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Author Topic: The God Who wasn't there, a movie  (Read 1977 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #50 on: October 09, 2014, 08:37:06 PM »
What about evolution itself? We are simply 'programmed' by default to work together as a team and be kind to one another, imo, just like ants have a hivemind. Generally speaking, a person who takes pleasure from another person's discomfort, pain, and so forth isn't exactly mentally healthy. Whenever people steal or murder each-other it is because of some necessity(illusionary or not), or their own immense pain the source of which they believe to be another person.

Or, at the very least, societal pressure making this sort of behavior evolutionarily beneficial, like any successful adaptation. I'd expect a great deal more people to possess selfish or outright malicious urges than we see, because it's only the ones unable to control these impulses that end up expressing them, resulting in self-selection over time for the ability to, at minimum, suppress sociopathic or psychopathic behavior, scaling up towards an optimal balance of selflessness without terminal self-sacrifice. At some point, this self-control would become baseline at an unconscious level, so even people disinclined to reproduce for reasons of their own would still be still wired to consider certain things 'right' and 'wrong'.
Quote
Very few psychopaths naturally feel the urge to kill and make others feel bad without a proper reason as far as I know. Of course a lot depends on the way we are brought up.

Maybe I'm misreading you, but isn't that exactly what a psychopath is? Someone who 'naturally' feels the urge to harm or kill other people without a proper reason?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 08:41:06 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Sheoldred

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #51 on: October 10, 2014, 03:14:33 PM »
Quote
Maybe I'm misreading you, but isn't that exactly what a psychopath is? Someone who 'naturally' feels the urge to harm or kill other people without a proper reason?

Maybe that's not the right word for it. Psychopathy indicates lack of empathy, right? It's just the first word that jumped into my mind.

Yes, we can also be very selfish and self-centered. That's part of survival, and such responses are usually triggered when the person feels he's severely missing something. This could be something purely psychological, like attention, love, respect, and so forth, to other necessities like food, shelter, water. In which case things can get ugly between people, yes. And another reasons for hostility could be purely ideological, in which case politics and religion start playing a part in everything.

But if people live comfortably, they can generally get along and be peaceful just fine without religion because they'd have no reason to fight. Animals, including humans, only fight out of some necessity. There is nothing that makes humans inherently more "evil" than animals. But since our capacity to think is overwhelmingly above other known mammals, we tend to create problems ourselves. There is no Satan who implants evil thoughts into people's minds, like how some Christians think. That even goes against their own notion of Free Will. If all good comes from God, and all evil comes from Satan, where does a man's free will come from?

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2014, 03:17:08 PM »
If all good comes from God, and all evil comes from Satan, where does a man's free will come from?

Making the choice between the two?

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2014, 03:19:17 PM »
That even goes against their own notion of Free Will. If all good comes from God, and all evil comes from Satan, where does a man's free will come from?

I don't understand your question.  If all porridge comes from God and all cereal from Satan, where does man's ability to choose what he has for breakfast come from?  Well, obviously the ability to choose between options is utterly unrelated to the source of those options.

That's also, for the record, not how Christians see evil.  That's a philosophy called dualism - Zoroastrianism is a dualist religion, Christianity isn't.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2014, 03:27:29 PM »
Making the choice between the two?

What about creating choices?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2014, 03:28:26 PM »
Maybe that's not the right word for it. Psychopathy indicates lack of empathy, right? It's just the first word that jumped into my mind.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

I'm more familiar with lack of empathy attributed to 'sociopaths', and propensity to violence being an attribute of 'psychopaths', but apparently psychology considers them to be the same disorder.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2014, 03:31:25 PM »

Quote
I don't understand your question.  If all porridge comes from God and all cereal from Satan, where does man's ability to choose what he has for breakfast come from?  Well, obviously the ability to choose between options is utterly unrelated to the source of those options.

That's also, for the record, not how Christians see evil.  That's a philosophy called dualism - Zoroastrianism is a dualist religion, Christianity isn't.

I was mostly talking about my experience. I don't exactly know how a true Christian should see things but there are Christians who do think that all things they consider bad stem from Satan. Like rock music, yoga, and whatever else you might think of.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2014, 03:38:30 PM »
*shrug*  Difficult to disprove unsourced anecdotes.  There may well be, I suppose.  There are more things in heaven and earth, sheoldred, than are dreamt of in my philosophy. 

What exactly do you mean by "What about creating choices"  I don't follow. 

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2014, 10:32:30 PM »
I can understand where you're coming from Kythia.  I've been blasted broadsides from formerly loving family members for being an atheist, because they somehow believed that, because I didn't believe in God, I had abandoned all morality, and was nigh-on a bloodthirsty, child-eating rapist.  I'm not exaggerating much here, honestly.  I do believe that people are intrinsically like all mammals, or animals for that matter--we seek to survive.  However, our higher brain function allows us to create this amazing entity called civilization, which only functions when we act in altruistic ways.  We've evolved this, and this is true to some lesser degrees with all cooperative mammalian species.  Elephants support other sick elephants in the troop.  Dolphins and whales mourn their dead.  Chimpanzees defend their familial groups from other groups of chimps.  Some species adopt the young of those mothers who have dies.  These are there to ensure the survival of the species.  The side effect with humans, however, is the general good-will, good feeling, and success of the species as a whole.  We are programmed to feel good when we are good.  Anthropology, sociology, biology--this is a given.  That's enough for me.

Of course, I've been programmed by my upbringing myself, and I was already taught to do these things because God said to.  Just because I don't believe in a deity anymore doesn't mean I throw out the goodwill, just the reasoning behind it.  I don't do it because I'm threatened with an eternity of torment if I don't--I do it because it means a better life for everyone, including myself.

BTW, I'm not against religion per se; I'm against people looking at me and thinking I deserve to be tortured endlessly just because I don't believe in what they believe.  My parents told me not to marry outside of the church, because my wife would end up in Hell. 

Many religions have no concept of a permanent punishment.  It wasn't until Christianity that such a concept as a permanent Hell came into being--the Jews don't believe in it, nor do the Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists or Confucianists.  Eternal torment is a concept shared by Christians and Muslims...but it is very effective in keeping many people in line.  I feel that such an idea is reprehensible, especially coming from a God that is supposed to be all-loving.  I've heard the arguments--it is the sinner who distances themselves from God, not God who pushes them away, etc.  If I was all-loving, I'd take my creations, flawed or no, and help them become better, no matter how bad they were.  Being all-powerful, I could do so.  Then again, who can understand the thinking of an all-powerful being behind such a strategy, if one exists?  To me, that's not the kind of being I want to worship.  To me, it sounds like the plot of Orwell's 1984 on a metaphysical level--I'm always watching you--I can even know what you are thinking--and if you deviate from what I command, even in your mind, I will place a punishment upon you that can never be revoked or rescinded, even by myself.

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2014, 10:37:32 PM »
I'm not sure when it stopped being a 'thing', but for a long time there was this concept of 'Purgatory'.  This was for the 'redeemable sinners' who did some bad stuff but weren't beyond hope.  Depending on how much bad stuff they did, there was a certain amount of penitence that had to be done in the afterlife before they could proceed into Heaven.  Eternal torment was reserved for the ones who did bad things and had no remorse.

Offline HannibalBarca

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #60 on: October 10, 2014, 10:45:29 PM »
Purgatory was a concept thought up by Catholic leadership in the Middle Ages as a way to squeeze more money from people--a holding tank for people who had bought off God's punishment with what were called indulgences--literally 'get out of Hell free'--that reduced whatever number of centuries or milennia you had to be in Purgatory, being purged of your sin.  Even in the missal my grandfather gave me for my First Communion, there was a section in the back explaining the number of years in indulgences you would get for praying each specific prayer.  This was one of the primary things Martin Luther railed against in forming Protestantism.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #61 on: October 10, 2014, 10:47:18 PM »
I'm not sure when it stopped being a 'thing', but for a long time there was this concept of 'Purgatory'.  This was for the 'redeemable sinners' who did some bad stuff but weren't beyond hope.  Depending on how much bad stuff they did, there was a certain amount of penitence that had to be done in the afterlife before they could proceed into Heaven.  Eternal torment was reserved for the ones who did bad things and had no remorse.

I've been told that Purgatory is a restaurant with really slow service.

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2014, 12:40:58 AM »
With regard to morality coming from a deity, perhaps approach the question this way instead.

Q: What is the cause of this "morality" that is seen in some people?

If your answer is, "it comes directly from god", then until you can define what this god is, you are effectively saying, "It comes from a source that we can't know or define or describe."

If your answer is, "It's a result of obeying god's rules", then it's reasonable to believe that morality is a result of obeying rules in general.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 12:42:30 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2014, 02:03:12 AM »
The "Where does your morality come from if you don't believe in God?" question strikes me as... really weird. There is no single, uniform morality followed by all people who believe in deities - not even in people who believe in the same deity. The "Christian morality" of the Southern Baptist Congregation is different from the "Christian morality" of the Quakers. The "Islamic morality" of Wahhabbism is a very different thing from the "Islamic morality" of Shia, Sunni, or Sufi Islam. The "Jewish morality" of the Haredi is not the "Jewish morality" of Modern Orthodox Judaism.

If two groups working from the same God and a largely-overlapping if not identical body of holy texts can come to wildly different moral codes, then obviously they can't be getting their morality from God, either.

So where does my morality come from? It comes from me, and my worldview and belief structure - the same as everyone else.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #64 on: October 11, 2014, 02:41:55 AM »
Purgatory's still a "thing" in that it's still a component of Catholic belief.  It's much older than the middle ages, but the concept - along with a shed load of others - was fleshed out at that time.  Hannibal's grandfather's missal is quite an old one (perhaps unsurprisingly) as the concept of giving a specific period of time as a reduction from purgatory was ended in the late sixties.

If two groups working from the same God and a largely-overlapping if not identical body of holy texts can come to wildly different moral codes, then obviously they can't be getting their morality from God, either.

Could you expand on this?  I genuinely don't see why not.  Bear in mind - and I'm talking about the specific example of Christianity here - that we're discussing a God who for most of human history outright had a favourite "people", who gives different laws to different groups, who treats people differently and specifically states he wants them to behave in different ways.  Why then is the fact that different people read different things from the Bible anything other than expected?  This attitude that the Bible can't be correct because of inconsistent/varying interpretation really confuses me.  It seems like that's exactly what one would predict from the God described within it.  (Obvi I'm not claiming that as a proof of God, simply saying that I don't see how its a valid criticism)

Offline Ephiral

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #65 on: October 11, 2014, 03:12:10 AM »
Could you expand on this?  I genuinely don't see why not.  Bear in mind - and I'm talking about the specific example of Christianity here - that we're discussing a God who for most of human history outright had a favourite "people", who gives different laws to different groups, who treats people differently and specifically states he wants them to behave in different ways.  Why then is the fact that different people read different things from the Bible anything other than expected?  This attitude that the Bible can't be correct because of inconsistent/varying interpretation really confuses me.  It seems like that's exactly what one would predict from the God described within it.  (Obvi I'm not claiming that as a proof of God, simply saying that I don't see how its a valid criticism)
I'm not saying that the Bible can't be correct. What I'm saying is that you cannot possibly arrive at two different conclusions by applying the same algorithm to the same priors - either the priors or the algorithm must change. So if two people are working from the same Bible, and they come to differing moral conclusions, the different must lie in the people - ergo, the resultant moral codes come from the people, not from purely external sources.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #66 on: October 11, 2014, 03:14:16 AM »
I'm not saying that the Bible can't be correct. What I'm saying is that you cannot possibly arrive at two different conclusions by applying the same algorithm to the same priors - either the priors or the algorithm must change. So if two people are working from the same Bible, and they come to differing moral conclusions, the different must lie in the people - ergo, the resultant moral codes come from the people, not from purely external sources.

Algorithm:

Take the number three.
Times it by the number of doors in the room you are currently in
Return the result.

I get 9 - one door and two cupboards.  You?

The point is that a significant part of the "algorithm" of morality depends on your own personal circumstances.

EDIT (clicked post by mistake  :-[)

So yes, priors are different there.  But so what?  Why are you so sure that that means morals come from the people rather than the same morals are expressed differently (or perhaps even only partially) in different people according to some deeper structure we don't know.  Either seems a perfectly reasonable answer.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 03:16:42 AM by Kythia »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #67 on: October 11, 2014, 03:47:53 AM »
Algorithm:

Take the number three.
Times it by the number of doors in the room you are currently in
Return the result.

I get 9 - one door and two cupboards.  You?

The point is that a significant part of the "algorithm" of morality depends on your own personal circumstances.

EDIT (clicked post by mistake  :-[)

So yes, priors are different there.  But so what?  Why are you so sure that that means morals come from the people rather than the same morals are expressed differently (or perhaps even only partially) in different people according to some deeper structure we don't know.  Either seems a perfectly reasonable answer.

I... believe I don't understand the question. How can "the same morals" be expressed differently, particularly in mutually-contradictory ways? If Alice believes that poverty is a sign of poor character, and Bob believes that voluntary poverty is righteous, how can these possibly be different expressions of the same moral framework?

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #68 on: October 11, 2014, 03:59:23 AM »
You did understand the question, or at least your request for clarification was relevant.

I'm in charge of morality in the world (you can choose to believe that's a hypothetical statement or not as you see fit).  I have a shed load of dials.    These dials give the "correct weighting" of different principles.  So "Desire to improve oneself" has a weighting, as does "Lack of materialistic urges" - we can argue about whether they're the correct underlying principles for Alice and Bob, but you get my point.

These are beamed out from my secret layer in a tropical volcano to everyone in the world.  7/10 altruism, 34% kin selection, etc.  Straight into Alice and Bob's brain.  This is then interpreted by the hardware of their brain.  Alice's low levels of serotonin (or whatever) make her more receptive to this part of the message, Bob's larger hippocampus (or whatever) makes him more susceptible to that.  The underlying principle remains constant -and I'm pretty clearly and pretty unhypothetically the source of all that is good and pure in the world - but it is interpreted differently.

To take another example, the same "messages" are sent to black and white and colour TVs.  I could also make some sort of machine that received them and displayed them in another way entirely, not even as pictures.  Same source, different interpretations based on local conditions.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #69 on: October 11, 2014, 04:16:52 AM »
Actually, have we got totally off topic here?  Wasn't this about some film that I haven't seen?  Wanna take this to PMs?

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #70 on: October 11, 2014, 09:39:05 AM »
Purgatory's still a "thing" in that it's still a component of Catholic belief.  It's much older than the middle ages, but the concept - along with a shed load of others - was fleshed out at that time.  Hannibal's grandfather's missal is quite an old one (perhaps unsurprisingly) as the concept of giving a specific period of time as a reduction from purgatory was ended in the late sixties.

*nods* It dates back into Judaism, and even supposedly has parallels in Islam (although I couldn't find them with a cursory search).  The paying for indulgences was a corrupt practice, but the original belief was that you could pray on behalf of a departed soul and get their punishment lessened (although 'time' wasn't believed to exist in the afterlife.)  Some enterprising person got the idea that you could pay someone else to pray for your loved one, and thus, simony arose and you eventually had the 95 Theses.

The thing is, if you listen to the people who complain about others sinning (insert anecdote about specks and planks here), you never hear about Purgatory anymore.  Listen to heavy metal?  Going to Hell.  Reading porn?  Going to Hell.  Fall in love with 'The Wrong Person'?  Going to Hell.  When in actuality, most of those are venial sins at worst, which was what Purgatory was for - taking those imperfect creations and making them better, now that they didn't have that pesky body to cater to.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #71 on: October 11, 2014, 09:45:31 AM »
Well, in fairness I'd imagine most of those "Going to hell" condemnations come from protestants, who don't believe (by and large) in purgatory. 

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Re: The God Who wasn't there, a movie
« Reply #72 on: October 11, 2014, 09:48:20 AM »
Hm.  An excellent point.  So many different flavors showed up during the Reformation that it's impossible to keep them all straight without a degree.