Author Topic: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?  (Read 25009 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline harbinger77

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
  • Darwins +0/-15
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #87 on: December 31, 2013, 12:50:35 AM »
I don't expect people to give their entire life stories here. I guess my main question is how you came to decide that what you believe about god and/or religion is true. Is there a straightforward way to explain that?  :?

Good question... Is this general "I believe in God" or is it specific "I am a Christian" (insert chosen faith) or both?
I can say yes, but it takes time to walk you there. I can also say no because to walk you there requires that you believe or at least don't totally dismiss the supernatural. That's where I started. Actually I started as a young teen on the other side. witchcraft and things like that just for fun, but that's my starting point.
I can't help but look at those pages (human genome) and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God's mind.
-Francis Collins lead scientist Human Genome project

Offline Angus and Alexis

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1487
  • Darwins +71/-24
  • Gender: Male
  • Residential Tulpamancer.
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #88 on: December 31, 2013, 01:34:16 AM »
I guess my main question is how you came to decide that what you believe about god and/or religion is true. Is there a straightforward way to explain that?

Good question... Is this general "I believe in God" or is it specific "I am a Christian" (insert chosen faith) or both?
I can say yes, but it takes time to walk you there. I can also say no because to walk you there requires that you believe or at least don't totally dismiss the supernatural. That's where I started. Actually I started as a young teen on the other side. witchcraft and things like that just for fun, but that's my starting point.

Holy shit, you quite literally PERSONIFIED the thread name.
Rule 1: No pooftas. Rule 2: No maltreating the theists, IF, anyone is watching. Rule 3: No pooftas. Rule 4: I do not want to see anyone NOT drinking after light out. Rule 5: No pooftas. Rule 6: There is NO...rule 6.

Offline harbinger77

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
  • Darwins +0/-15
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #89 on: December 31, 2013, 02:06:45 AM »
I guess my main question is how you came to decide that what you believe about god and/or religion is true. Is there a straightforward way to explain that?

Good question... Is this general "I believe in God" or is it specific "I am a Christian" (insert chosen faith) or both?
I can say yes, but it takes time to walk you there. I can also say no because to walk you there requires that you believe or at least don't totally dismiss the supernatural. That's where I started. Actually I started as a young teen on the other side. witchcraft and things like that just for fun, but that's my starting point.

Holy shit, you quite literally PERSONIFIED the thread name.

may I submit this as exhibit A as to why it's so hard to answer questions of any sort theist to atheist on this site?

for me to answer the question requires I know where to start. I'm trying to get a clear understanding of that. At least be sure I'm understanding the question correctly.
To walk you there also requires I ask questions too. it can't be one sided. I think this is a general road block too. Am I not allowed to ask you questions to help me respond to your questions? Especially one so general?

 on a side note...
literally personified??  Really??
I can't help but look at those pages (human genome) and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God's mind.
-Francis Collins lead scientist Human Genome project

Offline Angus and Alexis

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1487
  • Darwins +71/-24
  • Gender: Male
  • Residential Tulpamancer.
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #90 on: December 31, 2013, 02:16:36 AM »
Mate, the question must be answerable, otherwise you would not be a theist.

Quote
How did you come to decide that what you believe about god and/or religion is true?

If you cannot answer the simple direct question, your belief in god must be false.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 02:18:39 AM by Angus and Alexis »
Rule 1: No pooftas. Rule 2: No maltreating the theists, IF, anyone is watching. Rule 3: No pooftas. Rule 4: I do not want to see anyone NOT drinking after light out. Rule 5: No pooftas. Rule 6: There is NO...rule 6.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6198
  • Darwins +408/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #91 on: December 31, 2013, 06:44:31 AM »
.....the question in the subject and the only question in the OP are both loaded questions. A few of us have responded with various comments about why we reject the loaded questions.

Just to reiterate, the original questions wasn't "why are believers incapable of being direct" (although that IS a side issue!), but rather:

"Why does the nature of an allegedly good god require so much apologetic twisting to describe?  Surely a truly good god would enable direct and definite answers on all aspects of itself?"

Mooby does indeed tend to give direct answers to questions.  But I have to say that my current experiences with four believers (Skeptic, Gzusfreke, Harbinger, and Charlie) has been much the opposite.  Gzusfreke tends to resort to the "well, its spiritual so there is no way you would understand" (rather than actually try to help me understand).  Skeptic and Charlie seem to simply flat out ignore any direct question I ask.

