Author Topic: All or nothing [#2563]  (Read 5388 times)

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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #58 on: June 15, 2011, 05:01:16 PM »
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Gnu, I find this to be a bit odd. To me, this seems to read that you want science to be part of philosophy,...
It's not a matter of what I want, Velks. I'm saying that the Scientific Method is founded on philosophical principles; science is based on philosophy.

So when some people on this forum say that they have no time for philosophy, that it's wishy-washy or not concerned with the real world or mere semantic games, and that the only real knowledge is to be obtained through science... they're making a category error.

From the wiki article on the Scientific Method (my bolding):
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Philosophy of science looks at the underpinning logic of the scientific method, at what separates science from non-science, and the ethic that is implicit in science. There are basic assumptions derived from philosophy that form the base of the scientific method - namely, that reality is objective and consistent, that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world. These assumptions from methodological naturalism form the basis on which science is grounded.
Science is based on assumptions.
 
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...but you say that it can't address the qeustions that philosophy always tries to do on its own e.g. existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language
What I'm saying is that science only provides answers to certain kinds of questions, questions which amenable to the Method. If a question/theory is unfalsifiable, for example, science shrugs its shoulders and remains silent.

As regards morality, for example. Science certainly has something to say about the nature of morality, how it might have evolved and been selected for. And science can describe varieties of moral/ethical systems, historical and contemporary.

What science can't do is tell you, personally, what you should do when faced with a specific ethical dilemma.

To answer that, you need to employ Moral Philosophy. (Or Theology, if you want).


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I'm also curious, what are the "rules" of science? The scientific method?
That's what I meant, yes. Rules such as, Experiments must be repeatable, or Theories must be falsifiable.

Incidentally, while just checking out what these Ancient Greek 'natural philosophers' were actually doing, I found this account of Epicurus' work in 400BC by Richard Carrier:
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Epicurus predicted (as reported by Lucretius in his poetic summary De Rerum Natura) the existence of the atom and the molecule (the binding of two atoms to produce a different chemical); the law of inertia (unless retarded by a blow, objects are in constant motion--not proved until Galileo); the principal of universal natural law (the same principles of behavior that apply on earth apply the same everywhere in the universe--a theory denied by Aristotle, and by the Christian Church until Galileo challenged the Church's view and Newton proved him right);

the rain cycle (that rain comes from water that has evaporated from seas and lakes, due to the heat of the sun and the motion of the air, and is stored in clouds, then falls when those clouds are heated or saturated); that sound is a pressure wave of air molecules whose shape determines the sound; that light is comprised of particles; that the sense of smell is caused by the shape of molecules fitting the shape of receptors in the nose; that lightning is caused by friction between storm fronts and consists of rapidly-moving particles (which we now call electrons) that are smaller than the atoms that comprise visible matter; that earthquakes are caused by slipping fault lines; that the Nile rises every year because of snow melting at its source; that animals, including humans, evolved by natural selection;

that matter is mostly empty space; that magnetism is the result of a constant discharge and absorption of particles between magnetic objects; that fire is not an element; that there is no center of the universe but many different solar systems with their own planets; and that the speed of light is finite. He also predicted relativity, arguing that motion is relative, and time does not exist except as the relation of objects and events to each other, and hence time is also relative to the observer

Assuming Carrier is dependable (which he usually is), that's pretty impressive, huh?
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 05:17:00 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline Alzael

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #59 on: June 15, 2011, 06:14:43 PM »
As does theology (which is another branch of philosophy).


No, it isn't. Theology is related to philosophy as much as much it's related to science. That is to say, not at all.
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Offline RNS

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #60 on: June 16, 2011, 02:23:15 AM »
although everything gnu said stands, a simpler way to think about it is:

philosphy = love of wisdom (literally), which essentially means it is concerned with gaining knowledge. science is one way of gaining knowledge of a certain type, thus it is a branch of philosophy.
love and truth and love of truth

Offline velkyn

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #61 on: June 16, 2011, 09:36:19 AM »
It's not a matter of what I want, Velks. I'm saying that the Scientific Method is founded on philosophical principles; science is based on philosophy.
can you go into more details on how this is?  I'll admit, I don't have that great a base in general philosophy.
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So when some people on this forum say that they have no time for philosophy, that it's wishy-washy or not concerned with the real world or mere semantic games, and that the only real knowledge is to be obtained through science... they're making a category error.
How?  I find that science has little to do with philosophy in that the great vastness of philosophical thought has no evidence to support it.  We know that the scientific method works.  To compare it to say Kant, Hegel, etc, seems to be comparing apples to oranges.  Perhaps at one point they were coming from the same thought processes but as soon as objective evidence came down for science, it ceased to be similar to philosophy.  and yes, RNS, I can see the hugely broad concept including all knowledge, but I don't think that "philosophy" is really defined that way anymore, at least not in the classroom.

