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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: Star Stuff on February 08, 2016, 09:14:37 PM

Title: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 08, 2016, 09:14:37 PM
In the past I have posted various graphics which illustrate how - according to Christianity - God's "revelation" of himself to us was limited to one single pin-prick on earth geographically, and in time, but this animated graphic I recently saw really drives this home.  Please watch the whole thing, it really is amazing:

http://www.vox.com/2016/1/30/10872878/world-population-map

Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did?  I mean I don't actually accept/believe that your cartoon character of a god exists, or that the evolved & imagined character of Jesus actually existed, or if he did, he was just some eccentric nut-case, but if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?

This was one thing that always bothered me when I was a Christian, and the lack of a good explanation played a role in my awakening from the drunken stupor of faith.  I hope & trust that you too will wake up from said false beliefs, and abandon them, accepting instead a purely naturalistic world view.  We dearly need more rational people on this planet.




(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg.html)








Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 08, 2016, 09:33:15 PM
As a JW kid, it worried me a lot that we would never reach everyone before Armageddon. I knew there were not nearly enough of us and we were not convincing hardly anyone. Our rate of conversion was, like 1% if that. All that house to housing for such a tiny return.

Now I think this was a crazy idea to even put in a child's head. I wish I could go back in time and, as a 10 year old tell every adult JW: "If Jehovah God wants everyone in the world to know his good news, don't you think he is much better equipped to tell it than we are?"  :angel:
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: 12 Monkeys on February 09, 2016, 10:35:26 AM
God knew eventually the Romans would accept Jesus,spread Christianity through Europe. God knew the Spanish and Europeans would spread it to the new world. God however was not concerned about the trail of a few hundred million dead,just a cost of spreading the word. God,you must remember is not shy about killing things to get his message out. Does that about cover the Christian response?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Boots on February 09, 2016, 12:31:35 PM
bm (to check the movie later)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 09, 2016, 02:28:43 PM
Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did?

This does bring to mind the related question of The Salvation Gap - what of the people after the Fall and before the resurrection of Jesus?  Having any gap in time between the Fall and the offer for salvation seems to be a poor decision on par with this geographically limited revelation issue.  But GotQuestions response to the salvation gap issue might lend some insight into the geographical question:

Quote from: The Imaginations of Others Who Do Not Wish to Think Too Hard About Stuff
God's requirement of what must be believed is based on the amount of revelation He has given mankind up to that time. This is called progressive revelation.
http://www.gotquestions.org/before-Jesus.html

Basically, as far as I can tell, slow revelation is apparently part of The PlanTM.  According to the silly, silly people over at GotQuestions, what's necessary for salvation is faith, and the thing to have faith in is god.  The way you have faith in god is to believe god.  What god says - that is, the content of belief - changes over time.

I suppose I shouldn't knock the silly, silly people over at GotQuestions too much on this one though.  I stand to benefit from such a view.  After all, I utterly and completely believe absolutely every single bit of communication god has given to me.  I have not once disbelieved a single thing that god has told me.  My faith is strong.  The fact that 'progressive revelation' looks indistinguishable from "different people making different shit up at different times in different places" should be no cause for concern.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: BibleStudent on February 09, 2016, 03:50:22 PM

Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did? 

Could you kindly elaborate? What did God do, or what did He fail to do, that you deem it to be the "absolute worst job possible?"

Quote
This was one thing that always bothered me when I was a Christian, and the lack of a good explanation played a role in my awakening from the drunken stupor of faith.  I hope & trust that you too will wake up from said false beliefs, and abandon them, accepting instead a purely naturalistic world view.

Perhaps if you made a list of the things that naturalism is unable to presently explain, you may realize just how questionable it is as a worldview. In order to view it as thee worldview, you must assume that it is capable of answering significant questions, such as how the universe began, how life began, consciousness, reason, logic, morals.... and on and on and on and on the list goes. It is, in large part, nothing more than a science-of-the-gaps position to hold.

"Contrary to the basic assumptions of naturalists, naturalism is a matter of one’s belief. To argue, for instance, that ‘there is no God’ or that ‘the material universe is all that there is’ are statements that cannot possibly be empirically verified; science is not equipped to discover that nature is all there is or ever will be. So, contrary to their own rules of thinking regarding science, they make statements that are far beyond the realm of testable science. Their views and methodology are self-contradictory." http://allanturner.com/magazine/Moyer014.html


Quote
We dearly need more rational people on this planet.

There is certainly nothing irrational about a belief in God if that is what you are implying. The fact that you and others decline to share in that belief does not make it irrational. In fact, the lack of a naturalistic worldview to explain so much is, in itself, a contributing factor for God to be a rational belief.


Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: YouCantHandleTheTruth on February 09, 2016, 04:08:16 PM
In the past I have posted various graphics which illustrate how - according to Christianity - God's "revelation" of himself to us was limited to one single pin-prick on earth geographically, and in time, but this animated graphic I recently saw really drives this home.  Please watch the whole thing, it really is amazing:

http://www.vox.com/2016/1/30/10872878/world-population-map

Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did?  I mean I don't actually accept/believe that your cartoon character of a god exists, or that the evolved & imagined character of Jesus actually existed, or if he did, he was just some eccentric nut-case, but if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?

This was one thing that always bothered me when I was a Christian, and the lack of a good explanation played a role in my awakening from the drunken stupor of faith.  I hope & trust that you too will wake up from said false beliefs, and abandon them, accepting instead a purely naturalistic world view.  We dearly need more rational people on this planet.




(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg.html)

I like this point a lot.  Not only did he reach out to only one small segment of the world, but he ascended to heaven very quickly.  He could have stayed on earth and reached out to many generations in Israel and the Middle East - and that might have solidified people's beliefs over time.  It's very odd he would ascend to heaven quickly and leave it up to humans to convince people, and, as you say, not even do that much in the overwhelming majority of the world.  It's a huge red flag, but when you want to believe, it's so hard to let go, and you'll do anything to keep believing.  I was there myself, and I guess many others on here were there as well.  What so many Christians don't understand is that we don't view them that much differently from a cult like The People's Temple.  We see now that religions are basically cults to some degree, though some are way more restrictive than others, and have much fewer followers.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jetson on February 09, 2016, 04:09:03 PM
BS.

A case was presented, to which you seemingly cannot answer. Instead, you attempt to turn it around as though any discussion critical of a god or gods has no more merit. You are of course very wrong if you truly think this is the case. Gods have been proposed for centuries of human existence, none of which have any basis in reality as demonstrated by the very absence of anything remotely resembling a god or gods.

Mythical stories, regardless of their origin, or their persistence among humans have nothing to show beyond the stories. Nothing.

Your little act and set of questions is pretty childish. It also shows you know little to nothing about the mythologies you seem to think have a basis in reality outside of delusional belief.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 09, 2016, 04:47:30 PM
BS, can you address the main points of the OP instead of giving a wordy version of the schoolyard, "Oh yeah? Well, you can't come up with anything better, so that means I am right. So there!"

I may not know how to cure leprosy. But I do know that praying over them, touching them and sprinkling a dead bird's blood on them won't work.  BS, you are saying that if I can't cure leprosy I should be fine with the bird's blood thing. I may not know what the square root of 4,777,996,321 is. However,  I can tell you right now that it is not 2. But you are saying the equivalent of "Nah, nah, the answer is so 2, and if it is not 2, what is it and if you don't know what it is, how can you say it is not 2?"  :?

So, no, scientists, atheists, whoever, may not be able to tell you everything there is to know about the universe and give you all the answers to life's persistent questions. But none of that means that we have to default to the god of the bible. So far, no answers to anything have come from anyone's idea of god.

Actual unknown information about the world: factual descriptions of the solar system, instructions for how to invent new things, real factual useful information about the future (like dates of tsunamis or earthquakes so people can leave the day before), even the basics of how to avoid germs to prevent disease transmission--god neglected to explain any of that to people in all of the overly long sacred texts.

God did not even tell people anywhere that there were other inhabited continents on the other side of the globe from them. Both the Old World and the New World were surprised to encounter each other, not to mention the people of the Pacific. Maybe because he did not know any of that info himself?

Nah, had to be another really important and good reason for not explaining about washing hands and boiling water and keeping mosquitoes away from kids in malaria regions. Had to have a good reason for no heads up on the earthquakes. Would have saved millions of people from easily prevented suffering and death, but god must have had his reasons. He wanted to do things the best possible way. That has to be it.

Back to the OP: Is there a good reason for an all powerful, wise and loving god-being spending all his time and doing all his interactions with humans in that tiny area of the world? Why is it that god is so geographically confined as to avoid all world's the major population centers of the time? Is it wise or loving for god to completely ignore most of Europe, Africa, Asia and all of the Americas and the Pacific for over a thousand years?

It is a strange coincidence that gods (every god, not just yours, BS) can only travel as fast and as far as the contemporary transportation and communication technology developed by humans. Doesn't that seem a bit curious to you? I would love to have a sensible answer to why gods can't climb mountains or cross oceans without human help.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 09, 2016, 05:08:39 PM
I do not know the value of x, therefore it is rational to believe that x = 4.
The value of x cannot be flobort, therefore it is rational to believe that x = 4.
Fluid dynamics fails to provide an answer for the cube root of pi, therefore it is rational to believe that underwater basket weaving can provide an answer.

BibleStudent, I suspect that you can quite readily see what is wrong with the above statements.  What I don't think you understand is, at least from my perspective, your god-belief looks no different than those above statements.

Naturalism does not know the explanation for x, therefore it is rational to believe that the explanation for x is god.

I know, I know...the above doesn't capture it.  The "naturalism doesn't explain everything" bit is only a part of your god-belief.

Perhaps, BibleStudent, you should consider making a list of all the reasons why you have this god-belief, and see just how many of those reasons to the form of "because otherwise I cannot explain x, therefore god as an explanation for x is rational."  Give it a whirl.  Doesn't have to be here.  It's really just for your own edification.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on February 09, 2016, 08:56:42 PM
BS, considering your god said that anyone who doesn't worship it "Correctly" is damned to eternal torture, I do hope you can figure out what it did wrong in announcing itself to ignorant men in one tiny area.

You know, why was this god so stupid not to use "mass communication"?  And then blame humans for its omniscien/omnipotent failure? 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 09, 2016, 09:18:37 PM
Could you kindly elaborate? What did God do, or what did He fail to do, that you deem it to be the "absolute worst job possible?"

Sure, I'd be happy to elaborate, although I find it odd that further elaboration should be required, as it's painfully clear.

According to one of the foundational tenets of Christianity, getting "saved" (a purely nonsensical, superstitious, infantile concept) and getting into "heaven" (a purely childish, superstitious concept), require accepting God's "son" (what is this - Bonanza?) as your personal lord & saviour.  It's clearly spelled out in your bible (that ridiculous book you've been hypnotized by): John 14: 6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

So it is unambiguously clear that knowing of, believing in and accepting as personal lord & saviour this Jesus character is the ONLY way to get a ticket into eternal bliss and avoiding eternal torture, yet, your god fully ignored giving this option to the majority of humanity because they were born at the wrong place & time.  So either your god is completely inept, insane, or imaginary, take your pick.



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There is certainly nothing irrational about a belief in God if that is what you are implying.

Yes there is.



Quote
The fact that you and others decline to share in that belief does not make it irrational.

That is true. It is irrational all by itself.  The fact that a whole bunch of people hold this belief does not make it rational either, this logical fallacy is known as "argumentum ad populum (http://www.logicalfallacies.info/relevance/appeals/appeal-to-popularity/)", but I'm sure you know that already.


Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 09, 2016, 09:48:40 PM
I do not "decline to share" in god-belief. I am incapable of sharing in it.

Just like I am incapable of sharing in a belief in Bigfoot, alien abduction, ghosts, the mummy's curse, demons, Klingons, chubacabras, Tinkerbell, bakas, genies who live inside of magic lamps and grant wishes, departed spirits who speak through Ouija boards, psychic healers who pull diseased organs out of people with their bare hands, horse whisperers, or beanstalks with castles and giants at the top. I am not able to believe in things that are blatantly untrue or have no evidence whatsoever to support them.

To say that I "decline to share" in religious belief makes it sound as if there is a real god is sitting there, Yoda-like, clearly visible and large as life, floating in front of me like a turkey on a giant platter.  Everyone around me can also see and hear him-- other people, no matter what religion, all describe god the same exact way as I see him.