But as I said: the point I was more interested in (which I agree was not best phrased in the thread title) is why - given such a loving and all-round GOOD god - there is in general such an inability to present satisfactory answers.  Especially since a straightforward and clear answer could potentially lead people back to god.

Case in Point: In this thread, middle of page 3, I asked SkyWriting 3 direct questions, followed by what I thought was a succint explanation of why I was asking them.  Two questions, if not three, were potentially answerable with a firm "yes" or "no" (though with the 2nd and 3rd I would expect could require some explanation).  I got no response at all.  And my experience in the forum continues to be of responses that skirt around the questions asked, or flat out ignore them.  But again - I will go back out there and see what happens.
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 OldChurchGuy

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1555
  • Darwins +102/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • One of those theists who enjoys exchanging ideas
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #92 on: December 31, 2013, 09:24:02 AM »
I find this over and over again on this forum - what seems to be the simplest and directest question takes pages and pages of dodging and backsliding and ignoring until - maybe - you finally get an answer.

I'm sure there is a lot of discussion to be had about the psychology of it all, but I'm interested in a different question.

If there IS a god out there, and that god is as just and right and GOOD as most believers would have us believe - then why is all the dodging necessary in the first place?  Surely a god so good, so perfect, so right, would lead to discussions along the lines of:

Anfauglir: Can you explain why your god.....
Believer: (firmly) Yes.  It is because.....(specific and direct answer).
Anfauglir:  Ah, I see - that makes perfect sense.  Thank you.

Now THAT kind of god - the one where there was no need to dodge, no need to prevaricate, no need to shy away from "awkward" questions......THAT is a god that I could really get behind.  But these gods who are so tricksy, so convoluted, so demonstrative of so many negative behaviours that their believers have to dodge the questions and go into such lengthy apologetics......well, there just seems something suspicious about it all.

A truly good, truly godly god, would be very unlikely to raise any of these questions in the first place.  And it certainly wouldn't require the degree of evasion and goal-post shifting that we see so much of on these forums. 

If there was a truly good and godly god, it would be clear.  No nagging doubts, no endless arguments.  It would be clear and obvious to all.  The fact that it isn't may not necessarily mean there isn't a god out there.  But it sure makes it clear that there is something seriously wrong with the picture.

I speak only for myself as I lack the knowledge to speak for other theists. 

It would be wonderful if there were any religious text which was written similar to a computer programming manual.  And it would be even more wonderful if there were a way to conjure up an entity at will which could be observed, measured, communicated with and agreed upon as God. 

Unfortunately, theism, by it's very nature, is subjective.  Asking for objective reasoning to a very subjective topic is extremely difficult.  The best I can do is present theories and views which make sense to me.  But I have no way of being able to prove my views in a way which meets the criteria for this website. 

I do appreciate your tolerance for my theism and allowing me to participate on this website.  As I've written before, you have helped me distill just what I do believe and why.  For that, I am most grateful.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6198
  • Darwins +408/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #93 on: December 31, 2013, 10:06:13 AM »
It would be wonderful if there were any religious text which was written similar to a computer programming manual.  And it would be even more wonderful if there were a way to conjure up an entity at will which could be observed, measured, communicated with and agreed upon as God. 

Unfortunately, theism, by it's very nature, is subjective.  Asking for objective reasoning to a very subjective topic is extremely difficult.  The best I can do is present theories and views which make sense to me.  But I have no way of being able to prove my views in a way which meets the criteria for this website. 

I think that's the thing though - you're quite right, theism IS subjective, and I do have sympathy for believers who struggle to explain their views (or, perhaps I should say, the views of their god).  I would for example have a similar problem explaining why I felt that my favourite sport was better than your favourite sport, precisely because it is subjective.

But that's the point that I really don't get - because it a particular brand of theism is correct, then that means that there IS a god behind it all, a being that can think so much more clearly than any of us, forsee all the potential problems and issues that would arise, and (one would think) be able to anticipate them all and deal with them in advance. 

That's the rub of my question, really.  Not "why are theists not good enough debaters to convince me", but "why did The God not provide such clear arguments that there would be no debate in the first place".  I simply can't reconcile a Good God with a being that would countenance such ongoing and widespread confusion.

- - - -

Additional thought for consideration.  Assume that we die (I think that's a safe assumption!) and we finally come face to face with The God, whoever it may be.  Will that god be able to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have?
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 OldChurchGuy

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1555
  • Darwins +102/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • One of those theists who enjoys exchanging ideas
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #94 on: December 31, 2013, 10:32:38 AM »
Quote

I think that's the thing though - you're quite right, theism IS subjective, and I do have sympathy for believers who struggle to explain their views (or, perhaps I should say, the views of their god).  I would for example have a similar problem explaining why I felt that my favourite sport was better than your favourite sport, precisely because it is subjective.

But that's the point that I really don't get - because it a particular brand of theism is correct, then that means that there IS a god behind it all, a being that can think so much more clearly than any of us, forsee all the potential problems and issues that would arise, and (one would think) be able to anticipate them all and deal with them in advance. 

That's the rub of my question, really.  Not "why are theists not good enough debaters to convince me", but "why did The God not provide such clear arguments that there would be no debate in the first place".  I simply can't reconcile a Good God with a being that would countenance such ongoing and widespread confusion.

- - - -

Additional thought for consideration.  Assume that we die (I think that's a safe assumption!) and we finally come face to face with The God, whoever it may be.  Will that god be able to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have?

Regarding the first question as to why God didn't provide the clear arguments so there would be no debate in the first place, I have no idea. 

Regarding the second question about God providing clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have, I really truly hope so. 

As always,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
  • Darwins +49/-21
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #95 on: December 31, 2013, 11:26:13 AM »
I think it's because that, deep down, theists know their god is a bunch of BS. Same reason they avoid going to heaven at all costs by, for example, looking at both sides of the street before crossing it, taking antibiotics (based on the theory of evolution, if I might add). In fact, the theists who act as if they actually believed what they claim to believe are few. Those are the ones that make the news by letting their kids die instead of getting medical help.

I disagree.  I firmly believed what I believed until I stopped.  And I acted as if I believed.  I don't act any different now.  I have the same core values.  I just don't expect any god to help me.

Well, one thing interesting about my Christianity is that I remember pretty much every instance where I encountered someone saying, "I don't believe any of that God or Devil stuff". Once in a blue moon, someone would say something like that, and it made me feel uncomfortable because they had good reason not to believe in supposed invisible things. I never actually paused and thought, "Wow, I feel uncomfortable", but these occurrences made enough of an impression that I remember them to this day. Looking back, I admit to myself that I was uncomfortable. I immediately latched on to the word "uncomfortable" when it was offered to me by the YouTube video "10 Questions That Every Intelligent Christian Must Answer", years later.

As far as becoming an atheist, the only memories I have concerning my gradual deconversion are ones of me telling people "I'm not sure there is a God" or something like that.
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline Angus and Alexis

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1487
  • Darwins +71/-24
  • Gender: Male
  • Residential Tulpamancer.
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #96 on: December 31, 2013, 11:31:15 AM »
Surely someone here finds harbinger ironic for doing what the thread says theists do?

Right?...

Right!!!?
Rule 1: No pooftas. Rule 2: No maltreating the theists, IF, anyone is watching. Rule 3: No pooftas. Rule 4: I do not want to see anyone NOT drinking after light out. Rule 5: No pooftas. Rule 6: There is NO...rule 6.

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
  • Darwins +49/-21
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #97 on: December 31, 2013, 11:43:14 AM »
That's the rub of my question, really.  Not "why are theists not good enough debaters to convince me", but "why did The God not provide such clear arguments that there would be no debate in the first place".  I simply can't reconcile a Good God with a being that would countenance such ongoing and widespread confusion.
Right.

Or, "Why is it, when many different ancient humans create mostly not-so-well-thought-out fairy tales and rules, that the humans who are defending this defenseless nonsense can't reach a solid consensus that makes sense to every adult who isn't mentally handicapped?"

Nevermind. This is the type of question that answers itself.



Here's a better one:

"How come the only explanations about these texts that make complete sense are explanations provided by people who don't believe the stories in these texts?"






Additional thought for consideration.  Assume that we die (I think that's a safe assumption!) and we finally come face to face with The God, whoever it may be.  Will that god be able to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have?
I liked this.
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #98 on: December 31, 2013, 11:56:20 AM »
But as I said: the point I was more interested in (which I agree was not best phrased in the thread title) is why - given such a loving and all-round GOOD god - there is in general such an inability to present satisfactory answers.  Especially since a straightforward and clear answer could potentially lead people back to god.
Perhaps the concept of sacred mysteryWiki will help.

Basically, we run into a similar problem to trying to explain quantum physics to a child (or anyone, for that matter.)  We are trying to understand an infinite God who transcends the material and rational with a brain that is limited to the material and rational, and we are trying to describe concepts in discrete language that aren't really fully describable.  Much like trying to tighten a screw with a hammer, the tools we have can only do part of the job, and really can't do it all that efficiently.