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From the wiki article on the Scientific Method (my bolding):
Philosophy of science looks at the underpinning logic of the scientific method, at what separates science from non-science, and the ethic that is implicit in science. There are basic assumptions derived from philosophy that form the base of the scientific method - namely, that reality is objective and consistent, that humans have the capacity to perceive reality accurately, and that rational explanations exist for elements of the real world. These assumptions from methodological naturalism form the basis on which science is grounded.
Okay, but I know that some philosophies do not agree that reality is objective and consistent, etc.  I find this confusing.
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Science is based on assumptions.
I suppose you could say that but until someone shows those supposed "assumptions" to be wrong, I find it this to be a curious claim.  There is nothing yet that shows that reality isn't objective or consistent. Our *perceptions* of it might not be but reality itself......
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...but you say that it can't address the qeustions that philosophy always tries to do on its own e.g. existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language
What I'm saying is that science only provides answers to certain kinds of questions, questions which amenable to the Method. If a question/theory is unfalsifiable, for example, science shrugs its shoulders and remains silent. [/quote] True.
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As regards morality, for example. Science certainly has something to say about the nature of morality, how it might have evolved and been selected for. And science can describe varieties of moral/ethical systems, historical and contemporary.
What science can't do is tell you, personally, what you should do when faced with a specific ethical dilemma.To answer that, you need to employ Moral Philosophy. (Or Theology, if you want).
what is "Moral Philosophy"?
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I'm also curious, what are the "rules" of science? The scientific method?
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That's what I meant, yes. Rules such as, Experiments must be repeatable, or Theories must be falsifiable.
I still dont' see where philosophy, any type,  indicates these are to be used.

and yes, it's very impressive that Epicurus came up with these ideas. Thanks for the review of how this stuff goes.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #62 on: June 16, 2011, 11:02:23 AM »
(I would appreciate it if people would call me Jaime, if they want to shorten it from Jaimehlers)

@RNS:

(2) Okay, for example, I see a lot of letters to the editor written by true believers.  Often, they selectively quote verses from the Bible in order to support their arguments, and I have found that if I go and actually look up what they're quoting, the wider context of the section in general will be at odds with the specific interpretation they used.  Similarly, if I am trying to make a point to them, occasionally quoting from the Bible myself is handy.  So it's a reference book rather than a guidebook, at least for me.

(7) Well, let's take a concept or idea which existed before science and is not proven by science, such as the soul.  Does the fact that the existence of the soul is unproven mean it is necessarily disproven?  To put that another way, what science does not observe cannot be recorded or studied and thus falls outside the bounds of science; so the failure to observe something does not disprove the existence of the thing not observed.

To put this in perspective, before we had telescopes, humans could only see stars bright enough to be visible to the naked eye.  Afterward, we could see stars that weren't.  Yet those stars still existed before we had the ability to observe them.  If someone had said that there were no stars but those we could see with our eyes, who could have proved him wrong back then?  Based on what he could see, and his own reasoning and logic, he would have been correct.  And yet, we know now without question that such a statement would have been unequivocably wrong.

The lack of proof cuts both ways, though.  Just as we can't disprove the existence of the soul, neither can we prove its existence.  Someone who says "no, this thing definitely does not exist" without any proof is just as wrong as someone who says "yes, this thing definitely does exist" without any proof either.  So it's certainly good to be skeptical.  Yet, if someone had said a century ago that solid objects weren't actually solid and in fact had large amounts of empty space incorporated into them, who would have believed them without proof?  Yet, based on what we understand now, such a person would have had the right of it.

(11)  It turns out to be more complicated than I realized when I was trying to explain it before, and I ended up getting some things confused in my head (basically, by trying to justify things without making the effort to understand where they came from).  I can explain it better now.

Basically, the (proto)orthodox sect which ultimately shaped Christianity made scribal changes in to the texts order to reinforce their interpretation and undercut that of rival sects which had radicially different views.  For example, one sect believed Jesus did not become God's son until his baptism; in effect, he was born in the normal way and he didn't truly become divine until after he died.  Another sect held that Jesus was never human in the first place and only had the seeming of human flesh.  Yet a third held that there was in fact a human Jesus and a divine Christ, and that Jesus was exalted by Christ but never actually divine.  I imagine there were others still, but those are the only ones I know of (source: Misquoting Jesus, Bart D. Ehrman, chapter 6 pages 151-175).

After thinking about it and rereading that, I think I know the reason why I hold onto that title, and it isn't because I need 'comforting' or because of habit or stubbornness(or at least not mainly).  Nor is it because I admire Jesus.  Honestly, I think I was trying to rationalize it to myself because I hadn't really faced it yet.  It seems paradoxical, but I call myself a Christian because what I believe wouldn't be accepted by 'real' Christian believers, because I know that what they believe bears very little resemblance (circumstantial, at best) to what actually happened.

I don't know if that reason makes any sense, but it is a truer reason than what I was fumbling around trying to explain before.

@Graybeard:

I would like to see a source for the your statement that neighbor meant fellow Jew (anyone can provide the source, I just want to see it).  I'm suggesting that it's false, but I want to see for myself.

@Dante:

Do I believe in magic?  Not in the sense that you probably mean (incantations, spells, etc).  I believe that what people thought of as magic, assuming it was based on something that really happened and not hearsay or coincidence or the like, was really a natural process that could be explained by science.  For example, the fantastical claims of alchemy probably came about because of chemical reactions that were discovered by accident.  It took methodology and controlled experimentation for people to start understanding the basis by which such things worked - before then, they were 'magic'.

Do I believe in the supernatural?  Well, to point to something I said above, the idea of a Supreme Being is not proven, but neither is it disproven.  The fact that I've never once seen something happen that couldn't be explained (if nothing else, by probability theory) does suggest that if there is something supernatural out there, it isn't spending any time in our part of the stellar neighborhood.

Do I believe in superstitition?  I believe that people who don't have a solid grounding in something can easily come up with an explanation which makes sense to them, but isn't supportable.  But I, personally, am not superstitious.

@velkyn:

My response to you will necessarily be involved so I will have to post it separately at a later time, so as to keep both to a manageable length.

