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Author Topic: Are YOU a believer in miracles?  (Read 7852 times)

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Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #100 on: April 28, 2010, 06:30:46 AM »
I really did mean the first part, I'm glad you've found something like that to help you through your life.  This world is not easy to navigate.

Offline Kate

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #101 on: April 28, 2010, 06:44:08 AM »
To ~some~ proof (subjective) religion is a useful in a culture is seeing cultures of its absence - human rights in china.

View of "well religion moves people to wars dudette see the crusades" is dismissing the power of propaganda generally (Ie "War on drugs" because drugs are bad hmm ok ?,"War on Terrorism" because terrorism is bad hmm ok ? )

Firstly jude - my appologies, I didn't walk in to the middle of a discourse I didn't entire read before assuming what the was the thrust of your stance.

I feel threads like this will be passionate no matter what
and that this is about as open and welcoming a forum for debating an issue as one can hope for. Being a sex-site does let others imply or use adult examples and implications as we all know that those here are adults.

As you all know I myself am not a christian, If a label could be put on myself I would choose "Empathic Wiccan" ( splinter group of Wiccan Witchery) - religion is too tight a word for my spiritual belief landscape as it attributes your own emotions as an indicator of navigating your way though probability landscapes in the context of your desires, and thoughts coupled with attention and emotion to manifest or change reality to them. The role of particular phrases or focuses (Such as dolls or candles, symbols, mirrors etc) are simply tools to aid focusing attention - and can be used in a way a musician would use a metronome.

How useful these perceptions are compared to what my life would be if I choose another beleif system is subjective.

Those of my faith have been burnt as witches by Christians so I don't exactly trust what happens when mobs or individuals choose religion to justify certain actions which impose on the values of others but I do beleive that "faith" in its raw form has exploitable merit. My "defence" of religion is chosen regretfully as unfortunately the current cultural climate equates the two.

Science like religion can and have been used in adverse ways.

Science has a place but science does have limitations.
It does rely on statistical analysis, this requires tools of measurement, copious sample data, variable awareness or access to the findings of another who had them and went through the scientific process on a topic which is simular enough to your issue at hand for you to have faith (no inverted commas needed) that whatever scientific model (laws, trends etc) they found that fits caters for your situation also plus "objective" data relating to your current predicament in the context of your landscape.

This is a lot of dependencies and isnt exactly a "light landscape" to carry, and unwieldy if decisions are needed quickly. Many decisions that are important to us are ones we need to make without a backdrop of such luxuries.

To manage making sensible decisions we also have other tools "Common sense" (subjective), gut feelings (subjective),
past experiences (subjective) ... and spiritual beliefs (subjective).

I dont beleive any religion is a blanket that should govern decisions, it is carpet that can be rolled out if its wished by the believer. Developing scientific prowess is good, nothing against it - it does develop massively exploitable options.

Developing "common sense" - ie assume everyone else on the road is not paying attention (even if its wrong) has advantages. Developing gut feelings (ie an experienced psychologists, clinical workers, poker players, lawyers, police etc may be able to "feel" when another is trying to fool you) is also useful, as one becomes highly developed the dependancies on others is not as needful for their objectives... the development of one would likely also change the individuals perspective such and intention landscape.

Someone who thinks others beliefs should be scientifically based before they are given credence enough to be acted on or believed forget one thing.

At one point there wasn't science - an inspiration appeared to adopt methods that science formed from - without a landscape of beliefs, expectations, intentions and so on critical thinking wouldn't be. Something birth critical thinking, which wasn't science, it was something else.
Same with Math.

It may be argued that something "Scientific" (ie repeatably measurable and quantifiable) but an unknown one at the time a person to start thinking critically or emphatically. Measurable and Quantifiable may only make up a fraction of what "is". Some are interested in that and do develop landscapes of beliefs to navigate their way around such places. Also scients who feel there is more to water or rocks than current science implies would reject "accepted science" and attempt to investigate further with a different lean - they may find new things. Where did this inspiration and faith to not trust science come from ? Im not saying it comes from a divine source, but it came from that individuals faith.

