Author Topic: I don't really get the question...  (Read 1019 times)

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Offline kcrady

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #58 on: January 09, 2015, 08:58:10 AM »
Does that mean the only reason to believe in God is as some sort of "crutch"?

Posing the polar opposite question back to you though, what would be the point of God giving you everything you wanted and always interceding when someone was in trouble? He/She/It might as well have created an existence where evil and suffering were impossible to begin with - but then by logical extension where would that leave free will, love, "good" etc.

Isn't that (in particular the part I bolded above) more or less what "Heaven" is supposed to be like?  Are you suggesting that "Heaven" would have no point?

You are proposing a false dichotomy: either Yahweh does nothing at all, ever (as we observe to be the case, and take as evidence of his non-existence), or he miraculously solves all problems or makes it so they never exist.  There is an entire possibility-space in which a deity or deities could do some demonstrably divine things, without solving every single problem or being our personal genies.   

What if the fact we have experienced free will is actually the greater good in the long run - it is just that it goes hand-in-hand with imperfection? (temporarily, at any rate)

Can you demonstrate that a world with smallpox and child-molestation is better than one without?
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline HAL

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #59 on: January 09, 2015, 09:11:22 AM »
Ah well looks like he's gone. Not unusual arouund here.

I think I'll try an experiment and go through the day as if I didn't exist and see what happens.
Seriously, you guys are the meanest people I have ever met.  I hope you are happy and feel really good about yourself. 

Offline Nam

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #60 on: January 09, 2015, 09:21:44 AM »
Ah well looks like he's gone. Not unusual arouund here.

I think I'll try an experiment and go through the day as if I didn't exist and see what happens.

You want my kitten? He'll find your power source and turn it off repeatedly. He'll play with his toy on your bed while you try to sleep, and like a dog when you throw it across the room he'll fetch it and then wake you up so you can throw it again.

He will throw up on your face while you're sleeping because he doesn't know he's not dog 'cause cats don't play fetch. No matter how many times you push him away he will eat your food. Oh, and he's active 99% of the day. Here is what he's always like when not asleep:

(hopefully will play this time, it's 8+ minutes long, you can skip ahead)



-Nam
I don't presuppose a god. I presuppose a delusion of something that doesn't exist based off the lack of evidence for it.

-Nam

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2015, 09:51:57 AM »
On the contrary, it was a genuine attempt at dialogue - and I can honestly say I've learned a lot, as I've tried to keep an open mind throughout the discussion.  You have woefully misjudged my intentions, but worry not as I take it as a great complement you think I am of sufficient letters to possibly be writing a book or a blog!  :)
I can accept that, but you should probably keep in mind that certain arguments just are not going to fly here.  I pointed this out in a different thread, and I'm not going to harp on it here.  And I certainly don't expect you to know in advance which arguments aren't going to work.

Quote from: SolipsisticMind
In closing I hope I can encourage many of you to open your eyes more to the possibility that none of us have all the answers and we are all on a continual journey - the only mistake you can make is to box yourself in to a position too rigidly that you don't listen to other worldviews around you.  That can only hamper you in your search for truth.
I'm already aware of that.  However, the same naturally applies to you.  Everyone needs to periodically reevaluate their own worldviews, at least once in a while.

Quote from: SolipsisticMind
Re Solipsism, I think it is a logical certainty that you cannot prove that anything outside of your own mind exists.  Hence I think a demand for the strictly empirical is a logical nonsense position to hold.  We all take things on faith.  We have to.
I disagree.  First off, you can't actually prove that your own mind exists without engaging in circular reasoning, which is a logical fallacy.  Since this argument relies on a logical fallacy, it necessarily cannot be a logical certainty.  Second, while you can be reasonably certain that your own mind exists, that also necessarily includes the external world and the sensory channels which bring data in from it - because it's effectively impossible to have a mind that is capable of questioning whether it exists without sensory input from the outside world, since that sensory input is what allows a mind to develop to that point.

Third, because an external world is pretty much necessary to have a mind[1], it therefore follows that it is not nonsensical to expect empirical support from that external world for positions held by the mind.    And finally, while it is true that the human mind often holds beliefs which are loosely based on empirical evidence, or not based on it at all, this does not allow one to evade the importance of providing empirical support for a belief that they expect others to take seriously.

It's all well and good to say that "we all take things on faith", but using this to negate the importance of empirical evidence essentially destroys the foundation for convincing anyone of anything.  Think it through; that claim is essentially a way to defend a position based solely on faith from being undermined due to a lack of evidence.  Yet, that lack of evidence also ensures that it also cannot be used to convince other people.  The best you can do is make a logical argument, but logic is only as valid as its premise, and without evidence, you have no way of evaluating how accurate a given logical premise is.  You have to assume that the logical premise is sound because of faith too.

That's why you have to take empirical evidence into account.  Because otherwise you've created a situation where no matter what argument you fashion, you can't realistically expect to convince anyone of anything.
 1. sensory deprivation negatively affects cognitive capacity (http://www.delmarlearning.com/companions/content/0766838366/students/ch41/summary.asp); an infant placed in a sensory deprivation tank would probably not develop much more of a mind than a rutabaga

Offline kcrady

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #62 on: January 09, 2015, 10:47:19 AM »
This assumes that all "gods" are mutually exclusive.  What if the different "gods" are just different cultural manifestations of concept of "powers higher and outside of this universe"?

What if the different "gods" are Ancient Alienstm that visited Earth in spaceships long ago?  What if they're just myths people came up with and passed down?  What if, what if, what if?  We could make up stuff like that all day.  The question is, what hypothesis best fits all of the observed data we have about reality?

Ignoring God for a moment

Are you even allowed to do that? ;)

- are you saying that you are certain that it is impossible that nothing exists in higher dimensions outside of our limited detection (what with us only being limited finite being confined to this one universe)?
 

Stuff that exists outside of our limited ability to detect it is, by definition, undetected.  Perhaps we might detect it in the future if we build better instrumentation.  So what?  This has nothing to do with religions.  Find me a religion that worships a deity while claiming that it has never done anything, communicated anything, or been detected and/or experienced by humans in any way.

We are responding to claims that deities (usually Yahweh) have done things right here in reality, such as create the Cosmos 6,000 years ago, flood the entire planetary biosphere and replace the whole thing from the contents of a single wooden ship, resurrect the dead, turn the Sun off for 3 hours (without anyone but a small group of people noticing), talk to people, have "personal relationships" with people, and so on.  If those claims are not supported by the evidence we would expect to find if they were true, then we are perfectly warranted to dismiss them.  Or do you believe in the truth of every single god, goddess, faerie, sprite, djinn, leprechaun, chupacabra, flying saucer alien, ghost, "orb," poltergeist, "past life recall," psychic power, homeopathic remedy, et cetera, et cetera, et multiple cetera that anyone has ever claimed to believe in?

I love the unicorn analogy.  What if I told you that my green wheelie bin was God and you have to put cash into it every week, otherwise it will make bad things happen to you?  I guess as a rational being you have to weigh up the coherence of what is being presented to you.

Yes, I would be just as skeptical of the claim that your green wheelie bin is "God" as I am of the claim that some ancient itinerant preacher from Roman Judea is "God." 

Do you mind me asking the rationality you used in determining that God definitely (or almost certainly) doesn't exist?  It is largely based on your own parameters of what you expect of what God might have to do to prove himself to you?  If so, how can you be sure that your parameters are adequate?

Which "God?" 

Also, you speak of no evidence.  Belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster would indeed be based on zero evidence.
 

Whatever do you mean?  The existence of pirates proves He exists.  If you had been touched by His Noodly Appendage, you would know this to be true.

But is the historical eye-witness testimony of Christ not evidence?

What "historical eye-witness testimony of Christ?"  If you've found some hitherto undiscovered ancient manuscripts containing "historical eye-witness testimony of Christ" then by all means, bring them to the attention of the scholarly community!  Such manuscripts would make the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library pale by comparison!  However, even if we had "eye-witness accounts" of "Christ," they would be no more compelling than the many thousands of eye-witness accounts of flying saucers, alien abductions, Sasquatch, Joseph Smith's golden plates, etc., etc., etc..  Or do you accept as truth any claim that purports to have an "eye-witness" as verification?

BTW, if you're claiming that the Gospels are "eye-witness testimony of Christ," could you tell us which of Jesus' disciples saw him praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (and wrote down his prayer verbatim!) while all of his disciples were asleep?
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #63 on: January 09, 2015, 11:44:13 AM »
Of the events that there were "multitudes" in attendance, there should have been lots of reports or letters from the people there. Yet, we have nothing, no mentions, not even in passing. All the "multitude" just went home after seeing a miracle and told not a soul? And then wrote their usual letters with ordinary news and gossip? That news of a miracle should have spread like wildfire, and there should have been lots of letters and reports on it. But no. Nothing.

BTW, who witnessed Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness? What "eyewitness" was there? Where is their report? Not to mention who was the eyewitness to anything in the OT....
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline kcrady

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #64 on: January 09, 2015, 12:49:33 PM »
This is fascinating.  It sounds like you trust all the tax info and census data etc, yet the Gospels of Christ are not trustworthy as a historic record?  This is surely biased sampling on your behalf.

Can I take it then, that you accept as true the claim that Pharaoh Ramses II defeated an entire Hittite army from his chariot single-handed because Amun-Re strengthened his arm?  If you go to Egypt and visit the Temple of Karnak, you can see this account, with pictures, inscribed in stone, dozens of feet high, on one of the entrance pylons.  This was created during the lifetime and under the supervision of Ramses II (definitely a real person; you can see his mummy in the Cairo Museum), and, being carved in stone, there is no issue of passed-down copies of copies of copies of original manuscripts now lost, as there is with Biblical texts.  The Qadesh inscription on the pylon at Karnak is what textual scholars refer to as an "original autograph."  It's the equivalent of having the very papyrus of the Epistle to the Romans that Paul himself wrote.

If you are skeptical of Ramses' claim--when he had the entire Egyptian army as eyewitnesses--could you explain why?  Why would he build a gigantic temple pylon commemorating a story that thousands of Egyptians (not to mention the Hittite princess he married as a result of the peace treaty signed after the battle!) could have called out as a lie?

You then turn to lack of "impartial evidence" - but how likely is it that the actions of an obscure preacher

If the Gospels were wrong when it comes to their claims that Jesus was so famous that crowds of thousands sought him out in the harsh Judean wilderness, crowds so large and supportive that he was able to take effective control of the Jewish Temple (e.g. chasing out the money changers, preaching publicly) for the week of Passover, and nobody--not the Temple police, not even the Romans--dared try to arrest him because "they were afraid of the crowd," then why should we believe them when they claim that Jesus could contravene physics at will?  We have a lot of evidence that the surface tension of water is insufficient to support the weight of a full-grown man!

of a fringe religion

In the Gospels, Jesus is regularly called "Rabbi," that is, a preacher of the recognized official religion of Judea, which had as the center of its worship a massive Temple and the holy city of Jerusalem, a metropolis of around 100,000 people at the time.  He is portrayed reading scripture and preaching in a synagogue, and in the Jerusalem Temple itself.

in a far-flung outpost of the main empire

To the contrary, Roman Judea was a very strategic province, the crossroads between Egypt, Babylon/Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor (Turkey).  Whenever their control of it was threatened, the Romans pulled out all the stops to hold it.  Emperor Hadrian even went there at the head of his Legions to fight for it.  The region where Jesus was supposed to have traveled and preached contained ten prominent Roman cities known as the Decapolis.  Judea was not the Roman equivalent of Outer Mongolia.  Just a few days' journey away by foot was the greatest center of learning and philosophy and religious studies in the world at the time: Alexandria, Egypt.  There was even a well-known Jewish writer there during the alleged time of Jesus named Philo, who taught ideas very similar to those of early Christianity...yet, he makes no mention of Jesus. 

of the time would have been recorded by any contemporaneous third-party sources?  Not to mention of course that those sources may well have existed once, but now no longer exist.  Lack of evidence is not the same as evidence to the contrary.

It is, if the claims in question would have left evidence if they were true.  For example, the present pristine existence of New York City is evidence that it was not destroyed by the Cloverfield Monster a few years ago, despite what appears to be a found video recording of such a destruction.  In the case of the Gospels, events such as the Sun turning off for three hours while Jerusalem was packed with 800,000 Passover pilgrims from all over the Empire, the "great earthquake" that allegedly happened at the same time, the mini zombie apocalypse (dead people crawling from their graves and entering the city) that also supposedly happened then, would have left evidence in the historical record outside of the Gospels.  Even Paul doesn't mention any of those things when he's trying to argue for the resurrection of Jesus in his epistles!  How could that be?

All of your points can be put back on you of course.  If Christ never existed, and the disciples were going around Jerusalem telling about Christ performing miracles and rising from the dead, why is there no documented evidence that survives that they made it all up?

The earliest Christian writings we have are the authentic letters of Paul.  He claims to have experienced Christ in revelatory visions, and found him alluded to in the Hebrew Scriptures.  He makes no mention of a Jesus who ever taught crowds in Galilee, or in the Temple in Jerusalem, or worked miracles among people on Earth.  If Christ did not exist as a man on Earth, the "disciples" (aka apostles) could have had the same sort of mystical experiences of Jesus that Paul did, and sincerely believed in his existence as a celestial intermediary between Yahweh and humanity.  That sort of belief was actually quite common in religious thought, including Judaism, at the time that Christianity got its start.

Surely it would have been in the interests of the Pharisees to issue public proclamations in the news of the time that it was all a load of baloney?  And yet nothing like that survives?

If the worship of Jesus began as the Jewish version of the Mystery School dying-and-rising god-man theology that already existed in multiple versions based on other exotic Eastern (to the Romans) religions (the Eleusian Mysteries, the cult of Attis, Dionysus, Mithras, Osiris/Isis/Horus, etc.), then the Pharisees would have had no alleged "historical" claims to debunk.  Also, it should be pointed out that the Christians who became history's winners were not terribly interested in preserving the writings of Christianity's critics. 

We can argue back and forth on this all day - the key fact is, that you have no counter-evidence to the testimony of Christ - only speculation.  The gospels however remain as a recorded historic testimony.

Do they?  The Gospels themselves contain a great deal of evidence that they were not written as "historic testimony."  Gospel writers thought nothing of reworking their source material in completely divergent ways in order to make their own literary points.  For example, the synoptic Gospels place Jesus' "cleansing" of the Temple at the end of his career, while the Gospel of John places it at the beginning.  In Luke, "Lazarus" is a character in a parable in which it is said that even if he rose from the dead (i.e., was sent back to preach to the rich man's brothers), people would not believe.  In John's Gospel, "Lazarus" becomes a close friend of Jesus whose resurrection does cause people to believe (John 12:9-11).  In other words, John takes Luke's Lazarus story and completely turns it on its ear.  This is literature (we might even call it "fan-fiction" today), not dutifully-recorded eyewitness accounts of Historical Truth.tm 

Aside from that, what is most likely:

1) Christ never existed - then how do you explain away the rise of Christianity?  It is not as simple as comparing to the rise of other religions as a parallel, because what the Disciples claimed was easily falsifiable by the people in the region.

Sure it is.  Every religion starts at some point.  Wsar (Osiris) reigned as a king in Egypt before he was murdered by his brother Set.  Set cut his body into pieces and scattered them through the length and breadth of the land.  Wset (Isis) sought them out, and the Egyptians built a temple for Wsar at the site where each body part was found.  Surely that couldn't have happened unless the story was Really True, right?  The Greeks said that Zeus & Co. lived on Mt. Olympus.  Must have been true, otherwise mountain climbers would have debunked it.

Also, why would the disciples suffer persecution, torture and death for their beliefs rather than admitting that they made it all up?  It would take quite a committed conman to willingly die for something they knew to be false, and the sheer number of disciples makes the odds against not a single one of them capitulating under pressure almost non-existent.

Jonestown, Heaven's Gate, Branch Davidians.  Also, how do you know that not one early Christian ever recanted?  Furthermore, how do you know that they didn't believe in a celestial Christ revealed in visions and esoteric interpretations of Scripture, as we see in the authentic letters of Paul and the Book of Hebrews?  In other words, they could have sincerely believed, just not in a "historical" Jesus who lived on Earth.  The Gospels were all written after the Jewish War, during which the population of Judea was massacred and scattered.  It is not necessarily even the case that the Gospels were originally intended, or understood as literal history until decades, even centuries later, when the emerging Roman Catholic Church had a need to establish a doctrine of "apostolic succession" going back to an earthly Jesus and his disciples, as the basis for their legitimacy as the "true" Christian sect.

2)  Christ believed he was God, but was just mentally unhinged.

3)  Christ knew he wasn’t God, but was a clever illusionist.

The ol' "Liar, Lunatic, or Lord" chestnut, eh?  Other possibilities (if Jesus existed as a historical man) would include Legend (stories about him grew in the telling until he was deified after his death), and Lore (he was a mythical being who as later historicized).  We have historical examples of both: the Ethiopian king Haile Salassie was deified by the Rastafarians against his own wishes, while a number of Hindu gurus such as Sathya Sai Baba gained reputations as miracle-workers, and were deified by their followers.  On the other end of the scale, mythical figures like Romulus and Hercules were regarded as historical by some thinkers in Greco-Roman times, such as Euhemerus.  Romulus must have been historical, otherwise, how could he have founded Rome?

Since we have a lot more examples of mythical god-men (Attis, Dionysus, Mithras, etc.) and historical men who either deified themselves (Sathya Sai Baba, Sun Myung Moon, David Koresh, Charles Manson) or were deified during their lifetime (Haile Salassie) or after their deaths (Imhotep) than we do of actual incarnate gods, the prior probability that Jesus should be the one example of the dying-rising god-man trope that was a real, live, in-the-flesh dying-and-rising god-man must be given a low prior probability.  Exactly the same way you'd assign a low prior probability to "eyewitness reports" of UFO's (right?), even though we also have photographs.  The only evidence you have in favor of your claim is: ancient sectarian literature that was arguably not even written as putative news reports, any more than the story of the Tortoise and the Hare was written as a sports story about a race (but tortoises and hares are real animals!  It must be true!).
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline Nick

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #65 on: January 09, 2015, 12:51:55 PM »
@Nam, Damn, Nam.  Having a cat sounds worse than raising children.  Maybe you need another kitten so it will draw attention away from you (or just double the problem).
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #66 on: January 09, 2015, 04:06:54 PM »
Unfortunately, in spite of all the scholarly efforts of kcrady and others, the response from most Christians to historical facts that challenge their faith is some version of fingers in the ears, lalalalalala, I can't hear you! And repeat the same stuff again as if we had posted gibberish. That is what skeptic does.

Jst ignores the facts that just debunked his bible passage, and posts yet another passage from the bible. OCG will at least admit that the points we make are valid ones and he does not know how to reconcile historical and scientific facts with his continued faith in stuff that has no external support. And then he explains that he will continue to believe that there are 13 invisible dragon fairies at the bottom of the White House Rose Garden who hold the universe together. (Or the Christian equivalent.)

Or, like SM here, they just run away.

Can get frustrating, trying to get these folks to actually engage with the ideas. Kinda like my day job..... :P
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Nam

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #67 on: January 09, 2015, 04:11:30 PM »
Don't engage with OCG, he's harmless. It's the others who do harm.

-Nam
I don't presuppose a god. I presuppose a delusion of something that doesn't exist based off the lack of evidence for it.

-Nam

Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #68 on: January 09, 2015, 04:18:42 PM »
Don't engage with OCG, he's harmless. It's the others who do harm.

-Nam

I like OCG. He is pleasant and nice. I stick up for him in most circumstances.

But I just get frustrated that he always says we are right, but nothing changes. It is like teaching a person how to solve an equation, having them admit that is the correct way, and then having them continue to do it a different way that gives the wrong answer.

Because that is how their grandfather taught them to do it, and if they do it the correct way, they would be dissing the memory of grandfather.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #69 on: January 09, 2015, 04:20:07 PM »
Did anyone catch that? Nam is defending a theist from NGFM.

BTW, hell just froze over.  ;D
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online One Above All

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #70 on: January 09, 2015, 04:28:45 PM »
BTW, hell just froze over.  ;D

*sigh*
I'll fix it...
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #71 on: January 09, 2015, 04:37:47 PM »
Kcrady didn't know it, but I took this picture of him shredding Solipsistic. Hope he doesn't mind my sharing.

It isn't true that non-existent gods can't do anything. For instance, they were able to make me into an atheist.

Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #72 on: January 09, 2015, 05:47:13 PM »
^^^Almost as creepy as Sarah Palin with the turkey being killed behind her on that news report...... :o
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline DVZ3

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #73 on: January 22, 2015, 09:36:31 PM »
When you're that Fargo from reality...
Hguols: "Its easier for me to believe that a God created everything...."

Offline MissingHitch

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #74 on: February 26, 2015, 04:48:36 PM »
This subject is rather tiresome... And our friend here is going to hold onto his faith regardless of evidence, or lack thereof...  So, I say let him...  Let him waste his money, his time, his energy, huge chunks of his life devoted to a fairy tale.  It's cool with me!  Have at it man!  Just keep your mythology out of my house, my government, and my schools... One day, some of us wake up and see the Matrix for what it is...  Some want to stay in the Matrix- I say let them.  Anyhoo...

The "rise" or popularity of Christianity as some kind of support for it's "truth" is ridiculous...  Argumentum ad populum...  False logic.  People believed the world was flat for thousands of years- it was a very popular position.  And it was wrong.  But I digress...

Once again, apologists don't like to dig into history any further than the "good book" allows...  Christianity was confined to a relatively small group of believers in the area surrounding current-day Israel until one major event a few hundred years later that caused it's viral spread among Europe- Roman Emporor Constantine's "conversion" to the faith...  And therefore making it the "official" religion of the then-crumbling Roman Empire. 

Why did he do this?  Because one day he woke up to a bright light cast down from the heavens??  The lord Jesus appeared to him in a dream and held his hand as he paraded him around heaven- petting lions like pets and skipping along sidewalks of gold??  Uh, no...  It was purely political. 

Constantine was overseeing a vast empire that was falling apart at the seams, and a shadow of it's former glory..  They had spread themselves too thin and couldn't maintain power amongst the millions of square miles of territory.  The Empire was in shambles- so, as a last ditch effort, Constantine decided to take sides with a popular cult (christianity) and force it- "convert or die"- upon the subjects residing within the myriad Roman territories.  Zealots are the best allies when you're in need of help!   It was a desperate reach to hang onto power.  Hence, the "Holy Roman Empire" was created... And soon after, with the Empire decimated, the Pope was given the keys to the shattered empire.  Then enter the dark ages- where all pre-church knowledge, literature, and scientific inquiry was quashed by the Catholic faithful.  As evidenced by the torching of the Library at Alexander (the ancient worlds "Smithsonian)- burned to the ground by knowldedge-fearing Christian faithful.

Nothing to do with "righteousness" or "truth"... It was a last ditch political power play.  Plain and simple.

Online nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #75 on: February 26, 2015, 05:17:37 PM »
^^^That's certainly a more plausible explanation for the spread of the religion than either magic or self-evident truth. The new religion actively persecuted and oppressed the European pagans who held older beliefs. Destroyed their holy places, and condemned their practices, even while absorbing many of the festivals and other traditions.[1]

Neither magic nor truth require an army to force people to accept it.  Presumably if Christianity really had a god with miracles backing it up, it would not have needed Constantine and the Roman Army!

If people see the benefit of something, they demand it. Generally, you don't have to shove smallpox vaccines, electricity or indoor plumbing down anyone's throat.With religion, it is the opposite. Nobody is asking foreigners to bring in a strange new religion so they can get rid of what their ancestors taught them.

I don't know of any case where a strong society voluntarily adopted the religion of a weaker one. It always seems that some powerful group is making the less powerful accept their religion. Wonder why that is?
 1. How are Christmas trees, Easter eggs or demons with an eerie resemblance to Pan (the sexy part-goat god from whom we get the word "panic') in any way relevant to the Middle East?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online lectricpharaoh

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2015, 06:26:16 AM »
Instead, believers in every god and no god at all lose their jobs, get killed in plane crashes and get made homeless by natural disasters at exactly the same rate.
Actually, Amish people die in plane and automobile crashes at distinctly lower rates than the rest of us.  Clearly, this is God's hand at work.  We should ditch the televisions and toilet paper.[1]

I don't know of any case where a strong society voluntarily adopted the religion of a weaker one. It always seems that some powerful group is making the less powerful accept their religion. Wonder why that is?
It's quite obviously because the stronger societies are closer to the truth, which is what enabled them to become strong is the first place.  Right makes might!  Learn to think critically, already!

@SolipsisticMind:

Dear Diary Lord,

Today, I woke up and got out of bed.  Thank You, Lord, for the miracle of not letting me die in my sleep.  Amen.

Later, I prepared some food in the microwave oven.  Thank You, Lord, not only for giving me my food, but for heating it in Your miraculous creation with Your benevolent unseen rays.  Amen.

Thank You, Lord, for curing me of my tobacco dependency.  It is clear proof of Your loving and all-powerful nature that You did so before the fact, so that I never took up the habit to begin with.  Glory and approbation to You, Lord, who did this thing without encroaching upon my free will.  Amen.

Today, my home did not burn to the ground in a freak electrical fire.  Truly, Lord, You are both merciful and just; every action or inaction on Your part serves to demonstrate Your greatness.  Amen.

Praise be to You, Lord, for seeing that my BitTorrent downloads of copyrighted material proceed without issue.  It is evidence of Your divine mercy that those who would seek to interfere with Your plan through copyright legislation, cease-and-desist letters, and shutdowns of popular torrent sites are not struck down by Your hand.  Amen.
 1. Yeah, I know most of them use toilet paper, but I thought it was funny, so I said it.
The Bible is one of the select few books that is wholly deserving of being burned.
  - Me