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Posted: 15 October 2008 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]  
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Well, that’s the source of our problem.  I say that if we don’t know something empirically, we don’t know it.

Point taken, Rami.  We are really at a standstill.  We will both concede that there is no way to know that Jesus rose from the dead empirically.  You say that’s unacceptable, I say it is acceptable.  If I forced myself to only accept that which is empirically verifiable (in terms of scientific empiricism), than I would have to throw out all my history books, which I’m not prepared to do.  Therefore I am OK with trusting first century testimonies about Christ and the Gospel stories.  And of course, I believe that the Spirit of God convicts the hearts of believers and dwells within them.  That’s much more subjective, but its still a part of my personal testimony to the reality of Christ.  People come to “know” things in a variety of different ways…assuming and asserting that empirical evidence, verifiable by the senses and tested by science, is the only way in which we can know something to be true is simply false and manipulative.  And most people don’t believe that. 

All i’m saying (and agreeing on with Hazen), is that Maher’s movie obviously did nothing more than affirm his own misconceptions about religious faith by seeking out the oddest manifestations of that faith in society.  Even most of the people on the forum here who saw it said if offered nothing they haven’t seen before. 

I zeroed in on the author’s concept of what faith is because that at the very core of our disagreement, Clay.  The issue of certainty.  The issue of what it means to “know” anything.  Again, I repeat that we should stop being certain of things we cannot possibly be certain of.  You can go ahead and believe that Jesus lived, died and was raised.  Fine.  But as soon as you tell me that you are certain of it, that you KNOW it happened exactly the way you tell me it did, then we have a problem.  Because you cannot possible know.  You weren’t there.  You have no eyewitness reports.  You have no mention of Jesus until decades after he allegedly died.  You have no writings by Jesus himself.  All you have is some agenda-driven stories which you assume to be accurate depictions of what actually went on.  You have no non-religious, secular documents that record the actual existence of Jesus.  So, you may hope that the documents you do have are true.  You may believe that they probably are.  But the intellectual honest thing to do would be to concede that you could well be wrong.  Instead you keep insisting that you are CERTAIN that what you hope for is actually true.

 

Just because you don’t want to know it doesn’t mean that anyone else can’t know it.  The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Christ.  We have tons of testimony, secular and religious that attest to the reality of Christ.  Even if God had not convicted me personally of sin and the need for repentance, everything points to the reality of Christ and existence of a Triune God. 

I do hope a day will come when you will see it too. 

Lastly, as a caveat, I will say that while it is obvious in one way that God exists and Christ came as the godman and was resurrected, its not exactly obvious in other ways.  The Bible doesn’t really say its obvious.  That’s why Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  When you get down to the nitty gritty, people reject God based on who He is and what He says about man…not technicalities and textual criticism and arguments over dates and such.  Most people haven’t even done that much research into those things anyway.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 05:39 PM

Point taken, Rami.  We are really at a standstill.  We will both concede that there is no way to know that Jesus rose from the dead empirically.

Empirically !

Well, my dear ShitforBrains, we have empirical evidence that dead motherfuckers (medical term) tend to have a bit of trouble walking about after their brain has been deprived of oxygen for more than a few minutes.

I don’t know about you but that seems empirical enough for me.
This little observation has been made a few billion times.
Your claim that some obscure Palestinian feltching enthusiast was the exception to this well established rule seems to be lacking any…what is that called again….oh, right… motherfucking (again, the proper scientific term) evidence.

But, of course, you have no inclination to concern yourself with trivial things like evidence, eh Clay?

Better to just keep spewing out the same, tired old pseudo arguments, over and over again.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]  
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Ooops double post.

[ Edited: 15 October 2008 02:57 PM by Bongobongo Smith]
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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]  
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Personal testimonies with unconfirmed evidence are…..stories…Clay.

And stories turn into myths which apparently…...turn people like you into nonthinking idiots.

Read some science books. It’s not too late.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 05:39 PM

The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Christ.  We have tons of testimony, secular and religious that attest to the reality of Christ.

Do we? Please quote them.

The guys who actually were around at the
time of you imaginary suicide-son-from-above
never mentions him:

Philo of Alexandria (15BCE-50CE), devoted religious
Jewish philosopher, never once mentions Jesus
in this sizable work.

Justus of Tiberias (30-100CE), Jewish author
born in Galleio, made extensive writings on
Jewish life and never mentions Jesus even once.

Pliny the Elder (23-79CE) a scientist who wrote on
of a number of natural history subjects, never wrote one
single word about the ‘earthquakes’, ‘darkness’  etc.
supposed to be concurrent with the ‘crucifixion’.

Even if God had not convicted me personally of sin and the need for repentance..

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz: the voices in your head.
Hmm; can’t argue about them, can I.
The special special place for you in gods
great plan. First, long ago, he was really busy
making the world, you know, all the animals and shit;
Yeah; I wonna make ants, I’ll give them 6 legs,
and some of them I give a special gift, like they
can piss on people and it will hurt them…ha ha
..having fun…ohh now I’m bored; I’ll make, let’s see,
leukemia..right on! For kids.
...and now finally I have time to talk
inside Clays head…...personally

Sure; no reasonable argument against that.

[ Edited: 15 October 2008 02:58 PM by Bongobongo Smith]
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Christian psychopaty:

Bruce Burleson
“.Tell me why it is wrong to rape, steal and kill….
…If I am a slaveholder in Alabama in 1860, why shouldn’t I enslave the niggers, fuck their women, and whip their children when they disobey me????
I’ll tell you why, and it is the ONLY reason why
..”

..he fears gods punishment.

Christians per definition has no moral.
They are governed by fear and fear only.

..and they don’t mind using the N-word.

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Posted: 15 October 2008 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]  
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“clayforHim648” date=“1224117595”]
Point taken, Rami.  We are really at a standstill.  We will both concede that there is no way to know that Jesus rose from the dead empirically.  You say that’s unacceptable, I say it is acceptable.  If I forced myself to only accept that which is empirically verifiable (in terms of scientific empiricism), than I would have to throw out all my history books, which I’m not prepared to do.

 

Neither am I.  But at the same time the fate of my eternal soul does not depend on a certain version of history being the one true version.  I am prepared to say “I believe Attila the Hun was bribed by Pope Leo, but I could be totally wrong.”  Are you prepared to do the same in regards to Jesus?  I don’t claim to know that Attila was bribed by Leo.  I believe he was, but I do not know.  I could be wrong. 

And so could you, Clay.  No matter how ardently you may believe, no matter how much of yourself you have invested in Jesus and Christianity, I hope that you would have enough intellectual honesty with yourself to concede that you simply do not and cannot know that Jesus was who you say he was. 

Therefore I am OK with trusting first century testimonies about Christ and the Gospel stories.

 

Again, Clay, there are no testimonies.  They simply do not exist.  The gospel stories are not testimonies.  They are not eyewitness accounts.  At best they are recorded oral traditions - folklore.  I think they are evangelical documents, intended to win converts to the new faith.  They are pro-Christian, anti-Jewish propaganda. 

And of course, I believe that the Spirit of God convicts the hearts of believers and dwells within them.  That’s much more subjective, but its still a part of my personal testimony to the reality of Christ.

 

You may call it “testimony” but it is nothing of the kind.  And all of this does not add up to knowledge.  Let’s call it what it is.  It is a personal conviction, but it is not knowledge, Clay.  Let’s not confuse the discussion by using the words “know” and “knowledge” so indiscriminately. 

People come to “know” things in a variety of different ways…assuming and asserting that empirical evidence, verifiable by the senses and tested by science, is the only way in which we can know something to be true is simply false and manipulative.  And most people don’t believe that.

False and manipulative?  Hardly.  We cannot know or be certain of anything unless it is empirically verified/verifiable.  And even that certainty can be stretched out of existence if we wanted to engage in a philosophical discussion about human perceptions and illusions.

Experiences such as hearing the voice of God or Satan, feeling God, seeing Jesus in a vision, etc are all subjective experiences.  They are all subject to our bias, conditioning, etc.  I can see how one may wish to believe that such experiences are in fact tapping into some kind of a special mode of communication with another world or sphere of existence, but since these experiences are subjective, how can one claim to gain any KNOWLEDGE from them? 

That’s not knowledge, Clay.  That’s just one’s mind at work.  And without objective evaluation of these subjective experiences, we are left with nothing but the experiencer’s subjective, biased recollection and interpretation of the experiences.

All i’m saying (and agreeing on with Hazen), is that Maher’s movie obviously did nothing more than affirm his own misconceptions about religious faith by seeking out the oddest manifestations of that faith in society.  Even most of the people on the forum here who saw it said if offered nothing they haven’t seen before.

Perhaps.  But that is not surprising considering that many of us have been engaged in discussion on religion for many years now. 

Just because you don’t want to know it doesn’t mean that anyone else can’t know it.

Who said I don’t want to know it?  I am saying that “knowing” Jesus by feeling him on a subjective, personal level is not knowing Jesus.  My feelings on whether or not I wish to know Jesus that way are immaterial.  I am simply saying that such experiences are not a source of *knowledge*.

The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Christ.

Please explain what you mean by this. 

We have tons of testimony, secular and religious that attest to the reality of Christ.

Actually, Clay, no, we don’t.  Not a shred.  First of all, Jesus left us no writings of his own.  Isn’t that odd?  Especially if he was sent to earth by God, specifically to save us from damnation?  Second, we have no eyewitness accounts of his existence, let alone of any of the extraordinary deeds he is supposed to have committed.  Third, the first mention of Jesus is in a religious text - Paul’s letters.  Hardly an unbiased source.  Fourth, the first secular mention of Jesus dates from the year 93 CE.  It is not an eyewitness account and it merely records the beliefs of the Christians at that time.  Furthermore, much of it is likely a forgery.  And all of this is made worse if you were to assert that Jesus’ crucifixion was a part of God’s Plan of Salvation.  One would think that God would have devised a better plan.  One would think God would have ensured that Jesus had left us his own writings.  One would think that God would have ensured that the writings of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life survived the ravages of time and wars.  One would think that God would not use a book to spread His Word to humanity at a time when most of the world was illiterate.

So you do not believe testimony, since such testimony does not exist.  You believe the evangelical pitch.

Even if God had not convicted me personally of sin and the need for repentance, everything points to the reality of Christ and existence of a Triune God.

Do you mean “convinced” (and not “convicted”?)

I do not want to get into it, but I am sure you talking about some kind of personal, subjective experience which you interpret to be your own “road to Damascus” event.  Does the fact that it is a *personal* experience not give you pause?  After all, you are the only one who can interpret this experience.  No one else can evaluated it.  How do you know it was God who did the convincing?  How do you know it was not Satan?  He is well-known trickster and master of confusion, you know.  How do you know it was not Ahura-Mazda?  How do you know it was not merely your own thoughts?  How do you differentiate between your own thoughts and the voice of God?

I do hope a day will come when you will see it too.

Why? 

I may one day come to believe in God.  If I were to see compelling evidence for his existence.  But I do not think it is at all likely that I will come to see things the way you do, Clay.  You have begun with the a-priori assumption that God exists and then adjusted everything to fit this assumption.  This is why you see that everything points to God.  It is backwards thinking.  The search for what is true must be dispassionate, unaffected by bias and a-priori assumptions.

Lastly, as a caveat, I will say that while it is obvious in one way that God exists and Christ came as the godman and was resurrected, its not exactly obvious in other ways.  The Bible doesn’t really say its obvious.  That’s why Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  When you get down to the nitty gritty, people reject God based on who He is and what He says about man…not technicalities and textual criticism and arguments over dates and such.  Most people haven’t even done that much research into those things anyway.

Oh, Clay, my friend, you disappoint me…  After all the time you have spent here I would think you would know us better than that.  Do you honestly and really think that we reject Jesus because we don’t like him?  Because we just do not want to submit to God?  Do you really think all this talk of insufficient evidence, lack of evidence, irrationality, logic etc is just cover for our desire to rebel against God? 

We have done lots of research into these things.  I imagine atheists who are not apatheists think about this stuff more than the average believer. 

If I believed God was real and that by rejecting him I was pissing him off I was ensuring a spot of hell for myself, I would fall on my knees and beg him to forgive me.  But I don’t.  I believe God does not exist.  I believe sin does not exist.  I believe hell and heaven do not exist.  I believe that denying God is not pissing off anybody except maybe a few hard-core evangelicals.  I mean, I am not stupid.  Why would I deliberately send myself to an eternity of torture if I could avoid it with a mere lifetime of servitude?

But you are right.  The Christian message about who we are is not appealing to me.  The idea of sin, of our being rotten to the core is something I find repugnant and insulting.  Still, I do not disbelieve sin because I do not like the concept.  I disbelieve it because I find it silly and nonsensical. 

Thank you for engaging in this conversation.  Take care, Clay,

Rami

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Posted: 15 October 2008 09:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 05:39 PM

Point taken, Rami.  We are really at a standstill.  We will both concede that there is no way to know that Jesus rose from the dead empirically.  You say that’s unacceptable, I say it is acceptable.  If I forced myself to only accept that which is empirically verifiable (in terms of scientific empiricism), than I would have to throw out all my history books, which I’m not prepared to do.

This argument conveniently leaves out the stakes that the Christian asserts is in the game.  The Christian claims that to not believe these stories is to accept eternal damnation, and therefore the stakes are infinitely higher than they would be regarding, say, whether or not Thomas Jefferson lived at Monticello or not.

Reasonists don’t create this “dire dilemma” because nothing in the rational realm relies on such extraordinary stakes.  Christians do, and therefore it’s incumbent upon them to make a bona fide case that their assertion and its consequence is true.  Simply put, your side of the equation has a far greater standard for demonstration than anything comparable to the secular side.

If it turns out that Abraham Lincoln was an utter racist and a fool and wasn’t even the 16th president of the USA, well, I think we could all live with that.  But if it turns out that non-belief in Jesus = eternity in the scalding torments of Hell, then this is quite another matter.

Of course, you’ll likely employ Pascal’s “CYA” leverage… though the problem with that is my belief would be insincere and no bulwark against being thrown into the lake anyway.  added to that. it’s consciously intellectually dishonest.  Added to that, a god who would create and employ evil is a questionable god as well, so how do I know his insurance plan isn’t an elaborate con anyway?

Christian theology answers none of these utterly important questions.  It dismisses them entirely, in fact, and says, “Believe because we say so.”  Making it suspect even more.

Therefore I am OK with trusting first century testimonies about Christ and the Gospel stories.  And of course, I believe that the Spirit of God convicts the hearts of believers and dwells within them.

Yet you don’t give the same amount of credence to Mithras, who was a contemporary legend, with almost exactly the same story.  This is purely an accident of history, because if Mithras had been the one whose mythology had survived rather than Jesus, we’d be discussing your lack of critical standards in your bias of Mithras.  Insert any legendary figure in fact, and the same holds true.  If Thor or Hercules had a book of “testimonies” (i.e., undemonstrated, unsupported, unproven anecdotes) you’d likely be here arguing in favor of that figure, rather than Jesus.

In fact, there are countless compatriots throughout history (and alive today) who are your apologetic soul mates because they argue as strenuously for their gods as you do for yours.  What makes them wrong and you right?  Your standards of proof are not relevant, because you already admit you have no empirical foundation upon which to stand.  You have… “Because I want to!” upon which to stand, nothing more.

That’s much more subjective, but its still a part of my personal testimony to the reality of Christ.  People come to “know” things in a variety of different ways…assuming and asserting that empirical evidence, verifiable by the senses and tested by science, is the only way in which we can know something to be true is simply false and manipulative.  And most people don’t believe that.