@Jezebel:

I hope my response to RNS, above, illuminates my position on why I call myself a Christian better.  I was not being very clear before, even to myself.

I do want to point out that in addition to "love thy neighbor" (however it was meant; one has to remember that there was a strong tendency during the first few centuries of Christianity to 'regularize' the gospels, to change their language to match the other gospels if they said the same thing, so it's possible that Matthew said neighbor as in fellow Jew, and Mark said neighbor as in nearness, and the one got changed to match the other, or something like that), there was also "love thy enemy".  By no means do I think that anyone should pretend that Jesus did not say things which were bad or did not make sense, but they also do not wipe away the good things he said.

@Gnu Ordure:

Again, I hope my response above explains my position better.

Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #63 on: June 16, 2011, 11:12:27 AM »
It seems paradoxical, but I call myself a Christian because what I believe wouldn't be accepted by 'real' Christian believers, because I know that what they believe bears very little resemblance (circumstantial, at best) to what actually happened.

So... let me see if I understand this by re wording it. Tell me if you agree.

They're (supposedly) wrong about the events surounding Jesus, so because you believe your version is closer to the truth - or what the truth would be if he actually existed, you call yourself a Christian?


Does that mean they don't have as much right to the title as you do?
"You play make-believe every day of your life, and yet you have no concept of 'imagination'."
I do not have "faith" in science. I have expectations of science. "Faith" in something is an unfounded assertion, whereas reasonable expectations require a precedent.

Offline Dante

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #64 on: June 16, 2011, 11:19:43 AM »


@Dante:

Do I believe in magic?  Not in the sense that you probably mean (incantations, spells, etc).  I believe that what people thought of as magic, assuming it was based on something that really happened and not hearsay or coincidence or the like, was really a natural process that could be explained by science.  For example, the fantastical claims of alchemy probably came about because of chemical reactions that were discovered by accident.  It took methodology and controlled experimentation for people to start understanding the basis by which such things worked - before then, they were 'magic'.

Do I believe in the supernatural?  Well, to point to something I said above, the idea of a Supreme Being is not proven, but neither is it disproven.  The fact that I've never once seen something happen that couldn't be explained (if nothing else, by probability theory) does suggest that if there is something supernatural out there, it isn't spending any time in our part of the stellar neighborhood.

Do I believe in superstitition?  I believe that people who don't have a solid grounding in something can easily come up with an explanation which makes sense to them, but isn't supportable.  But I, personally, am not superstitious.



Thanks for the thoughtful responses, Jaime. I see your points about the supernatural, and of souls, and of our possible lack of technology to sufficiently explain some things. However, I'd like to refer you to your post about magic:

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I believe that what people thought of as magic, <snip> was really a natural process that could be explained by science

Take it a step further, and apply the same logic to the supernatural, your Supreme Being. While all gods have yet to be disproven, we have absolutely zero evidence to support their existence. Further, every single time we've looked for answers to phenomena that were previously attributed to the supernatural, we've found natural, scientific answers. Lightning, thunder, tidal waves, NDE's, etc.

Given the odds, and the success rate of science to explain our universe, there's no reason to give the supernatural any credence whatsoever.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline velkyn

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #65 on: June 16, 2011, 11:21:59 AM »
  It seems paradoxical, but I call myself a Christian because what I believe wouldn't be accepted by 'real' Christian believers, because I know that what they believe bears very little resemblance (circumstantial, at best) to what actually happened.
Love to know how you "know" what "really" happened. Those Christians claim the same thing.

@velkyn:

My response to you will necessarily be involved so I will have to post it separately at a later time, so as to keep both to a manageable length.[/quote]

No problem.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #66 on: June 16, 2011, 11:47:00 AM »
Avatar of Belial, Velkyn:

No.  It's hard to explain, but it's like a protest against the belief that someone can only be a Christian if they believe in the doctrine, since the doctrine was based on documents which were intentionally altered in order to remove alternate interpretations from them.  It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I happen to believe; I'm not now calling myself a Christian for my own sake.

I'm sorry if it's difficult to understand; this is difficult to explain straightforwardly.

Dante:

No evidence to support, yes.  But also no evidence to disprove.

Think of it this way.  I am not willing to dismiss the supernatural as a possibility, but neither am I willing to grant the supernatural as a probability.

Offline Dante

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #67 on: June 16, 2011, 12:03:54 PM »

Dante:

No evidence to support, yes.  But also no evidence to disprove.

Think of it this way.  I am not willing to dismiss the supernatural as a possibility, but neither am I willing to grant the supernatural as a probability.

Yeah, it's tough to come up with evidence to disprove imaginary ideas.

But, close enough for now, I suppose. Thanks for the conversation. Enjoy your stay here!
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #68 on: June 16, 2011, 12:13:10 PM »
Avatar of Belial, Velkyn:

No.  It's hard to explain, but it's like a protest against the belief that someone can only be a Christian if they believe in the doctrine, since the doctrine was based on documents which were intentionally altered in order to remove alternate interpretations from them.  It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I happen to believe; I'm not now calling myself a Christian for my own sake.

I'm sorry if it's difficult to understand; this is difficult to explain straightforwardly.

Dante:

No evidence to support, yes.  But also no evidence to disprove.

Think of it this way.  I am not willing to dismiss the supernatural as a possibility, but neither am I willing to grant the supernatural as a probability.

