Author Topic: I don't really get the question...  (Read 7170 times)

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Offline screwtape

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #319 on: June 29, 2015, 09:55:03 AM »
the bible is a book... it can neither be cool nor uncool with anything.

a dodge under cover of pedantry.  Kindly address the point, old sport.

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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #320 on: June 29, 2015, 03:09:42 PM »
the bible is a book... it can neither be cool nor uncool with anything.

a dodge under cover of pedantry.  Kindly address the point, old sport.

This. The bible supposedly says something about what a supernatural being wants people to do. Like, worship that supernatural being only and do what it says.  So, the idea that the ten commandments includes the freedom to practice other religions, to worship other gods and follow other rules is, to say the least, a liberal interpretation.

Why try to twist the bible into some kind of document promoting religious liberty or freedom of worship? It is just weird.  Religious freedom, according to many Christians, means the freedom to choose a variety of Christianity. That the bible was cool with Islam and Buddhism would have been shocking news to the Puritans and most other Christian groups in the early US. They were not much into allowing the native people or the African slaves to have freedom to worship as they pleased.

And once again, if the bible was a major source of inspiration for the laws of this country and already said what the founders of the US wanted to say, they would not have needed to waste all that time hashing out an actual constitution with secular laws, rights, etc.  Governments that are really inspired by religion don't draw up secular documents with non-religious laws and rights outlined. They already have the word of god. They only need to summarize what god wants.

Read Article 2 of the Constitution of Iran. It states that there is only one god, that understanding god's divine nature is fundamental in setting laws; that human beings return to god after death, that god is just. And so on. You cannot mistake this for a secular document. You cannot be a part of that government if you do not uphold those religious principles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Islamic_Republic_of_Iran

This is nothing like the US constitution that keeps religion away from government. No religious test. The US founders were very intentional. They mentioned religion-- generically, not even referring directly to Christianity or the bible--  in order to specifically exclude it from controlling politics or being part of the law.

They could have said, instead, "Test everyone to see how closely they follow the bible before allowing them to take public office." They could have said, instead, "See the bible for the laws of this new country." Then they could have adjourned early and gone to the tavern for some ale.  ;D
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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

Offline frank callaway

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #321 on: June 29, 2015, 03:37:30 PM »
No one is arguing these points with you nogods... my original thought exercise was centered around the part in the constitution that says all men are created equal... and that this idea invokes a creator god.  so if there is not a creator god who values men equally, then obviously - as observed throughout nature, men are not equal... they're not born equal, nor do they have any innate equal value.   
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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #322 on: June 29, 2015, 04:00:46 PM »
No one is arguing these points with you nogods... my original thought exercise was centered around the part in the constitution that says all men are created equal... and that this idea invokes a creator god.  so if there is not a creator god who values men equally, then obviously - as observed throughout nature, men are not equal... they're not born equal, nor do they have any innate equal value.   

You realize that is because some men don't want it that way. They don't want equality. They want to be the alpha males. And enough of them have enough power to meet all of their requirements.

We are created with he potential to be equals. We don't bother. We suffer.

If it does invoke a creator, it invokes a pretty incompetent one, because for the concept to be both understandable and impossible with him in the neighborhood means that he is power tripping too, and keeping that self-same equality from happening.

If he's not around, which is far more likely, then the inequality we suffer differs from the ideal, but at least we cut out the non-existent middleman.

And sorry you don't like my posts. I'll go get a prefrontal lobotomy and try again.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #323 on: June 29, 2015, 04:13:02 PM »
I am not sure the constitution says anything about a creator, or about anyone being created at all. That was in the declaration of Independence-- a piece of revolutionary rhetoric against England, not a law of the US.

Last time I checked, the only mention of religion in the constitution is to say keep it out of politics. And at the time of the founding, the founders did not even believe that all humans were created equal. Women, blacks, native, people without land-- all less than equal. Each group has had to fight for their rights, oftentimes against Christian men, the very sort of people you claim were inspired by a creator god who valued everyone equally.

So, no, frank, still no basis for what you are saying.
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 frank callaway

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #324 on: June 29, 2015, 04:56:22 PM »
I am not sure the constitution says anything about a creator, or about anyone being created at all. That was in the declaration of Independence-- a piece of revolutionary rhetoric against England, not a law of the US.

Last time I checked, the only mention of religion in the constitution is to say keep it out of politics. And at the time of the founding, the founders did not even believe that all humans were created equal. Women, blacks, native, people without land-- all less than equal. Each group has had to fight for their rights, oftentimes against Christian men, the very sort of people you claim were inspired by a creator god who valued everyone equally.

So, no, frank, still no basis for what you are saying.

yes, sorry... i meant the declaration.  but i disagree that the concept is not an important one.  you mention women, black, native people etc... and don't forget the founders themselves were escaping tyranny and oppression and had to fight for their (our) rights as well.  but it's the "idea" that we're all equal that matters.  so then, what is the basis for this idea?  where does is come from and who grants it...?  is equality just an idea to keep the masses at bay, and the ruling class in power...?  or is it an idea that is true...?
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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #325 on: June 29, 2015, 05:04:04 PM »
is equality just an idea to keep the masses at bay, and the ruling class in power...? or is it an idea that is true...?

Why not both?
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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #326 on: June 29, 2015, 05:11:08 PM »
No human can actually grant equality. They would have to be superior to do so, and that sort of deflates the purpose.

Now you can say that a god granted us equality, but if he did, it was only words. He didn't do anything to actually make it happen, so it would be hard to say that he granted anything. I can say that because I'm not seeing any equality worth mentioning. Gods should be a bit better at what they do than that.

People can take it away. They shouldn't, but they do. And those who clearly don't feel equal (minorities, slaves, women, etc.) can tell the difference. As can those taking more than their fair share.

Decent folks would like to see us all as equals. But the same sorts of people who took common out of sense, and the air out of fair, are also finding all sorts of excuses to scoop up as much equality for themselves as they can find. That they have to steal it from others isn't treated as ironic by those bullies at all.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #327 on: June 29, 2015, 05:20:36 PM »
The idea of declaring that all people are equal is to establish that human beliefs on superiority and inferiority, such as, say, nobility and monarchy, have no basis in reality.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #328 on: June 29, 2015, 06:09:43 PM »
You can find the concept of human social equality in many ancient texts, but you really have to look hard, turn your head sideways and squint. In other words, if human equality is in the bible it sure ain't jumping off the pages. If that was one of the main principles of the bible, it was so well hidden that it took around 1500 years for people to notice it. Remember, people took the words in the bible very seriously and literally died fighting over what those main principles were.

And people read and translated and copied the bible a lot during all those years. It was not a secret document. How did so many people in Europe and the Middle East miss the basic point of the bible, that all human beings were equal because god created them? Bible-reading Christians had slaves, oppressed women, tried to exterminate entire races of native people. Most Christians before the 18th century would never mention social equality as one of the main teachings of the bible.

So it was not an obvious thing or people would not have missed it. Maybe it is not there, and only in recent times have people wished it was....... :-\
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.

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #329 on: June 29, 2015, 09:58:19 PM »
I am not sure the constitution says anything about a creator, or about anyone being created at all. That was in the declaration of Independence-- a piece of revolutionary rhetoric against England, not a law of the US.

Last time I checked, the only mention of religion in the constitution is to say keep it out of politics. And at the time of the founding, the founders did not even believe that all humans were created equal. Women, blacks, native, people without land-- all less than equal. Each group has had to fight for their rights, oftentimes against Christian men, the very sort of people you claim were inspired by a creator god who valued everyone equally.

So, no, frank, still no basis for what you are saying.

yes, sorry... i meant the declaration.  but i disagree that the concept is not an important one.  you mention women, black, native people etc... and don't forget the founders themselves were escaping tyranny and oppression and had to fight for their (our) rights as well.  but it's the "idea" that we're all equal that matters.  so then, what is the basis for this idea?  where does is come from and who grants it...?  is equality just an idea to keep the masses at bay, and the ruling class in power...?  or is it an idea that is true...?

It's not necessary for something (like equality) to be dispensed from a god in order for it to be a good idea.  I don't know about you personally, but I've been in discussion with Christians who sincerely can't grasp that we don't need to be TOLD what to do and what to value.  It is anathema to them, the idea that humans can come up with really useful, pro-social ideas. 

It's like some Christians can't cope with reality unless there is a cosmic parent telling them what to do.  I don't think these Christians lack intelligence per se, but are victims of serious, destructive indoctrination.  They were punished, shamed, or shunned for DARING to decide for themselves without obeying a god.  Human beings punished by indoctrination into knee-jerk fear of making any decisions on their own . . . and god help them (ha) if they decide something that is not already decided in the Bible (or by their pastor/bishop/priest/Pope/reverend/Daddy).  You can do that to a kid fairly easily, rob them of willingness to decide for themselves.  It makes them easier to rear, like it makes populations easier to control.

I've spent the last 8 years working with domestic violence victims, and the ones who are also theists, especially evangelical theists, are the ones with the most difficult rows to hoe :( .  Just admitting to themselves they are being physically battered, or verbally abused, feels like an act of disobedience to them.  Just saying the words "My husband abuses me" feels to them like they are denying their faith.  they literally panic.  Now the divorce rate for persons identifying as Christian is as high as for non-believers, so I'm speaking about the 'conservatives', the literalists and fundamentalists.  Their struggle is enormous, worse than domestic abuse already makes it.

And then they do what they are told, go to their pastor/bishop/Reverend/priest/elder to get advice or help, and are 'punished' in real time with scripture and doctrines and hints about Hell. 

Yeah, I went on and on . . . and it relates to your question you posed as a theist, genuinely baffled at WHO, then, could possibly GRANT that possibility of equality.

The same WHO that has always granted it before.  You, me, and the next guy -- in mutual agreement, because it's a good idea, it preserves pro-social mechanisms, it prevents human power-mongers from exploiting other persons (ideally).  We came up with the ideology of equality all on our own.  From the goodness inherent in us, in response to the not-so-good inherent in us.  We can be our own authorities and not be struck by lightning.  We can even trust ourselves to discern what is 'good' for us, and agree by consensus.  What else have we been doing all these millenia?  Believing that some god told us to do it this way? What's the difference between that and no god telling us anything?

Offline frank callaway

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #330 on: June 30, 2015, 09:40:04 AM »
It's like some Christians can't cope with reality unless there is a cosmic parent telling them what to do.

The xtian doctrine, as far as I can tell (again, I'm not a theologian) operates with the idea that men have "free will"... That is to say God, or the "cosmic parent" has a design, and we are free to choose.  We can try to live, or 'tune into' and operate within that design, which supposedly then would result in a happier more fulfilling life... or we can choose to reject Gods design, follow our own ideas and deal with the consequences.  I think this is where a lot of the "live by faith" in xtianity comes into play...

it relates to your question you posed as a theist, genuinely baffled at WHO, then, could possibly GRANT that possibility of equality.

Nope, not baffled at all.  My point is, the Justice in the idea that all men are of equal value is either True or it is not.  If it's objectively True... then that means there must be a source.  If it is not True, then I think we'd see a world much like the one we see now... full of inequality, people talking out of both sides of their mouths and pandering (to those holding the short end of the stick) an idea of Justice and Equality that is nothing more than a big Lie; as no such objective Truth exists in reality.   

The same WHO that has always granted it before.  You, me, and the next guy -- in mutual agreement, because it's a good idea, it preserves pro-social mechanisms, it prevents human power-mongers from exploiting other persons (ideally). 

Human beings are not capable of establishing objective truth... oh sure, we can work towards some idealistic notion of "social justice" because we can empathize with those who are getting effed over... but empathy is just an emotional reaction to witnessing a scenario in which we say "God, I'm glad that isn't me..."  I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated that "it prevents human power-mongers from exploiting other persons (ideally)..."  Ideally being the Keyword.  Because reality does not reflect this.

We came up with the ideology of equality all on our own.  From the goodness inherent in us, in response to the not-so-good inherent in us.  We can be our own authorities and not be struck by lightning.  We can even trust ourselves to discern what is 'good' for us, and agree by consensus.  What else have we been doing all these millenia?  Believing that some god told us to do it this way? What's the difference between that and no god telling us anything?

You seem to be saying two different things here... If our idea of equality came from some "innate goodness" as you put it...  What is the source for this objective "goodness"...?  Or for that matter, what is the source for the "inherent" not-so-goodness...  You seem to be saying we, human beings, came up with the idea of Truth and Justice from something... something inherent or innate, something we're born with... well, what is it...? 

You also say we are free agents, that we can act as our own authority... that we have free will.  Well I shouldn't have to tell you this, being on a atheist website in all... but the vast majority of good atheists will say that "free will" or our ability to act as our own authority, is an illusion.  But let's say we do have free will, (which also begs the question... if we're free to choose, what is the source of this "freedom"...?) the idea of free will puts us back into the camp of xtian philosophy.  We're free to reject God and trust our own discernment, or we can trust God to guide our discernment.  I know, we're getting into the deep weeds now... But to address your question of "what is the difference between living our best life rejecting the idea of an objective truth, vs embracing the idea of objective truth..." - I don't know... I believe that I'm lucky to even be in a position to ponder such ethereal questions...  Most people who have ever lived have had it much, much worse than me.

Are we getting anywhere here...?  Are we making "progress"...?

If you subscribe to a purely naturalistic worldview, one where we exist as the result of blind stoooopid dumb luck... then you know that truth and justice are just constructs of the human mind, that there is no meat attached to the bone.  So when people get all emotional over injustice (something you see everywhere these days)... I always think they're a little "out of touch" with reality...   
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 09:51:38 AM by frank callaway »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #331 on: June 30, 2015, 10:09:23 AM »
Where does the impulse to be nice to to others come from?

Well, social animals like dogs, chimps, etc, have rules of behavior, morality of a sort, a sense of justice and fairness, even altruism and self-sacrifice. So, either it is an evolutionary survival trait for most social animals, or the cosmic forces from the great beyond gave morality to doggies and monkeys as well as humans.
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.

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #332 on: June 30, 2015, 10:23:29 AM »
frank

I could use some clarification.

Free will seems to be used for a few different things, interchangably.

I get the god/reject god free will thing. While even if I believed, I wouldn’t consider that free will (deciding whether to have broccoli or califlower for dinner is free will. Both choices are just fine. There is no downside), lets go ahead and call the god thing free will.

But lets say it is December, and I want to take my daughter to see “The Nutcracker Suite” at the civic center. We get all dressed up pretty and drive away from the house. Halfway there a drunk flies through stopsign, t-bones my car, and my daughter is killed while I lose my arm. Christians tell me that they call that free will too.

So if my daughter and I used our free will to decide to go to the show, and I used free will when I decided to drive instead of taking public transportation, and I used free will to choose the route, and the drunk used free will to get drunk and free will to drive and free will to run the stopsign, and my duaghter used her free will to die and I used mine to lose an arm, isn’t that a bit too much free will for anyone to absorb in the first place.

But more to my point, what’s the connection between those two free wills. The god thing and driving to a play? They seem to be two completely different things, yet christians give them the same name. Is that because you ran out of cutesy terms or do you actually equate the two?
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #333 on: June 30, 2015, 10:40:13 AM »
^^^Also, where is god in that free will scenario?

On a different day, the drunk using the same free will, narrowly missed hitting a different car, and everyone praised god for his mercy. On the day he hit the car and killed the girl, where was god and his mercy then?[1]

Or was it just good luck one day and bad luck the next, no god involved?
 1. I know, the girl died horribly, but is now in a better place. Unless of course she was not a believer when she died. Then she is in a much worse place. Either way, she never really wanted to see the ballet.
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.

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #334 on: June 30, 2015, 11:55:08 AM »
Nope, not baffled at all.  My point is, the Justice in the idea that all men are of equal value is either True or it is not.  If it's objectively True... then that means there must be a source.

Common theist non-sequitur.  Please elaborate on "there must be a source," because I believe "it does not follow."

and if god is the source, how did that come to pass?  where did he get it?
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Offline frank callaway

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #335 on: June 30, 2015, 12:29:00 PM »
social animals like dogs, chimps, etc, have rules of behavior, morality of a sort, a sense of justice and fairness, even altruism and self-sacrifice. So, either it is an evolutionary survival trait for most social animals, or the cosmic forces from the great beyond gave morality to doggies and monkeys as well as humans.

fair enough...

I could use some clarification.

Free will seems to be used for a few different things, interchangeably.

I kinda get what you're saying... the concept of "free will" when it comes to the minutia of everyday life gets murky to me... I don't know.

Common theist non-sequitur.  Please elaborate on "there must be a source," because I believe "it does not follow."

and if god is the source, how did that come to pass?  where did he get it?

I hear this all the time... "if there's a God, then where did God come from...?" - I don't know.  All I'm really saying, is that the equal value of man is either True or it is not.  In our current politically correct environment a high value is placed on "equality" or "social justice"... but nature and reality tell us that men are not equal - so perhaps our obsession with "equality" is not based in reality.  Perhaps the "betterment" of some at the expense of others would be a more "productive" way of operating as a species...?

The founders felt it necessary to conclude that men were "created" equal, and endowed by our "creator" with certain inalienable rights...  Maybe they got it wrong... Maybe the truth is we're not "created" at all, and we're not equal, and some of us have rights but others don't.
When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #336 on: June 30, 2015, 12:59:39 PM »
I hear this all the time... "if there's a God, then where did God come from...?" - I don't know.  All I'm really saying, is that the equal value of man is either True or it is not.  In our current politically correct environment a high value is placed on "equality" or "social justice"... but nature and reality tell us that men are not equal - so perhaps our obsession with "equality" is not based in reality.  Perhaps the "betterment" of some at the expense of others would be a more "productive" way of operating as a species...?

I feel you are conflating 2 ideas here: equal value, and equal abilities (bolded) It is clear that not every person is equal, otherwise we wouldn't have the Olympics--but that does not mean there can't/shouldn't be equality under the law, say.
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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #337 on: July 01, 2015, 03:17:39 PM »
It's like some Christians can't cope with reality unless there is a cosmic parent telling them what to do.

The xtian doctrine, as far as I can tell (again, I'm not a theologian) operates with the idea that men have "free will"... That is to say God, or the "cosmic parent" has a design, and we are free to choose.  We can try to live, or 'tune into' and operate within that design, which supposedly then would result in a happier more fulfilling life... or we can choose to reject Gods design, follow our own ideas and deal with the consequences.  I think this is where a lot of the "live by faith" in xtianity comes into play...

Thank you for the thoughtful response, seriously.  I'm not impressed with your (the generic Christian's) interpretation of God's Design, but it's not personal to Christians, I'm not impressed with anyone's.  Instead, I see deep wisdom in letting go of the idea that there IS a hominid human-centered deep true overall special meaning for us that is IMPLICIT in the fabric of how darn big this Universe is getting?  Gads there may be more than one!  I do not see, at all, that there is a Design out there that has anything to say to me or about me.  That doesn't make me feel afraid or unprotected, though it did when I was younger.  I honestly don't think many Christians question why they just assume there is a Design.

No no, I'll stop you before you tell me to look all around me, what, am I blind to the magnificence of (your) God's creation, his power and his glory.  I see all of that, only I see magnificence of such magnitude we'll be exploring this forever.  God isn't in there and it doesn't feel like he's missing, and I feel STUPID following along with a 2000 year old tradition worshiping a man who lived as long ago. as if he could possibly have a THING to do saving me, since when did I need that? 


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it relates to your question you posed as a theist, genuinely baffled at WHO, then, could possibly GRANT that possibility of equality.

Nope, not baffled at all.  My point is, the Justice in the idea that all men are of equal value is either True or it is not.  If it's objectively True... then that means there must be a source.  If it is not True, then I think we'd see a world much like the one we see now... full of inequality, people talking out of both sides of their mouths and pandering (to those holding the short end of the stick) an idea of Justice and Equality that is nothing more than a big Lie; as no such objective Truth exists in reality.   

I agree, it doesn't.  And we can't make it exist because we feel the need for it to exist . . . what we all agree upon is 'reality', as close as our brains and high tech will take us.  Christians are idealists, not a bad thing at all.  If it turned out that there was proof that the Bible you trust today is a forgery (or might as well be one), would you not still be left with what you feel is greater wisdom and a better life?  In spite of it being written by men?

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The same WHO that has always granted it before.  You, me, and the next guy -- in mutual agreement, because it's a good idea, it preserves pro-social mechanisms, it prevents human power-mongers from exploiting other persons (ideally). 

Human beings are not capable of establishing objective truth...

Only God is, right?  What if all the truth you've believed was 'objective' (from God) turns out to be just from the minds of very wise and learned men (for their time.  I'm not onboard with the Bible being written by illiterate Desert denizens).

Just because it MIGHT be only from the minds and hands of our wisest (for the time) learned men doesn't make what you've believed was from-God-good not good anymore.

The point is, we live in the same world.  You call it 'fallen', but's that's just what Christians believe.  Atheist and Christian lives proceed in exactly the same way with or without your God.  It shouldn't be that way, if your God is who you say he is.

 

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #338 on: July 01, 2015, 03:50:31 PM »
The xtian doctrine, as far as I can tell (again, I'm not a theologian) operates with the idea that men have "free will"... That is to say God, or the "cosmic parent" has a design, and we are free to choose.  We can try to live, or 'tune into' and operate within that design, which supposedly then would result in a happier more fulfilling life... or we can choose to reject Gods design, follow our own ideas and deal with the consequences.  I think this is where a lot of the "live by faith" in xtianity comes into play...
Let me give an example to demonstrate just why that particular way of defining free will doesn't work too well.

Consider the following scenario - a child with a parent who is far more powerful than they are.  The parent has a design they want the child to follow.  The child has the following choice; they can either operate within the parent's design and be rewarded for complying with what the parent wants, or they can reject it and go their own way and face the consequences for rejecting the parent's design.

How is that free will?  Even if we assume that the parent is basically good and won't try to force the child into compliance, non-compliance is still going to be costly for the child.  The least they can expect is to no longer have the parent's superior power behind them; they may even have the parent's superior power working against them in subtle, or not-so-subtle, ways.  Since it is costly to go against the parent's design, it can hardly be called free will, now can it?  And even if they don't, it means they're giving up what they themselves want, which is itself a cost, meaning it isn't 'free' either way.

Even if the Christian god exists, the Christian belief in free will s simply wrong.  If you go along with what the Christian god wants, you're paying the cost of not being able to pursue your own goals; if you go against what the Christian god wants, you're at least paying the cost of not having him support you and you might end up having to pay a higher cost, such as facing active interference or outright punishment for taking your life into your own hands.  It's anything but free, whatever Christians might have rationalized.
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #339 on: July 01, 2015, 05:09:22 PM »
^^^Very well put.

There are other problems with what frank said:
1) It does not appear to be true. People who try to follow what they think are "god's rules" or adapt themselves to a "god's design" do not have objectively better lives. In fact, they often have worse lives than average. Global stats show that high amounts of direct religious influence or control is inversely correlated with factors most people would say contribute to a nice life-- access to food, clothing, shelter, well paid work, medical care and education. Low violent crime and social policies that promote harmony and peaceful communities are the hallmarks of the less religious countries.

2) There is no agreement historically or geographically on who or what this god is, what it wants, and how to go about knowing anything about it. Which religion's holy book is the right one? The most popular? Christianity. The most difficult? Buddhist texts. The oldest? Gita. The newest? Scientology. The fastest growing? Islam. The most obscure? Book of the Dead. The rarest? Zoroastrian texts. And there are hundreds of religions with no official written texts at all like Rasta, Vodun and Santeria. What if one of them is true? How to learn about them?

3) People who don't try to follow "god's rules" and who live "outside of god's design" don't suffer any terrible cosmic fate, as far as anyone can tell. It is not like touching a hot stove and immediately getting burned. Kids have to be taught what is right and wrong in their society. They learn over time to feel bad when they hurt someone else. And it is not even that everyone feels bad when they hurt someone else, although most people do. Sociopaths can lie, cheat, steal and hurt without feeling bad at all.

Would a real god leave things this confusing?
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 wheels5894

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #340 on: July 02, 2015, 04:36:45 AM »
Of course, 'what god wants' is s hard thing to come up with. Sure the holy book has something in it for each occasion, maybe, but often, in the modern world, holy books are so out of date that people have to go to great lengths to adapt them to how we live today.

For example, Shabbat rules in the OT about not working have to be adapted. Apparently, operating a light switch is work, touching the heating controls of the house is the equivalent to lighting a fire and, of course, for the Orthodox, driving is work too - even to go to the synagogue.

Of course when it comes to choosing a course of action by working out what god wants often results in the choice being exactly the same as the person seeking god's view of it wanted anyway[1] Religion only takes one so far and after that it is down to deciding for oneself I reckon.

So deciding what god wants sounds like a really tough job - or an easy one if one merely decides on the basis on what one wants. Look at the Catholics with celibate priests[2] despite the insistence of god's word to 'go forth and multiply!" Or look at god's will over slavery which seemed to be exactly what the slave traders wanted until someone got it banned at which time the advocates of slavery changed sides and pronounced that god didn't approve of slavery any more. Deciding god's will is, in effect, making one's own choices and attributing them to the 'god in your head'
 1. Well, probably all the time!
 2. well some of them are!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Hamsaka

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Re: I don't really get the question...
« Reply #341 on: July 02, 2015, 10:20:58 PM »
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Quote from: Hamsaka on June 29, 2015, 09:58:19 PM
We came up with the ideology of equality all on our own.  From the goodness inherent in us, in response to the not-so-good inherent in us.  We can be our own authorities and not be struck by lightning.  We can even trust ourselves to discern what is 'good' for us, and agree by consensus.  What else have we been doing all these millenia?  Believing that some god told us to do it this way? What's the difference between that and no god telling us anything?

You seem to be saying two different things here... If our idea of equality came from some "innate goodness" as you put it...  What is the source for this objective "goodness"...? Or for that matter, what is the source for the "inherent" not-so-goodness...  You seem to be saying we, human beings, came up with the idea of Truth and Justice from something... something inherent or innate, something we're born with... well, what is it...?   

I don't MEAN two different things, that isn't quite how it goes through my head.  It looks like you are saying 'innate goodness' must naturally come from an objective source, something outside the person.  I'm saying 'innate goodness' is innate, already in there as a potential, and is there in varying degrees in all human beings.

Up until recently, all we could do is say 'in theory' we have these 'innate' potentials, but biologists who study the behavior of animals agree that the ones who live in societies (like herds, flocks, groups) display seemingly 'altruistic' behavior.  I witness this quite often with my chickens.  The other day, one of the roosters went nuts screeching the 'danger call', causing all his hens to scurry beneath bushes and hide.  Up in the cottonwood trees was a red tailed hawk.  The rooster didn't just hide his selfish butt, but perched on the fence in full view of said hawk and 'told' everyone in the yard to hide.  Even the ducks and geese got the message.  Heck, I even speak Chicken by now, I knew exactly what he was saying.  I've had dairy goats for years, with llamas to 'guard' them.  Llamas are excellent guard animals, they make a peculiar call when they see something dangerous to their herd. 

Another way this 'innate goodness' is displayed is in primates, who give birth to very undeveloped young that need nurturing and protection long past most other species' young.

These are instinctual behaviors.  Past a certain age, a human child will cry along with her friend who just got hurt.  She won't know why she's crying, it's not conscious.  "Herd" animals are programmed to care about each other, and the more complex the creature, the more complex the 'caring' behaviors.  We humans have ratcheted it up into a very complex system of rules and expectations that we call 'ethics' and even 'morality'.

If there was an objective 'source' for any of this, it would have to be natural selection.  Barring some kind of creator, that is, but so far a creator doesn't seem to have been involved.

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You also say we are free agents, that we can act as our own authority... that we have free will. 

When I say we are deciding what to do (whether we think God is telling us to do it or not) I'm not saying this is an act of 'free will'.  I don't want to touch 'free will' with a ten-foot pole, thanks to Sam Harris and that Daniel Dennett guy.  I'm not confident in how I understand it well enough to even go there.

The issue of free will is a non sequitur to whether or not a god is the objective source of 'goodness' rather than humans imagining him to be, when humans are and have been the source all along.

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Well I shouldn't have to tell you this, being on a atheist website in all... but the vast majority of good atheists will say that "free will" or our ability to act as our own authority, is an illusion.  But let's say we do have free will, (which also begs the question... if we're free to choose, what is the source of this "freedom"...?) the idea of free will puts us back into the camp of xtian philosophy.

The idea of free will hardly belongs to Christians.  Discussing free will does not mean we must enter Christian territory or consider Christian doctrines.

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We're free to reject God and trust our own discernment, or we can trust God to guide our discernment.
 

Either way, we are doing it, we are making it up and believing it to be this or that, and what we believe about it doesn't change the nature of what is actually happening.


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I know, we're getting into the deep weeds now... But to address your question of "what is the difference between living our best life rejecting the idea of an objective truth, vs embracing the idea of objective truth..." - I don't know... I believe that I'm lucky to even be in a position to ponder such ethereal questions...  Most people who have ever lived have had it much, much worse than me.

No kidding.  To even have the time and energy to contemplate these things must mean we are well fed, feeling relatively safe and unbothered and unstressed.

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Are we getting anywhere here...?  Are we making "progress"...?

We must be, if we can sit here on our 'puters rattling the keyboard and arguing about religion instead of hiding from bands of renegade soldiers, or dying of Ebola, or sifting through the latest garbage outside of Mumbai.  The rates of criminal death in the developed world has precipitously fallen.  We actually BELIEVE rape is bad, and killing other people because of their religious beliefs is bad.  We've come a long way.

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If you subscribe to a purely naturalistic worldview, one where we exist as the result of blind stoooopid dumb luck... then you know that truth and justice are just constructs of the human mind, that there is no meat attached to the bone.  So when people get all emotional over injustice (something you see everywhere these days)... I always think they're a little "out of touch" with reality...   

I am going to start a Swear Jar type thing and charge people a dollar or a Euro every time they knowingly and deliberately mischaracterize natural selection as blind stupid luck, or random chance, or 'out of nothing', as if they don't know good and well this is not how natural selection works.

If concepts like truth and justice ONLY came from the human mind, which I'm convinced they did, there are other ways of looking at that information than concluding "OMG!  It's worthless if it only came from humans and not a god!"

Do you see how you concluded that if Truth and Justice are human constructs rather than a gods, they aren't substantive?  The assumption you make is that it has to come from a god for it to be 'real' or 'true' or 'worthy'.

Bullcrap.  I'd ask you to show me that gods make better concepts than humans if you could show me there's a god to do it, but you can't (and not because you are stoopid or a bad Christian).  Instead, use your reasoning to notice there are other possible conclusions to make about this.

Concepts of Truth and Justice and Mercy and Compassion and all these things are admirable, worthwhile and useful.  The evidence of that is apparent, easy to find.  And just think . . . little ole you and me, humans both, are members of a species of being capable of coming up with such wonderful and helpful concepts.  This says something about US, as humans, and it says good stuff about us.  Even if all along we're believing God is the source of these good things, if it turns out there's no such God, then who is the source?  We are.  In the absence of some god imposing these things on humans, that we've imposed them on ourselves is extraordinary, maybe even beautiful.

I'm not ignoring or minimizing the awful things humans are capable of.  All that is true, too.  We are capable of both.