Author Topic: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond  (Read 13217 times)

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Offline Seppuku

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #145 on: July 30, 2012, 04:52:24 AM »
Quote from: JeffPT
It would not violate my free choice to have a relationship with him, even if God were to pop down in my living room and talk to me for an hour.

Arguably, knowing the God of the bible exists would likely affect people's free will. How so? In pretty much the same way as a guy sticking a gun to your head and saying, "give me all your money". You could in theory say 'no', but the consequences are so severe that it becomes more about preserving yourself than actually deciding for yourself whether or not you want this relationship and bow down in worship or to follow the rules laid out in the bible. Also the benefits would influence, because it'd be like being offered $1 billion to suck some guy off. Because for a small period in your existence you have to make yourself suffer to satisfy another guy but be rewarded greatly as a result. The discussion of whether or not people would do this has been discussed, so I won't derail here.

But either way, it'd take a very strong will to say 'no'. The solution? Take away those consequences and ONLY then will God have truly given us free will. Heck, as you suggest, when God chucks out so many unknowns, we lack free will also. We're atheists, we clearly don't know God exists, so why would we make life decisions revolving around God if we do not know he exists, it's ludicrous.

Quote from: Mooby
Teaching kids about God gives them the tools they need to make an informed decision. 

Then teach them about every god. Teach them about atheism, teach them about atheism. Give them an education, not brainwash them into a religion. There's so many alternative views out there, so inform them before they make that decision.

Quote from: Mooby
Withholding the spiritual compass from someone for fear they'll go the wrong way still leaves them lost.  Instead of leaving someone on their own and hoping they'll stumble along in the right direction, isn't it better to simply lead them in the right direction?

What gives you the authority to say what the 'right' direction is? How can you determine that you are indeed on the right direction and are not simply wrong. No Christian has managed to convince us that their religion is 'right' and everybody 'else' is wrong. But whether you're right or wrong doesn't actually matter.

How would I do it? Allow people to find their own way. If a deity really does want them to follow them or to take their path, then that deity ought to reach out to that person so that they know the right path. It is they who should lead us away from a guessing game, because without that connection with a deity, we really are just playing a guess game. And if it's your God, won't he eventually establish a contact anyway? At least according to your previous claims.

In theory you wouldn't need to bring a kid into Christianity because in the end, God will give the the choice, that could be in 10 years or 50 years, but it'll happen.

“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #146 on: July 30, 2012, 11:17:07 PM »
Wow, a lot of replies since I was gone.  I'm going to condense the replies to one quote per post so I can write this in under 15 min.  If there's something pressing I didn't address, let me know and I'll do a follow-up post.

Mooby, you have definitely said that babies and other people who do not know about god at all are not judged the same way as people who know and decide they can't believe. If there is even a slight chance of a person someday "choosing not to believe", isn't it better for them to die as a baby? Isn't it better for people to not know about god at all?
No, I don't think so.  Why should I make the decision for someone else?  If they want to choose to be away from God, who am I to say they can't?

Also, I believe that this life is meant to serve a purpose, and I don't think that short circuiting it over an inversion of the already defunct Pascal's Wager does it any service.

Am I going to hell?

Oh, and just to make it interesting:  I DENY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I don't know if you're going to hell.  That's your choice to make, not mine.  The outcome of that choice is between you and God.  It's not my call to say where anyone on Earth is going when they die; I don't even make claims about where I'm going.  I share my beliefs about some of the things that steer people towards/away from salvation, but it's not up to me to pass judgement on how and when they are met.

Also, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not saying, "I deny the Holy Spirit."  Wikipedia has a pretty thorough article on it, but the short version is this:
- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is "unforgivable" in that it leads people away from seeking reconciliation (i.e. it's a sin that discourages a person from asking for forgiveness, not one that prevents God from forgiving)
- None of the denominations listed recognize any specific sin that God can't forgive if He wants to do so.

Who the hell is going to send you to hell if there's no god?  And how can there be a hell for you to go to if there's no god?
Some Eastern religions recognize a hell with no God, and universalism recognizes a God with no hell.  Neither is absolutely required for the other.

The problem with god is, that is all you are going to get.  God does not produce quantifiable, objective data.  You should know that since that is the standard xian response when atheists ask for evidence of god.  Now you are in the very weird position of demanding measureable data for god's non-relationship.  Hilarious.
You asked what I would personally find convincing, and I answered honestly.  I did not "demand" anything.  You are correct in that this type of evidence is not readily available; hence why I consider myself an agnostic when assessing knowledge claims concerning God's existence/nonexistence.

Withholding the spiritual compass from someone for fear they'll go the wrong way still leaves them lost.  Instead of leaving someone on their own and hoping they'll stumble along in the right direction, isn't it better to simply lead them in the right direction?

You don't need God to be a good person.  You can steer them just fine without that.
Spiritual compass, not moral compass.  I'm talking about forming a relationship with God; morality is somewhat tangential to that and can vary depending on a lot of different factors.

In theory you wouldn't need to bring a kid into Christianity because in the end, God will give the the choice, that could be in 10 years or 50 years, but it'll happen.
The way I see it, part of being a parent is to pass on life's experiences to a kid.  Why should every generation have to find out the hard way that touching a hot stove is painful when the parent can just tell them?  Why would I not want to do my best to prepare my child for life?  And when preparing my child for life, how glaring of an omission is it to leave out what I believe are some of the fundamental truths of the universe?

As for other religions, I don't mind teaching kids about them, but I'm not going to do them a disservice by pretending not to believe in what I believe in.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #147 on: July 31, 2012, 12:48:09 AM »
Mooby,what purpose do you serve? your own self interest in heaven,or do you actually DO something to help fellow humans?

 Most Christians only interest is self preservation and not service to the needy,starving,diseased,homeless or any other human who struggles,what do you do that is NOT in the interest of getting to heaven?

 Ignore what Jesus says all you want,your actions may condemn you to hell
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #148 on: July 31, 2012, 02:43:02 AM »

You are correct in that this type of evidence is not readily available; hence why I consider myself an agnostic when assessing knowledge claims concerning God's existence/nonexistence.

I'm talking about forming a relationship with God; morality is somewhat tangential to that and can vary depending on a lot of different factors.

How can you form a relationship with your God when you don’t even know if it is real? I’ll ask you the same question I asked samuelke (and never received a straight answer). Is there anything in your relationship with your God that could not be due entirely to your imagination?

The first thing you need to do is answer this question. Is your God real?

Offline muchlove

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #149 on: July 31, 2012, 03:22:40 AM »
Most Christians only interest is self preservation and not service to the needy,starving,diseased,homeless or any other human who struggles,what do you do that is NOT in the interest of getting to heaven?

I'm certainly not saying you're wrong, as this probably describes many people, but do you have support for this assertion?  I'm not sure this is a fair assessment to make without being able to clearly discern their individual motivations.  It may indeed turn out to be true, but how would we ever determine the true motivation for every (or even most) Christians?  Is it fear, love, compassion, self-preservation, selflessness, pride, recognition, all of the above?  To which degree does each influence their behavior?  There are the non-religious who are motivated by some of the very same things, perhaps in differing amounts, but nonetheless not necessarily altruistic.  It is difficult to determine the underlying motivations, and we can easily deceive ourselves into thinking we're doing something for one reason, when in reality, we might be motivated by something else entirely in our subconscious.  Your assertion may indeed turn out to be true, but, just wondering if your confidence is based on data or your own perceptions?

Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #150 on: July 31, 2012, 05:45:45 PM »
Mooby,what purpose do you serve?
I feel that my purpose in life is to know, love, and serve God, others, and myself.  Why do you ask?

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do you actually DO something to help fellow humans?
Well, I did choose a career in the service industry...

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what do you do that is NOT in the interest of getting to heaven?
Um... everything?  As I alluded to in my earlier posts in this thread, I'm not working to "earn" my way into heaven.

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Ignore what Jesus says all you want,your actions may condemn you to hell
Huh?  Did I miss something?  I'm not following your train of thought here.

How can you form a relationship with your God when you don’t even know if it is real?
My personal answer to that is pretty complex, to the point where even if it had its own thread that thread would likely derail over the background for the answer before I ever got to the part where I could truly answer it.

The short answer, though, is that beliefs about the existence of a deity and beliefs about whether deities are knowable are on two different axes, and my belief in the former allows me to at least make an effort without too much hindrance by my lack of belief in the latter.

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I’ll ask you the same question I asked samuelke (and never received a straight answer). Is there anything in your relationship with your God that could not be due entirely to your imagination?
Nope.

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The first thing you need to do is answer this question. Is your God real?
Maybe; I believe He is.
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #151 on: July 31, 2012, 06:24:27 PM »
Nope.
Well, if there is nothing in your relationship with your God that could not be due entirely to your imagination then you don’t have an actual relationship with it, do you? What distinguishes your relationship with your God from the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend.

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Maybe; I believe He is.
I’m not asking you for beliefs, Mooby. I’m asking you for facts. Is your God real or imaginary? Real means actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed. Imaginary means existing only in the imagination; lacking factual reality.

This is an important question, Mooby. It is probably the foundation of nearly all your religious beliefs and those of most other religious believers. If your God isn’t real then it didn’t create anything, it didn’t cause any floods, it didn’t impregnate some woman 2,000 years ago, it didn’t have a son or come to Earth in human form and it didn’t die and rise from the dead. If your God isn’t real then it doesn’t watch over anyone, it doesn’t have a plan, it doesn’t perform miracles or answer prayers and it doesn’t grant eternal life. So, again, is your God real or imaginary?

Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #152 on: July 31, 2012, 08:00:31 PM »
Am I going to hell?

Oh, and just to make it interesting:  I DENY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I don't know if you're going to hell.  That's your choice to make, not mine.  The outcome of that choice is between you and God.  It's not my call to say where anyone on Earth is going when they die; I don't even make claims about where I'm going.  I share my beliefs about some of the things that steer people towards/away from salvation, but it's not up to me to pass judgement on how and when they are met.

But you did, back in reply #34:

"If your relationship with Him is rocky but not completely destroyed, you'll be purified to repair that relationship.  This process is called "Purgatory."

"If you are completely severed from God, you will spend eternity separated from Him.  This is called "Hell."

By the way, how did you come by these conclusions?

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Also, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not saying, "I deny the Holy Spirit."  Wikipedia has a pretty thorough article on it, but the short version is this:
- Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is "unforgivable" in that it leads people away from seeking reconciliation (i.e. it's a sin that discourages a person from asking for forgiveness, not one that prevents God from forgiving)
- None of the denominations listed recognize any specific sin that God can't forgive if He wants to do so.

I read the relevant section of the article.  I got nothing but apologetic doublespeak out of it.  Some sins are unforgivable, except they're not really, so they're not unforgivable.   :o
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #153 on: July 31, 2012, 08:30:57 PM »
Well, if there is nothing in your relationship with your God that could not be due entirely to your imagination then you don’t have an actual relationship with it, do you?
The latter does not follow from the former.  Just because the relationship could be in my imagination does not mean it is in my imagination.

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What distinguishes your relationship with your God from the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend.
At the most basic level, I'd say the difference is that imaginary friends are understood to be imaginary by general societal consensus.

After all, how do you go about determining which of your relationships are real and which (if any) are imaginary?

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I’m not asking you for beliefs, Mooby. I’m asking you for facts. Is your God real or imaginary?
You're asking an agnostic for a knowledge claim?  I don't know if God is real.  If I knew that, I wouldn't be agnostic.


I don't know if you're going to hell.  That's your choice to make, not mine.  The outcome of that choice is between you and God.  It's not my call to say where anyone on Earth is going when they die; I don't even make claims about where I'm going.  I share my beliefs about some of the things that steer people towards/away from salvation, but it's not up to me to pass judgement on how and when they are met.

But you did, back in reply #34:

"If your relationship with Him is rocky but not completely destroyed, you'll be purified to repair that relationship.  This process is called "Purgatory."

"If you are completely severed from God, you will spend eternity separated from Him.  This is called "Hell."
Ok, so let's recap. 

You quote:
- Me saying I share my beliefs about what turns people towards/away from salvation.
- Me sharing my beliefs on the outcomes of having turned towards/away from salvation.
and
- Me saying I don't make judgements about any single person's heaven/hell status.
- ???

I am not seeing the contradiction.

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By the way, how did you come by these conclusions?
I thought I mentioned earlier that those conclusions are derived from Catholic teachings.  If not, I just mentioned it.

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I read the relevant section of the article.  I got nothing but apologetic doublespeak out of it.  Some sins are unforgivable, except they're not really, so they're not unforgivable.   :o
I also gave a quick summary of the explanation.  Your reply does not give me enough information to determine what part of the concept is giving you difficulty.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 08:33:06 PM by Mooby »
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Online JeffPT

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #154 on: July 31, 2012, 09:54:03 PM »
The latter does not follow from the former.  Just because the relationship could be in my imagination does not mean it is in my imagination.

Alright then.  Let's look at some facts in trying to determine which is more likely.  1. There have been literally thousands of invented religions over the past several thousand years that people believed in just as strongly as you believe in yours.  2.  Most, if not all of those religions are mutually exclusive.  3. They all have exactly the same amount of evidence as you, none. 4.  People are easily fooled into believing things they are told by people they respect and admire.  5.  None of the original biblical stories are still in existence, and all we have are copies of copies made decades and centuries later. 6. We have no idea who wrote the gospel accounts and many of the other books of the bible.  7.  The mind sees what it wants to see.  8.  The likelihood that someone lied versus the likelihood that the natural laws of the universe were overturned in the form of a resurrection is not a close contest. 

I think that establishes a pretty good case in favor of this all being in your imagination.  It certainly satisfied reasonable doubt. 

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What distinguishes your relationship with your God from the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend.
At the most basic level, I'd say the difference is that imaginary friends are understood to be imaginary by general societal consensus.

So are all other gods that don't happen to be the one you follow personally.  Although, if you followed another god and lived in another country, you'd consider the Christian God to be imaginary by general societal consensus.  The only reason you do not consider the god you follow to be imaginary is because it's the one you've been brainwashed to believe in.  That's the same reason that followers of other religions don't consider their gods to be imaginary as well.

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I’m not asking you for beliefs, Mooby. I’m asking you for facts. Is your God real or imaginary?
You're asking an agnostic for a knowledge claim?  I don't know if God is real.  If I knew that, I wouldn't be agnostic.

You also don't know if leprechauns are real, yet you probably don't live your life around the belief that they are. 

When knowledge is lacking, do you normally give the benefit of the doubt to the more unlikely possibilities?  I mean seriously.  God became human, lived for a while, died, thus sacrificing himself to himself for the situation he created, and then rose from the dead 3 days later, versus someone making that story up in the backdrop of what was ancient Palestine?  Please man.  Do people lie?  Of course.  Do people rise from the dead?  No.  Given the evidence to back up the biblical accounts, you know as well as we do that it is far more likely that they just made that shit up.  You are a smart guy Mooby.  Think for yourself here. 

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

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #155 on: July 31, 2012, 10:00:53 PM »
The latter does not follow from the former.  Just because the relationship could be in my imagination does not mean it is in my imagination.

You claimed to have a relationship with your God. Your God would have to be real for that relationship not to be entirely within your imagination. Can you produce any sound evidence that your God is real?

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At the most basic level, I'd say the difference is that imaginary friends are understood to be imaginary by general societal consensus.

This is a fallacious appeal to popularity. What actually distinguishes imaginary friends from real friends is sound evidence that the friend is real. Can you produce any sound evidence that your God is real?

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After all, how do you go about determining which of your relationships are real and which (if any) are imaginary?

Read my post to Samuelke on this to see one way to distinguish real relationships from imaginary relationships. Please tell us what sound evidence you have to demonstrate that your relationship with your God is not entirely within your imagination.

Are there any photographs of you with your God? Are there any emails, text messages, phone calls or verifiable communications of any kind at all between the two of you? Has anyone ever seen the two of you together? Is there any sound evidence at all to demonstrate that you have an actual relationship with your God? A relationship is a connection between two people. Please explain how you can honestly call it a relationship when, for all practical purposes, there is no second party?

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You're asking an agnostic for a knowledge claim?  I don't know if God is real.  If I knew that, I wouldn't be agnostic.

You claimed to have a relationship with your God. You need to prove that your God is real to show us that your claim is true.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #156 on: July 31, 2012, 10:43:57 PM »
 Mooby

What exactly does it mean "I work in the service industry"?..... I work in a commercial bakery,it makes bread,it is a service industry. People have to buy the product I make,I still work in the service industry.

 Are you doing everything Jesus has asked of you? If not,you choose to ignore Jesus as you see fit. (think give away all belongings and follow Jesus' path)
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #157 on: August 02, 2012, 12:19:36 AM »
Alright then.  Let's look at some facts in trying to determine which is more likely.
Alrighty.

1-3: What people do or don't believe has no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.  The diversity of those beliefs has no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.  The level of agreement/contradiction of alternatives have no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.

If everyone on Earth became a creationist tomorrow, evolution would be just as likely as it is today.  If everyone on Earth accepted evolution tomorrow, evolution would be just as likely as it is today.  If, tomorrow, every single person on Earth advanced an alternative that contradicts evolution (~7 billion contradictory ideas), evolution would still be just as likely as it is today.  The probabilities of God's existence, evolutionary history, or a roulette wheel landing on 23 are completely independent of what I, you, or anyone else in history have ever believed.

4. The gullibility of people has no bearing on the probability of something being true.  One can improperly base belief in something real as they can in something imaginary.

5-6. Inability to find the original manuscript of a writing has no bearing on the likelihood that the manuscript is accurate.

7.  What you want to see has no bearing on the likelihood of something happening external to you.

8.  How exactly do you establish the likelihood of the latter?

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I think that establishes a pretty good case in favor of this all being in your imagination.  It certainly satisfied reasonable doubt. 
No, it establishes no case.  Only #8 even makes an attempt to comment on likelihood, and it's far from conclusive.  At best, it's speculation.  The rest all operate under the assumption that what you and I think or do on the inside somehow influences what exists external to us.

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So are all other gods that don't happen to be the one you follow personally.
No, not all other gods are considered imaginary by societal consensus.  There is more than one religion that exists in my society.

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You also don't know if leprechauns are real, yet you probably don't live your life around the belief that they are.
Correct.  But I also don't have a belief in leprechauns.

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When knowledge is lacking, do you normally give the benefit of the doubt to the more unlikely possibilities?
No, I generally go with what I believe is most likely.

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Do people lie?  Of course.  Do people rise from the dead?  No.
A defining trait of the supernatural is that it has the ability to violate the natural laws.  Saying that the supernatural doesn't exist because it is supernatural begs the question.

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You are a smart guy Mooby.  Think for yourself here. 
You want me to think for myself by agreeing with your point of view?  That reminds me of the South Park line, "You can't be a nonconformist if you don't drink coffee."

Thinking for myself means that I can look at the same information as you and reach a different conclusion.

You claimed to have a relationship with your God. Your God would have to be real for that relationship not to be entirely within your imagination. Can you produce any sound evidence that your God is real?
Ignoring the wiggle word "sound," not any evidence you're likely to accept.

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This is a fallacious appeal to popularity.
No, it is not an appeal to popularity.  I am accurately describing why imaginary friends are considered imaginary and God is not automatically considered an imaginary friend.  Societal consensus does not establish reality, but it does indeed establish societies' view on a subject.

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What actually distinguishes imaginary friends from real friends is sound evidence that the friend is real.
No, my modified quote is what actually distinguishes the two.  My inability to provide evidence of a friend to you does not influence whether that friend is real.  Absence of evidence is not evidence.

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Can you produce any sound evidence that your God is real?
Nope.

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Are there any photographs of you with your God? Are there any emails, text messages, phone calls or verifiable communications of any kind at all between the two of you? Has anyone ever seen the two of you together?
Nope.

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Please explain how you can honestly call it a relationship when, for all practical purposes, there is no second party?
Who said there was no second party?

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You claimed to have a relationship with your God. You need to prove that your God is real to show us that your claim is true.
Like I said in an above post, there's a difference in my beliefs about knowledge and my beliefs about God.  My relationship falls in the second axis.

What exactly does it mean "I work in the service industry"?
That was a bit of dry humor.  And what I actually said was that I chose a career there (healthcare, if you're wondering), implying that my primary motivation was the service aspect.

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Are you doing everything Jesus has asked of you? If not,you choose to ignore Jesus as you see fit. (think give away all belongings and follow Jesus' path)
I do my best to live in accordance with Christ, yes.  As for the verses about selling possessions, that's a Pandora's Box that deserves its own topic.  Suffice it to say that I don't agree with the conclusions reached in Marshall's video.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #158 on: August 02, 2012, 06:21:52 AM »
Ignoring the wiggle word "sound," not any evidence you're likely to accept.

What do you mean by wiggle word? When I ask for sound evidence, I’m asking for evidence that is free from error, fallacy or misapprehension—or at least free enough from those faults to put it beyond reasonable doubt. I find it fascinating that religious believers so often object to my asking for sound evidence. Why would anyone accept unsound evidence for a claim?

Something must have convinced you that your God is real enough for you to believe that you actually have a relationship with it so what was it? What evidence convinced you that your God is real? Was it sound evidence or was it unsound evidence riddled with errors, fallacies or misapprehensions?

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No, it is not an appeal to popularity.  I am accurately describing why imaginary friends are considered imaginary and God is not automatically considered an imaginary friend.  Societal consensus does not establish reality, but it does indeed establish societies' view on a subject.

“What actually distinguishes imaginary friends from real friends is sound evidence that the friend is real.”
No, my modified quote is what actually distinguishes the two.  My inability to provide evidence of a friend to you does not influence whether that friend is real.  Absence of evidence is not evidence.
When I asked what distinguishes your relationship with your God from the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend, I was asking for an actual difference not merely a perceived difference. It appears from your answers so far that there is no effective difference.

There is that objection to sound evidence again. Why are religious believers so averse to sound evidence?

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Nope.

Nope.

So there is no sound evidence whatsoever that your God is real and there is also no sound evidence that you communicate with your God or that you have been seen with your God. However, you evaded my final question. I asked: is there any sound evidence at all to demonstrate that you have an actual relationship with your God? Why did you evade that question? Please answer it.

I think the honest answer has to be that there is no sound evidence at all to demonstrate that you have an actual relationship with your God. Again, these answers illustrate that there is no effective difference between your relationship with your God and the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend.

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Who said there was no second party?

I said for all practical purposes there is no second party and your answers above confirm it. There is no sound evidence that your God is real or that you communicate with it in any way. I suspect that you will be forced to admit there is no sound evidence at all that you have an actual relationship with it.

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Like I said in an above post, there's a difference in my beliefs about knowledge and my beliefs about God.  My relationship falls in the second axis.
You said in the above post, “I don't know if God is real” [your emphasis]. You cannot honestly say both that you don’t know if your God is real and that you believe it is real enough for you to have an actual relationship with it. One of those positions has to be false. So is your God real and do you have an actual relationship with it or do you just believe or imagine that it is real and imagine you have a relationship with it?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 06:25:26 AM by 3sigma »

Offline kcrady

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #159 on: August 02, 2012, 07:03:13 AM »
The claim to have a relationship with a god (or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, or any other entity with knowledge humans do not have) is a testable claim.  If your god purports to know the future, you can ask it for what the Dow will close at on Friday, August 31st.  If it has sufficiently wide-ranging scientific knowledge, you can ask it for some fact humans do not yet know, but can search for in the near future, such as something the new Mars rover will discover if its landing is successful.  If your god has wide-ranging knowledge of people, you can ask it for some minor detail about each of the people asking you for evidence that you could not know by ordinary means.  Then, you could post its answers.

Of course, I have little doubt that you can come up with a reason why you cannot do this--but that's just the point: your "relationship" with your god is crafted in such a way that the actual existence of your god is indistinguishable from its non-existence.  The only way to do this effectively is to conform your beliefs in advance to a naturalistic model of reality.  Otherwise, there'd be anticipated consequences of "Mooby has a personal relationship with a god" that would differ from the anticipated consequences of "Mooby does not have a personal relationship with a god."  If there were differences in anticipated consequences, you could test your beliefs against the consequences that manifest in reality and know whether your "relationship" is real or not.  That you come right out and say that you can't do this is an indication that you anticipate that reality will behave at all times exactly as if your did not exist.  Why should this be the case, unless your god, in fact, does not exist?
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #160 on: August 02, 2012, 01:29:34 PM »
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You also don't know if leprechauns are real, yet you probably don't live your life around the belief that they are.
Correct.  But I also don't have a belief in leprechauns.

So now I'm wondering why you don't believe that leprechauns exist (assuming that's what you mean).
Just remember:
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Absence of evidence is not evidence.
"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 Ivellios

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #161 on: August 02, 2012, 02:03:58 PM »
If he lived in Ireland he'd believe in them because of the Appeal to popularity, oops I mean "General consensus."

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #162 on: August 02, 2012, 09:12:54 PM »
What do you mean by wiggle word? When I ask for sound evidence, I’m asking for evidence that is free from error, fallacy or misapprehension—or at least free enough from those faults to put it beyond reasonable doubt.
There are multiple different types of evidence, with some more rigorous than others.  Using a word like "sound" allows you to make the judgement after the fact whether you consider the evidence "sound enough" to be beyond a "reasonable" doubt.  The ambiguous standards of "sound" and "reasonable" shroud the goalposts in fog.

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Something must have convinced you that your God is real enough for you to believe that you actually have a relationship with it so what was it? What evidence convinced you that your God is real? Was it sound evidence or was it unsound evidence riddled with errors, fallacies or misapprehensions?
As I mentioned to you in Reply #150, the background necessary to provide the answer to this would consume our discussion from this point onward.  I will save it for another thread.

Your quote here equates "something" with "evidence."  As a result, you tossed me an either-or fallacy of "Were you convinced by sound evidence or unsound evidence?"  Neither either nor or fits my beliefs.

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When I asked what distinguishes your relationship with your God from the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend, I was asking for an actual difference not merely a perceived difference.
Oh, ok.  There are many difference between God and imaginary friends.  For example:
- Imaginary friends aren't deities
- Imaginary friends are personalities created by a single child
- Children role play with their imaginary friends
- Imaginary friends are part of childhood development

And so forth.

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I asked: is there any sound evidence at all to demonstrate that you have an actual relationship with your God? Why did you evade that question?
I didn't "evade" it.  It was a continuation of your examples, and I just quoted your examples.

But, to go in a different direction, instead of saying "nope" again I'll go with, "My personal testimony is evidence."

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I think the honest answer has to be that there is no sound evidence at all to demonstrate that you have an actual relationship with your God. Again, these answers illustrate that there is no effective difference between your relationship with your God and the relationship a child has with his or her imaginary friend.
How exactly does the latter follow from the former?

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I said for all practical purposes there is no second party and your answers above confirm it.
"Practical purposes?"  What does that even mean?  How can something exist in reality but not exist for "practical purposes?"

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You cannot honestly say both that you don’t know if your God is real and that you believe it is real enough for you to have an actual relationship with it. One of those positions has to be false.
Why does one have to be false?  Because you say so?


The claim to have a relationship with a god (or a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, or any other entity with knowledge humans do not have) is a testable claim[. . .]Then, you could post its answers.
And if God declines to play this game. . . then what?

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Why should this be the case, unless your god, in fact, does not exist?
"Your god, in fact, does not exist" is not a valid conclusion to draw from a hypothetical lack of posting.  Your test is not sensitive.

So now I'm wondering why you don't believe that leprechauns exist (assuming that's what you mean).
Because I have no reason to think they do.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Ivellios

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #163 on: August 02, 2012, 09:42:37 PM »
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You cannot honestly say both that you don’t know if your God is real and that you believe it is real enough for you to have an actual relationship with it. One of those positions has to be false.
Why does one have to be false?  Because you say so?

When the light is red you stop, and green you go. When the light is green you stop, and red you go. These contradict each other so only one of them can be true, not because I or we say so, that's the very nature of contradictions.

When you say, "I don't know if Ivellios is real, but I have a personal relationship with him." How can you have a personal relationship with someone if you don't know they're real? You see, relationships are a 2 way street. There's interaction. Just because you may have the hots for a chick, imagine doing things with her, but not doing those things with her in reality, then that part of your relationship is all in your head. She's your imaginary lover, even in this case she's a real person.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #164 on: August 02, 2012, 09:52:52 PM »
1-3: What people do or don't believe has no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.  The diversity of those beliefs has no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.  The level of agreement/contradiction of alternatives have no bearing on the likelihood of something being true.

I could not possibly agree more!  But you missed my point.  My point was that there have been millions of people around the world for thousands of years who have believed in a god or gods, and that in the absence of evidence, your belief is no more or less likely true than theirs (and I would be willing to bet you don't think they were all correct).  In light of that knowledge, is it more likely that your personal version of belief is correct and everyone else that differs from you is wrong (keep in mind, your evidence is the same as theirs), or that you all suffer from the same sort of deluded belief in the supernatural?  I'm not arguing for iron clad evidence here... I'm asking which is the more likely situation?   We are talking about reasonable doubt here, remember. The likelihood that you're right versus wrong.

If everyone on Earth became a creationist tomorrow, evolution would be just as likely as it is today.  If everyone on Earth accepted evolution tomorrow, evolution would be just as likely as it is today.  If, tomorrow, every single person on Earth advanced an alternative that contradicts evolution (~7 billion contradictory ideas), evolution would still be just as likely as it is today.  The probabilities of God's existence, evolutionary history, or a roulette wheel landing on 23 are completely independent of what I, you, or anyone else in history have ever believed.

Again, my point is that given the fact that millions of people have believed just as strongly in things that everyone else has come to find ridiculous, means that it is more likely that your belief falls into the exact same category with all that have come before.  Unless you can produce any sort of real world evidence, then there is no reason not to file your belief under 'fiction' with the rest of them.  Sure, you COULD be right and your belief COULD the one true super-special, correct version, but is it more likely that you are?  Or is it more likely that you're just like all those other people?   

It would be like me a presenting you and 1000 other people with a box and asking you all to guess what's inside.  You have no evidence as to what's inside, but you all make guesses at it.  Some of you guess things that are larger than the box and explain it away with box apologetics.  Others say that their parents knew about the box and said they knew what was inside it.  Still others say that they have a 2000 year old book that says what's in the box, and that they know because whatever is inside the box spoke to them.  I ask you to consider the likelihood of any of them actually being correct about the contents of the box, and then think about the parallels with religious belief.  You have no evidence for the God you believe exists, yet you think he's in that box. 

4. The gullibility of people has no bearing on the probability of something being true.  One can improperly base belief in something real as they can in something imaginary.

True, however, the point remains that people can, and often are, fooled by other people.  In light of that, is it more likely that some people were gullible and believed the stories about Jesus and passed them down, even though the stories weren't true, or that the very laws of nature were overturned in one section of the ancient middle east some 2000 years ago?  I'm talking again about reasonable doubt here.  Which is the more likely situation? 

In terms of liklihood, is it more likely that everyone else in the world is fooled except you, or that you are just as fooled as everyone else?  Of course it is possible that you are right and everyone else is wrong, but is that likely

5-6. Inability to find the original manuscript of a writing has no bearing on the likelihood that the manuscript is accurate.

I would agree with you if and only if the remaining manuscripts were exact copies of the originals, and every subsequent copy was exactly as the previous.  Given that all the remaining copies of said manuscripts differ in thousands of ways, including some incredibly important ones, I disagree with you here. 

8.  How exactly do you establish the likelihood of the latter?

By observation of the natural world we live in; the same way we establish the likelihood of the former.  If we were to add up the number of times that we observe human beings lying in a day versus the number of times that we observe the natural laws of the universe being overturned in a day, we can establish which situation is more likely to have occurred.  Again, reasonable doubt.  Sure, you can stick to the belief that in this one case, the laws were overturned, but can you please tell me why anyone would ever take that as the more reasonable conclusion? 

If someone came up to you and said that they lost their arm in a car accident and the next day, God put it back on, good as new, would you actually think the laws of nature were overturned, or that the person is just lying?  This is the likelihood that I'm talking about.  Anyone who says that the actual resurrection of Jesus is more probable than the authors simply lying about it would be fooling themselves as much as the guy who blindly believes the person who says God put their arm back on after they lost it.  There is no difference.  None.   

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I think that establishes a pretty good case in favor of this all being in your imagination.  It certainly satisfied reasonable doubt. 
No, it establishes no case.  Only #8 even makes an attempt to comment on likelihood, and it's far from conclusive. 
[/quote]

Disagree completely.  Each and every point is addressing likelihood.  I explained all of them for you here.  I hope you see that now. 

At best, it's speculation. 

If you can't provide evidence that your beliefs are true, and if you are indeed agnostic with regard to knowledge of the God you believe exists, then doesn't that sentence apply directly to you? 

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So are all other gods that don't happen to be the one you follow personally.
No, not all other gods are considered imaginary by societal consensus.  There is more than one religion that exists in my society.

Do you consider even one other god to be imaginary?  If you do, then you know what I am talking about. 

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You also don't know if leprechauns are real, yet you probably don't live your life around the belief that they are.
Correct.  But I also don't have a belief in leprechauns.

So you are an agnostic a-leprechaun-ist.  But why?  Is it because the likelihood of the stories about leprechauns being true is far less than the likelihood of them being false?  Does a lack of solid evidence for leprechauns play a part as well? 

If you believed in leprechauns, would you not occasionally have to confront a-leprechaun-ists?  Do you think you'd encounter arguments that you would have to find a way to get around in much the same way apologetics applies to religion?

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Do people lie?  Of course.  Do people rise from the dead?  No.
A defining trait of the supernatural is that it has the ability to violate the natural laws.  Saying that the supernatural doesn't exist because it is supernatural begs the question.

Actually, I think its more like circular reasoning, and not at all what I'm trying to say.  What I am saying that people don't rise from the dead after 3 days.  That's it.  I'm not saying that because I don't believe in the supernatural, but because it has never been observed.  Now, if you'd like to stick to the belief that it DID happen once, a long time ago, then that's your prerogative, but the question I have to ask you is why you would give this supernatural story some sort of street cred, while at the same time, you might read a book like Charlotte's Web and think it more likely fiction? Is Charlotte's Web more likely a fictional tale and why?  Then ask the same question about the resurrection and the other biblical stories.   

Thinking for myself means that I can look at the same information as you and reach a different conclusion.

It's really simple.  Either the god you believe exists, exists, or it doesn't.  So while we can both look at the same information, there is only one truth to it.  Either you're right, or you're wrong.  In the absence of evidence to back up the claim (and hence your agnostic standing), the likelihood that you're particular version of god exists is infinitesimally small and on equal standing with every other supernatural claim imaginable.  The most reasonable conclusion is agnostic atheism. 

You just don't know what's in the box, Mooby.  Living your life believing that you do know what's inside the box is a ridiculous position to take. Thinking for yourself is first and foremost admitting that what other people have told you throughout your life might actually be wrong.   

In light of your self expressed agnosticism, please tell me what information you are looking at that allows you to make a different conclusion than me.  And if it involves any sort of personal testimony, please understand that it is only admissible as evidence if you allow the personal testimony of others to be admissible as evidence for their beliefs.  And as soon as you do that, and understand that there are millions and billions of other people with different personal testimonies from yours, the playing field is leveled and you're back to square 1 with nothing.   

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

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #165 on: August 02, 2012, 11:33:09 PM »
There are multiple different types of evidence, with some more rigorous than others.  Using a word like "sound" allows you to make the judgement after the fact whether you consider the evidence "sound enough" to be beyond a "reasonable" doubt.  The ambiguous standards of "sound" and "reasonable" shroud the goalposts in fog.

Yes, there are multiple types of evidence with some more rigorous than others. So far, you haven’t produced any evidence at all—sound or otherwise—that your God is real or that you have an actual relationship with it. All you’ve done is prevaricate by answering questions with questions, quibbling, evading questions and denying the obvious.

Again, it fascinates me that religious believers can quibble over the meanings of words such as sound and reasonable. It appears they have to disparage those words because they know they can’t produce any evidence to support their beliefs that is actually sound or reasonable.

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As I mentioned to you in Reply #150, the background necessary to provide the answer to this would consume our discussion from this point onward.  I will save it for another thread.

Evasion. Prove that your God is real. Prove that your claim to have a relationship with it is true.

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Your quote here equates "something" with "evidence."  As a result, you tossed me an either-or fallacy of "Were you convinced by sound evidence or unsound evidence?"  Neither either nor or fits my beliefs.

Another evasion. I’m asking you for anything that proves your God is real and that you have an actual relationship with it. So far, you’ve provided nothing.

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Oh, ok.  There are many difference between God and imaginary friends.  For example:
- Imaginary friends aren't deities
- Imaginary friends are personalities created by a single child
- Children role play with their imaginary friends
- Imaginary friends are part of childhood development

“Imaginary friends aren't deities”
Yours is.

“Imaginary friends are personalities created by a single child”
Each religious believer creates his or her own personal concept of God because there is no factual, objective description of it.

“Children role play with their imaginary friends”
You imagine you are having a personal relationship with your God.

“Imaginary friends are part of childhood development”
I’ve always thought of God as being Santa Claus for people over the age of six.

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But, to go in a different direction, instead of saying "nope" again I'll go with, "My personal testimony is evidence."

So we just have to take your word for it, is that it? I’m sorry, but I find your personal testimony worthless as evidence for anything other than perhaps your gullibility and self-deception.

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How exactly does the latter follow from the former?

Well, because there isn’t a shred of sound evidence or a single sound argument to prove your God is real, you have nothing on which to base your claimed relationship with it other than your imagination.

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How can something exist in reality but not exist for "practical purposes?"

Exactly. It can’t. Or are you now claiming that your God does exist in reality? If so then please prove it.

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Why does one have to be false?  Because you say so?

No, because one statement contradicts the other. Please explain how you can have an actual relationship with something you don’t believe is real?

Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #166 on: August 03, 2012, 06:40:10 AM »
“Imaginary friends aren't deities”
Yours is.

That's one of the best responses I've read here in a while!

I feel sorry that the valiant efforts you people are putting into responding to Mooby will be a waste of time. He's just as bad as Maggie, albeit not as mean. He will twist anything you say into something that suits his viewpoint by any means possible. After this thread gets to ~25 pages you'll be right back where you started.

Good Luck though.

Offline Boots

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #167 on: August 03, 2012, 08:06:43 AM »
After this thread gets to ~25 pages you'll be right back where you started.

You mean we might actually get back to the original question I posed?!?!  NO WAY!!!!
* Religion: institutionalized superstition, period.

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #168 on: August 03, 2012, 12:34:29 PM »
So now I'm wondering why you don't believe that leprechauns exist (assuming that's what you mean).
Because I have no reason to think they do.

I think you're missing a word qualifier there, so let's have a redo to see if I can get it from you:

*AHEM*

LEPRECHAUNS EXIST.  So sayeth I.

There, now you have a reason to think they exist.  Now why don't you believe that leprechauns exist?
"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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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #169 on: August 03, 2012, 02:03:01 PM »
That's one of the best responses I've read here in a while!

I feel sorry that the valiant efforts you people are putting into responding to Mooby will be a waste of time. He's just as bad as Maggie, albeit not as mean. He will twist anything you say into something that suits his viewpoint by any means possible. After this thread gets to ~25 pages you'll be right back where you started.

Good Luck though.

I hate to say it, but isn't that how most of these types of threads go when theists are involved? 
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

Offline Ivellios

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #170 on: August 03, 2012, 04:20:37 PM »
I think you're missing a word qualifier there, so let's have a redo to see if I can get it from you:

*AHEM*

LEPRECHAUNS EXIST.  So sayeth I.

There, now you have a reason to think they exist.  Now why don't you believe that leprechauns exist?

Ohh, I'm going to raise it with: "I don't know if Leprechauns exist, but I have a personal relationship with them."  :P

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #171 on: August 03, 2012, 05:39:49 PM »
Ohh, I'm going to raise it with: "I don't know if Leprechauns exist, but I have a personal relationship with them."  :P

"They also may or may not give me access to their pots of gold.  Maybe."

For serious though...

Mooby, I'm admittedly getting a little lost on your position here in this thread (which, Boots, I realize that I have contributed to the serious derailment of and apologize).
For clarity, I'd like to know if you feel the following two points about your position are true.
a) I do not know if god exists.
b) I have a personal relationship with god.

Do these two claims apply to you?
"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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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #172 on: August 04, 2012, 01:20:33 AM »
Ok, time to trim down again.  If I skip something, it's probably because I felt it was too similar to something elsewhere in the reply (or that we were just degenerating into banter).  And I have a feeling that trimming down will still leave a ridiculously long post.

My point was that there have been millions of people around the world for thousands of years who have believed in a god or gods, and that in the absence of evidence, your belief is no more or less likely true than theirs (and I would be willing to bet you don't think they were all correct).  In light of that knowledge, is it more likely that your personal version of belief is correct and everyone else that differs from you is wrong (keep in mind, your evidence is the same as theirs), or that you all suffer from the same sort of deluded belief in the supernatural?[. . .]Again, my point is that given the fact that millions of people have believed just as strongly in things that everyone else has come to find ridiculous, means that it is more likely that your belief falls into the exact same category with all that have come before.
Neither.  Other people's beliefs are independent of mine.  Regardless of whether theirs is true or false, or they have evidence or not, it has no bearing on the veracity of my beliefs.  If you're imagining this as some sort of religious roulette wheel, the fact that the last 100 bets lost (or won) has no bearing on whether my bet will win or lose.  The only way to correctly assess the odds is to determine the odds for my bet, and my bet alone.

What you're claiming here strikes me as a form of inverse gambler's fallacy.

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I'm not arguing for iron clad evidence here... I'm asking which is the more likely situation?   We are talking about reasonable doubt here, remember. The likelihood that you're right versus wrong.
I don't think there's enough evidence to determine the likelihood of God's existence.

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In light of that, is it more likely that some people were gullible and believed the stories about Jesus and passed them down, even though the stories weren't true, or that the very laws of nature were overturned in one section of the ancient middle east some 2000 years ago?  I'm talking again about reasonable doubt here.  Which is the more likely situation? 
The supernatural, by definition, defies the natural rules of probability.  Attempting to apply those rules to assess whether those rules applied is circular reasoning.

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In terms of liklihood, is it more likely that everyone else in the world is fooled except you, or that you are just as fooled as everyone else?  Of course it is possible that you are right and everyone else is wrong, but is that likely
If we're working under the hypothetical assumption that only one person in the world is right, then I am almost certainly wrong, as are you, as is everyone else.  Yet someone is right, but I don't know who.  If you're asking whether it's more likely that 1 person is right rather than 0 (or 10 or a billion) people being right, I don't have enough information to assess that.  So I'm not 100% on what you're asking; are you thinking sort of like a lottery?  You're individually almost sure to lose, yet someone eventually wins?

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Do you consider even one other god to be imaginary?
Yes and no.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I think of most gods as man's various attempts at modeling God.  So while parts are undoubtedly mythical, I don't think the gods themselves are necessarily imaginary.

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Is it because the likelihood of the stories about leprechauns being true is far less than the likelihood of them being false?  Does a lack of solid evidence for leprechauns play a part as well? 
Mostly the latter.  And I don't know how I'd argue for leprechauns if I believed in them, because I don't know what my basis for belief would be.

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Is Charlotte's Web more likely a fictional tale and why?  Then ask the same question about the resurrection and the other biblical stories.
Charlotte's Web was clearly written and published as a fictional creation of E. B. White.  We can't say the same for the Biblical stories.

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In the absence of evidence to back up the claim (and hence your agnostic standing), the likelihood that you're particular version of god exists is infinitesimally small
No, we don't have enough information to reach that conclusion.  We'd have to know something about the probability of God's existence before we could make that assumption.

For instance, let's say Disease A affects 50% of the population, and is asymptomatic in half of people affected.  In this case, an absence of evidence you have Disease A still leaves you a 25% chance of being affected.  On the other hand, Disease B affects 1 in a million people, and is asymptomatic in half of people affected.  Here, an absence of evidence means your odds of being affected are 1 in two million.

Again, how do we know the likelihood of God's existence?

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You just don't know what's in the box, Mooby.  Living your life believing that you do know what's inside the box is a ridiculous position to take.
But I believe I don't know what's in the box.  That's my point.  Yet, in the absence of concrete knowledge, believing that there's something in the box is not any more ridiculous than believing that there's nothing in the box.  And depending on the circumstances, the latter might be quite unreasonable to take.  After all, why would it be most reasonable to assume you presented an empty box for guessing?

Which brings me to the most interesting implication of your analogy.  If I think there's almost certainly something in the box, and there's an impractically large number of ways something could be in there, but only one way nothing could be in there, is it better to:
- Guess something random and be closer to being right, yet with lower probability of success,
or
- Guess "nothing" which I think to be almost certainly wrong, yet with higher probability than a random something?

I'm not stupid; I can see everyone else's guesses, some more reasonable than others, some similar, some not.  But when it's my turn, their guesses are independent of mine.  So then I have to decide: Do I choose the right thing for the wrong reasons, or the wrong thing for the right reasons?  Do I say, "Lol, none of you know what it is, so I'm just going to say nothing's there," or do I play the game and make the most reasonable guess that I can based on what I currently see?

Now, of course, an obvious response could be that you don't think that "something" is more likely than "nothing" in reality's box.  But that's not what I currently see when I look at the universe.  So why should I lie to myself and become an agnostic atheist when I think atheism is a marginal choice?

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In light of your self expressed agnosticism, please tell me what information you are looking at that allows you to make a different conclusion than me.
Just the sum total of my knowledge and experience thus far in my life.  There's nothing specific and jarring that jumps out.  To return to your box analogy, I'm just saying, "From where I'm standing in the room, it looks like there's something in there."  Maybe the view is a bit different from where you're standing.  I don't know.  It's not like I'm claiming to have x-ray glasses or anything.

Yes, there are multiple types of evidence with some more rigorous than others. So far, you haven’t produced any evidence at all—sound or otherwise—that your God is real or that you have an actual relationship with it.
I have not offered evidence of the former, nor do I intend to in this thread.  I am not arguing God's existence in my posts.  I'm not even getting into my reasons for believing in God.

Much as some creationists conflate abiogenesis with evolution, you are conflating my beliefs with gnostic theism.  My reasons for not getting into the above are similar to the reasons one discussing evolution might not want to get into abiogenesis: it's tangential and will muddle an already complex topic.

Anyways, the latter is evidenced by my personal testimony.  As I am in a unique position to evaluate my own internal state, this should actually be fairly decent evidence that I at least think I have a relationship with God.

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So we just have to take your word for it, is that it?
Testimony is admissible evidence in courts of law.  And I'm a primary source for my own experiences, which puts it on the high end of personal testimony.  Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

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No, because one statement contradicts the other. Please explain how you can have an actual relationship with something you don’t believe is real?
I'm pretty sure I've said multiple times that it is something I do believe is real.  Which is why I identify as an agnostic theist rather than an agnostic atheist.

LEPRECHAUNS EXIST.  So sayeth I.

There, now you have a reason to think they exist.  Now why don't you believe that leprechauns exist?
Well, for starters, your claim doesn't give me much of a basis on which to reconsider my position on leprechauns.  I can't simply accept it on your authority--that would be fallacious.

For clarity, I'd like to know if you feel the following two points about your position are true.
a) I do not know if god exists.
b) I have a personal relationship with god.

Do these two claims apply to you?
b) might be better stated as, "I believe I have a personal relationship with God," but otherwise they're fairly accurate.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 01:25:38 AM by Mooby »
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #173 on: August 04, 2012, 02:23:09 AM »
You mean we might actually get back to the original question I posed?!?!  NO WAY!!!!
Would you like me to bow out?
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.