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 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.Page 6 of 8    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

I cant even take it seriously now


Why?
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 127
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/10/2012 6:15:35 PM
Why?

From a non-religious point of view... we are are pretty well meaningless.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/10/2012 7:10:43 PM
And in the immortal words of no one special... 'So what.'
Who cares that you have a dopamine trip when you imagine your subjective view of the world. It's basically an illusion you are imaging anyway and irrelevant. You don't matter. Your opinion doesn't matter. Anything you sense is just neurons and synapsis projecting an illusion to your brain.

You may want to take a pill to correct that imaginary scenario that you find breathtaking. I hear lithium makes the magic go away. Don’t you find it the least bit curious that your special k view of wonder is ok but someone else’s is idiotic? I think for you to be fully intellectually honest you must give up your idiotic feelings of a sense of breathtaking wonder.

See, the implication of this is that we human beings need universal/cosmic significance for our lives to have any meaning. Is your ego really that big? Do you really think the universe has to acknowledge your existence and the wonders of nature for you to derive meaning from it?

Yes, in the cosmic sense, we are insignificant. Our lives mean absolutely nothing in the long run. However, that's not what's important. What's important is what we have right now; the lives that we live here, on earth, is what's important and it is within that life that we fine beauty, meaning, and significance! We are important in the context of human society, but only within that context. Is this so hard to understand?

Frankly, I find it a little bit arrogant and vain to think that without some cosmic significance, our lives have no meaning. Do you really think you're that important?
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/10/2012 7:15:10 PM

Wonderfully?
How so?

I like flowers. Flowers are amazing. All plants are really.
So are waterfalls and fertile river valleys. Stars are too. And planets. Galaxies are quite impressive also.


But there is nothing inherently wonderful within or about nature.
It is all just meaningless farts of a universe spinning out its energy into a cold and dark void.

I can't comprehend that ^^^ attitude.
That something has a natural or explicable origin doesn't mean that one can't be amazed and marvel at its wonderfulness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowering_plant
http://www.indiaonrent.com/forwards/w/worlds-highest-waterfall/res/i19-s4.jpg
http://www.whisperbay.com.au/images/great-barrier-reef-1.jpg

Note also that the world is full of objects for which the mechanistic, and often completely mundane, origins are well known. They are called 'man-made' objects. Yet, for many people, this doesn't prevent some of them from being wonders to marvel at.

http://millionstarhotel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/sydneys-opera-house-.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ee/Sagrada_Familia_01.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ed/The_world%27s_first_iron_bridge.jpg
http://images.travelpod.com/tripwow/photos/ta-00cc-bfde-7ad7/kremlin-a-symbol-of-russia-world-world+1152_12952055647-tpfil02aw-31832.jpg



Who cares that you have a dopamine trip when you imagine your subjective view of the world. It's basically an illusion you are imaging anyway and irrelevant. You don't matter. Your opinion doesn't matter. Anything you sense is just neurons and synapsis projecting an illusion to your brain.


Any sense of wonder is merely the babblings of chaos... an accident at best.
Enjoy being a meaningless fart of entropy.
/snip/
From a non-religious point of view... we are are pretty well meaningless.


Suit yourselves.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2008/0101-chasing_a_star_named_mira.htm
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/quasarWater/
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/5-8/features/F_How_Big_is_Our_Universe.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_universe
http://www.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise_chem/Exobiology/search.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-06/earth-twin-planet-discovered/3714358
http://isaacmmcphee.suite101.com/the-scale-of-atoms-a45630.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Star-sizes.jpg
http://htwins.net/scale/

 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/10/2012 8:49:11 PM
Both of ^^^ are saying nothing more than, "My subjective view is better than your!" with a rasberry.

It's lame. If I say I find the universe fascinating and amzingly complex and wonderful you tell me that I don't count. It just doesn't work this way.... Well, in reality it really does work this way. It's called your ego vs mine.

Lets see who wins.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/10/2012 8:59:21 PM

Both of ^^^ are saying nothing more than, "My subjective view is better than your!" with a rasberry.