So we do the best we can.  Much as with the child, we use analogies and approach the concepts from multiple different angles and tell stories connected by meandering narration until we shine enough light from enough angles that we can get the general concept passed along.  From our point of view, the set of what is understandable is quite a bit larger than the set of what is easily describable, so our major hurdle is using our limited language to get a person to the first spark of understanding, which they can use as a launching point to continue further.

At best, our limitations of language in the light of sacred mysteries means that there really aren't any discrete answers.  And if we give them, we've answered the question but not really granted the understanding.  I will frequently answer a yes/no question with a "yes" or "no," but only with the full understanding that the "yes" or "no" stands in place of a very long explanation, which means that I am knowingly allowing the questioner to obtain only a small fraction of understanding in the interest of simplicity.  Sometimes I go with "yes and no," but that answer tends to increase complexity and so it must be used judiciously.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
  • Darwins +49/-21
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #99 on: December 31, 2013, 12:04:07 PM »
Additional thought for consideration.  Assume that we die (I think that's a safe assumption!) and we finally come face to face with The God, whoever it may be.  Will that god be able to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have?


I liked this because the whole "You will find out at a later time how it all makes sense" canard is used in countless bullshit scams. I guess, using philosophical thought that leaves open any and every possibility, that there is an unprovable chance that it could be true, but you usually live your life by going with what is extremely and even ridiculously more probable.


As I think Robert M. Price once said, "What else have you got?" 
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline Star Stuff

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5783
  • Darwins +151/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • Carbon-based life form.
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #100 on: December 31, 2013, 12:17:39 PM »

Basically, we run into a similar problem to trying to explain quantum physics to a child (or anyone, for that matter.)  We are trying to understand an infinite God who transcends the material and rational with a brain that is limited to the material and rational, and we are trying to describe concepts in discrete language that aren't really fully describable.  Much like trying to tighten a screw with a hammer, the tools we have can only do part of the job, and really can't do it all that efficiently.

So we do the best we can.  Much as with the child, we use analogies and approach the concepts from multiple different angles and tell stories connected by meandering narration until we shine enough light from enough angles that we can get the general concept passed along.  From our point of view, the set of what is understandable is quite a bit larger than the set of what is easily describable, so our major hurdle is using our limited language to get a person to the first spark of understanding, which they can use as a launching point to continue further.

At best, our limitations of language in the light of sacred mysteries means that there really aren't any discrete answers.  And if we give them, we've answered the question but not really granted the understanding.  I will frequently answer a yes/no question with a "yes" or "no," but only with the full understanding that the "yes" or "no" stands in place of a very long explanation, which means that I am knowingly allowing the questioner to obtain only a small fraction of understanding in the interest of simplicity.  Sometimes I go with "yes and no," but that answer tends to increase complexity and so it must be used judiciously.

Presupposition defined.
God is an Imaginary Friend for Grown-ups

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
  • Darwins +49/-21
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #101 on: December 31, 2013, 12:31:42 PM »
But as I said: the point I was more interested in (which I agree was not best phrased in the thread title) is why - given such a loving and all-round GOOD god - there is in general such an inability to present satisfactory answers.  Especially since a straightforward and clear answer could potentially lead people back to god.
Perhaps the concept of sacred mysteryWiki will help.

Basically, we run into a similar problem to trying to explain quantum physics to a child (or anyone, for that matter.)  We are trying to understand an infinite God who transcends the material and rational with a brain that is limited to the material and rational, and we are trying to describe concepts in discrete language that aren't really fully describable.  Much like trying to tighten a screw with a hammer, the tools we have can only do part of the job, and really can't do it all that efficiently.

So we do the best we can.  Much as with the child, we use analogies and approach the concepts from multiple different angles and tell stories connected by meandering narration until we shine enough light from enough angles that we can get the general concept passed along.  From our point of view, the set of what is understandable is quite a bit larger than the set of what is easily describable, so our major hurdle is using our limited language to get a person to the first spark of understanding, which they can use as a launching point to continue further.

At best, our limitations of language in the light of sacred mysteries means that there really aren't any discrete answers.  And if we give them, we've answered the question but not really granted the understanding.  I will frequently answer a yes/no question with a "yes" or "no," but only with the full understanding that the "yes" or "no" stands in place of a very long explanation, which means that I am knowingly allowing the questioner to obtain only a small fraction of understanding in the interest of simplicity.  Sometimes I go with "yes and no," but that answer tends to increase complexity and so it must be used judiciously.

