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Author Topic: Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6680 times)

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Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #175 on: July 06, 2014, 05:52:40 AM »
Religious groups seem to have proven the existence of God to their own satisfaction

That's not good enough.

and defined the entity or entities for their own needs and purposes.

In other words, they made this shit up.




Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #176 on: July 06, 2014, 06:02:40 AM »
Not good enough for whom?  You?  I am not sure how much that matters in the grand scheme of things to be honest.  I also did not say they "made this shit up."  I am saying they have established their definition of a higher being and this definition has shifted based on their understandings and cultures.  Concepts alter based on many things and the same idea in one culture may be translated or interpreted very differently somewhere else.  Taking the stance that because something fails to be consistent across all cultures and boundaries this something is not real is very naive and ethnocentric. 

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #177 on: July 06, 2014, 06:30:30 AM »
Passion,
I remember seeing a show by Derren Brown about medium's and they tricks they use to cold read people. Derren challenged one medium about it and they got the psychic to do a detailed cold read on someone and it was very accurate, startling so. Turns out the person who was being read was the next door neighbour of the psychic's sister-in-law. It was a con pure and simple.
Now think about all the adverts and spam mail you get about miracle weight-loss pills, lotions that will regrow lost hair, secrets that drug companies don't want you to know; and all of them scientifically proven to work. But I'm assuming you're not stupid and can see that these too are a con.

Just because both religion and science are used as tools to con people, it doesn't by implication make either religion or science outright scams.
Well, any scientific claim is up there to be scrutinized and challenged. You have scientific methods like extensive peer reviews, and studies using the double-blind approach to verify the claim's validity. If you find a wonder cream that promises an astonishing regrowth of lost hair, you can perform a medical study, using a test group and a control group of comparable age, hair condition, and life style, and just check if the damn thing works or not. And before you do even that, you can perform chemical analysis of the cream's ingredients and if it actually contains anything that could possibly cause the promised change.

Can you do the same for religion? Can you get God peer reviewed? Can you do a double-blind test on the quality of the 72 virgins? No, you can't. Those claims are unfalsifiable, and thus by definition also unverifiable.

Quote
"God sent me a vision! All christians need to get a purple penis tattooed on their foreheads! Only that will save you from the rain of killing blood He will send when the stars are right and the moon hides behind the flaming veil!"
Go and prove me wrong. You won't be able to do so. In fact, I can go ahead and further claim more validity of my "vision" with its similarity to how in Exodus 12:7, the israelites were commanded to mark their doorframes with the blood of a lamb to avoid the deaths of their firstborns.

Quote
"This new pill will make you easily drop any additional pounds, and help you achieve your perfect weight in a matter of weeks! Even better, you don't need to waste any of your precious time working out, just swallow one pill with every meal and you're fine!"
In this case, several people will be taking a closer look at my pill, and either confirm my claim or prove me wrong. It may take some time and effort, until the peer reviews and studies yield results, but in the end you will have definitive evidence on whether the thing works as promised or not. There's nothing you need to "believe" and simply take at face value, without any way to check its validity.

And as far as conmen go, Dawkins' is right up there with them. As far as I can see he has no interest in resolving the debate, only in provoking his opponents so that he can prolong the debate and sell more books. That's not science it's a con.
I've never read any of his books, but the videos with him on Youtube are imo pretty accurate. He's asking critical - but not insulting - questions and applies the scientific method to some faiths' believes and tenets, and the answers he gets are... well... less than optimal. Could you point me to one video where he does something incorrect?

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #178 on: July 06, 2014, 07:03:54 AM »
Dawkins and others criticize Religions for using dogmatic teaching, but as far as Dawkins is concerned the theory of evolution isn't a theory it's a fact. The theory of evolution is not a fact, it is however the best explanation for species diversity, despite there being some problems with it when it comes to early evolution. Now either Dawkins is resorting to dogmatic teaching or he thinks people are too stupid to understand that there is always uncertainty in science.

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #179 on: July 06, 2014, 07:14:19 AM »
Dawkins and others criticize Religions for using dogmatic teaching, but as far as Dawkins is concerned the theory of evolution isn't a theory it's a fact. The theory of evolution is not a fact, it is however the best explanation for species diversity, despite there being some problems with it when it comes to early evolution.
Well, gravity is also a theory. ;)

Now either Dawkins is resorting to dogmatic teaching or he thinks people are too stupid to understand that there is always uncertainty in science.
Again, the difference between science and religion is that science tries to eradicate that uncertainty, while religion is more than happy to leave any uncertainty in the scriptures and leave it open to "interpretation." That latter approach got us shit like the fundamentalist christians' crusade against same-sex relationships using Leviticus 18:22.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #180 on: July 06, 2014, 07:37:06 AM »
Actually, no the how does not answer the why just as the why does not answer the how.  Once more, science is concerned with cause and effect.  Why has no part of that equation.  This is a common misconception among people as they say, “Why did this happen?”  People turn to science for an explanation and do not realize that scientists are explaining a how to the situation and not a why.  Science is also not the application of the scientific method or else you would leave out a large chunk of science.

Science does not have a stake in whether God exists, that is the beauty of science.  Science does not care at all if there is a God or not.  Science would not stop or speed up if God was discovered tomorrow.  There would just be more questions to ask and more observation to make.  There is no prize for science if God doesn’t exist or if God does exist.  There is only more to do either way.

Your statement was that atheists base their lack of belief on scientific evidence, making their “statements” a conclusion in place of a belief.  Yet as you just admitted they do not.  This means their conclusion is more of a belief which later they go looking for evidence to support.  A backward way to do things.

Also living your life by scientifically proven methods or action or what have you is quite irrational.  Experiments are hard to perform and organize.  An experiment can take months simply to plan out and structure as various parts of the experiment have to be performed.  Vergil’s abrupt statement of the scientific method leaves out the formulation of a testable hypothesis, which is a great deal more difficult than you think to do.  Graduate students can spend years trying to take this one step.  Keep in mind that to simply perform an experiment the “topic” in question must be quantifiable in a manner agreed upon by all.  So an experiment is not even possible sometimes.  Then there is the peer reviews which can take years and the counter arguments over the study.  A person would wait six years before being able to take a step outside their door.

Gravity is a theory and one that is currently being greatly disputed.  People like to attribute gravity as “what goes up must come down” but gravity is a little understood force.  So gravity is a theory that has come under a great deal of scrutiny lately, especially with String Theory.  Evolution is also a theory that is in great dispute over the particulars.  And while religion has caused a war toward same-sex couples, religion has also provided compassion and comfort to those same couples.  Science has also told homosexuals that they are a mental disorder and that their brains belong to the opposite sex.  Science has also told black people they are stupid and that their brains are smaller.

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #181 on: July 06, 2014, 07:39:14 AM »
Well, gravity is also a theory. ;)
A theory that has changed several times, yet each time there would be idiots claiming that the then current theory was an absolute fact.  :P

Actually really good groundbreaking science creates uncertainty and doesn't reduce it one bit. The tachyons that appeared to travel faster than light between CERN and some mountain in Italy, everything was done using the most rigorous scientific standards to account for every possible error and it still left experts scratching their heads and saying that don't really know what happened, except that the tachyons might have taken a transdimensional shortcut for no well defined reason.

And regardless of the significance of any document it has to be understood in the context of the society that it was written in, if Leviticus had been an ancient Greek then any number of things about sexual behaviour would have been radically different. All ancient texts are open to interpretation, as the translations are best guesses about what was meant

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #182 on: July 06, 2014, 08:18:55 AM »
Science does not have a stake in whether God exists, that is the beauty of science.  Science does not care at all if there is a God or not.  Science would not stop or speed up if God was discovered tomorrow.  There would just be more questions to ask and more observation to make.  There is no prize for science if God doesn’t exist or if God does exist.  There is only more to do either way. [...]
I vehemently disagree. The moment anyone tries to explain a scientific phenomenon (basically, anything in our reality) with some mysterious god, science has every right to try and prove the validity of that claim.

[...] And while religion has caused a war toward same-sex couples, religion has also provided compassion and comfort to those same couples.
And what comfort would that be? "Hey, at least we're going to hell together?" Feel free to provide a single quote from the bible directly supporting and/or comforting homosexual couples, or others who don't live their lives according to God's expectations.

Science has also told homosexuals that they are a mental disorder and that their brains belong to the opposite sex.  Science has also told black people they are stupid and that their brains are smaller.
Your counterpoints are correct. Science was wrong about homosexuality. Science was wrong about the different ethnicities. But science realized it was wrong, and changed/is changing its position on those topics. When was the bible last updated with statements matching our contemporary life-style and new discoveries?



A theory that has changed several times, yet each time there would be idiots claiming that the then current theory was an absolute fact.  :P
Yet nobody would argue jumping from the top of a skyscraper without any safety measures wasn't a stupid idea because "GRAVITY IS ONLY A THEORY!!!" :P

Also, arguing about or disagreeing with a theory or opinion is perfectly fine, for it often furthers the discussion about and understanding of the topic. However, that's only valid as long as you don't try to leverage any sort of influence to force your unsupported claims onto the public. I can accept people being religions in their own homes, and in their own communities. But people trying to remove the teaching of evolution from public schools and replace it with creationism (by linking it up with Hitler, Columbine, and whatever else they can think of) can go die in a fire. Seriously.

Actually really good groundbreaking science creates uncertainty and doesn't reduce it one bit. The tachyons that appeared to travel faster than light between CERN and some mountain in Italy, everything was done using the most rigorous scientific standards to account for every possible error and it still left experts scratching their heads and saying that don't really know what happened, except that the tachyons might have taken a transdimensional shortcut for no well defined reason.
Two things. ;) First, it was neutrinos. Tachyons are theoretical particles that have imaginary mass and cannot move slower than the speed of light. Second, the phenomenon you describe was quickly disproven and found out to be a measurement error caused by asynchronous clocks.

And regardless of the significance of any document it has to be understood in the context of the society that it was written in, if Leviticus had been an ancient Greek then any number of things about sexual behaviour would have been radically different. All ancient texts are open to interpretation, as the translations are best guesses about what was meant
You don't consider that reliance on interpretation a massive flaw? Ask 4 politicians about some local problem and you'll likely get 5 different opinions on it. And now you apply that uncertainty to a book that claims to be the single morale instance of some faith. The result is people thinking "God says gay sex is an abomination" + "The bible tells me how to be a good christian" = "I must hate all fags," while completely ignoring Jesus' message of compassion and tolerance.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 08:20:09 AM by Passion and Desire »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #183 on: July 06, 2014, 08:54:00 AM »
On the note of whether Science has a stake in religious claims: What you are referring to is the "two magisteriums," which has several notable flaws. For one, a universe that had a creator that actively took part in its workings would be vastly different to one without, and therefore science has a vested interest in figuring out which of the two realities we live in. And if religion starts making claims, science has every reason to test them. Furthermore, the only reason the Twin Magesterium's exist is because religion has no strong scientific evidence supporting its claims. If there WERE scientific evidence of God to appear tomorrow, you can be DAMN sure the "Twin Magesteriums" argument would be dropped pretty bloody quickly.

On the note of Dawkins: I agree with Passion. Dawkins asks critical questions of his opponents, and they fail to answer satisfactorily, which he then points out. That's what you do in debates. Dawkins rightly gets annoyed at what he sees as unreasonable beliefs used to oppress both other people and stifle scientific thought. It's also why he's so harsh towards mediums and homoeopathy; it's a scam that is actually hurting people.

On the note of the reasons for Atheism: Yes, some atheists look for evidence later....so what? It doesn't detract from the validity of the atheist position, and I would say that given the state of Western Society (and given my own personal dealings with other atheists) most atheists go looking for reasons to believe that their faith is correct, and find quite the opposite. As many people have said; the best way to make an atheist of a Christian is to have them read the bible cover-to-cover critically.

On the note of theories: Theories are not proscriptive, they are descriptive. The theory of Gravity is not "What goes up must come down," it is simply the name that is given to the demonstrable phenomenon that objects with mass attract. Now there are theories within that theory as to why that is, but the theory of gravity is simply that objects with mass attract. That is it. Similarly, the theory of evolution is just "change over time." It is a demonstrable, testable force in nature, and the genetic evidence alone is enough to conclude that it is a fact. The thing is, yes, we may not have all of the details completely right, but the nature of science is to change its mind when it finds out that it's wrong. Does religion do that? Most of the time, no. A scientific theory is NOT a guess, hypothesis or merely conjecture. A theory is a framework of ideas and evidence that best explains the available evidence and is contradicted by none of it. Theory is, in science, the highest level you can get. It got its damn diploma. It has mountains of evidence supporting it. Creationism, for example is "I'm getting ready for my first day at preschool....and I left my lunch at home," to quote Dillahunty. But you know what? Let's grant for a moment that today evidence comes out that completely disproves evolution. Now what's your evidence for God doing it instead? Just because one solution may not be true, doesn't mean the other alternatives are any more credible. As it is, you misunderstand what "theory" actually means. It is literally as close to a fact as we can ever get. We treat it as a fact because it is pretty much certain that it is what happened. Evolution through natural selection is a proven fact. Simple as that. Dawkins treats it as a fact because it is a fact.

As for Gravity, it is not greatly disputed that objects with mass attract. Not by any respectable physicist, anyway. I can demonstrate the phenomenon of gravity easily with a pen. As I noted earlier...if God were half as demonstrable as gravity, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

On the note of interpretation: This is a point against religion. The bible, for example, has been translated, transcribed and had bits taken out and put in by councils so many times that what we have now is nowhere near the original. And the bible specifically says that the bible is not open to interpretation...surely if it is the inspired word of God, he would be a better author. :P

Offline mia h

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #184 on: July 06, 2014, 10:16:32 AM »
Yet nobody would argue jumping from the top of a skyscraper without any safety measures wasn't a stupid idea because "GRAVITY IS ONLY A THEORY!!!" :P
Wether or not it's stupid, depends entirely on what they were trying to achieve.

Also, arguing about or disagreeing with a theory or opinion is perfectly fine, for it often furthers the discussion about and understanding of the topic. However, that's only valid as long as you don't try to leverage any sort of influence to force your unsupported claims onto the public. I can accept people being religions in their own homes, and in their own communities. But people trying to remove the teaching of evolution from public schools and replace it with creationism (by linking it up with Hitler, Columbine, and whatever else they can think of) can go die in a fire. Seriously.
Don't get me wrong, evolution should be taught in science classes with creationism and Intelligent Design only being taught in religious classes. But sides of the argument should be taught even they are in different contexts.

But
by linking it up with Hitler, Columbine, and whatever else they can think of can go die in a fire. Seriously.
sounds like you're all in favour of burning heretics and witches at the stake  ::)

Two things. ;) First, it was neutrinos. Tachyons are theoretical particles that have imaginary mass and cannot move slower than the speed of light. Second, the phenomenon you describe was quickly disproven and found out to be a measurement error caused by asynchronous clocks.
What that article doesn't mention are the results from US and Japanese labs that preceded the CERN findings and also found particles moving faster than light but weren't revealed until after the CERN findings because those labs dismissed them out of hand. What makes the CERN data good science is that they accounted for every possible variation and then stood up and basically said that Einstein might not have got it completely correct, they created uncertainty. They got lots of people to ask one question "OK, so what the hell is going on?" and that's never a bad thing.

You don't consider that reliance on interpretation a massive flaw? Ask 4 politicians about some local problem and you'll likely get 5 different opinions on it. And now you apply that uncertainty to a book that claims to be the single morale instance of some faith. The result is people thinking "God says gay sex is an abomination" + "The bible tells me how to be a good christian" = "I must hate all fags," while completely ignoring Jesus' message of compassion and tolerance.
The problem there isn't the underlying message of the Bible, it's just people being selective about which bits of information they think are important. But that selectivity is commonly used with books that aren't the Bible as well, it's not a reflection of the book just the reader.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #185 on: July 06, 2014, 01:52:35 PM »
Not good enough for whom?  You?  I am not sure how much that matters in the grand scheme of things to be honest.  I also did not say they "made this shit up."  I am saying they have established their definition of a higher being and this definition has shifted based on their understandings and cultures.  Concepts alter based on many things and the same idea in one culture may be translated or interpreted very differently somewhere else.  Taking the stance that because something fails to be consistent across all cultures and boundaries this something is not real is very naive and ethnocentric.

Claiming that there is a "god", barely defining what this god is, and holding others up to that belief is insufficient. Such a careless, irrational way of thinking does not deserve to be shielded under the badge of "religion" from ridicule and scrutiny in this day and age.

I am saying that its not OK to do this and then say, "Oh, its religion; it's exempt from logical thinking."

Quote
And while religion has caused a war toward same-sex couples, religion has also provided compassion and comfort to those same couples.  Science has also told homosexuals that they are a mental disorder and that their brains belong to the opposite sex.  Science has also told black people they are stupid and that their brains are smaller.

People of science and religion do come up with incorrect conclusions. As people, we are imperfect. What needs to be factored in though, is the ability to change one's position once its determined that they are wrong or that they have insufficient evidence to support their claim. This is factored into the scientific method by design. I think major religions are a LOT slower at conceding to such errors in their doctrine by design. This is especially true in cases where they claim that their claims are divine revelations. In such a case, changing their position on the matter indicates that either their god was incorrect or that they did not get their information from said god.




« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 01:54:31 PM by TaintedAndDelish »

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #186 on: July 06, 2014, 03:45:57 PM »

Offline Strident

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #187 on: July 06, 2014, 05:24:12 PM »
I start from this:

Everything which exists, exists either necessarily, or contingently.

What do those terms mean? Well, if something exists contingently, that means it's existence is resultant from or dependent upon, the existence of something else. My existence is contingent upon my mum and dad. If you are planning a barbeque and have a "wet weather contingency" plan, then that means the existence of your barbeque party is contingent upon sunny weather.

A notable feature of things being contingent is that you can meaningfully ask "Could that thing have been different" under under certain different contingencies the answer would be "yes". So my car, could have been red rather than blue. The fact it turned out red is contingent upon which paint was used.

The opposite of something existing contingently, is having something which exists necessarily. It's difficult to find really good  examples of this, but one example might be the number four (Or any other number..I'm picking the example of the number four..but you could equally pick any other). It's necessary that the concept of the number four exists. Not that there are any four of any particular object, but the mere nature of things means that the abstract concept of the number four has to exist. Even in an empty universe, in which there were less than four particles in existence, the concept of the number 4 exists.

One can go a bit further, and say that it is necessarily true that 2 +2 = 4. Once you understand what is meant by "2", what is meant by "+"  and what is meant by "4", it is obvious that it is necessarily true. There is no possible world in which 2+2 = 5. To ask "Could 2 +2 =5" is simply a nonsense question.

Now, to the question of God:

Given that all things are either contingent, or necessary, the question arises, which is the universe? Contingent or necessary?

Well, it's perfectly possible to imagine that the universe could have been different, and this doesn't involve any logical incoherence. We could have had a universe where JFK didn't get shot in 1963, or where England won the 2014 world cup. There mere fact that the previous sentence has understandable meaning shows that the universe exists contingently. These questions do not seem to be logically incoherent in the way that to ask "Could 2+2=5" is incoherent.

Which strongly suggests the universe, as a whole, is a contingent rather than a necessary entity. This simply begs the question "contingent upon what?". We need to introduce another entity. This, in turn, may be contingent or necessary, but, at some point, we must reach something which exists necessarily...by the nature of it's own necessity..and the other property this entity must have is the abilityto bring about physical actions, in order to bring all these contingent entities into existence. . The concept of the number four exists by the nature of it's own necessity, but the concept alone is impotent. An abstract concept can do nothing.   When one thinks a little on what the nature must be of an entity able to affect physical action in the universe and exist by the necessity of it's own nature, and reflects on what the nature of such an entity must be, it is obvious that we are talking about an entity which might quite sensibly be called "God".

And for that reason, I believe. Some entity must exist by the necessity of it's own nature, and not by mere contingency.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 05:29:57 PM by Strident »

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #188 on: July 06, 2014, 07:20:28 PM »
Then why can't this universe exist necessarily? Why add a deity in in the first place? You can't answer a mystery with a bigger mystery, since it doesn't solve anything. Your example of maths is flawed, since numbers are a human construct and mere representations. It is entirely possible that we could have had 2+2=5, had we decided to call four five instead of four. Just because the universe could have been different, doesn't make it contingent on anything. It just means that humans have at least a small amount of free will and things might have turned out differently, but didn't. Why introduce a deity when there is no evidence for it and it has very little - if any - explanatory power?

What I'm saying is, we know that the big bang is - given the evidence available to us at this moment in time - probably accurate. Before the big bang, scientists think that there were only the base elements in a super-condensed area, but the simple fact is that we don't know. Why can't whatever went bang in the first place be necessary? Why is it necessary to interject a deity, which raises more questions than it solves, particularly if it's a complex intelligence? I simply don't understand why you would jump to the conclusion that a deity did it, rather than taking that step out entirely and just saying that under your logic, the universe in some form or another is itself eternal? Why add an extra step?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 07:36:39 PM by Vergil Tanner »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #189 on: July 07, 2014, 03:54:00 AM »
It is entirely possible that we could have had 2+2=5, had we decided to call four five instead of four.

I think Strident's point here is that certain elements of reality are a certain way out of necessity. I don't think he's talking about the name that we give each quantity in this case, but the fact that when you add two quantities together, you (out of necessity) end up with the sum of the two. Coming up with a different sum is not optional, it's necessary. It can only happen one way.

Regarding the need for an origin Strident, who says there is an origin in the first place? We as humans view things as having a beginning, middle and end most likely because of our experience. It's pretty easy to look into the future and imagine that the universe will continue ticking and moving forever and ever. Why is it that we assume that the past does not stretch back infinitely too?   ( I don't mean a "long way back", I mean "infinitely" )

We see ourselves as having a beginning (birth), and end (death) but the truth is, the materials(atoms/energy) that we are made of are far older than we are, and after we die, these materials will exist in one form or another in the future (who knows, possibly forever).   

It was a Catholic priest who came up with this idea of the big bang - quite possibly to attempt to reconcile the Bible's creation story with science.  The idea of everything just spilling out from one tiny point as if from the finger tip of god sounds wonderful and almost poetic, but there's a serious problem with it.  You cannot say that god created all that is, because god would have had to exist prior to this creation and so too would time. 

I believe the catholic church/vatican's stance on this is that god created time too so he could somehow work his magic in some pre-time kind of timeless, spaceless not-time-space realm or something  like that, but this is a serious stretch. ( Do you smell bullshit, anyone?) There's logical reason to believe that the stars and galaxies were at one point close together and then moved apart, but there's no reason to believe that the Christians and Jew's God or Yahweh  is in any way related to this. This is what we call an asspull of epic proportions.

Its like saying "Things fall when we pick them up and let them go. This is because angels fly down from heaven and put these things back because god did not want us to move them in the first place. We should refrain from touching things."

The first sentence makes logical sense, the second two are just hitching a ride off the first sentence.

How the hell does the pope and his clergy know that god did all this before god created time? On what grounds are we to believe this unfounded and unsupported claim? Should we just believe it because he's a nice guy or because he wears fancy clothes and has more bling than freaking Snoop Dogg? Seriously, this is where you need to put on your critical thinking pants and start questioning the answers.





« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 04:07:09 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline SweetSerenade

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #190 on: July 07, 2014, 12:02:47 PM »
If you now say that's superstitious rubbish or a hoax... well... that's exactly the same I feel about religion. They just can't prove it. They can't present even the slightest trace of evidence to support the claim. The claim that some medium can communicate with the spirits of the dead is as good as the claim of a christian that bad people will be punished in hell, or that an islamic martyr is welcomed by dozens of virgins. Neither can prove it anyway, and both religion and "spirituality" are often used to either abuse, intimidate, or hurt people, or as an outright scam.

I am going to stop you right here, and state that your statement is extremely misguided and very rude. I know you stated often, but often tends to be construed as a term that applies to almost all - when that is not the case. Most Sprituality that I have encountered (and I have run into a lot in my life) is none of the things you stated.

I am a Druid, and what I am about is not to do any of those things. I do not abuse, I do not intimidate, and I do not hurt people. Nor do I scam them. I am about sharing knowledge and wisdom, offering helpful advice(when asked) and sharing what I know with others. I am a very spiritually aware person, and there is no true way I can prove this to non-believers because they will always find a way to pick it to pieces.

I have my belief, because that is what I was lead to. I have my Faith, and my Spritiuality because it is what feels the most right to me.

Yes, I will get upset when someone makes misconceived statements about what I believe in. Because I have fought a very long time to get people to understand that I am not here to change them - only give wisdom and information. All through High School I faced constant assault from people with Religions and Atheists. Because how could I believe the way I did?

I do not care what may ultimately become the right way of thinking, what I care about is how I THINK and how I treat others!

It should not matter WHAT a person believes in, what should matter is how they interact and treat others around them.

Atheism, Religion, Faith - they are all something that people use to define themselves. In the end we should stop using these guidelines and instead focus on the deeds a person does.



Vergil - We are still cool dude, you understand why I am who I am... more than anyone here... so you know why I feel the way I do.

Online Vergil Tanner

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #191 on: July 07, 2014, 12:13:31 PM »
Ah, it's cool Serenade. :-) Although I feel like I should note that whilst I agree that what people believe shouldn't matter and what they do should, the fact remains that people DO often use their faith as an excuse to treat each other crappily, and actually their faith is sometimes the reason they treat people badly. Whether or not people take "often" to mean "almost all" sometimes isn't the speakers fault. That's the listeners problem. Often doesn't mean "almost all" and it's not the users fault that people don't understand that sometimes.

The simple fact of the matter is that what a person believes very often informs how they treat other people, and beliefs that drive people to hurt others should be challenged as often and as loudly as is necessary to stamp those nasty, cruel beliefs out. That's how I see it, any way.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #192 on: July 07, 2014, 03:03:00 PM »
The nasty and cruel ones should be stamped out.  However, that doesn't speak to such beliefs as 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' and 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.'  That's a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #193 on: July 07, 2014, 03:12:38 PM »
True, but when they come from the same book as "Stone unruly children" and "Rape victims have to marry their rapists," you have to at least question why anybody would use that book as a moral guide when obviously their moral judgement is working just fine without that religious instruction. And it makes no comment on whether or not a God exists, since a universe with a creator would work in very different ways to one without, so it is actually very important we try to figure out which one is which. But unfortunately, since those nasty and nice beliefs are in the same belief system, you have to do away with one to get rid of the other. And honestly, I think if you got rid of religion, peoples natural/societal morality would assert itself. Simple fact of the matter is that religion isn't necessary for being a decent human being, and to get rid of the nasty bits of the established religion, you either need to do away with the religion itself or start cherry picking...which inherently undermines the validity of that belief system. *shrug* There is nothing good that can be achieved by religion that cannot also be achieved through secular means.

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #194 on: July 07, 2014, 03:35:15 PM »
I believe in God, but I also believe in not shoving him down other people's throats. You can't force someone to believe in something they don't want to and those who go door to door shoving their beliefs at others, I'll admit I like to mess with them just because I'm tired of them. You will never hear me telling someone they HAVE to believe in him, because honestly it has to be their choice and it's sad to say that, but it does. But regardless, I believe in God, Jesus, the holy spirit and I can hope i have lived my life well enough that it will earn me a place in heaven though I have friends who tell me I am going to hell for writing RP's that I do :P

Offline Oniya

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #195 on: July 07, 2014, 03:56:50 PM »
True, but when they come from the same book as "Stone unruly children" and "Rape victims have to marry their rapists," you have to at least question why anybody would use that book as a moral guide when obviously their moral judgement is working just fine without that religious instruction. And it makes no comment on whether or not a God exists, since a universe with a creator would work in very different ways to one without, so it is actually very important we try to figure out which one is which. But unfortunately, since those nasty and nice beliefs are in the same belief system, you have to do away with one to get rid of the other. And honestly, I think if you got rid of religion, peoples natural/societal morality would assert itself. Simple fact of the matter is that religion isn't necessary for being a decent human being, and to get rid of the nasty bits of the established religion, you either need to do away with the religion itself or start cherry picking...which inherently undermines the validity of that belief system. *shrug* There is nothing good that can be achieved by religion that cannot also be achieved through secular means.

It's not exactly cherry picking (and just as a note, it's not the book I happen to use - no dog in that fight) when the latter half of the book states that the rules of the first half have been replaced.    If anything, the folks that are cherry-picking are the ones causing most of the problems. 

As I've said in other threads about completely different issues, just because a system is flawed doesn't mean that it has to be completely razed to salted earth.

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #196 on: July 07, 2014, 04:40:53 PM »
Actually, it is cherry picking. Ignoring the bad and accepting the good is by definition cherry picking. And the New Testament doesn't actually "replace" the Hebrew Bible:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place."  (Matthew 5:17)

“For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 5:18-19)

"It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid."  (Luke 16:17)

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness..."  (2 Timothy 3:16)

 "Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." (2 Peter 20-21) [This one is particularly interesting; it specifically states that the bible is not open to interpretation and should, by definition, therefore be taken literally).

"Whoever curses father or mother shall die"  (Mark 7:10 (This was actually supposedly said by Jesus))

“He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matthew 15:4-7 (again, Jesus))

"Slaves obey your masters," both cruel and kind (1 Peter 2:18)

“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" (John 7:19)

“...the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35 (Jesus again))


So....yeah. OT is viable and valid according to the New Testament, and Jesus himself. The fact of the matter is, when your moral system is based on moral pronouncements that aren't actually that moral from a book that is internally inconsistent and actually pretty horrible to everybody who isn't an adult Christian male (and even then, it's still pretty mean), and end up ignoring the bad and accepting the good...why believe the bible in the first place? Let alone the fact that evolution removes the entire point of Christianity in the first place (Evolution = no Adam and Eve ---> No original sin ---> No eternal damnation for everybody ---> No need for Jesus to save us all). Quite frankly...a system should be fixed, yes. But there comes a point when a system is too far gone and it is easier to scrap it and start again. And the fact that most Christians don't beat or stone unruly children and don't advocate slavery and genocide and whatnot is a testament to the fact that people are moral despite religion and not because of it. And when that belief starts trying to force its way into schools and spread misinformation, faulty beliefs and illogical thinking (accepting extraordinary claims on no evidence), that's when I think the world would be better off without it. This goes for pretty much all of the Abrahamic religions, and a lot of the others as well. Not so much things like Buddhism and the like (which in its pure form is actually a philosophy rather than a religion), but things like Islam and Christianity? Yeah, we'd be better off without them.

Offline Dhi

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #197 on: July 07, 2014, 04:47:02 PM »
Whether or not the old laws are replaced is at least a debated subject. During the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7ish) Jesus assured people that he had not come to do away with the old prophets and their laws (which includes Leviticus, the book with all the controversial laws). He did however reinterpret some of those laws, such as that an eye for an eye should be considered a warning rather than a prescription. Jesus was a Jewish prophet speaking to a Jewish audience who revered these laws, and his enemy was the profiteering institutions the temples had become. Christianity was not yet even a thing.

It was largely Paul who preached that by accepting Jesus, Christians would not need to adhere to those old laws; that faith alone was enough. His language was quite strong in condemning the laws of Leviticus and circumcision however, calling it a curse which Jesus had taken upon himself. In part he was very motivated to win over Greeks who did not want to be circumcised and could not adhere to the Sabbath.

Paul then introduced some controversial new laws to replace the controversial old laws, such as the subjugation of women in the church and condemnation of homosexuality. Nothing abolishes those laws.

Offline Passion and Desire

Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #198 on: July 07, 2014, 05:36:51 PM »
But sounds like you're all in favour of burning heretics and witches at the stake  ::)
Obviously, I was using a figure of speech. I wouldn't want to see those people burn to death, because not even those deserved such a fate.

What that article doesn't mention are the results from US and Japanese labs that preceded the CERN findings and also found particles moving faster than light but weren't revealed until after the CERN findings because those labs dismissed them out of hand. What makes the CERN data good science is that they accounted for every possible variation and then stood up and basically said that Einstein might not have got it completely correct, they created uncertainty. They got lots of people to ask one question "OK, so what the hell is going on?" and that's never a bad thing.
Do you have a link regarding that? I'd like to read up about it, since it's the first time I'm hearing that.

The problem there isn't the underlying message of the Bible, it's just people being selective about which bits of information they think are important. But that selectivity is commonly used with books that aren't the Bible as well, it's not a reflection of the book just the reader.
You're correct, but the problem still lies in the scope of influence the bible (and religions in general) have on a large amount of people. Why are otherwise intelligent people so easily mislead and baited into horrible behavior ("God hates all fags" etc.)?



Everything which exists, exists either necessarily, or contingently.
Then where does God come from? Who or what created God? Or is God merely a coincidence?

One can go a bit further, and say that it is necessarily true that 2 +2 = 4. Once you understand what is meant by "2", what is meant by "+"  and what is meant by "4", it is obvious that it is necessarily true. There is no possible world in which 2+2 = 5. To ask "Could 2 +2 =5" is simply a nonsense question.
Can there be a triangle with all its angles summing up to 270°? Yes. Can there be a surface that has only one side? Yes. Can the sum of all natural numbers not be positive? Oh fucking yes.

So I can't see a reason why there shouldn't be a reality where 2+2 does indeed equal 5.

Well, it's perfectly possible to imagine that the universe could have been different, and this doesn't involve any logical incoherence. We could have had a universe where JFK didn't get shot in 1963, or where England won the 2014 world cup. There mere fact that the previous sentence has understandable meaning shows that the universe exists contingently. These questions do not seem to be logically incoherent in the way that to ask "Could 2+2=5" is incoherent.
Depending on which scientist you ask, it could very well be that actually all possible results actually do happen. So there is a universe where JFK didn't get shot, a universe where England won the world cup, a universe where God is real and meddles in our lives on a daily basis, a universe where WW2 and the holocaust didn't happen and Hitler instead brought world peace, and so on.



I am a Druid, and what I am about is not to do any of those things. I do not abuse, I do not intimidate, and I do not hurt people. Nor do I scam them. I am about sharing knowledge and wisdom, offering helpful advice(when asked) and sharing what I know with others.
Neither did I accuse you of being such, nor was that my intent. If I unwittingly came across as such, I apologize.

I am a very spiritually aware person, and there is no true way I can prove this to non-believers because they will always find a way to pick it to pieces.

I have my belief, because that is what I was lead to. I have my Faith, and my Spritiuality because it is what feels the most right to me.
I don't doubt that you believe and feel that way, but how can you know? I admit I know little of contemporary druids' practices and ceremonies, but wouldn't there be any sort of measurable effect that could be studied scientifically?



The nasty and cruel ones should be stamped out.  However, that doesn't speak to such beliefs as 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' and 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.'  That's a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I disagree. If you look closely at the bible, it's a horrible, awful, source for morality. Even disregarding the utterly spiteful, vengeful, bigot, sexist, elitist, mass-murdering God of the Old Testament, the bible isn't exactly a good example. There's a host of really questionable statements Jesus made, many of which have been mentioned by Vergil already. How could anyone ever find any of those teachings morally acceptable?

Also, the Golden Rule you mentioned has already existed for over four centuries (in Ancient China, Egypt, and Greece), long before Christianity made any ping on history's radar.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 05:42:09 PM by Passion and Desire »

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Re: Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #199 on: July 07, 2014, 05:39:55 PM »
That's exactly it, Dhi...the bible has been reinterpreted so many times that what we have now is nowhere near what they had back then. If a book is that internally inconsistent and morally bankrupt that the abolition of the laws is debated rather than "Jesus said cut that shit out right now," how can one reliably go to it for moral guidance? Secular morality is undoubtedly superior because it focuses on harm vs benefit and the value of a human life rather than a pronouncement from a vindictive, vengeful deity. And even if the laws were abolished (which has flimsy evidence within the bible at best IMO), why couldn't God - if he exists - have done a better job communicating his desires? And why did he need the loophole in the first place? Why did he need to effectively sacrifice himself to himself to create a loophole to rules that he himself created? Why couldn't he just say "Oh, by the way, that Original Sin stuff? Yeah, forget that, I'm over it. Oh, and slavery is bad. Just so ya know." Except he didn't. Like, ever. *shrug* I don't mind people believing in a deity, even if I personally view it as illogical, I really don't. What I dislike is religion teaching people that you have to have religion to be a good person, and also using their religious beliefs to oppress others.

The world would be a better place not necessarily without religion at all, but without certain religions....and it would certainly be a better place if religion kept its grubby mitts out of government and stopped pretending that it was actually a science when it is the furthest thing from it. "Christian Science." Poppycock. If you can heal by faith, let's test it out. Oh wait. We did. And it didn't work. Fancy that. -__-

Also, what Passion just said.