Author Topic: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond  (Read 13138 times)

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #87 on: July 19, 2012, 10:33:01 AM »
Quote from: HAL
That's his method of trolling, and it's been seen here before.

I know. I was hoping this wasn't going to happen. I've even been giving him the benefit of the doubt since our little scuffle in his intro thread. He wanted a clean slate and I agreed to it. But it's looking like nothing has changed and that people weren't wrong about him 2 years ago.

I suspect he'll play victim, his posts have already hinted it and he played it when coming back here and suggested that theists are victims here too. But to be honest, if I can trust a theist to be straight and honest and make no attempt to deceive me or others then I won't have a problem with them and as far as I can see it's the case for most here and most for who were here 2 years ago. This bothers me because Mooby is intelligent and I don't think there's any reason at all for him to deceive us.

At the end of the day. HAL's argument was clear. Mooby is playing semantics instead of addressing the actual point. The train analogy helps demonstrate this. The train analogy completely misses the point and is meant to put HAL into a light where he's being unreasonable. But all he's doing is asking somebody who believes God wants a relationship with everyone to justify that belief and this (beyond the bible). You can speak on his behalf but not offer any details. HAL could call first (as you suggested would be the solution to this dilemma - the train analogy suggests that if HAL does this, he WILL get an answer), but why doesn't God make the move? Why is it he waits so long? Why is it he doesn't make the effort? Surely this suggest God isn't making an effort to make it happen. If God's not willing to make the effort, the why should HAL? If neither make the effort, then said relationship has been unsuccessful. God is by no means limited, HAL on the other hand is very limited, especially as God doesn't answer many calls He receives (not a good move for someone who wants a relationship with everyone). HAL only jumped at the opportunity of having a relationship with God when you suggested that God wants to have one with him. But shouldn't God tell HAL Himself? I mean, HAL doesn't even know God exists, it might be a great start.

Interestingly, the entire site is based around 'contacting God', because it's about contacting God through prayer, yet we know that prayers go unanswered. It's the theme here. You can't honestly expect us to buy that if we try and get into contact with God that He'll answer our question. Many of us here have tried establishing a relationship with God when we were believers. It did not happen as you've suggested.

This is the direction we should be looking at in the argument. Not: "I didn't technically say, HAL has to do anything." Nor should it be trying to inaccurately represent the argument in a poor analogy as to avoid discussion the actual problem.




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If Thor really, really wanted a relationship with you, do you think you could stop him from getting in touch?

He did and now we're BFF. Proof? Well you should have tuned into my old student radio show, I had him as a star guest, we had to replace a lot of equipment. Still, he managed not to swear on air, so OFCOM didn't bitch at us for allowing him on the show.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #88 on: July 19, 2012, 11:38:26 AM »
God is not particularly bothered about whether you have a relationship with him. If you do, then it is entirely the responsibility of the person who wants the relationship, it is not the responsibility of God:
Quote
De:4:29: But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
1Ch:16:10: Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
1Ch:16:11: Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
1Ch:22:19: Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.
2Ch:11:16: And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
2Ch:12:14: And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
2Ch:14:4: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2Ch:15:12: And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
2Ch:15:13: That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
2Ch:20:3: And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
2Ch:20:4: And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Ezr:6:21: And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,
Psalms:34:10: The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
Psalms:105:3: Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.
Psalms:105:4: Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.
Proverb:28:5: Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Isa:9:13: For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
Isa:31:1: Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
Isa:51:1: Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Jer:50:4: In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.
Ho:3:5: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Ho:5:6: They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
Ho:10:12: Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Am:5:6: Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.
Zec:8:21: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.
Zec:8:22: Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
NT
Ac:17:27: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
If you do not go out of your way to find God, however, God will kill you or failing that, orders others to kill you:
Quote
2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

John 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
So let's have no more of this garbage about "He wants a relationship with everyone."

He wants a relationship with those who can't think for themselves and those who don't start believing in invisible beings go to Hell.

The rationale behind this is that the peasant goes to the King, not the King to the peasant.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline screwtape

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #89 on: July 19, 2012, 11:48:19 AM »
He wants a relationship with everyone. 

So it is god's will to have a relationship with me? 

Once upon a time I was a Catholic who was very interested in God, heaven and all that.  I was searching for god.  If he wanted a relationship with me, and I wanted a relationship with him, but it did not happen, that meant god's will was not done.  I was looking for him, so free will did not play into it.  How is it possible that an omnipotent god's will not be done? 

I'm not asking this of you in the spirit of you offering an explanation.  I know you don't have one an could not possibly have one.   You already admitted that, which makes me wonder why you believe it in the first place.

I ask it as evidence that your belief - that god wants a relationship with everyone - is demonstrably untrue. It follows that your belief that the bible's allegations of what jesus said are also demonstrably untrue. 

Are you willing to admit this?

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Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #90 on: July 19, 2012, 12:14:36 PM »
She was also -- gasp -- a Jew,  not Saved or Born Again, the Horror! I was much younger, less doubtful and more devout at that time and sooo sad and concerned regarding the salvation of this lovely woman.  I turned to one of the elders in the church I was attending at that time. (presbyterian) An equally lovely and moral woman. (Yes, woman) I explained my concerns.  She simply smiled and stated "I believe God's arms spread much wider than a lot of people think...)

Would the person who was universally considerd "good" and "decent' and who was--GASP OF ALL GASPS--ATHEIST have recieved the same answer??

Please answer this, if you would, LPA.  I"m VERY curious.

Unfortunately I am no longer in touch with the woman who I spoke with originally to see if she would have given the same answer.  I suppose my own answer would go along more with 1st part of my post --
 
Aslan told him he has always been a good and decent and was actually following him by his actions... (or words to that efffect)

LPA, I request that you give me either your best guess as to what this woman's answer would be, or (even better--and assuming you agreed with her, which I'd presume you would as you quoted her in a favorable context), give your own opinion.

Is god going to give a "decent atheist" a break come judgement day???  This is very important and directly relates to my original question/reason for posting this thread in the first place.
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #91 on: July 19, 2012, 02:38:59 PM »
I do, in fact, acknowledge the differnce you're talking about.  YOU, on the other hand, have not acknowledged taht there is NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE in a reward that can be proved, vs a reward that cannot be proved but is still BELIEVED (ie. taken on faith).
That's because there is a difference between the two, and I am having real trouble believing that you don't even recognize it.  Ever hear of "show me the evidence"?  If you can prove that a reward exists, it's a lot different from a reward that you can't prove exists, because you can be sure that the reward is there in the first case, whereas in the second, you have no way to really know.  For that matter, even if you don't actually see the reward, if it's something that you know exists, you're much more likely to believe that it's valid

Quote from: Boots
You seem to be coming from the perspective that only a demonstrable, tangible reward is valuable; that you must see the dollar before you perform the good act(s) required to get it in order for it to be "counted" as acting for a reward.  This is obviously not the case, because millions of people believe some version of heaven is their upcoming reward.  I do, in fact, heartily disagree that a reward must be some tangible benefit in order to "count."  If someone believes they're going to get something, wehther it be a dollar, or eternal bliss, they're acting for a reward.  I believe it is your logic that is faulty here.
Frankly, the fact that millions of people believe that is irrelevant.  The number of people who believe something does not affect how accurate it is.  Furthermore, I am not saying that someone has to actually see the reward in advance; it is whether the reward can be proven or not that matters.  Whether it's a dollar, a meal, or a paycheck, people know that those things exist.  They don't have to see it in order to know that it's something they can get.  Compare that to something like eternal bliss (or eternal damnation), which can't be proven in any way, shape, or form.  The fact that people believe in them doesn't really change their long-term behavior much, if at all.  So perhaps you'd better spend some time looking over your own logic as opposed to pretending that by dissecting mine, you can assume yours must be perfectly valid (which is how you seem to be acting).

Quote from: Boots
Following your own moral code means you're doing it simply because you feel it's right, regardless of whether you're going to be rewarded for such.  Doing it because someone (anyone--divine or not) tells you to is following orders.  They may be identical actions, but done with different intent.  And I believe that intent matters . . .
All intent does is change what someone might think about an action, it doesn't take away or add to the action itself.  Say someone was drowning.  In a very real sense, it doesn't matter if the rescuer is doing it out of duty, because they wanted to do the right thing, or because they wanted to bask in praise for their good deed.  Either way, the deed gets done; the motivation for doing it doesn't make the person drown more or less as a result.

Quote from: Boots
See reply #52 (page 2) on this thread, for the cornercase I'm speaking of--this is why intent matters to me.
If he never got the chance to do anything bad, then his intentions came to naught, did they not?  His intentions didn't matter, in other words, because the deed didn't get done.  The only thing intentions do is change the way we think about an action, they don't change the action itself.  This is probably why most religions have a judgment in the afterlife, which measures why someone did something rather than just what they did.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #92 on: July 19, 2012, 02:58:57 PM »
She was also -- gasp -- a Jew,  not Saved or Born Again, the Horror! I was much younger, less doubtful and more devout at that time and sooo sad and concerned regarding the salvation of this lovely woman.  I turned to one of the elders in the church I was attending at that time. (presbyterian) An equally lovely and moral woman. (Yes, woman) I explained my concerns.  She simply smiled and stated "I believe God's arms spread much wider than a lot of people think...)

