Author Topic: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #348 on: August 09, 2018, 04:47:00 PM »
I have read the last several comments and even did some additional research on the subject. I am still left with the same conclusion. My understanding is that there is no objective reference to determine if what you believe REALLY does or does not have meaning. In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning. Just because you say it has meaning does not mean that it REALLY does (at least not in a real or objective sense).

The exercise to experience meaning certainly may produce gratification and a sense of purpose but since you are a mere unintended accident of nature, meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either. You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable. You cannot live your life as though it were meaningless so you adopt subjective illusions.


That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

It would be nice if you would have addressed my post in addition to this, but I can wait.

In the meantime, please provide some of the sources you referenced. I can't make sense of what you are actually talking about, and as such, have no idea how to "research" this for myself. I'd be happy to start with the sources you used. That way, any further discussion would at least be on the same topic with the same information from which to form an opinion.

I should have known someone might request this. I'll have to browse through the browsing history on my other computer but I recall this particular site because I was on it for a while:

https://infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/atheism/meaning.html
There's a lot of material here.

I just got done reading through this a bit ago:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/life-without-god-bleak-atheism

I watched this entire debate two nights ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDQOCXBrAw

That's all I can remember offhand.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #349 on: August 09, 2018, 04:59:32 PM »
Let's pause here for a minute.

Clarify what you are trying to convey with the phrase "life has meaning".

I don't think I've used that phrase but, if I have, to me, it means that there is an ultimate purpose and meaning in life. For the theist, we believe that everything we do plays a role in God's ultimate purpose for creating the universe and everything in it, including us. If you asked me what that specific purpose is, I do not believe that can be answered very easily or with any high level of certainty.

Now that's just what that means to me. To others, it may mean something else.

Offline albeto

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #350 on: August 09, 2018, 05:24:08 PM »
In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning.

What is the difference between "making it up" and "determining for yourself"?

meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either.

It sounds like this is what bothers you. Many of your arguments are styled along a logical fallacy called argument from final consequences. The consequence, you've argued many times before and imply here, must be one that supports a cosmic force/entity/being who does care about us, therefore any example of that not happening must be false. It's hard to take an argument based on this logic seriously because the reasons are personal, and are not based in fact. You've got to come up with something more substantial than your own fears about a cosmic deity not looking out for you if you want to understand something like this.

You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable.

You had me up until the last bit. Leaving aside the debate between those who ascribe to determinism and those who ascribe to indeterminism (and the umpteen versions of each and in between), why would meaningfulness be considered an illusion? And why would humans need it to make life livable?

An illusion is a distortion of senses. Meaningfulness, I suppose could be considered a sense in the way that it provides a kind of direction, but I think that argument would be pretty weak. I'm open to hearing one, and would enjoy hearing a plausible one. At this point though, I'd argue it's more of a conclusion than a biological or neurological sense. It's a conclusion based on complex cognitive operations including but not limited to how the amygdala, hippocampus, and frontal cortex calculate and execute thoughts and behaviors.

And why would it be necessary to create an illusion of meaningfulness to make life worth living? Why do you think a sense of meaningfulness is the one and only necessary variable that provides a human's natural instinct to avoid pain and preserve life? Do you think the prisoners in Auschwitz felt meaning in their existence there? If not, why would they not simply run to the fences and get shot right away because there's no meaning in life in a concentration camp?

That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one unsurprised by this reply. It was predictable precisely because it is consistent with the goal of maintaining one's faith no matter what. It reminds me of the children's book Tootle, the little engine who found running through the fields and picking up daisies to be far more enjoyable than staying on the rails. The problem was, to graduate and become a Real Important Train, Tootles had to pass the class Staying On The Rails No Matter What. When the engineer found out that young Tootles had been playing in the fields instead of Staying On The Rails No Matter What, he talked it over with the conductor and the owner of the train. They got everyone in town to help out. Whenever Tootles left the track, to go make daisy chains or race with the horses in the field, someone from town would pop up from behind a bush waving a red flag. All trains know You Must Stop For A Red Flag Waving. Eventually, Tootles learned it wasn't any fun off the rails because there were so many red flags. I imagine you see red flags every time you stray off the Rails of Faith, and you just. can't. go. there. You've learned very, very well to avoid red flags. And so you stay on your rails. This post is very solidly on those rails.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting you're wrong because you don't agree with us and you're just being stubborn. That wouldn't work logically because you could make the same accusation, we don't agree with you because we're just being stubborn. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying you are wrong because you don't agree with the facts.

Here's a challenge - provide a single fact that supports this conclusion.


Edited to clean it up
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 06:02:17 PM by albeto »

Offline Nick

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #351 on: August 09, 2018, 06:26:10 PM »
Maybe they can combine this Religious Liberty ask Force with the newly named USA Space Force and just go to God directly.   Up, Up, and Away !!!
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #352 on: August 09, 2018, 07:55:23 PM »
I have read the last several comments and even did some additional research on the subject. I am still left with the same conclusion. My understanding is that there is no objective reference to determine if what you believe REALLY does or does not have meaning. In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning. Just because you say it has meaning does not mean that it REALLY does (at least not in a real or objective sense).

The exercise to experience meaning certainly may produce gratification and a sense of purpose but since you are a mere unintended accident of nature, meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either. You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable. You cannot live your life as though it were meaningless so you adopt subjective illusions.


That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

You're conflating atheism and nihilism. There's no reason to think that an atheist must also be a nihilist. I'm a pretty hard-core atheist, and I don't think life is meaningless. I love being alive and having this rare opportunity to experience being alive. That alone is enough to satisfy me until I die. I've looked at gods and religion and I find them seriously lacking in joy, empathy, caring, kindness, love, and happiness. All I see when I look at religion is division, bigotry, sin, guilt, shame, fear, and lies.

Offline Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #353 on: August 09, 2018, 10:19:37 PM »
Let's pause here for a minute.

Clarify what you are trying to convey with the phrase "life has meaning".

I don't think I've used that phrase
I don't think you did either, not precisely. My question was inspired by your post:
Neither of you are thinking this through. Of course you can find meaning by pretending that meaning exists. But that's all you are doing is pretending and there is no getting around it. It's self-delusion for the purpose of satisfying an irrational worldview and finding comfort.
which sounds to me as if you are saying that atheists pretend that their lives have meaning, whereas you, and other christian theists, actually HAVE meaning on your lives. Which I don't understand, so maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to suggest?

Quote
but, if I have, to me, it means that there is an ultimate purpose and meaning in life. For the theist, we believe that everything we do plays a role in God's ultimate purpose for creating the universe and everything in it, including us. If you asked me what that specific purpose is, I do not believe that can be answered very easily or with any high level of certainty.

Now that's just what that means to me. To others, it may mean something else.

Wow, I've got some thoughts in response to this, but I don't have the energy necessary to make a coherent post about it. I'll explain tomorrow, unless someone else happens to notice the same thing first.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #354 on: August 10, 2018, 07:36:16 AM »
I have read the last several comments and even did some additional research on the subject. I am still left with the same conclusion. My understanding is that there is no objective reference to determine if what you believe REALLY does or does not have meaning. In effect, you are simply making it up; pretending that there really is meaning. Just because you say it has meaning does not mean that it REALLY does (at least not in a real or objective sense).

that is such nonsense.  Since BS can't show that his god even exists, he has no objective reference at all for his claim that only his version of his god gives meaning to his life.  He is only making it up based on a need to feel special, that somehow *he* has some influence on this god (and it must be only his god) and this universe.  For all that theists claim that atheists are arrogant, this takes the cake. 

Quote
The exercise to experience meaning certainly may produce gratification and a sense of purpose but since you are a mere unintended accident of nature, meaning and purpose can only be meaningful in the subjective sense (which I think you all agree with). The universe doesn’t care about meaning. Evolution doesn’t care about it either. You are simply moving through time driven by the engine of evolution and, unless we are pre-determined to do what we do, the human construct of meaning that we allegedly choose to experience is an illusion to make life livable. You cannot live your life as though it were meaningless so you adopt subjective illusions.


That is my position as of right now. I am, of course, open to additional information that you would like to share.

And there is nothing to show that your god isn't your very own subjective illusion, BS.  Each theist has their own little solipsistic god created in their own image.  This is nothing more than BS desperately trying to convince himself that atheists are nihilists so again he can feel special.  If he didn't lie to himself in this way, he would realize that he is no better than us, and for some people, that is unacceptable. 

When we lose the interest to love, to work, etc, we generally call that depression.   We know that can be fixed and we know that if it is bad enough, it can cause someone to kill themselves. Evolution is a process, so if you do have the biological tendency to be depressed, you might not pass along your genes.   

We give ourselves purpose.  We don't need a petty god that we have to obey and placate to have meaning.   

and yep, there is a lot of material out at infidels.org.    I'm sure that you didn't read a damn one of those articles since you are still blathering on about this same nihilist = atheist bullshit.   
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Offline Astreja

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #355 on: August 10, 2018, 07:59:43 AM »
I was very briefly (~ 3 months) a nihilist when I was 11 years old, and had a vision of standing outside space-time, realizing that eternity was not sufficient to give anything meaning.

I got better.  Now I have enough meaningful stuff going on for at least three of me, and I don't even get Seasonal Affective Disorder in late January anymore.

Calling atheists nihilists is just a cheap attempt to devalue our real-world experiences.  That sorry lot stuck in eternal life with the same damn god for, like, forever are the ones who should really be asking the question "What's the point of all this?"  If you have to get your meaning from a plan that a god has assigned to you, how can it be yours?
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Offline Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #356 on: August 10, 2018, 10:42:36 AM »
Ok, first, I haven't read the links YET, but I will get to them. For this post, they don't matter.

Quote
... it means that there is an ultimate purpose and meaning in life. For the theist, we believe that everything we do plays a role in God's ultimate purpose for creating the universe and everything in it, including us.

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that this is true.

If so, then it's true. As in, it's TRUE. As in, it makes no difference WHAT an atheist does, or why they 'think' they are doing it - because it would STILL be serving God's ultimate purpose.

So even using your own logic, you must be mistaken about whether or not atheists lives have meaning. If there is a god, our lives are OBVIOUSLY part of his 'ultimate purpose'.

After all, this is GOD we've talking about. If we weren't doing what he needs us to do, he wouldn't have created us, would he? So, our lack of belief must serve some greater purpose, right?
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Offline Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #357 on: August 10, 2018, 10:59:26 AM »
I should have known someone might request this.
Yes. You should have known. We always do. In fact, you should have just posted links in the first place - it's not like you're a new member BS.

Quote
I'll have to browse through the browsing history on my other computer
Please do....

Quote
but I recall this particular site because I was on it for a while:

https://infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/atheism/meaning.html
There's a lot of material here.
No kidding. This link opens to a directory of 13 articles. Which ones did you use as sources? Was there a particular passage that influenced your thinking? Can you remember the name of the writer(s) who's work you perused? Can you narrow this down a bit so I don't waste hours reading the wrong material - because I have no intention of doing that.

Quote
I just got done reading through this a bit ago:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/09/life-without-god-bleak-atheism
The very first thing I saw when I opened this link was that this is on the OPINION page of the Guardian.

Quote
I watched this entire debate two nights ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDQOCXBrAw
Key points? Summary? Do you understand that just giving a link to a video isn't really helpful? If I watched it beginning to end, do you think I would arrive at the same conclusion you did? Do you realize that putting it in CONTEXT is actually kind of important?

Quote
That's all I can remember offhand.
Good thing you remembered that your browsing history will tell you the rest of what you looked at huh?
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Offline Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #358 on: August 10, 2018, 11:26:05 AM »
From the Guardian piece you linked to:
"Given how the atheist stereotype has been one of the dark, brooding existentialist gripped by the angst of a purposeless universe, this is understandable. But frankly, I think we've massively overcompensated, and in doing so we've blurred an important distinction. Atheists should point out that life without God can be meaningful, moral and happy. But that's "can" not "is" or even "should usually be". And that means it can just as easily be meaningless, nihilistic and miserable."

That's precisely true of theists too.

CAN - it means possibility, not guaranteed. I've known PLENTY of miserable theists, so don't even try to pretend that religion somehow shields people from that.

Another:
"The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy. The more brutal facts of life are harsher for us than they are for those who have a story to tell in which it all works out right in the end and even the most horrible suffering is part of a mystifying divine plan. If we don't freely admit this, then we've betrayed the commitment to the naked truth that atheism has traditionally embraced."

Good Gawd BS - YOU don't strike me as Mr Happy Go Lucky yourself.

But you sure seem to think - and to be fair, plenty of others do as well - that atheism owes people something, like some sort of reward, or secret plan that leads to happiness. This is just silly. It's an unreasonable expectation to set for what amounts to the discarding of an idea that simply doesn't fit the facts.


if you had read that article with a mind open enough to consider new input, you wouldn't need me to try to explain this to you. You realize that this is literally one person's opinion, and that the article is actual intended to push back against the 'image' of 'New Atheism', right? That's not a 'thing' you see much of around here.

IMNSHO - this was the most useful line in the entire article:
"Anyone who thinks it's easy to ground ethics either hasn't done much moral philosophy or wasn't concentrating when they did."

Your trying to oversimplify a highly complex idea and slap us into the space it contains. It's not going to work. I'm not an atheist because it makes me a happier person. I embrace my skepticism as the most useful tool I have when it comes to discerning the truth. KNOWING that this life is all I get motivates me to make the most of it while I'm alive to have it. There's no afterlife  - it's on me to make this life the absolute best life I can dream up and engage in. If things work out well, it probably means that I made mostly good choices. If things don't go so well, it probably means that at least one choice was not a good one. It has nothing to do with God(s), it's all on me and the decisions I make about how I want to conduct my life.

What am I missing?
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #359 on: August 10, 2018, 11:27:30 AM »
I watched this entire debate two nights ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDDQOCXBrAw
Key points? Summary? Do you understand that just giving a link to a video isn't really helpful? If I watched it beginning to end, do you think I would arrive at the same conclusion you did? Do you realize that putting it in CONTEXT is actually kind of important?

Well, we can see the nonsense that Craig claimed thanks to a Christian website:

[quote]"Confronted with the human predicament, the only solution the atheist can offer is that we simply face the absurdity of life and live bravely," Craig said. "The fundamental problem with the solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within the framework of such a worldview. If you live consistently, you will not be happy. If you live happily. It is only because you are not consistent."

"[Evangelical theologian] Francis Schaeffer explains this point well," Craig continued. "The modern man, says Schaeffer, lives in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God. Here, life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value and purpose. Now, modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world. Therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value and purpose, even though he has no right to since he does not believe in God."

Craig explained that the modern man living in the bottom floor "gives lip service to atheism" but "lives as though life were important and as if it really mattered what he does."

"The human predicament is thus truly terrible. The atheistic worldview is insufficient to maintain a happy and consistent life. Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without purpose, value or significance," he said. "If we try to live consistently within the framework of the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. If instead we manage to live happily, it is only by giving the lie to our worldview. Atheism, therefore, cannot support a happy and consistent life."
Craig explained that even some of the world's most renowned atheist philosophers themselves have described a world without God as "absurd."

"Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding and everything in it is growing further and further apart and as it does so, it grows colder and colder and its energy is used up. Eventually, all the stars are burned out and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light, there will be no heat, there will be no life, only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space — a universe in ruins," Craig said.

"If God does not exist, then there is no ultimate purpose in life. If death stands with open arms at the end of life's trail, then what is the goal of life? Is it all for nothing? Is there no reason for life? What of the universe? Is it utterly pointless?" the apologist asked. "If its destiny is a cold grave in the recesses of outer space, then the answer must be yes, it is pointless. There is no goal, no purpose for the universe. The litter of a dead universe will just go on expanding and expanding forever."

Craig asserted that the fact that the world will die one day in the future is "not science fiction."

"As unimaginable as it may seem, this will happen. Not only is the light of each individual person doomed, the entire human race is destined to destruction. There is no escape, there is no hope. These plane scientific facts seem nearly incontestable. The question then becomes, what is the consequence of this?" he asked. "Many atheist thinkers have argued that it implies that human life itself becomes absurd. It means that the life we do have is without ultimate purpose, value or significance."

Craig stated that philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre have held that life lacks "purpose, value or significance" without God.

"I agree but I would add one thing. We have seen that if God does not exist than life is futile. If God does exist, then life is meaningful," Craig said. "Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live consistently and happily. It seems to me that even if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose theism.

"It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility and despair to life, meaningfulness and happiness."[/quote]

https://www.christianpost.com/news/william-lane-craig-atheism-cant-support-a-happy-and-consistent-life-215513/

More baseless nonsense by WLC, best known for not having the tomb he needs to support his nonsense about the resurrection.  WLC, like BS, must ignore reality for his false claims to work.  He must insist that, against all evidence, atheists are somehow lacking something.  He tries his best and all he has are lies.  He has to start off with a strawman atheist, a invention by a deceitful Christian made up in order to try to fantasize that all atheists are nihilists. 

I haven't found a write up of what the other two said.   

« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 11:35:22 AM by velkyn »
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Offline Jag

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #360 on: August 10, 2018, 01:05:38 PM »

Well, we can see the nonsense that Craig claimed thanks to a Christian website:

[quote]"Confronted with the human predicament, the only solution the atheist can offer is that we simply face the absurdity of life and live bravely," Craig said. "The fundamental problem with the solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within the framework of such a worldview. If you live consistently, you will not be happy. If you live happily. It is only because you are not consistent."

Good garbage, Craig is such a fool.

Counter: "Confronted with the human predicament (it exists for theists and atheists alike), the only solution the theist can offer is that we simply face the absurdity of life and live bravely because we expect to be rewarded for doing so in a second go round of existence that will last for eternity, in which our Earthly suffering is justified by endless <ambiguous mutters about the nature of Heaven>," Jag said. "The fundamental problem with the solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within the framework of such a worldview when comparing it to the world we actually occupy. If you live consistently, you will be reduced to waiting for God to send you a sign to direct all your decisions. You will have to rely on your own ability to interpret these signs, as you have no reason to expect them to be clear and unambiguous. If you live happily, it is only because you are not consistent - you will credit God for the good outcomes, and blame Satan for the poor ones, rather than taking full responsibility for your actions and choices. You will be as a slave to a hoped-for outcome, with no evidence to reliably depend on one. It will lead to doubts, and discomfort, and learning to rely on group-think and identity politics to sustain your beliefs."

See how easy that is?
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Offline jetson

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Re: Jeff Sessions Announces Religious Liberty Task Force
« Reply #361 on: August 10, 2018, 01:34:43 PM »

Well, we can see the nonsense that Craig claimed thanks to a Christian website:

[quote]"Confronted with the human predicament, the only solution the atheist can offer is that we simply face the absurdity of life and live bravely," Craig said. "The fundamental problem with the solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within the framework of such a worldview. If you live consistently, you will not be happy. If you live happily. It is only because you are not consistent."

Good garbage, Craig is such a fool.

Counter: "Confronted with the human predicament (it exists for theists and atheists alike), the only solution the theist can offer is that we simply face the absurdity of life and live bravely because we expect to be rewarded for doing so in a second go round of existence that will last for eternity, in which our Earthly suffering is justified by endless <ambiguous mutters about the nature of Heaven>," Jag said. "The fundamental problem with the solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within the framework of such a worldview when comparing it to the world we actually occupy. If you live consistently, you will be reduced to waiting for God to send you a sign to direct all your decisions. You will have to rely on your own ability to interpret these signs, as you have no reason to expect them to be clear and unambiguous. If you live happily, it is only because you are not consistent - you will credit God for the good outcomes, and blame Satan for the poor ones, rather than taking full responsibility for your actions and choices. You will be as a slave to a hoped-for outcome, with no evidence to reliably depend on one. It will lead to doubts, and discomfort, and learning to rely on group-think and identity politics to sustain your beliefs."

See how easy that is?

Craig is indeed a fool. He likely knows very well that the atheist position is far more logical and rational, and does not require any "foolishness" or apologetics to explain. How many gods have to die before humans realize that they will all eventually die?