He is tells me all these marvelous things about the universe, like how to predict earthquakes, and how to develop a vaccine for malaria. I create the vaccine and warn people about upcoming earthquakes. And so on. Millions of lives are saved. I thus have plenty of concrete, convincing evidence that he is the real deal. And after all that, I walk away, shaking my head at this very obvious, visible, incredibly knowledgeable god person, saying, "No thank you, god. I see you and I hear you. I know that you have proven to me that you are the real deal. But because I am arrogant, stubborn and like to sin, I decline to share in believing in you."

That is such a silly scenario that it was actually hard for me to type it out. There is nothing like that wise, useful god that everyone can see and hear clearly. There is no evidence or proof. There are only imaginary stories in old books, wishful thinking, complicated nonsensical arguments, occasional coincidences, plus the human ability to pretend that things are real when they are not.

I am supposed to agree to the existence of a invisible powerful magical being because it says so in a book, and because it would be nice if it was real? I would rather believe in Aladdin's genie or Tinkerbell, then. To my knowledge, neither ever advocated slavery or genocide.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 09, 2016, 10:56:42 PM
In addition, I would want to point out that the video linked in my OP begins at just over 2000 years ago, so it doesn't even show or account for all of the millions (billions?) of humans who lived before that over a very long period of time all over the planet.  Reflect on the fact that there were humans on the Australian continent 50,000 years ago!


(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/HumanMigration.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/HumanMigration.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 10, 2016, 12:06:22 AM

Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did? 

Could you kindly elaborate? What did God do, or what did He fail to do, that you deem it to be the "absolute worst job possible?"

Quote
This was one thing that always bothered me when I was a Christian, and the lack of a good explanation played a role in my awakening from the drunken stupor of faith.  I hope & trust that you too will wake up from said false beliefs, and abandon them, accepting instead a purely naturalistic world view.

Perhaps if you made a list of the things that naturalism is unable to presently explain, you may realize just how questionable it is as a worldview. In order to view it as thee worldview, you must assume that it is capable of answering significant questions, such as how the universe began, how life began, consciousness, reason, logic, morals.... and on and on and on and on the list goes. It is, in large part, nothing more than a science-of-the-gaps position to hold.

"Contrary to the basic assumptions of naturalists, naturalism is a matter of one’s belief. To argue, for instance, that ‘there is no God’ or that ‘the material universe is all that there is’ are statements that cannot possibly be empirically verified; science is not equipped to discover that nature is all there is or ever will be. So, contrary to their own rules of thinking regarding science, they make statements that are far beyond the realm of testable science. Their views and methodology are self-contradictory." http://allanturner.com/magazine/Moyer014.html


Quote
We dearly need more rational people on this planet.

There is certainly nothing irrational about a belief in God if that is what you are implying. The fact that you and others decline to share in that belief does not make it irrational. In fact, the lack of a naturalistic worldview to explain so much is, in itself, a contributing factor for God to be a rational belief.

Absolutely none of this answers the criticism of your flavor of "God".

Many variants of god could choose not to reveal themselves at all, and a naturalistic look at the world, shows a god who doesn't reveal itself.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Astreja on February 10, 2016, 12:35:08 AM
I do not "decline to share" in god-belief. I am incapable of sharing in it.

I am also incapable of sharing in it.  My rational mind tells Me that it is absurd and primitive, the work of humans who did not yet possess the tools and knowledge to come up with better answers to questions like "Where did lightning come from?"  "What are those speckles of light in the night sky?"  "Why did my grandmother die after eating that plant?"

God-based hypotheses explain nothing worthwhile with any rigour or demonstrable accuracy.  They merely pin us to our own ignorance and impede our discovery of the universe.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Basset Hound on February 11, 2016, 01:49:36 AM
Because the Bibble God, and the Crosstian god and the Mohammer Mud god and variants, are mere versions of a little Canaanite demon-god called Yahooey.  the last and least of the sons of Elyon the Shitter.

Basset Hound

(THERE IS NO DOG BUT DOG!!  AND SNOOPY IS HIS PROPHET!!!)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 11, 2016, 09:42:02 AM
God-based hypotheses explain nothing worthwhile with any rigour or demonstrable accuracy.  They merely pin us to our own ignorance and impede our discovery of the universe.

God-based hypotheses seem to, more often than not, conflate explaining with labeling.  A theist will label a phenomenon or set of phenomenon as 'work of god' and mistake that for an explanation of a phenomenon or set of phenomenon.

I suspect that some theists - and I would guess BibleStudent is one of them - would imagine that some people believe that 'dark matter' is an explanation of something.  It isn't.  It is a label for something that is currently unexplained.  We have the label dark matter to reference a particular set of phenomenon that we've observed and are exploring.  God-based hypotheses do the labeling, but forget to do the exploring part, which happens, I think, because of the aforementioned conflation of explanation and label.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: stuffin on February 11, 2016, 03:33:33 PM
Once again, the lack of an explanation for everything is proof the is a god.    :angel:
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 11, 2016, 06:43:41 PM
^^^And god remains the thing that does not need any explanation..... :?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 13, 2016, 10:13:52 PM
Shorter Bible Student: "SQUIRREL!"

Perhaps if you made a list of the things that naturalism is unable to presently explain, you may realize just how questionable it is as a worldview. In order to view it as thee worldview, you must assume that it is capable of answering significant questions, such as how the universe began, how life began, consciousness, reason, logic, morals.... and on and on and on and on the list goes. It is, in large part, nothing more than a science-of-the-gaps position to hold.

There's a Great Big Difference between "god of the gaps" and "science of the gaps:" science has a long and astonishingly successful track record of filling in gaps of knowledge with actual, demonstrably valid knowledge.  In fact, filling in gaps of knowledge is what science is for.  No other proposed way of knowing even comes close.  Can you list ten things any religion has discovered about "the supernatural" in the last thousand years?  You guys still can't even provide a meaningful definition of the word.  I trust that, given the fact that we're communicating via a global computer network, you'd admit that science has made numerous advances in knowledge within that period. 
 
"God of the gaps" on the other hand, is a thought-stopper.  Let's say you're confronted by some gap in knowledge:

Q: "Why can't the Chicago Cubs win a World Series?"

A: "God doesn't want them to win."

Great, we're all done here, right?  Explain that, naturalism!  Except...you haven't learned a single thing about baseball, the Cubs, or anything else.  Nor can you now make any useful predictions about what will happen with the Cubs or the World Series in the future.  If the Cubs win the next World Series, you'll just say, "Well, God changed His mind!"  If you were the Cubs' coach or the owner of the team, you couldn't propose any method that would increase the likelihood of your team winning a World Series.  You can't even actually show that Yahweh or any other deity doesn't want the Cubs to win a World Series, such as by inviting the deity to interview on ESPN.  All throwing "God" into a knowledge gap does is paper over your ignorance and let you pretend you've got an answer.

Let's take that list of "inexplicables" you offered and show how invoking Yahweh doesn't actually provide answers:

How the universe began: Christians either just borrow scientific cosmology lock stock and barrel (like William Lane Craig), or claim that ancient fanciful tales are Da Troof.  Either way, nothing is learned about cosmic origins.  Furthermore, Christianity just punts: this "finely tuned" abode for life just came from another ("supernatural") "finely-tuned" abode for ("supernatural") life, "Heaven."  Where did that come from, and how did it get to be "fine-tuned" for divine and supernatural life?  LA LA LA LA LAAAA, CAN'T HEEAAARRR YOUUUUU, MOVE ALONG!"

How life began: Same thing: either borrow scientific evolution (WLC) or propose a miraculous super-evolution, a few hundred "kinds" evolving into millions of species in a thousand years or so (Answers in Genesis) to paper over a giant hole in an ancient flood myth.  Ultimately, life supposedly came from....other ("supernatural") life, and let's not ask where the "supernatural" life came from.

Consciousness: No actual explanation, consciousness is "just there" in the person of Yahweh, even if the particular sort of anthropomorphic consciousness he's supposed to have makes no sense in the context of a being that is supposedly non-anthropomorphic (he couldn't actually be fitted for a business suit, could he?) and by nature metaphysically solitary.

Reason, logic: No explanation.  Either these things apply to Yahweh (in which case, he cannot serve as their explanation; they're ontologically prior to him), or he invented them.  If the latter: what were things (including Yahweh) like before, when there was no such thing as reason or logic?

Morals: Same as above.  Either morals apply to Yahweh (he's "good" according to some standard), or he invented them.  If the former, then morality is ontologically prior to Yahweh.  If the latter, then they're arbitrary (he could just as easily have said that eating beef was "an abomination unto the Lord" as eating pork, etc.) and subjective.

"Contrary to the basic assumptions of naturalists, naturalism is a matter of one’s belief. To argue, for instance, that ‘there is no God’ or that ‘the material universe is all that there is’ are statements that cannot possibly be empirically verified;

Bollocks.  Both statements explain and predict how reality actually behaves.  Sure, a philosopher or theologian could argue that Apollo could be living in a little Greek temple on a planet orbiting Aldebaran or something (and no one can disprove that), but when it comes to living in reality we're all pretty safe acting on the premise that there is no Apollo, until he actually shows up in one way or another.[1]  You profess to believe in an omniscient, all-powerful deity who wuvs you oooooooh, sooo much.  But, should you start feeling pains in your chest or abdomen (appendix region) you will behave exactly like an atheist: call an ambulance, instead of expecting an angel to show up.  Sure, you'll pray to Yahweh and ask him to "guide the hand of the surgeon," but you know better than to suggest that people who make such prayers actually get better outcomes from surgery (that would be statistically measurable).

You live in the same godless Universe we do.  Whether you like it or not.  Yahweh can't ever be more than a collection of thoughts in your head.

science is not equipped to discover that nature is all there is or ever will be. So, contrary to their own rules of thinking regarding science, they make statements that are far beyond the realm of testable science. Their views and methodology are self-contradictory." http://allanturner.com/magazine/Moyer014.html

"Nature" is just a label we use for "all that stuff out there."  You add another label ("supernatural") for other stuff you say is out there (Yahweh, angels, etc.), while denying that the superdupernatural, the hypernatural, the trans-supernatural etc. exist.  Notice how those last three are just multisyllabic chatter with no actual content?  "Supernatural" is the same. 

Let's say you're confronted with something beyond current understanding, like a flying saucer that can make 90-degree turns at supersonic speed while engaging in (apparently) reactionless propulsion (it doesn't have to shoot or push something in one direction in order to move in the opposite direction).  Is it "supernatural?"  Or is it "natural," but behaving in accordance with physics beyond our understanding?  Electric lights and microwave ovens would have looked like supernatural sorcery to any Biblical prophet.  How could you tell if it's "supernatural" or not?

Or, imagine that Lucifer decides to land on the White House lawn tomorrow.  Being in a good mood, he allows scientists to examine him, and does his best to help them in their inquiries.  Since he has to work in some way (he's "Lucifer" rather than Parvati or Ma'at or the Tao or Yahweh or Freya or Hephaestus or Lady Gaga), and has a particular nature (there are things he can and can't do, etc.), let's say the scientists eventually figure out how he works.  They discover that he's made of interacting pico-vortices of Spirit-Plenum (or whatever), and they write equations that explain its behavior.  Is Lucifer still "supernatural?"

There is certainly nothing irrational about a belief in God if that is what you are implying. The fact that you and others decline to share in that belief does not make it irrational.

Nope, our unbelief is not what makes "belief in God" irrational.  The fact that it is not consistent with how reality behaves and can't be used to make useful predictions, is.

In fact, the lack of a naturalistic worldview to explain so much is, in itself, a contributing factor for God to be a rational belief.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.  It looks like you're saying, "If you don't have a naturalistic worldview that actually explains so much, believing in Yahweh seems rational."  The fact of the matter is, we do have a naturalistic worldview that "explains so much," so, in the words of Laplace, we have no need of that (Yahweh) hypothesis.
 1. The cool thing about being rational skeptics is, we can change our minds and update our understanding of reality if something like that ever happens.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 14, 2016, 11:46:35 AM
Could you kindly elaborate? What did God do, or what did He fail to do, that you deem it to be the "absolute worst job possible?"
Isn't it obvious?  Every single thing your god supposedly did in the Bible - not counting grandiose claims made by people trying to figure out how the world came about - happened in a tiny section of the world.  There are states in the US which cover more geographical area than YHWH did.  So while Star Stuff's statement might be a bit hyperbolic - it wasn't the absolute worst job possible - it is quite clear that YHWH really, really sucks at this whole "being a god" schtick.  I think some humans could do a better job at being gods than YHWH did.