Would the person who was universally considerd "good" and "decent' and who was--GASP OF ALL GASPS--ATHEIST have recieved the same answer??

Please answer this, if you would, LPA.  I"m VERY curious.

Unfortunately I am no longer in touch with the woman who I spoke with originally to see if she would have given the same answer.  I suppose my own answer would go along more with 1st part of my post --
 
Aslan told him he has always been a good and decent and was actually following him by his actions... (or words to that efffect)

LPA, I request that you give me either your best guess as to what this woman's answer would be, or (even better--and assuming you agreed with her, which I'd presume you would as you quoted her in a favorable context), give your own opinion.

Is god going to give a "decent atheist" a break come judgement day???  This is very important and directly relates to my original question/reason for posting this thread in the first place.

According to a sweet little girl raised in a very fundamentalist Christian home, the decent atheist is satan toast on a skewer. She is the baby sister of one of my daughter's friends, and I carpool the three girls from time to time. Her older sister mentioned that a lady they knew had died. The little angel said, "I hope she was a Christian. If she was not a Christian, she is going to hell." :o

The lady was probably perfectly nice, because she at least could pass for a Christian to these girls. But she was still going to burn forever, be separated from god, etc. if she had not accepted Jesus, or prayed for her sins, or gotten baptised in the blood of the lamb, or gone to the right kind of church, or whatever rules these girls have been taught.

Once she said, "God makes it rain so the pretty flowers will grow." I thought, so, the people in drought plagued Sudan or rural Texas don't merit any flowers. Or food crops. But places drowning in flood waters should be happy because the flowers have gotten a drink from god. &)

These kids go to a Christian school and say stuff like this a lot.[1]
 1. The mom keeps asking me what church I go to. I tell her that my husband goes to church for the both of us.
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 Quesi

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #93 on: July 19, 2012, 03:07:26 PM »

Is god going to give a "decent atheist" a break come judgement day???  This is very important and directly relates to my original question/reason for posting this thread in the first place.


Boots, I certainly cannot answer for Lori or for the woman at her church, but I can answer for my very (cherry picking) religious aunt.

A few nights after my father’s death, my aunt called my mom on the phone and woke her up, to tell her the good news. 

My deceased atheist father had visited my aunt in a dream, and asked her to tell my agnostic mother “I was wrong.”  My aunt went on to explain that my dad was doing well in the afterlife and loved us all, and that he was together with his parents and all sorts of other loved ones. 

My poor mom, who had not gotten much sleep in the weeks preceding my father’s death, or in the days after his death, was really not delighted to get such a silly phone call. 

My beloved aunt tells her grandchildren how their great grandmothers are in heaven cooking up big feasts.  Just like the poor women did most of their lives.  You would think they would have gotten a break in the afterlife.  If you get to do the same stuff in the afterlife that you did while you were alive, I guess my dad is spending a significant percentage of his time in heaven writing essays on atheism.  Cause he did a lot of that while he was alive.  But it isn’t all that much sillier than dead spirits cooking up meals with the seven fishes. 

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #94 on: July 19, 2012, 03:41:38 PM »
^^^Great. Poor women will get to scrub heaven's floors after they die. Ann Romney will get to underpay them and say, "You missed a spot."
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 Quesi

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #95 on: July 19, 2012, 03:54:19 PM »
^^^Great. Poor women will get to scrub heaven's floors after they die. Ann Romney will get to underpay them and say, "You missed a spot."

/sigh

My aunt is a wonderful woman who I love very much.  But her religious beliefs are a bit primitive.  And silly.  Seriously, her mom worked in a sweatshop all day, and then came home and cooked for literally dozens of people.  I don't think she is doing repetitive assembly work in the afterlife, but my aunt discusses the fact that she is cooking up there quite frequently.  And apparently part of her eternal duties include feeding my father.  Who is her relative by marriage. 

The afterlife sucks.  For some at least. 

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #96 on: July 19, 2012, 03:58:44 PM »
 
LPA, I request that you give me either your best guess as to what this woman's answer would be, or (even better--and assuming you agreed with her, which I'd presume you would as you quoted her in a favorable context), give your own opinion.