Sure you can have a theory before you have evidence. However, until
you have evidence to support it all theories are not so much equally
invalid, but equally ignorable. If they make logical sense, and are
testable..test them to seek knowledge. Lets  say someone has a
dream that there is an adanced civilarizion(but not possessing FTL
technology) on the fouth planet around a star that is 9670 light years
from earth. They propose it is real, do you "accept this" theory as
reasonable? Or would you ignore it as unsupported?
Lets us say the 1200 years from now that we find out that there is
actually an advanced civilization on said planet. Yes, the theory was
valid, but it was...given the fact it was unsupported and untestable
it was still reasonable to ignore it. Certainly it would be
unreasonable to change our behavior and expend resources on a welcome
center for these aliens in the present time.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline velkyn

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #69 on: June 16, 2011, 12:32:22 PM »
Avatar of Belial, Velkyn:

No.  It's hard to explain, but it's like a protest against the belief that someone can only be a Christian if they believe in the doctrine, since the doctrine was based on documents which were intentionally altered in order to remove alternate interpretations from them.  It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I happen to believe; I'm not now calling myself a Christian for my own sake.

I'm sorry if it's difficult to understand; this is difficult to explain straightforwardly.
I don't find it hard at all.  You claim to know "what actually happened" better than other theists.  I'm just asking how you know anything about this character?  There are no contemporary records, nothing to support what you claim nor what those "other" Christians claim.   How do you know what the true doctrine was, if indeed there was any at all? 
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Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #70 on: June 16, 2011, 01:18:19 PM »
How do you know what the true doctrine was, if indeed there was any at all?

I don't think he's trying to rely on the doctrine at all, as he has stated in many different ways that he pretty much ignores/discards it.

The problem comes when, while continuing this conversation, he has stated that he ignores/discards everything else we can think of that would allow us to define him as a Christian.
"You play make-believe every day of your life, and yet you have no concept of 'imagination'."
I do not have "faith" in science. I have expectations of science. "Faith" in something is an unfounded assertion, whereas reasonable expectations require a precedent.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #71 on: June 16, 2011, 01:38:28 PM »
If there is no evidence for the existence of something, we can safely assume that for all intents and purposes, that thing does not exist. Until someone produces real evidence of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, aliens from the planet Vulcan, werewolves or the chupacabra, they do not exist anywhere but the human imagination.

And some invisible god that exists, but hides out in some realm of the universe undetectable to human beings might as well not exist, as far as we are concerned.

The only "evidence" we have of Jesus Christ is the bible. If we do not believe what is in the bible about him mainly because of 1)no supporting evidence elsewhere in the historical record and 2)the mythical stories about magical behavior, then we have no reason to pay any attention to Jesus Christ.

Certainly no reason to "follow" him or to hold him up as some sort of model for human behavior. No more than we should "follow" Harry Potter, Captain Kirk, Hawkeye Pierce or Sherlock Holmes.

Imagine some future society that thinks that one of these characters was real and develops a religion around, say, Harry Potter. After all, he bore a magical mark as prophesied, and his apostles vanquished the death eaters, right? Can you prove that didn't happen? Says it here in the sacred text. He was so inspirational, an example to us all.  &)

We would think of such people as kinda nutty-- and object to any attempt to enforce their strange beliefs on the rest of us. It makes a lot more sense to follow in the path of real-life inspirational figures like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, as has already been mentioned. We have real doncumented and verified information about both of them, neither said they were gods or had supernatural powers. So, you have a hope of being able to do some of what they did. Not so much with mythical fictional characters.
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 Graybeard

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #72 on: June 16, 2011, 01:55:25 PM »
There seems to be a lot of discrepancies in what you say:
(I would appreciate it if people would call me Jaime, if they want to shorten it from Jaimehlers)

@RNS:

(2) […]  Often, they selectively quote verses from the Bible in order to support their arguments, […] I look up the wider context of the section in general […]So it's a reference book rather than a guidebook, at least for me.
First, I can’t see a difference between a reference and a guidebook, Secondly you are referring to it to guide yourself. Can you explain?

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(7) Well, let's take a concept or idea which existed before science and is not proven by science, such as the soul.  Does the fact that the existence of the soul is unproven mean it is necessarily disproven?
The general answer is “Yes” as the decision is on the balance of probability. (a) No one even knows what a soul is – (b) despite years and years of research by the religious to try and come up with something, nothing has arisen - so its existence must be in question to the point where we can say, “It is more likely than not that there is no soul.”

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To put this in perspective, before we had telescopes, humans could only see stars bright enough to be visible to the naked eye.  Afterward, we could see stars that weren't.  Yet those stars still existed before we had the ability to observe them.
So basically, you are saying that no matter how stupid the idea, it might, just might, be real? Is this any way to think? You tell me why there can’t be a three legged flying leopard that turns into a lamppost on alternate Tuesdays.

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The lack of proof cuts both ways, though.  Just as we can't disprove the existence of the soul, neither can we prove its existence.
 
I have addressed thisand so have thousands before me.