Where does faith come from ? Belief ? Where do beliefs come from ? Experience ? Where does experience come from ? Memory, where does memory come from ? someones Sensors ? Sensors coupled with how that experience changed their intentions or beliefs.

Some may beleive that science ALREADY implies the lack of a God.
Some may beleive that science already offers manners of understanding things attributed to divine causes. These "manners of understanding" is dependent on things however, so dependent there will be limit of what it can detect let alone make "conclusive" reality laws about.

Some advates of science believe science is robust, tried and tested, proven.

This is not true, science is a lanscape of models some mesh well together some don't which is being changed and evolved constantly. Its not "stable yet", not stable enough for certainty of its interpretations - let alone something that rules out the acts of a divine beings or "self-created miracles".

It may be that science finds that someones thoughts alone can create te miracles they seek - under certain circumstances. If this was to be the case both the faith-disbelieving-scientists and the faith-believers would both claim victory of proof of their perspective describing what is meaningful to THEM.

One stating "see scientific explanation just like we always said no need for divine intervention".
The other stating "see the divine exists, we change reality with thoughts with will though belief".

Science and "Religion" have and will have had many papers which are outright delusional and a step back from common sense, we shouldn't feel such things are representative of the good that comes from "all things religion" or "all things science", judge by successes.

It may be true that empathy is dependent on a part in our minds, but there are things which need institutions to manage.

Churches have funded more charities and education

(So people can learn ~science and math~)

than

anything

else

PROOF OF RELIGION PROMOTING CRITICAL THINKING
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 06:45:26 AM by Kate »

Offline Xenophile

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #102 on: April 28, 2010, 09:34:21 AM »
Religion can only promote critical thinking within the limitations of the religion itself. If a priest wants you to think about what the Bible says, in regards to a moral issue, then he does not mean that you would consider the nature of the existence or non-existence of God. He wants you to examine what exists in the boundaries of the holy scripture, and make a decision from that. Religion does not in itself promote general thinking, for example, whether God exists or not. It can however promote critical thinking that draws from the text that the Religion itself dictates to be the only material to be relevant relevant, its own scripture.

This is a important detail that we should, and probably need to acknowledge.

Offline Kate

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #103 on: April 28, 2010, 10:05:38 AM »
Modern priests from non fundamentalist Churches are quiet encouraging of conversations concerning the lack of a god.

The bible is used more dynamically by those that beleive in it than I think its being represented here.

Highly fundamentalist Christians which choose literal interpreations are not the norm.

Implications that Fundamentalist Christian views are a dependency of perspectives believing in miracles is baseless, boring, off topic but nevertheless has numerously highjacked this thread now - a shame, more could have been learned with such a stance taking center stage.

Pumkins suggestion to this first appearing was met with her mock suggestion that if so perhaps those of faith should treat backward scientists of old being representational of science ... her doing so didn't seem to snap this thread out of it.  My suggestion that believing in miracles doesn't make one religious, or religions not necessarily christian or if christian not necessarily fundamentalist christian couldn't either.

A notion seemingly lost on our most passionate "Advocates" of "critical thinking" no less.

If I see one more I will stop my involvement in this thread, not due to defeat of my stance, but simply from belief Im wasting my breath explaining otherwise.

Explaining someone who believes in miracles isn't necessarily a fundamentalist Christian ?

Whoa ... slow down kate .. wrong thread for thoughts like those ..


« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 10:23:05 AM by Kate »

Offline Xenophile

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #104 on: April 28, 2010, 10:18:42 AM »
Literal or not, the interpretations of the Bible could never, ever dismiss the existence of God, nor would ANY priest ever suggest that he does not exist if he is a believing man. In the Christian dogma, there is One God. Thinking otherwise would constitute a non-Christian belief. Having a Christian argue for the possibility of there not being a God would be a blow to his own religious identity. Being a Christian requires faith in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit (all right, I'll accept the exist the odd church that might disagree, but I will for the sake of argument base my arguments on mainstream protestant and Catholic dogma). Denying the existence of either wouldn't make any sense (apart from advanced theological debates, but even those would not consider the non-existence of God).

But to go back to the miracle thing...