Or, this is a believer's best attempt at trying to place their fairy-tale God out of scrutiny's reach.


Once again, what's more probable, an ancient flood myth that is full of holes, or a real God who allows it to seem to the more educated and intellectual that it's just an ancient flood myth full of holes?
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3948
  • Darwins +265/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #102 on: December 31, 2013, 02:06:15 PM »
But as I said: the point I was more interested in (which I agree was not best phrased in the thread title) is why - given such a loving and all-round GOOD god - there is in general such an inability to present satisfactory answers.  Especially since a straightforward and clear answer could potentially lead people back to god.
Perhaps the concept of sacred mysteryWiki will help.

Basically, we run into a similar problem to trying to explain quantum physics to a child (or anyone, for that matter.)  We are trying to understand an infinite God who transcends the material and rational with a brain that is limited to the material and rational, and we are trying to describe concepts in discrete language that aren't really fully describable.  Much like trying to tighten a screw with a hammer, the tools we have can only do part of the job, and really can't do it all that efficiently.

So we do the best we can.  Much as with the child, we use analogies and approach the concepts from multiple different angles and tell stories connected by meandering narration until we shine enough light from enough angles that we can get the general concept passed along.  From our point of view, the set of what is understandable is quite a bit larger than the set of what is easily describable, so our major hurdle is using our limited language to get a person to the first spark of understanding, which they can use as a launching point to continue further.

At best, our limitations of language in the light of sacred mysteries means that there really aren't any discrete answers.  And if we give them, we've answered the question but not really granted the understanding.  I will frequently answer a yes/no question with a "yes" or "no," but only with the full understanding that the "yes" or "no" stands in place of a very long explanation, which means that I am knowingly allowing the questioner to obtain only a small fraction of understanding in the interest of simplicity.  Sometimes I go with "yes and no," but that answer tends to increase complexity and so it must be used judiciously.

No I reject you "sacred mystery" as the mystery of why the Emperor's clothes are so lightweight. Lightweight as your argument.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #103 on: December 31, 2013, 02:14:56 PM »
Or, this is a believer's best attempt at trying to place their fairy-tale God out of scrutiny's reach.
Contrary to what you may wish to believe, my beliefs are not fundamentally based on what I think you will find difficult to scrutinize. They're based on what I think is true.


Quote
Once again, what's more probable, an ancient flood myth that is full of holes, or a real God who allows it to seem to the more educated and intellectual that it's just an ancient flood myth full of holes?
I'm not sure what you're referring to, as I think there is a lot of theological value in the Biblical flood myth. So from where I stand, your dichotomy appears false.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #104 on: December 31, 2013, 02:16:13 PM »
No I reject you "sacred mystery" as the mystery of why the Emperor's clothes are so lightweight. Lightweight as your argument.
I didn't make an argument, and you did not offer a refutation.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline lotanddaughters

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 625
  • Darwins +49/-21
  • Gender: Male
  • Artist: Simon Vouet (1633)
  • User is on moderator watch listWatched
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #105 on: December 31, 2013, 08:06:44 PM »
Additional thought for consideration.  Assume that we die (I think that's a safe assumption!) and we finally come face to face with The God, whoever it may be.  Will that god be able to provide clear and comprehensive answers to all the questions we may have?


I liked this because the whole "You will find out at a later time how it all makes sense" canard is used in countless bullshit scams. I guess, using philosophical thought that leaves open any and every possibility, that there is an unprovable chance that it could be true, but you usually live your life by going with what is extremely and even ridiculously more probable.


As I think Robert M. Price once said, "What else have you got?"

I found it. He actually says, "And that's all you've got!" at about 9:25, concluding an excellent example that begins around 7:50.


Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline harbinger77

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
  • Darwins +0/-15
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #106 on: January 01, 2014, 02:55:22 AM »
I think the answer is rather simple and not one most Christians would be willing to admit. I can't speak for all churches as some individually are better than others. I would say the same for Christians as individuals as well. but I will dump a little on today's evangelism as a whole though.

We are commanded to go forth and make disciples. Also to go forth and proclaim the gospel. To actually become teachers and preachers. NOT to make converts. Today's Evangelicals most typically are interested in getting you as the non-believer to say the "sinners prayer" conversion minded. It's tradition. It's unbiblical. The focus is on the front end. Once you say the sinners prayer that's it. The evangelist is gone never having made a disciple. I guess they assume someone else will take you under their wing and teach you. The problem is most everyone assumes someone else can or will do it. Maybe the "more mature" believer doesn't feel adequate for the task. Either way discipleship is not happening the way it should! The blame is squarely placed on our churches and those who will not do their duty. You end up with Christians that sometimes don't know the answers or are scrambling with what little knowledge they do have. When you add to this a hodgepodge of religious knowledge consisting of most every denomination sometimes mixed in the same post from the atheist it gets hard to weed out and answer the question. I also feel there are some who are more interested in the argument than the answer.

I think for me more often than not I get distracted by some crazy comment and before you know it we're on a whole separate topic never having truly addressed the first topic, and it became an argument rather than discussion. It is hard to answer a question though when you're being pulled in so many directions at once.

The question is are we identifying problems only, or offering solutions as well? Maybe the best solution is we (theist and non) meet for private discussion. As those tend to stay on course. If you are truly interested in asking a question and being sure to get an answer my inbox is always open. I hope the last line or two is something my fellow Christians can agree with also.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 02:57:04 AM by harbinger77 »
I can't help but look at those pages (human genome) and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God's mind.
-Francis Collins lead scientist Human Genome project

Offline wolfunchained

  • Freshman
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Darwins +3/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #107 on: January 01, 2014, 04:17:50 AM »
What a relevant topic for me to post in today.
I have an aquaintence who was an atheist and is now a 7da. He constantly posts stuff on facebook that appears great to believers but can actually be boardering on offensive to other denominations or atheists.

Long story short, i pointed out the old testiment is full of mental stories about killing and mass murder etc..noahs ark and the flood was my main example of gods mass murder, he claimed this story shows gods love and patience. I asked him a direct question of,how does it show those attributes??  instead of answering the questions i got an analogy story made up . Its completly typical for all big questions to be answered like that as he had no scripture to prove his theory on it. The fact is god was not patient or loving or merciful as the people who were wiped out diddnt get a right to use thier free will. God juat wiped out every human being feom exsistant bar 8 people! Surely god who created humans and knows the future could do better than making only 8 good people in the entire world!!!!!
now I've broken through the glass, im lacerated from my past, I climbed over my prison walls, the pain was delightful.

Offline Anfauglir

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6198
  • Darwins +408/-5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #108 on: January 02, 2014, 03:44:39 AM »
Perhaps the concept of sacred mysteryWiki will help.

Apologies for the delayed reply.....but no.  I don't believe it does.  I can accept the analogy of potentially having to start small with concepts - but where you may run into trouble there is that for most of my life I have been well into mythology, and role-playing gamers.  Playing Dungeons and Dragons for umpteen years, coupled with being 30 units off a degree in Psychology with Philosophy, and having been a long-term subscriber to Fortean Times, means that I won't have many problems grokking the concepts that you may want to explain. 

Perhaps we are coming at cross-purposes as to what particular questions we are talking about - because in my experience, the more I try to strive for understanding, the more I try to get clarification on particular points, the more the answer seem to become vague and shy away from the questions I was asking.  Perhaps you ARE the exception, but I have experienced to many people who just meander off - and, I have to say, too many people who play the "sacred mystery" card in a "well, you will never understand so there is no point in trying".  Which - as has been pointed out - is exactly how they sell snake-oil.

The other significant issue I have with the concept is the fact that it is apparently understandable - but not readily explainable.  While I see the potential parallel with concepts of quantum theory or whatever, I don't honestly believe they stand up.  Because what we are talking about (at least with Biblical theology) is a god who readily uses human concepts of love and mercy, and whose chief virtue was that he became human.  This is a god for whom a significant selling point is that he walked as us, lived as us, breathed as us - and so is a god who should, surely, not be too tricky to explain using human concepts. 

Or perhaps, I should say, that a god so closely linked with the human condition that, to be even slightly understood, requires such a degree of thinking that is so removed from normal human concepts, is not quite as much a friend and confidant as has been portrayed.

Final side thought: granting for a moment that the sacred mystery and understanding of what it is all about is both crucial AND requires a significant degree of training to fully grok.......can it be any real surprise that the newly formed humans in the Garden DIDN'T properly get it?  If it takes a degree of explanation and sophistry to articulate the concepts, then surely any god worthy of the name would have recognised that and not been so "one strike and you're out" as a crucial point in man's development?  But that's really off-topic.


<<edit - oops!  left a big chunka Mooby quot at the bottom!>>
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 05:43:16 AM by Anfauglir »
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 Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3948
  • Darwins +265/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #109 on: January 02, 2014, 10:52:53 AM »
No I reject you "sacred mystery" as the mystery of why the Emperor's clothes are so lightweight. Lightweight as your argument.
I didn't make an argument, and you did not offer a refutation.

A sacred mystery is an happy term for "It doesn't have to make sense"
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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

Offline Angus and Alexis

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1487
  • Darwins +71/-24
  • Gender: Male
  • Residential Tulpamancer.
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #110 on: January 02, 2014, 11:04:12 AM »
So what conclusion have we come up with detailing why theists cannot answer a direct question?
I mean, the fact that on this very thread it has already happened shows how hilariously true the thread's name is...
Rule 1: No pooftas. Rule 2: No maltreating the theists, IF, anyone is watching. Rule 3: No pooftas. Rule 4: I do not want to see anyone NOT drinking after light out. Rule 5: No pooftas. Rule 6: There is NO...rule 6.

Offline Mooby

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1202
  • Darwins +75/-24
  • So it goes.
    • Is God Imaginary?
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #111 on: January 02, 2014, 12:40:41 PM »
I can accept the analogy of potentially having to start small with concepts - but where you may run into trouble there is that for most of my life I have been well into mythology, and role-playing gamers.  Playing Dungeons and Dragons for umpteen years, coupled with being 30 units off a degree in Psychology with Philosophy, and having been a long-term subscriber to Fortean Times, means that I won't have many problems grokking the concepts that you may want to explain.
I've played D&D and have a bachelors in philosophy, and I've found that they're not really all that similar.  There's some overlap with philosophy, but philosophy is also very much its own beast.  And even there we see a lot of the concepts given via story, dialogue, or analogy, particularly in the ancient Greek and Eastern schools.  Even if Christian theology were fully expressible via dense pose, expecting the average person to read something at Heidegger's level would likely make it quite inaccessible.

Quote
Perhaps we are coming at cross-purposes as to what particular questions we are talking about - because in my experience, the more I try to strive for understanding, the more I try to get clarification on particular points, the more the answer seem to become vague and shy away from the questions I was asking.  Perhaps you ARE the exception, but I have experienced to many people who just meander off - and, I have to say, too many people who play the "sacred mystery" card in a "well, you will never understand so there is no point in trying".  Which - as has been pointed out - is exactly how they sell snake-oil.
And alternative medicine, and whatever else.  But the analogy falls apart when you consider that the claim's truth is independent of the expertise of the person making it, and with something medical we expect the sales person to be trained as an expert.  Most of the religious are trying to share their faiths but may not have any special education on it, and thus their primary understanding is through the stories and analogies.

Part of why you may find me a bit more straightforward is I have studied a bit of the theory behind the concepts, plus I am used to the academic norm of openly displaying when I don't know something rather than succumbing to the natural human temptation to improvise with filler.  I'm far from an expert, however: MTO could crush me like a bug, and both of us would pale in comparison to an expert in the field.

Alas, I must run to work.  I have a reply in mind for the second half of your post but it will have to wait.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3948
  • Darwins +265/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #112 on: January 02, 2014, 01:42:05 PM »
So what conclusion have we come up with detailing why theists cannot answer a direct question?
I mean, the fact that on this very thread it has already happened shows how hilariously true the thread's name is...

Yes, it quite the echo of

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25312.msg566267.html#msg566267
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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

Offline OldChurchGuy

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1555
  • Darwins +102/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • One of those theists who enjoys exchanging ideas
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #113 on: January 02, 2014, 01:51:19 PM »
So what conclusion have we come up with detailing why theists cannot answer a direct question?
I mean, the fact that on this very thread it has already happened shows how hilariously true the thread's name is...

Yes, it quite the echo of

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25312.msg566267.html#msg566267

Is this concern of asking answering direct questions and not getting direct answers apply to all theists or only those who are trying to persuade you that their theological understanding is correct and, therefore, no others are valid?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline Hatter23

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3948
  • Darwins +265/-7
  • Gender: Male
  • Doesn't believe in one more god than you
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #114 on: January 02, 2014, 02:20:43 PM »
So what conclusion have we come up with detailing why theists cannot answer a direct question?
I mean, the fact that on this very thread it has already happened shows how hilariously true the thread's name is...