Quote from: BibleStudent
Perhaps if you made a list of the things that naturalism is unable to presently explain, you may realize just how questionable it is as a worldview. In order to view it as thee worldview, you must assume that it is capable of answering significant questions, such as how the universe began, how life began, consciousness, reason, logic, morals.... and on and on and on and on the list goes. It is, in large part, nothing more than a science-of-the-gaps position to hold.
Nice attempt to turn the "god of the gaps" argument around, but unfortunately for you, it still backfired.  It's certainly true that science hasn't explained everything, or even close to it, but it's done a better job at explaining things than anything else humans have come up with, which includes the encapsulated ignorance collectively known as "gods".  It's kind of like the old saying about democracy, how it's the worst system of governance, except for everything else that has already been tried.

It may be that someone, in the future, will come up with a better way to explain things than science and the scientific method, but that does not justify buying into an ancient belief system which worked so poorly at explaining the world that its own adherents kept trying to kill each other off when they came up with alternatives that one group or another wasn't willing to accept.  No amount of quibbling over what science can't yet explain will change the fact that it has explained countless things which your own belief system never did, and never could, and that it has done so in a way which allows us to use those things to our own benefit, rather than simply living in fear of them.

Quote from: BibleStudent
There is certainly nothing irrational about a belief in God if that is what you are implying. The fact that you and others decline to share in that belief does not make it irrational. In fact, the lack of a naturalistic worldview to explain so much is, in itself, a contributing factor for God to be a rational belief.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is fundamentally irrational to believe that a god - any god - worshiped by people who lived thousands of years ago can serve as an explanation for things which science has not yet explained, considering that this same god failed to explain all of the things that science has in fact explained.  Every time science explained something that religion had come up with a pseudo-explanation for, such as lightning or disease, it was a body blow to the power and prestige of religion.  It is no accident that the power of religion in the world started declining at the same time that scientific methodology was devised.  And whether you like it or not, it will continue to decline, because science is far, far better at explaining things than religion ever will be, because religion was not invented to explain things in the first place.

Even you, who has stated that you will never give up your religion until science has explained every last thing that you do not understand, still rely on science rather than your religion for most things in your life.  Because despite your unwillingness to admit it, you know deep down that your religion can't explain those things either.  But facing that is so threatening that you can't even think about it, and so you focus your attention on what science has not yet explained in an attempt to avoid having to deal with it.  That's why you keep coming back here to argue with us, I bet.

If you were truly satisfied that your religion explained the things that science does not yet explain, you would be able to use the religious explanations rather than having to question the scientific ones.  Yet you never do that, and indeed, when someone challenges you to give a religious answer, you say something superficial and then change the subject.  Sometimes you don't even do that much.  And that's why I feel sorry for you.  It's like you have an itch that you can't scratch, but you aren't willing to let us scratch it either, and when we try to call you on it, you try to pretend that you don't have an itch at all.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 14, 2016, 01:20:11 PM
In the past I have posted various graphics which illustrate how - according to Christianity - God's "revelation" of himself to us was limited to one single pin-prick on earth geographically, and in time, but this animated graphic I recently saw really drives this home.  Please watch the whole thing, it really is amazing:

http://www.vox.com/2016/1/30/10872878/world-population-map (http://www.vox.com/2016/1/30/10872878/world-population-map)

Now, Christians, can you please explain why your god would do the absolute worst job possible at revealing himself as he did?  I mean I don't actually accept/believe that your cartoon character of a god exists, or that the evolved & imagined character of Jesus actually existed, or if he did, he was just some eccentric nut-case, but if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?


I predict the apologists here (and elsewhere) will just shirk-off the notion that god ignored the vast majority of humanity. What they will do (and this is what they ultimately always do), when apologetic arguments do not suffice, is pedal back to quoting the bible, paraphrasing the bible, or inserting bible type inspired notions while pretending they were their own original ideas. We see this all the time when debating with apologists at Balboa Park in San Diego. When a subject such as this is raised they will ultimately wind up reverting back to things like the following:

Why did this alleged god completely ignore nearly all of humanity?

Oh, god didn't ignore anyone. Just look around you. Look at your hand. Look at the trees. Look at a baby in the womb! Everything is so clearly designed. You just refuse to acknowledge it b/c you want to be your own god and not be held accountable for your actions. Humans have always known about god. It couldn't have come from nothing.

TAKEN FROM...
Quote
Romans 1 -

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


And why should we accept Paul's words as authoritative, as they clearly have? Well, b/c their interpretation says so of course. But science and religion have clearly different starting points, with conflicting agendas. Science begins with observations and questions, working toward demonstrable and/or predictable results while continually updating and seeking to falsify hypotheses or theories that don't fit the data. Religion starts with it's conclusion (or multiple conclusions) and works backwards towards confirmation of the desired result, since it's faith is fixed on basically unchanging old books that claim infallible divine authority. The two approaches couldn't be further apart and yet when challenges such as these arise the person of faith uses the first approach only in so far as it does not conflict with his/her foregone conclusion (thus practicing a double standard). And instead of simply admitting "I don't know", when the evidence isn't conclusive one way or the other, he/she must have the answer right now. And thus the process of bible quoting or paraphrasing starts over since it is this initial presumption upon which their entire outlook rests.

-Always watch for the subtle, or not so subtle, religious text insertions (along with personal interpretation of course). The belief in it's magical powers nearly always bring about it's quotations or paraphrasing in one form or another.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 02:35:55 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes. Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 14, 2016, 04:10:14 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes. Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.
Did it ever occur to you that these revelations may be imagined by you?
One thing I do when discussing this topic with my delusional mother is ask her to ask a question in real time, like when her MacBook wasnt working, told her to ask yahweh how to get it to work. Close personal relationships work that way, I have an actual conversation with my dad a few times a week.

She took the MacBook to the Apple Store. Seems yahweh doesn't know much about Apple products.

Get what I'm sayin MM?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 14, 2016, 04:12:39 PM
^^Which is all well and good, but why then doesn't your god simply reveal himself to everyone?  It would take away the uncertainty and the doubt, and would leave people better informed and able to make more effective choices as to whether he was worth worshiping.  As it stands, the situation is almost farcical.

What is the point of asserting that you're certain when you have nothing you can show to anyone else?  How is that any different from a person who is certain that his god told him to shoot up an abortion clinic, or a person who is certain that her god told her to drown her children?  Or the people who are certain that their god told them to fly airliners into buildings, or those who are certain that their god told them to strap explosives to their bodies and blow up "the enemy"?

It's easy for a person to be certain...but certainty is not the same as knowledge.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 14, 2016, 04:16:38 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

So this "god" would reveal itself to you and not others?  I'm wondering if you see a problem with that.



Quote
As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes.

Perhaps your "certainty" about something which you simply cannot be certain about, paves the way for your other flawed conclusions.


Quote
Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.

Replace the word "god" with the word "Mithras" and see if you still have the same sense that it is worthy of your worship.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 04:22:05 PM

What is the point of asserting that you're certain when you have nothing you can show to anyone else? 

In this instance, it was really just to confirm that I don't have the answers you all desperately seek about why God did/didn't, should/shouldn't etc. My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 14, 2016, 04:27:51 PM
My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 04:36:11 PM
My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.

Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 14, 2016, 04:46:09 PM
Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.

So you feel that my "knowing" that the earth is round is equivalent to your "knowing" that your god is real?  Sorry, that doesn't fly.

Let me hold up a mirror for you;  imagine meeting someone who "knows" that crystals have healing powers, for they've experienced it themselves.  Now see how your "knowing" appears to us.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 14, 2016, 04:48:17 PM
My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.

Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.
You would require us to disregard evidence.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 04:54:09 PM
Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.

So you feel that my "knowing" that the earth is round

Do you know its round? Or do you believe it very strongly? What is the difference between knowing and believing?

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 04:55:17 PM
BM. This should be interesting, watching magicmiles argue against a spherical (more or less) Earth.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 04:57:41 PM
My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.

Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.
You would require us to disregard evidence.

And for me to stop believing in God would require me to disregard the evidence I perceive. Amongst other thing

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 04:58:29 PM
BM. This should be interesting, watching magicmiles argue against a spherical (more or less) Earth.

Missing the point. I very strongly believe the earth is round.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 04:58:54 PM
And for me to stop believing in God would require me to disregard the evidence I perceive. Amongst other thing

For us to start believing in your god, we'd need to disregard actual, objective evidence, along with rationality and thought.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 14, 2016, 05:02:53 PM
Do you know its round? Or do you believe it very strongly?

I know it to be round.

Quote
What is the difference between knowing and believing?

I don't think that you're really posing that as a genuine question, you're just playing games because you know that you don't "know" about your god.  We're also running into semantics with the word belief.  It can be used in a way which represents certainty ("I believe the earth is round"), but can also be used in a way which the belief is not based on reason or evidence, but rather faith (belief without evidence).  When it comes to the matter of god though, as well as the healing powers of crystals, the word belief obviously means belief without evidence.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:04:20 PM
And for me to stop believing in God would require me to disregard the evidence I perceive. Amongst other thing

For us to start believing in your god, we'd need to disregard actual, objective evidence, along with rationality and thought.

What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence? Contrast it to some evidence I might put forward, and explain what makes your evidence more real than mine.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 14, 2016, 05:06:00 PM
My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.

Tell me one thing you "know", and I'm pretty sure I can build an argument that you only 'believe' it.
You would require us to disregard evidence.

And for me to stop believing in God would require me to disregard the evidence I perceive. Amongst other thing
You havent presented anything to perceive.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:11:21 PM
What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence?

Define your god in a clear, concise, coherent manner, and then we might have something to talk about. Note: definitions explain what things are, and not what they aren't.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 14, 2016, 05:12:00 PM
What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence?


After all this time here you still come out with this fallacy?  You are the one making the claim, so it is you who are saddled with providing evidence for your claims. 

"I claim that fairies are real; where's your evidence that they aren't?"
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:13:19 PM
Do you know its round? Or do you believe it very strongly?

I know it to be round.

Quote
What is the difference between knowing and believing?

I don't think that you're really posing that as a genuine question, you're just playing games because you know that you don't "know" about your god.  We're also running into semantics with the word belief.  It can be used in a way which represents certainty ("I believe the earth is round"), but can also be used in a way which the belief is not based on reason or evidence, but rather faith (belief without evidence).  When it comes to the matter of god though, as well as the healing powers of crystals, the word belief obviously means belief without evidence.

Do you believe the evidence you rely on for your worldview is more valid than the evidence I rely on? Or do you know it?

You might call it semantics and non-genuine, I simply suspect you're falling victim to pre-conceived biases in the same way you claim Christians are.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:14:02 PM
"I claim that fairies are real; where's your evidence that they aren't?"

He'll just say your belief doesn't impact him, so he's "taking the high road" and letting you "believe what you want to believe", or something to that effect. Essentially, he'll use that as an excuse to put himself on a pedestal (and put us down).
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:21:42 PM
What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence?

Define your god in a clear, concise, coherent manner, and then we might have something to talk about. Note: definitions explain what things are, and not what they aren't.

You said:


For us to start believing in your god, we'd need to disregard actual, objective evidence, along with rationality and thought.

You have mentioned, in that post, actual objective evidence that needs to be disregarded in order to believe in God. If I am not mistaken, you are making a positive assertion. So, I'm asking for an example of the evidence you assert. 

Perhaps you simply wrote something you now wish to distance yourself from? Because atheism is a lack of belief, not a belief?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:24:07 PM
<snip>

Is it really so hard for you to provide a definition for your god?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:28:36 PM
<snip>

Is it really so hard for you to provide a definition for your god?

Not at all. God is the eternal spirit that spoke the universe into being.

Now please discuss the actual evidence that you would need to disregard in order to believe God exists.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:34:16 PM
Not at all. God is the eternal spirit that spoke the universe into being.

What does "eternal", "spirit", and "[speaking] the universe into being" mean?
Remember, I asked for clear, concise, and coherent.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:45:58 PM
Not at all. God is the eternal spirit that spoke the universe into being.

What does "eternal", "spirit", and "[speaking] the universe into being" mean?
Remember, I asked for clear, concise, and coherent.

Eternal - no beginning, no end. You knew that.

Spirit - a force, distinct from body (but able to inhabit a physical body)

Speaking the universe into being - God said "Let there be.." etc.

You're just stalling. You didn't seem to need these definitions when you made your claim.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:50:29 PM
Eternal - no beginning, no end. You knew that.

I had to be sure. Sometimes, you theists have weird definitions. For example, you say something is "materialistic" when you mean it's "based on physical evidence". Moreover, you say that as if it were a bad thing.

Spirit - a force, distinct from body (but able to inhabit a physical body)

That doesn't really say anything. As far as I know, that's gas being expelled through a person's anus. It produces a force, and it inhabits a physical body.

You're just stalling. You didn't seem to need these definitions when you made your claim.

I'm not stalling. I just want to make sure the evidence I present is relevant to your particular deity.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: magicmiles on February 14, 2016, 05:53:54 PM
Yeah, OK. Have a crack based on the definition I gave or don't bother.

What evidence do you need to disregard in order to believe in the God I defined, and how is that evidence any more real than evidence I proffer in support of that God?

I'll now be away for several hours minimum.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 14, 2016, 05:56:02 PM
<snip>
You're just stalling. You didn't seem to need these definitions when you made your claim.

You don't think it's important to know what we are talking about when discussing?

And the definitions or descriptions are not specific enough.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 14, 2016, 05:59:29 PM
Yeah, OK. Have a crack based on the definition I gave or don't bother.

What definition? You said your god was a bunch of adjectives with muddy definitions at best.
I don't understand why it's so difficult for theists who have a "personal relationship" with their particular deity to actually define their deity. It's almost like they can't; like their "personal relationship" is anything but.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 14, 2016, 06:49:30 PM
MM, you are avoiding the main point here. You are convinced that there is a god, a "spirit" being of some sort, that has always been around, that has the ability to say things with an invisible mouth and make those things happen in reality. You are also convinced that this god being is worthy of worship and is described in some version of the Christian bible. But you do not give us any criteria to determine that this god really exists outside of the imaginations of believers.

But let that slide for now and assume that you do have some criteria. Here is another problem.

Would you be able to tell your god from a different god, a demon or a powerful alien? How would you tell them apart? How can you be sure that the god being you think is real is not some other powerful being pretending to be the god being you think is real? 

Or are these the kinds of questions you are willing to just let slide?

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 14, 2016, 07:12:50 PM
Yeah, OK. Have a crack based on the definition I gave or don't bother.

What evidence do you need to disregard in order to believe in the God I defined, and how is that evidence any more real than evidence I proffer in support of that God?

I'll now be away for several hours minimum.

I'm not going to speak to what evidence you disregard in order to believe in the god that you define, but you do ignore logically contradictory aspects of the god you define in order to continue believing that he possess certain qualities.  Your belief that god possess infallible foreknowledge coupled with free will is one of those.  You have said in the past[1] that you unpack or unwrap the paradox differently, except, as far as I can tell, your method of unpacking or unwrapping is precisely the same as flat out ignoring the paradox.  As far as I can tell, you simply pretend that the paradox is not there.  You don't try to analyze the paradox...or, at the very least, you do try, but when you bump into the wall that would force you to drop one or both of the claims that lead to the paradox, you just shrug your shoulders and go "well, yeah, I know it doesn't make sense and that those two things can't really be simultaneously true, but they are simultaneously true, I guess, because I know they're simultaneously true, even though I know they can't be simultaneously true."

So I'll say that I think you do turn a blind eye to things that would cause you to question your certitude in the existence of god, yeah.  The predestination/free-will paradox is one of them.  I suspect the age of the universe and the biblical timeline issue is another thing that you turn a blind eye to.  I imagine that you also find it a little disconcerting that this god who truly, honestly, loves everyone and wants to save everyone, has been unable to convince everyone that he at least exists.  I'm guessing there is a lot more.  I'm guessing that you're aware of a lot of those as well.  And I'm guessing that you're ignoringunpacking those differently too.
 1. Thread reference: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,27510.msg635453.html#msg635453 (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,27510.msg635453.html#msg635453)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on February 14, 2016, 07:57:08 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes. Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.

This reminds me of a video  by Dr. Peter Boghossian called, "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know". It's all about Christians claiming things they can't possibly know, but claim they do. Very good video, never heard of this guy until I seen this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 14, 2016, 08:15:45 PM
Here's my two cents on the "defining God" debate...

We humans live on a tiny planet in a corner of a galaxy, which is one among billions of galaxies.  The universe as we've seen it so far is huge, and that's just what we've seen of it.  The way I see it, God is the being that caused the physical universe to be brought into existence.  If you're someone who believes in higher dimensions beyond the four dimensions of space-time we experience, it's possible that the realm God resides in, heaven, etc. is in one of these higher dimensions.

I'm not sure if any of you guys have ever read Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot (it's short but it's good), but I see it as being kind of like that! with us being like the square in Flatland and God (and other entities) being the sphere that shows him the higher dimensions.

This is the short (around 5 minutes) video that first introduced me to the whole Flatland thing and I think it sums it up well.  And regardless, it's a cool video overall. :).  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=C6kn6nXMWF0

Also, in regards to the OP, I started wondering the same thing recently.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 14, 2016, 08:56:30 PM
^^^You may well be right, CD. There may be such a being in another dimension who created this universe.

And, there is no sign of any such being, and no evidence that any such being has anything to do with us in our tiny corner of a galaxy among millions of galaxies. So, that being could be a gigantic invisible higher dimensional pink unicorn the size of our universe. Or a tiny invisible higher dimensional amoeba the size of a human skin cell. Or anything else we can imagine or something we cannot even fathom.

The question is, why bother to speculate on something that could be anything, but shows no sign of existing? Sure, it's fun to imagine all the things that could have created the universe, but so what? At the end of the day, what is the point?  :-\
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 14, 2016, 09:02:07 PM
^^^You may well be right, CD. There may be such a being in another dimension who created this universe.

And, there is no sign of any such being, and no evidence that any such being has anything to do with us in our tiny corner of a galaxy among millions of galaxies. So, that being could be a gigantic invisible higher dimensional pink unicorn the size of our universe. Or a tiny invisible higher dimensional amoeba the size of a human skin cell. Or anything else we can imagine or something we cannot even fathom.

The question is, why bother to speculate on something that could be anything, but shows no sign of existing? Sure, it's fun to imagine all the things that could have created the universe, but so what? At the end of the day, what is the point?  :-\

I think the same reason people speculate on anything, such as theoretical physics (which I'm a huge fan of).  Whether you're theistic or atheistic, people often try to search for meaning in something higher than ourselves, since we are all mostly confined to our little blue rock.  Since there's so much of our universe we haven't seen yet, there's still a lot to discover.  Maybe it will reveal ghere's a planet of angels that hops between universes, or wormholes can be portals to other universes.  We speculate on things in our grasp to understand the universe and our place in it no matter what our theological beliefs are.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 14, 2016, 10:37:22 PM
In this instance, it was really just to confirm that I don't have the answers you all desperately seek about why God did/didn't, should/shouldn't etc. My certainty that God is real and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.
The real question is, why are you certain when you're lacking so many of the answers?  I wouldn't be too confident in that certainty when you don't have anything you can show other people.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on February 14, 2016, 11:11:52 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes. Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.

Those "disconcerting things" are your brain raising red flags trying to warn you it's all bullshit.  You override those warning s to your detriment.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 15, 2016, 12:09:58 AM
^^^You may well be right, CD. There may be such a being in another dimension who created this universe.

And, there is no sign of any such being, and no evidence that any such being has anything to do with us in our tiny corner of a galaxy among millions of galaxies. So, that being could be a gigantic invisible higher dimensional pink unicorn the size of our universe. Or a tiny invisible higher dimensional amoeba the size of a human skin cell. Or anything else we can imagine or something we cannot even fathom.

The question is, why bother to speculate on something that could be anything, but shows no sign of existing? Sure, it's fun to imagine all the things that could have created the universe, but so what? At the end of the day, what is the point?  :-\

I think the same reason people speculate on anything, such as theoretical physics (which I'm a huge fan of).  Whether you're theistic or atheistic, people often try to search for meaning in something higher than ourselves, since we are all mostly confined to our little blue rock.  Since there's so much of our universe we haven't seen yet, there's still a lot to discover.  Maybe it will reveal ghere's a planet of angels that hops between universes, or wormholes can be portals to other universes.  We speculate on things in our grasp to understand the universe and our place in it no matter what our theological beliefs are.

Yes, theoretical physics. That last place for god to be hiding. Since everything we have found so far shows no evidence of any gods, I don't hold out much hope for physics. God does not want us to find him, if he exists. Cause if he wanted us to find him, we would have already.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 12:36:06 AM
^^^You may well be right, CD. There may be such a being in another dimension who created this universe.

And, there is no sign of any such being, and no evidence that any such being has anything to do with us in our tiny corner of a galaxy among millions of galaxies. So, that being could be a gigantic invisible higher dimensional pink unicorn the size of our universe. Or a tiny invisible higher dimensional amoeba the size of a human skin cell. Or anything else we can imagine or something we cannot even fathom.

The question is, why bother to speculate on something that could be anything, but shows no sign of existing? Sure, it's fun to imagine all the things that could have created the universe, but so what? At the end of the day, what is the point?  :-\

I think the same reason people speculate on anything, such as theoretical physics (which I'm a huge fan of).  Whether you're theistic or atheistic, people often try to search for meaning in something higher than ourselves, since we are all mostly confined to our little blue rock.  Since there's so much of our universe we haven't seen yet, there's still a lot to discover.  Maybe it will reveal ghere's a planet of angels that hops between universes, or wormholes can be portals to other universes.  We speculate on things in our grasp to understand the universe and our place in it no matter what our theological beliefs are.

Yes, theoretical physics. That last place for god to be hiding. Since everything we have found so far shows no evidence of any gods, I don't hold out much hope for physics. God does not want us to find him, if he exists. Cause if he wanted us to find him, we would have already.

I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 01:51:24 AM
CrystalDragon, as someone who actually studies physics, I'll tell you right now: your god is not in any of those things. You do not understand physics, period. If you did, you wouldn't be claiming such nonsense.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 02:00:16 AM
CrystalDragon, as someone who actually studies physics, I'll tell you right now: your god is not in any of those things. You do not understand physics, period. If you did, you wouldn't be claiming such nonsense.

It was just a thought experiment, I wasn't intending to be "claiming such nonsense" as if it was gospel truth or anything.  I have has an interest in physics, especially quantum and theoretical physics, for a while.  I was more proposing it as an idea to entertain rather than a serious scientific study.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 02:07:03 AM
Define quantum physics for me. What is it? What does it do?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 02:50:25 AM
Quantum physics is basically the branch of physics that involves the very small components of the universe, like atoms, molecules, quarks, strings (if you believe in string theory) etc, because they aerate so differently from the larger things in the universe like planets and galaxies.  Hence the desire for a "theory of everything" that details properties of physics that work on both levels.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 03:00:43 AM
Quantum physics is basically the branch of physics that involves the very small components of the universe, like atoms, molecules, quarks, strings (if you believe in string theory) etc, because they aerate so differently from the larger things in the universe like planets and galaxies. Hence the desire for a "theory of everything" that details properties of physics that work on both levels.

I'll assume the part I put in bold was an auto-correct typo.
Good. Now, where does your god fit in?
Cue "theory of everything".
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 03:12:01 AM
Quantum physics is basically the branch of physics that involves the very small components of the universe, like atoms, molecules, quarks, strings (if you believe in string theory) etc, because they aerate so differently from the larger things in the universe like planets and galaxies. Hence the desire for a "theory of everything" that details properties of physics that work on both levels.

I'll assume the part I put in bold was an auto-correct typo.
Good. Now, where does your god fit in?
Cue "theory of everything".

Thanks for catching that typo, I had meant to put "operate" but my iPad was being screwy and I didn't notice. :P

As for where God fits in, basically when God created the universe, he created it with natural laws that cause each force to operate as it does—gravity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, you name it, and the aspects of the universe on the very small end of things operate on different natural laws from the larger aspects.  There may be a "theory of everything" that can link those two workings of natural law into a single theory of how the universe works, we just haven't found it yet.  I really hope we do though.

On that note, have you ever watched Brian Greene's special "The Elegant Universe"?  It's a really great documentary on quantum mechanics is and string theory. :)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 03:33:40 AM
As for where God fits in, basically when God created the universe, he created it with natural laws that cause each force to operate as it does—gravity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, you name it, and the aspects of the universe on the very small end of things operate on different natural laws from the larger aspects.

So you're saying your god doesn't fit in quantum mechanics. It's an ineffable thing for which there is no evidence that you just assume exists. magicmiles smited me for this "rude inquiry", but the end-result is always the same: gods are defined as false and/or irrelevant.

On that note, have you ever watched Brian Greene's special "The Elegant Universe"? It's a really great documentary on quantum mechanics is and string theory.

I don't usually watch documentaries. I prefer studying those things myself.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Graybeard on February 15, 2016, 07:40:16 AM
I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.
I don't even know what that means.

(http://images.dailykos.com/images/207294/story_image/1275ckCOMIC-chagrin-falls-16---science.png?1455068695)

(Lifted from Screwtape's http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,29685.msg695562.html#msg695562)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 07:42:38 AM
I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.
I don't even know what that means.

It doesn't mean anything; it's total nonsense. That's how I know CrystalDragon doesn't know anything about quantum or theoretical physics.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 15, 2016, 08:10:35 AM
I don't usually watch documentaries. I prefer studying those things myself.

I watch Big Bang Theory.

Penny...Penny...Penny...Penny...Penny...
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 15, 2016, 08:39:33 AM
Whether you're theistic or atheistic, people often try to search for meaning in something higher than ourselves, since we are all mostly confined to our little blue rock.  Since there's so much of our universe we haven't seen yet, there's still a lot to discover.  Maybe it will reveal ghere's a planet of angels that hops between universes, or wormholes can be portals to other universes.  We speculate on things in our grasp to understand the universe and our place in it no matter what our theological beliefs are.

CrystalDragon -  what, to you, is the difference between 'speculating that there is a planet of angels' and 'believing that there is a planet of angels'?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: junebug72 on February 15, 2016, 09:43:31 AM

For us to start believing in your god, we'd need to disregard actual, objective evidence, along with rationality and thought.

What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence? Contrast it to some evidence I might put forward, and explain what makes your evidence more real than mine.

It seems like cognitive dissonance to say you can't prove a negative and then say you can. :police:

With all due respect. 

If I misspelled a word I would prefer to learn about it via PM.  Atheists do it all the time.  Even professional journalist misspell words and that's after being edited by an editor.  It doesn't mean they are wrong. 

Never forget atheists posit a claim; you don't need gods to be nice. ;)

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: junebug72 on February 15, 2016, 10:24:27 AM
How did we get from asking Christians to explain why god only revealed himself to a small speck of the actual population of the earth to physics.

Off topic as hell.   

Why not reveal yourself to the whole world instead of a small little tribe of Nomads?

Welcome to the forum CrystalDragon. :) I'm not a Whovian but I know a few.  My son's friends love Dr. Who.  I feel like I might have missed out on a good show there. 

I'm stuck on the History Channel and Life in Alaska.  I used to watch The Science Channel but they just keep playing back to back episodes of How it's Made.

Do you have any ideas why God only revealed himself to a small little speck of the population while allowing the rest of mankind to get it all wrong?



Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Graybeard on February 15, 2016, 10:28:37 AM
How did we get from asking Christians to explain why god only revealed himself to a small speck of the actual population of the earth to physics.

Off topic as hell.   

I am Graybeard and I endorse this message.

GB Mod.


despite being guilty of being diverted.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on February 15, 2016, 10:59:59 AM
What's an example of actual evidence that goes against Gods existence? Contrast it to some evidence I might put forward, and explain what makes your evidence more real than mine.

The evidence (no need to use a wiggle word "actual")that goes against his god's existence is that we have no evidence of the essential events in the bible happening and we do have evidence of completely different things happing in their place. 

you have claimed these events happened.  You have no evidence.  I have evidence that plain ol' geological processes have gone on, no god needed. 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 15, 2016, 11:19:19 AM
Here's my two cents on the "defining God" debate...

We humans live on a tiny planet in a corner of a galaxy, which is one among billions of galaxies.  The universe as we've seen it so far is huge, and that's just what we've seen of it.  The way I see it, God is the being that caused the physical universe to be brought into existence.  If you're someone who believes in higher dimensions beyond the four dimensions of space-time we experience, it's possible that the realm God resides in, heaven, etc. is in one of these higher dimensions.
First off, what does this have to do with explaining why this god only acted in an extremely small section of the world?  Second, this is mere speculation, based off of ignorance.  It's ultimately no different than people, five thousand years ago, speculating just what those bright points of light in the night sky were.

The space of possible answers is so immense that it makes the physical universe look small, so why single out one god which originated in a single small geographical area in the world, as opposed to, say, one of the gods from some other geographical area, but which didn't rise to prominence through the actions of those who believed in it?  This is ultimately no different than a detective in some city with a million people deciding to investigate John Q. Public for a crime, not because of any evidence pointing his way, but because he believed that JQP should be singled out for investigation rather than, you know, actually doing an investigation.

In other words, until you can actually examine these "higher dimensions"[1], there's no point to asserting that some being lives there.  In fact, asserting it anyway makes your claim weaker because you've set things up so your claim cannot be falsified.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
I'm not sure if any of you guys have ever read Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot (it's short but it's good), but I see it as being kind of like that! with us being like the square in Flatland and God (and other entities) being the sphere that shows him the higher dimensions.
I actually have read Flatland, so I'm surprised you're using this as an example.  Yeah, sure, the sphere was trying to pass itself off as a godlike being, but did you notice its behavior once the square started asking it about the dimensions beyond the third?  It denied that there was such a thing, commanded him to be silent repeatedly, and then when the square persisted in asking, actually sent the square back to Flatland.  Rather abruptly too, I might add.
 1. which, by the way, are not actually higher in the sense you're probably thinking
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 11:25:21 AM
I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.
I don't even know what that means.

It doesn't mean anything; it's total nonsense. That's how I know CrystalDragon doesn't know anything about quantum or theoretical physics.

As I stated before, it was more just a random idea I had rather than a serious thought for discussion  (Also I admit I was running on about three hours sleep and jet lag at the time. :p

Whether you're theistic or atheistic, people often try to search for meaning in something higher than ourselves, since we are all mostly confined to our little blue rock.  Since there's so much of our universe we haven't seen yet, there's still a lot to discover.  Maybe it will reveal ghere's a planet of angels that hops between universes, or wormholes can be portals to other universes.  We speculate on things in our grasp to understand the universe and our place in it no matter what our theological beliefs are.

CrystalDragon -  what, to you, is the difference between 'speculating that there is a planet of angels' and 'believing that there is a planet of angels'?

To me, speculating there's a world like that is entertaining the idea, kind of like a "What if?"  On the other hand, believing would mean that I actually am confident such a world like that exists.

Example: in this moment, I am speculating that there is a planet somewhere where everyone rides anti-gravity hoverboots, can teleport, has a mythical creature for a pet, and can warp reality with their minds.  Do I think that would be cool to exist?  Heck yes.  Do I believe it exists?  Nope.

How did we get from asking Christians to explain why god only revealed himself to a small speck of the actual population of the earth to physics.

Off topic as hell.   

Why not reveal yourself to the whole world instead of a small little tribe of Nomads?

Welcome to the forum CrystalDragon. :) I'm not a Whovian but I know a few.  My son's friends love Dr. Who.  I feel like I might have missed out on a good show there. 

I'm stuck on the History Channel and Life in Alaska.  I used to watch The Science Channel but they just keep playing back to back episodes of How it's Made.

Do you have any ideas why God only revealed himself to a small little speck of the population while allowing the rest of mankind to get it all wrong?

I love the History Channel, Science Channel, and How It's Made.  Anyway, moving on before I get too off-topic again.  XD

As for why God did that... I honestly don't know.  I've been wondering the same thing myself.  Maybe God just revealed himself to those people because He stated the Israelites were his "chosen people".
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 15, 2016, 11:37:20 AM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

To this, I also meant to say:  This smacks of utter narcissism.  But what I'd really like to know, is what actually came first, the  "personal revelations" custom made just for you, or your beliefs?  I ask because this is how it works for most (if not all) theists; the belief comes first, then all of the confirmations, which are nothing more than "counting the hits and ignoring the misses" come after.

Were you raised in a Christian/theist home?




(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/Plan_zpsxw2jxl7n.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/Plan_zpsxw2jxl7n.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 11:55:41 AM
First off, what does this have to do with explaining why this god only acted in an extremely small section of the world?  Second, this is mere speculation, based off of ignorance.  It's ultimately no different than people, five thousand years ago, speculating just what those bright points of light in the night sky were.

The space of possible answers is so immense that it makes the physical universe look small, so why single out one god which originated in a single small geographical area in the world, as opposed to, say, one of the gods from some other geographical area, but which didn't rise to prominence through the actions of those who believed in it?  This is ultimately no different than a detective in some city with a million people deciding to investigate John Q. Public for a crime, not because of any evidence pointing his way, but because he believed that JQP should be singled out for investigation rather than, you know, actually doing an investigation.

In other words, until you can actually examine these "higher dimensions"[1], there's no point to asserting that some being lives there.  In fact, asserting it anyway makes your claim weaker because you've set things up so your claim cannot be falsified.

I actually have read Flatland, so I'm surprised you're using this as an example.  Yeah, sure, the sphere was trying to pass itself off as a godlike being, but did you notice its behavior once the square started asking it about the dimensions beyond the third?  It denied that there was such a thing, commanded him to be silent repeatedly, and then when the square persisted in asking, actually sent the square back to Flatland.  Rather abruptly too, I might add.
 1. which, by the way, are not actually higher in the sense you're probably thinking

You make a very good point about things being a bit shaky since if that broadness is used, the claim can't really be falsified.  While I do think that God just revealed himself to that one geographical area because of that being the dwelling place of the Israelites who were his "chosen people" at (though I must confess I don't remember if it ever explained why specifically), you do have a point in that we can't just discard the other religions around at the time.  I think the reason that many people believe in the Bible in particular is because the manuscripts had endured over several copies through time surviving as a written word, with most supposedly being written by either eyewitnesses or people who had spoken to them, rather than being completely in the distant past.

As for the Flatland thing, I probably should have clarified "the Sphere reminds me of that up until that point".  I was more going for the initial concept there and initially forgot to take that point into consideration when it came to discussion.  My mistake. :P  Glad to see I'm not the only one who's heard of it though. :)

And I know that "higher dimensions" doesn't necessarily mean higher like heaven-higher, but more on a dimensional plane we can't access, even if some of those dimensions may be "pocket dimensions" that are in fact very small and may be very close to us.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 15, 2016, 12:05:52 PM
My certainty that God is real [b/c he revealed himself] and is GOD means I can live with not knowing everything.

But what you fail to grasp is that when it comes to "god", you don't "know" anything about him/it, you simply believe, and perhaps believe strongly, but believing isn't knowing.

Those words are pretty interesting b/c they exemplify what I was mentioning before. Someone told another person who told another person who read the bible, where they interpreted that if you pray and ask the alleged "god" into your "heart" he will "reveal" himself to you (just like the Mormons do). Then someone does what someone else told them to do (pray and talk to the god thing) and viola, they heard something. Except they started with the conclusion that that was a reliable method of going about it and started working backwards toward confirmation. So somehow, an alleged subjective personal experience (a self diagnoses of a head-voice, a feeling, an intuition, or a self talk - with no actual evidence it was anything divine) is confirmation that a divine being is talking to the person and they are just "certain" of it.

Except we know that people practice confirmation bias (and suffer from lots of cognitive biases) quite regularly. We know that people practice these biases, have delusions, and make huge mistakes in their alleged experiences, often based upon what they want to be true. People of Mormonism, Scientology, The New Age cult, and many others do these very things. People in romantic based relationships practice these biases as well. They are certain their spouse loves them and would never cheat, only to find out that they have been lied to and that their spouse really doesn't care but them all. They practice confirmation bias by counting the hits (the things they think confirm their belief) and ignoring the misses (the things that falsify the belief - such as when their alleged holy books are shown to be in error, in contradiction, or immoral). Many people are skilled con-artists with themselves, accepting what they want to believe based upon bad or no evidence. And this is particularly so in superstition. This is why relying upon self-diagnosis of alleged personal experiences (i.e. - faith) is unreliable for separating fact from fiction (since anyone can just have faith in anything).

I took a class last year on cognitive biases. It was fascinating to learn how many biases people practice and how flawed our brains can be. These were some of our assigned readings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases)
http://lesswrong.com/lw/aq2/fallacies_as_weak_bayesian_evidence/ (http://lesswrong.com/lw/aq2/fallacies_as_weak_bayesian_evidence/)
http://lesswrong.com/lw/l8i/the_argument_from_crisis_and_pessimism_bias/ (http://lesswrong.com/lw/l8i/the_argument_from_crisis_and_pessimism_bias/)
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kahneman-excerpt-thinking-fast-and-slow/

Does it ever strike anyone as odd that when religious people say they had a "personal experience" with their god, and they are now "certain" he is real, they then go on to completely either ignore or rationalize all of the irrational, error filled, and immoral things that are found in the same alleged holy book they read which told them to "pray and listen for god b/c he will reveal himself to you"? it's as if their alleged personal experience trumps all logic and critical thinking. And what's even more interesting to me is that the way they allegedly "know" and are "certain" this religion is the truth isn't b/c of demonstrable evidence. Instead it's due to an alleged personal experience which they can't demonstrate to anyone else. How convenient.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 15, 2016, 12:07:35 PM
To me, speculating there's a world like that is entertaining the idea, kind of like a "What if?"  On the other hand, believing would mean that I actually am confident such a world like that exists.

Example: in this moment, I am speculating that there is a planet somewhere where everyone rides anti-gravity hoverboots, can teleport, has a mythical creature for a pet, and can warp reality with their minds.  Do I think that would be cool to exist?  Heck yes.  Do I believe it exists?  Nope.

So just to be clear: you aren't speculating that god exists.  You believe that god exists.  Do you think you could provide some reasons why you believe that god exists that doesn't look like you're merely speculating that god exists?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 15, 2016, 12:26:55 PM
You make a very good point about things being a bit shaky since if that broadness is used, the claim can't really be falsified.  While I do think that God just revealed himself to that one geographical area because of that being the dwelling place of the Israelites who were his "chosen people" at (though I must confess I don't remember if it ever explained why specifically),
Given the tendency of people to want to believe that they're special compared to everyone else, why take such a self-serving claim seriously?  Seeing as the historical record simply does not support this claim, and especially with the number of discrepancies you turn up if you compare the Bible's version of events with what we can historically verify, there is just no reason to think of the ancient Hebrews as being the chosen people of any god.  In reality, they conquered a very small land area over several generations, and then got overrun time and again by their stronger neighbors, before the Romans finally decided enough was enough and effectively crushed them.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
you do have a point in that we can't just discard the other religions around at the time.  I think the reason that many people believe in the Bible in particular is because the manuscripts had endured over several copies through time surviving as a written word, with most supposedly being written by either eyewitnesses or people who had spoken to them, rather than being completely in the distant past.
No, the reason that so many people believe in the Bible is because Christians were very successful at spreading their religion around and suppressing non-Christian ('pagan') religions.  It's the same reason Islam has been quite successful in the regions it conquered.  It really doesn't have anything to do with the authenticity of the Bible - that's a relatively recent concept which came about along with Protestantism.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
As for the Flatland thing, I probably should have clarified "the Sphere reminds me of that up until that point".  I was more going for the initial concept there and initially forgot to take that point into consideration when it came to discussion.  My mistake. :P  Glad to see I'm not the only one who's heard of it though. :)

And I know that "higher dimensions" doesn't necessarily mean higher like heaven-higher, but more on a dimensional plane we can't access, even if some of those dimensions may be "pocket dimensions" that are in fact very small and may be very close to us.
The concept of small pocket dimensions is one of the reasons why you shouldn't start looking for gods in these "alternate dimensions".  Even if they exist, there's no telling just what's in them.  It could simply be energy, for example.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 15, 2016, 12:35:01 PM
Am I certain God is real? Yes.
Come to think of it, how certain are you?  Is there one chance in a hundred you're wrong?  Or one chance in a thousand?  One chance in a million?  Or something else?  I'd really like to know if you can tell me just how certain you really are.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 15, 2016, 12:42:53 PM
I think the reason that many people believe in the Bible in particular is because the manuscripts had endured over several copies through time surviving as a written word, with most supposedly being written by either eyewitnesses or people who had spoken to them, rather than being completely in the distant past.

On the contrary, most people believe in the bible (i.e. - believe it is divinely inspired and/or perfect from the god thing) b/c someone else told them this tale when they were younger and they believed it. The stuff about manuscripts comes later, when they find that lots of people don't accept the bible's claims. That is the point when they start reading Josh Mcdowell, Kent Hovind, and apologetics websites (believe first, then go out and find confirmation - ignoring the stuff that disconfirms the initial belief). Muslims do this very same thing with their kids (as do Mormons and so on) and their kids wind up repeating the processes.

But even in spite of this, just having lots of copies of stories of stories doesn't lend any credibility to the stories. Lots of copies does not equal "it's true" (especially when those stories make claims to the supernatural and/or the miraculous). Just b/c an old text makes claims, and people were gullible enough to believe those claims, doesn't mean those claims were true (including the claim that they were eye-witnesses). Someone can say another person was an eyewitness cause they heard it from another person down the street and it's still unreliable hearsay.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Ron Jeremy on February 15, 2016, 12:56:14 PM
Does Biblegod not claim that all shall know him?

Hebrews 8:11
"No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest."
*

As Biblegod would know precisely what to do to convince everyone that he exists, and given that he hasn't, the only conclusion is that the bible is not the word of a god.


*The context of this is Biblegod chatting with his homeboys, Israel. If one wants to narrow this down to just the Jews, you'd still have to explain atheist Jews.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 15, 2016, 01:06:10 PM
So just to be clear: you aren't speculating that god exists.  You believe that god exists.  Do you think you could provide some reasons why you believe that god exists that doesn't look like you're merely speculating that god exists?

Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.  Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.  And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.  With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone. 

Given the tendency of people to want to believe that they're special compared to everyone else, why take such a self-serving claim seriously?  Seeing as the historical record simply does not support this claim, and especially with the number of discrepancies you turn up if you compare the Bible's version of events with what we can historically verify, there is just no reason to think of the ancient Hebrews as being the chosen people of any god.  In reality, they conquered a very small land area over several generations, and then got overrun time and again by their stronger neighbors, before the Romans finally decided enough was enough and effectively crushed them.

I really ought to look more into historical verifications of the Bible versus any other belief system.  If I recall correctly, hadn't the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion around that time?

No, the reason that so many people believe in the Bible is because Christians were very successful at spreading their religion around and suppressing non-Christian ('pagan') religions.  It's the same reason Islam has been quite successful in the regions it conquered.  It really doesn't have anything to do with the authenticity of the Bible - that's a relatively recent concept which came about along with Protestantism.

I'm aware that even the early Christian Church tried to squash other religions because they were pagan, though in a way some pagan traditions still survive today, like Christmas trees, for instance.  I ought to look into if there were any documents discovered that imply that it was believed that there was truth to other religions aside from being mythology.

The concept of small pocket dimensions is one of the reasons why you shouldn't start looking for gods in these "alternate dimensions".  Even if they exist, there's no telling just what's in them.  It could simply be energy, for example.

Regardless, it's still interesting to think about.  Does have me wonder what a dimension of pure energy would look like though.

On the contrary, most people believe in the bible (i.e. - believe it is divinely inspired and/or perfect from the god thing) b/c someone else told them this tale when they were younger and they believed it. The stuff about manuscripts comes later, when they find that lots of people don't accept the bible's claims. That is the point when they start reading Josh Mcdowell, Kent Hovind, and apologetics websites (believe first, then go out and find confirmation - ignoring the stuff that disconfirms the initial belief). Muslims do this very same thing with their kids (as do Mormons and so on) and their kids wind up repeating the processes.

But even in spite of this, just having lots of copies of stories of stories doesn't lend any credibility to the stories. Lots of copies does not equal "it's true" (especially when those stories make claims to the supernatural and/or the miraculous). Just b/c an old text makes claims, and people were gullible enough to believe those claims, doesn't mean those claims were true (including the claim that they were eye-witnesses). Someone can say another person was an eyewitness cause they heard it from another person down the street and it's still unreliable hearsay.

You do have a point that we can't just accept something as true just because someone who claimed to be there said it was, and we have to validate a hypothesis in order to come to the truth about it, and I do admit there's still a lot to learn about the Bible.  I've read some parts of it, but not all of it and I haven't delved too much in the historical aspects.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 15, 2016, 01:14:27 PM
Regardless, it's still interesting to think about. Does have me wonder what a dimension of pure energy would look like though.

I take it you haven't studied physics. What do you think energy is?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 15, 2016, 01:51:56 PM
So just to be clear: you aren't speculating that god exists.  You believe that god exists.  Do you think you could provide some reasons why you believe that god exists that doesn't look like you're merely speculating that god exists?

Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.
What do you mean by 'infinitely complex'?

Quote
Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.
Could you provide some examples of the NDE wherein someone learned information that they could not have known otherwise?  How much digging did you do to validate the claims?

Quote
And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.  With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone. 
Who is claiming to know everything about it?

And I know you're saying that you're not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, but then you did proceeded to essentially do exactly that.  I can't say it wasn't created by many someones or by a non-sentient 7-sided triangle, but I'm not going to put on the table that it was created by many someones or by a non-sentient 7-sided triangle based on that.

You'll forgive me, but for the most part, what you've described above does not look any different than the speculation regarding a planet of angels.  Furthermore, you recognize that "I don't know, therefore god" is a bad and/or unconvincing argument, but I don't think you recognize that it effectively is the argument you're putting forward.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on February 15, 2016, 02:00:44 PM
I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.

Awesome idea. 

How does that view of god match up with the god that had other "cosmic tests" for us, like demanding Abraham murder his own son as a burnt offering? 

Or the god who allowed an angel to torture Job and destroy his entire family over a bet? 

Or the god who demanded the jooz murder every man, woman and child of the Midianites (except the virgin girls who were to be taken as sex slaves) because a couple of hebrew boys married Midianite women and worshipped Midianite gods?

When I was a catholic I too tried to come up with ideas about god that would more closely reflect my understanding of the universe.  I sincerely hope that you too will come to grips with the futility of it and realize there are no gods.



...especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex,...

They're not infinitely complex.  They are complex, by our reckoning, which is limited by our monkey brains. That does not necessitate an intelligent designer.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on February 15, 2016, 02:04:20 PM

Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer. 

Evidence of this and evidence that it is your god and no other please.  If you have none, all you have presented is a argument from personal ignorance. 

the bible does say why this god claimed the Israelites were "chosen".  It's the claim of any people who want to pretend that their opinions are approved by a magical being that cannot be questioned.  This is what leads to things like genocide.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: shnozzola on February 15, 2016, 02:05:47 PM
Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer. 

What is interesting these days is the "gulf" between thinking science and non-thinking religion.  Here is an article about how cells may have developed. 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18734-why-complex-life-probably-evolved-only-once/

Science has moved on.  Science is looking for how cells developed naturally. Science is not thinking - God developed atoms, the elements, cell walls, the mitochondria, nuclei, proteins, DNA, genes, etc, so there is no point in figuring out how cells developed - Goddidit.  Science is asking whether the mitochondria was engulfed by a cell to get energy, or that came later, but the thrust to learn is assuming, just like we have a liver, stomach, feet, brain, etc, that all the components of a cell join over immense lengths of time, making the complexity built on extremely slow combinations for survival.

For myself, I disagree with the article above, that says that life complexity above bacteria in the universe is rare, because simple cells may thrive for aeons without complex life ever arising - in fact, aeons is what the universe has to work with.

...oh, welcome CrystalD, sorry if we're overwhelming you......  :-\
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 15, 2016, 04:04:12 PM
I literally just came up with this idea when reading that: what if God is present in those dimensions of wormholes, dark matter, antimatter, cosmic strings, etc., and it's like a test for humanity to discover it now that we're finally gaining the capacity to.  Like a cosmic secret test of character or something.