I did.  People who do good by nature, not because they are looking for reward or recognition are following christ in spite of themselves.  (Love one another, feed my sheep) 

Unfortunately I am no longer in touch with the woman who I spoke with originally to see if she would have given the same answer.  I suppose my own answer would go along more with 1st part of my post --
Aslan told him he has always been a good and decent and was actually following him by his actions... (or words to that efffect)

I guess your original question about the kid who is only "being good" in anticipation of reward or punishment would depend on his attitude.  Is he suppressing hatefulness, spite, jealousy and malice while doing his good deeds?  Or is he just dully doing what he thinks he has to do?                                                                                                                                                             
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Samothec

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #97 on: July 19, 2012, 05:13:58 PM »
Bold portions correct your post.
Boots: X is in some religions. If you are in one of those religions, please answer this question …
Mooby: Which religion?  You can't mean Christianity.
Boots: X is in Christianity, specifically Catholicism.
Mooby: I have not seen evidence that X is in Catholicism or christianity in general so it is the way I claim it is based solely on my experiences.

Your anecdotal notes about which religions have X (good behavior being advisable/required to have a good afterlife/next life) are no more valid than anyone else’s. You claim “The OP is a bare assertion.” You are wrong with that statement since the OP was a question for people, not an assertion. And it is later that Boots asserts he was thinking in part about Xianity but he does not in the OP (although he does loosely imply Xianity is one of the religions). Given that you can’t get the facts right within the thread, I won’t be taken your word for anything.



Quote
2) …Let's take stealing from a stranger you'll never see again, and you're as close to certain as you can be that you won't ever be caught. Person A foregoes stealing because stealing is wrong, he knows this and believes it--and that's all there is to it. Person B foregoes stealing because he knows it's a sin and it will damage his relationship with god, thus jeopardizing his place in heaven. …
Now we're getting into more abstract relationships, which requires a bit higher order thinking. Neither of the two is particularly functioning on a high level here--A is operating blindly on an abstract belief ("Stealing is wrong so I won't steal") while B is thinking in terms of personal relationships and possibly consequences. So it sounds like, from what you've written, that neither really understands why they shouldn't be stealing, only that they shouldn't. If anything, I'd say that B sounds like he's putting a bit more reasoning into it.

I find your comments about person A very disquieting. Do you actually believe what you wrote? It displays either a severe prejudice against rational people or a disturbing blindness to reality. A is “operating blindly”? Boots presented that A “knows” “and believes” that “stealing is wrong”. That is not operating blindly in any sense – definitely less blind than any religious person.

And how is it an “abstract belief”? It is a thought out position about real-world situations.

Person B is the one who is not really thinking; he is only imagining things “in terms of personal [imaginary] relationships and possibly [imaginary] consequences”.



What is the difference between someone doing good because they think (vis-a-vis their moral code) it's the right thing to do, and someone else doing good because they think (vis-a-vis their religious beliefs) that God says that it's the right thing to do?

You can trust the moral person more than you can trust the godly person. Theoretically the godly person can be trusted in situations where you know what his/her religion says to do. Unfortunately, as the multitude of sects of the various religions shows, you can not know for certain what the godly person actually believes is moral. And since they have subsumed their natural morality into their religious morality, you cannot count on their basic human morality.

EDIT: corrected an error
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 05:45:37 PM by Samothec »
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Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #98 on: July 19, 2012, 05:18:29 PM »

LPA, I request that you give me either your best guess as to what this woman's answer would be, or (even better--and assuming you agreed with her, which I'd presume you would as you quoted her in a favorable context), give your own opinion.

I did.  People who do good by nature, not because they are looking for reward or recognition are following christ in spite of themselves.  (Love one another, feed my sheep)                                                                                                                                               

Then why do we need religion?
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #99 on: July 19, 2012, 05:33:48 PM »
I do, in fact, acknowledge the differnce you're talking about.  YOU, on the other hand, have not acknowledged taht there is NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE in a reward that can be proved, vs a reward that cannot be proved but is still BELIEVED (ie. taken on faith).
That's because there is a difference between the two, and I am having real trouble believing that you don't even recognize it.  Ever hear of "show me the evidence"?  If you can prove that a reward exists, it's a lot different from a reward that you can't prove exists, because you can be sure that the reward is there in the first case, whereas in the second, you have no way to really know.  For that matter, even if you don't actually see the reward, if it's something that you know exists, you're much more likely to believe that it's valid

How many theists do you know that require evidence for their beliefs?  Those who believe in an afterlife are taking it on faith!!  THEY DON'T NEED EVIDENCE.  To them, it's even MORE sure than something you could hand them.

Quote
Quote from: Boots
You seem to be coming from the perspective that only a demonstrable, tangible reward is valuable; that you must see the dollar before you perform the good act(s) required to get it in order for it to be "counted" as acting for a reward.  This is obviously not the case, because millions of people believe some version of heaven is their upcoming reward.  I do, in fact, heartily disagree that a reward must be some tangible benefit in order to "count."  If someone believes they're going to get something, wehther it be a dollar, or eternal bliss, they're acting for a reward.  I believe it is your logic that is faulty here.
Frankly, the fact that millions of people believe that is irrelevant.  The number of people who believe something does not affect how accurate it is.  Furthermore, I am not saying that someone has to actually see the reward in advance; it is whether the reward can be proven or not that matters.  Whether it's a dollar, a meal, or a paycheck, people know that those things exist.  They don't have to see it in order to know that it's something they can get.  Compare that to something like eternal bliss (or eternal damnation), which can't be proven in any way, shape, or form.  The fact that people believe in them doesn't really change their long-term behavior much, if at all.  So perhaps you'd better spend some time looking over your own logic as opposed to pretending that by dissecting mine, you can assume yours must be perfectly valid (which is how you seem to be acting).

Ask the next Christian you meet how sure they are of heaven's existance, whether they need proof.

I totally, 100% agree with you that for a reward to be most effective, it needs to be demonstrable.  I totally DISagree with your implication that everyone thinks that same way.

I'm well aware that an appeal to popularity is a logical fallacy.  But the fact that people believe in heaven is still, well, a fact.

The only thing you've said outright that I actually disagree with is that it "doesn't really change their long-term behavior much."  As an anecdote, my holy-rolling father uses Pascal's Wager as an active argument to support his faith.  It's not as uncommon as you (at least, I think it was you--I'm too lazy to check, so please forgive me if I'm wrong) alluded to earlier in this thread.

Quote
Quote from: Boots
Following your own moral code means you're doing it simply because you feel it's right, regardless of whether you're going to be rewarded for such.  Doing it because someone (anyone--divine or not) tells you to is following orders.  They may be identical actions, but done with different intent.  And I believe that intent matters . . .
All intent does is change what someone might think about an action, it doesn't take away or add to the action itself.  Say someone was drowning.  In a very real sense, it doesn't matter if the rescuer is doing it out of duty, because they wanted to do the right thing, or because they wanted to bask in praise for their good deed.  Either way, the deed gets done; the motivation for doing it doesn't make the person drown more or less as a result.

Quote from: Boots
See reply #52 (page 2) on this thread, for the cornercase I'm speaking of--this is why intent matters to me.
If he never got the chance to do anything bad, then his intentions came to naught, did they not?  His intentions didn't matter, in other words, because the deed didn't get done.  The only thing intentions do is change the way we think about an action, they don't change the action itself.  This is probably why most religions have a judgment in the afterlife, which measures why someone did something rather than just what they did.

So you don't think intent has any bearing whatsoever on whether someone is a "good person?"
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #100 on: July 19, 2012, 05:50:24 PM »
It may have no bearing on judging the external outcomes of that action.  But it certainly has a bearing on judging that person.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #101 on: July 19, 2012, 06:32:33 PM »

LPA, I request that you give me either your best guess as to what this woman's answer would be, or (even better--and assuming you agreed with her, which I'd presume you would as you quoted her in a favorable context), give your own opinion.

I did.  People who do good by nature, not because they are looking for reward or recognition are following christ in spite of themselves.  (Love one another, feed my sheep)                                                                                                                                               

Then why do we need religion?

We don't.  :D
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #102 on: July 19, 2012, 09:53:44 PM »

Then why do we need religion?

We don't.  :D

*blink* *blink* I had the impression you were of a religious bent.  Was I mistaken??   :o
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #103 on: July 19, 2012, 09:54:50 PM »
I think LPA is bi-curious when it comes to atheism.
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 jdawg70

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #104 on: July 19, 2012, 10:00:36 PM »

Then why do we need religion?

We don't.  :D

*blink* *blink* I had the impression you were of a religious bent.  Was I mistaken??   :o

So, shot in the dark guess at the reply here:
"I'm not religious.  I'm spiritual."
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #105 on: July 19, 2012, 11:06:26 PM »
I think LPA is bi-curious when it comes to atheism.

Haha, I guess that's as apt a description as any.

Religion to me implies organized religion where attendence is taken & tithes are charged & there is somewhat of a cult mentality.

I study what I want to study, when, where & if I want to study. My study isn't limited to the Christian doctrines. I try not to invalidate anyone's beliefs or lack of them. 

As a Homecare nurse many of my patients & their families are members of assorted faiths & I would like to believe there is a benevolent force watching over them.

But admittedly the god of the bible is not so benevolent a lot of the time.  And sometimes even if he is real I want nothing to do with him.

So I basically just try to be peaceful & fair although I can also tend to be sarcastic & irreverent at times.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 11:19:48 PM by LoriPinkAngel »
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #106 on: July 20, 2012, 06:54:43 AM »
As a Homecare nurse many of my patients & their families are members of assorted faiths & I would like to believe there is a benevolent force watching over them.