Demonstrate this new found method to knowledge then!  Why, after thousands of years, can no theist adequately demonstrate this method so we may examine it?  I was a Christian for 25 years, many of them deeply devotional.  Never once was there any inkling of knowledge extant in any of the professed methods suggested.  And I’m not the only one.  And even in people who claim there are results, it’s just as likely ascribed to coincidence or good luck (“We prayed the tornado would miss our house and it did!  Sad that it hit the Jones’ house, but it did miss ours, because we prayed to god!”)  This is not “proof”, nor is it demonstration.  Why is it so consistent that religious ideologies can never, ever, EVER support what they claim with and demonstration or proof?  Don’t you find that compellingly conveniently coincidental?

All i’m saying (and agreeing on with Hazen), is that Maher’s movie obviously did nothing more than affirm his own misconceptions about religious faith by seeking out the oddest manifestations of that faith in society.  Even most of the people on the forum here who saw it said if offered nothing they haven’t seen before.

Some of them were odd, but some of them are not.  What do you have against the Jesus theme park?  Those people were sincere (in fact, they were ALL sincere about what they professed to believe), and frankly, I would consider the theme park Jesus segment to be a more cohesive idea of what Christianity must offer.  Is it odd that these folks would create a theme park, but it’s not odd that every year at Easter there’s some sort of epic Passion Play that people go to in hushed reverence?

And why is the Museum odd?  It’s purposely interpreting Genesis as a Christian should be expected to interpret creation.

What’s important in these elements is to show how the worldview itself is untenable and delusional thanks to its inherent illogic and inconsistencies.  No one outside of Christianity forces it to be an illogical story that doesn’t hold together.  Indeed, once you realize its mythological intent, it becomes a very awesome epic, with a lot of lessons to teach us, like all mythology can teach us.  But to change that into something you think is actually real is to pervert the mythology itself, and to pervert how humans function in the real world.

Just because you don’t want to know it doesn’t mean that anyone else can’t know it.  The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Christ.  We have tons of testimony, secular and religious that attest to the reality of Christ.  Even if God had not convicted me personally of sin and the need for repentance, everything points to the reality of Christ and existence of a Triune God.

You keep saying that, but like any other claim, you must demonstrate it if you expect to be taken seriously.

This is why we get frustrated with theists.  You know you cannot demonstrate it, and rather accepting this as a weakness of your own paradigm, this is what you say instead:

“Just because you don’t want to know it doesn’t mean that anyone else can’t know it.”

No, Clay—we want to know it, but we have a basic standard you ignore.  And we both know you ignore it because it’s impossible for you to ever come up with it.  Demonstrate the tenets of Christianity are true.  It’s simple.  I can show you evolution.  I can show you time dilation with speed (I don’t mean drugs).  I can show you biology.  I can demonstrate math.  I can prove to you a host of things, if you’re interested.

Well, I’m interested in you doing the same, so can you do it?  Or is it just a claim?  So far, you can point to a book that says the same thing as you do (actually, some things it says are the same, and other things it says differently but you cherry pick your way through it), and you can point to a bunch of people who make the same claim, and that’s it.

That’s too low a standard for me to even purchase a cheap used car.  At least a cheap used car I can see and drive.  Why should I then “buy” your worldview, and discard mine, which has the virtue of having some level of demonstrable evidence behind it?

I do hope a day will come when you will see it too.

Easily done.  Demonstrate that your belief system is grounded in reality, not specious claims and “testimonies” from people you can’t cross examine and learn if they are telling you the truth.  What you have is called hearsay, and it’s inadmissible in everything except kangaroo courts.

Lastly, as a caveat, I will say that while it is obvious in one way that God exists and Christ came as the godman and was resurrected, its not exactly obvious in other ways.  The Bible doesn’t really say its obvious.  That’s why Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  When you get down to the nitty gritty, people reject God based on who He is and what He says about man…not technicalities and textual criticism and arguments over dates and such.  Most people haven’t even done that much research into those things anyway.

Here you go again.  We can literally illustrate to you how your worldview fails even the most basic of levels of knowledge criteria (demonstration), yet, it’s our fault we don’t listen to your specious claims.  That’s like a snake oil salesman saying, “Folks, if you don’t buy this elixir, terrible things will happen!”

And actually it’s worse, because at least the snake oil salesman has a bottle of clove oil and piss he can hand you, and you have some level of product in your hand that you can examine.

You don’t even have that.

Secondly, out of one side of your mouth you say this is the supreme being’s plan for our salvation from eternal torment and damnation, and out of the other side of that same mouth you tell us god’s plan is purposely obscure!.  And this doesn’t bother you one bit.

Why the hell not?

[ Edited: 15 October 2008 09:13 PM by Keep The Reason]
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Posted: 15 October 2008 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]  
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I don’t have the eloquance of many members here, and english isn’t even my first language, but here are my comments to Clayforhim. I became an atheist as soon as I started asking question about what is written in the bible. Especially about Hell and eternal suffering as KTR mentions above.

The bible tells us God created us in his image. Adam & Eve were perfect beings, immortal and without sin. Now, the first question I had was, why the heck did God put a special tree in Eden and with instructions to stay away from it? It was there as specifically as a test maybe? Why test perfect beings created by a omnipotent God? Besides that, there was zero benefits coming from that tree being there, and a potential for a lot of trouble.

Of course, the snake came around and deceived Eve into eating the fruit from the tree. God, being omnipotent, knew this was going to happen (unless he is omnipotent but not omniscient?) and still decided to punish Adam & Eve with a punishment COMPLETELY OUT OF PROPORTION with the “crime” commited.

