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Offline Irish

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2013, 05:46:00 PM »

ev·i·dence [ évvid'nss ]   

1.sign or proof: something that gives a sign or proof of the existence or truth of something, or that helps somebody to come to a particular conclusion
2.proof of guilt: the objects or information used to prove or suggest the guilt of somebody accused of a crime
3.statements of witnesses: the oral or written statements of witnesses and other people involved in a trial or official inquiry

In light of #3 I don't understand how it can be said there is absolutely no evidence for God.

After taking the statements of witnesses those statements are then validated.  It's not enough to just take those statements as truth.  You then have to go to the next step.

Validation
val·i·date  [val-i-deyt]
1. to make valid; substantiate; confirm.
2. to give legal force to; legalize.
3. to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to, as elected officials, election procedures, documents, etc.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2013, 06:27:51 PM »
Guys my intention is not to debate over definitions of a word, nor is it to debate at all.  Some seem to get the sense of what I'm trying to get to and others do not.  I apologize but I don't have time to reply to everyone.

Quote from: asterga
No, I don't think the rulers made it up; I think at that point it was already integrated into their culture and that most of the rulers believed the myths as much as the people in the street.

What I do think is that the advent of cultural centralization via agriculture, and of written language, provided the bedrock for a more persistent and centralized form of spirituality.  As the population increased, communities spread out and collided with neighbouring cultures, and major turf wars started.  Religious identity may have become confounded with national identity, with belief being used as a loyalty test, and from that point onward to only very recently the fortunes of religious and secular leaders moved in parallel (and often with both types of power vested in a single gods-sanctioned ruler).

We're now in an era where innovations like the printing press, telegraph, telephone, radio, TV and now the Internet have reversed much of that phenomenon, decentralizing the power, and religious belief has declined in many jurisdictions.  (That's a subject that may need its own thread -- Is communication the enemy of religious institutions?)

Yes I think I see what you are saying and I agree.  But I am not so sure that it is 100% applicable 100% of the time.  What are your thoughts?
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Schizoid

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2013, 11:12:09 PM »
Well all of the thousands of gods have one thing in common and that is that not a one of them will manifest themselves to provide irrefutable evidence to all of the world that they do exist.  That's all it would take--just show yourself and provide evidence that you are really god.  That shouldn't be so hard, especially for a god.

Yes, evidence that there is a god would be nice.  You know, the kind of exhaustive evidence that the religious demand of science to back up any scientific claims and no matter how much hard evidence is given they just simply refuse to believe it.  So, that kind of evidence--the kind that would rise to the standard to convict somebody in a just court of law.  Hard, physical evidence that cannot be refuted or otherwise explained and not simply hearsay.

Talk is cheap.  It's easy to claim that god did this or god did that.  Prove it.  How hard could that be if it's really god?  Or is it only like in Peter Pan, "I do believe in fairies.  I do!  I do!"?  Obviously if you do believe in fairies they must exist &)

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2013, 12:22:14 AM »
I'm not here to prove anything and maybe God is not either.  You assume that if a God exists that he would want everyone to know of his existance and would be interested in proving it to them.  Maybe he does not.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Astreja

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2013, 12:54:45 AM »
Yes I think I see what you are saying and I agree.  But I am not so sure that it is 100% applicable 100% of the time.  What are your thoughts?

No, not a 100%/100% deal, but I think it's common enough to make for a useful hypothesis.

My thoughts:  Cultural traditions tend to be built up over many generations and don't usually come out of nowhere without warning.  They may have started as a campfire story told by the village shaman, but with the passing of generations the story becomes a facet of tribal identity.  Times of strife polarize communities against whoever they see as the enemy, and in those times it's a group's unique memes that become the rallying cry because they help distinguish "Us" from "Them."  The winner's traditions may spread beyond the original tribe, while the loser's traditions may be suppressed or die out on their own.

Example:  Tribe A worships the lake.  Tribe B worships a massive painted rock.  The tribes go to war, and the rock-worshippers prevail.  The conquered survivors from Tribe A may feel betrayed by the lake that forsook them in time of need, or they may be coerced into becoming rock-worshippers as well, and suddenly there are twice as many people with decorated rocks at their front doors.  It doesn't actually matter that worshipping a rock makes no logical sense; it's a sacred tribal symbol and may persist for generations.

Later on, the rock meme may spawn even more legends, and perhaps even a pantheon of rock-gods and semi-divine hero figures (particularly if the rock people are an aggressive and expansionist tribe who win more than they lose).  With the advent of the written word, however, the legends will start getting locked down by whoever controls the writing -- Generally the priest-class and the upper classes initially, as the rest of the population is usually labouring in their fields and doesn't have time to learn such things.   The secret of writing may even be forbidden to the lower classes, to keep them in their place.  The fluid, malleable oral tradition fades away (or goes underground into children's stories, superstitions or folk art) and is replaced by a more rigid scriptural tradition with a hierarchy.  Tribal spirituality has given way to formalized religion, very often sanctioned and supported by the rulers of the land.
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Offline median

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2013, 01:59:46 AM »
I'm not here to prove anything and maybe God is not either.  You assume that if a God exists that he would want everyone to know of his existance and would be interested in proving it to them.  Maybe he does not.

And just the same, maybe this thing you call "God" is imaginary. Could that be possible? I mean, mankind has come up with all sorts of BS imaginary nonsense from fake gods, to fairies, goblins, unicorns, leprechauns, and a ton more quackery. And just because you can ask the question, "But where did we all come from then!" doesn't mean an assumed answer is the correct one. For an answer you need demonstrable evidence, not fear based assumptions.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 02:01:20 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2013, 08:57:39 AM »
Cultural traditions tend to be built up over many generations and don't usually come out of nowhere without warning.

... and you can see the evolution of the religions. They start off as a crop and war, human sacrifice religion. This seemed common in South America, where they sacrificed thousands of males to sanctify stone works. Initially, it's case of getting favours from a deity, by sacrificing stuff. If the deity is not appeased, because the flood/drought still happened, then you obviously didn't sacrifice enough. In Israel, the sacrificing game was a ridiculous protection racket, to feed the Priests.

The tribal religions start by taking drugs, or someone with a mental disease will act strange, or see a dead relative. Then all of a sudden, you have spooky ghost stories, and speculation about demons, witches and afterlife.

However, to make a 'religion' take off, you need to have stability, or the magic ju-ju rules will keep changing. Judaism was stable-ish, due to the religion being written down, and a high level of literacy. Christianity is terribly rigid from this heritage. If you go against the rules, they excommutate you, and burn you.

A religion serves to agglomerate all the unexplainables under one roof. It doesn't matter if it's about planet orbits, menstruation, disease, volcanoes, weather, genesis, or ant behaviour. Everything that you can't be bothered to scientifically investigate, can be integrated into your religion. It's not hard to do, either. You just make some ridiculous crap up, and nobody questions it.


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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2013, 09:05:02 AM »
I'm not here to prove anything and maybe God is not either.  You assume that if a God exists that he would want everyone to know of his existance and would be interested in proving it to them.  Maybe he does not.
Any god who requires humans to follow specific tenets of religion, under the threat of eternal punishment if they do not, rightfully should make himself and his intentions clearly known. Otherwise, he's just being an unreasonable jerk. As always, I would allow for the possibility of a "hands off" creator, but such an entity would not give a flip about dogma, and considering you made this statement earlier:
Quote
In the case of religion you are wagering your life on it.
you are clearly not a deist. So yes, I would expect your presumably just and benevolent god to be very concerned with demonstrating his existence.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2013, 09:10:25 AM »
Can you dismiss other religions and peoples of the ramifications of #3 or are they just liars?

No they could not just be dismissed without investigation.  And even though there are different beliefs about God it is the common belief among them all that there is a God that I think is the most worthy of investigation.

Although of course you take a lot for granted when you say there is a belief in "a god".  Roughly 60% of the world believe in "a god" - of the rest, the split uis roughly equal between "no gods" and "many gods" - and if you track back through history, the split between "god" and "gods" narrows, reverses, and you get to a stage where all religions held a pantheon of different gods - including Christianity itself.

You need to also take into account the blurring that comes when you look closer in.  Is Christianity the belief in "just" a single god?  Never mind the trinity, what about belief in angels, for example.  How does that compare with Chinese and Japanese religions, and their demons and spirits? 

Quote from: Hal
If that is considered evidence for your god, then all type of things now have evidence for them being real, such as UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, Loch Ness monster ... shall I go on?

Yes, and all of these things have merited investigation and some are more easily dismissed than others. 

And lets add ghosts, to take but one belief.  Spiritualists believe in a god, but also that ghosts exists.  Chinese folk tales feature ghosts and spirits quite strongly - where (if anywhere) do we draw the line as to what does, and does not, merit investigation?  And more to the point, where do you start?  If I begin with "ghosts", how long do I search before deciding that the evidence simply isn't enough?  And does "no evidence found for ghosts" equal "no eveidence found for afterlife", for example?

But perhaps more to the point, on anything more than the grossest and basest facts, I find witness statements to be singularly uncompelling.  Unless we are talking about carefully controlled and documented observations, the more I learn about how the brain works and how easily it can be fooled, the less I accept eyewitness testimony, especially where "woo" comes into the equation.

Take a look at this picture.  Focus on the little dot, and watch as your brain turns the moving bar from gray to blue. 



Thnk about that for a while.  The visual input does not change, the colour does not change, but your brain changes what it reports to you that you are seeing.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg, frankly.

And if you saw the Derren Brown "Fear and Faith" show, you'll have also seen how in the space of about 20 minutes, he set up enough psychological cues that a lifelong atheist had a powerful spiritual experience that pushed them a long way towards a god belief.....because they stood up.  If you haven't seen the programme, watch it.  It makes it clear how intensely powerful feelings can be experienced without the slightest bit of supernatural intervention.

So to the broad point - that testimony is evidence for supernatural experience - I am very, very skeptical.  As a possible basis for investigation, sure.  But ONLY as a basis for further investgation.  Let us indeed establish what these experiences might suggest, and then let us critically examine and test them, the way we would cross-examine in court, the way we would test and test again in the lab, the way we would - when eyewitness testimony conflicts - look at the coroborating physical evidence.

And if, after we have critically examined the religious testimonies in the way we investigate a ghost, for example - without backing off for fear of offence, and without special treatment - then maybe we can determine how much weight this evidence should be given.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2013, 10:20:32 AM »
To follow up on what DumpsterFire said, you can't have it both ways in religion.  If you want to posit a detached, disinterested creator god, that's one thing, but you can't have that and also have any kind of religious dogma that was put in place by that god, because a detached, disinterested deity wouldn't put such dogma in place at all.  It's an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, like talking about an apathetic firebrand.

The only way religious dogma can be divinely inspired is if the deity is interested enough to provide it.  Otherwise, what you get is humanly inspired religious dogma.  It's the difference between someone posing for a portrait, versus someone drawing that person from memory after seeing them once.  Or drawing someone they imagined they saw.  With a disinterested god, the latter is more likely - far more likely - because said god probably wouldn't have been seen to begin with.

Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2013, 10:27:18 AM »
Quote from: Garja
No, not a 100%/100% deal, but I think it's common enough to make for a useful hypothesis.

Yes everything you've said sounds reasonable and possible.  But what are you thoughts on more recent events?  Please allow me to use the Bible and the time of Jesus as an example.  There are some pretty fantastic things recorded about his life a ministry.  Why are there no ancient critics?  In the Bible record many Jews did not accept him as the Son of God.  However, the did not reject that the miracles occured.  They said "it's the devil", but they didn't deny they happened.  Why iare there no outside (of Christianity) records to set things straight?  Or at least I am not aware of any.  This does not make sense to me.

Quote from: median
And just the same, maybe this thing you call "God" is imaginary. Could that be possible? I mean, mankind has come up with all sorts of BS imaginary nonsense from fake gods, to fairies, goblins, unicorns, leprechauns, and a ton more quackery. And just because you can ask the question, "But where did we all come from then!" doesn't mean an assumed answer is the correct one. For an answer you need demonstrable evidence, not fear based assumptions.

I see what you are saying.  But for me personally, my thoughts are along these lines, "It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head." (Sally Kempton)

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Thanks for your reply.  My question to you would be the same as the one to Garja.

Quote from: DumpsterFire
Any god who requires humans to follow specific tenets of religion, under the threat of eternal punishment if they do not, rightfully should make himself and his intentions clearly known. Otherwise, he's just being an unreasonable jerk.

I think you are right.  That is partly why I think such a God does not exist.

Quote from: DumpsterFire
you are clearly not a deist. So yes, I would expect your presumably just and benevolent god to be very concerned with demonstrating his existence.

No I am not a deist.  And I don't think a just and benevolent God would eternally punish anyone, not to mention it would be a pointless task.  But I realize that many do believe that.

Quote from: Anfauglir
You need to also take into account the blurring that comes when you look closer in.  Is Christianity the belief in "just" a single god?  Never mind the trinity, what about belief in angels, for example.  How does that compare with Chinese and Japanese religions, and their demons and spirits?

Yes I see what you are saying.  Christianity does believe in what could be described as many god-like beings, although they don't elevate them to the status of a god.  This has been part of my discussion with Garja.  How did these similarities originate and is there any foundation of truth?  It could be said that religious flood stories originated because of local flooding so there would be at least some grain of truth.  On what grain of truth did belief in all these spirits originiate?

Quote from: Anfauglir
And lets add ghosts, to take but one belief.  Spiritualists believe in a god, but also that ghosts exists.  Chinese folk tales feature ghosts and spirits quite strongly - where (if anywhere) do we draw the line as to what does, and does not, merit investigation?  And more to the point, where do you start?  If I begin with "ghosts", how long do I search before deciding that the evidence simply isn't enough?  And does "no evidence found for ghosts" equal "no eveidence found for afterlife", for example?

Yes I can appreciate your point.  But some things are easier to rule out than others.  We can go to a "haunted house" and investigate and reach some reasonable conclusions.  But let's take aliens for example.  Maybe we can verify if a certain individual saw an alien but this cannot be used to determine whether or not aliens exist.  And even though there is presumably no evidence that they exist, scientists are busy looking for alien life.

Quote
And if, after we have critically examined the religious testimonies in the way we investigate a ghost, for example - without backing off for fear of offence, and without special treatment - then maybe we can determine how much weight this evidence should be given.

Yes but it is very hard to examine the experiences of people if they cannot reproduce the results on demand.  But that alone I don't think can be used to determine what is true with 100% accuracy unless you are maybe the one that experienced it.  In many cases it is said, "they saw something" or "something happened" but we're really just left guessing on what they saw or what happened.  And when you are talking about people and events that are long in the past, the problem multiplies.
 
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2013, 10:39:55 AM »
If people can't reproduce their results on demand, or at least have them independently corroborated, doesn't it make more sense to take what they say with a very large grain of salt?

Offline Aaron123

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2013, 11:08:43 AM »
Please allow me to use the Bible and the time of Jesus as an example.  There are some pretty fantastic things recorded about his life a ministry.  Why are there no ancient critics?  In the Bible record many Jews did not accept him as the Son of God.  However, the did not reject that the miracles occured.  They said "it's the devil", but they didn't deny they happened.  Why iare there no outside (of Christianity) records to set things straight?  Or at least I am not aware of any.  This does not make sense to me.

You tell me.  The writers of the bible told whatever stories they wanted to tell.  We can't account for every plotholes in there.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but there is no verifed historical account of Jesus made at the time he supposely lived.  No contemporaneous historians or writers talked about him, and even the accounts in the bible were not written until decades after the supposed events.   It is extrememly unlikely we have anything written by someone that knew Jesus firsthand, but it's very likely we have the works of people with a fanciful imagination.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2013, 12:58:04 PM »
If people can't reproduce their results on demand, or at least have them independently corroborated, doesn't it make more sense to take what they say with a very large grain of salt?

Well yes absolutely.  Even a believer should not be quick to jump to conclusions I think, concerning supposed things of divine origin. 

Quote from: Aaron
You tell me.  The writers of the bible told whatever stories they wanted to tell.  We can't account for every plotholes in there.

It does not seem reasonable to me that people, who in most regards are moral people encouraging morality among their contemporaries, would just make up blatant lies.  I don't think someone would say, "because I want people to love their neighbor I will make up a lie that Jesus walked on water."

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Aaron123

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2013, 01:19:58 PM »
It does not seem reasonable to me that people, who in most regards are moral people encouraging morality among their contemporaries, would just make up blatant lies.  I don't think someone would say, "because I want people to love their neighbor I will make up a lie that Jesus walked on water."

How do you know the writers of the bibles were moral people?  We don't even know their names, let alone what they were thinking when they wrote the bible.

Beside, other religions have writings.  Why think that the bible writers were telling the truth; while writers of other religions were spreading falsehood?
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2013, 02:05:06 PM »
It does not seem reasonable to me that people, who in most regards are moral people encouraging morality among their contemporaries, would just make up blatant lies.  I don't think someone would say, "because I want people to love their neighbor I will make up a lie that Jesus walked on water."

How do you know the writers of the bibles were moral people?  We don't even know their names, let alone what they were thinking when they wrote the bible.

Because it does not make sense that immoral people would instruct people to be moral.  It just seems that a moral person would not lie and an immoral person would prefer people to be immoral.

Quote
Beside, other religions have writings.  Why think that the bible writers were telling the truth; while writers of other religions were spreading falsehood?

Are you referring to any specific religions?  I ask because some religions do not even profess a god.
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 43:10

Offline Aaron123

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2013, 02:25:15 PM »
Because it does not make sense that immoral people would instruct people to be moral. 

Or... they might've put in a few "moral lessons" to make the rest of their work sound legitimate.  That's something scam artists do.


Beside, what exactly is the bible's idea of morality?  "Love others as you would love yourself".  That's one thing said.  But so are "Happy is he who dashes babies heads against rocks" and "kill those who pick up sticks on the wrong day".  I'm sure you agree that the "love others" bit is moral, but I would think (hope) that you consider the other two immoral.  All of those are from the bible, so what do you do?



Quote
It just seems that a moral person would not lie

Sometime, telling a lie IS the moral thing to do.  Sometimes, concealing the truth is what you should do to protect someone.


Quote
and an immoral person would prefer people to be immoral.

Or perhaps an immoral person would prefer people to think  that they are moral, so they're easier to manipulate.


Quote
Are you referring to any specific religions?  I ask because some religions do not even profess a god.

Most religions have god(s).  Most have writings of some sort.  They can't all be true, so clearly, at least some of them are "lying".  So why do you think certain religions are "telling the truth", while others are "lying"?  (I put certain words in quotation marks, since they're being used loosely)
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Offline Samothec

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2013, 02:48:26 PM »
But what are you thoughts on more recent events?  Please allow me to use the Bible and the time of Jesus as an example.  There are some pretty fantastic things recorded about his life a ministry.  Why are there no ancient critics?  In the Bible record many Jews did not accept him as the Son of God.  However, the did not reject that the miracles occured.  They said "it's the devil", but they didn't deny they happened.  Why are there no outside (of Christianity) records to set things straight?  Or at least I am not aware of any.  This does not make sense to me.
A couple things to consider. We are talking about a time when few people were literate and fewer wrote down what was happening. Thus it would only be things which seem important at the time which get recorded. So why didn't anyone write about Jesus when he was alive or immediately after his death? Someone actually performing miracles would be something to record. But there are no such records so probably there were no such events. (Idea continued below tying into the third quote from you.)

Yes I see what you are saying.  Christianity does believe in what could be described as many god-like beings, although they don't elevate them to the status of a god.  This has been part of my discussion with Garja.  How did these similarities originate and is there any foundation of truth?  It could be said that religious flood stories originated because of local flooding so there would be at least some grain of truth.  On what grain of truth did belief in all these spirits originate? 
Desire for fame and immortality. Using the Catholics as a prime example: popes (and others) who people admire for supposed good works are elevated to the earthly status of "saint" and then they are prayed to. This gives the worshipers a more personal 'god' that they can relate to without "worshipping" another god – which is against the rules. It also gives everyone a chance (if they make an effort to appear to do good) to attain fame and immortality among people (who are the ones that matter).


It does not seem reasonable to me that people, who in most regards are moral people encouraging morality among their contemporaries, would just make up blatant lies.  I don't think someone would say, "because I want people to love their neighbor I will make up a lie that Jesus walked on water."
Have you, or anyone you know, told a 'little white lie' to a child to manipulate convince the child to do (or not do) something? And how long before that 'little white lie' grew? Such lies are either refuted relatively soon or they grow.

In spite of the erosion of our educational system by some religious people, we are still far more aware that there are probably reasonable explanations even for unusual events than people from several thousand years ago. I'm certain there were individuals who were ahead of the curve – many are now noted historical figures while others, sadly, are now forgotten. But the general populous of those times had not been taught that there are natural explanations for everything like the people of today. So when someone tells a fantastic tale, it would have been believed far more readily.

Combining those ideas into this:

"It was so amazing. This fisherman knew this lake so perfectly that he walked on sand bars out to his friends in a boat like he was walking on the water."

How long before a statement like that becomes just "He walked on the water out to his friends in a boat."?

"They started with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish but this guy knew how to make a filling and tasty stew that everyone who had a bowl was satisfied. And by the time they had the bowls back they had an new batch made from a few more loaves and fish someone else brought. So the crowd was fed in what seemed like no time."

How few retellings before that becomes the Biblical passage?

Just some thoughts for you to consider.
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Offline Samothec

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2013, 02:56:22 PM »
Sometime, telling a lie IS the moral thing to do.  Sometimes, concealing the truth is what you should do to protect someone.
Lying is rarely the ethical thing. However it is very socially acceptable - even expected. Too many people don't like to hear the truth. Too often "lying to protect someone" is not lying to protect the person one is lying to but instead to protect oneself.

Or perhaps an immoral person would prefer people to think that they are moral, so they're easier to manipulate.
Indeed. Many people in authority (like politicians) play that game.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

Offline median

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2013, 07:00:32 PM »

Because it does not make sense that immoral people would instruct people to be moral.  It just seems that a moral person would not lie and an immoral person would prefer people to be immoral.

This is just about one of the most asinine things I've ever read. Immoral people would not instruct people to be moral? Have you ever read Machiavelli? This statement is purely false. Immoral people could very easily (and have) instructed others to be moral (as a tactic to keep them under control). Do you even follow politics in the slightest? It doesn't seem that you really thought this statement out before typing it.

Second, your intuition regarding "moral people" is also mistaken. If a person does something immoral does that make them "an immoral person"? If a person does something moral does that make them "moral"? How many moral actions does it take to make someone moral or immoral? This concept (stemming from Christian fundamentalism) is flawed b/c it attempts to place absolute labels on people which do not apply. People cannot be labeled as moral/immoral. Their actions can b/c they are either harmful or beneficial to human well being.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 07:02:43 PM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2013, 09:31:39 PM »
Yes everything you've said sounds reasonable and possible.  But what are you thoughts on more recent events?  Please allow me to use the Bible and the time of Jesus as an example.  There are some pretty fantastic things recorded about his life a ministry.
Yes, and if we were to use the normal way we judge fact from fiction in books, we would very quickly toss out any notion that the book is factual with regard to his life and ministry.  Just like we routinely toss out any notions of truth behind stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, Gulliver's Travels, and Charlotte's Web.  It should not receive a special pass in this regard just because it's the bible.  You can't read passages about a man rising from the dead, curing blindness, and bringing the dead back to life without that little red flag going off in your mind that says 'this is more likely false than true.  I'm going to need to see more evidence to back these claims'. 

I don't care what you've been told by friends, family, and loved ones; and I especially don't care what you 'believe in your heart'... The original stories could be absolutely false, but if the myth took off and a few key people believed it, that's all it takes to explain how it got to where it is now. 

Why are there no ancient critics?
What do you mean by 'ancient critics'?  Do you mean first century people who said 'this is nonsense'?  Isn't that basically everyone who didn't become a Christian? 

There are probably multitudes of reasons that we don't see people speaking out against Christianity in the first century.  The biggest one is probably because it started as a 'nothing' religion, just like all religions, and wasn't causing a big enough splash to say anything about.  It wasn't this giant juggernaut from the beginning.  It took 3 centuries to get big.  It would be like you trying to figure out why there haven't been critics for every little cult that has ever springs up all over the world.  You can sum up the entire criticism with a wave of the hand and a 'nah, that's not right'. 

In the Bible record many Jews did not accept him as the Son of God.  However, the did not reject that the miracles occured.  They said "it's the devil", but they didn't deny they happened.
If you were the author of one of those gospels, and you wanted to make it look like this man was the son of God, and you wanted to explain why the Jews didn't buy it, isn't that exactly what you'd write too? 

We have no idea who wrote the gospel stories, and half the letters attributed to Paul were not actually written by him.  Why on earth do you think they are reliable? 

Why iare there no outside (of Christianity) records to set things straight? 
A bigger concern of yours should be the fact that there are no contemporary accounts of Jesus to verify the truth of it in the first place.  You have to keep in mind that the gospels were written many years after Jesus died.  Who is going to 'set the record straight' on events that took place decades earlier?  Do you really think the people around Jerusalem, the vast majority of whom couldn't read or write to start with, would have bothered to learn to write, then pick up a pen and write down "No, I was there and none of that Jesus stuff happened"?  Be serious now. 

How did these similarities originate and is there any foundation of truth?  It could be said that religious flood stories originated because of local flooding so there would be at least some grain of truth.  On what grain of truth did belief in all these spirits originiate?

All myths, no matter how nutty, originate somewhere.  Christianity is no different.  The modern, American version of Santa Claus, as an example, is a myth that originated somehow.  What 'grain of truth' lies behind it? 

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 Astreja

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2013, 10:19:46 PM »
Yes everything you've said sounds reasonable and possible.  But what are you thoughts on more recent events?  Please allow me to use the Bible and the time of Jesus as an example.  There are some pretty fantastic things recorded about his life a ministry.  Why are there no ancient critics?

Perhaps there was nothing there to criticize, at least not contemporaneously.  It's interesting that there are no secular records, supportive or critical, referring to Jesus at the time when he was supposedly engaged in his ministry.  Josephus is occasionally cited, but he was born in 37 CE -- A number of years after the Gospel events -- and there are serious questions regarding the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum.

And people don't tend to go to the trouble of criticizing something they've never heard of.  I think the earliest critics of Christianity had to wait until there was a visible body of Christians in the community.
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #51 on: June 26, 2013, 11:34:13 PM »
Well yes absolutely.  Even a believer should not be quick to jump to conclusions I think, concerning supposed things of divine origin.
Which is why the fetish so many Christians have about the Bible and its supposed divine origins is so frustrating.

Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2013, 11:51:51 PM »
Quote from: DumpsterFire
Any god who requires humans to follow specific tenets of religion, under the threat of eternal punishment if they do not, rightfully should make himself and his intentions clearly known. Otherwise, he's just being an unreasonable jerk.

I think you are right.  That is partly why I think such a God does not exist.

No I am not a deist.  And I don't think a just and benevolent God would eternally punish anyone, not to mention it would be a pointless task.  But I realize that many do believe that.
So do you believe my statement is correct except for the "eternal punishment" part? Or do you not believe that god requires us to follow specific tenets of religion? In either case, what's the point? If god supports dogma, how does he enforce it? If dogma is not his concern, how does that differ from the deist god?
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Re: Evidence
« Reply #53 on: June 27, 2013, 12:05:35 AM »
 This topic settles it,ALL gods are real
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #54 on: June 27, 2013, 03:10:39 AM »
Quote from: Garja
No, not a 100%/100% deal, but I think it's common enough to make for a useful hypothesis.
In the Bible record many Jews did not accept him as the Son of God.  However, the did not reject that the miracles occured.  They said "it's the devil", but they didn't deny they happened.  Why iare there no outside (of Christianity) records to set things straight?  Or at least I am not aware of any.  This does not make sense to me.

Nor am I aware of any contemporary accounts that dismiss Egyptian, or Chinese, or American Indian, or any other mythological miracles or supernatural happenings.  Does that mean we should give them the same credibility as Biblical miracles?  If not, why not?  What special standard is being applied to one particular book of tales that is not being applied to any others?

It could be said that religious flood stories originated because of local flooding so there would be at least some grain of truth.  On what grain of truth did belief in all these spirits originiate?

In the same way that a small local flood that destroyed crops and killed a few people and waterlogged the town grew over a few decades into a great flood.  Uncle Bob reports seeing a spirit in the marsh (actually marsh gas).  Auntie Evie reports the way the dog barked at the wall (it heard a mouse scratch).  Add them all up, and you've very quickly got the story of spirits that dogs can detect that sloat in the marshes and..... 

And lets not forget the way that adults lie continuously to children.  Tooth Fairy.  The "eat your dinner" monster.  Fairies.  Boggarts.  Monsters that eat bad little boys who don't do their homework.  And picture that into a world where lightning is fire from the skies, where there is no artificial light, no science, where people believe something is at work everywhere.  It needs only something people could not explain, and BAM - supernatural creatures.

Today, we know what marsh gas is.  We know what St.Elmo's fire is.  We know that pareidoial faces in trees are random lumps, NOT dryads.  Gradually, the natural and boring events that people centuries past took to be magic are being explained away.  THAT, is the "grain of truth" to those stories. 

Quote
And if, after we have critically examined the religious testimonies in the way we investigate a ghost, for example - without backing off for fear of offence, and without special treatment - then maybe we can determine how much weight this evidence should be given.

Yes but it is very hard to examine the experiences of people if they cannot reproduce the results on demand.  But that alone I don't think can be used to determine what is true with 100% accuracy unless you are maybe the one that experienced it.  In many cases it is said, "they saw something" or "something happened" but we're really just left guessing on what they saw or what happened.  And when you are talking about people and events that are long in the past, the problem multiplies.

Quite.  "we're really just left guessing on what they saw or what happened"  And so the best response, surely, is to say "I have no opinion as we cannot say", or "we can't prove it - but it sounds SO outlandish, and has never been seen since, and we can't recreate the event - so best assume it wasn't caused by gods and spirits".  Why land on the side of "we can'r prove it one way or the other - so I will accept the explanation that requires the most stretching of what we know exists and adds the largest possible amount of unknown"?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Jag

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #55 on: June 27, 2013, 08:53:16 AM »
Because it does not make sense that immoral people would instruct people to be moral.  It just seems that a moral person would not lie and an immoral person would prefer people to be immoral.

Think about it for a minute - if "immoral people" are making the rules, wouldn't they make rules to favor themselves, to get the results they seek? And if the instructions are to follow "moral behavior", wouldn't that make those "moral people" who are following the rules considerably easier to manipulate by the "immoral people" who made the rules?

If immoral people want everyone else to be immoral, they've essentially set themselves up in competition. "Immoral people" prey on "moral people" - it really is a wolf-sheep relationship.
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Offline Jstwebbrowsing

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #56 on: June 27, 2013, 02:16:45 PM »
Guys I greatly appreciate all the posts.  I have read them and you have raised some points and I have taken them into consideration.  However it is very hard for me to reply to them all and I am not very smart.  Please allow me to cherry pick some thoughts.

Quote from: median
Second, your intuition regarding "moral people" is also mistaken. If a person does something immoral does that make them "an immoral person"? If a person does something moral does that make them "moral"? How many moral actions does it take to make someone moral or immoral? This concept (stemming from Christian fundamentalism) is flawed b/c it attempts to place absolute labels on people which do not apply. People cannot be labeled as moral/immoral. Their actions can b/c they are either harmful or beneficial to human well being.

My concept does not stem from Christian fundamentalism and neither is morality black and white.  But clearly anyone that would make up a bunch of lies to control other people for their own benefit, is an immoral person.  And you are always free to reject my concept.

Quote from: Garja
Perhaps there was nothing there to criticize, at least not contemporaneously.  It's interesting that there are no secular records, supportive or critical, referring to Jesus at the time when he was supposedly engaged in his ministry.  Josephus is occasionally cited, but he was born in 37 CE -- A number of years after the Gospel events -- and there are serious questions regarding the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum.

And people don't tend to go to the trouble of criticizing something they've never heard of.  I think the earliest critics of Christianity had to wait until there was a visible body of Christians in the community.

It is recorded in the Greek scriptures that the Jews denied all of his teachings and his resurrection.  But it not recorded that they rejected the occurance of his miracles.  It is also not recorded that they denied his crucifixion.

So do you know what are the earliest critics that would say Jesus didn't perform miracles or that Jesus wasn't crucified?[/quote]

Quote from: DumpsterFire
So do you believe my statement is correct except for the "eternal punishment" part? Or do you not believe that god requires us to follow specific tenets of religion? In either case, what's the point? If god supports dogma, how does he enforce it? If dogma is not his concern, how does that differ from the deist god?

God does not desire dogma.  God desires that we love him, and love ourselves and each other.  Any dogma that does not lead to that is false.

Quote from: Anfauglir
Quite.  "we're really just left guessing on what they saw or what happened"  And so the best response, surely, is to say "I have no opinion as we cannot say", or "we can't prove it - but it sounds SO outlandish, and has never been seen since, and we can't recreate the event - so best assume it wasn't caused by gods and spirits".  Why land on the side of "we can'r prove it one way or the other - so I will accept the explanation that requires the most stretching of what we know exists and adds the largest possible amount of unknown"?

To a Christian there is more to it.  It is their relationship with God that pushes them into belief.  They use the Bible to try and figure out the meaning of it all.

Quote from: Jag
Think about it for a minute - if "immoral people" are making the rules, wouldn't they make rules to favor themselves, to get the results they seek? And if the instructions are to follow "moral behavior", wouldn't that make those "moral people" who are following the rules considerably easier to manipulate by the "immoral people" who made the rules?

If immoral people want everyone else to be immoral, they've essentially set themselves up in competition. "Immoral people" prey on "moral people" - it really is a wolf-sheep relationship.

So who is the immoral person that created Christianity?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 02:20:06 PM by Jstwebbrowsing »
Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

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Offline epidemic

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Re: Evidence
« Reply #57 on: June 27, 2013, 02:29:55 PM »
Quote
God does not desire dogma.  God desires that we love him, and love ourselves and each other.  Any dogma that does not lead to that is false.

I recently realized that this is even more illogical than originally thought.

Setting aside that god wants our love (a very emotionally insecure state of mind)

God can theoretically see all things, everywhere , past, present, future and he has the power to change all things.  I am not sure this leaves room for someone who feels the need to be worshipped.  god knew long before greybeard started typing that he would be an atheist.  God knew when he created the big bang that greybeard would not be on board.  Can one be disappointed in a outcome they absolutely knew would happen by design? God even knows how greybeard will react to meeting him for the first time. :-[
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 02:31:48 PM by epidemic »