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Posted: 13 February 2005 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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I ask you all, how can this modern world do without Christians???

People can get by in the modern world much more easily than they could in the past.  Technology feeds us and gives us the wealth and resourses to feed the less fortunate. Tens of thousands of “miracles” happen in operating rooms every day by our well trained and compassionate physicans.

Love did not start nor was it invented by anyone. Love has been a basic requirement for mankind right back to our primate ancestors. Love is not a luxury for humans. Love bonds us to our children, families and community. How long would primative mankind have survived if everyone cared only for the well being of themselves?

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Posted: 14 February 2005 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Oh come SkepticX, you made a generalization, which was an insult to all believers at large (and I let it slide). Then you discount McDowell’s extensive work on the subject. Now you are denigrating the value of dialog with me. What gives?

Fair enough—based upon my experience I may have gotten a bit quick to opt out of investing in dialog with most believers (religious apologists, specifically). We’ll see.

What insulting generalization are you suggesting I made, and based upon what do you think I simply discounted McDowell’s writing? Are you assuming that if I’m not impressed, I must therefore be dismissive rather than having come to my position through careful study and analysis? If so, why? My reading of his stuff strongly suggests the contrary—that if you’re impressed with it you’ve been less than objective and critical in your reading. McDowell’s stuff doesn’t hold up very well at all to genuine scrutiny. As I said, it didn’t even pass muster with me when I was somewhat intellectually handicapped by faith (that that’s another matter—I don’t think most people are quite dishonest enough to really practice much in the way of faith).

[quote author=“TheChampion”]Let’s talk views. You are a skeptic. Why? How have you reached your views? Do you choose reason over faith? Why?


Faith simple isn’t a responsible or even an honest option. It’s not really even an option, because you have reasons for choosing to value faith over reason, so we can evaluate the reasoning in any case (and the reasons for favoring faith don’t hold up very well).

I suggest you look over the documents I linked to in my “dismissal” of McDowell (I recommend passing on the intro, ignoring the patronizing fluff/posturing, and simply getting into the actual arguments), and if you’re interested in my views on skepticism, read “ A Skeptical Manifesto ” (an unfortunate title, but a pretty good representation of the skeptical/my worldview—skepticism boils down to hard core intellectual integrity).

Byron

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Posted: 14 February 2005 04:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”]Based on your premise, then all advances by scientific reasoning should be rejected by believers. Well, about the microwave. If I am hungry, would I not want to use the microwave to quickly heat them up?

The scientific reasoning I reject is that which exposes “theories” that conflict with the word of God.

Wait a second TheChampion, are you suggesting that you would heat up the believers in your microwave? Sounds atrocious to me.

You put the word ‘theories’ in scare quotes indicating that theories are not facts, but merely hypotheses; that is a mistake.  It’s a scientific theory that the earth revolves around the sun and it is also a well known fact. Speaking of which, you would also reject the Sun Centered Solar System theory because it conflicts with the word of God. Galileo’s discoveries about the earth’s revolution around the sun (aided by earlier Copernican theory) were rejected by The Church on the same grounds that you now reject evolution theory. It is a fact based on scientific reasoning that we evolved from primates related to all the primates that now inhabit the earth. We are not special, entirely distinct from or otherwise more divinely endowed than are all the creatures with whom we chare this planet.  We were not ‘given’ dominion over the earth; that is something we have tried to enforce by our own selfish and arrogant delusions (God). Perhaps it’s time that we (human earthings) were able to humble ourselves in the face of nature and the natural world of which we are but a small part?

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Posted: 14 February 2005 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Hello Champion,

You asked, “where would you begin?” (loose quote) in regards to my questions.

Ok, let’s narrow it down then.

How’s ‘bout answering just ONE question?
(that shouldn’t be too hard, and it’ll be a simple question)

Question>>> What, is the worst case scenerio, regarding Sam, and those like him, with no faith, at the hands of “the God of your understanding?”


Thanks.


Advocatus Diaboli

wink


Some people never say the words “I Love You” for like a child, they’re longing to be told” ~Paul Simon~

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Posted: 14 February 2005 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Out of curiosity, why is there any engagement with Champion?  This seems pointless, given what I was supposing the purpose of this discussion space was for.  Seems like a terrible waste of bandwidth to me!

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Posted: 14 February 2005 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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gman Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:11 pm   Post subject: The point of this engagement is?

————————————————————————————————————————

Out of curiosity, why is there any engagement with Champion? This seems pointless, given what I was supposing the purpose of this discussion space was for. Seems like a terrible waste of bandwidth to me!

Hello gman,


Why? My reasons..for “conversation’s sake,” and guessing that’s the same reason for others engagement with Champion.

Champ. (she/he?) initialized the conversation, by commenting on specific aspects of the book, The End Of Faith, as offered at this forum.

Should this discussion be taken down to the Faith issues, or Christian forum? (it may well indeed, have “rabbit tracked” past your purpose for this area.

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Posted: 14 February 2005 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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This discussion should stay where it is at. It revolves around the issue of reason vs faith. In particular, why did SamH include Christianity in his premise?

So far, nobody has given me a compelling “reason” to choose reason over faith. However, I am impressed at the depth of the questioning. Obviously, the posters in this discussion have deep ties toward reason, and a deep set belief in what they believe. But if what they believe is good for mankind, somebody tell me why.

We also got into the validity of the bible, and how it plays into SamH’s premise. I already laid out the reason why SamH’s premise is wrong. As intelligent as the posters are here, nobody has been able to refute me yet. grin  I don’t think you can do without without attacking the validity of the bible. And so it all is intertwined (did I spell that correctly?).

Might I also add fuel to the fire. If Christians follow Jesus and Paul’s instructions on how to live their live, they will be outstanding citizens on this planet. So how could Sam discount this? Why did he do it? Obviously, he is a learned man. I can’t figure it out. What say you intellectuals?

(thanks all, it is nice to have discourse with those who have an opposing view)

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Posted: 14 February 2005 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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This is beginning to remind me of a story I once heard about a man who stood on top of a hill dressed for battle in armor and war paint, yelling (and spraying) at passers-by in a fierce, defiant voice, “ORANGE! ORANGE! AARRR . . . ORANGE!”

The people below thought he was insane and kept their distance. Finally, after he’d gone up the hill to yell “Orange” several days in succession a monk approached him passively so as not to provoke combat (there was nothing to be gained, and he had no desire to harm the man). When the monk got close enough to speak (rather than shout), he asked why the man was prepared for battle and repeatedly yelling “Orange!” every day so angrily.

The man smiled and in grim satisfaction replied, “No one has defeated me yet.”

So there you go. Seems that story comes to mind often when I hear the “no one has refuted me” sort of thing from religious apolgists.

Byron

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Posted: 14 February 2005 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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We also got into the validity of the bible, and how it plays into SamH’s premise. I already laid out the reason why SamH’s premise is wrong. As intelligent as the posters are here, nobody has been able to refute me yet. grin I don’t think you can do without without attacking the validity of the bible. And so it all is intertwined (did I spell that correctly?).

That is the whole point, champ, the bible has no validity other than that you give it!  It is not a historical document, and more of it is being challanged and disproven every day.  You yourself mentioned that in another thread.  It is useless to debate without a common frame of reference, and every argument you give ties back to the same point.  And as far as I am concerned, the bible is without merit as proof of anything.

I also think it is interesting that you started commenting after 18 pages of the book.  Have you finished it yet? 

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Posted: 14 February 2005 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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hampsteadpete, ahh, but you are so wrong on this point. The bible is being validated by archeology every day. Ever read Archeology Magazine? Give you an example. Up until 1996, the scholars said that King David never existed. He was a figment of the early Hebrew’s imagination. But then in 1996 archeology confirmed the existence of a King David who ruled in Jerusalem. Well, that blew that story. What’s next?

But, whether the bible has validity or not, does it matter? If Christains are to follow Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul’s instructions and do good works. Does that not negate Sam’s premise? So far you guys won’t go near this point.

SkepticX. Good to hear from you again. It is not that I am calling out Orange from the mountaintop. It is that I am waiting for you to address the core point (see above). I have an open mind. I am willing to listen to your point. But you have not made it yet. How long must I wait? Is it that you cannot address this point. And if so, would you consider trying out Christianity and doing good works on a trial basis? (maybe we’re getting somewhere here!)

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Posted: 14 February 2005 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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You keep missing the point.  Every logical argument made by rational people in the arena we presently find ourselves is based upon known, mostly undisputed, natural fact.  These are disputed by christian apologists based ONLY upon the contents of one very much disputed volume written no one knows when by no one knows who.

ALL of your arguements go back to that volume, and you know it!  You have no other place to go.  And in spite of what you say, that “foundation” is crumbling.  It is useless to debate with you, as it is with all christians, because of that simple fact.  You conveniently ignored an earlier post that mentioned the church’s repudiation of the scientific facts surrounding the arrangement of the solar system.  The bible, so you say, is literal fact.  Why then do you no longer dispute the heliocentric model of the solar system?  This bible clearly states that the earth is the center of the universe.  In fact, the earth was created prior to the sun.  There was still light and dark somehow.

Can’t you see how silly this is?  I would have more respect for your faith if you didnt insist on these childish myths.  The thing that really gets me is that a majority of the general population believes that garbage along with you!  This speaks to the quality of our government educational system, but I dont want to promote my libertarian ideas here.  The christian faith is a major contributor to the general dumbing-down of the American population, and I think this is not accident.  You want sheep, the better to control them.  I cought jerry falwell on Hanady today.  What a control freak.  He wants to lead the theocracy into yesterday! 

What a rant this turned out to be. 

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Posted: 14 February 2005 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Champion wrote

And if so, would you consider trying out Christianity and doing good works on a trial basis?

You are implying that non-christians do not fully participate in “good works”. If this is not what you meant please specify how christians are the upholders of all good works (like the crusades, aparthied and criminal ignorance for example).

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Posted: 14 February 2005 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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I guess as long as you keep responding, the rest of us will keep informing you of our position. 

Before I get to address the core let me say that on the question of whether you should be using the microwave, or even matches for that matter, since they are products of scientific reasoning - I would say no, you should stop immediately.  If you reject the theory of evolution, why don’t you reject the theory of electromagnestism, or the many theories concerned with microwaves?  I realize that these do not contradict “god’s word” - but if I looked closely I’m sure I could find some passage in the bible that would refute many reputable theories including those mentioned above and in other posts.  Maybe “the burning bush” was a product of god’s microwave activity, but since we all know that only metal burns in a microwave, yet the bush burned, it might show that according to god’s word, microwave theory is incorrect - conclusion . . . throw away that evil microwave oven.  I think however that it is a deeper fear that prevents you from accepting the theory of evolution as a fact, and that reason is rooted in the fact that it proves that human beings are not divine, they have no souls, there is no afterlife, etc..  Evolution theory is a devastating rejection of all religious faiths, but it is a glorious “rebirth” into a true reality. I would not even imagine demanding that you give up using the technologies to which science has given birth, but I could imagine that you might, in order to be true to your godly beliefs and by your own choice (and in an attempt to maintain your consistency and your integrity) you would refuse even to use matches and certainly avoid radio and television given your faith-based grasp of reality.

Now to the core question, I hope I can answer it adequately on Sam Harris’s behalf. His critique of all faith-based belief systems is centered on the fact that people who believe in irrational concepts and do not use reason and evidence to support their beliefs, are not the sorts of sentient beings that should have access to weapons of mass destruction and potentially to nuclear arsenols.  Christianity is exactly such a belief system and for that reason Sam deduces that it should be eliminated as a choice for any rational being’s core beliefs.  On that basic, reasonable ground how could Sam possibly exempt Christianity?

You claim that if people lived like Jesus or Paul this would be a better world and yet Sam has not given that any weight in his argument.  It’s easy to claim that people should live by the words of Jesus (or Paul), but let’s look at the facts Champ.  Jesus strode around the countryside in the company of 12 other bachelors, his mother and three prostitutes (Mary M., Susan and I forget the other’s name).  He didn’t have to worry about working for a living, had no monogamous partner to bargain a cohabitation and no children to raise. He and his band of wine-drinking, party animals, got all the food they needed from donations (and maybe the girls brought in some hard currency to buy, what else more wine?).  What a life!  Preaching to the rabble, snookering a miracle cure here and there to keep the givers giving and generally parading around the countryside hitting all the weddings and funerals where they could be well fed and maybe convert a few more dunces with their wonderful words of wisdom (remember that the Golden Rule was a Confucian theory of ethics developed some 600 years before Jesus).

Now unless all of us could suddenly hit the road and embrace the life of ascetic vagabonds (forsaking family, possessions, desires), it is pretty difficult to live according to the “words of Jesus.”  In this world we have Jews bombing the crap out of angry Palestinians whom they have conveniently thrown out of their own homeland. We have Muslims armed to the teeth willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of Allah blowing up innocent people from New York to Jakarta to Manila to Nairobi to Riyadh to Baghdad. And we have the very Christians that you wish to exempt killing civilians in the name of freedom all over the Middle East, in Africa, in South America, Central America and SouthEast Asia. Not only that, these Christians are letting their own young people die for the sake of blatant lies and misrepresentations in the name of unachievable goals that are themselves merely a cover for Corporate America to control the vast resources in every corner of the globe. If you can “turn the other cheek” in the face of this madness, you will undoubtably be crushed to death in the stampede to take your life, along with every other infidel.

If you had gotten to the chapter where Sam discusses Eastern meditation and Eastern spiritualism in general, you would see that he does indeed exempt certain philosophies that promote peace and harmony, tranquility and cooperation (the love your neighbor as yourself sort of ethic).  But these Eastern ways of life (Buddhism, Daoism, Zen Buddhism, Jainism, to name a few) are not based on faith in imaginary beings.  The Buddha was not a god, but a real person and the words that have been passed on through the centuries to enlighten us are the real words of a real person based on his own experiences.  There is no possible way using the best reason available that Sam could have cast Christianity in a better light without stretching reality into fantasy.  If he had exempted even part of the Christian dogma (some of Jesus’ and Paul’s better proclamations) his whole thesis would have crumbled into a heap of nonsense.  In this same vein, that is precisely why Sam includes the moderate christians with the fanatics and the Jesus freaks.  Because they ALL mistake fantasy for reality, they must ALL come under the flag of “beliefs that must be eliminated if we are to survive as a species.”

I think that’s about all I can say on the subject.  Don’t get us wrong here, we all agree that Jesus said a few nice things that make a lot of sense, but even Hitler did that every once in a while.  That’s not the point.  The point is about all the underlying stuff about Jesus - that he is god, that he rose from the dead, that he was born of a virgin, that he turned water into wine . . .  At some point a rational being has to get real and start using his head, try it!

Bob

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Posted: 14 February 2005 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”] . . . would you consider trying out Christianity and doing good works on a trial basis? (maybe we’re getting somewhere here!)


There was a reasonable doubt as to the futility of discussion before, but after that one, not so much. That comment demonstrates a problematic lack of concern (or awareness, or appreciation) for sincerity and honesty regarding the nature of genuine belief—as if you can play with them . . . as if you can just choose a belief on a trial basis.

So—bottom line—no reasonable doubt remains. There’s pretty clearly an insufficient foundation of mutual sincerity/honesty, responsible thinking and intellectual integrity to make a two-way dialog productive or meaningful.

Such is the nature of faith-based evangelical thinking.

Byron

[ Edited: 15 February 2005 01:06 AM by ]
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Posted: 15 February 2005 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]I guess as long as you keep responding, the rest of us will keep informing you of our position.


For what purpose?

Byron

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