Because Eve ate the apple of knowledge, approximately 90 billions people have died, and mankind is plagued with with sin, diseases, wars and evilness. And everyone must atone for the original sin they are born with. God just wanted us dumb and ignorant.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Since God is omnipotent, He could decide at any time to snap his fingers and make everybody perfect again. He’s just not doing it. There is no need for all the violence and suffering in this world. God can stop it any time he wants. And since he is supposed to have infinite wisdom, and eternal love for *all* of us, his children, it is inconceivable that he still lets us kill each other today, especially in his name. It is also inconceivable that a God that is Love would send any of his children to Hell instead of just reforming him/her. Why did God give us emotions like anger? Jealousy? Envy?

That’s how I became an atheist. After that, reading most other passages of the bible with logical and objective eyes made it quite clear it was all fabulations.

And movies like Religulous should be shown to everyone, so the human race can stop betting its future on charlatanism and 2000 year old myths.

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Posted: 16 October 2008 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]  
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I don’t have the eloquance of many members here, and english isn’t even my first language, but here are my comments to Clayforhim. I became an atheist as soon as I started asking question about what is written in the bible. Especially about Hell and eternal suffering as KTR mentions above.

The bible tells us God created us in his image. Adam & Eve were perfect beings, immortal and without sin. Now, the first question I had was, why the heck did God put a special tree in Eden and with instructions to stay away from it? It was there as specifically as a test maybe? Why test perfect beings created by a omnipotent God? Besides that, there was zero benefits coming from that tree being there, and a potential for a lot of trouble.

Of course, the snake came around and deceived Eve into eating the fruit from the tree. God, being omnipotent, knew this was going to happen (unless he is omnipotent but not omniscient?) and still decided to punish Adam & Eve with a punishment COMPLETELY OUT OF PROPORTION with the “crime” commited.

Because Eve ate the apple of knowledge, approximately 90 billions people have died, and mankind is plagued with with sin, diseases, wars and evilness. And everyone must atone for the original sin they are born with. God just wanted us dumb and ignorant.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Since God is omnipotent, He could decide at any time to snap his fingers and make everybody perfect again. He’s just not doing it. There is no need for all the violence and suffering in this world. God can stop it any time he wants. And since he is supposed to have infinite wisdom, and eternal love for *all* of us, his children, it is inconceivable that he still lets us kill each other today, especially in his name. It is also inconceivable that a God that is Love would send any of his children to Hell instead of just reforming him/her. Why did God give us emotions like anger? Jealousy? Envy?

That’s how I became an atheist. After that, reading most other passages of the bible with logical and objective eyes made it quite clear it was all fabulations.

And movies like Religulous should be shown to everyone, so the human race can stop betting its future on charlatanism and 2000 year old myths.

MHunter, thanks for the input.  Your english is spectacular for a secondary language. 

I have very little time to reply at the moment, but just wanted to put in a quick note.  Your sentiments here confirm what I had written earlier.  Aside from the debates over the authenticity of biblical texts, the motives of the N.T. writers, the details of who Christ is and what He has done, etc. etc., the whole story, the doctrine, the theology, the message of the Gospel is offensive and divisive.  If we had miraculous ancient camcorders passed down that filmed the resurrection of Christ, it would make no difference.  Those who would believe are those that have been convinced of the Gospel message, convicted of sin, and turned to God for all hope.  Even the Gospels themselves press this fact and while many believed in Jesus, many saw what he did and yet would not believe in Him because of His message. 

I could write a lot more about what you said, but I have to go.  Take care for now

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Posted: 16 October 2008 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 16 October 2008 11:59 AM

If we had miraculous ancient camcorders passed down that filmed the resurrection of Christ, it would make no difference.  Those who would believe are those that have been convinced of the Gospel message, convicted of sin, and turned to God for all hope.  Even the Gospels themselves press this fact and while many believed in Jesus, many saw what he did and yet would not believe in Him because of His message.

What utter and unmitigated nonsense.  To suggest that increasing standards of evidence would be summarily dismissed is simply absurd, and to use it as an argument is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

For instance, let us say we were arguing over whether or not George Washington wore a tricorne hat, versus whether or not Abe Lincoln wore a stovepipe.  What levels of evidence are available for each?

Well, we have paintings of GW wearing the tricorne.  While that is evidence of some kind, given the nature of recording the fashions of the day, it is not conclusive at all.  But in comparison, a photo of Lincoln wearing a stovepipe is much stronger and compelling evidence.  Clearly, the different standards of evidence leads to a more vs. less convincing argument of the claim’s veracity.

Now here we have the Supreme Being.  The Creator of Everything.  Lord Almight and Omnipotent.  And he can’t even rise to the ocassion of a painting of his most Holy and Revered Time Upon Earth.  Indeed, the entire story is shot through with contradiction and a somewhat compelling dearth of external corrboration.

That we know that Lincoln wore a stove pipe hat is vastly more supported than any of the stories about Jesus.  Let’s make sure this is clear: Abraham Lincoln’s HAT is more verified than the stories aobut Jesus..  His HAT.

All that is left to the theist is this specious claim that people who have weighed his argument and dismissed it as undemonstrated, untenable, and untrue, is that it’s our fault.  That’s it.  This is a last gasp of desperation and it illustrates the type of character such a person must have to so nakedly embrace utter and complete dishonesty.

A simple, “You know what?  It is a problem with my belief system, but I choose to believe it nonetheless” would at least be an honest and courageous stance.  But instead, we get this projection.  The truth is, the theists don’t want to listen to the message that their worldview is built on empty belief, because we can demontrate that this is so.  We can prove the theist relies on hearsay and undemonstrated assertions, because we know what hearsay is, we know what undemonstrted assertion is, and the theistic claims adhere consistently to those definitions.

So, what is left for the theist to do but pull their fingers out of their own ears only to accuse their philosophical opponents of being blind to a message?  They accuse us of this blindness, despite the fact (demonstrable and verifiable fact) that people of reason who seek knowledge follow a criteria the theist must, by definition, discard?  We are the ones who seek evidence, and test our theories, and require demonstration, and actively try to falsify our conclusions so that we can see if they withstand rigorous criticism and attack.  When do theists ever apply such standards to their religious beliefs?

We can answer that in one word:  Never.

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Posted: 16 October 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]  
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Pascal’s Wager is a sucker bet for two fairly simple reasons:

1) Out of all the deities human beings have posited, the one(s) that may be The Truth but haven’t been revealed yet, the ones who are forgotten but might have been the real deal, the chance that the gods of Gamma Eridani might be the actual ones and so on how do you pick the right god or gods to worship? If it really is Mumbo Jumbo God of the Congo the Christians are screwed. If the Australian Aborigines understand the essential nature of the universe better than we do, then almost everyone is in trouble. Why pick the post-Nicean Trinitarian Orthodox/Catholic/Protestant Christian God instead of Mithra, Susano O No Mikoto, Damballa, Odin Valfather or Maitre Carefour?

2) Suppose your god requires belief and faith rather than simply carrying out prescribed rituals. Do you really think god is that easily fooled? To quote Terry Pratchett “he woke up surrounded by gods with big sticks who said “This is what we think of Mr. Clever Dick around here.”

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Posted: 17 October 2008 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]  
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lindajean - 04 October 2008 01:07 PM

I would be curious to know how many cities/towns this film actually plays in. I would be willing to bet, in my state (NE) maybe two cities at the most. (There are only 2 cities in the whole state with over 100,000 people—Omaha and Lincoln.) 

When Fahrenheit 9-11  was released my town (25,000 population)  refused to show it.  The local theater owner said it was “offensive” and “unpatriotic”.  It came to the next largest town close by (population 40,000) but it was only there for three days, a Friday , Sat and Sun.

Hastings?  North Platte?

What sucks about that is that Omaha and Lincoln are both in the eastern end of the state.  It’s a LONG drive for someone from, say, Scottsbluff to any sizeable metropolitan area.

But hell, Netflix mails anywhere.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]  
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What utter and unmitigated nonsense.  To suggest that increasing standards of evidence would be summarily dismissed is simply absurd, and to use it as an argument is the height of intellectual dishonesty.

For instance, let us say we were arguing over whether or not George Washington wore a tricorne hat, versus whether or not Abe Lincoln wore a stovepipe.  What levels of evidence are available for each?

Well, we have paintings of GW wearing the tricorne.  While that is evidence of some kind, given the nature of recording the fashions of the day, it is not conclusive at all.  But in comparison, a photo of Lincoln wearing a stovepipe is much stronger and compelling evidence.  Clearly, the different standards of evidence leads to a more vs. less convincing argument of the claim’s veracity.

Now here we have the Supreme Being.  The Creator of Everything.  Lord Almight and Omnipotent.  And he can’t even rise to the ocassion of a painting of his most Holy and Revered Time Upon Earth.  Indeed, the entire story is shot through with contradiction and a somewhat compelling dearth of external corrboration.

That we know that Lincoln wore a stove pipe hat is vastly more supported than any of the stories about Jesus.  Let’s make sure this is clear: Abraham Lincoln’s HAT is more verified than the stories aobut Jesus..  His HAT.

All that is left to the theist is this specious claim that people who have weighed his argument and dismissed it as undemonstrated, untenable, and untrue, is that it’s our fault.  That’s it.  This is a last gasp of desperation and it illustrates the type of character such a person must have to so nakedly embrace utter and complete dishonesty.

A simple, “You know what?  It is a problem with my belief system, but I choose to believe it nonetheless” would at least be an honest and courageous stance.  But instead, we get this projection.  The truth is, the theists don’t want to listen to the message that their worldview is built on empty belief, because we can demontrate that this is so.  We can prove the theist relies on hearsay and undemonstrated assertions, because we know what hearsay is, we know what undemonstrted assertion is, and the theistic claims adhere consistently to those definitions.

So, what is left for the theist to do but pull their fingers out of their own ears only to accuse their philosophical opponents of being blind to a message?  They accuse us of this blindness, despite the fact (demonstrable and verifiable fact) that people of reason who seek knowledge follow a criteria the theist must, by definition, discard?  We are the ones who seek evidence, and test our theories, and require demonstration, and actively try to falsify our conclusions so that we can see if they withstand rigorous criticism and attack.  When do theists ever apply such standards to their religious beliefs?

We can answer that in one word:  Never.

You’ve only proven again my point that debate over evidence and critical analysis always ends in a standstill…which is why I reassert that empirical evidence and other forms of evidential criticism is the smallest hurdle for unbelievers to leap when it comes to accepting Christ as Lord.  We could go into a discussion about the fact that Lincoln’s hat picture was taken in the 19th century as opposed to the 1st and that the standards are different for ancient history and 19th century American history.  Or we could talk about how we have more reliable sources indicating the existence of Christ than we do say Alexander the Great or Plato, whose existence no one would deny.  But scholars much smarter than you or I have gone through this a billion times and still vehemently disagree (not to mention its been drilled over and over again on this forum)…so what’s the point?  You want to say that all faith-heads are intellectually dishonest…ok, whatever makes you feel better.  All I’m saying is there is no empirical evidence (the only kind of evidence you see as valid) to prove or disprove that Christ is God.  I’m not going to say that my belief system is based on a lie because I don’t think the evidence says so.  And more than that, my belief in Christ is solidified by more than just intellectual assent.  The Christian worldview is the only way in which the world I live in makes sense…and seemingly, many other people within my circle and many around the world, feel the same way.  There is no other way for me to be intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise be honest with myself and the world I encounter everyday.  Why on earth would I, or anyone else, say that we’re not sure Christ existed, that our faith is built on a baseless assumption, just because you think the evidence says we should?  How manipulative is that?  As much as you want everything to have rock hard empirical evidence, it just ain’t so Reasonist.  I didn’t do a full background check on my wife before I married her, but it doesn’t mean I don’t trust her or don’t love her very much.  Much of my life is built around that trust, trust that is not empirically proven.  I choose to trust her as I do Christ.  God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, Reasonist.  Don’t stumble over Christ just because you can’t see him with your eyes or touch him with your hands…not yet at least.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 October 2008 07:27 PM

You’ve only proven again my point that debate over evidence and critical analysis always ends in a standstill…

Actually, debates over evidence and critical analysis usually ends in proof of some hypothesis or another.  Science regularly engages in such deabtes productively, and thus adds to humanity’s collective knowledge.

What you mean to say is that such debates with theists end in a standstill, and that is for one reason and one reason alone:  Theistic claims are devoid of evidence.

Now, that is not a concern of mine, though I concede it should be a very big concern of yours.  You are like a person who come to a football game devoid of any players.  Meanwhile, I have a robust team of professionals who are going to win the game like they win against teams that actually show up.

When one team comes ready to play, and the other team comes only represented by audience, we have what is known as a forfeit.

Theistic claims stand in forfeit all the time, until such time as they bring evidence of their claims to the game at hand.

Frustration abounds when the teamless side’s audience complains that the forfeit is based upon the team that is there and ready to play being “angry and bitter and hating the game”, rather than taking responsibility that their own team doesn’t show up or even exist.

That is what you are doing, instead of being an adult and saying you have nothing to trump anyone else’s beliefs on anything.  At least that would be honest of you.

which is why I reassert that empirical evidence and other forms of evidential criticism is the smallest hurdle for unbelievers to leap when it comes to accepting Christ as Lord.

But you do such a disservice to your omnipotent god!  Instead of writhing about on the hook of electronic miracles, your god couldn’t even leave any traces of these astounding miracles that could be confirmed later.  Not one.  How wonderful it would be to have some of Jesus’ hair.  A simple DNA test would show the DNA of a human mother and… something we wouldn’t be able to figure out at all.

Imagine on the inside of every human skull, the word “Yahweh”.  This would be proof positive of the manufacturer’s brand.

Imagine someone without legs suddenly having them grow back simply by standing at the place of crucifixion.  Jesus was quite adept at healing so it is claimed.  Imagine if it happened once again. 

These are not even difficult things to pull off.  Even starfish and lizards can regenerate limbs.  So the “divine technology” does exist.  Why doesn’t god bother to implement it?  Is it because it’s convenient to theistic worldviews that as long as he doesn’t, they can make up anything the want and say it is “his will”?  Hey, an absent god is tremendously pliable, isn’t he?  You can say anything you want, blame those who question you for not believing, and he remains steadfastly out of the mix.  Of course, it would be pretty interesting to see the look on your face if he were to bother showing up and turn out to be…

Vishnu.

We could go into a discussion about the fact that Lincoln’s hat picture was taken in the 19th century as opposed to the 1st and that the standards are different for ancient history and 19th century American history.  Or we could talk about how we have more reliable sources indicating the existence of Christ than we do say Alexander the Great or Plato, whose existence no one would deny.

This is the same failed argument.  The reason no one bothers to state that Plato or Alexander didn’t exist is because there is no impact to one’s future state of being regardless of what the answer is.  If Plato didn’t exist, I don’t care.  So what if he didn’t exist?  How does that impact my so called “immortal soul”?  Here’s a hint:  IT DOESN’T.

But you’re the guy who claims:

The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Christ.  We have tons of testimony, secular and religious that attest to the reality of Christ.

Well, if this is the case—and you are clearly arguing that it is, then there had better be incontrovertible evidence to back up this sweeping claim.

Tell me, are the following statements true as well?

“The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Plato.” 

“The history of the world hinges on the events surrounding the life and death of Alexander the Great.”

I’ll bet they are not.  Therefore, whether or not they lived and did the things ascribed to them are of little merit.  Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.  Either way, it’s not going to affect my eternal status, so if they didn’t, who cares?

But once again, god’s existence is less sure than Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.  Because god is apparently screwed when it comes to technology in the 1st century.  See, god has limits and such… and come on, a camera 1800 years before its time?  How could the Creator of All Existence possibly manage that impossible feat?  Raising people from the dead and walking on water—that’s easy.  But a camera?  Come on—that’s going too far!  Who would develop the film??

But scholars much smarter than you or I have gone through this a billion times and still vehemently disagree (not to mention its been drilled over and over again on this forum)…so what’s the point?  You want to say that all faith-heads are intellectually dishonest…ok, whatever makes you feel better.

And as time goes on, the are less and less sure about it.  500 years ago, no one would dispute the existenc eof Jesus.  Today, plenty of scholars do just that.  This is a great plan your god has.  His plan of salvation becomes less and less solid as time goes on.  You’d think even a 4th rate god would be able to make it go the other way.

All I’m saying is there is no empirical evidence (the only kind of evidence you see as valid) to prove or disprove that Christ is God.  I’m not going to say that my belief system is based on a lie because I don’t think the evidence says so.

You just said there was no evidence one way or the other.  Now, in the functional world, where we have to objectively analyze what works and what doesn’t, a lack of evidence means at best we must suspend judgment.

Interestingly, you start off by admitting there is no evidence, and you end up in a mere 2 sentences saying the evidence is there that doesn’t convince you your belief is unsupported.

And more than that, my belief in Christ is solidified by more than just intellectual assent.  The Christian worldview is the only way in which the world I live in makes sense…and seemingly, many other people within my circle and many around the world, feel the same way.

Makes sense how?  You have no experiences of dead people rising after three days of actual deat, and in fact, such an occurence invalidates biology and makes less sense—since such htings don’t happen.  What then stands as the world “making sense”—because every cited miracle is evidence of a less trusty world that doesn’t adhere to consistent laws we can rely on.

Indeed, the more miracles you cite, the more you admit living in a topsy turvy world where a god could interfere and make things up without any logic or consistency.  We all may be reading the bible one way on a Monday, and god could have changed it to something completely different on Tuesday, and not let us know it’s different.

That’s the kind of “sensible” world you are led to.  So how does it do that somersault back to “making sense”?

There is no other way for me to be intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise be honest with myself and the world I encounter everyday.  Why on earth would I, or anyone else, say that we’re not sure Christ existed, that our faith is built on a baseless assumption, just because you think the evidence says we should?  How manipulative is that?

It’s not manipulative at all.  We come to conclusions based on evidence.  That’s how knowledge works—and if there is a god, that’s how he created us to function.  Neither you nor I invented the system, bu that’s what we have to deal with.  You, by coming into the discussion by declaring there is no empirical evidence, are in effect saying you believe based on baseless assumption.  We’re agreeing with you.  You do bleieve this on baseless assumption.  Where you are being intellectually dishonest of your own accord is by pretending your utter lack of demonstrable evidence is evidence in support of your pre-assumed assertions.

We’re not even remotely manipulative, we’re simply asking you to adhere to the criteria that supports all knowledge claims, and like you would do if you wanted to buy a car.  Would you buy a car without having evidence of the car even existing?  I’ll bet you wouldn’t.

As much as you want everything to have rock hard empirical evidence, it just ain’t so Reasonist.  I didn’t do a full background check on my wife before I married her, but it doesn’t mean I don’t trust her or don’t love her very much.  Much of my life is built around that trust, trust that is not empirically proven.

Nor would you have to.

For one, you can see her and talk to her and relate to her, and she too you.  You have direct evidence of her existence.  You can touch her and analyze her actions, and even argue with her and disagree with her.  Tell me, do you and Christ have direct conversations?  Does Jesus talk to you like yourwife does?

Are you telling me that you would fall in love with your wife, marry her, and trust her as much as you do… if instead of meeting her, you were simply told about her and how wonderful she was, and got to read about her in a book written by people you didn’t personally know?

Is that how you assessed a lifelong relationship with your wife?

I’ll bet it was nothing of the kind.  I’ll bet you met her and found a common ground and were attracted to her, and dated her and got to know her and found out she was warm and loving and kind and compassionate, etc.  I’ll bet you actually experienced things with her, rather than indriectly heard about or read about her qualities.  And I’ll bet you had the option of doing a background check on her if you harbored any suspicions.  The option exsted, because she’s real and has existence and interfaces with relaity.

None of those things exist or can exist with your religious beliefs. Even htough you believe Jesus is still alive—try doing a background check on him.  LEt us know if when you talk to him, he answers directly back to you.  And let us know if that’s any different from someone who believes Napolean or Abraham Lincoln’s hat is replying to them.

I choose to trust her as I do Christ.

No, you have valid reasons to trust her.  You have nothing upon which to support a claim to “trust in Christ”.  The statement is irrational.

God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, Reasonist.

Then he is, by definition, evil.  Because he’s using the only way we have to understand reality and purposly obscuring it and turning it around.  He either makes people gullible naifs who are then easily exploited and trapped in incoherent worldviews they cannot rationalize, or he is making hellfire tinder to torment people for eternity.  Either way, he does not represent any kind of love or caring for us, and he should be rejected on that basis alone.

Don’t stumble over Christ just because you can’t see him with your eyes or touch him with your hands…not yet at least.

He was cool with Doubting Thomas.  If he exists, he won’t have a problem with another one.

[ Edited: 17 October 2008 04:55 PM by Keep The Reason]
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Posted: 17 October 2008 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]  
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Back to the original topic (and I have no problem with related discussions that develop, I’m just saying…), I’m not sure yet if I’ll go see Religulous.  It opened today in ONE theater within 30 miles of my area code.  Interesting to note, it was the same theater that was the only one to have “Choke.”  There were some reviews I found surprising - people that were disappointed because they “expected more” from Maher.  I find I’m kind of apathetic about it.  I can’t see religious folks slapping down $12 to go see this movie, and I think it will just slip into the realm of forgotten movies.

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