social structure that the state desired.

How much of the Bible was added specifically for the sake of crowd control? there's no way to know. That's why I stick with keeping BELIEF entirely separate from science, and entirely separate from government.
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 352
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/4/2011 9:36:08 PM
Why is the idea of god? apart from organized religion so awful? (I know the faults and actions of organized religion...I am not a believer in that sense.)
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 354
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/4/2011 11:10:23 PM
Hey Krebby...I missed your profile pic. lol.
But...that did not answer my general question. His reply only addressed the misconceptions re: Albert Einstein.
Can we continue to debate why it is so awful and illogical to believe in God?
Beyond the vagaries and demonstrable crimes of organizied religion?
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 356
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/5/2011 12:58:39 AM
O.k. Alan I thoroughly understand the aim of your argument...clearly and without a doubt...but still. Why not believe in God? And...coded in our fundamentals in Canadian law there is a separation between the Church and the state...apart from the Catholic schools. Yet, I work with children and even the children not yet indoctrinated know that there is the issue of God. Their view is innocent and untainted. I, by the way, have to read their registration pckgs and am aware of any religious affiliation. A heavy percentage have no organized religion in their background. Yet, so many of these sweet little beings have no doubt. I can rationally understand why one abandons a belief in God...but I still wonder why the belief in God raises such ire and indignation?
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 357
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On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/5/2011 4:37:45 AM

I can rationally understand why one abandons a belief in God...but I still wonder why the belief in God raises such ire and indignation?


It's not the belief in gods that raise such ire and indignation, but rather the need for the believers to force their beliefs on others or subjugate others to their theocratic belief systems. There would be very little strife over the subject if folks were content to live and let live. But as cultures go through stages and growing pains, the religious majority feels compelled to fix it all with theocracy. God is THE answer for all. Get with the program or become a second class citizen or worse.

Here in the US, the theocrats have been steadily gaining ground in the last couple of decades to the point that three of the top contenders for president in one party are not only theocrats, but dominionist theocrat followers, a cult intent on global christian domination. To be honest, that sort of friggin insanity creates a lof of ire, indignation, and pissed off rage. Here in the Babble Belt there is a constant push to put the 10 commandments if public institutions, hold preyer events (they are preying on the unbelivers) at schools, and all manner of breaking down the wall of seperation. The Murfreesboro hatefest against Muslims, KKK activity, the Hispanic/Latino know nothingism, the growth of christian identity hate groups all attest to the worst of this growing theocracy movement.

If people would just hold their God in their hearts and homes and houses of worship there would be none of that ire and indignation. They just cant help themselves though.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/michele-bachmanns-holy-war-20110622
http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/152034/meet_the_christian_dominionist_'prayer_warriors'_who_have_chosen_rick_perry_as_their_vehicle_to_power/
http://www.alternet.org/story/152271/inside_the_christian_right_dominionist_movement_that's_undermining_democracy_/
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 360
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/6/2011 10:55:36 PM
Krebby...I would not worry needlessly. I have a fairly good faith that even those not educated in scientific matters know that they have no say in what matters. Really...what matters? A sense of wonder?...if you do not have thousands upon thousands of dollars to investigate and educate yourself ...what is the truth?
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 363
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/25/2011 10:37:41 PM
Krebby...do poor people hang around the Tea Party? I..have a real problem with that whole line of debate. Poor people have no party...ever. I am wondering why you would deny anybody (poor or not) the possibility of spiritual realization?
Dogs know the logistics of being loyal. They have a good home or a bad home and either way...they love you irregardless. They lack a sense of discernment. Human beings never lack the ability to discern. What dogs and human beings is the lack of freedom to be powerful in an innocent way. Its autumn. Yay.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 366
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History
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 9/27/2011 5:50:44 AM
One of the "funny" things I've observed for a long time, is how both religion, and many areas of science, are intent on SEPARATING humans from all the other life on this planet, and declaring us to be superior, or more important.

There is a lot of ego involved with this, clearly, as well as psychology of guilt and justification. The religions with which I am most familiar spend a LOT of time insisting that humans are NOT "animals" at all. I think that some of that is because they want to feel 100% good about how they treat OTHER animals as things without feelings or emotions. Other times, they want to USE the existing ego of others who WANT to be "more" than animals, to manipulate them into behaving the way the religious folks want them to (for various reasons, not all of them for the sake of the person's "soul").

I see similar things happen occasionally in Science circles as well. When I was in Anthropology 301 eons ago, we spent a full week discussing nothing but how to define the term "Human" in a way that would insure we didn't accidentally include any animals we didn't want to be associated with in the definition.

They started with an old adage that "Humans are the Tool Using Animal." Then they pointed out that several obvious NON humans had been discovered, who in fact used tools. SO they added more stipulations to the definition, and then found that THOSE stipulations didn't keep everyone out they didn't want either.

I know on one level that it really wasn't the same thing, but it DID look exactly the same as the situations where people who want to keep "undesirables" out of their club, but want to pretend they are't racist or sexist or 'whatever'-ist, will build HUGE, awkward definitions of all sorts of requirements, JUST to keep the "oogy" people away in spite of their putting an "all are welcome" sign on their front lawn.

I've dealt with non-human animals my whole life, and like so many others, I KNOW that they have lots of traits that others want to pretend ONLY humans have. Those traits include all the old "sins," of greed, avarice, jealously. There are non-human sociopaths, nonhuman altruists, and so forth. And no, I am NOT just giving in to the urge to humanize every creature I deal with. I would say that those who insist otherwise, are the ones who are purposely closing their own eyes and minds.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 368
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History
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 10/1/2011 2:28:02 PM
I agree Krebby, but I was referring to a more overweaning sort of egotism than what you refer to. The built-in corrective mechanism of peer review only works when ALL the peers don't have the same overall prejudices firmly in place.

I know I might sound as though I'm supporting "fluff" thinking in this, but I assure you I am not at all. There are some areas where Science has made fundamental assumptive decisions so far in the deep past, that they aren't even aware that they ARE assumptive any more. Certain aspects of human uniqueness seem to be among those assumptions.

Science correctly obeys it's own rigorous testing on ideas, but there are some (albeit small) areas where the basic Scientific challenge that new ideas be proven with data or other tests, ignores the fact that what's currently written into the official record was NOT based on proof to begin with.

Anyway, I'll leave that be, because I do NOT want to encourage the creationist crowd to pretend I'm suggesting ANY support for their nonsense.
 _shakti_
Joined: 7/5/2011
Msg: 369
On the Existence of God and Other Sundry Matters
Posted: 10/1/2011 4:50:30 PM

History: On the 29th of June, Year of our Lord, 2011, a thread entitled "Does God Exist" reached capacity levels that made it difficult to post. This here thread is meant to be a continuation of that thar discussion. All new posters are invited to peruse the old thread to catch a history of previous posting in this discussion.
You didn't include a link..

Let's hope that this here thread makes significant progress which the old thread did not succeed in.
I'm curious.. what type of success were you hoping for?
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