Yes, it quite the echo of

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25312.msg566267.html#msg566267

Is this concern of asking answering direct questions and not getting direct answers apply to all theists or only those who are trying to persuade you that their theological understanding is correct and, therefore, no others are valid?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy

Now I do not bother believers in their environment, such as a religious board. I think it rude.

I try to avoid it with coworkers, and only get a little agitated when the environment gets to the point that I consider it intrusive on me like pressuring me to join prayer circles...or they questioning me on my atheism(after they ask which church I attend...often with the intent of trying to get me to join theirs.)

I belong to a collaborative hobby, Lego trains..which actually tends to attract those that are quite religious and atheists in numbers out of proportion of the population. I don't bring it up there either as it would only get in the way of our mutual enjoyment and cooperation.

However, when a believer comes to an atheism board/site/newsgroup...or starts bashing non believers on a news story that mentions atheism, I expect them to concretely back up their position. I do here so aggressively in part because I regularly in my day to day stifle my tongue as a rather unliked minority, when those around me are singing the praises of what I consider mythology in full agreement day after day after day. I literally have shared the same office with 30 roughly cubes, four of which were occupied by ministers, all of which I maintain cordial relations with, except in the few instances. If you don't mind the analogy, it is like being around a bunch of people who regularly talk about how they are spell casting wizards from Harry Potter, when you thinks it is just an okay book series.

I have also not pressed on you as you are well respected, and despite our differing opinions as to cosmology you have been polite and your posts are well written. While I find your post's assertions a little less than airtight, they are amongst the best theists have to offer. I've never seen you dodge in a irritating and purposeful manner. I haven't seen you lie. I don't see you insult. When you don't know, you own up to it. Plus, your avatar makes me smile :)

So in essence, the answer is mostly yes. The concern is most pronounced and urgent in the circumstances described, however, it is still a concern about anyone theist or atheist alike, that avoids a direct question, unless it is something personal like a persons family or sex life.

 
 

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

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

Offline OldChurchGuy

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1555
  • Darwins +102/-2
  • Gender: Male
  • One of those theists who enjoys exchanging ideas
Re: Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?
« Reply #115 on: January 02, 2014, 02:51:24 PM »
So what conclusion have we come up with detailing why theists cannot answer a direct question?
I mean, the fact that on this very thread it has already happened shows how hilariously true the thread's name is...

Yes, it quite the echo of

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25312.msg566267.html#msg566267

Is this concern of asking answering direct questions and not getting direct answers apply to all theists or only those who are trying to persuade you that their theological understanding is correct and, therefore, no others are valid?

Ever curious,

OldChurchGuy

Now I do not bother believers in their environment, such as a religious board. I think it rude.

I try to avoid it with coworkers, and only get a little agitated when the environment gets to the point that I consider it intrusive on me like pressuring me to join prayer circles...or they questioning me on my atheism(after they ask which church I attend...often with the intent of trying to get me to join theirs.)

I belong to a collaborative hobby, Lego trains..which actually tends to attract those that are quite religious and atheists in numbers out of proportion of the population. I don't bring it up there either as it would only get in the way of our mutual enjoyment and cooperation.

However, when a believer comes to an atheism board/site/newsgroup...or starts bashing non believers on a news story that mentions atheism, I expect them to concretely back up their position. I do here so aggressively in part because I regularly in my day to day stifle my tongue as a rather unliked minority, when those around me are singing the praises of what I consider mythology in full agreement day after day after day. I literally have shared the same office with 30 roughly cubes, four of which were occupied by ministers, all of which I maintain cordial relations with, except in the few instances. If you don't mind the analogy, it is like being around a bunch of people who regularly talk about how they are spell casting wizards from Harry Potter, when you thinks it is just an okay book series.

I have also not pressed on you as you are well respected, and despite our differing opinions as to cosmology you have been polite and your posts are well written. While I find your post's assertions a little less than airtight, they are amongst the best theists have to offer. I've never seen you dodge in a irritating and purposeful manner. I haven't seen you lie. I don't see you insult. When you don't know, you own up to it. Plus, your avatar makes me smile :)

So in essence, the answer is mostly yes. The concern is most pronounced and urgent in the circumstances described, however, it is still a concern about anyone theist or atheist alike, that avoids a direct question, unless it is something personal like a persons family or sex life.

Your kind words are truly appreciated. 

Truth be told, your avatar of David Niven inspired me to find one and when Boris Karloff showed up, I KNEW that was the one for me. 

Egad, this discussion is turning into a mutual admiration society! 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 03:39:02 PM by OldChurchGuy »
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama