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Posted: 17 October 2008 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]  
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Science regularly engages in such deabtes productively, and thus adds to humanity’s collective knowledge

Again, I hate to state the obvious, but this is a debate of primarily theology and secondly history…not science.

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.

So there you are, at the pearly gates, standing in judgment.  You say:  “God, why didn’t you leave a postcard, a hair sample, a picture, a painting, something…anything we scientists can work with!?”

God says:  “Hmm…have you read my Bible?  What about my servants Paul, John, Peter, Luke, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Bunyan, Edwards, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Lewis, Packer, etc.?  What about the ocean, animals, stars, planets, mountains, rivers, people?  Where do you suppose that all came from?  What about your conscience?  What about your soul?”

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.

 

So what you’re saying is, IF God existed, then surely he would provide better sources and better evidence than He does…  How do you know that?  That’s your assumption.  God is not required to provide the evidence that a 21st century positivist says he must have. 

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.

Hogwash…the Bible itself assumes that people (even in the Old Testament) say that God does not exist and never existed…the fool says in his heart there is no God
There are very few scholars that I know of who claim Jesus never existed.  Religious and non-religious scholars disagree on the details of his life but that is far different.  And, it seems, many of Jesus’ opponents seem to come from an interesting background in religion as well…bias can not be ruled out as a factor in their studies. 

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.

 
I said there’s no EMPIRICAL evidence.  There is plenty of evidence…just no evidence that is deemed acceptable by many modern empiricists.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 05:39 PM

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.

This line of thinking is completely off-base.

In fact, the only way anything can be “known” without question is indeed through empirical evidence.

Anything less, as most REASONABLE AND HONEST people would admit, is simply OPINION, PERSONAL BELIEF, AND CONJECTURE.

These are facts…something you choose to disregard often.

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 don’t think Maher was trying to convert anyone to his thinking, or to introduce any new arguments against religion.  Instead, I think his real motive was to make the QUESTIONING of religious belief less taboo in our society. He’s said this himself. 

He used the examples he did - which weren’t NEARLY as extremist in nature as was available - to illustrate the fact that otherwise normal people can believe some totally off-the-wall stuff…and that this should not be simply accepted as taboo to talk about, but rather, should be freely discussed.

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

I think what you mean to say is, “just because you don’t BELIEVE it, doesn’t mean anyone else can’t believe it.

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

So, you are saying that the world hinges on events that have ZERO historical record of EVER happening?

Sure…..

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

We also have tons of testimony that attest to the reality of aliens, UFO’s, ghosts, etc.  This does not make it fact.

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’s my nitty gritty.  I reject the notion of the existence of god not because of any message in the bible, but rather because there is ZERO way to know which INTERPRETATION of the bible, or any other religious text for that matter, is the CORRECT one.

This is the crux of the issue.

If EVERYONE says that THEIR religion is the right one, and the primary reason for their belief is due to family upbringing and societal norms (it is), then there is ZERO way to know who is right.  Which means NO ONE can be right.

Clay, if you were born in the middle east, I can say with near 100% certainty that you would in fact be a Muslim.  That is the truth, and there is almost no room for dispute.

Why do you go to the church you do Clay? 

I’m sure you’ll answer “because it most closely matches my interpretation of god’s word.”  And this is a huge problem, because this in effect means that you are only choosing to believe what YOU want to believe.  How can you disagree with this?  There is no way to.  Even if you have the greatest friends in the world at your church, and all the social motivation imaginable to go to your church, you would STOP GOING to that church the moment the pastor started preaching ideals you disagreed with completely.

I know this, because I used to be in the same exact position of choosing a church.


The fact is Clay, you believe what you do because it is what you want to believe.  It is what gives you immense personal satisfaction.  You are happy to be deluded. 

Who am I to deny you of this happiness?  I have no right and no wish to do so.

I just wish you would see your choice of belief for what it is, and stop trying to provide proof of why it is the right choice…because there is ZERO proof…plain and simple.

Just as there is ZERO proof for a non-theistic viewpoint…but there is an avalanche of probability in favor of a non-theistic viewpoint…something you cannot say about your beliefs.

Good day.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]  
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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.

Consider this:

Third, belief in God is more like belief in a person than belief in atoms…The scientific approach—doubt first, consider all of the available evidence, and believe later—seems inappropriate to personal relations. What seems manifestly reasonable for physicists in their laboratory seems desperately deficient in human relations. Human relations demand trust, commitment and faith. If belief in God is more like belief in other persons than belief in atoms, then the trust that is appropriate to persons will be appropriate to God. We cannot and should not arbitrarily insist that the scientific method is appropriate to every kind of human practice. The fastidious scientist, who cannot leave the demand for evidence in her laboratory, will find herself cut off from relationships that she could otherwise reasonably maintain—with friends, family and, even, God.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]  
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Keep The Reason - 17 October 2008 08:46 PM
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.

Keep the Reason,

Although your attempts to reason with Clay are surely valiant you will have more luck teaching algebra to a polar bear or keeping priests from molesting the kiddies.
Our Clay has abandoned the world of reason a long time ago and he is proud of it.

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Posted: 17 October 2008 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]  
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Sander - 17 October 2008 11:31 PM
Keep The Reason - 17 October 2008 08:46 PM
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.

Keep the Reason,

Although your attempts to reason with Clay are surely valiant you will have more luck teaching algebra to a polar bear or keeping priests from molesting the kiddies.
Our Clay has abandoned the world of reason a long time ago and he is proud of it.

It’s always amusing to me when he deliberately avoids the open questions I pose to him.  I never get any response…wonder why?

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Posted: 18 October 2008 12:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 October 2008 10:58 PM

Again, I hate to state the obvious, but this is a debate of primarily theology and secondly history…not science.

I’ll happily concede that “theology” is a non-existent science.  The suffix “-logy” means:

a combining form used in the names of sciences or bodies of knowledge: paleontology; theology.

One the one hand, a study of the world’s religions and what they claim is a science.  But that is not what we mean when we say “theology” in the context of these debates:  In these debates, “theology” signifies a science of god.  However, that specialized categorization comes from theists themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s an actual science or discipline.  Theology is the “science of specious assertion”.  All you can do is hypothesize, because you cannot test, you cannot falsify, and you cannot corroborate that which leaves no testable evidence.

History does indeed represent a science, since it has criteria and there is a standard of evidences available.  However, the bible does not offer evidence, it offers hearsay.  It’s authors are people telling other people (you, for instance) what happened to still other people.  There is, for example, no book of Jesus.  He wrote nothing.  He left no information in his own hand.  There is no evidence that he ever lived.  there is merely the recounting of stories that are literally indistinguishable from legends and myths.

So there you are, at the pearly gates, standing in judgment.  You say:  “God, why didn’t you leave a postcard, a hair sample, a picture, a painting, something…anything we scientists can work with!?”

God says:  “Hmm…have you read my Bible?  What about my servants Paul, John, Peter, Luke, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Bunyan, Edwards, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Lewis, Packer, etc.?  What about the ocean, animals, stars, planets, mountains, rivers, people?  Where do you suppose that all came from?  What about your conscience?  What about your soul?”

Okay, let’s play the game and answer him.

“Yes.  I read the bible.  I also read the Koran.  I’ve read the Upanishads, the Bhagavad gita, and both the Tibetan and Egyptian Book of the Dead.  They were each and every one of them as specious as the next.  nothing any of them told represented knowledge beyond that which humans would be expected to know at the times they were written, and none of them adhered to any special criteria that was distinguishable from stories in Bulfinches Mythology.  In other words, your words were wholly within the simplistic capabilities of men of the time, and not only that, they were saddled with the same prejudices of the men of the times. 

“In your commandments, you were more concerned about our treating you with more respect than you were about stopping rape, and human enslavement.  Your stories show you were little concerned with the health and safety of your children, and that you began by testing them on the knowledge of good and evil which you first denied them knowledge of.  You murdered almost everybody by drowning them, including women, children, and pregnant women.  You called some children to lay siege against your other children, and commanded them to put them to the sword rape and enslave their women and children, without a hint of mercy.

“You acknowledge creating everything, and therefore it must follow you created evil as well.  It’s your universe, your rules.  If evil exists, and you insist it does, this is because you caused it to be so.  Not us, your children; we are merely the victims of it.  Lucifer betrayed you before humans existed, and you punished him for it, thus evil must have existed before humans existed.  So we had nothing to do with its creation—we create nothing in fact.  Everything is as it is because this is the way you want it to be.

“You threaten us, bully us, and frighten us simply because you are bigger and stronger than us, and you think this makes you worthy of worship.  You have created a hell that you will cast us into forever if we don’t mouth blind belief in you and your so-called gift.

“You needn’t do any of this, but you do it anyway, and that defines you as a capricious and evil monster.

“Furthermore, you give us sentience and sapience—the means by which we can understand the existence you created, using our perceptions and specific criteria that forms knowledge, and anything outside such criteria forms the nonsensical.  then you place your “gift of salvation” against an evil you created outside the very criteria we need to use to understand the options available.  And if we fail your impossible test, or we turn ourselves into unthinking automatons that believe simply because we’re afraid not to believe, then you once again punish us with a sentence of eternal torture.  That’s your solution for disbelief.  Eternal damnation.

“Furthermore, you created a universe that gives us solid clues and evidences that things are not at all like your book claims them to be.  The stars, the planets, their distance, the development of life—all this data comes to us telling us that things are fully natural, and they can be developed out of natural order, and yet, we are to discard what we see, test, confirm and know in favor of a tale that reads like any other tale of myth that you care to name.  You are purposely making it look like you never existed.  you are purposely hiding.  You make the universe look like it must have taken billions of years to get where it is today, but then your math in your bible doesn’t jibe with it.  But we’re supposed to buy the bible even with the obvious flaws and mistakes it contains.  We’re supposed to ignore those errors, and somehow magically know how to discern the truth from the myths.

“You expect us to believe the writings of people we never met, who have certain despicable characteristics that we have learned to abhor despite the fact that your bible insists we embrace those despicable characteristics. We look at the writings of Augustine and recognize he pontificated endlessly on knowing not a single thing about you and your existence, because you don’t show yourself or allow yourself to be analyzed.  We read of Luther and Calvin and we read of horrific racism and hatred they had for people who didn’t believe as they did, and their willingness to kill your children simply because they believed something different.  And you expect us to take such monsters seriously?  Anyone of decency would abjure such broken and deluded monsters, and we do abjure them, and repudiate them wholeheartedly.

“And finally, you say we have a soul but you give us no way to confirm it.  It is as invisible and incorporeal as you are.  Our conscience at least is founded in our physical brains.  Every human brain that has shut off thanks to death has had a coincidental shutting off of personality, conscience and the ability to interface with that shut off brain.  Not once out of the billions of people who have walked this earth have we been able to test for a soul, and not once has anyone’s conscience reappeared from someone who is dead.  In that sense, your evidence was lousy because it was non-existent.

Clay:  That all these horrific violations of decency and logic and coherency apparently represents what god truly must be in your asserted worldview leads us to realize that it matters not if we gain entrance to heaven or hell.  One place is no different from the other.  The pain I would feel in this monstrous god being at the core of existence is easily matched by any torture any of god’s specially created demons might inflict on me.  Eternal worship of the monster Yahweh is an indistinguishable torment from that of Screwtape.  Indeed, I look forward to death being a cessation of either of those options.  Its the way life is, and once I’m dead, I won’t care any longer, and that’s okay.  Unborn yesterday, dead tomorrow, what be the difference if in between life is sweet?

So what you’re saying is, IF God existed, then surely he would provide better sources and better evidence than He does…  How do you know that?  That’s your assumption.  God is not required to provide the evidence that a 21st century positivist says he must have.

Because you claim nothing is outside his power, and you claim his goal is our salvation for chrissake, lol.  If his goal is our salvation, and this deal is eternal in nature, you’d think he’d have the wherewithal to offer some level of evidence that jibes with the way he created us.  You apparently do not see the sweeping nonsense that you embrace.  But then you have no problem worshipping a god that denies his creations the knowledge of good and evil, then tests them on the knowledge of good and evil, and when they fail, curses them for eternity.

Your god is insane.

Hogwash…the Bible itself assumes that people (even in the Old Testament) say that God does not exist and never existed…the fool says in his heart there is no God

Only in order to foist belief.  That is why these few scant references to non-believers are couched in terms of them being “fools”.

But let’s lock it down:

You believe in a being that did that aforementioned test, and was so angry at the result he knew must have happened, that he had to come down to earth to be beaten and murdered so he could appease his own anger.  Likewise, he flooded the earth because we were all so bad (which clearly indicates the salvation plan was not in the original blueprints—plan A was killing everyone), but then he changes his mind and decides to let people live, even though he knows that all that a-sinnin’ and a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ is simply going to start up again.

You believe that this being came down to earth, was killed and then came back from the dead and left a single book of hearsay that was clearly saddled with 1st century prejudices, and was written by people who would consider a wheelbarrow to be high-end technology… and that’s the plan for our salvation.

You believe this being loves us so much that he gives us this scant hearsay “evidence” that wouldn’t stand up in any of the most simplistic courts in man’s history, but if we don’t buy into it, we are sent to an eternal torment of some kind.  An eternal one.

Yet we are fools for saying, “You know what?  This sounds like bullshit to me.”

There are very few scholars that I know of who claim Jesus never existed.  Religious and non-religious scholars disagree on the details of his life but that is far different.  And, it seems, many of Jesus’ opponents seem to come from an interesting background in religion as well…bias can not be ruled out as a factor in their studies.

It doesn’t matter if he existed or not.  You’re missing the point of the argument here.  There should be no doubt about it whatsoever if god is god and his plan is important.  But even you say there’s no empirical evidence.  Well, why not?  Because if this plan is so damned important, then don’t you think at the very least there should be strong, incontrovertible evidence?  sure there will be people in any walk of life that will reject, but either it’s a numbers game with Yahweh (saving as many as possible) or it’s not. 

I said there’s no EMPIRICAL evidence.  There is plenty of evidence…just no evidence that is deemed acceptable by many modern empiricists.

Who therefore are damned to hell.  God is god according to you.  His evidence should be potent and ongoing and withstand all tests of humanity.  Instead… there is no evidence at all (despite you claiming there is).

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Posted: 18 October 2008 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]  
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Sander - 17 October 2008 11:31 PM

Keep the Reason,

Although your attempts to reason with Clay are surely valiant you will have more luck teaching algebra to a polar bear or keeping priests from molesting the kiddies.

Our Clay has abandoned the world of reason a long time ago and he is proud of it.

Meh, it was time to hone the arguments anyway.  Use ‘em or lose ‘em.  I don’t expect Clay to concede any points at all—he simply concludes me a “fool” and that’s where he ends the discussion in his own mind.  I don’t consider him a fool, I consider him someone who is scared to let go of the security blanket that protects him from his fear of eternal annihilation from death.

Actually, it’s pretty human of him.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 October 2008 11:29 PM

Human relations demand trust, commitment and faith.

All three are well within the bounds of empirical thnking, even faith.  But extremes are to be avoided.  I’ll illustrate:

Trust:  what is trust?  Trust is a reasoned belief in the veracity of something—this can only come from ongoing experience with that thing that allows it to reach the status of “trust”. 

Since we’re talking relationships here, let’s use fidelity in our illustration.

I’m married and don’t cheat on my wife.  Every day I don’t cheat on her, the moment a second goes by that I’m not cheating, is a moment that passes into the history over empirical events that comprise the conclusion that I did not cheat on her.

Based on that empirical evidence, I have earned trust.  It’s a bona fide fact—I did not cheat.

This lack of cheating and ongoing consistent behavior leads to the ability to establish a conclusion that I am committed to her and our relationship.  If I am staying loyal to her, and she to me, and we are doing so consciously due to our mutual respect for one another and how we value our relationship, we have also established empirical evidence that we are committed to one another.

Now—for faith.  Yesterday I didn’t cheat on her.  right now I’m not cheating on her.  But what about tomorrow?  Couldn’t I cheat on her tomorrow?  the fact is, yes I can cheat on hr tomorrow.  Here is where faith enters the picture.  Given the vast data at her disposal (i.e., that I am committed to her and that I do not cheat), it is reasonable for her to extend faith to me that I will not cheat on her tomorrow as well.  This then is even the faith mentioned in the bible—the hope in things unseen.  she doesn’t have proof I won’t cheat on her tomorrow, but when tomorrow becomes today and slips into yesterday, her faith will be rewarded.

Faith goes off the tracks when belief and commitment is offered without any of the trust being in place.  If she did not know me at all, and I was a complete stranger to her, offering me trust, faith, and commitment sight unseen would be stupid.  It would lead her to being consistently taken advantage of.  She must make such choices based on reliable data that indicates the trust, commitment and faith are justified.

Religious assertions don’t do this.  There is no trust in a god that does not offer himself to us in existence.  Who remains hidden and incorporeal.  Who is said to have created us, and creates us to function in a particular way, but who then obscures his reality by existing outside of those methods of detection.  Such a god is either a specious assertion, or a capricious monster—take your pick.

The fastidious scientist, who cannot leave the demand for evidence in her laboratory, will find herself cut off from relationships that she could otherwise reasonably maintain—with friends, family and, even, God.

I have adequately illustrated that we use empirical evidence even to establish relationships with one another, and well within the bounds of trust, commitment and faith.  I suspect that if you were willing to detail your relationship with your wife, you almost certainly adhered to those criteria as well, leading to your love for her and the establishment of a relationship with such long term connotations such as marriage.  And if we could ask her, I’ll wager she too didn’t just start off by blindly having faith and trust in you, but that such grew by having real, actual, empirical experiences with you, all of which added concrete data that lent support to your being someone she could trust, commit to, and have faith in, and ultimately love.

We certainly can eschew them and take a blind risk, but by doing so, we leave ourselves open to danger and to abuse.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 October 2008 11:29 PM

Third, belief in God is more like belief in a person than belief in atoms…

Except for the little detail that the people and atoms are there and gods are imaginary.

You really do need to learn to think like an adult even when the issue is God and/or religion.

Byron

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Posted: 18 October 2008 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 October 2008 11:29 PM

The scientific approach—doubt first, consider all of the available evidence, and believe later—seems inappropriate to personal relations. What seems manifestly reasonable for physicists in their laboratory seems desperately deficient in human relations. Human relations demand trust, commitment and faith.

Human beings prefer trust, commitment, and faith in their relationships. Preference decaying into a demand is the way that children approach things. Clay is desperately) childlike in the projection of his demands. What we have here is a newly-hatched zombie trying to make contact with us.

Clay is a monster dressed up to look like a reasonable person. This is a sort of monster created by a combination of internet communication mixed into a lethal cocktail of infantile narcissism and searing self-loathing. It takes monsters like Clay awhile to learn the ropes in the real world, before the confidence develops to go on a real flesh-eating rampage.

Simply ask yourself why Clay seems so uninterested in anything except correcting your misconceptions about his god-fantasy.

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.

[ Edited: 18 October 2008 08:08 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 18 October 2008 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]  
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NoLongerDelusional - 17 October 2008 11:17 PM
clayforHim648 - 15 October 2008 05:39 PM

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.

This line of thinking is completely off-base.

In fact, the only way anything can be “known” without question is indeed through empirical evidence.

Anything less, as most REASONABLE AND HONEST people would admit, is simply OPINION, PERSONAL BELIEF, AND CONJECTURE.

These are facts…something you choose to disregard often.

Not a great response.  You cannot know anything without question empirically.  Empirical evidence always has some possibility of being wrong, unless dressed up in so many qualifications as to make it useless.  For example, I cannot know for certain that there is a tree outside the window next to me—indeed, I can’t know for certain there is a window or that I’m actually at a computer writing.  What I can know is that it appears to me at this moment that I am at a computer writing, and see a tree outside a window.  And when we get to scientific evidence, there is always the possibility of error.  I’m not disrespecting the extreme accuracy of modern measurements, not the efforts at precision that good experimentalists make, only pointing out that empirical knowledge is never 100% certain.  Generally it is the best that we have at the moment, and that is all.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 01:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]  
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Human beings prefer trust, commitment, and faith in their relationships. Preference decaying into a demand is the way that children approach things. Clay is desperately) childlike in the projection of his demands. What we have here is a newly-hatched zombie trying to make contact with us.

Clay is a monster dressed up to look like a reasonable person. This is a sort of monster created by a combination of internet communication mixed into a lethal cocktail of infantile narcissism and searing self-loathing. It takes monsters like Clay awhile to learn the ropes in the real world, before the confidence develops to go on a real flesh-eating rampage.

Simply ask yourself why Clay seems so uninterested in anything except correcting your misconceptions about his god-fantasy.

Well I suppose this is another thread thats wrapping up.  S.C. always seems to bring it back into perspective for me…this is ultimately where the discussion has to end.  I’ll provide some near closing statements.

Those that are obsessed with finding sufficient evidence to believe in God must somehow explain how and why so many other people have accepted and believed in God without sufficient evidence.  What does this mean?  Many here have pointed this out as a criticism against theists…how can otherwise rational people buy into these fairytales?  People wouldn’t buy a car that they have no information about, that they’ve never seen and know nothing about.  Why would they believe or put any faith in some sky daddy?  Well, as we’ve seen, there’s all kinds of theories…some more offensive than others. 

But with all the talk about intellectual honesty, I don’t think these criticisms are remotely honest.  I think there is “sufficient evidence” to believe in Christ, but its unlikely that anyone here is going to come to accept that when they’ve already decided there isn’t sufficient evidence.  And after a little more thought and research on the subject, it occurred to me that I don’t know anyone personally that came to Christ based solely on the “arguments” and the “evidence”.  And that makes sense too.  There are many things that we believe without sufficient evidence and argument.  It is the (stubborn) atheist that keeps repeating this mantra because they can easily dismiss God by it…without sufficient evidence, I cannot believe in God.  Well…without sufficient evidence, i’m sure you believe in many things.  And as I’ve said before, we do not come to “know” something in the same way all the time.  THAT is intellectually dishonest and a claim that I think is NOT supported by EVIDENCE. 

I will stick to my reformed epistemological guns…I think that knowledge of God is foundational…it belongs with logic, reason and other self-evident truths.  Sorry I got too sidetracked on the evidentialist side of things.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]  
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Well, that’s the fundamental difference between atheist and theists. We do not believe a God is required to explain the existence of the universe or to live our lives the way we see fit, and we do not believe there is evidence that God exists.

Theists believe the universe cannot exist without having being created by a God, and they believe that the mere fact that we are here is eough evidence for god.

I think we are still a long way from scientifically knowing enough about the world around us to convince theists they are wrong, but I do think that is the only way this debate will eventually be concluded.

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Posted: 18 October 2008 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 18 October 2008 05:06 PM

Well I suppose this is another thread thats wrapping up.  S.C. always seems to bring it back into perspective for me…this is ultimately where the discussion has to end.  I’ll provide some near closing statements.

It isn’t where the discussion has to end.  Don’t get your feelings hurt because SC uses ad hominem in his approach.  By far you are challenged with much better arguments than his insults—reply to those challenges, and back burner his useless commentary.

Of course it is easiest to avoid the challenges you’ve been given by allowing him to control your responses.  Perhaps he gives you a much needed out to avoid the argument altogether?

Those that are obsessed with finding sufficient evidence to believe in God must somehow explain how and why so many other people have accepted and believed in God without sufficient evidence.

That’s easy to answer.  Invoking god is the easy way out.  It ameliorates having actual responsibility for how the world is, and it’s a security blanket that one can wrap oneself in with almost no effort whatsoever.  We’ve only recently been technological enough to understand why existence operates as it does, so anything previous to the last 150 years or so falls into the darkness of our collective species’ immaturity.

It’s like asking why do so many 2 year olds believe in monsters under the bed and Santa Claus?  Because it’s been they do not have sufficient means to analyze the veracity of the claims.  There’s no evidence that there are monsters or there aren’t monsters, but it’s easier to believe there are because the dark scares us.  When we grow up, we realize there aren’t monsters, Santas, or gods, because the lack of evidence is enough to accept the premise as false.

And it’s been like this for humans for thousands of years—tens of thousands in fact, and only in the last 150 years have we even had any tools viable enough to let us figure out what is actually going on.  That’s not enough time for the reality that there is no god to sink in, especially when the religious viral meme and the lack of proper education perpetuates the simplistic superstition rather than the much more difficult discipline of scientific analysis.

What does this mean?  Many here have pointed this out as a criticism against theists…how can otherwise rational people buy into these fairytales?  People wouldn’t buy a car that they have no information about, that they’ve never seen and know nothing about.  Why would they believe or put any faith in some sky daddy?  Well, as we’ve seen, there’s all kinds of theories…some more offensive than others.

Because they fear death, and god-myths allow us to confront our mortality easily, and with no effort of any kind.  “Mom died, but don’t worry, we’ll see her again someday soon.”  Very comforting.  Nothing to support it being true, but comforting nonetheless.  Compare that to, “Mom died.  She’s gone and will never be seen again.  Just like what will happen to me one day.”  How comforting is that?

But with all the talk about intellectual honesty, I don’t think these criticisms are remotely honest.  I think there is “sufficient evidence” to believe in Christ, but its unlikely that anyone here is going to come to accept that when they’ve already decided there isn’t sufficient evidence.  And after a little more thought and research on the subject, it occurred to me that I don’t know anyone personally that came to Christ based solely on the “arguments” and the “evidence”.

I wouldn’t argue with you that many people came to their beliefs without any evidence at all.  That is why religious tenets work best when we are infected with them from birth onwards.  Consistently, religions expect the children to be inculcated with the beliefs loooong before they are capable of analyzing what the beliefs entail.  It’s becomes as second nature to them as does the rising of the sun.  It simply is, no questions asked. 

But when you raise a child without those inculcations, and they reach adulthood from a neutral perspective, tipping into such beliefs is much, much harder to do.  And if they are raised to question any claim and believe based on corroborative evidence, it’s almost impossible to fall into such beliefs.

And that makes sense too.  There are many things that we believe without sufficient evidence and argument.  It is the (stubborn) atheist that keeps repeating this mantra because they can easily dismiss God by it…without sufficient evidence, I cannot believe in God.  Well…without sufficient evidence, i’m sure you believe in many things.

Ok, this is a direct accusation.  So back it up.  What do we believe in as fact without sufficient evidence?  I generally don’t outright believe in anything as fact unless there is some level of evidence that I can think of.  So far, everything I believe in as fact is open to testing—even going to the moon.  I could be deceived of course, and if evidence came to light that I was being deceived, I would reassess my belief in the event in question, just like I did with my Christian belief.  You, on the other hand, don’t even reply to the mounting challenges that should be adequate to bring some level of doubt to your belief in the myths of religion, and instead you employ deflection by accusing others of “not wanting to hear the message”.

And as I’ve said before, we do not come to “know” something in the same way all the time.  THAT is intellectually dishonest and a claim that I think is NOT supported by EVIDENCE.

How else do we come to know it then?  either you have factual experiences that pile up and support a contention or… what?  What else is there?

I will stick to my reformed epistemological guns…I think that knowledge of God is foundational…it belongs with logic, reason and other self-evident truths.

Then why do so many people believe in a completely different god than you do?  Why didn’t billions of Aztecs have the word of the god Yahweh in their civilizations?  Not one instance of Jesus or Yahweh being known by countless generations of people.  Not one instance in China, Australia, Russia, North or South America until such word was consciously and forcibly brought there by Christians.

[ Edited: 18 October 2008 07:25 PM by Keep The Reason]
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Posted: 18 October 2008 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]  
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These two passages tell us all we need to “know” about clayfor.

CLAY: “And of course, I believe that the Spirit of God convicts the hearts of believers and dwells within them. “

and

“Even if God had not convicted me personally of sin and the need for repentance…”

He has been convicted by god, ergo he is god’s convict; a prisoner of his own delusion.

CLAY: “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.

 

So, what you’re saying is that people can acquire “knowledge” from what exactly? UNVERIFIABLE evidence that doesn’t come from our “senses”? Even emotions, which can affect our interpretations, are based on our sense perceptions of the external world, which IS scientifically testable. Only narcissists, solipsists, and psychopaths think they have some magical means of acquiring such special “knowledge.” And believing at some intangible gut-level, in the ancient traditions of men and their notions of god and gods is not knowledge; it’s belief in ancient traditions and notions of god(s).  Discerning “truth” doesn’t appear to be your strong suit clayfor.

And most people don’t believe that.”


In other words, you’re saying most people don’t trust and test their own senses?
I think you mean your fellow convicts “don’t believe that”, but then, in prison, one’s options are limited.

WetMudForHim: “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.

“Most people” on this forum have done the research on the “technicalities” and “textual criticism” and again: there is no actual god to “reject” only lame concepts of god.

KTR, You have enough material for a book with cliff’s notes by now don’t you?

Jeanie, You’re not becoming a fuckwitless “apatheist” are you? Go see the flick if you can… The audiences reaction is as entertaining as the documentary itself.  But then, I’m patently biased toward Bill Maher. I love his open, unflinching,  and brutally honest comedic style.

Anyone else catch the part where he said he was glad he was a god-believer when he quit smoking at age 40? Hmmmmn, interestink, bery, bery interestink.
Other fun moments in the film: when he deliberately freaked out the paranoid pot worshipper; when he unintentionally got the Alabama politician admit you don’t have to be smart to get elected or to run a city.  AHHHHHHHHHH!

Sander:  Loved your honest, no holds barred posts… I wish you would do a documentary.  kiss kiss, kiss.

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