It's lame. If I say I find the universe fascinating and amzingly complex and wonderful you tell me that I don't count. It just doesn't work this way.... Well, in reality it really does work this way. It's called your ego vs mine.

Lets see who wins.

You could try supporting your position with logic and evidence, as I have done, or you might challenge and try to refute the rational arguments that have been presented as a way of getting your point across.

But not doing any of that and choosing instead to just insistently repeat your narrow, and rather odd, opinions over and over and over followed by mischaracterising the issue so you can build a strawman means - you lose.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/11/2012 4:47:24 AM
Both of ^^^ are saying nothing more than, "My subjective view is better than your!" with a rasberry.

It's lame. If I say I find the universe fascinating and amzingly complex and wonderful you tell me that I don't count. It just doesn't work this way.... Well, in reality it really does work this way. It's called your ego vs mine.

Lets see who wins.

So you really do think that your existence needs a cosmic significance. "If the universe itself doesn't acknowledge me, then nothing matters!" I guess the acknowledgement of your fellow man means nothing to you?

Reminds me of this saying: the person who says that without God there is no meaning is a person who has never looked upon his fellow man with an ounce of compassion.

Like science, in which there is no such thing as absolute truth, secularists do not look for eternal meaning or universal significance. We are temporal beings and thus we look to temporal goals. What matters is the journey, not the destination. Atheists don't look for the prize at the end of life - to them, life IS the prize. This is probably the biggest difference from a theistic mindset, which guarantees eternal life and eternal significance, with the prize appearing at the end of life.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 133
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Posted: 6/11/2012 6:09:59 AM
In my opinion (being I believe God made everything), not one creation is greater than the other. We are all just different, and co-exist in the same universe. The difference with humans is we can experience spirituality through faith in something greater than it all (when we choose to through that freedom of will).

For someone that doesnt believe in God you sure are making assumptions as to what all Christians do.
This life IS our journey, and our destination IS death of this body; same as anyone else. Eternal life is of the spirit (that energy I keep referring to) that remains and goes to a resting place.

At least that what I choose for myself to believe.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/11/2012 8:26:52 AM

So you really do think that your existence needs a cosmic significance. "If the universe itself doesn't acknowledge me, then nothing matters!" I guess the acknowledgement of your fellow man means nothing to you?


Show me where I said 'cosmic significance'. I believe I have been saying that in my world view 'life matters' and is special. I didn't say it required God to give it meaning. I never said it means that aliens living in another solar system are required to fawn over our awesomeness. I am saying that your world view does not account for that. There is nothing in your world view that gives life a priority. It is also well established that the life of a man has no more significance then a sea squirt.

It is that world view that allows things like the banning of DDT and GMO foods from poor countries. It is that same philosophy that is at the heart of abortion controversies. It is that same philosophy that eventually makes genocide ok. It’s only science. It was not designed to support morality. In fact at the heart of its nature is the challenging of morality. And that’s ok. But that doesn’t make it the best model for governance. I just saw another show on the Discover channel last night called ‘head games.’ Science is trying to show that morality is hard wired. What they didn’t test was, for the morality they claimed to have proved, how much of it was cultural.

It didn't require God. I am not religious and have never used religion as a support for arguments. What I have used is the hierarchal authoritive model derived from the philosophy of religions that have a God. It's a good model. It is the model the United States is based on. It is not based on the existence of ‘A God’. It is based on the principle. I tried to bring it up before. I think that the comparison between Religion and science has never really been appropriate. It is much better in comparison to law, justice, politics, and governance. That also allows the good parts of it to continue existing and does not require extermination as the science view tends to lead towards.

As lyingcheat says... I have bizarre opinions.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/11/2012 4:23:48 PM
Show me where I said 'cosmic significance'. I believe I have been saying that in my world view 'life matters' and is special. I didn't say it required God to give it meaning. I never said it means that aliens living in another solar system are required to fawn over our awesomeness. I am saying that your world view does not account for that. There is nothing in your world view that gives life a priority. It is also well established that the life of a man has no more significance then a sea squirt.

I've explained this before, but I'll do it again in the clearest terms possible. It's all a matter of context. Within the context of the universe human beings mean nothing. Within the context of human societies they are everything, and within the context of life we are just one of many lifeforms on this earth. It is a position that relies on seeing things in perspective.

It is that world view that allows things like the banning of DDT and GMO foods from poor countries. It is that same philosophy that is at the heart of abortion controversies. It is that same philosophy that eventually makes genocide ok. It’s only science. It was not designed to support morality. In fact at the heart of its nature is the challenging of morality. And that’s ok. But that doesn’t make it the best model for governance. I just saw another show on the Discover channel last night called ‘head games.’ Science is trying to show that morality is hard wired. What they didn’t test was, for the morality they claimed to have proved, how much of it was cultural.

Jeez, where have I heard this before? Oh yeah, the many millions of creationists who link the "meaninglessness" of a scientific worldview to every form of social vice (just so you know, I strongly support GMOs). It is a cartoon-caricature of a secularist's position, a strawman, and you seem to propound this even though I explained why secularists value human life.

You are basically assuming that secularists derive their morality from scientific theories like evolution. Scientific theories may help explain where our morality came from, but it does not inform us on what our morality should be (this is an is/ought fallacy). To do so is like saying, "my father and grandfather were mobster hitmen so I have to be one as well!" I do not know a single atheist who sees natural selection as a moral principle (indeed, it is universally recognized that evolution is an extremely cruel, immoral and wasteful system). Frankly, I don't see what secular humanism or utilitarianism have to do with evolution, but that's just me.


It is the model the United States is based on.

And here I was, thinking the that US Constitution was based on power derived from the people. Now I know the truth, the US government is based on hierarchical authority, where the rulers tell the people what to do (thanks for letting me know).
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/11/2012 6:51:34 PM
Context matters but you don't allow my context so why should yours mean anything to me. My context was political, law, governance. Who cares about many lifeforms. People are the ones ruling people and it requires a priority. My priority has humans higher on the list. You don't. In case you were not sure how that works... Look up the ddt ban. Look up California Delta smelt. Food supply and farms were destroyed to save a fish that only exists in one place. Not ok.

You also ignore the abortion point. I am personally in favor of keeping abortion legal. However, at no point do I consider it not a life that can be exterminated without thought. They should feel responsible for 'an accident'. They also means the mother and the father.

Take your creationist argument and put it where you know it belongs. In the trash.

I am not assuming secularists derive their morality from scientific theories. I am saying that secularism has a pretty wide gap in stability of moral values roots, definitions and in matching the authoritive premise of God.

Finally, just because you mock doesn't mean that ' We hold these truths to be self-evident and that all men are created equal' doesn't exist or wasn't a consideration as the foundation of the country.

You could try discussing why you believe things and where those beliefs lead as an exercise over rules of debate and the really annoying strawman strawman argument. I'm not trying to win a debate contest. I'm actually here to challenge my own beliefs and see if I can articulate them in any way that makes sense for me and maybe to others or if I'm on crack and need to re think some ideas that I may have. I don’t know about you but most people in real life really try very hard to avoid these topics so getting views discussed, challenged, and even mocked is quite interesting. Unfortunately for me it got a bit boring seeing the 10,000th 'why do women say they want nice guys but go for jerks’ threads :)

But... as a side note, I really do like your opinions. You gave a brief hint at your personal history before and I respect your opinion actually more than some others because of it. But... that’s only because I paid attention to what you write.

What I am not trying to do is to prove you wrong. But, I do question if you stopped questioning your own beliefs.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 6/11/2012 8:10:40 PM
I haven't done it... been meaning to... but I have had this site in the back of my head since finding the mention of it in Dawkins "God Delusion."

http://www.atheists-for-jesus.com/

On the front there is also mention of another discover or science channel documentary that I have recorded but didn't watch which is the Jefferson Bible. Thomas Jefferson painstakingly cut out all mentions of supernatural and worked out the true teaching and message of Jesus. Sounds interesting to me. And now I will probably have to take the time to find out more about it just because I mentioned it.


There are currently two vastly different versions of Christianity being practiced in the United States. One version stresses the "Born Again" experience (the acceptance of Jesus Christ as a personal Lord and Savior) and is practiced by such people as Pat Robertson and Sarah Palin. The other version stresses what has come to be known as the "Social Gospel" and is supported by, among others, Bishop John Shelby Spong and Barack Obama. The first group believes that the way to get to heaven is through a belief in the sacrificial death and supposed resurrection of Jesus the Christ, while the second group believes that the proper path is defined by the admonition to "Love your neighbor as yourself" as presented by Jesus of Nazareth. It is commonly held that these differences are the result of differing interpretations of the same religion. It is my contention, however, that these differences are the result of two completely different religions being inappropriately thrown together in what we now call the New Testament. In conversations that I held with Dr. Carl Sagan, he expressed this idea very eloquently:

"My longtime view about Christianity is that it represents an amalgam of two seemingly immiscible parts?the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul. Thomas Jefferson attempted to excise the Pauline parts of the New Testament. There wasn't much left when he was done, but it was an inspiring document." (A letter from Dr. Sagan to myself.)
The document that Dr. Sagan referred to has become known as the "Jefferson Bible." As Dr. Sagan stated, "It is an inspiring document." Unfortunately, it and similar works are all too often effectively dismissed by conservative Christians as merely being examples of "liberal revisionism."


Now that sounds like the basis for discussions. Not this whole, I'm right and you are a fantasizing idiot.
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
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Posted: 6/11/2012 10:00:11 PM

Show me where I said 'cosmic significance'. I believe I have been saying that in my world view 'life matters' and is special. I didn't say it required God to give it meaning. I never said it means that aliens living in another solar system are required to fawn over our awesomeness.

You picked up on the idea of 'purpose' and seemed to be suggesting, over many posts, that the collective concept of 'humanity/homo sapiens' has one (beyond the obvious biological one}.
To illustrate that idea you used the comparative examples of such things as 'cars' (which do have a purpose) and 'fire' (which has purposes we ascribe to it).
You further illustrated your point by suggesting that "streets, cities, governments, technology, and pretty much everything humans have created" are all 'evidence' of this unspecified 'purpose' resident in homo sapiens.

It's true that you didn't specify exactly what this purpose is, where it came from, or how it got into humans alone, but there's no requirement for anyone to wait until you flesh out the fallacy, before mounting opposition to it.


Who cares about many lifeforms. People are the ones ruling people and it requires a priority. My priority has humans higher on the list.

That's fine, just don't make unsupported claims that there's any extra authority, or 'special' justification, for that attitude beyond that which applies to all animal species.

Consider that to an Army Ant other members of its colony are of higher importance, and more 'special', than you.
And then ponder whether Army Ants have greater 'purpose' than Leaf Cutter ants and therefore have more reason to exist.

The answers that result from these questions ^^^ also apply equally to all primates, including humans.


Now that sounds like the basis for discussions. Not this whole, I'm right and you are a fantasizing idiot.

No one, that I'm aware of, has called you an idiot despite that you seem to be promoting personal fantasies as if they were some kind of objective truth. It's mere petulance to sulk and create this kind of strawman diversion when you are asked, perfectly legitimately, to produce evidence of the claims you are making.


Thomas Jefferson painstakingly cut out all mentions of supernatural and worked out the true teaching and message of Jesus.
_____________________________________________________________________
" There are currently two vastly different versions of Christianity being practiced in the United States.
/snip/
The first group believes that the way to get to heaven is through a belief in the sacrificial death and supposed resurrection of Jesus the Christ, while the second group believes that the proper path is defined by the admonition to "Love your neighbor as yourself" as presented by Jesus of Nazareth. "
_______________________________________________________________________

Now that sounds like the basis for discussions.

I'm wondering how the concept of 'heaven' and its associated ideas of 'life everlasting' etc etc are not considered "mentions of (the) supernatural".

Not to mention that there is an assumption that 'The Golden Rule' has something to do with belief in someone named 'Jesus'.

A far better "basis for discussions", from my point of view, would be on ways of excising the influence of voodoo superstition from modern society, regardless of whatever cloak it's wearing and regardless of whether it's breaking down the front door or trying to sneak in the back disguised as something else.

 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/12/2012 5:16:47 AM

Context matters but you don't allow my context so why should yours mean anything to me. My context was political, law, governance. Who cares about many lifeforms. People are the ones ruling people and it requires a priority. My priority has humans higher on the list. You don't. In case you were not sure how that works... Look up the ddt ban. Look up California Delta smelt. Food supply and farms were destroyed to save a fish that only exists in one place. Not ok.

Again, I think you missed my point. Human life IS important in the context of human society (which is precisely what you're talking about - law, governance, politics - so I'm not sure what your issue is) When did I ever say that I don't have humans as the highest priority on my life? (don't I live in human society as well?) After all, secular humanism is all about making humans priority (as opposed to God).


I am not assuming secularists derive their morality from scientific theories. I am saying that secularism has a pretty wide gap in stability of moral values roots, definitions and in matching the authoritive premise of God.

No, it does not. Secular morality is based on reason, and the dignity of human life. There is nothing unstable about that. And just because religion declares their morality to be universal doesn't mean they are superior - it just means they cling to their interpretation more stubbornly! After all, their morality is based on faith, not reason (God declares it for reasons unknown) and their actions are equally shaky (e.g., Catholics who ex-communicate people who help abort the baby of a raped nine year-old to save her life).

Seriously though, I suggest you actually study up on secular morality before making wild accusations about it. Have you ever read a book or taken a university course on ethics? On Kantianism, utilitarianism, social contract?


What I am not trying to do is to prove you wrong. But, I do question if you stopped questioning your own beliefs.

I was a Christian for most of my life, and was even an aspiring apologist (defender of the faith, defending religion on forums like these). I was on the opposite camp for a number of years until I crossed over to the other side. The fact is, I HAVE considered the opposing arguments (I even attended a semester at one of the most conservative theological university in Toronto and still have my textbooks from there!). These ideas are not ones that I've just blindly held since I was born, they were views that I adopted after much thought and deliberation.
 Aries_328
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Posted: 6/12/2012 10:25:50 AM
My apologies. I screwed up the context of my post by saying, "You don't." Totally wrong choice of words. I guess it probably won't matter that I really did mean the metaphorical you and not you personally. I don't doubt you as an individual.

The examples I mentioned were the DDT ban, Delta Smelt protection , and abortion. All of those real world examples are a result of the lowering of life, most directly human life, as the highest priority. The Catholic officials enforcing the ex-communication policy against those that had clearly not deserved it is especially cruel to the victims as human beings and individuals.

The difference in the examples though is that DDT ban, Delta Smelt protections are not seen as morally wrong. Same with how abortion is being presented. No guilt. The Catholic ex-communication is not seen as without guilt. It is seen as 'without choice' which admittedly is a poor excuse but the intention is to protect what is perceived to be an absolute sanctity of life. It's a hard position to defend and not one I feel or most likely many Catholics as well as many Catholic officials agree with but some do and the wrong position won. But the intentions are not the same. Saving a few birds resulting in millions of deaths is a different case and comparing them is not simple. Where the comparison does work is that both acts can be seen as immoral. In my world view the act against the single person can be viewed as equivalent to the act against millions. That is the same problem that causes the justification for excommunication. In other words I have no choice but to see the DDT ban as a greater offense because it was a simple choice between thinning egg shells and human life and egg shells were given higher priority.

The philosophies you list are all fine and dandy and not my point at all. I didn't say they didn't exist. I said they do not command the same authority that religion (especially Christianity) has achieved. They just don’t. You cannot name a Kantian law although you can find influence. You cannot point toward the absolute rule of utilitarianism and social contracts are abstracts. That does not make Christianity by default superior. It is just a statement of fact. Secular philosophies have yet to match the inherent authority in Theistic religions. It very much worries me that it may be that the only way they can match that authority is through force and emulating the worst forms of religious rule. It’s a danger to watch for.

It was my fault for my initial screw up in the context of my post. Your personal example is what I was referring to on why I liked your opinions. You repeated it so I am assuming that you missed that I was already directly referring to it.

No, I did not attend a theological university. I do not have textbooks from religious studies that I have never done. I was not raised in dogma nor had blindly held beliefs forced on me. I'm sure that makes my opinions less valuable. Although using that as ad hominem isn’t correct either. But again that is because you took the context as an attack and that wasn’t my intention.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
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Posted: 6/12/2012 12:07:57 PM
^ How are your opinions less valuable? I learn a lot about myself through your posts. We all know Im not the brightest crayon, but I do value on my own opinions. I dont care what anyone else thinks or believes. I have enough faith in myself to stand firm with plenty of grow room.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/12/2012 5:34:32 PM
The examples I mentioned were the DDT ban, Delta Smelt protection , and abortion. All of those real world examples are a result of the lowering of life, most directly human life, as the highest priority. The Catholic officials enforcing the ex-communication policy against those that had clearly not deserved it is especially cruel to the victims as human beings and individuals.

And I've explained (or I've tried to) how these have nothing to do with the supposed "meaninglessness" of science or a secular worldview (secularists do not devalue life!). In fact, the only thing that science has to do with it is the establishment of facts, which we use in developing policies. IMO, issues like abortion have absolutely nothing to do with the value of human life. To paraphrase Penn Jillette, everyone is both pro-life AND pro-choice - they just differ on when life starts (it's a difference in facts, nor morals or the value one puts towards life). I see abortion as a woman's fundamental right (I once read a powerful philsophical piece about it by the late philosopher James Rachels) but oppose late-term abortions since I view consciousness (especially emotional development and physical pain) as what's important in a human life (I once read about an abortion clinic that left an almost full-grown baby in the trash and was utterly disgusted by it). The banning of GMOs and DDT I also see as a clash of facts, not morals. I support GMOs since I believe the benefits of them far outweight the potential impacts (IMO, dying of hunger is one of the most horrible ways to die) but I do understand the mentality of those that oppose them. After all, humans have a long and embarrassing history of screwing up our environment, whether it's hunting/eating species to extinction, ruining ecosystems by introducing new species to them, or just plain polluting the environment and destroying wildlife habitat. The poor quality of our mechanized food system is also endagering the health of millions of people in our own society (a double quarter pounder is a thousand empty calories of "food" for crying out loud!) and also leading to horrendous farming conditions (I once read about mechanized farming conditions and it almost made me want to go veg) which is why some people are now pushing towards organic foods and farming systems. In all of these, the issues are far more complex than just "they devalue life" and I think you're making a caricature of these people by just placing them into that general category.


The philosophies you list are all fine and dandy and not my point at all. I didn't say they didn't exist. I said they do not command the same authority that religion (especially Christianity) has achieved. They just don’t. You cannot name a Kantian law although you can find influence. You cannot point toward the absolute rule of utilitarianism and social contracts are abstracts. That does not make Christianity by default superior. It is just a statement of fact. Secular philosophies have yet to match the inherent authority in Theistic religions. It very much worries me that it may be that the only way they can match that authority is through force and emulating the worst forms of religious rule. It’s a danger to watch for.

And yet I don't see the Divine Command Theory (which is generally what religious morality is called in philosophical circles) as a credible theory among ethicists. In fact, virtually every professor and student treats it with disdain, as something that is not reasonable or worth considering (it's basically the "old" or "other" example). I suspect your focus on absolutism is largely what's behind your admiration of the DCT. However, just because someone says "I believe this is a universal law" does not make them more credible. After all, religious morality is, today, largely based off of secular morality. Despite the best efforts of apologists, the bible DOES support slavery (including one's own children) and DOES support blaphemy and DOES support public executions of said blasphemers and other sinners. What they do to criminals in fundamentalist Islamic countries IS what the bible says you should do. And yet this is not the morality that we observe in western societies today. If religious morality was so absolute then we'd still be living in the bronze/iron age. Instead, morality moves forward and it is religion that has to change and keep up. Religion merely pretends to have a monopoly on morality.


No, I did not attend a theological university. I do not have textbooks from religious studies that I have never done. I was not raised in dogma nor had blindly held beliefs forced on me. I'm sure that makes my opinions less valuable. Although using that as ad hominem isn’t correct either. But again that is because you took the context as an attack and that wasn’t my intention.

I'm not making any claims against you, I was just showing that my opinions aren't ones that are blindly held. I've tried to be a sincere believer but could never reconcile the gaps in my religion with the reality around me (and neither could I just use faith and pretend those gaps didn't exist). Ironically, my attempts to study the bible on an academic level helped me escape from religion, since I realized just how little I had known as a theist (I was basically wallowing in my own ignorance). There was a recent pew poll that showed that atheists (as well as Jews and Mormons) knew more about religion than anyone else, which I now find isn't that surprising. Many atheists have come out of religion and they did so by studying religion and trying to understand it. On the other hand, I find that many people have a misguided understanding of atheists (polls consistently show that an atheist is the last person that most Americans would vote for).
 Greg22297
Joined: 6/9/2012
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Posted: 7/1/2012 6:22:28 PM
This thread seems to range far and wide, but as to the OP's original postings, the view that God knows all of a person's choices and actions 'already', and hence deliberately, willingly creates people that he knows will end up in hell (and so deliberately creates people for the very purpose of casting them into hell) has a name: Calvinism. Specifically, that was Calvin's doctrine of double predestination, one that he said was 'terrible' yet which he saw no alternative to.

This view of omniscience assumes that God knows all the actions that people yet-to-be-born will do. But I question whether that has to be the case. Consider the parallel case of God's omnipotence. In the colloquial sense of the word, God can do anything and everything...that's what "omnipotent" means, right? But more rigorously considered, it turns out that there are things he cannot do. He cannot sin, for instance. Likewise, there is the paradoxical question: Can God create a rock too heavy even for him to lift? Either way, whether he can't create it or can't lift it, then he is not omnipotent, right? But actually, there cannot be a rock too heavy for God to lift, with the consequence that it is impossible for such a rock to be created. Even God cannot do the impossible, such as creating that rock, or creating a square circle, or committing a sin. Therefore, we can qualify omnipotence to mean that God can do all *possible* good things.

Likewise, with respect to God's omniscience, even God cannot know the unknowable. In point of fact, the future hasn't happened yet. God cannot know what people who don't exist yet are going to do. Therein lies the opening for free will: it truly is free. We are continually creating the future by our choices.

But God does not surrender his control over history. Our free will is not unlimited. We choose from a limited range of possibilities at any one time, and we don't choose randomly, but rather we choose reasonably (most of the time). God knows all that is knowable at any given time, whereas we comprehend finitely and without the comprehensiveness of the divine knowledge.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 7/1/2012 7:29:36 PM

On the other hand, I find that many people have a misguided understanding of atheists (polls consistently show that an atheist is the last person that most Americans would vote for).


I do think it is funny that we probably agree on most things and only minor points and that is mainly semantics. There is a significantly high chance that I would vote for a conservative atheist. Specific requirements would have to be met and it is likely there may not be enough people that are brave enough to meet the requirements.

#1: The must openly state their disbelief in "religion" as a whole and not just Christianity
#2: They must have a basis for conservative values not derived from religious context
#3: They must not hold disdain towards religious people in any form.

Maybe not in that exact order. However, I cannot believe for a second that believing in the self-reliance of individuals requires a belief in God. There may be a high probability of failure in this position to be voted for. Until someone comes out with it though… The only conclusion I have is that , as of now, no one is brave enough.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 7/2/2012 2:18:45 PM

I do think it is funny that we probably agree on most things and only minor points and that is mainly semantics. There is a significantly high chance that I would vote for a conservative atheist. Specific requirements would have to be met and it is likely there may not be enough people that are brave enough to meet the requirements.

#1: The must openly state their disbelief in "religion" as a whole and not just Christianity
#2: They must have a basis for conservative values not derived from religious context
#3: They must not hold disdain towards religious people in any form.

Maybe not in that exact order. However, I cannot believe for a second that believing in the self-reliance of individuals requires a belief in God. There may be a high probability of failure in this position to be voted for. Until someone comes out with it though… The only conclusion I have is that , as of now, no one is brave enough.

I recently read a book called Attack of the Theocrats! by Sean Faircloth, who was a senate/house member in the state of Maine and one of the only atheist politicians in the US. In the book he was quite vocal about the harm that religion does, although I think his main goal was to stop the preferrential treatment of religion in society. In general, he wants what most atheists want, which is to have strict separation of church and state. In that sense, I am not opposed to religious politicians, as long as they keep their religion to themselves (kind of like religious scientists, most of whom do not let their personal faith interfere with their scientific work). Of course an atheist president/senator/congress(wo)man is nice, but it's not a priority for me.
 drinkthesunwithmyface
Joined: 3/27/2012
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Posted: 7/8/2012 2:15:52 AM
When you try to make sense of any religious ideas...that's your first and biggest mistake. What anyone should do is throw it in the garbage can and move on.
 Demigod1979
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Posted: 7/8/2012 8:01:46 AM

When you try to make sense of any religious ideas...that's your first and biggest mistake. What anyone should do is throw it in the garbage can and move on.

The problem with that is that there are many people (including those in positions of power) who believe this stuff. Ignoring it isn't going to make it go away, and learning about it can help counter it (IMO, if Christians actually knew the truth about the bible then they wouldn't be Christians for long).
 Aries_328
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Posted: 7/8/2012 10:56:01 AM
I do like this series of quotes. Science has outpaced philosophy. We don't get the level of personal insight from science that once came from philosophy.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Notes_on_the_State_of_Virginia


The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. If it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food.


"But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God."

As a matter of authoritive hierarchy that is where I always land. My brain won't allow any other way. This for me covers many forms of submission. Submission to groups, causes and people. No scientists, political leader, nor entertainer can get my submission of conscience. I may agree or disagree to some level of degree or another but submission is reserved personally and can't be overruled.



And I just like this one.
"Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now."
 drinkthesunwithmyface
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Posted: 7/8/2012 12:05:51 PM
demigod1979 -

I agree. I mean that people should throw it in the trash though, and not embrace it. And I mean that when people try to make sense of it from the pre-assumption that there's some substance there, that's a mistake. But yes, we can't ignore it. I'm kind of militant in that area actually. I feel the same way more than you know.
 Demigod1979
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Posted: 7/8/2012 2:21:22 PM

I agree. I mean that people should throw it in the trash though, and not embrace it. And I mean that when people try to make sense of it from the pre-assumption that there's some substance there, that's a mistake. But yes, we can't ignore it. I'm kind of militant in that area actually. I feel the same way more than you know.

I'm opposed to the bible being seen as science or history, but I'm okay with it being seen as philosophy or literature. Obviously there are some cool things in the bible like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or David vs Goliath, stuff with lots of symbolish that can inspire people (and some of the psalms are nice - "as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...", "by the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion..."). One of the scholars/authors who I personally found inspiring was Robert M. Price, who calls himself a "Christian atheist". He is a committed atheist but still goes to church and preaches, since he loves the liturgy and symbolish of Christianity. Professor Bart Ehrman is also an agnostic and teaches about the bible, using the historical-critical method. The philosopher Colin McGinn also mentioned that you don't have to reject the bible in its entirety, but that you can cut out the good bits and jettison the rest. This is sort of the way I see the bible as well.
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