Heh.  I'd love to believe that too sometimes!  Particuarly with the year I've had . . .

Quote
So I basically just try to be peaceful & fair although I can also tend to be sarcastic & irreverent at times.

Good on ya.

So, I guess a more proper question I should have asked rather than "why do we need religion" if people are good 'just because' and, if there's a god, they'll be judged kindly upon death, is "why do we need to bother with god?"

I saw someone's description as "apatheist", maybe I'll change my belief description to that.
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #107 on: July 20, 2012, 06:58:01 AM »
He wants a relationship with everyone.
 

So it is god's will to have a relationship with me? 

Once upon a time I was a Catholic who was very interested in God, heaven and all that.  I was searching for god.  If he wanted a relationship with me, and I wanted a relationship with him, but it did not happen, that meant god's will was not done.  I was looking for him, so free will did not play into it.  How is it possible that an omnipotent god's will not be done? 

I'm not asking this of you in the spirit of you offering an explanation.  I know you don't have one an could not possibly have one.   You already admitted that, which makes me wonder why you believe it in the first place.

I ask it as evidence that your belief - that god wants a relationship with everyone - is demonstrably untrue. It follows that your belief that the bible's allegations of what jesus said are also demonstrably untrue. 

Are you willing to admit this?

No response eh?

Apparently Mooby doesn't want to troll an Admin.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #108 on: July 20, 2012, 10:57:24 AM »
No response eh?

Apparently Mooby doesn't want to troll an Admin.
Mooby was on call yesterday.

Quote
This is the direction we should be looking at in the argument. Not: "I didn't technically say, HAL has to do anything."
How many times do I have to say it?  HAL's responding to something I never said, not something I technically never said.

MOOBY: And so the female dog's ovary releases an egg which is fertilized by the male's sperm...
HAL: LOL! Mooby, what is the mechanism by which dogs lay eggs?
MOOBY: Dogs don't lay eggs.
HAL: But you said they did!  Troll!
MOOBY: No, I never said dogs lay eggs.  Dogs don't lay eggs.
SEPPUKU: The direction we should go in is to answer HAL's question.  Not "I didn't technically say dogs lay eggs."  We understand that the dog may be sitting, or squatting, or standing, or some other position other than "laying."  But stop trolling and answer the mechanism by which an egg passes through a dog's bottom.
MOOBY: "Technically" has nothing to do with it.  I never said dogs lay eggs in any capacity.  That's HAL's straw man, and I shouldn't have to answer for his representation.

I never said in any capacity that HAL needs to contact God to form a relationship with Him.  That's HAL's straw man, and I shouldn't have to answer for his misrepresentation of my point.  I suggested that HAL could make an attempt if he's tired of waiting.  If he's not tired of waiting, he could simply wait until it happens next week, or next month, or next year, or next decade.  HAL's contacting God is purely a voluntary act on HAL's part if HAL wants it to happen per his schedule.  If he's content to let God do the scheduling, then he needn't do anything.

Quote
You can speak on his behalf but not offer any details.
As I've pointed out numerous times, God has not provided me a schedule of when He will contact each individual person in the world.  And even if He did, I doubt I'd recognize HAL's name.  So how would I possibly know this information?

Quote
Why is it he waits so long?
What's "so long?"  God has HAL's entire lifetime to contact HAL.  For us that's a long time, but for God that's the blink of an eye (the Bible gives the analogy of a day being like 1000 years.)  So God could contact him 10 minutes from now, or 10 days from now, or 10 years from now, or on HAL's death bed.  If that uncertainty is fine for HAL, then HAL need not make any effort to contact God.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Zankuu

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #109 on: July 20, 2012, 11:05:17 AM »
Mooby, do you believe that at some point in everyone's life, God attempts to make contact? And if so, is everyone, at that moment, able to understand it's God?
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #110 on: July 20, 2012, 11:18:42 AM »
So it is god's will to have a relationship with me?
I believe so, yes.

Quote
Once upon a time I was a Catholic who was very interested in God, heaven and all that.  I was searching for god.  If he wanted a relationship with me, and I wanted a relationship with him, but it did not happen, that meant god's will was not done.  I was looking for him, so free will did not play into it.  How is it possible that an omnipotent god's will not be done? 
I don't know where the break happened for you.  I must take your word on your level of sincerity and your attempts to contact God.

So it's hard for me to say whether the break happened:
- With you.
- With your communication to God.
- With God (if He's disinterested or doesn't exist).
- You receiving His communication back to you.

