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Author Topic: Religion- Oh no not that again  (Read 24655 times)

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Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #200 on: April 11, 2012, 12:52:36 PM »
Careful, rick957.  You are starting to sound like a Taoist now.

I have enormous respect for Taoism and studied it very briefly, a couple times.  If I had a better memory, I would enjoy discussing it further with you, but I'm afraid I've forgotten most of what I knew about it.  Nevertheless I'm keeping an eye on your Taoism thread for any nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned therein.  ;) 

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What, exactly do you mean by 'truth'.  The context you use it in seems to imply more than just facts...perhaps meaning or the meaning of life.

I'm not sure that I would find it necessary to distinguish between all those terms -- truth, facts, meaning, meaning of life.  Is there a single truth that encompasses all of those things?  I think there is.  But I may be wrong.


Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #201 on: April 11, 2012, 01:08:26 PM »
I'm not sure that I would find it necessary to distinguish between all those terms -- truth, facts, meaning, meaning of life.  Is there a single truth that encompasses all of those things?  I think there is.  But I may be wrong.

You are of the opinion that it is god, correct?  Let me ask you this, if god created everything, why is he not equally responsible for the 'bad' things as he is for the 'good' things?

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #202 on: April 11, 2012, 01:40:03 PM »
Quote
You are of the opinion that it is god, correct? 

Yes and no; yes, more or less.  I believe Jesus is the truth, and the truth is Jesus; and Jesus is God.  So you could say God is the truth, although I wouldn't phrase it in that way personally.  You could also say the truth is in Jesus or comes from Jesus or through Jesus, but I prefer the specific formulation "is," because it comes from the Bible -- in the Bible, Jesus claimed to "be" the truth.

Quote
Let me ask you this, if god created everything, why is he not equally responsible for the 'bad' things as he is for the 'good' things?

Dammit, MM.  :)  You manage to put your finger right on the very deepest and biggest and most confounding problem in all of Christianity, if not in all of life, and you do so using no more than 21 words.  You have both a keen nose for truthfulness and a clear way of thinking about it and expressing your thoughts.

I'm going to give you the most honest and straightforward answer that I can, which is that I don't fucking know why, and I defy anyone else out there to give me a satisfying answer to that question, if any other Christians are reading along (or non-Christians, for that matter).

How else can I say that?  Here:  the answer is that God ought to be, but he isn't, because he says he isn't, and he's God.  Does that answer fail to satisfy you, or even make you angry?  I think it should do both of those things; in fact, I think you should cling to that question as tightly as you possibly can, and don't be afraid to shout down the bullshit responses that most people have to it (including mine, if you think it's bullshit).

You need to read the book of Job, MM; and then read Hamlet; and finally, read Moby Dick;)  I'm being a bit facetious, joking about it, but honestly, I think there's more truth to be found in Hamlet and Moby Dick than in most churches I've been to.  Perhaps you can find the same truth by studying the Tao; I couldn't, or didn't, but perhaps I wasn't looking hard enough.

Anyway, those are my honest responses, however dissatisfying they might be.  :)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 01:41:22 PM by rick957 »

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #203 on: April 11, 2012, 02:13:35 PM »
I am glad you approve.  Most of the time people say I am just attacking Christianity.

The response I have gotten before was free-will.  My take is that it is just more misdirection.  I think Christianity kind of painted itself into a corner (I think the Jews do not believe that god is necessarily 'good', at least not as compassionate as the Christian god.)  They wanted an all powerful, because let's face it, who wants to worship a less powerful god, that was completely good and created the entire universe.  Someone just forgot to think that one through.

If god is responsible for everything, then he has to be responsible for the bad too.  It really is just that simple in my opinion.  Taoism doesn't try the two-step here.  The Tao doesn't care.

Heaven and Earth are impartial;
they treat all of creation as straw dogs.
The Master doesn't take sides;
she treats everyone like a straw dog.


John H McDonald translation

Not very comforting, but it is more internally consistent for me.  As I have delved deeper, Taoism questions the very concept of 'good' and 'bad', but I think that is for more advanced lessons.  I am not sure I agree about that anyway.

Job is, for me, another reason why the Christian god is unlikely.  The god of Job is capricious, arbitrary and pathetically easy to manipulate.  Not aspects of the Christian god I was told of.  He simply bares no resemblance to Jesus either.  It seems to me there are some real inconsistencies there.

And even if you want to claim Job is just a parable...I certainly would not want to use the same god that I am preaching about to be the character in the story.  It just gives the wrong idea.  I think Job and the sacrifice of Abraham are man created fabrications to show people that we should do as they say...without question.

To which I say...

What does God need with a starship
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 02:17:20 PM by MasterMischief »

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #204 on: April 11, 2012, 03:15:48 PM »
Taoism, I can get behind. Because it doesn't require belief in so called supernatural things.

Also that movie was horrible. >_> Speaking as a dedicated Trekkie.

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #205 on: April 11, 2012, 03:16:06 PM »
Quote
They wanted an all powerful, because let's face it, who wants to worship a less powerful god, that was completely good and created the entire universe.  Someone just forgot to think that one through.

I agree that it doesn't make sense, but I would say that the reason it doesn't make sense is because our sense-making organ is broken, and there's only one way it can be fixed.  I do not think Christianity is "internally consistent" -- just the opposite in fact.  It doesn't square with our internals.  :)

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I think Job and the sacrifice of Abraham are man created fabrications to show people that we should do as they say...without question.

Questioning is the first step for many people that leads them to arrive at Christianity.  For other people, it is what turns them away from Christianity.  I think the latter are the more sensible people, the ones I can relate to.  What's necessary for those people, in my opinion, is not to stop asking questions.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 03:17:28 PM by rick957 »

Offline Starlequin

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #206 on: April 11, 2012, 05:52:43 PM »
With all this talk of who's responsible for good and evil, I'm a little surprised no one has brought up the concept of the Demiurge yet...

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #207 on: April 11, 2012, 09:11:55 PM »
I agree that it doesn't make sense, but I would say that the reason it doesn't make sense is because our sense-making organ is broken, and there's only one way it can be fixed.

If your sense-making organ is broken, how can you know that you have latched on to the 'right' fixer.  Don't all religions claim to be 'the way'?

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #208 on: April 11, 2012, 10:07:44 PM »
It's an interesting conundrum. How do you know it's broken if you've never seen how it's supposed to operate?

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #209 on: April 11, 2012, 10:47:46 PM »
Mad props to the 21st Century Gnostics out there, yo.  ;)

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Don't all religions claim to be 'the way'?

I haven't studied any religions besides Christianity at great length, but I have studied several, and I'm pretty sure that some do not claim to contain the exclusive truth, i.e. some do not claim to be "the (only true) way," making all others false.  Many ways of practicing Hinduism, for example, allows for tolerance of other faiths to such an extent that they simply don't take up the issue of the truthfulness or falsehood of other religions, or even other forms of Hinduism.

Same with lots of atheists or agnostics, (right?), many of who are perfectly fine with lots of other people endorsing lots of other belief systems, as long as their own beliefs aren't dictated to them by others (as they certainly shouldn't be).

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If your sense-making organ is broken, how can you know that you have latched on to the 'right' fixer. 

My answer to that question is that you cannot know in advance.  It is what people call a "leap of faith" that is required.  If you knew in advance, I suppose, there would be by definition no "faith" required.

How can you know you have "latched on to the 'right' fixer" even after you have chosen to believe Christianity? 

That I can only answer for myself, in a personal way.  My answer is that true belief in Christianity is no compartmentalize-able corner of one's life; rather, it becomes central to one's day-to-day and even moment-to-moment existence, and happily so.  Christianity makes an incomplete person whole at last; how can it not become the most important thing in one's life, by far?  This is what I believe.  I know it sounds scary and/or extremist and/or fanatical.  I suppose it is those things.

It isn't like you're just taste-testing one of the 52 available flavors of religion, or the 52 available flavors of truth.  :)  I can't emphasize this enough:  there is only one real truth, for anyone, and Christianity is it, and it's actually available to you, to anyone.  Yes, that is only my opinion, my belief, but I believe it to be the truth for everyone, not just for me.

Apologies to anyone whom the views expressed here have offended.

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #210 on: April 12, 2012, 12:00:51 AM »
Same with lots of atheists or agnostics, (right?), many of who are perfectly fine with lots of other people endorsing lots of other belief systems, as long as their own beliefs aren't dictated to them by others (as they certainly shouldn't be).

