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 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 137
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My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.Page 7 of 8    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
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
Msg: 138
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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
Joined: 10/16/2011
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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
Msg: 141
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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
Msg: 142
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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
Msg: 143
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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
Joined: 10/16/2011
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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
Joined: 3/27/2012
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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.
 drinkthesunwithmyface
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Posted: 7/8/2012 4:33:10 PM
168: (demigod)

I have a different, intollerant attitude.
I think things like the bible can't be treated as benign to any extent. I understand that it's so bad, including all the ways that have developed by which people can't see it for what it all really is, and somehow "keep it alive", that you can't be accepting or apathetic at all. I want to give two observations that show my persepective.

First, concerning the deception of otherwise "good people" who don't themselves do bad things and so having plausible deniability, otherwise doing their part and being as guilty as any radical, fundamentalist, extremist, etc.
In the movie Schindler's list, there was that part where some jews were gathered together and made to live in some apartments internment area. Later, nazi soldiers went to round them all up to take them somewhere else, and many of the jews tried to hide here and there so they wouldn't be found and taken away. Groups of nazi soldiers would go around rounding them up, while some lone nazi kids would wander around with a whistle, and if they found any jews hiding they'd blow their whistle and bring the soldiers. In the scene at hand, a nazi kid with a whistle came upon a jew that he knew as a neighbor before the nazi party took power. Because they'd been friendly neighbors, the nazi kid decided to not blow his whistle and let the other person go, free to find another hiding place.

My point would be that I am not one bit impressed if a person happens to really be a good person by certain moral and tolerant standards, or are not pushy with their religion at all. The part that completely ruins who they might be is that they are still part of something evil on the larger scale. They're still doing their part to endorse it. They still identify with it. They still do those things to keep themselves from seeing what's really going on. Whatever kind of person they are, that doesn't let them off the hook. That doesn't let their religion off the hook. To me, the different denominations or even people who are very independent and claim to not agree with formal religion or the institution of religion, etc...are just like terrorist cells, breaking off and operating differently and independently. They trick everyone else, and even themselves, into seeing them incorrectly and attaining plausible deniability and false innocence.

And then my second observation will help introduce this perspective - Imagine a christian who is "just a basically good person" who intends no harm. With the following, I'm going to speak as one of these people, with a twist, in order to show what I hear when I hear them try to expound their alledgedly benign nature...

I am a moral person. I mean no one any harm. I try to live right. I am tollerant of others. And I am a Nazi. I have a swastika necklace. I have a bracelet that says WWHD. I have a copy of Mein Kampf on my coffee table. You should not judge me, and you should respect my beliefs. Don't judge me according to those OTHER nazis. They aren't true nazis. They misinterpret his words. They don't understand his real message. I don't believe in hanging black people anymore, or ostracizing atheists, or burning jews. We don't do that anymore, but we're still faithful to the nazi way and you should respect that. You can't make us guilty because of those other people who do those things. Nazism is only about community, happiness, meaning in life...and how dare you criticize that? And you need to remember all of the humanitarian works that have been done by us nazis. The missions to feed the hungry and heal the sick. Clothe the homeless. Don't forget all the good things we've done for the community. Those kinds of things wouldn't have gotten accomplished if it weren't for nazis like me.
 Demigod1979
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Posted: 7/8/2012 5:52:19 PM
169: drinkthesunwithmyface

Oh yes, I agree that moderate believers are just as much a problem as the fundies. Even if they themselves are decent people they are invariably supporting bad institutions. Noam Chomsky described this when he was talking about corporations. He said you can be a slave owner and be the nicest person on earth, kind to your family, your children, even to your slaves. On an individual level you are a good person, but in your institutionalized role you are a monster since the institution is monsterous.

Note that the scholars I mentioned (Price, Ehrman) approach the bible from a historical-critical perspective, which examines it strictly as a man-made work and critically analyzes it (this is pure academia, not theology). The thing is, if more believers knew about this approach then my guess is that they wouldn't be believer much longer, since it's obvious that the bible is full of contradictions, errors, improbabilities and immorality. Ehrman even wrote in one of his books that theology students get taught these things at seminary/university, yet choose to toe the party line when they actually start their ministries. That is, they choose not to tell the truth but to continue to propound myths for the sake of their careers (obviously no one is going to follow a Christian minister who tells people that the gospels are contradictory). Many scholars also continue to say things favorable to the masses so that they'd still have a job (this was mentioned by Professor Hector Avalos, a biblical scholar, in one of his books).
 drinkthesunwithmyface
Joined: 3/27/2012
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Posted: 7/8/2012 6:06:39 PM
I think some surprising progress would be made if religions were studied in school in the manner you're talking about. But also I think that an important battleground is the plain ole debates, like with the four horsemen and their opponents. I've "studied" these as they progressed over the last few years, and I can still see the slippery sneaky style of talking that the religious apologists use being more effective than is palatable. I think in some ways Dawkins dropped the ball eventually, and in other ways Hitchens and Harris need the next generation to refresh and evolve their tactics, etc. I'd love to do this myself, but may never do so of course. I feel like I have in my pocket some of the final nails for the coffins of the religious apologists.
 Travis-813
Joined: 4/12/2010
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Posted: 7/26/2012 10:43:32 PM
Sorry for such a late follow up, i got kinda bored with the silly, shallow replies i was reading.

Essentially in rebuttal to my OP - It seems those who are proponents of the religious fraud, claim that theology/mysticism inspired by the church does not reflect actual impressions intended by their respective followings.

Plausible, but also the route of least resistance, and inconclusive on all accounts.

I suppose at that point we need to define "God", or even "A God".

Reason being the core of the issue is the contradiction of our existence, to the notion of all knowing.

In order to be a God, must the being be : All Knowing, All Powerful, and All Present. - Speaking in terms of absolution, or simply exist on a level beyond human understanding? If the Former, then we were not created by God, as my argument illustrates a great contradiction that does allow for our existence, and the former. If the latter -

Then the arguement is not that we are created by a "God", or the "God", but simply by an advanced race of beings who's understanding of all known, and unknown schools of science surpass ours by a significant margin.

So in conclusion, if the former, God doesn't exist, and you waste your time by worshiping him.
If the latter, such creators do not have authority to decide your afterlife, and if such a notion exist, meaning worshiping beings unable to hold influence over your death, and it's after affects leave no motivation to worship said being.

In the end.

Atheism, is the only way of life that seems to really matter, because it doesn't matter.

It's not a matter of what you can prove, it's a matter of what you can't prove, and it turn what that proof, or failure of providing proof matters.

You have no proof he exists or doesn't exist - human logic says he doesn't exist, where empirical proof is unavailable for either side of the argument.

You gain nothing by worship.
You gain more time in your current earthly life to spend on your own agenda without fear of things outside your control if you don't worship.

I suppose, i know my choice - Do you?
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 7/27/2012 11:47:18 AM
yes sir I Do..............good choice BTW and post


I am not claiming I do this as I do not attend church. But... in the spare time that you gained from not having a spiritual existence life have you allocated time for reflecting on the impact you have on the world around you and if the choices you make are in line with your own moral views of the world. Have you thought about how your actions reflect against yourself, your emotional long term health, your familys, your partners, your community?

Just saying... Although its just a place people gather for community and connected on the weekends it is an intended allocated time of reflection.

You could try yoga I guess? Maybe a weekly philosophy discussion group? PITA? I'm not arguing for anything other than saying that the 'all bad' is out of context and is about like saying that atheists are incapable of having morals.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
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Posted: 7/27/2012 12:09:34 PM
Was just wondering if you were planning on adding to the discussion. I guess just agreeing is a form of addition.
 HopingToNotSayYikes
Joined: 11/4/2011
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Posted: 7/27/2012 12:50:53 PM

I suppose at that point we need to define "God"

BINGO!
People can't discuss a word/subject that is defined differently or perceived differently throughout cultures, until it is defined by each individual you are discussing the subject with. In fact not only is there differences in cultures and religions and sects in a religion, but within the same sect of the same religion two individuals might have a totally different perception of the same word/subject.
To me G0d is a word we use to mean source or power of creation/life, the argument isn't does a source and power in life exist, but to define what that source is. The most finite expression I see the source of life is that nature or essence to become all it could and should be, people call this evolving.
This essence is what the ancient Hebrews were describing as their G0d, which is why it wasn't a form or tangible that could or should be anthropomorphized. In other words the intent of Judaism was to be naturalist humanist in an age where people worshiped idols and men. BY defining creation as this essence they could then reflect and manifest that nature to be in line and in right with their creation instead of in opposition. If you don't define it then you can't expect to know right from wrong/good from bad/in line with life or against life. You can't just say you are an evolutionist-you must define that nature and thus be forever trying to be inline with your created purpose for best success, thus righteousness meant reflecting and manifesting and maintaining that order of nature people neglected to define and inspire proper reasoning. So when they say the Torah was inspired by G0d they are saying inspired by that essence to become all we could and should be-as in complete and whole.

The biggest mistake people make in arguing these words/subjects is when they assume that Christianity's precepts as being the same use of the word as say Judaism or Taoist or Native Americans.
Let's take the easiest example, **your Original post about 'in his image'**
In Judaism G0d is not a man nor form and in Hebrew image in Genesis means nature/essence type image not a physical image.
We probably shouldn't have used the word HIS or HIM because automatically that goes against the rules not to anthropomorphize the term G0d and actually causes people to visualize a form/being or in this case a man.
Man has a habit of making G0d in his image to be tangible, but expressions are not to be taken literal, just like you calling your car a "SHE" ("She won't run anymore"-"She needs more Gas"- "She's throttling heavy") or saying face your sheet of paper 'FACE' down-there is no literal face on paper and a car is not a literal woman=these are expressions not to be taken literal.

In conclusion you can't argue that being the best you should and could be is a wrong theology/philosophy or path.
Most confusion comes from not knowing Hebrew meaning of words or slang and poetic use of words for that era, much often distorted by Rome's borrowing of terminology they didn't understand or reinvented and converged with their other religions they combined to be authority over. It's ironic that people who are against Christianity use their precepts often without knowing or recognizing other cultures definitions, thus Christianity's errors not only distorts reality for Christians, but it also harms understanding for non Christian's as well.
**Thus arguments are made through errors are faulty right off the bat.**
 Travis-813
Joined: 4/12/2010
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Posted: 7/27/2012 9:56:00 PM
Removing the anthropomorphism, or personification of "God", or the "Creator". Does only 1 thing, removes what i come to think is comfort through anthropomorphism, and personification. (Also, i don't think you can use the word as "anthropomorphize", don't think it's proper English, don't quote me).

People tend to anthropomorphism things to bring comfort or familiarization, believers want to be comfortable knowing their "God", is palatable, and can understand their acts, even if they can not understand his.

That to me is just bred of fear - fear of judgement, and again another sign of submission.

That whole notion of anthropomorphism, to bring down "God", to terms of earthly understanding, does not hold any arguement of value, as it doesn't matter what form, presence, or appearance "God" has, as it's irrelevant to his actions, intentions, and motivations.

Fact of the matter is our existence, is an action - If created by a blob of magical energy, that doesn't exactly define the why, if that magical energy was aware prior to conception of our race, what our direction would be, well again that ties into my early arguments that "God" created a race to stroke his ego. - Unless you are telling me "God" is incapable of having an ego, or human emotions? Which then to me, makes us a superior creation to "God", as we possess what he does not. In turn who creates something that is superior in relative construct to themselves?

Power over life, manipulation of atomic particles, and omnipotence, would indicate he must feel emotions, and have an ego, because it's all apart of the schematic of "All powerful, knowing, present".

Otherwise you must take that notion away, and if you do - Well, hes not a being worthy of worship as it's a one way street - Your worship benefits his existence, but does nothing for your existence or afterlife, so why do it?

All you've done with your statement is make me think that God isn't just evil, that perhaps he is a Parasite that created his own host to feed off of... an interesting thought.
 HopingToNotSayYikes
Joined: 11/4/2011
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Posted: 7/28/2012 10:33:17 AM
Yeah well they created a giant vain glorious egomaniac character in their icon.
If you or I said we would reward our readers if they just agreed with us and torture those who disagreed we'd be deemed nutty, sadistic, and egotistical, yet the basis of their belief is in an icon who requires that stroke of the ego to get your reward. Those who believe no matter how bad or evil get rewarded and those who don't believe in what he says no matter how righteous or good nature, they become damned and locked out of the club and kingdom.
Right there something should be going off inside their head, knowing something is wrong with that kind of logic and faith.