You naturally assume the third, but I simply don't have enough information to make that assumption.  Perhaps you never expressed a true prayer, despite thinking you did?  Perhaps God did reply to you, but you were never open to the response or otherwise able to recognize it?  Perhaps you did hear Him once, but later became convinced that it was you talking to yourself?  Perhaps you were waiting for a big booming voice that never came?

I just don't know.  The details are between you and God (or the lack thereof).


I find your comments about person A very disquieting. Do you actually believe what you wrote? It displays either a severe prejudice against rational people or a disturbing blindness to reality. A is “operating blindly”? Boots presented that A “knows” “and believes” that “stealing is wrong”. That is not operating blindly in any sense – definitely less blind than any religious person.
Based purely on the scenario, yes.  B "knows and believes" based on a relationship with God, so it's derived from something higher.  A "knows and believes" based on... what, exactly?  Gut feeling?  Objective moral truths (which a lot of non-theists contest)?  One or more constructed moral systems?  We just don't know.

Of course, in the real world, we'd be able to demand Person A rationalize his thought process.  But based off the scenario, I'm looking at someone who provides a basis for their morality vs. someone who doesn't.  Even if Person B is wrong, at least he's got some justification for his beliefs external to that situation.

So that's my thought process on it.


Mooby, do you believe that at some point in everyone's life, God attempts to make contact?
Yes, I do.

Quote
And if so, is everyone, at that moment, able to understand it's God?
No, I do not think so.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #111 on: July 20, 2012, 11:39:52 AM »
If it wants a relationship with [HAL}, then why do[es HAL] have to call in order for that relationship to happen?
Again, he doesn't.  I never claimed that he did.

Moob, I humbly suggest you read your posts #57, #60, and #68 on this thread.  Read them as if you asked the question you're answering, and you might begin to understand why folks are thinking that you did, in fact, claim what you are denying.

Mooby, you may have missed this.  Check 'em out, that might explain why this keeps coming back to bite ya.  Maybe.
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #112 on: July 20, 2012, 11:48:50 AM »
Quote from: Mooby
But stop trolling

I didn't even accuse you of trolling, I accused you of dodging. HAL was accusing you of trolling. Trolling and dodging are 2 different things. I could play semantics too.

The best you've given me here is an anology.

Quote
God has HAL's entire lifetime to contact HAL.  For us that's a long time, but for God that's the blink of an eye (the Bible gives the analogy of a day being like 1000 years.)  So God could contact him 10 minutes from now, or 10 days from now, or 10 years from now, or on HAL's death bed.  If that uncertainty is fine for HAL, then HAL need not make any effort to contact God.

What about people who die as atheists or belonging to another religion? Has God left it too late to save those people from eternal damnation? Said non-believers haven't had the chance to turn away from their path and be saved. You also said HAL should call God and your analogy compared it to asking when the train will arrive, which means God will answer his call - if you cannot find out when a train will arrive at a trainstation, then your train station is pretty lousy. Well, God never answered my calls, nor the calls of many Christians and former Christians. If God did answer, we probably would never have strayed from the path. So what good will HAL contacting God do? It's like shouting 'taxi!' in the middle of a field, except of course, we know taxis exist (I've even been in one) and we know taxis tend not to drive through fields, but it's just as useful. There are people who start to question their faith who call out to God, but in turn get no answer.

So it's terrible advice to tell them to ask God. I would have thought somebody who has spent so long as a member of WWGHA would realise that, no, God isn't somebody who answers his calls. That's kind of the whole point of this website.

Quote
What's "so long?"  God has HAL's entire lifetime to contact HAL.  For us that's a long time, but for God that's the blink of an eye (the Bible gives the analogy of a day being like 1000 years.)  So God could contact him 10 minutes from now, or 10 days from now, or 10 years from now, or on HAL's death bed.  If that uncertainty is fine for HAL, then HAL need not make any effort to contact God.

A day may well be like a 1000 years to God, time may fly, but an omnipotent and omniscient being is hardly bound by any limitations. He doesn't want men to be sinful and he wants to establish this relationship with them and also for them to take the right path (I know only one of them was one of your claims, but I have read much of the bible). Not everybody is saved, sin is allowed to continue and God waits before trying to form a relationship with his children. If God established his relationship much sooner in people's lives think how much better the world could be and how little violence there would be between religions. Heck, there would only be one religion. For a God, 'a day is like a 1000 years' doesn't work as an excuse. "Time flies" works as an excuse as humans because we are flawed and heck, even when time flies we pay the consequences of our inaction. God isn't flawed, so inaction cannot be based on any flaws, why do you think so many Christians fall back on the argument, "but it's all a part of His divine plan, everything happens for a reason"?
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #113 on: July 20, 2012, 11:55:25 AM »
As I said, Mooby, I was not looking for an explanation.  You cannot possibly have one.  I was looking for an admission that your beliefs are demonstrably untrue.  All you need to do is say some aspect of your belief is wrong, because it obviously is.  It could be god doesn't really want relationships with everyone.  It could be that he is not able to communicate effectively.  It could be he cannot relate.  It could be he does not exist. 

But whatever it is, you should admit your model of reality is flawed.

Perhaps you never expressed a true prayer, despite thinking you did?  Perhaps God did reply to you, but you were never open to the response or otherwise able to recognize it?  Perhaps you did hear Him once, but later became convinced that it was you talking to yourself?  Perhaps you were waiting for a big booming voice that never came?

None of this should be a problem for a friendly, omnipotent god. 

Whether I expressed a true prayer or not, omnipotent god should know my thoughts and feelings.  That I failed to do the ritual the wrong way has overtones of magic to it and implies a god limited by arcane rules, not a friendly, omnipotent god.

A god that talks to me but cannot do so in a way that unambiguous or remains convincing is not a friendly, omnipotent god.

And as far as me not being open to friendly, omnipotent god's response, I told you, I was interested in and actively seeking god.  Your reply says, maybe I wasn't.  I cannot make you accept that I am being honest.  But if you are not going to take me at my word - which you said you would - then there is little reason for us to engage. 

That borders on a common and higly insulting xian fallacy I have run into before.  The variant I see most is the No True Scotsman version.  Some xian says "you were never a true xian", and I ask, "how do you know", and they reply, "you're an atheist now, so obviously you could never have been".  Wheee! Around we go with the circular logic.

They have a belief - "true xians don't lose faith" or "god answers prayers" - and rather than test whether the belief is a reasonable belief by the results, they assume the belief is valid and judge the results. 

For example, the belief that god wants a relationship with everyone could be simply validated by surveying people who wanted and requested relationships with god.  If everyone who wanted one got it, it would be a reasonable belief.  But, if there was even a single miss, the belief is invalidated.  So, here I am, a catholic who invites god to a relationship, but is rebuffed.  Does that invalidate the belief?  It should.  It means:
  • god doesn't want relationships with everyone
  • god is incapable of having relationships with at least some people (for whatever reason)
  • god does not exist

There are probably more possibilities, but those are the obvious ones off the top of my head.

But the believer would rather hold his belief.  So he keeps the belief - god wants relationships - and judges the outcome - no relationship with god - and concludes I must have been doing it wrong or I was lying.   Hurray for circular logic.

And here is the truly sad part to me - this even affects the non-stupid.  Mooby's not a dummy.  He's surely misguided.  He surely believes bizarre and damaging things.  But he is apparently pretty bright.  I can only conclude this is the way the brain has evolved to function.  It forms a model of the universe and refuses to update it. We former xians are outliers. 


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Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #114 on: July 20, 2012, 12:52:21 PM »

So it is god's will to have a relationship with me?

I believe so, yes.

God damn you're being dense Mooby . Do you practice this as an art form on your own or does it come as a free bonus skill with your indoctrination rituals?

I thought typing out a scenario or analogy would insult your intelligence but I now see it won't. Far from it.

So here goes -


Steve thinks to himself "I really want a relationship with a pretty girl! I wish there were pretty girls in the office :-("

The next day a pretty girl is hired and is sitting in the next cubicle to Steve.

As the days and months roll by, Steve keeps thinking "I really want a relationship with that pretty girl!"

As a message that he wants a relationship, Steve occasionally leaves a piece of candy on her desk, but doesn't include a note with it.

After a year goes by Steve learns that the pretty girl had been dating the guy on the other side of the office. Now she's engaged to him.

Steve thinks "I wonder why that pretty girl never agreed to have a relationship with me! I waited a year and she never said a word to me! I even left candy on her desk! I wanted the relationship so bad! How is it she could not have known this?"


Now, just substitute Biblegod for Steve and any person who doesn't know Biblegod for the pretty girl.

And a second request Mooby - stop being a poster boy for how dense a person can be, if you can.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #115 on: July 20, 2012, 02:12:06 PM »
As a Homecare nurse many of my patients & their families are members of assorted faiths & I would like to believe there is a benevolent force watching over them.

I know exactly how you feel, and I mean no offense by saying this, but your job exists precisely because there is no benevolent force watching over them.  If there was, you wouldn't need Homecare nurses, or physical therapists (me), or pediatric oncologists, or hospice care, etc, etc.  I'd also like to think bacon makes me thin, but that's not true either.  Either we live accepting the truth as we see it or we lie to ourselves about reality.  I just can't seem to do that when it comes to deities.  It sounds like you're struggling with that sometimes as well.  I bet its hard in your line of work. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT