Prove to me that your God exists.

  • #1046
    Chiming in on Athiest/Agnostic/theist/Gnostic differentiation.

    -Gnosticism is a claim of having knowledge on the truth of a subject or claim.
    -Agnosticism is a not claiming to have definitive knowledge on the truth of a subject or claim.
    -(A)gnosticism describes whether or not one claims definitive knowledge of the answer.

    -Theism is defined as having a belief in a deity.
    -Atheism is defined as someone who isn't a theist, or does not have a belief in a deity. If there is no professed belief in a specific deity, then a person is by definition atheist.
    -(A)theism describes the current assumption of what the answer is regardless of whether or not they claim to have definitive knowledge of what that answer is.

    The two sets of labels are not exclusive, and need to be combined to fully describe a person's position.

    1. Agnostic Theist: A person who has a belief in a deity, but does not claim absolute knowledge of the belief's validity.
    2. Gnostic Theist: A person who has a belief in a deity, and does claim to have absolute knowledge of the belief's validity.
    3. Agnostic Atheist: A person who has no belief in a deity, but does not claim absolute knowledge of the belief's validity.
    4. Gnostic Atheist: A person who has no belief in a deity, and does claim to have absolute knowledge of the belief's validity.

    The same categories worded slightly differently
    1. Agnostic Theist: A person who makes no absolute knowledge claim, but who makes decisions under the assumption that a deity exists.
    2. Gnostic Theist: A person who claims absolute knowledge of a deity through a type of evidence, and makes decisions accordingly.
    3. Agnostic Atheist: A person who makes no absolute knowledge claim, but who makes decisions under the assumption that deity claims are not true.
    4. Gnostic Atheist: A person who claims absolute knowledge of nonexistence of deities. through a type of evidence, and makes decisions accordingly.


    Both descriptions say the same thing, but with slightly different wording to aid in understanding. The majority of people fit into the first 3 categories with almost nobody in the last.The key here is to understand that beliefs are what the assumed truth is, because it is that assumption that every believer/nonbeliever will have to consider when making daily choices.

    For example:

    Person A is an Agnostic A-Boogeyman-ist: They claim no absolute knowledge of gravity but make decisions under the assumption it exists.

    Person B is an Agnostic Boogeyman-ist :They claim no absolute knowledge of gravity but make decisions under the assumption it exists.

    With those underlying assumptions about the claim of the Boogeyman both follow their beliefs to a logical solution. Person A will live a normal life with no worry about an impending boogieman attack. Person B, given the assumption about boogeymen, logically fears for his own safety and takes measures to protect himself from boogeymen by buying a house with no closed doors and no raised bed frames.
  • #1047
    Quote from uuhhnnbbooo »

    great sreyee


    You're the twat posting all those damn links aren't you?
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  • #1048
    Quote from proletaria

    Quote from Enty

    Well in this instance you're assuming us to take the old testament word for word exactly as it came to us(which its not). It's not that Adam and Eve were the actual first humans (they could've been bob and jill, or abugala and frugala), nor is "original sin" taken to be a special sin done by the first peoples that damned us all; It is all representation of a truth.


    Considering the biblical account makes no caveats saying "this isn't meant to be literal," and that a great number of religious adherents do seem to believe it to be literal for that reason, I fail to see the point of making that case. Furthermore, the concept of original sin is nothing of the sort. Truth being the polar opposite of a completely mythical and entirely non-evidential claim.

    Quote from Enty

    There was originally a man and a woman. At one point there was one man and one woman, simple as that.


    Originally there were a group of human ancestor primates who began evolving in the direction of what we now refer to as homo sapiens sapiens. There was not a single progenitor pair, but rather a population seeded by many individuals which developed into the human form we see today. Using such a fallacious assumption as the pretense for an argument is a bad idea.

    Quote from Enty

    Original sin is just that the original sin it is meant to be taken as just a sin that started more sinning, but in reality we know that all it really was, was the first sin. In turn we must be saved from sin which is where Jesus comes in to save us. His job as gods son was to show us how to be a better human and he did so by dying for what he believed in and was, and he spread the word and helped the sick and whomever he could.


    Original sin is simply the concept that people are born as sinners and there is no amount of right action possible to make a non-believer a good person. In point of fact, most Christians (the Catholics still retain their position as the largest denomination) do not even believe that Jesus has abolished original sin. One must grovel and praise the divine each day, receive the sacraments (one of which is to give a generous portion of your income to the church), and believe the nonsense before they are "saved."

    If there is a notion of generosity being implied here, I certainly do not see it. The book says that you are sick and offers you a cure to that sickness; however, in the absence of that book you could (and for the 100k+ years humanity existed prior to the founding of monotheism, people did) live a positive and fulfilled life without this concept.

    Quote from Enty

    Evolution disproves absolutely none of the points you made, in fact it just assert that the bible is a representation of moral living. Really it's a tool for living peacefully, although I know you'll say the crusades and the numerous wars started over the damned thing, but nevertheless its purpose is to be a moral compass if you will.


    Evolution disproves 100% of the creation accounts in the bible. Furthermore the book has no claim what so ever on morality. Yes, there are peaceful and progressive notions there-in, but there are also commandments to racial violence (the tribe of israel slaughtering it's neighbors), slavery (even found in the new testament where Paul commands slaves to serve their Christian masters especially well), and all manner of other disgusting amoral practices. The true compass of morality is within the human being reading the bible, not the bible itself. Our social primate instincts are highly developed and precisely what we use in the modern day to condemn a sadistic biblical literalist who wants to murder his neighbor for working on the Sabbath.

    Quote from Enty

    I'm not saying Christianity is the end all be all and you have to be christian otherwise you're a damned fool just like i don't suspect you say that all Christians should be atheists and we're damned fools. Believe what you want to believe, but understand who you're fighting against here. We really do believe in a God that allows us to do as we please and the interventions of god really weren't meant to be literal besides Jesus. We're more deist than theist. At least most normal Christians. There are those who take the bible word for word, which is incomprehensible but whatever.


    If you don't believe that Christianity is the one true faith, you are not entirely christian, for that is one of the precepts within the biblical text of the new testament. You are of course free to some kind of mix-match, non-literal, neo-liberal interpretations of scripture if that is what you fancy, but if you do so there is absolutely no reason to claim a single word of it has literal truth or special meaning. If you want to be a deist, fine. I have no way of disproving the god concept of deism, nor does anyone else. Just realize two things about the position of a deist, if that is truely the position you take:

    1. The bible means absolutely nothing in any other context than literature. There is no godly truth therein because as a deist, your god is not present in the existential universe and has never interacted in the affairs therein. The personal god is the god of a theist.

    2. A deist is just as much an atheist (without theism) in regards to Christianity as a regular atheist like myself who doesn't bother to suppose a singularity or first cause and name it "god." If you want to characterize our position as being different in any meaningful way other than that, once again, you will find that your position is that of a theist.

    For the life of me I can't understand the point you were making, but I hope this helps you better identify (or perhaps clarify) your own position on the matter of deism. You seem to be dangerously close to completely shedding the chains of religion and thinking for yourself. :)



    My point was that I and most christians dont take the bible literally. We use it as a sort of guide because most of the teachings used are all of loving and bringing peace to those around you. I should have clarified that the entire bible does not provide the correct or morally good answer 100% of the time, but in the teachings of the Roman Catholic church we mostly use ones that show the compassion and goodness of each human and that we should follow these ways.

    I do believe Christianity, or a mix match of it and other apparent truths and religions, is the one true faith. I believe that we have our god, or rather a god. Yahweh whatever you may call him(Zeus, Thor, Poseidon IDC as long as the entity "god" exists) Is real to me; but that is not to say I think everyone should be a Roman catholic. I believe in free will, and that God allows us to choose as we wish without interference. If you so choose to be atheist, agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Confucius, then by all means go right ahead. It is not my place to decide your faith, your belief, your way of life. But as a christian I am to believe There is a god over us who watches us and lets us live.

    I am a deist, not an atheist fully because i believe there is a god, where as from your definition you question it? If i got that wrong please correct me. I also changed my views slightly thanks to your explanations of certain things; I'm 17 years old and do not fully understand some of these concepts, so help me better understand if you will. I'd like to say I believe in Jesus although that would go against Deism, so I'm not sure I can anymore. Which would mean I'm not so sure I could be "christian" per se either. You just confused the shit out of me! Well in any case my belief is that Jesus was real maybe not the son of god maybe just a very good preacher of the faith. I believe in being loyal to my god and going to mass and receiving all the sacraments, none of which by the way "require" you to give money to the church. That is just people wanting to do so.I also believe that we are left to do what we want when we want where we want as long as it is not immoral. If you can accurately put me in a denomination of a religion please tell me what it is, I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject.
    Not even Death will save you from Diablo Bunny's Cuteness!


  • #1049
    Quote from Kajikami

    As an atheist, I don't have "faith". But that doesn't mean I believe everyone who does is irrational.


    Surely you understand that this is a most obvious paradoxical statement. Faith is the most supine position of irrationality. It is a statement that no matter how much evidence is presented, the person will retain a notion of truth or knowledge indifferent of that suggested by empiricism. One most certainly can live a rational life and maintain their irrational faith in a compartment of their mind, benign and largely ineffectual, if they so desire, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not the act of faith is rational. It is necessarily irrational.

    Quote from Kajikami

    I propose that an individual can benefit (in say happiness, or quality of life) from a belief in god. The individual is comforted by the knowledge of an afterlife, a higher power watching over them, belonging to a larger organization, etc. So if you are capable of having "faith", it might be a good idea. However, no one can consciously choose to believe something. For this to work, you have to deny any such logical explanation for your "faith". So you proclaim that your "faith" needs no justification, or build elaborate explanations.


    I propose that if those feelings are anything but illusory, there is an empirical study about which we could come to know them. Neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and other sciences are fast approaching better understandings of things which used to be considered transcendent or at the least most aptly discussed in terms of theology. None of those feelings is improved upon by ending the conversation at "this is faith and nothing else need be said."

    Quote from Kajikami

    Now, I definitely don't claim all (or even any) theists make this choice consciously. I realize that I'm kind of implying theists must be lying to themselves, and that isn't really my intent. This is just one example, and if a theist would like to provide their own justification for "faith", I would love to hear it.


    I would argue there is a bit of social evolution at work, for lack of a better term. Nobody need be the mastermind behind some conspiratorial religion theory in just the same way that no grandiose creator being need lie behind the vast universe that we inhabit. Ideas evolve over time with culture and we are simply seeing some rather obvious irrational ones come under the scrutiny of other, more rational, ideas in modernity. To ask why one believes is almost, I think, a silly question. One is heavily conditioned to believe in the dogma they follow (as a theist) and the culture/idea/meme transfer is the only necessary progenitor.

    Quote from Kajikami

    My point is that choosing to believe without evidence (have "faith") can be just as valid and beneficial a choice as choosing to only believe as much as we have evidence for. In fact, given the benefits of "faith" (with the right choice of what to believe, you can almost completely eliminate any drawbacks), one might say the atheists who are unable to convince themselves to have "faith" are the real losers, despite their (stereotypical) opinion that they are somehow above the "ignorant" religious masses.


    While I don't entirely agree with using the word "valid," since it really conveys nothing in context, I will admit that we could eventually conclude a measure of cognitive dissonance is a natural state of neurology for some persons. I, personally, wouldn't agree that the present evidence suggest that, but it would make for some very interesting neurology and psychology debates. As far as atheists loosing out on some kind of knowledge because they cannot bring themselves to be that little bit irrational, I completely disagree.

    There is nothing preventing me from understanding the mindset of another individual. Knowing the literature, the social atmosphere, and having a degree of empathetic impulse (common in all but sociopaths) allows one to not be "ignorant," of the religious experience. The travesty we see is that people might appreciate the benefits now attributed to religion without all the socially destructive dogma that comes with the present institutions. Until that great divorce (I hope someone gets that joke) takes place with more people; however, the conversation will continue to end on the note you mentioned earlier.
  • #1050
    Quote from Enty

    My point was that I and most christians dont take the bible literally. We use it as a sort of guide because most of the teachings used are all of loving and bringing peace to those around you. I should have clarified that the entire bible does not provide the correct or morally good answer 100% of the time, but in the teachings of the Roman Catholic church we mostly use ones that show the compassion and goodness of each human and that we should follow these ways.


    I think you and I have read dramatically diffirent versions of the Torah and New Testament. The claim that "most," of the teachings in either book make a case for moral living, peace, or coexitant global society is absurd. There is a massive amount of white-wash in any version of these texts that could be described in that light. And honestly, to the extent that one says the Bible is not true, they are no longer "christian," as described by the book they hold so dear. You may of course continue to adopt (or adapt, as the case may be) that terminology if you like, but it is no more fitting than saying a person who pilots an airplane is a goose because they are both regularly aloft at the same atmospheric height.

    Quote from Enty

    I do believe Christianity, or a mix match of it and other apparent truths and religions, is the one true faith. I believe that we have our god, or rather a god. Yahweh whatever you may call him(Zeus, Thor, Poseidon IDC as long as the entity "god" exists) Is real to me; but that is not to say I think everyone should be a Roman catholic. I believe in free will, and that God allows us to choose as we wish without interference. If you so choose to be atheist, agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Confucius, then by all means go right ahead. It is not my place to decide your faith, your belief, your way of life. But as a christian I am to believe There is a god over us who watches us and lets us live.


    I would deeply love to say that I agree with this, palatable and globally accepting a statement as it was, but you've simply opened a yawning gap of problems inherent in your description of "god." Firstly, a great many (in fact the majority) of religions are/were pantheistic. There would be absolutely no use in saying a monotheistic religion is just another reflection of a pantheistic reality. The two simply are mutually exclusive. On a similar thread of discourse, many sects of Buddhism and Confucianism especially have no need of divinity at all. How can one square that with either pantheism or monotheism? Either one claim is right or the others are right, but there is no rational way to square the three as being conducive to a single universal truth.

    As far as a personal deity goes, I have to say this requires the theological back-flips one could only find in a true theist believer. I can't imagine for a second that you can seriously be (or understand the meaning of) deism and suggest that a benevolent creator watches over the million of infants who die in child birth each year, the genocides of our long and troublesome history, the diseases, famines, and other manners of disgustingly negative platitudes which have graced our existence since time immemorial. One necessarily must admit that either there is no rational reason to suppose a personal god, or that the personal god is entirely immoral. Thankfully, we have evidence for either claim and it is perfectly fine for us to simply state that the universe works fine without one.

    Quote from Enty

    I am a deist, not an atheist fully because i believe there is a god, where as from your definition you question it? If i got that wrong please correct me. I also changed my views slightly thanks to your explanations of certain things; I'm 17 years old and do not fully understand some of these concepts, so help me better understand if you will. I'd like to say I believe in Jesus although that would go against Deism, so I'm not sure I can anymore. Which would mean I'm not so sure I could be "christian" per se either. You just confused the shit out of me! Well in any case my belief is that Jesus was real maybe not the son of god maybe just a very good preacher of the faith. I believe in being loyal to my god and going to mass and receiving all the sacraments, none of which by the way "require" you to give money to the church. That is just people wanting to do so.I also believe that we are left to do what we want when we want where we want as long as it is not immoral. If you can accurately put me in a denomination of a religion please tell me what it is, I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject.


    As I explained, you are not a deist. At least not in so far as the word is commonly used. A belief in the theology of the bible (including a white-washed "Jesus is love," version) does situate you as a "theist," by definition. I think it would behoove you to look up some of these terms (wikipedia is accurate for most of them) if they are causing you some confusion. Also, I think you are highly misinformed if you believe tithe is anything but compulsory in most societies. In many countries of Europe the tithe is extracted by a government tax.

    I would agree with your statement that people should be able to do what they will so long as it is not destructive or an impediment to the health and well-being of others (I dislike using the word "immoral," since it is so easily derailed into a useless tangent where morality is entirely out of empirical reach - it is not - and the sole propriety of theology). Having said that, the negatives of religion and I may as well do the catholic church in particular since I gather you would be familiar, are obvious. The church has sheltered and continues to shelter known pedophiles. The church is responsible for a rather large number of genocidal actions taking place on the continent of Africa. The church is responsible for retarding the healthcare of millions of individuals by claiming that condoms are a sin, or worse yet, spreading the out-right lie that they increase the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

    I could go on in much gory detail, but I think the point has been made. You fully understand that you are not a deist (though I believe you might choose to be one at some point) by now and exactly why I am not alone in thinking that theism is one of the most tragic socially retarding institutions still existing in our literal and philosophical lexicons.
  • #1051
    Quote from proletaria

    Quote from Kajikami

    As an atheist, I don't have "faith". But that doesn't mean I believe everyone who does is irrational.


    Surely you understand that this is a most obvious paradoxical statement. Faith is the most supine position of irrationality. It is a statement that no matter how much evidence is presented, the person will retain a notion of truth or knowledge indifferent of that suggested by empiricism. One most certainly can live a rational life and maintain their irrational faith in a compartment of their mind, benign and largely ineffectual, if they so desire, but that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not the act of faith is rational. It is necessarily irrational.


    My meaning wasn't very clear here. Yes, the act of Faith is irrational. But the choice to be irrational can be a rational one. I don't think anyone is completely rational 100% of the time, and I'm not sure we should even aspire to be.

    Quote from proletaria

    Quote from Kajikami

    I propose that an individual can benefit (in say happiness, or quality of life) from a belief in god. The individual is comforted by the knowledge of an afterlife, a higher power watching over them, belonging to a larger organization, etc. So if you are capable of having "faith", it might be a good idea. However, no one can consciously choose to believe something. For this to work, you have to deny any such logical explanation for your "faith". So you proclaim that your "faith" needs no justification, or build elaborate explanations.


    I propose that if those feelings are anything but illusory, there is an empirical study about which we could come to know them. Neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and other sciences are fast approaching better understandings of things which used to be considered transcendent or at the least most aptly discussed in terms of theology. None of those feelings is improved upon by ending the conversation at "this is faith and nothing else need be said."


    We can absolutely come to understand those feelings through science. But that isn't the same as causing people to feel them. Certainly some people can have some or all of these feelings by means other than faith in a higher power, but that doesn't mean that there isn't benefit to be had in gaining them through faith.

    Quote from proletaria

    Quote from Kajikami

    Now, I definitely don't claim all (or even any) theists make this choice consciously. I realize that I'm kind of implying theists must be lying to themselves, and that isn't really my intent. This is just one example, and if a theist would like to provide their own justification for "faith", I would love to hear it.


    I would argue there is a bit of social evolution at work, for lack of a better term. Nobody need be the mastermind behind some conspiratorial religion theory in just the same way that no grandiose creator being need lie behind the vast universe that we inhabit. Ideas evolve over time with culture and we are simply seeing some rather obvious irrational ones come under the scrutiny of other, more rational, ideas in modernity. To ask why one believes is almost, I think, a silly question. One is heavily conditioned to believe in the dogma they follow (as a theist) and the culture/idea/meme transfer is the only necessary progenitor.


    Mostly I agree with you here. However, the idea that everyone with faith has it only through conditioning is absurd. I'm not sure if your implying that. Certainly there is a huge amount of conditioning going on, and completely separating that from the issue would be nearly impossible.

    Quote from proletaria

    Quote from Kajikami

    My point is that choosing to believe without evidence (have "faith") can be just as valid and beneficial a choice as choosing to only believe as much as we have evidence for. In fact, given the benefits of "faith" (with the right choice of what to believe, you can almost completely eliminate any drawbacks), one might say the atheists who are unable to convince themselves to have "faith" are the real losers, despite their (stereotypical) opinion that they are somehow above the "ignorant" religious masses.


    While I don't entirely agree with using the word "valid," since it really conveys nothing in context, I will admit that we could eventually conclude a measure of cognitive dissonance is a natural state of neurology for some persons. I, personally, wouldn't agree that the present evidence suggest that, but it would make for some very interesting neurology and psychology debates. As far as atheists loosing out on some kind of knowledge because they cannot bring themselves to be that little bit irrational, I completely disagree.

    There is nothing preventing me from understanding the mindset of another individual. Knowing the literature, the social atmosphere, and having a degree of empathetic impulse (common in all but sociopaths) allows one to not be "ignorant," of the religious experience. The travesty we see is that people might appreciate the benefits now attributed to religion without all the socially destructive dogma that comes with the present institutions. Until that great divorce (I hope someone gets that joke) takes place with more people; however, the conversation will continue to end on the note you mentioned earlier.



    I think what I mean by "valid" is that I wouldn't think less of a person for the act of having faith. However, I definitely would frown on many of the choices people make based on their beliefs. I find that the religious individuals whom I interact with (a very select group I'm ready to admit) pick and choose only the messages which they believe are good. This may be a butchery of their faith from a theistic viewpoint, but I see it as only a good thing. I think atheists often try to say (and have in this thread) "look at all these bad things taught/done by your religion, how can you claim it is good" in an attempt to convince people to completely disavow their faith, but this will rarely actually occur. If an individual professes a belief in something you find abhorrent, absolutely challenge them for it. But individuals who only takes the good parts? They should be celebrated, because it is they who will move the religion in a better direction in the future.
  • #1052
    Quote from Kajikami

    My meaning wasn't very clear here. Yes, the act of Faith is irrational. But the choice to be irrational can be a rational one. I don't think anyone is completely rational 100% of the time, and I'm not sure we should even aspire to be.


    Thanks for clarifying that, although I am not entirely sure I agree with that statement. There are many degrees of certainty which we must operate on to live out our daily lives. There is probably some neurological wiggle room to be considered too. Ultimately I think the point wasn't so much rationality must be our lone modus operandi, but that religious faith (that which fuels dogma) is a particularly dangerous irrational choice since it not only promulgates the spread of un-founded truths, but also allows hierarchies based on that dogma to continue working outside of any rational critique. ie. The Vatican being allowed to house international criminal pedophiles while the secular government of Cambodia is expected to extradite the co-founder of the pirate bay for copy-write infringement.

    Quote from Kajikami

    We can absolutely come to understand those feelings through science. But that isn't the same as causing people to feel them. Certainly some people can have some or all of these feelings by means other than faith in a higher power, but that doesn't mean that there isn't benefit to be had in gaining them through faith.


    That is an obvious statement, but not relevant to what I said. Of course understanding something and "feeling," it are two different concepts. However, we should not pre-suppose that there is only one method of eliciting those physio-emotional responses (in-fact, studies have shown so-called "spiritual" bliss can be experienced by anyone under the right setting and it is extensively studied in modern neuroscience for it's therapeutic potential).

    Unfortunately many people make this false connection between reaching a positive mental state and assume it came from their theology. What is more likely (given that these experiences are well documented among all religions and even non-religious persons) is that they have found a way to gain those experiences through the lens of their practice. The take-home from this point is simple. There's absolutely nothing wrong or irrational about the act of meditation, fasting, or some other method of attaining a desired mental benefit, but this should not be taken as credence for dogma. In-fact it would be much healthier to separate the two.

    Quote from Kajikami

    Mostly I agree with you here. However, the idea that everyone with faith has it only through conditioning is absurd. I'm not sure if your implying that. Certainly there is a huge amount of conditioning going on, and completely separating that from the issue would be nearly impossible.


    I don't think it is absurd at all, unless you are willing to define religious faith in some entirely nebulous and esoteric way. The control experiment is simple. Take a look at majority non-religious countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. These countries were previously part of Christendom like everywhere else in Europe. Clearly their genetic makeup has not changed dramatically in the last couple of hundred years. What is to explain their mass exodus from the church and from faith communities in general? The simple answer, and by Occam's razor the most likely, is that people are not born with a predication for faith. It has to be hammered in and inculcated deeply and then re-enforced the whole life long.

    Quote from Kajikami

    I think what I mean by "valid" is that I wouldn't think less of a person for the act of having faith. However, I definitely would frown on many of the choices people make based on their beliefs. I find that the religious individuals whom I interact with (a very select group I'm ready to admit) pick and choose only the messages which they believe are good. This may be a butchery of their faith from a theistic viewpoint, but I see it as only a good thing. I think atheists often try to say (and have in this thread) "look at all these bad things taught/done by your religion, how can you claim it is good" in an attempt to convince people to completely disavow their faith, but this will rarely actually occur. If an individual professes a belief in something you find abhorrent, absolutely challenge them for it. But individuals who only takes the good parts? They should be celebrated, because it is they who will move the religion in a better direction in the future.


    I certainly see the point you are making and once again I thank you for clarifying. This; however, is something I cannot agree with. Firstly, I concur there is certainly something to be said for a benign and selectively positive reading of some dogma so as to render it less caustic in a modern setting. Unfortunately, even those readings have some very unfortunate side-effects.

    1. They lend credence to the fundamentalists. There is no way a moderate catholic can tell his anti-Semitic conservative friend that he is following the dogma in an inappropriate manner. The only means of deciding which is the correct interpretation is to ask the highest religious authority (who in most cases tends to be conservative, for obvious reasons) or in the absence of such an authority (protestantism, Islam, etc.) you simply have a stalemate of equally unjustifiable viewpoints. If anything, the fundamentalist has a leg-up because there is no mention of reading the text as an abstract or analogy in the book itself.

    2. Even the most benign and seemingly inconsequential belief can become a huge disaster. A hundred years ago, believing that life began at conception was bothersome and caused population booms and busts that created small, but notable human tragedies. Today; however, the seemingly innocent notion causes religious groups to try and block funding to stem-cell research. The treatment which could one-day cure dramatic and debilitating neurological disorders is being put on hold because a collection of cells, less than the number contained in the hair of a house-fly, is considered to be more valuable "life," than the living children dying of multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases.

    Ultimately, I think it is appropriate to give a bit of leeway on those of a very liberal faith, but one certainly cannot use the idea that a benign faith is harmless to gloss over the rather obvious societal issues perpetuated by not just fundamentalist faith, but religious faith in general.
  • #1053
    On most of what you said, I think we are in agreement. Like I said, I was kind of playing devil's advocate, and all of your counter points are good ones.

    There is one thing you say that bothers me though:
    Quote from proletaria

    I don't think it is absurd at all, unless you are willing to define religious faith in some entirely nebulous and esoteric way. The control experiment is simple. Take a look at majority non-religious countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. These countries were previously part of Christendom like everywhere else in Europe. Clearly their genetic makeup has not changed dramatically in the last couple of hundred years. What is to explain their mass exodus from the church and from faith communities in general? The simple answer, and by Occam's razor the most likely, is that people are not born with a predication for faith. It has to be hammered in and inculcated deeply and then re-enforced the whole life long.


    Just to clarify again, I'm saying faith doesn't come about ONLY through conditioning. As your example suggests, conditioning plays a huge role. But there absolutely can be people who choose to become religious without having been immersed in any of the dogma.

    I personally know someone who grew up in an entirely atheist household, who became deeply religious in high school. She wasn't recruited by a religion or influenced by someone she knew; she decided there was something missing in her life, went looking for it, and found it in religion.
  • #1054
    Quote from Kajikami

    But there absolutely can be people who choose to become religious without having been immersed in any of the dogma.

    I personally know someone who grew up in an entirely atheist household, who became deeply religious in high school. She wasn't recruited by a religion or influenced by someone she knew; she decided there was something missing in her life, went looking for it, and found it in religion.


    I've heard taller tales in my life, as they say, but the least I'd like to clarify about such anecdotes:

    1. Being/becoming "spiritual," in a very nebulous sense might well occur in the absence of dogma. It is entirely possible some people are more readily able to enter meditative states, feel empathy, or something similar. I just wouldn't use the word "religious," here as that absolutely implies you've got the dogma hammered in and found that you agree with it or at least accept it despite obvious flaws. Nobody simply becomes christian without ever hearing of Jesus. Nobody spontaneously goes on Hajj without knowing of Mohammad. etc.

    2. I would be QUITE curious to know what an "entirely atheist," background entails. Frankly, I don't think such a house exsits anywhere. For one thing, we've already clarified that Atheism isn't a system of belief, but rather a rejection of theism and it's belief system. I know very non-believing families who take their kids to church or synagogue just for the cultural and historical significance. Even in the absence of that, I think it would be impossible in the US especially to dodge some fairly serious attempts at indoctrination.

    Ultimately, mid-life crisis and crisis in general can generate some of the most profound changes in our lives, but that isn't a positive affirmation of every change we make or the motivation itself. I would safely guess, in the case of your friend, she was being fed a lot of information about one religion or another from childhood or at least adolescence. When the crisis in her life came and she felt alone, the community of belief gave her something to be apart of.

    I don't think human interaction or a sense of belonging is bad, so good on her. I just wish she (and others like her) would choose a group that didn't involve the surrender of the mind to irrational truth claims.
  • #1055
    The case-in-point of abominable, irrational, and untenable truth claims: Today there are Christians who, by virtue of faith in their dogma think that our secular state should pre-emptively strike a Muslim country (Iran) before the Jewish state (Israel) can do the same, or at the request of Israel; however you want to read it. The Muslims feel their dogma justifies their entitlement to most of (if not all) the land currently occupied by Israel. The Jews feel their dogma justifies their entitlement to the land currently occupied by Israel. The Christians either want to support the Jewish claim or want to instigate a conflict between the two because it would bring about the Armageddon mentioned in their book of revelation.

    The ongoing debate of how to create a 2-state solution in Israel/Palestine is constantly derailed by dogma. The conflict is continually escalated by dogma. And unfortunately, there is no way for a moderate of any of these religious groups to diffuse it (and they have tried. Ask Tony Blair, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and a thousand others who arbitrated negotiations over the years). This is the defining achievment of religious faith and one that moderates must honestly come to grips with. Their simple false-consolation (ie. I don't have any reason to believe this rationally, but it would be nice and I grew up around it, so I continue) is not harmful in and of itself. But indirectly it prevents them from taking the one and only stand that can end these conflicts once and for all: Faith is nothing but the assertion of truth without evidence or on bad evidence. When someone says "this land belongs to me because of a 6000 year old book [of fiction]" they are necessarily making a statement with zero validity.

    The moment you allow even the slightest shred of validity in that line of reasoning, such as "his faith that the book is the word of god," to progress there is absolutely no ground left to stand on. You have allowed someone with a clinically insane point of view to stand toe to toe with the most progressive, modern, and sophisticated understandings of human well being and how we might best get along rather than kill one another. This simply cannot be allowed. Fanatics of all stripes need to be stamped out, not apologized for.
  • #1056
    If there's something i've learned from the internet, it is that discussing religion is a complete and utter waste of time and brings no purpose whatsoever.
  • #1057
    Quote from EisenHoward

    If there's something i've learned from the internet, it is that discussing religion is a complete and utter waste of time and brings no purpose whatsoever.


    Leaving aside the baffling bold portion of your sentence, I can't seem to find anything but irony.
  • #1059
    God forbid (hehe) someone makes an interesting topic on a Diablo 3 forum and actually brings well-written and informed arguments to the table.

    I agree, though, that the manner in which he presents his views (arrogantly, in your book) makes it very intimidating to try and join the discussion. I'd argue that that is not his fault, but stems from the gap in knowledge on both rethorics and the topic at hand between himself and the average user. If only Don joined this discusion...
  • #1060
    I AM

    NOW STOP THIS NONSENSE AT ONCE
    A proud and fearless leader and only member of the "Save the Diablo III" project
    I have been a game designer, modder and balancer. Link below is to my blog, where i discuss flaws of this game and offering solutions.
    YOU can help this cause by sharing a link in your signature! Please do, if you like my ideas

    http://savediablo3.wix.com/diablo3#!home/mainPage
  • #1061
    As a Catholic I find the misrepresentation of Catholic dogma and history to be almost laughable.

    Quote from proletaria

    ...Today there are Christians who, by virtue of faith in their dogma think that our secular state should pre-emptively strike a Muslim country (Iran) before the Jewish state (Israel) can do the same, or at the request of Israel...

    How are you correlating Christian dogma with a pre-emptive military strike? I would point to a bilical reference specifically stating otherwise. (Love your enemies Matthew 5:43-48) Undoubtably there are some self-proclaimed Christians who would have no problem pressing a launch button on missles aimed at Iran (as I'm sure we could find some athiests who feel the same way), however I would claim that if you do not adhere to biblical or catholic teachings then you are not actually a Christian.

    What small but notable human tragedies have occured because of a life at conception veiwpoint? When do you believe human life occurs?

    Regarding your proposal in the OP. I would propose that every human has a built in moral compass (except for the clinically insane). You have proclaimed that modern progessive thought is more capable than christianity in reaching a solution where "we all get along". Why do we need to reach a solution where we get along? Where does the morall compass or desire to avoid intrinsically evil things come from?
  • #1062
    Quote from proletaria

    Original sin is simply the concept that people are born as sinners and there is no amount of right action possible to make a non-believer a good person. In point of fact, most Christians (the Catholics still retain their position as the largest denomination) do not even believe that Jesus has abolished original sin. One must grovel and praise the divine each day, receive the sacraments (one of which is to give a generous portion of your income to the church), and believe the nonsense before they are "saved."

    If there is a notion of generosity being implied here, I certainly do not see it. The book says that you are sick and offers you a cure to that sickness; however, in the absence of that book you could (and for the 100k+ years humanity existed prior to the founding of monotheism, people did) live a positive and fulfilled life without this concept.


    Original sin is a deprevation of sanctifying grace that Adam and Eve passed down to their offspring after The Fall. The only sacrament essential to receive santifying grace (be "saved") is baptism, in which all of your sins are forgiven including original sin. Donating to the church/charity is neither a sacrement itself nor required to receive the sacrements.

    I would contend that humanity did not exist prior to the founding of monotheism.
  • #1063
    I wonder what life must be like for the relatives of Proletaria. Can you imagine having him around during the holidays? If he talks the way he types, it would be like having dinner with a fusion of C.S Lewis and Hannibal Lecter. Even if he isn't one who is vocal about his stance, you sure as hell know that his family has access to his facebook, which is guaranteed to be jacked up beyond belief with propaganda that most of them wouldn't even be able to fathom.

    Keep up the good work. Keep fighting the good fight. Take away every ounce of faith and hope that you possibly can from others. Keep prying away from them their hope in a god who they believe loves and cares for them; so that they too may find themselves lost in oblivion like the rest of us. Without hope and without reason. Ironically, it's sh!t like that that leaves me yet with an open mind.
  • #1064
    Evil is perspective, there is no such thing as good or evil. :P
    Playing Diablo since 97. I know nothing and having nothing good to say, I be a troll.
  • #1065
    Right (i think). I am speaking on behalf of my own perspective. My apologies for not clarifying, oh great philosopher, Socrates.
  • #1066
    Quote from tyler_harb

    Right (i think). I am speaking on behalf of my own perspective. My apologies for not clarifying, oh great philosopher, Socrates.


    oh I wasn't picking on you, just throwing that out there. I didn't feel like going through 52 pages and I was hoping that semantic would fit in on one of the topics. If I wanted to pick on you I'd focus on your... educated statement of Facebook in a discussion like this but I rather not.
    Playing Diablo since 97. I know nothing and having nothing good to say, I be a troll.
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