There are varying degrees of ideas about religion that varies atheists put forth. Some believe that religion should be wiped out all together, that it is a bad thing. Not, of course, through violence, though I'm sure there are those who think that, but through reason. The idea is that if you increase people's reason, they would be able to drop those beliefs. Violence doesn't work, because it only increases fervor and creates martyrs. That will not cause people to drop beliefs at all. If atheists hold this view, they believe that only reason can cause religious people to drop their beliefs, as it caused them to drop their own religious beliefs. People who hold this view do so because they believe religion to be dangerous. When people hold false ideas, they are influenced to do crazy things that you would not otherwise see in a rational person. Especially when you have organized religion.

There are those who believe that religion is a good thing and that people should be religious, even though they themselves are not. This one always baffles me. To me it sounds like they're saying "Those people over there need religion, but I don't because I know better."

There are those who just want to be left alone and don't care about religion at all. These are the type you talked about above, those that don't care what people think as long as they aren't being evangelized to every five minutes.

There are those who think that all religions should be able to coexist, that they all hold some form of the truth and that they are all compatible with each other. This you don't as often see in atheists, but mostly in liberal religious people. Some mainline religions even believe this.

Offline Sophronius

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #211 on: April 12, 2012, 10:22:22 AM »
It is indeed! Having made the post whilst extremely tired, I basically went and conflated the results observed as a conclusion of a process already adequately quantified by science (DNA fingerprinting) with the intial observation of nature that eventually led to the ToE. In other words, the example is a complete non-sequitur. Oops!

In order to clarify my point about science making observations from effects of phenomena - which came out in a pretty woolly manner in the post: yes, science sometimes does do this, as in the case of quantum mechanics, for example: the wavefunction collapse that occurs with any attempt to observe the actual location or state of an isolated particle. Observations therefore have to be drawn from whatever effects might result from the wavefunction collapse - for instance, the interference patterns recorded from, for example, the double-slit experiment. Any attempt to observe the actual wavefunction in process only ever gives an observation of a discrete object in a single state.

You're right, there are instances where science can only look at aftereffects rather than effects, though these are, for the most part, rather rare.  However, the fundamental difference is how one goes from the observing the aftereffect to inferring the effect.  In the sciences, this done through mathematics, whereas in detective work and history it's done through the detective/historian's impression of human behavior.  To a certain extent, it's the same - it's based on what the investigator finds plausible, but a scientist is not going to have much luck coming up with a theory of quantum mechanics based on narrative plausibility and a detective won't get anywhere with a theory of the crime based on mathematical inevitability.

Where they are possible, laboratory experiments give science a leg up since, in the laboratory, potentially outcome effecting variables, other than the one under study, can frequently be controlled more effectively than in the wild. All else equal, this characteristic of laboratory experimentation frequently lends a greater degree of reliability to conclusions about relationships between independent and dependent variables.  It is a mistake, however, to think that scientific theories grounded in "field" observation are any the less scientific, or that "proofs" based on natural observation are necessarily less trustworthy. The first great empirical test of the space warping quality of mass predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, for example, was in observation of the apparent displacement of stars whose light passed an eclipsed Sun.

The Theory of Evolution gained wide (though perhaps not uniform) acceptance in the scientific community long before the discovery of DNA and other advances in cellular biology. As you note, supporting evidence was found in the fossil record. Observations of animals and plants in their natural habitats -- the bulk of the raw data with which Darwin worked -- likewise both sparked and supported the theory. The reason for the theory's acceptance, before the mechanism responsible for variation and inheritance of traits was known, was that it did a better job than other theories of explaining the observed evidence, and was not contradicted by it.

There have been, and continue to be, other well accepted scientific theories, such as the theory the universe is expanding, which exceed our technological capacity to validate through experimentation and remain grounded only in natural observation. Of course, as technology improves (and assuming our species survives long enough), even these may some day be subject to the rigors of the laboratory.

You're right that the Theory of Evolution was widely accepted before the discovery of DNA, but it was also widely accepted before Darwin too.  Darwin didn't invent the idea of evolution - it had existed for a long time.  And before that advent of genetics, which existed before DNA was discovered, Lamarckian evolution was widely in vogue within the scientific community.  So, yes, evolution did exist before genetics could argue for and generally prove it, but not evolution as we know it.  In fact, it was a wrong theory of evolution.  I suppose that could prove your point - scientists believed things without proof, but since they were wrong, I generally think that it probably hurts your argument more than helps.