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@Graybeard:

I would like to see a source for the your statement that neighbor meant fellow Jew (anyone can provide the source, I just want to see it).  I'm suggesting that it's false, but I want to see for myself.
OK,
These are the people God hates:
God Hates
Hypocrites (Matthew 24:51), The Unforgiving (Mark 11:26), Homosexuals (Romans 1:26, 27), Fornicators (Romans 1:29), The Wicked (Romans 1:29), The Covetous (Romans 1:29), The Malicious (Romans 1:29), The Envious (Romans 1:29), Murderers (Romans 1:29), The Deceitful (Romans 1:29), Backbiters (Romans 1:30), Haters of God (Romans 1:30), The Despiteful (Romans 1:30), The Proud (Romans 1:30), Boasters (Romans 1:30), Inventors of evil (Romans 1:30), Disobedient to parents (Romans 1:30), Covenant breakers (Romans 1:31), The Unmerciful (Romans 1:31), The Implacable (Romans 1:31), The Unrighteous (1Corinthians 6:9), Idolaters (1Corinthians 6:9), Adulterers (1Corinthians 6:9), The Effeminate (1Corinthians 6:9), Thieves (1Corinthians 6:10), Drunkards (1Corinthians 6:10), Reviler (1Corinthians 6:10), Extortioners (1Corinthians 6:10), The Fearful (Revelation 21:8 ), The Unbelieving (Revelation 21:8 ), The Abominable (Revelation 21:8 ), Whoremongers (Revelation 21:8 ), Sorcerers (Revelation 21:8 ), All Liars (Revelation 21:8 )

We cannot love these people who do not love God – they are not our neighbours.

Matthew 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Matthew 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.


So we don’t love these people – they are not out neighbours.

1st Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

We should avoid these people, so they are not our neighbours

2nd Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2nd Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2nd Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2nd Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,


These people are not out neighbours. This verse describes who a Christian’s neighbour is:

Gal:3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

There are plenty of other examples of the exclusiveness in both OT and NT. I’m sure that you don’t want me to quote them all, as you have said you are conversant with the Bible…
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 11:50:06 AM by Graybeard »
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #73 on: June 16, 2011, 03:34:41 PM »
I don't find it hard at all.  You claim to know "what actually happened" better than other theists.  I'm just asking how you know anything about this character?  There are no contemporary records, nothing to support what you claim nor what those "other" Christians claim.   How do you know what the true doctrine was, if indeed there was any at all?
I think I see the problem.  You're basing your understanding on the idea that I'm trying to justify that I am a Christian despite not accepting the current doctrine, which is what I was saying before.  However, after I thought about it some, I realized that this was a rationalization of an idea that I hadn't been consciously trying to analyze.  The idea was, "since we have neither the original documents nor independent records as substantiation, and since there is no question that the oldest Christian sects were quite willing to modify their own texts in order to deal with criticism or to undercut alternate interpretations, there is no way to prove that the accepted doctrine is how things truly happened, and any plausible explanation has just as much a chance to be right as the 'official' one."

Basically, anyone can call themselves a Christian so long as they have a plausible story about how Jesus lived and died and a belief about why his example is worth following.  I internalized that idea somehow, thus the confusion earlier (especially since I considered myself to be a Christian even before that).

The part that applies to this conversation is, if I look up to something which I imagined (whether I based it off of something real or not), and because of that, strive to become a better person, does it matter what title I give it?

Offline Bagheera

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #74 on: June 16, 2011, 03:47:19 PM »
I am a Nazi.

I know that to some I may not appear to hold onto Nazi ideals. I mean, I don't support the extermination of Jews, and as a black man I don't believe in Aryan supremacy. I don't even long for the rise of Germany; I'm a Canadian, living in the US. But apocryphal as the story may be, the Nazi's kept the trains running on time, and as I believe that good time keeping and solid infrastructure are things that we should aspire to maintain, I have chosen to identify myself as a Nazi. I don't see why anyone else should be surprised or upset at the contradictions and question the way I identify myself.

If I look up to something which I imagined (whether I based it off of something real or not), and because of that, strive to become a better person, does it matter what title I give it?

I hope this answers your question.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #75 on: June 16, 2011, 06:10:22 PM »
Velkyn:
Quote
can you go into more details on how this is?
Sure. But I'm thinking of asking a mod to separate this strand into a new thread, as it's interesting but rather off-topic here.
 
I'll be back...

Offline Alzael

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #76 on: June 16, 2011, 06:29:44 PM »

The part that applies to this conversation is, if I look up to something which I imagined (whether I based it off of something real or not), and because of that, strive to become a better person, does it matter what title I give it?

It matters if other people are using the same title as you, but are using it to justify horrible things.

By using the same title and the same mythical figure you are lending legitimacy to others who use it as well. This is the problem with systems of ideas that center around irrationalilty. They always cut all ways. You can imagine about Jesus all you want and say that in your mind he's a figure of great morality and virtue; but what about the people who imagine a Jesus that tells them to go out and kill people because they like to sleep with the 'wrong' kind of person? They're using the same myth-figure that you are to justify terrible things, and you are essentially telling them that such a thing is perfectly ok with you; as long as they feel it makes them a 'better person'. At the very least you lose any credibility to argue against them because your ideas are just as made up as theirs.

You're putting your ideas on the exact same level as theirs. You both base your ideas off of an imaginary figure that you have created and subsequently left yourself in a position where everything becomes justified, because the only justification is your own imagination and what you want to be true. This is what everyone is pointing out to you. Your ideas are just as dangerous as any other religious person.

If you admit that you have simply made up a figure to attach your beliefs to, why do it with someone fictional? Someone who isn't a genocidal racist, for example? If you're going to just make stuff up about someone else anyways, there are many real-world people that are actually worthy of admiration you could imagine stuff up about.

"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #77 on: June 16, 2011, 08:26:51 PM »
Reverse order this time.  Probably shorter responses too, if I can manage it.

@Alzael:

The problem is that your argument can be extended to say that the Christians who do and have done bad things are validated by the Christians who do and have done good things, because they both happen to be Christians, or that the good Christians lose the credibility to argue against the bad ones.

Let me put it a different way.  Are the actions of the Westboro Baptists validated by the good deeds done by other Christians?  Do other Christians who speak out against the Westboro Baptists lose their credibility?  For no other reason than that they both believe in Jesus?

How does that differ from saying that people who say vile and vicious things are justified by people who say good and decent things because both happen to believe in freedom of speech, or that the latter lose the credibility to argue against the former?

@Bagheera:

Were you aware that Hitler was a Christian and his extermination program was to further his own Christian beliefs when you wrote that, or was it coincidence that you picked that group?

Anyway, I see where you're coming from, but on the other hand, I can also see the point of this hypothetical Nazi you portrayed.  I'd say that if he was willing to bear the stigma of the name, that's his business.  Should he not use the name just because it's stigmatized and loathed?  You can argue that he shouldn't, but you'd still have to convince him.

@Graybeard:

Would you call a dictionary a guidebook?  I admit the distinction is more subtle than I'd intended to use, but I meant something like referring to a dictionary (reference book) vs following a map (guidebook).

The problem with trying to rate the probability of something that is unproven is that you have no firm basis upon which to form any probabilities.  Can you rate the likelihood of some solar system having life-bearing planets before you even know if it has planets?  You can say that, based on our current scientific knowledge, there is not a high probability that there is any such thing as a soul, because we have not ever detected one.  But you can't actually quantify the probability, because there's no way to calculate it.  The best anyone can do is put forth a subjective probability, rather than an objective one.

That isn't to say that every idea has an equal chance of being reality somewhere.  For example, we can come up with the subjective probability that there are likely to be more planets that can't support life than ones that can, because of what we know about our solar system.  In other words, it is probably more likely that some planet we discover later on will be dead rather than alive.  Similarly, we can say that it is not likely to have a flying three-legged leopard here on Earth (because we have never seen one before), and that because of what we know about wings and legs, it is not likely that we will see something like a flying three-legged leopard on some other planet.  So it is probably less likely to discover something like that somewhere.

Also, that is an impressive array of quotes.  However, there are three problems.  First off, the quotes themselves do not mention whether those people are neighbors or not.  Even the last one only points out that distinctions between Christians should not matter.  Second, I was asking for something to support why the word 'neighbor' in the Bible actually means 'fellow Jew'.  Third, you forgot an important quote:  "You have heard it said that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:43-44) That kind of suggests that, regardless of what the word 'neighbor' actually means in the Bible, that one shouldn't just love one's neighbors.

@nogodsforme:

I see no point in contesting most of what you said.  Even your statement about God mirrors something I said earlier.

However, I disagree with the idea of only using real-life figures as role-models.  I see no problem with using imaginary characters as role models provided that one remembers that they are imaginary.  For example, if someone thought Harry Potter served as a good example of growing as a person and wanted to use him as such, no problem with that, so long as they don't start waving a magic wand around or trying to fly on a broomstick.  I consider Honor Harrington to be an excellent example of the benefits of holding to a code of honor, but that doesn't mean I think that we're going to stumble across treecats someday.

@Hatter23:

Your example of someone predicting something like an advanced civilization like that is good.  It's too specific for a theory unsupported by any evidence, and so it's much more likely to be proven false.  However, someone predicting that we will probably find evidence of an advanced civilization somewhere in this galaxy is a different story.  We can't possibly quantify the probability of finding an advanced civilization anywhere without more information, but it is not something we should dismiss either; with over 200 billion stars and an estimated 50 million planets, who wants to honestly gamble that we won't find such a civilization anywhere in the Milky Way?

Of course, it's different when we're talking about something we've never actually observed and never found objective evidence in support of.  It's a big universe...maybe something like that is hanging around somewhere.  But I agree with other posters - if a tree falls in a forest and nobody's around to hear it, does anyone care?

(I think that covers everyone except velkyn's reply, which I'm working on)

Offline Hatter23

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #78 on: June 16, 2011, 08:38:07 PM »



@Hatter23:

Your example of someone predicting something like an advanced civilization like that is good.  It's too specific for a theory unsupported by any evidence, and so it's much more likely to be proven false.  However, someone predicting that we will probably find evidence of an advanced civilization somewhere in this galaxy is a different story.  We can't possibly quantify the probability of finding an advanced civilization anywhere without more information, but it is not something we should dismiss either; with over 200 billion stars and an estimated 50 million planets, who wants to honestly gamble that we won't find such a civilization anywhere in the Milky Way?

Of course, it's different when we're talking about something we've never actually observed and never found objective evidence in support of.  It's a big universe...maybe something like that is hanging around somewhere.  But I agree with other posters - if a tree falls in a forest and nobody's around to hear it, does anyone care?


Ahh yes, some god some where, some supernatural phenom somewhere. Actually some thing thought to be supernatural phenom: Giant squid and Ball lightening have, in fact, been proven to exist.

But the point of my analogy isn't dismissing that there might be something some where, it is about a theory that is unprovable in the slightest at the current time and changing behaviors and expending resources because of it. Every religion(save perhaps Deism) meets those criterion, Christianity very much does.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #79 on: June 16, 2011, 08:47:32 PM »
Jaime:
Quote
I think I see the problem.
Your words suggest otherwise.

Quote
Think of it this way.  I am not willing to dismiss the supernatural as a possibility, but neither am I willing to grant the supernatural as a probability.
Case in point. That sentence is gibberish.
Quote
Basically, anyone can call themselves a Christian so long as they have a plausible story about how Jesus lived and died and a belief about why his example is worth following.
Wrong. That is not the definition of Christian.   

