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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35628 times)

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Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #825 on: April 04, 2013, 10:31:24 AM »
Actually it doesn’t.  I asserted a negative with a caveat that I do not know of any religion which makes the assertion that simply praying to God will causes an answer.  Sabby responded with Biblical quotes, which considering he stated he doesn’t read the Bible means he actually doesn’t know if there are religions that firmly believe those quotes and probably hasn’t even looked into interpretations of those quotes by biblical scholars.  A holy text does not necessitate a belief by that religion in a literal translation of the texts.  That Kythia was able to just as easily display counter quotes to those texts gives strength toward religions attached to this holy text not believing a literal translation. 

There are many ways to conduct an experiment.  A double blind study is not the only way to do an experiment nor even the only way to submit anything to scientific research or study.  Most experiments are not double blind and are just as valid.  If that was the only way to do an experiment then my classes would have been far shorter with lighter textbooks.

I am being direct.  You have yet to name a religion that believes that.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 10:33:15 AM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Sethala

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #826 on: April 04, 2013, 10:35:34 AM »
This is where your problem is Sethala.  I (or whoever is reading this) certainly doesn't need to do that.  You've overstated your point.  It should be "The main issue is that not matter what your beliefs are, if you want to remain in a broadly scientific context you need to remain consistent".  If I (or whoever is reading this) doesn't give a single solitary **** about remaining within that paradigm - or, to take it up a notch - if the "no matter what your beliefs are" includes "I belive the scientific method is incapable of proving my beliefs" then no, you certainly don't need to.

Sorry, I may have been misclear (and posting more for emphasis).  My point was, as I later elaborated, that if you want to participate in an argument with any sort of integrity, all of your arguments need to be internally consistent with each other.  For instance, if you hold one belief, and a second belief is presented that meets the same criteria as the first belief, you need to either accept the second belief is true, point out a reason why it's different enough to not believe it, or accept that you're holding the two beliefs to different standards (i.e. special pleading).  I'm not saying that you can't ever change what you believe in; that is, after all, the point of entering an argument with someone.

Pumpkin, do you mind going back to my post on page 32 and taking a look at it?  I know it kind of got buried with Sabby and Kythia's discussion.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #827 on: April 04, 2013, 10:41:50 AM »
Actually it doesn’t.  I asserted a negative with a caveat that I do not know of any religion which makes the assertion that simply praying to God will causes an answer.  Sabby responded with Biblical quotes, which considering he stated he doesn’t read the Bible means he actually doesn’t know if there are religions that firmly believe those quotes and probably hasn’t even looked into interpretations of those quotes by biblical scholars.  A holy text does not necessitate a belief by that religion in a literal translation of the texts.  That Kythia was able to just as easily display counter quotes to those texts gives strength toward religions attached to this holy text not believing a literal translation.
...again, Biblical literalists exist. Southern Baptists, for example, regard the word "interpret" as dangerously heretical when it comes to the Bible. So yeah, the words being on the page is pretty damning.

There are many ways to conduct an experiment.  A double blind study is not the only way to do an experiment nor even the only way to submit anything to scientific research or study.  Most experiments are not double blind and are just as valid.  If that was the only way to do an experiment then my classes would have been far shorter with lighter textbooks.
Sigh. That was slightly hyperbolic in the hopes that you could see the underlying point. Properly rigorous science is not practical for most things that have a time limit or less than institutional resources at hand.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #828 on: April 04, 2013, 10:45:26 AM »
Pumpkin, you said no religion says all prayers are answered.

I provided you examples of a religion claiming all prayers are answered.

It's pretty simple. I don't need to 'read the Bible one verse at a time' to see the hypocrisy.

Hmmmm.

Have you read "Dawkins' God" and "The Dawkins Delusion" by McGrath?  Particularly the former, the latter was a little weak.

McGrath raises the point that Dawkins believes no knowledge of theology is necessary to criticise religion.  He's outright said that on several occasions and in response to DG he made a relatively famous quote about leprechaunology being unnecessary for disbelief in leprechauns.  And it was witty and pithy and often thats viewed as the same as making a point.  It isn't.

I'm not specifically referring here to your assertion about people believing all prayers are answered.  As I've said many times, there are sects who believe that.  But...well, lets take the first of your four quoted passages.  John 15:7.  The entirety of John 15 is a speech by Jesus to his gathered disciples.  He's speaking directly to them and claiming their prayers will be answered.  This ties in to the quotes I gave earlier through John 15:3 in which he says that they are "clean" (NIV) because of the things he's already said to them.  Specifically, John 15:7 is in no way saying all prayers are answered.  Its saying that the prayers of the disciples will be answered.  You've taken a quote wildly out of context and tried to use it. 

As I say, this isn't an attempt to provoke a theological debate as I believe this is the wrong thread for that.  It's also not an attack on your belief that there are biblical literalist.  There are.

What it is an attempt to do is to say that, like Dawkins, it appears you're often trying to criticise a belief system that you don't actually fully understand.  You're misstating the nature of prayer, misunderstanding Catholic dogma, taking quotes out of context and generally attacking something that, on first glance, looks extremely like Christianity but in fact isn't.

Am I saying that you need a degree in theology to discuss this?  No, of course I'm not.  That's not only infeasible but actively unhelpful.  Theology sets in a particular world view - I'm not talking about religion here, there are extremely notable areligious theologians, I'm talking about a weight given to received wisdom.  All I'm trying to say is that comments like "I don't need to read the bible verse by verse to see the hypocrisy" are unhelpful when going back literally four verses would have shown there is no hypocrisy at all.  We can go on to your other three, but I'm not sure it would be helpful.

Because Christianity isn't the same as leprechauns.  I'm not making truth claims about leprechauns or the Christian God here.  What I am saying is that the subject is much more involved.  You need at least some basic knowledge of what a leprechaun is to disbelieve in it.  As Christianity is a much more in depth field so you need a little more knowledge to, reasonably and articulately, criticise it ON ITS OWN TERMS.  Criticising the effect it has on the world, the effect it has in politics, etc.  Thats a different kettle of fish.  But arguing what is and isn't a Christian belief requires some knowledge of what it is you're arguing about, no matter how little.  And your unwillingness to glance back those four verses and see if the quote you plucked out of Google is relevant to your point, your claims that you don't need to actually read the Bible to know its hypocrisy...  I dunno.  They feel very off to me.

This has been a relatively long post and I can totally see how it can be viewed as a massive attack on you.  It is in no way intended as such.  You've made, today, a few claims that have been out and out wrong.  Factually.  All I'm trying to do is to point you to McGrath's work and, if you're unwilling/able/whatever of reading to provide a brief precis of what he claims (with some of the weaker bits excised).

My massive apologies if you take offense from this.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #829 on: April 04, 2013, 10:50:25 AM »
Mmm... point taken about consideration in context, Kythia. I, for one, will withdraw the point.

EDIT: Though... err, if it's just a matter of "your prayers will be answered if you are clean, and not if you are unclean", then doesn't Acts 10:9-19 kinda counter that?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 10:52:18 AM by Ephiral »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #830 on: April 04, 2013, 10:53:55 AM »
Well, I am not a Christian but I do thank you for at least asserting that as an assumption.  Most people are more than willing to tell me what I believe rather than asking me what I believe.

If A = X+Y+Z
   B = X+Y+Z
Then A = B
 Personally I am fine with A = B.  The assertion of someone that was not would be that the Greeks had a rudimentary understanding of God and in the context of their mythology described simple aspects of a greater being.  If I remember correctly that was typically how missionaries from the Catholic Church took the approach, particularly the Jesuits.

Yet I would still assert that because something is cheaper and easier does not necessarily mean the abandonment of something that is slower and more reliable.  Being someone with a social sciences background I completely understand how frustrating science can be to prove or disprove anything.  There are mathematical and statistical methods to prove a point, such as the Bayesian analysis.  Experimentation is the ultimate standard current in use, but is far from the only acceptable method.  I am not entirely certain why I earned a “sigh” in this regard, but hopefully we are indeed discussing the same thing.

Southern Baptists claim to be literal but are not.  Their picking and choosing of quotes is quite famous.  Also most of a preacher’s job is interpretation of the text and applying them to life lessons.  Also Southern Baptists do not believe the simple act of praying gets a person what they necessarily pray for at all times.  God’s mysterious plan and all.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #831 on: April 04, 2013, 11:08:00 AM »
Mmm... point taken about consideration in context, Kythia. I, for one, will withdraw the point.

EDIT: Though... err, if it's just a matter of "your prayers will be answered if you are clean, and not if you are unclean", then doesn't Acts 10:9-19 kinda counter that?

I'm just swinging in to this because I don't like leaving things unanswered.  As I've mentioned, I don't wanna have this discussion in this thread, it feels like too large a derailment.  If you wanna have it by PM or elsewhere then thats groovy.  Quickly though, no.  The word in John 15:3 is καθαροί, in Acts 10:13 is ἀκάθαρτον.  So yes, they are referring to the same "type" of cleanliness (if that makes sense). 

But the context is broadly the same in both John and Acts which, oddly, leads to the conclusion being the different.  Jesus tells the disciples they have been cleaned and hence their prayers will be answered.  Acts 10 does little but confirm that - that God has a power to make things clean.  There's no suggestion that the "cleansing" that Jesus has done to the disciples is extended to the community of believers (well, there are a few specific cases but I've rambled too long already)

In essence, the passages both just point to God's ability to remove a taint of sin from a person/thing.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #832 on: April 04, 2013, 11:08:47 AM »
Yet I would still assert that because something is cheaper and easier does not necessarily mean the abandonment of something that is slower and more reliable.  Being someone with a social sciences background I completely understand how frustrating science can be to prove or disprove anything.  There are mathematical and statistical methods to prove a point, such as the Bayesian analysis.  Experimentation is the ultimate standard current in use, but is far from the only acceptable method.  I am not entirely certain why I earned a “sigh” in this regard, but hopefully we are indeed discussing the same thing.
Abandonment, no. But I'd reserve science for the questions that a) we can gather complete data for, and b) are important enough to expend the resources on. Front-line analysis should be left to the cheaper, faster tools. And in that context, complexity of the hypothesis is a very valid tool for preliminary analysis. In short, there is a burden of proof, and it is absolutely not on "Not-God".

Southern Baptists claim to be literal but are not.  Their picking and choosing of quotes is quite famous.  Also most of a preacher’s job is interpretation of the text and applying them to life lessons.  Also Southern Baptists do not believe the simple act of praying gets a person what they necessarily pray for at all times.  God’s mysterious plan and all.
Yeah, this was a poor choice on my part. Argument withdrawn.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #833 on: April 04, 2013, 11:16:17 AM »
Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
I am being direct

You are not.

You made a statement. As far as you know, no Religion says X.

I provided an example of a Religion saying X.

You must concede that you are wrong and move on, or demonstrate John 15:7, Mark 11:24, Luke 11:9, and Matthew 6:6 as not existing in the Bible. You haven't done either, so you haven't actually responded to the point. Kythia has actually addressed one of the 4 examples I listed, and demonstrated why one is not in the right context, so I have removed that example.

What you've done is bring up several points in succession that have nothing to do with the rebuttal to your point. If you can't have a back and forth without moving goal posts and laying smoke screens, then nothing can be gained from this discussion, and I remove myself from it.

Kythia, I will address your post before I leave.

Quote
Have you read "Dawkins' God" and "The Dawkins Delusion" by McGrath?  Particularly the former, the latter was a little weak.

I haven't even read The God Delusion xD if I can be perfectly honest, the names of these books make them sound like apologetic propoganda, but like I said, have not read them.

Quote
McGrath raises the point that Dawkins believes no knowledge of theology is necessary to criticise religion.  He's outright said that on several occasions and in response to DG he made a relatively famous quote about leprechaunology being unnecessary for disbelief in leprechauns.  And it was witty and pithy and often thats viewed as the same as making a point.  It isn't.

Why do you not believe in Rhubarb Frankfurter? You don't follow the Church of the Starduck, so how can you say Rhubarbs existence is unlikely?

Quote
I'm not specifically referring here to your assertion about people believing all prayers are answered.  As I've said many times, there are sects who believe that.  But...well, lets take the first of your four quoted passages.  John 15:7.  The entirety of John 15 is a speech by Jesus to his gathered disciples.  He's speaking directly to them and claiming their prayers will be answered.  This ties in to the quotes I gave earlier through John 15:3 in which he says that they are "clean" (NIV) because of the things he's already said to them.  Specifically, John 15:7 is in no way saying all prayers are answered.  Its saying that the prayers of the disciples will be answered.  You've taken a quote wildly out of context and tried to use it. 

Then I recede John 15:7, now what of the other 3 passages?

Quote
As I say, this isn't an attempt to provoke a theological debate as I believe this is the wrong thread for that..

This is the right discussion. Lack of theism cannot be discussed without a discussion on theism itself.

Quote
What it is an attempt to do is to say that, like Dawkins, it appears you're often trying to criticise a belief system that you don't actually fully understand

My rebuttal was to a claim that X does not exist, when X appears to exist. The matter of X's existence was then ignored, not addressed. One example of X has been addressed by you, and I thank you for it, and have receded that example of X.

If you mean the prior topic of prayer induced healing, then I also concede that I was in error in stating all prayer would follow the same rules if it were a real phenomena. You are absolutely right, I do not understand how prayer works in each Religion, and while I don't think I was expected to, I shouldn't have spoke as if I did. I apologize.

Quote
Am I saying that you need a degree in theology to discuss this?  No, of course I'm not.  That's not only infeasible but actively unhelpful.  Theology sets in a particular world view - I'm not talking about religion here, there are extremely notable areligious theologians, I'm talking about a weight given to received wisdom.  All I'm trying to say is that comments like "I don't need to read the bible verse by verse to see the hypocrisy" are unhelpful when going back literally four verses would have shown there is no hypocrisy at all.  We can go on to your other three, but I'm not sure it would be helpful.

You absolutely do not need a thorough understanding of a Religious text in order to see hipocrisy. For instance, God telling Abraham to kill his son, and then stopping Abraham from doing it. In this scenario, God is either...

a) Lying
b) Changed his mind.

But God is all knowing and cannot lie, according to the same book. So there is an inconsistency that does not require a thorough Biblical education to point out.

Quote
Because Christianity isn't the same as leprechauns.

How so?

Quote
I'm not making truth claims about leprechauns or the Christian God here.  What I am saying is that the subject is much more involved.  You need at least some basic knowledge of what a leprechaun is to disbelieve in it.  As Christianity is a much more in depth field so you need a little more knowledge to, reasonably and articulately, criticise it ON ITS OWN TERMS.  Criticising the effect it has on the world, the effect it has in politics, etc.  Thats a different kettle of fish.  But arguing what is and isn't a Christian belief requires some knowledge of what it is you're arguing about, no matter how little.  And your unwillingness to glance back those four verses and see if the quote you plucked out of Google is relevant to your point, your claims that you don't need to actually read the Bible to know its hypocrisy...  I dunno.  They feel very off to me.

No, it refers to God as an entity, not the Catholic religion as a cultural phenomena. Religious influence in society is measurable, the prescence of a diety, so far, is not. I seriously doubt the statement was made in any other way but to address the supernatural.

Quote
This has been a relatively long post and I can totally see how it can be viewed as a massive attack on you.  It is in no way intended as such.  You've made, today, a few claims that have been out and out wrong.  Factually.  All I'm trying to do is to point you to McGrath's work and, if you're unwilling/able/whatever of reading to provide a brief precis of what he claims (with some of the weaker bits excised).

My massive apologies if you take offense from this.

There's no offense intended and I also apologize as well. We were both a little unclear at times, and I could have conducted myself a lot better ^^' I see no attack at all, and I look forward to speaking to you again. Thing is, I'm actually not used to talking to well spoken, clear Theists, so I was a little unprepared for this, but I feel good for having this talk with you.

Good night Elliquians!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 12:28:40 PM by Sabby »

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #834 on: April 04, 2013, 12:00:42 PM »
Well, I am not a Christian but I do thank you for at least asserting that as an assumption.  Most people are more than willing to tell me what I believe rather than asking me what I believe.

If A = X+Y+Z
   B = X+Y+Z
Then A = B
 Personally I am fine with A = B.  The assertion of someone that was not would be that the Greeks had a rudimentary understanding of God and in the context of their mythology described simple aspects of a greater being.  If I remember correctly that was typically how missionaries from the Catholic Church took the approach, particularly the Jesuits.

Yet I would still assert that because something is cheaper and easier does not necessarily mean the abandonment of something that is slower and more reliable.  Being someone with a social sciences background I completely understand how frustrating science can be to prove or disprove anything.  There are mathematical and statistical methods to prove a point, such as the Bayesian analysis.  Experimentation is the ultimate standard current in use, but is far from the only acceptable method.  I am not entirely certain why I earned a “sigh” in this regard, but hopefully we are indeed discussing the same thing.

Southern Baptists claim to be literal but are not.  Their picking and choosing of quotes is quite famous.  Also most of a preacher’s job is interpretation of the text and applying them to life lessons.  Also Southern Baptists do not believe the simple act of praying gets a person what they necessarily pray for at all times.  God’s mysterious plan and all.

This here is my problem. People are often criticized for using the Bible as a point of reference for Christian belief. They say it's 'too broad' or 'Christians don't actually believe that'.

My question is then, what are we supposed to use as a point of reference? If you accept that 'The Bible says nothing of importance, it's all allegory and interpretation', it not only leads to some rather disgusting ways that belief can be twisted, even beyond the already immoral points preached in the Bible, but also makes it impossible to pin down anyones belief.

You could do a three year study in religious studies, and what will that teach you? Nothing. Because even if you understand what every major sect of Christianity believes, the people within those sects also believe different things and split off into completely other different sects. To quote the Atheist Experience, someone's father, when put on the spot, tried to argue that the unscientific claims in the Bible which are wrong arn't wrong, because when they said 'the Earth doesn't move', what they meant was 'the Earth couldn't be moved by man'. As pointed out, were there people back two thousand years ago who were going out of their way attempting to move the Earth by themselves and God needed to step in and put that to rest? If the point is interpretation, then you can quite easily stretch 'Stone homosexuals' into 'Oh, God means they should smoke weed, because being all knowing, he knew in the future they'd have hard times and he knew that modern parlance for partaking is getting stoned'. If you're trying to base a critique of the beliefs of a belief system, 'it's all interpretation' makes it impossible, because the goal posts arn't even moving; they're protean shapeless wishes which twist and shape as soon as anyone thinks up a new idea on what 'stone a woman for not being a virgin' means.

As Sabby has stated, no, I do not need a degree in religious studies and a 'complete understanding of all verses in the Bible' to know that 'They shall be taken to the reaches of the city and stoned to death' means brutally murdering someone by chucking rocks at them. Arguing that otherwise isn't interpretation; that's spin and outright dishonesty.

And why isn't God the same as lepreauchauns? Or pegasi, Harry Potter or Spiderman? Do I have to read the entirity of Spiderman and talk to every fan of Spiderman in existance before I can conclude that he exists? Like Jesus, there could be records that a man called Peter Parker lives in New York and he's a scientist. I have no proof that he isn't Spiderman, so does that make it the Christian's job to prove that he isn't Spiderman? Would you say it's logical to believe that Hogwarts exists, because the Bible presents as much evidence for God as Rowling provides for Harry Potter?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #835 on: April 04, 2013, 12:38:34 PM »
Just gonna address a couple of points, Sabby.  Mainly because the football starts in a bit and I need to get to a pub, stat.

Why do you not believe in Rhubarb Frankfurter? You don't follow the Church of the Starduck, so how can you say Rhubarbs existence is unlikely?

I've said nothing of the sort.  What I've said is that in order to criticise the beliefs of the Church of Starduck I would need to know what they are.  This conversation has focused around Christianity but I've taken some serious pains to present it as no more or less likely than anything else.

Quote
You absolutely do not need a thorough understanding of a Religious text in order to see hipocrisy. For instance, God telling Abraham to kill his son, and then stopping Abraham from doing it. In this scenario, God is either...

a) Lying
b) Changed his mind.

But God is all knowing and cannot lie, according to the same book. So there is an inconsistency that does not require a thorough Biblical education to point out.


This is my point here, Sabby.  The biblical evidence for omniscience is...sketchy.  God lies and changes his mind CONSTANTLY - how you can have read the bible and drawn the conclusion that God cannot lie is inexplicable.  Further, there is a third option that you're overlooking and is the standardly accepted version - that this was a test of faith that He never intended to take to completion.  Seriously, I've never heard it argued another way.  There's no hypocrisy there.

Quote
There's no offense intended and I also apologize as well. We were both a little unclear at times, and I could have conducted myself a lot better ^^' I see no attack at all, and I look forward to speaking to you again. Thing is, I'm actually not used to talking to well spoken, clear Theists, so I was a little unprepared for this, but I feel good for having this talk with you.

Good night Elliquians!

Once again, I've gone to soem effort to avoid making a "God exists" claim.  I've done my best to keep my religious beliefs or lack of them out of this conversation and argue solely on measurable facts.  I'm not offended, so no need to apologise.  In fact, thank you for the compliment.  But I do just want to point out that a) if I've mentioned a belief in God it was meant as example and b) whether I'm theist, deist, agnostic or atheist has no bearing on my argument.  Or at least I hope not.

Good night to yourself.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #836 on: April 04, 2013, 12:53:24 PM »
Quote
I've said nothing of the sort.  What I've said is that in order to criticise the beliefs of the Church of Starduck I would need to know what they are.

Rhubarb decrees that up and down are only so when your eyes are closed. You can openly criticize that statement, despite having not read the Book of Quackenations.

Quote
This is my point here, Sabby.  The biblical evidence for omniscience is...sketchy.  God lies and changes his mind CONSTANTLY - how you can have read the bible and drawn the conclusion that God cannot lie is inexplicable.  Further, there is a third option that you're overlooking and is the standardly accepted version - that this was a test of faith that He never intended to take to completion.  Seriously, I've never heard it argued another way.  There's no hypocrisy there.

Gensis 22:2
Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."

From the same text.

Titus 1:2
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time

God cannot lie. God told Abraham he wanted him to kill his son, when he did not want him to do it. This is a lie, and thus an inconsistency. I realize that that would be the more accurate word. Inconsistent. Hipocritical would be more aimed at the teller, and not that which is being told, but my point stands that knowledge of the Bible is not required to see this inconsistency.


Quote
whether I'm theist, deist, agnostic or atheist has no bearing on my argument.  Or at least I hope not.


On that we agree, and I apologize for the assumptions.

Offline Sethala

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #837 on: April 04, 2013, 01:46:34 PM »
Well, I am not a Christian but I do thank you for at least asserting that as an assumption.  Most people are more than willing to tell me what I believe rather than asking me what I believe.

If A = X+Y+Z
   B = X+Y+Z
Then A = B
 Personally I am fine with A = B.  The assertion of someone that was not would be that the Greeks had a rudimentary understanding of God and in the context of their mythology described simple aspects of a greater being.  If I remember correctly that was typically how missionaries from the Catholic Church took the approach, particularly the Jesuits.

Yet I would still assert that because something is cheaper and easier does not necessarily mean the abandonment of something that is slower and more reliable.  Being someone with a social sciences background I completely understand how frustrating science can be to prove or disprove anything.  There are mathematical and statistical methods to prove a point, such as the Bayesian analysis.  Experimentation is the ultimate standard current in use, but is far from the only acceptable method.  I am not entirely certain why I earned a “sigh” in this regard, but hopefully we are indeed discussing the same thing.

Southern Baptists claim to be literal but are not.  Their picking and choosing of quotes is quite famous.  Also most of a preacher’s job is interpretation of the text and applying them to life lessons.  Also Southern Baptists do not believe the simple act of praying gets a person what they necessarily pray for at all times.  God’s mysterious plan and all.

Ah, I apologize for the assumption then (I didn't have time to read the whole thread before posting, sadly).  I want to expand on this more, but I'd like a point of reference to work on first, so do you mind if I ask what your beliefs are?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #838 on: April 04, 2013, 01:50:37 PM »
Sabby, you have failed to present any religion thus far that believes as we have discussed.  Ephiral did and I made an argument against that religion being considered literal.  So please do not accuse me of moving goal posts and throwing up smoke screens when you have done nothing but.  I said a religion and you quoted the Bible.  Unless you are prepared to defend that the entirety of Christianity believes that all a person must do is pray and God answers, then I suggest you find another angle.  Kythia has been gracious enough to extend her knowledge and expertise on that subject matter into a wonderful set of posts.  I am not someone that argues Bible quotes.

As for how you know or what is a point of reference, just ask the people.  Better yet look into their religion rather than a generalization.  Christianity alone is comprised of many beliefs all serious enough to have caused schisms and fighting in the past.  Lumping them all into a basket is daunting and detracts from their complex belief systems.  Not to mention other religions of the world.  This is no different really than speaking with an atheist.  Atheists have nothing more in common than a disbelief in God as we have covered many times in this thread.  So when speaking to an atheist I have to approach that person not knowing what they actually believe.

My beliefs have little to do with this discussion.  As at least two people in this thread are extremely antagonistic toward me, I would like to refrain from doing so.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #839 on: April 04, 2013, 02:11:04 PM »
Sabby, you have failed to present any religion thus far that believes as we have discussed.  Ephiral did and I made an argument against that religion being considered literal.  So please do not accuse me of moving goal posts and throwing up smoke screens when you have done nothing but.  I said a religion and you quoted the Bible.  Unless you are prepared to defend that the entirety of Christianity believes that all a person must do is pray and God answers, then I suggest you find another angle.  Kythia has been gracious enough to extend her knowledge and expertise on that subject matter into a wonderful set of posts.  I am not someone that argues Bible quotes.

As for how you know or what is a point of reference, just ask the people.  Better yet look into their religion rather than a generalization.  Christianity alone is comprised of many beliefs all serious enough to have caused schisms and fighting in the past.  Lumping them all into a basket is daunting and detracts from their complex belief systems.  Not to mention other religions of the world.  This is no different really than speaking with an atheist.  Atheists have nothing more in common than a disbelief in God as we have covered many times in this thread.  So when speaking to an atheist I have to approach that person not knowing what they actually believe.

My beliefs have little to do with this discussion.  As at least two people in this thread are extremely antagonistic toward me, I would like to refrain from doing so.

I'm assuming one of those people you're referring to is myself, as we've not agreed at all on pretty much any topic across these threads; if you took anything I said as aggressive or offensive, then my apologies. They're not intended to come across as such.

I didn't question your beliefs. I've looked into Christianity - I was, as I've stated in one of my other threads, a rather invested Evangelical Christian for several years of my life before moving away from it - but this is the problem. Everyone within a belief, like all people, tend towards largely personal ideas on their belief, a phenomina which I find quite hard to logically understand. I don't understand why someone would read the Bible, see the passages condemning homosexuality and rather than say "This isn't right. This isn't what I believe" and insted say "We should rewrite this holy book to include what I believe". To me, that's completely the opposite of holding an 'organized, codified set of beliefs passed down from a deity'. How is someone saying 'I'm a Christian, but I disbelieve in everything the Bible says and think it's wrong'? What else is there to base your Christian beliefs off, if not the holy book which codifies what a Christian should aspire to?

It's impractical to not paint with a wide brush, or use a single point of reference; the Bible alone, as a reference, has many iterations with subtle differences, changes and such. But do you honestly believe that for me to have any sort of opinion on the core tenants of an organized religion, I have to understand every form of belief within it? I'm not just talking Catholic, Protestant, Church of England, Mormon, Baptist. I have to understand and research every group and every belief, from Hitler's personal beliefs in Christ, to the Westboro Baptists, to every tiny splinter sect of one religion, and in turn, every single churches interpretation of those splinter groups interpretations and furthermore, the interpretations of every individual member, of every church, of every splinter sect, of every major sect, of every group of organized religion before I'm allowed an opinion? That's like saying I can't make any observations on the quality of the steak on my plate before I've tried every form of steak, from every animal, from every butcher, from every slaughterhouse, to every form of steak prepartion possible.

And there's the slight difference; approaching a theist, I don't know what they believe, just like someone who approachs an atheist. I mean, you can know one fact for certain (I hold no belief in God), just like I know one fact about a theist (I believe in a God/divine entity). The difference with religion, however, is that Atheism is the lack of belief in a God; that is a universal trait we all share. While all Christians may believe in Christ/God, this is also a belief in that a divine being has told them the 'truth', and the one way to salvation. It makes sense for Atheists to hold a wide variety of beliefs in addition to their atheism, as there's no insistance that one atheist is absolutely right in everything they say. I find it makes a lot less sense for people who claim to believe in the same book which says 'Stone homosexuals, they're evil', only to find two distinct groups, at minimum, who accept homosexuals against God's word and those who revile them because God's word says they're evil.

Edit: Forgot to add. By the same note, does this mean I have to extend this same level of critique to all supernatural occurances in the world? Do I have to research every countries form of mythology, and every form of off-spring mythology from that, before I'm allowed the right to say that I don't think the concept of flying pink unicorns, leprechauns, sidhe, vampires and werewolves don't exist? If I came to you and said I believed there was a school for magic called Hogwarts in Scotland, but you just couldn't see it because of it's Muggle confunding charms and magic train which takes me there, should I expect you to have to research heavily into every form of British mysticism and occult practice before being allowed the opinion that you think my ideas may not be true?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 02:18:28 PM by Vanity Evolved »

Offline Sethala

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #840 on: April 04, 2013, 02:27:25 PM »
Sabby, you have failed to present any religion thus far that believes as we have discussed.  Ephiral did and I made an argument against that religion being considered literal.  So please do not accuse me of moving goal posts and throwing up smoke screens when you have done nothing but.  I said a religion and you quoted the Bible.  Unless you are prepared to defend that the entirety of Christianity believes that all a person must do is pray and God answers, then I suggest you find another angle.  Kythia has been gracious enough to extend her knowledge and expertise on that subject matter into a wonderful set of posts.  I am not someone that argues Bible quotes.

As for how you know or what is a point of reference, just ask the people.  Better yet look into their religion rather than a generalization.  Christianity alone is comprised of many beliefs all serious enough to have caused schisms and fighting in the past.  Lumping them all into a basket is daunting and detracts from their complex belief systems.  Not to mention other religions of the world.  This is no different really than speaking with an atheist.  Atheists have nothing more in common than a disbelief in God as we have covered many times in this thread.  So when speaking to an atheist I have to approach that person not knowing what they actually believe.

My beliefs have little to do with this discussion.  As at least two people in this thread are extremely antagonistic toward me, I would like to refrain from doing so.

Fair enough, and I won't press.

Basically, my point is that believing something just because "it hasn't been disproven yet" is a horrible idea, especially if you have very high standards as to what it takes to disprove something, because there is simply no way to remain intellectually honest without just accepting everything someone tells you, or resorting to special pleading.

So, an example: an average Christian.  Let's say that this guy is willing to debate the reason he believes and is willing to change his beliefs based on the argument; basically, he's trying to be as intellectually honest as possible.  I come to him and ask him why he believes, and his main argument is because no one's given him proof that God doesn't exist.  I counter that by pointing out that no one's proven that Odin and Thor don't exist, either.

Now, this guy has a few options, like I said before.  He can accept that both his God and the Norse Gods exist.  The problem with that is now I move on to the Greek gods, and then the Egyptian gods, then to unicorns, leprechauns, and so on.  All of this he has to believe because no one's proven that they don't exist (because doing so is impossible).

He could also provide evidence that there's a reason his God exists but the Norse ones don't.  This evidence, then, needs to be something testable, or it could be just as easily applied to the other gods.  This is where Christianity (and any religion, really) fails, because it cannot provide any reason to believe in their god over someone else's.

Finally, he could just accept that he's making a special case for God that doesn't apply to the rest; special pleading, in other words.  There's nothing wrong with this on a personal level, but it has no place in any sort of argument.

Note that I never listed the possibility of him arguing that he doesn't believe in the other things because they contradict his belief about God.  That's because that is merely a presuppositional argument; unless he can give a reason why he prefers one to the other, all he's doing is going with the belief he heard first.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #841 on: April 04, 2013, 02:37:38 PM »
I didn't question your beliefs. I've looked into Christianity - I was, as I've stated in one of my other threads, a rather invested Evangelical Christian for several years of my life before moving away from it - but this is the problem. Everyone within a belief, like all people, tend towards largely personal ideas on their belief, a phenomina which I find quite hard to logically understand. I don't understand why someone would read the Bible, see the passages condemning homosexuality and rather than say "This isn't right. This isn't what I believe" and insted say "We should rewrite this holy book to include what I believe". To me, that's completely the opposite of holding an 'organized, codified set of beliefs passed down from a deity'. How is someone saying 'I'm a Christian, but I disbelieve in everything the Bible says and think it's wrong'? What else is there to base your Christian beliefs off, if not the holy book which codifies what a Christian should aspire to?

Uhg, I wish I could have said it as well as you just did D= This is my main confusion, quoting a holy text and being told it doesn't apply. Ephiral explained to me over IMs in detail why that is, what with sects splitting off so much and not updating their version of the original book to match their branching theology. So it does make more sense to me, but I still find it ridiculous, and it just makes finding a point of reference when debating theism to be near impossible.

It's like saying 'we're talking about Christianity, not the book that the Pope holds up as the unifying guide to Christianity'. If you don't want your theology to be judged by a particular theological book, then don't endorse that book. If you cannot question a course of action by it, then you cannot endorse a course of action with it either. Either stand behind a book you agree with or don't use one at all.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #842 on: April 04, 2013, 02:44:53 PM »
Uhg, I wish I could have said it as well as you just did D= This is my main confusion, quoting a holy text and being told it doesn't apply. Ephiral explained to me over IMs in detail why that is, what with sects splitting off so much and not updating their version of the original book to match their branching theology. So it does make more sense to me, but I still find it ridiculous, and it just makes finding a point of reference when debating theism to be near impossible.

It's like saying 'we're talking about Christianity, not the book that the Pope holds up as the unifying guide to Christianity'. If you don't want your theology to be judged by a particular theological book, then don't endorse that book. If you cannot question a course of action by it, then you cannot endorse a course of action with it either. Either stand behind a book you agree with or don't use one at all.
The problem with that is that it's a double-standard. Might as well tell me that endorsing Dawkins' stand on belief and atheism means I have to endorse his (fucking disgusting) position on feminist issues. Or that, because I think Penn Jillette had some useful things to say about fact-checking, I have to endorse his crazy libertarianism.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #843 on: April 04, 2013, 02:53:35 PM »
Believing in something merely because that something is not proven is indeed silly and so is disbelief in something that has not been disproven.  The two are essentially belief.  Atheists and Theists are both staring at a box and making a guess as to what lies inside.  Neither can prove nor disprove if there is even anything inside the box.  Someone can shake the box and say they heard nothing, someone else claims to have heard something.  Back and forth we can all go, but at the end of the day both are still exercising belief. 

Anyway, I am tired and I have a 12 hour shift coming up. 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 02:55:21 PM by Pumpkin Seeds »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #844 on: April 04, 2013, 03:06:27 PM »
Believing in something merely because that something is not proven is indeed silly and so is disbelief in something that has not been disproven.  The two are essentially belief.  Atheists and Theists are both staring at a box and making a guess as to what lies inside.  Neither can prove nor disprove if there is even anything inside the box.  Someone can shake the box and say they heard nothing, someone else claims to have heard something.  Back and forth we can all go, but at the end of the day both are still exercising belief. 

Anyway, I am tired and I have a 12 hour shift coming up.
Given that it's nigh unto impossible to prove a negative, I would say that this is an insane standard to hold.

Offline Sethala

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #845 on: April 04, 2013, 03:09:33 PM »
Believing in something merely because that something is not proven is indeed silly and so is disbelief in something that has not been disproven.  The two are essentially belief.  Atheists and Theists are both staring at a box and making a guess as to what lies inside.  Neither can prove nor disprove if there is even anything inside the box.  Someone can shake the box and say they heard nothing, someone else claims to have heard something.  Back and forth we can all go, but at the end of the day both are still exercising belief. 

Anyway, I am tired and I have a 12 hour shift coming up.

The problem is, the opposite of "belief in X" is not "belief in not-X", it's "no belief in X".  I can say "I do not believe there is a god", but that doesn't necessarily mean "I believe there is no god".  (I do believe there at least isn't a personal god watching the world and answering prayers, by the way, but I'm willing to accept that it's not a defensible position.)

For example, I have a piece of paper here and I draw a shape on it.  Now I'll ask you, do you believe I drew a symmetrical shape?  If you say no, does that mean you believe that I drew an asymmetrical shape?  No, it just means that you don't have sufficient evidence to make a belief claim.  The shape only has two possibilities - symmetrical and asymmetrical - but it's possible to not believe in either of them without being contradictory.

Now, I mentioned before that I believe there isn't a god that watches over us and answers prayers.  That's because I'm ascribing qualities to this deity that, while not entirely falsifiable, can be tested to some degree of certainty and haven't met any sort of evidence.  However, if I were to consider other possibilities of such a deity - one that mostly ignores us, one that no longer exists, and so on - I'd be much less willing to say "I don't believe one exists".

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #846 on: April 04, 2013, 03:14:40 PM »
The problem with that is that it's a double-standard. Might as well tell me that endorsing Dawkins' stand on belief and atheism means I have to endorse his (fucking disgusting) position on feminist issues. Or that, because I think Penn Jillette had some useful things to say about fact-checking, I have to endorse his crazy libertarianism.

See, there's a difference between an individuals relationship with a written work, and an organization adopting a written work as their basis. Your absolutely correct, you can agree with some of Dawkins and disagree with his other statements. But your not holding up The God Delusion and saying "See this? Our organization is built upon this work"

"But, you don't support what he said on feminism in that book?"

"Of course not"

"So... why do you hold up that book as the basis of your organization?"

"We just don't support that one part any more"

"So... why not reprint it with that part omitted? It would save a lot of time and confusion trying to state your organizations case"

And I've yet to hear a response to this kind of question. If you don't support that part of your book any more, then why is it still there? If you really are progressing past such teachings, as we tend to do over long periods of time, move the outdated segments to a historical text, don't keep it in the working body.

Believing in something merely because that something is not proven is indeed silly and so is disbelief in something that has not been disproven.  The two are essentially belief.  Atheists and Theists are both staring at a box and making a guess as to what lies inside.  Neither can prove nor disprove if there is even anything inside the box.  Someone can shake the box and say they heard nothing, someone else claims to have heard something.  Back and forth we can all go, but at the end of the day both are still exercising belief. 

Anyway, I am tired and I have a 12 hour shift coming up. 

Bill and Ben stumble upon a box.

Look! There's a box! Says Ben. I wonder if there's something inside of that box, says Bill.

Bill and Ben both shake the box and listen.

I heard something inside the box! Says Ben, but Bill heard nothing. Ben insists there's something in there and proceeds to shake the box and throw it around, telling Ben to listen. There really is something in the box! Listen? Can't you hear it?

Bill can still hear nothing. Is Bill saying the box is empty? No, what he's saying is Ben is not making a very good case, he's just making a lot of noise and assertions.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 03:21:48 PM by Sabby »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #847 on: April 04, 2013, 03:18:56 PM »
See, there's a difference between an individuals relationship with a written work, and an organization adopting a written work as their basis. Your absolutely correct, you can agree with some of Dawkins and disagree with his other statements. But your not holding up The God Delusion and saying "See this? Our organization is built upon this work"

"But, you don't support what he said on feminism in that book?"

"Of course not"

"So... why do you hold up that book as the basis of your organization?"

"We just don't support that one part any more"

"So... why not reprint it with that part omitted? It would save a lot of time and confusion trying to state your organizations case"

And I've yet to hear a response to this kind of question. If you don't support that part of your book any more, then why is it still there? If you really are progressing past such teachings, as we tend to do over long periods of time, move the outdated segments to a historical text, don't keep it in the working body.

Eph and Seth responded to this wonderfully, so I +1 the both of them.

Basically? Because "sacred" tends to mean "unchanging" in practice. By cutting out parts of a sacred work, you reduce it to the profane. No, it doesn't make sense - it's part of the "faith" package, near as I can tell.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #848 on: April 04, 2013, 03:40:48 PM »
And yet, that's just what they did at Nicea.  The Apocrypha are quite fascinating.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #849 on: April 04, 2013, 03:48:32 PM »
If nobody remembers it changing it's eternal and unchanging. *nods* Or something like that.