If you replace the physical concept of a source of life with an Essence then it makes more sense because an essence has no ego and the Hebrew's did not venerate the Rabbis/teachers or Characters.
Furthermore, the word meant 'Bind in' G0d not Worship. Bind in=in tune/in line with that essence to be become complete/all we could and should be/evolve. Veneration of an essence is through emulation/manifesting that nature.
To be righteous therefore meant to be in right with this creation not in opposition.
That's why through the ages they were despised by all those factions that were violently and blatantly in opposition to life/creation.
In fact the terrorist group Hezbollah admitted in a very public statement, that they were 'the messengers of death'.
That's why in my heritage they used to teach and say:
Deuteronomy..Devarim: 30:19 I call 'heaven' (In Hebrew the word means='world to come') and earth to witness against you this day,That I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse;Therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your children.
So they devoted themselves to repairing, curing, building something better, reshaping social issues, reshaping governing issues, learning from the past, transforming, transcending, evolving- now you wouldn't have a problem with that philosophy would you?
 Travis-813
Joined: 4/12/2010
Msg: 160
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Posted: 7/29/2012 1:21:06 AM
Right there something should be going off inside their head, knowing something is wrong with that kind of logic and faith.


Except the wording of the notion of Religion, and God is not worded that way - Propaganda rarely reflects it's morale stance honestly. If religious/theological "Scholars" simplified, streamlined, and omitted mysticism form their teachings, yes people would see it for what it is, although they would still chose to ignore the logic of it. (Most people feign intelligence, and often substitute wisdom in it's stead, but most are anything but intelligent).

The biggest thing is, even if the above where to take place - The truth of humanity would come out - We are scared, weak, creatures too afraid to exist without a "God".

Humans are a parody of themselves, when we accomplish great things, we thank "God" for helping us, discrediting our own potential, resolve, and abilities -

It is easier to be willingly led down a path blind, then open eyed.

That all stems from the great fear of creation itself. Which begins to tie into Nihilism - As one must ponder the morality of simply existing on that stage.

Why create life, if but to take it? - The worst act a person can endure, is being created. Existence in this realm (as we know it), exposes us to the potential for losing that precious "gift".

"God" Creates life only to take it at his whim, and dooms those beyond that gift to his judgement depending on if you stroked his ego.

Fear of life, and death is why people will, more often then not - Chose the "Blue" pill over the "Red" Pill --

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_pill_and_blue_pill
 HopingToNotSayYikes
Joined: 11/4/2011
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Posted: 7/29/2012 11:39:45 AM
Propaganda is a whole other issue that the fish (those who took the lie hook line and sinker) need to comprehend the meaning of.
Propaganda uses enough reality and truth to fool the unsuspected into thinking the whole claim is real and or so implausible to be made up.
In the case of Rome converging all religions/cults into one, the character is created using many real historical figures along side the mythologies and plagiarism, so that people assume and swear it's a historical character that actually lived.
The characters making up the image lived, but the actual icon did not and this is where propaganda digs in and plants itself. Even historical accounts like on history channel report things that are historically inaccurate, painting a portrait of a man as if he lived and events that are not actually accurate to history all because the propaganda reported it in propaganda books without checking if it contradicts actual historical accounts.
This propaganda then becomes validated by high sources first in the form of the elect and church where people would expect accuracy, and then through historical biographies like on history channel, because they act as if the character is real then people assume it must have been real. Reality and fact of life is: a converged character would need a new name and birth date since it can't remain with it's singular identity to converge the others. Thus the Icon is given a new name and familiar sun worship birthday. Then a converged character stories span and confuse eras and personae in accounting the stories don't jive with those eras, which means the stories have holes and contradictions in them if you have a keen eye and know your history you'd spot these errors. Most people don't know or want to know (they actually admit not wanting to know) or are to lazy to study to find out they've been lied to, thus the lie easily becomes accepted as truth. Furthermore a converged character has 2 types of accounts or more or more then 2 professions. A plagiarized character will mimic the roles or accounts of other characters they are emulating or match mythology of deities they are masking or replacing.
In the case of this icon created by Rome he was replacing Baal. In Baal passion play tablets found far predating the icon the same exact miraculous stories are inscribed proving the idol is but an adaption of the old propaganda of the harvest god Baal. But it doesn't stop there, the icon is mimicking Mithra (sickly man on the cross) and Dagon (Fish man god) and Esus (the tri god). Lastly they plagiarize biblical characters like Joseph and others. If the people knew the individual historical martyrs used to create the image of their icon then they would be disappointed by each one of their failure to deliver their people, but converge the characters with mythologies and the supernatural gives the icon more play and more power to subvert and fool the masses with.
So defining propaganda is up there with defining the word G0d.
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