And with the case of the expansion of the universe, that fundamentally differs from detective work in that it is currently observable.  Astrophysicists can see that the universe is expanding - so that doesn't really need to be proven any more than the fact that the sun is shining needs to be proven.  I suppose detectives need to use their faculties to observe - they observe that a bullet is still lodged in a person's body - but that's hardly the same as discovering the ends of something.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #212 on: April 12, 2012, 02:34:12 PM »
You're right that the Theory of Evolution was widely accepted before the discovery of DNA, but it was also widely accepted before Darwin too.  Darwin didn't invent the idea of evolution - it had existed for a long time.  And before that advent of genetics, which existed before DNA was discovered, Lamarckian evolution was widely in vogue within the scientific community.  So, yes, evolution did exist before genetics could argue for and generally prove it, but not evolution as we know it.  In fact, it was a wrong theory of evolution.  I suppose that could prove your point - scientists believed things without proof, but since they were wrong, I generally think that it probably hurts your argument more than helps.

No, that wasn't my point at all. My point, which I fear I did not articulate as clearly as I might have, was not that scientists accept theories without "proof", but simply that science can be, has been, and continues to be done without experimentation, where experimentation is impracticable or impossible. It is no less scientific to test theories against observations of natural phenomena in situ than against the results of laboratory research.

Nor was I contending that scientists who accepted Darwin's Theory of Evolution (or prior theories) before the advent of genetics did so without evidence (I prefer the word "evidence" to "proof" because, though scientific theories may elicit great confidence through repeated empirical observations, they are never really proved). As mentioned in my last post, at the time of Darwin's work, evidence for his theory existed in observations of living plants and animals, in the fossil record of extinct ones, and in experience with breeding domesticated species. The explanatory power later provided by the laws of genetics and advances in cellular biology, not the least of which was the discovery of DNA, certainly made Darwin's insights all the more compelling. But, even before they arrived on the scene, Darwin's theory was no less an achievement of empiricism. 

You are correct that there were other fairly widely accepted theories of evolution before, and even for quite some time after, Darwin's. What distinguished Darwin's was its recognition that natural selection served as the great engine behind speciation. (I believe that at least one contemporary of Darwin's independently hit upon the same idea, but Darwin was the first to publish. Even in those days, I guess, the great engine of intellectual evolution was the rule of publish or perish).

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And with the case of the expansion of the universe, that fundamentally differs from detective work in that it is currently observable.  Astrophysicists can see that the universe is expanding - so that doesn't really need to be proven any more than the fact that the sun is shining needs to be proven.  I suppose detectives need to use their faculties to observe - they observe that a bullet is still lodged in a person's body - but that's hardly the same as discovering the ends of something.

Again, I have to disagree.

When astrophysicists refer to the expansion of the universe, they are referring to the expansion of space, which is not directly observable. What is observable is that the light reaching us from other galaxies is red-shifted -- i.e., its wavelengths are stretched out -- indicating the galaxies are moving away from us. Unless our galaxy occupies a favored position in the universe, the same red shift would be observed from any other. The implication here is that galaxies are not receding from us through space (which otherwise would be another candidate for explanation of the red shift), but that space itself is expanding and carrying along everything in it.

It was some time before the model of an expanding universe achieved its present, nearly uniform acceptance among astronomers and physicists. There were many, Einstein among them (notwithstanding the big bang implications of his own Theory of Relativity), who long preferred the idea of a constant state universe. As with Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the expansionary model has been supported both by further and better observations over the years and by its consistency with other theoretical advances.   
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 04:17:22 PM by vtboy »

Offline Xandria

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #213 on: April 12, 2012, 04:59:50 PM »
Again, I have to disagree.

When astrophysicists refer to the expansion of the universe, they are referring to the expansion of space, which is not directly observable. What is observable is that the light reaching us from other galaxies is red-shifted -- i.e., its wavelengths are stretched out -- indicating the galaxies are moving away from us. Unless our galaxy occupies a favored position in the universe, the same red shift would be observed from any other. The implication here is that galaxies are not receding from us through space (which otherwise would be another candidate for explanation of the red shift), but that space itself is expanding and carrying along everything in it.

It was some time before the model of an expanding universe achieved its present, nearly uniform acceptance among astronomers and physicists. There were many, Einstein among them (notwithstanding the big bang implications of his own Theory of Relativity), who long preferred the idea of a constant state universe. As with Darwin's Theory of Evolution, the expansionary model has been supported both by further and better observations over the years and by its consistency with other theoretical advances.

I agree with this, and it more or less illustrates one reason I follow science as opposed to organized religion...science evolves based on new discoveries, observations, information, empirical evidence, proof, whatever one chooses to call it, and does so with little fuss (once there is adequate 'proof/evidence' to mollify the requisite naysayers of course). 

Einstein may also be used in another example illustrating why I feel the way I do, because to the best of my knowledge few of his theories have been proven incorrect, but his discomfort and derision over what he called "Spooky Action at a Distance" was quite famous, and that phenomenon has now been effectively proven as "Quantum Entanglement".  I will be so bold as to wager a guess that had Einstein been a religious figure instead of a scientist, the discovery he was 'wrong' would have done irreparable damage to his credibility...to put it mildly.  However, from what I've been able to ascertain from my position only as an interested layperson, the scientific community's respect and admiration for the man's brilliance and contributions to our understanding of the Universe, hasn't wavered one iota.  In other words, I much prefer the fluidity and adaptability of science to the dogma found in most theologies, but I won't expand upon this point since many posters before me have already described it with greater eloquence than I could.

Again, I'm no expert on any of these topics, this is merely my personal opinion based on my own life long journey, research, and experiences.




« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 05:06:07 PM by Xandria »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #214 on: April 12, 2012, 08:20:43 PM »
Quote
I can't emphasize this enough:  there is only one real truth, for anyone, and Christianity is it, and it's actually available to you, to anyone.  Yes, that is only my opinion, my belief, but I believe it to be the truth for everyone, not just for me.

 And that's were most believers run into trouble. To a lot of people that attitude, even if it's not intended, comes of as being rude. It can very easily be seen as a 'I'm right and you're wrong' type of attitude that rubs people the wrong way. How can you discuss/argue things with someone that is convinced they are right?

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #215 on: April 13, 2012, 12:58:11 AM »
And that's were most believers run into trouble. To a lot of people that attitude, even if it's not intended, comes of as being rude. It can very easily be seen as a 'I'm right and you're wrong' type of attitude that rubs people the wrong way.

Yes I agree, however contradictory it may seem for me to feel that way, and I'm grateful that such an attitude can even be openly expressed here without being censured in some way.  I think it is that rudeness that is being referred to when people talk of the inherent offensiveness of Christianity and of Christ's message; I consider it offensive myself, and deeply so.  I think it is what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring a sword rather than to bring peace.

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How can you discuss/argue things with someone that is convinced they are right?

hehehe, now there's an excellent question that I think doesn't just go for my strange views, but for many of those expressed in this section of Elliquiy.  I like to think, though, that disagreeing honestly and openly with each other doesn't mean that we don't still have a great deal of value to learn from talking to one another and listening to each other's points of view.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 01:18:07 AM by rick957 »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #216 on: April 13, 2012, 10:05:53 AM »
Yes I agree, however contradictory it may seem for me to feel that way, and I'm grateful that such an attitude can even be openly expressed here without being censured in some way.  I think it is that rudeness that is being referred to when people talk of the inherent offensiveness of Christianity and of Christ's message; I consider it offensive myself, and deeply so.  I think it is what Jesus meant when he said he came to bring a sword rather than to bring peace.
Quote


 For the most part, for me, the rude and offensiveness is that a lot of people use Christianity as a club to try and beat you into submission, to force you to see things their way. After all their way is the 'One True Way' and any other way is a pathway to 'Sin and Evil and Satan'. And when you ask to be left alone, too many don't take the hint and go away.

hehehe, now there's an excellent question that I think doesn't just go for my strange views, but for many of those expressed in this section of Elliquiy.  I like to think, though, that disagreeing honestly and openly with each other doesn't mean that we don't still have a great deal of value to learn from talking to one another and listening to each other's points of view.


 That only assumes that both are willing to learn from the other side. Too many so called 'Christians' are more than willing to be close minded and bigoted, using the bible to support their viewpoint and cannot be swayed that their view could be wrong.  It's nice that there is a general openness on this site  and that people are expected and are generally nice. I wish the real world could be like that.

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #217 on: April 13, 2012, 01:12:48 PM »
As much as I love healthy debate, no one in this thread is going to change their minds. In fact, rick957 has made me feel worse about Christianity. I used to wish I could believe like some people, but I don't want to believe like that.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #218 on: April 13, 2012, 01:44:21 PM »
If your view point changes from an internet forum on an adult roleplay site...odds are your conviction wasn't that strong to begin with.

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #219 on: April 13, 2012, 01:54:31 PM »
If your view point changes from an internet forum on an adult roleplay site...odds are your conviction wasn't that strong to begin with.

+1

Offline ColdBloodedJellyDoughnut

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #220 on: April 13, 2012, 02:28:44 PM »
I never said I had any conviction at all.

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #221 on: April 13, 2012, 04:19:19 PM »
Personally, I think it's good to have at least a little doubt in one's convictions; it's what keeps you open to new ideas, from which you learn more, and may mitigate against rash actions. Few people are as dangerous, I find, as those whose conviction of their own rightness in certain matters is absolute.

Offline rick957

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #222 on: April 13, 2012, 04:46:51 PM »
Zakharra -- I think the behavior of Christians is probably the second biggest barrier to people coming to believe in Christ, and it seems like the first.  (The actual first:  human nature.)  All IMO.

CBJD -- I can honestly tell you that I've learned a lot from participating in this thread and interacting with others here.  I suppose it hasn't "changed my mind" in a major way, but it has certainly had a significant effect on my thinking and my understanding of certain things.  FWIW.

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In fact, rick957 has made me feel worse about Christianity. I used to wish I could believe like some people, but I don't want to believe like that.

I see that I have proven my own point by adding to whatever barriers stand between you and believing in Christianity.  I'm genuinely, terribly sorry for that; it is in fact the very last thing that I would have wanted, the diametric opposite of my intentions in posting here.  And learning that will have a significant effect on my thinking, I can promise you that.

I've invited anyone who wants to talk further about anything I've said here to let me know, here or in private; it's an open invitation that I want to reiterate. 

There is much about Christianity that I've not tried to explain in my posts here, because 1) in the West, and especially in America, it's impossible to become well-educated or interact with many people without encountering the basic message of Christianity somewhere, and most people have heard it so many times that re-hearing it is tiresome and aggravating.  I had hoped that my perspective on Christianity might add something new to people's view of it, but in a positive, not negative way.  Oh, and 2) I haven't tried to cover everything because I don't want it to appear that I'm trying to proselytize or to criticize anyone with other beliefs.

All that said, since I've had a negative effect, let me briefly add a positive point or two.  There's a reason why the noxious phrase "born again" has been used to describe the effect of believing in Christianity.  One comes to experience a day-to-day life that is so different from one's previous life that it might as well be a whole new life.  Is it a new life that is without problems or bad feelings?  Not in this lifetime, certainly not.  But nevertheless, it is a change that is gigantic and is unspeakably wonderful.

There's so much more I could say -- so much more that I wish someone would say here, because I'm a terrible advocate for Christianity.  In the interests of brevity, however, I'll stop after sharing this with you.  This is something that occurred to me very recently, and I consider it extremely personal.

The word that is used to describe the basic message of Christianity is "gospel," which means something like "good news."  Here is how I personally see the "gospel": 

through Jesus,
the most miserable person who has ever lived
can be happier than
the happiest person who has ever lived. 

That is what I believe is the essence of the "good news"; it is the truth about life, yours and mine, and it is very good news indeed.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #223 on: April 13, 2012, 05:00:12 PM »
Personally, I think it's good to have at least a little doubt in one's convictions; it's what keeps you open to new ideas, from which you learn more, and may mitigate against rash actions. Few people are as dangerous, I find, as those whose conviction of their own rightness in certain matters is absolute.

Amen, er... righto.

Offline Cheka Man

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #224 on: April 13, 2012, 08:00:13 PM »
I'm an agnostic-I want to beleave in a decent afterlife, but science, plus the acts of a minority of religious people and disasters on Earth make it unlikely.