Quote
It's hard to explain, but it's like a protest against the belief that someone can only be a Christian if they believe in the doctrine,
Idiot. A Christian is someone who believes in Christian doctrine. You don't believe in Christian doctrine, so you're not a Christian. 

And you wish to 'protest' against this by labelling yourself a Christian, in spite of not believing the doctrine?

Sheesh...

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #80 on: June 16, 2011, 09:04:51 PM »
Ahh yes, some god some where, some supernatural phenom somewhere. Actually some thing thought to be supernatural phenom: Giant squid and Ball lightening have, in fact, been proven to exist.

But the point of my analogy isn't dismissing that there might be something some where, it is about a theory that is unprovable in the slightest at the current time and changing behaviors and expending resources because of it. Every religion(save perhaps Deism) meets those criterion, Christianity very much does.
Good point, and no argument with the logic except to say that people already waste their time and money, and change their behaviors, because of other things which make little sense in the face of it.  Which isn't really arguing in any case.

----

Gnu Ordure:

Do you really think that stating that a sentence is mine is gibberish, without even bothering to explain how, helps your case?  Do you honestly think calling me an idiot has the slightest chance of convincing me of anything?

Might want to think on those a bit.

----

I wanted to elaborate on what I said to Alzael, because I thought about it a bit and I think I realized what he was trying to get at.

The problem, as I see it, is not simply that a good person and a bad person share some belief; it is when the good person tacitly accepts or tolerates what the bad person does because of that belief.  To use a couple of commonly known sayings, "treason prospers when none dare call it treason" and "evil triumphs when good does nothing".

And one of my biggest problems with Christianity as a whole is the fact that so many Christians seem to not care about what Christians have and are doing in the name of Christianity.  I mean, things like the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, even the Holocaust...talk to most Christians about them, and they either try to claim that those people weren't really Christians (this is especially true in the case of Hitler), or tend to just blow them off as being in the past.

One of the things that Christians desperately need to do is to face up to the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity.  The fact that it was often done or enabled by zealots is no excuse, because without the acquiescence of others in allowing it to be done or even helping it to be done, it might not have happened at all.

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #81 on: June 16, 2011, 09:36:27 PM »
Quote
Do you really think that stating that a sentence is mine is gibberish, without even bothering to explain how, helps your case?  Do you honestly think calling me an idiot has the slightest chance of convincing me of anything?

Might want to think on those a bit.
Stop being such a precious snowflake and try responding to my points.

This point:
Quote
Quote
Quote
Basically, anyone can call themselves a Christian so long as they have a plausible story about how Jesus lived and died and a belief about why his example is worth following.
Wrong. That is not the definition of Christian.


And this point:
Quote
Quote
It's hard to explain, but it's like a protest against the belief that someone can only be a Christian if they believe in the doctrine,
Idiot. A Christian is someone who believes in Christian doctrine. You don't believe in Christian doctrine, so you're not a Christian. 

And you wish to 'protest' against this by labelling yourself a Christian, in spite of not believing the doctrine?

Sheesh...


Offline Dante

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #82 on: June 16, 2011, 10:26:23 PM »
Jaime,

First, let me apologise for the lack of quotes. I'm on my ancient mobile.

You have your point about bagheera's Nazi anology, and it's recognized. But, do you also see that by claiming to be xian, you're also aligning yourself with all the malevolence associated with that? Why do you  do that?

I have my suspicions.

You're a rational thinker though. There's no need to  align yourself to anyone, to worship anyone. Be your own good, generous, free thinking individual. What's the harm? Denial to heaven? Pbbbbt! Might as well be a pedophile, because your death and subsequent "afterlife" will likely turn out exactly the same.

There's no need to lend credence to the delusional thinking of the religious, ESPECIALLY when they're trying to limit clear, rational thought.

Be your own guide. The world could use you.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Alzael

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #83 on: June 16, 2011, 11:27:13 PM »
The problem is that your argument can be extended to say that the Christians who do and have done bad things are validated by the Christians who do and have done good things, because they both happen to be Christians, or that the good Christians lose the credibility to argue against the bad ones.


It's not the problem, it's the point. Religion works equally well every way, because it's all based on nothing more than imagination. The thing is, the good people don't actually need religion to justify why they do good. The bad people do. People only ever have to justify why they go to war. They never have to justify why they want peace.

Do other Christians who speak out against the Westboro Baptists lose their credibility?  For no other reason than that they both believe in Jesus?

Yes they do lose their credibility. Again, that was the whole point. They lose all credibility because the beliefs come from the same irrational place.

Both beliefs are on equal footing because both beliefs use "I want this to be true" as their evidence. This means that as long as you stay within a framework that allows for such a view, you can never honestly say that what they believe is right or wrong as every belief is equally credible. This is the core of all of the problems religion causes, the fact that every idea is equally justified. And, more importantly, no idea can be argued against because every argument you can possibly make is still nothing more than some variant of "I want this to be true".

Or to put this another way. How do you make a credible argument against something completely irrational, when your own point of view is completely irrational?

In order to come up with a valid argument you would have to go outside of the religious worldview. Which is exactly what happens. The thing is, this means that the religious beliefs were absolutely meaningless as they contributed nothing to the truth of your argument.

If faith is the only way you can justify your ideas, that's the same as admitting that your ideas have no merits of their own. If you can justify your ideas on their own merits, then the faith was useless.

How does that differ from saying that people who say vile and vicious things are justified by people who say good and decent things because both happen to believe in freedom of speech, or that the latter lose the credibility to argue against the former?