It depends on how one defines a miracle. Earlier, I said that I believe in miracles in the sense that the word "miracle", for me, means an extraordinary events that defies all odds (example can be a man surviving a drop from a plane without a parachute). However, I take that in a very non-spiritual fashion. I do not consider the possibility that the divine will interfere with the natural order of things, so for me, the "religious miracle" does not exist but the "statistical anomaly miracle" does exist.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 10:52:26 AM by Xenophile »

Offline Kate

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #105 on: April 28, 2010, 10:29:33 AM »
"interpretations of the Bible could never, ever dismiss the existence of God"  - quote X

- you would be surprised by the variations in interpretations people have on the bible.

Offline Xenophile

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #106 on: April 28, 2010, 10:39:44 AM »
"interpretations of the Bible could never, ever dismiss the existence of God"  - quote X

- you would be surprised by the variations in interpretations people have on the bible.

I would very much like an example of this happening, beyond that of a very small congregation, where a significant group has adopted the Christian belief that there is no God.

Offline Noelle

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #107 on: April 28, 2010, 10:48:33 AM »
To ~some~ proof (subjective) religion is a useful in a culture is seeing cultures of its absence - human rights in china.

Wrong. We are not a Christian nation to begin with, and though we are oddly more religious than most first-world countries, we are not a theocracy by any means and by all intent, religion should not be in our government (though we're pretty lazy about enforcing that). European countries are not Christian or any kind of religious nations and have plenty of human rights to be seen. Maybe I don't understand your point, but I don't see what religion has to do with human rights in China, anyway. It seems to me like you're suggesting that morality comes from Christianity/religion, and that's not correct either.

Quote
Those of my faith have been burnt as witches by Christians so I don't exactly trust what happens when mobs or individuals choose religion to justify certain actions which impose on the values of others but I do beleive that "faith" in its raw form has exploitable merit.

Ehhh, except that the vast majority of neopaganism is just that -- neo, or new, especially Wicca, which is basically a 20th century invention, and especially after 1930 --even moreso after 1950, when it was popularized by Gerald Gardner in Britain and furthered by Alex Sanders (and thus your two main branches of Wicca, Gardnerian and Alexandrian). There is little connection between the witchcraft most practice today compared to what was done before the 1800's especially. They're not exactly "your faith" in that matter, because...well, Wicca didn't 'exist' before this last century. I know the claims that paganism is the oldest religion, and that's true by definition -- especially the Christian definition of pagan as being anything non-Christian. However, there are so many offshoots and branches and developments of paganism that by today, it's likely got little to do at all with how it "used to be".
In terms of "The Burning Times", actually, it's dubious if all those who were convicted were even practicing witchcraft/magick/whatever you want to call it at all. Most, if not all convictions were of witness testimony and contained probably very little factual evidence, and of course if you're convicted of witchcraft, you're going to point your finger at ANYBODY if it means your ass gets  saved. Pretty unreliable.
The numbers are a little off, too, if my memory serves me correctly. Of almost two hundred claims in Salem alone, only 19 actually got the death sentence, as well as two DOGS, and even then, it was hanging, not burning ;P Nitpicky details, but it makes the sensationalized title "THE BURNING TIMES" a lot less accurate. The deaths were not in the millions as reported but are projected to be well under 200,000 across Europe in the span of three hundred years. It's not to say the idea of going after people for practicing witchcraft isn't still a horrible idea (because it is -- making "witch hunts" for anyone of ANY faith is pretty much a Very Bad Idea), but put into perspective, I think the whole thing is, as mentioned, sensationalized and twisted a bit for the aims of neopagans today to get their point about persecution across. Let's not forget that pagans (or the concept of them, since I've already mentioned my doubt that all people who were hanged/tortured/burned were actually religious, practicing pagans) are not unique in this, either, as it often seems tos ound -- Christianity has found more than their fair share of massacres, too -- the Religion Wars in France were especially brutal between the Catholics and the Protestants in the same era as witch hunts, for one.

Quote
Science has a place but science does have limitations.
It does rely on statistical analysis, this requires tools of measurement, copious sample data, variable awareness or access to the findings of another who had them and went through the scientific process on a topic which is simular enough to your issue at hand for you to have faith (no inverted commas needed) that whatever scientific model (laws, trends etc) they found that fits caters for your situation also plus "objective" data relating to your current predicament in the context of your landscape.

No.

No good scientist simply relies on the data of others and assumes it's correct. That's not how science works. I would argue that nothing in science isn't scrutinized at any given time. Scientific "laws" are under constant testing (even "givens" like gravity) and could change at ANY time if they suddenly found an anomaly in their data. These so-called "limitations" are exactly why science is reliable -- because it's based on measurable, perceptible data and not a whim or a feeling.  They go through a constant system of checks and balances to ensure that the resulting data isn't a fluke and that laws are very dependable, though not necessarily permanent. No scientist simply looks at another scientist's research and goes, "Wellp, that must be it! Guess I don't have to worry about THAT!" because environmental variables can ALWAYS change results. Even pure coincidence can happen, some unforeseen factor can work itself in and change the data for one scientist's given conditions.

Quote
To manage making sensible decisions we also have other tools "Common sense" (subjective), gut feelings (subjective),
past experiences (subjective) ... and spiritual beliefs (subjective).

...

Developing "common sense" - ie assume everyone else on the road is not paying attention (even if its wrong) has advantages. Developing gut feelings (ie an experienced psychologists, clinical workers, poker players, lawyers, police etc may be able to "feel" when another is trying to fool you) is also useful, as one becomes highly developed the dependancies on others is not as needful for their objectives... the development of one would likely also change the individuals perspective such and intention landscape.

...Except science is also actively working to explain this, too. The most plausible explanation found for "gut reaction" and "instinct" is the brain processing environmental cues at a rapid pace as well as relying on past observations/lessons/experiences to conclude a fast reaction that is preconscious, or happens before you become immediately aware of it. Hardly mysterious or supernatural when you put it that way, eh? I suggest doing some research on the subject, it's actually pretty interesting.

Quote
Someone who thinks others beliefs should be scientifically based before they are given credence enough to be acted on or believed forget one thing.

At one point there wasn't science - an inspiration appeared to adopt methods that science formed from - without a landscape of beliefs, expectations, intentions and so on critical thinking wouldn't be. Something birth critical thinking, which wasn't science, it was something else.
Same with Math.

...Except, at one point, there wasn't religion, either. What's your point? Wicca wasn't formed until the 20th century, and yet you adhere to it. In fact, science has been around longer than Christianity, for one. What's that supposed to mean, according to your conclusion? Something birthed critical thinking? If you're implying it wasn't the natural development and curiosity of a conscious and mentally active human, it certainly wasn't religion or else this would basically blow up what we've already discussed -- that the non-religious are perfectly capable of critical thought. The very NOTION that the non-religious could possibly even have more tendencies to critically think couldn't even be discussed if that were true.

Quote
Where does faith come from ? Belief ? Where do beliefs come from ? Experience ? Where does experience come from ? Memory, where does memory come from ? someones Sensors ? Sensors coupled with how that experience changed their intentions or beliefs.

faith
–noun
1.
confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2.
belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3.
belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4.
belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

[the rest of the definitions deal strictly with Christianity]

Experience doesn't come from memory, by the way, experience comes from the process of undergoing something personally, and cannot be transferred to another. Memory is highly fallible anyway, and thus is not considered proof. There is no quantifiable way to provide proof of the supernatural in order to change the experience of others -- if there was, as it was mentioned, please do submit it to the James Randi challenge and collect your money.

Quote
It may be that science finds that someones thoughts alone can create te miracles they seek - under certain circumstances. If this was to be the case both the faith-disbelieving-scientists and the faith-believers would both claim victory of proof of their perspective describing what is meaningful to THEM.

Yeah, and to some people, Santa Claus is meaningful to them even though his existence is blatantly not real, not quantifiable, and can be backed up by science.