Free speech is a singular belief. It is also a belief that can be argued, discussed, and defended reasonably and with use of logic.

Christianity (or any religion) is a group of people all sharing a particular worldview, traditions, literature, culture, and common beliefs, as well as mythical and historical figures. It ignores reason and logic in favour of what it wants to be true.

Your comparison isn't even remotely valid or sensical.
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

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Offline RNS

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #84 on: June 17, 2011, 04:53:05 AM »
Alzael, and others, try and keep in mind where Jaime is coming from. a lot of your arguments are against christianity/religion in general. there are probably as many different types of christianity as there are christians (the differences may be subtle, but at the end of the day the belief is going to be fairly subjective, no matter how dogmatic the religion is). However from what Jaime has said he is clearly not actually a christian by our definitions, even though for some reason (of which i am not still clear on, sorry) he wants to cling onto that title. i.e. your definition of christianity is different to his. which definition is right, i don't think is important at this stage of the discussion. also his beliefs are so loose that i think it would be a bit of a stretch to call them a religion. basically what i'm getting at is that i think a lot of what has been said (since we have already established these differences) doesn't actually apply to his beliefs specifically. so lets not waste time and cause friction by using arguments that are irrelevant to what he has said. from the replies of his that i have read so far i think he deserves a little more respect than that.

If faith is the only way you can justify your ideas, that's the same as admitting that your ideas have no merits of their own. If you can justify your ideas on their own merits, then the faith was useless
this is a good and important point imo
useless to you and i maybe, but perhaps jaime is not at that stage yet. like dante said there are probably reasons behind why he still needs the title of "christianity", but clearly he is a rational thinker (imo (and dante's)) so maybe it's just time he needs.

Quote
Think of it this way.  I am not willing to dismiss the supernatural as a possibility, but neither am I willing to grant the supernatural as a probability.
Case in point. That sentence is gibberish.
i think this statement is revealing his agnostic stance on the issue (and may have implications on how he holds his other beliefs as well, which i believe it does)
people used to get frustrated with me when i was younger and much more agnostic as well. note that i am not using the definition of agnostic in its strict sense (lack of knowledge), but in the (sometimes colloquial) sense that if theism=i believe in god and atheism=i don't believe in god (rather than lack of belief as the word suggests) then agnostic= in the middle- i don't commit to either belief, i.e. not actively disbelieving or actively holding a belief. but the word does not necessarily have to apply to belief about god. i know this is long and confusing, but so far i have not come across (or i have forgotten) the right word to describe this specific stance, which is legitimate and deserves to be recognized and differentiated. people who have chosen that they find one stance more convincing than the other (which is usually the case) sometimes find it hard to understand this position.
i may be way off mark here though! maybe i'm reading too much into this!
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 05:17:58 AM by RNS »
love and truth and love of truth

Offline Alzael

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #85 on: June 17, 2011, 06:28:40 AM »
Alzael, and others, try and keep in mind where Jaime is coming from. a lot of your arguments are against christianity/religion in general. there are probably as many different types of christianity as there are christians (the differences may be subtle, but at the end of the day the belief is going to be fairly subjective, no matter how dogmatic the religion is). However from what Jaime has said he is clearly not actually a christian by our definitions, even though for some reason (of which i am not still clear on, sorry) he wants to cling onto that title. i.e. your definition of christianity is different to his. which definition is right, i don't think is important at this stage of the discussion. also his beliefs are so loose that i think it would be a bit of a stretch to call them a religion. basically what i'm getting at is that i think a lot of what has been said (since we have already established these differences) doesn't actually apply to his beliefs specifically. so lets not waste time and cause friction by using arguments that are irrelevant to what he has said. from the replies of his that i have read so far i think he deserves a little more respect than that.

Jaime being a typical Christian is irrelevant. The points I made apply to any beliefs based on irrationality (which is what his beliefs are). You could change Christianity to Islam, Wicca, New Age Crystal Belief, etc. and the points would still remain. And he was the one who brought up Christianity in specific in regards to our back and forth.

This also applies to what most of the others have said as well. Even if Jaime isn't a "typical" Christian (and I would argue that he really is) his beliefs still have the exact same foundation, and that's what most of the questions were really aimed at.

If faith is the only way you can justify your ideas, that's the same as admitting that your ideas have no merits of their own. If you can justify your ideas on their own merits, then the faith was useless
this is a good and important point imo
useless to you and i maybe, but perhaps jaime is not at that stage yet. like dante said there are probably reasons behind why he still needs the title of "christianity", but clearly he is a rational thinker (imo (and dante's)) so maybe it's just time he needs.

[/quote]

That doesn't mean that it actually serves a purpose. Only that he thinks it does. Having reasons, doesn't automatically make them good reasons.

 As for being a rational thinker, he's best described as a half-rational thinker. A rational thinker wouldn't hold irrational beliefs. That's sort of the point of thinking rationally.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 06:34:24 AM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: All or nothing [#2563]
« Reply #86 on: June 17, 2011, 08:56:15 AM »

 As for being a rational thinker, he's best described as a half-rational thinker. A rational thinker wouldn't hold irrational beliefs. That's sort of the point of thinking rationally.

In all fairness, we all hold irrational beliefs. However, I am aware I have irrational beliefs, and concede that I am not a rational thinker on those points. Such as not having 100% trust in an adult male who wouldn't get inebriated around me. It isn't rational...I am not a rational thinker on that point, yet "In vino veritas" rings true to me.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.