Quote
Churches have funded more charities and education

(So people can learn ~science and math~)

than

anything

else

PROOF OF RELIGION PROMOTING CRITICAL THINKING

Have you been reading anything up until now? This has already been addressed exhaustively.
Religious motivation builds schools, but religion does not teach math and science. Religion did not discover the methods taught in math and science. Religion did not discover gravity, invent the heliocentric model (quite the opposite, in fact), or extend the human lifespan. Religion didn't find out the chemical composition of the air we breathe and religion did not land us on the moon.
I don't even know why you're mentioning charities -- let's say the church throws money at a charity that provides medical services to people in need in third world countries...They are throwing their money at a charity that relies on science to develop the methods they use to carry out the good deeds that religion is funding. The churches aren't supporting the science, they're supporting the good deed that comes of it. Science only seems to be acceptable when it's convenient to their aims -- it's okay to discover cures for diseases and then turn around and use it to further your own religious cause through missionaries, but once we start digging into controversial things such as evolution, WHOAAA slam the brakes, we're out of control.

Ultimately, religion does not teach its followers to think critically about religion the way science teaches scientists to think critically about science. It sounds redundant, but that is the HUGE difference between the two.  It does not support the possibility that it could be wrong, which automatically shuts down one HUGE avenue of what critical thinking IS.

Like Xenophile said, I'd love to hear any mainstream example of a Christian organization going, "We've accepted the fact that there might not be a god!"
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 10:52:21 AM by Noelle »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Are YOU a believer in miracles?
« Reply #108 on: April 28, 2010, 04:42:55 PM »
There's another problem in stating that because Christians have contributed more to education by charity (which by the way you simply stated, you've provided no statistics to back up that claim so I feel shaky about that to begin with) they've promoted critical thinking more.  There are numerous other problems:

a)  You've failed to take into account the detrimental effect they've had on critical thinking by persecuting people who don't agree with them (often of the scientific or mathematical persuasion)
b)  You're comparing the contribution by the vast majority of wealthy peoples to contributions by other sects with less influence and power.  Could be Christians have contributed more because they vastly outnumber atheists. (Over 4 to 1 in the US off the top of my head - I can dig up statistics if you like)
c)  You're only measuring charitable, monetary contributions, and you can contribute in more ways than that, such as volunteering or participating in the actual fields of study (and we've already established scientists trend non-religious in much greater numbers than the general population)
d)  Even if they're giving money to education, that doesn't mean that educational experience is actually teaching critical thinking.  A lot of institutions do an incredibly poor job of fostering critical thinking.  I'd even argue that public school in the United States largely fails in promoting critical thought when it comes to their students.
e)  You're still talking about the actions of the institutions and individuals who happen to be religious, and not the institution itself.

I'd like to see a breakdown of the statistics you're getting that from so I can have a better idea if it's at all valid to begin with.

Attributing the fact that those charities, which happen to have a religious slant, to religion alone is also very short-sighted unless those charities were given money solely for religious purposes (and not simply charities which work from a religious point of view) and made the decision to spend the money according to religious beliefs.  Perhaps Person A donated Sum B to Charity C out of altruism, not religious motivations, and the charity is attempting to better the world.  Placing all of the responsibility for that action on religion itself is... well, not right.

EDIT:  Science is an extension of reason, and ultimately built upon that framework.  Without formal logical principles there could be no science or mathematics, and formal logical principles exist in an informal fashion in human thought.  Piaget's stages of development (a theory on how children mature intellectually) even include the concept of the "little scientist" as a description of one of the earliest stages of human development.  From the first time you touch a stove, burn your hand, and learn not to do it again, you're using an intrinsic understanding of logic in the from of cause and effect to guide your actions.

There's something innate about reason, I'm not sure that we understand how or why, but it extends into nearly everything we do.  Even religious beliefs utilizing reason in their own way when it comes to analyzing and understanding religious dogma.  What sets critical thinking and scientific thinking apart from that fundamental application of mental processes is that science and critical thinking is rigorous and impartial.

Informal thinking is good enough to establish the basis of survival, and nearly everyone has a mastery of that, but when it comes to understanding confusing, complicated, and general phenomena, informal thought (common sense, whatever you want to call it) is often led astray.  The purpose of science is to root out human error and create a more concrete method of reasoning in order to accomplish things that intuition and informal logic cannot.

Of course science came after religion, it isn't all that useful in a survivalist sense, but this does not in any way diminish it.  That's an argument from antiquity logical fallacy.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 04:52:03 PM by Jude »