"And what if there are magic pixies flying around on the backside of the planet Pluto?" Do you believe every claim you hear until it has been proven false? If not, why accept bad arguments like "It's so complex! It must have been designed!" to keep believing in an alleged god? The time to accept something is when it has been demonstrated to be true, and not before (instead of relying upon god-of-the-gaps fallacious reasoning to fill in the holes of currently unknown things or incomplete data). You can ask "What if this...what if that..." all day long. But just asking those "what if?" questions isn't really relevant. What is relevant is how you decide to answer them. If you decide that admitting you don't know the answers to those questions is unacceptable to you then of course you're going to jump at the first thing that satisfies your urge to have the answer right now (i.e. - that which satisfies your confirmation bias). But that very urge is why science exists in the first place. It is there to put a check-stop on people leading the evidence instead of following it until our ability to see or demonstrate things ends and we have to admit our ignorance and keep looking (even if that means being dissatisfied with not having the answers right now).
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Ron Jeremy on February 15, 2016, 04:27:04 PM

What is interesting these days is the "gulf" between thinking science and non-thinking religion.  Here is an article about how cells may have developed. 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18734-why-complex-life-probably-evolved-only-once/

Absolutely Shnozzola! Christians; if you have questions about reality and are open minded; subscribe to New Scientist. The articles are fascinating and open your eyes to wonderful things.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 15, 2016, 06:46:00 PM
Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.
Seeing as cells are not infinite, how can they possibly be infinitely complex?  More to the point, how would a designer go about making something infinitely complex in the first place?  I'm wagering that you don't actually know the answer to either question, which makes this statement little more than hyperbole.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.
Let's see some examples of this "information that they couldn't have known otherwise".  I suspect that you actually read about this and took it as good coin without checking on it, and thus won't be able to provide any examples.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.  With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone.
It's true that we have lots left to learn, but how does this justify making claims about something when you have no way to verify it?  Simply put, even going by your statement above, it's not reasonable to conclude that things were created by some intelligent entity simply because we can't rule it out as a possibility.  It's not reasonable to draw any kind of definite or even tentative conclusions about anything unless there's solid evidence pointing at it, because the space of all possible explanations is simply too large.  No matter what you point at, the odds are phenomenally stacked against you.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
I really ought to look more into historical verifications of the Bible versus any other belief system.  If I recall correctly, hadn't the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion around that time?
If by "around that time", you mean nearly two hundred years later.  The Jews revolted against Emperor Hadrian in 132 CE, and were dispersed in 135 CE.  Christianity didn't even start being tolerated in the Roman Empire until roughly 310 CE, and the official adoption/hegemony of Christianity wasn't for some years after that.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
I'm aware that even the early Christian Church tried to squash other religions because they were pagan, though in a way some pagan traditions still survive today, like Christmas trees, for instance.  I ought to look into if there were any documents discovered that imply that it was believed that there was truth to other religions aside from being mythology.
Do you really think that the various 'pagan' adherents knowingly believed in false religions?  They had their own myths which they accepted as true, just as Christianity does.  By the way, the reason various pagan traditions survive within Christianity is because Christians adopted the Roman tendency towards religious cosmopolitanism and combined various pagan traditions into Christianity to make it easier for them to become Christians.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
Regardless, it's still interesting to think about.  Does have me wonder what a dimension of pure energy would look like though.
Sure, speculation is interesting.  Just don't make the mistake of assuming that any speculation can be determined to be true without solid evidence.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 16, 2016, 12:50:43 PM
I decided long ago that it was much better for me to make my decisions based on whether God had been revealed to me.

As in: Am I certain God is real? Yes. Are there things about God I find confusing, and sometimes extremely disconcerting? Yes. Do I have confidence that, despite this, God is worthy of my worship? Yes.

On what basis are you certain?  An amazing mystical experience you had once?  Amazing mystical experiences you have all the time?  Angels appear and open your door for you when you come home?  Please don't read mockery into that question, I'm just trying to figure out where you're coming from.  Since you merely strongly believe that Earth is round (Reply #35 in this thread,  http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,29681.msg695796.html#msg695796 ) when we have pictures of Earth from space, and you can test the sphericity of Earth for yourself with some travel, timing, and a bit of trigonometry--but you are certain that Yahweh exists and revealed himself to you...it seems like you ought to have something pretty astonishing as the basis for your belief.

Not at all. God is the eternal spirit that spoke the universe into being.

What does "eternal", "spirit", and "[speaking] the universe into being" mean?
Remember, I asked for clear, concise, and coherent.

Eternal - no beginning, no end. You knew that.

Spirit - a force, distinct from body (but able to inhabit a physical body)

Speaking the universe into being - God said "Let there be.." etc.

OK, here's why we ask for precise definitions when it comes to people claiming deities.  Each of these terms seems fairly easy to understand until we give them a closer look.  "Eternal" becomes very fuzzy once someone asks if a thinking, feeling, anthropomorphic person that is "eternal" can have an infinite regress of thoughts and feelings (especially in the context of a debate on the Kalam Cosmological Argument).

We know what a "force" is.  In fact, it equals mass x acceleration.  No mass and no acceleration = no force.  Forces don't speak.  "Oh, but I'm not talking about that kind of force!" you'll say, and we're back to Square One, except now we have two undefined words ("spirit" and "force") instead of just one. 

Then we go on to "speaking the universe into being."  We know what "speaking" is; we inhabit a planet crowded with over seven billion creatures that do it all the time.  "Speaking" is not a thing that causes universes to spring into being.  How would that even work?  If a universe doesn't exist, how can it hear a command, much less decide to obey it by springing into being?  "Oh, but Im not talking about that kind of speaking; God speaking is not the same thing as a human speaking, at all!  Why do you guys have to be so literal?"  So once again, we're back at Square One, with no way to even quantify whether or not something is evidence for, or against, your claim.

If we try to ask you what you actually mean by things like "force" or "speaking," you'll give us more words that, on closer inspection, turn out to be meant in some metaphorical/allegorical/esoteric/mystical way that you can't ever translate into ordinary straightforward language.  "What you're actually talking about" continually recedes into the distance like a rainbow.  Yet, you "know" with unshakable certainty that it's true and you couldn't possibly be wrong about it.

I should also point out that when you say that Yahweh "spoke the universe into being," you are trespassing onto the territory of cosmology.  People who do cosmology for a living would expect you to be able to quantify your cosmic-origins mechanism in equations and point to observations favoring the hypothesis that the Cosmos was "spoken" into being rather than the result of a quantum fluctuation or a collision of branes.  We're going easy on you by just asking for a coherent definition in words.  If what you've actually got as a basis for your belief is something along the lines of a warm feeling in your heart when you read the Bible and a church community you really like, you should back away from making testable claims within the bailiwick of a profession of people who actually know what they're talking about (and can demonstrate this with lots of really scary math and sets of scientific observations).

Can you define "God" in terms of anticipated consequences?  That is, things we would expect to observe if your deity exists and only if your particular deity exists vs. what we would expect to observe if he didn't?  Are there any other things that also have to be true in order for your particular deity to exist?  For example, if it should turn out that the world was not entirely covered with water while the Egyptians were building the Pyramid of Saqqara, after which the sole surviving human family, along with their collection of dinosaurs, beetles, etc. all climbed out of a boat--would that falsify your belief?  If it should turn out that Egypt was not utterly wrecked by a Hebrew "magician" (what the Egyptians would have called him, even if you prefer "prophet" or some other label) at some point, followed by a mass escape of Hebrew slaves--would that falsify your belief?

If you can specify this sort of stuff, then we can start analyzing evidence for and against your deity; otherwise, "God" is just a great big piece of Silly Putty that can be shaped any which way by anybody, and have any religious text stamped onto it at will.  If you can't--if what you have is something like an inner feeling that you'd really prefer to cling to--then you shouldn't go swinging terms like "know" and "evidence" around, since that's not the realm you're operating in.   

edit: fixed link
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 16, 2016, 01:06:43 PM
Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.
Seeing as cells are not infinite, how can they possibly be infinitely complex?  More to the point, how would a designer go about making something infinitely complex in the first place?  I'm wagering that you don't actually know the answer to either question, which makes this statement little more than hyperbole.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.
Let's see some examples of this "information that they couldn't have known otherwise".  I suspect that you actually read about this and took it as good coin without checking on it, and thus won't be able to provide any examples.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.  With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone.
It's true that we have lots left to learn, but how does this justify making claims about something when you have no way to verify it?  Simply put, even going by your statement above, it's not reasonable to conclude that things were created by some intelligent entity simply because we can't rule it out as a possibility.  It's not reasonable to draw any kind of definite or even tentative conclusions about anything unless there's solid evidence pointing at it, because the space of all possible explanations is simply too large.  No matter what you point at, the odds are phenomenally stacked against you.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
I really ought to look more into historical verifications of the Bible versus any other belief system.  If I recall correctly, hadn't the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion around that time?
If by "around that time", you mean nearly two hundred years later.  The Jews revolted against Emperor Hadrian in 132 CE, and were dispersed in 135 CE.  Christianity didn't even start being tolerated in the Roman Empire until roughly 310 CE, and the official adoption/hegemony of Christianity wasn't for some years after that.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
I'm aware that even the early Christian Church tried to squash other religions because they were pagan, though in a way some pagan traditions still survive today, like Christmas trees, for instance.  I ought to look into if there were any documents discovered that imply that it was believed that there was truth to other religions aside from being mythology.
Do you really think that the various 'pagan' adherents knowingly believed in false religions?  They had their own myths which they accepted as true, just as Christianity does.  By the way, the reason various pagan traditions survive within Christianity is because Christians adopted the Roman tendency towards religious cosmopolitanism and combined various pagan traditions into Christianity to make it easier for them to become Christians.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
Regardless, it's still interesting to think about.  Does have me wonder what a dimension of pure energy would look like though.
Sure, speculation is interesting.  Just don't make the mistake of assuming that any speculation can be determined to be true without solid evidence.

I know that Christianity more absorbed pagan customs into its religion to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity—such as claiming Jesus was born on December 25th, for instance.  And I did mean around 200 years later—wasn't the canon of the Bible not firmly established until 400 years after the fact? 

I try to look into most things before accepting them as true, and I'm starting to look more into religious history for that particular reason.  And it's interesting as a whole regardless.
Title: Qur
Post by: nogodsforme on February 16, 2016, 03:22:03 PM
When you look into the history of how the bible was put together, it is basically the same as how the Quran was put together, only the Quran is more recent so we have a bit more information about where the ideas came from and when.

With all of these supposedly sacred texts from a supernatural being, it ends up that some authority figure or group made some rather arbitrary decisions about what oral stories (of all the ones floating around) to write down. Later on different authority figures decide, rather arbitrarily, what written stories (of all the ones floating around) to include in the real deal official version. And always, there is disagreement over the official version, so you end up with different official versions. Like the Coptic, Catholic and King James bibles.

The different versions are all assumed to be perfect, from the one true supernatural god being. Even though they are all different!

Does this process seem like there is a supernatural power involved, CD? It is exactly like how every human group decides how to write anything, from a biology text to cookbook to the TV guide.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 16, 2016, 03:41:41 PM
I try to look into most things before accepting them as true, and I'm starting to look more into religious history for that particular reason.  And it's interesting as a whole regardless.

Being nit-picky here but why most things?  Why not all things?

I suspect you mean that you look into all things before accepting them as true, and different things have differing requirements of scrutiny before you accept them as true.  Is that what you mean?

If that is what you mean, I wonder which claim you would look at with more scrutiny:
Claim 1: Switching to Geico could save you 15% or more on car insurance, and not switching could cause you to spend 15% or more on car insurance.
Claim 2: Dedicating your life to this particular ineffable entity could get you a blissful and meaningful eternal life, and not dedicating your life to that entity could get you painful and empty eternal life.

Comparatively speaking, which claim do you scrutinize more before deciding it is true?  Which claim would you need more evidence for before deciding to act on the truth-value of said claim?  Do those two claims have similar thresholds of evidence for you before you accept them as true?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on February 16, 2016, 04:55:44 PM
I know that Christianity more absorbed pagan customs into its religion to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity—such as claiming Jesus was born on December 25th, for instance.  And I did mean around 200 years later—wasn't the canon of the Bible not firmly established until 400 years after the fact? 

I try to look into most things before accepting them as true, and I'm starting to look more into religious history for that particular reason.  And it's interesting as a whole regardless.

That doesn't come close to answering jaimehlers replies to you.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Boots on February 17, 2016, 04:13:04 PM
I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer. 

This answer never fails to fascinate me.  Please, CD, provide some examples of things that seem like they are NOT created by an intelligent designer--because you must have some, in order to make a meaningful comparison.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 17, 2016, 11:12:27 PM
Even if someone could make the case that cells, or whatever were designed by some being, it does not follow that the being is anyone nice. The evidence points to a really awful designer who is an absent-minding bumbling clown at best and more likely to be a psychotic trickster if he is doing things intentionally.

Oh yeah, there are roses and rainbows and puppies. And ectopic pregnancies. Ebola, guinea worm, malaria, cancer, AIDS, dementia and face eating bacteria would all have been designed. Along with other "natural" phenomena like tsunamis, drought, ice ages, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

This intelligent designer is like the kid who sprinkles sugar around the anthill one day and drops a rock on it the next. And pours boiling water on it the day after that. And then sprinkles sugar on it again. Naughty, nice, or just effing scary and sadistic?

No wonder ancient societies thought that the gods were bloodthirsty warlords who wanted the occasional human or animal sacrifice to leave everyone alone to scrape out a bit of survival for awhile. Isn't it interesting how we no longer think that gods need blood sacrifices to placate them? They only want an occasional visit and a nice please and thank you.

Now that we have a bit of scientific knowledge and control over natural forces..... :P
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 17, 2016, 11:49:00 PM
I've had thoughts about that "human/animal sacrifice days" versus now.  Heck, animal sacrifice instructions were prevalent in Old Testament books like Leviticus.  That always perplexed me tbh, why would God want animal sacrifices and the like? 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 18, 2016, 12:07:30 AM
^^^Very good question.

Why would a being with the ability to create life itself tell people to kill things for it? If it wanted something or someone dead, why give it life in the first place? And consider the many times god tells someone to kill another human being, CD. Like Abraham and Isaac. Or the Israelites against other groups.

What do you think is up with that?  :-\

Not to mention all the room in the bible given to obsolete instructions for killing things to please god, but nothing actually timeless and useful, like how boiling water will kill germs.... :?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 18, 2016, 12:21:33 AM
Yeah, the Abraham and Issac thing confuses me too.  And the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  And those 42 boys being mauled by bears.  Even though God wasn't actually planning to have Issac die and it was all a secret test of character, and I guess you could kind of make the argument that Yahweh is the God of the Israelites so he favored them, but the thing with the bears seemed kind of out of the blue for teasing a prophet.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 18, 2016, 01:19:04 AM
I've had thoughts about that "human/animal sacrifice days" versus now.  Heck, animal sacrifice instructions were prevalent in Old Testament books like Leviticus.  That always perplexed me tbh, why would God want animal sacrifices and the like?

Because it was fashionable in that era, with all the God emporium that he was part of. Baal and Molech liked babies.

The most idiotic thing is that he liked the smell of burning fat. Basically a protection racket set up by the priests, to get lamp oil.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 18, 2016, 01:27:34 AM
All this pales in comparison to what the Egyptians were up to. Their national identity was based around their ability to wrap up animals in resin and then fill up crypts with millions of them waist deep. They started dog, cat and ibis farms, so that the animals could be mummified and flogged off to pilgrims. Estimate 70 million animals were farmed, strangled, mummified.

Though, probably they couldn't strangle the crocodiles.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 18, 2016, 01:41:18 AM


Because it was fashionable in that era, with all the God emporium that he was part of. Baal and Molech liked babies.

The most idiotic thing is that he liked the smell of burning fat.
Basically a protection racket set up by the priests, to get lamp oil.

I never understood this one. A lot of people enjoy the smell of BBQ. Why can't God like it as well?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 18, 2016, 01:44:03 AM
Yeah, the Abraham and Issac thing confuses me too.  And the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  And those 42 boys being mauled by bears.  Even though God wasn't actually planning to have Issac die and it was all a secret test of character, and I guess you could kind of make the argument that Yahweh is the God of the Israelites so he favored them, but the thing with the bears seemed kind of out of the blue for teasing a prophet.

A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 18, 2016, 01:55:48 AM
Yeah, I can understand why the smell of burning meat is pleasing to the Lord, a bunch of people (me included) love that BBQ smell. :)

And I don't remember it was a gang threatening Elisha, I thought that he was going up a mountain and they said, "Go on up, you baldhead!". Sure, that's cruel, but I don't think having bears maul them was necessary in that case... if they were actually a gang trying to hurt Elisha though, then that's a bit understandable as a self-defense thing.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 18, 2016, 02:00:59 AM
if they were actually a gang trying to hurt Elisha though, then that's a bit understandable as a self-defense thing.

Except, it wasn't Elisha who sent the bears. It was (supposedly) omnipotent YHWH. The best solution a "loving" god found was to murder 42 children instead of, say:
1. Sending them away
2. Sending Elisha to his destination
3. Physically appearing and telling them to stop
4. Making them unable to hurt Elisha without killing them
5. Taking their voices away if they were going to say mean and hurtful things to Elisha (apparently, YHWH is Politically Correct; who knew?)

And that's just off the top of my head


BTW, skeptic54768, why did you lie about the Bible? I know you know this story, so your lie was a really stupid one.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 18, 2016, 02:12:23 AM
I never understood this one. A lot of people enjoy the smell of BBQ. Why can't God like it as well?

He's supposed to be a God, and one who doesn't eat. He's supposed to me more sophisticated than you. Just a little bit.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 18, 2016, 02:39:41 AM
Except, it wasn't Elisha who sent the bears. It was (supposedly) omnipotent YHWH. The best solution a "loving" god found was to murder 42 children instead of, say:
1. Sending them away
2. Sending Elisha to his destination
3. Physically appearing and telling them to stop
4. Making them unable to hurt Elisha without killing them
5. Taking their voices away if they were going to say mean and hurtful things to Elisha (apparently, YHWH is Politically Correct; who knew?)

And that's just off the top of my head.

Fair point.  Though if I do recall correctly Elisha "called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord", so maybe Elisha called for the bears and God granted him that request.

He's supposed to be a God, and one who doesn't eat. He's supposed to me more sophisticated than you. Just a little bit.

Just because you don't eat someone's BBQ doesn't mean you can't enjoy the smell of it. :). The fact that God even wanted burning sacrifices though is kind of disturbing in itself, but at least it wasn't human sacrifices.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 18, 2016, 02:46:24 AM
Though if I do recall correctly Elisha "called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord", so maybe Elisha called for the bears and God granted him that request.

You don't think taking away their voices or making them unable to harm Elisha is a curse? He didn't ask for specifics, did he?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 18, 2016, 02:57:50 AM
Though if I do recall correctly Elisha "called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord", so maybe Elisha called for the bears and God granted him that request.

You don't think taking away their voices or making them unable to harm Elisha is a curse? He didn't ask for specifics, did he?

You have a point there, at least as far as we know.  Taking away their voices would have been preferable as a "punishment to fit the crime"—the Lord gave them voices, the youth uses them to taunt, the Lord takes their voices away.  Lot less deadly of a solution.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 18, 2016, 03:27:46 AM
I never understood this one. A lot of people enjoy the smell of BBQ. Why can't God like it as well?

LOL.  Why do we like the smell of BBQ?  Because it's associated with yummy meat, and we're creatures who need to eat in order to survive.  Yahweh is supposedly an intangible, indestructible, eternal "spirit" being who not only doesn't need food, but wouldn't seem likely to have any of the organs necessary to enjoy it.  Does he really have a nose?  Taste buds?  Teeth to chew it with?  How 'bout a stomach?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 18, 2016, 04:34:52 AM
Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.

Why "an" intelligent designer?  C'mon, the platypus was obviously designed by committee. ;)  To be more serious, why do you promote Yahweh as the primary hypothesis worthy of consideration?  The people who actually do molecular biology for a living--the ones who found out for us that cells are highly complex in the first place--don't adopt the Yahweh hypothesis as their choice of explanatory model.  Why not?  What explanatory model do they use, and why?  Why do you think that Yahweh is the best explanation for all this stuff (http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com/)?

Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.

As I understand it, people who have NDE's usually report experiencing celestial realms and divine beings from their local traditions, whatever those might be.  IOW, it is not the case that ancient Babylonians, Hindus, Amazonian shamans, Australian aborigines, etc. all universally experience the Christian "Heaven" when they have NDE's or other "spirit journeys."  To the contrary, there is a vast range of reported mystical experience that supports the whole panoply of human religions.  There are even some mystical practitioners--Chaos Magicians--who report experiences with "god forms" and other beings that they themselves deliberately create. 

So why should we automatically promote the Yahweh hypothesis to our focused attention?  Yahweh is only "obviously" the god that counts for you because you were born into a time and place where his religion is predominant.  If you'd been born under the reign of Amenemhat II, Amun-Re, Auset (Isis), Ausar (Osiris), and the rest would have been the obvious theological explanation for the intricacy of ibises and lotus flowers and the regular flooding of the Nile that made your whole civilization possible.

And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.

What does any of this have to do with Yahweh?  The Bible describes a tiny little cosmos in which rain comes down through flood-gates in a solid sky (Genesis 7:11, 8:1), the Earth sits on pillars (1 Samuel 2:8 ), can all be seen from a tall enough mountain (Matthew 4:8 ), and stars are small enough to fall to Earth (Mark 13:25, Revelation 6:13).  Why doesn't the gobsmackingly gigantic Cosmos revealed to us by science make the Yahweh hypothesis much less likely to be true, if not falsified outright?

With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone.

The problem for your hypothesis isn't what we don't know, but what we do.  We know that the Cosmos is incredibly ancient, on the order of 14 billion years.  We know it is inconceivably vast, and that virtually all of it is not only instantaneously lethal to us, it's inherently out of our reach (the light speed limit).  The fraction of one little planet that we can inhabit is not even a rounding error on the scale of hundreds of billions of galaxies and hundreds of billions of light-years of hard vacuum bathed in radiation.   

Even if we had reason to think that the Cosmos is an engineered artifact, we have no reason to think that it is in any sense about us.  We could be like bacteria on a doorknob in the Large Hadron Collider thinking, "Hey!  This place has the right kind of conditions for us to live!  The Great Bacterium must have made it just for us, because she loves us and wants us to worship her!"

So, out of all the possible hypotheses we could choose to examine further, why choose a deity or deities over the models chosen by professional physicists, biologists, etc.?  And from the vast selection of deities available, why pick Yahweh?  For that matter, why pick any deity from any human religion?  If Yahweh can wait until just a few thousand years ago (out of around 100,000 or so years of existence for modern humans) to (allegedly) "reveal himself" to a handful of people within that tiny circle on the map in the OP, a Yahweh believer must admit that it's possible for "the true deity or deities" to remain wholly unknown to humanity for vast stretches of time.  Therefore, it must be possible in principle for "the true deity or deities" to reveal his/her/themselves a thousand years from now, ten thousand years from now, or never.  How could you rule out the possibility of deities who aren't interested in human worship and have better things to do than impress us?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 18, 2016, 10:09:13 AM
I never understood this one. A lot of people enjoy the smell of BBQ. Why can't God like it as well?

LOL.  Why do we like the smell of BBQ?  Because it's associated with yummy meat, and we're creatures who need to eat in order to survive.  Yahweh is supposedly an intangible, indestructible, eternal "spirit" being who not only doesn't need food, but wouldn't seem likely to have any of the organs necessary to enjoy it.  Does he really have a nose?  Taste buds?  Teeth to chew it with?  How 'bout a stomach?

That is plain silly.  Of course god doesn't have those limiting things.  His is a more pure and sublime kind of like.  It's agape liking the smell of BBQ.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Boots on February 18, 2016, 10:20:44 AM
I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer. 

This answer never fails to fascinate me.  Please, CD, provide some examples of things that seem like they are NOT created by an intelligent designer--because you must have some, in order to make a meaningful comparison.

I don't mean to be a pestering bug, but CD if you could take the time to address this I'd be very appreciative.  *salute*
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on February 18, 2016, 11:11:00 AM
The fact that God even wanted burning sacrifices though is kind of disturbing in itself, but at least it wasn't human sacrifices.

biblical evidence suggests that at one time it was human sacrifice.  Use the forum search function.  There are several posts discussing it.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on February 19, 2016, 01:28:27 AM
I know that Christianity more absorbed pagan customs into its religion to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity—such as claiming Jesus was born on December 25th, for instance.  And I did mean around 200 years later—wasn't the canon of the Bible not firmly established until 400 years after the fact? 

I try to look into most things before accepting them as true, and I'm starting to look more into religious history for that particular reason.  And it's interesting as a whole regardless.

I'll say it again, this doesn't come close to answering jaimehlers reply to you in your post #98. Care to pay it more attention?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 19, 2016, 02:24:48 AM
I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer. 

This answer never fails to fascinate me.  Please, CD, provide some examples of things that seem like they are NOT created by an intelligent designer--because you must have some, in order to make a meaningful comparison.

I don't mean to be a pestering bug, but CD if you could take the time to address this I'd be very appreciative.  *salute*

Sure.  Okay, some things like, for instance, non-living organic matter.  To be honest, the things that I most feel can be considered to be created by an intelligent designer is any form of life, particularly that which appears to possess consciousness and self-awareness.


Apologies for not responding to jaimehlers' questions earlier, I wanted to respond to a part of it and it was late at the time, then I forgot to go back.  Remedying now!

Seeing as cells are not infinite, how can they possibly be infinitely complex?  More to the point, how would a designer go about making something infinitely complex in the first place?  I'm wagering that you don't actually know the answer to either question, which makes this statement little more than hyperbole.

What I meant by that was that it seems like all the parts of the cell are designed to work perfectly together.  If the structure were different, the cell would not be able to properly function and we might not have everything the universe possesses now.

Quote
Let's see some examples of this "information that they couldn't have known otherwise".  I suspect that you actually read about this and took it as good coin without checking on it, and thus won't be able to provide any examples.

Admittedly you're right, I haven't read the books in question, but I have heard accounts of someone learning about the existence of say, a relative who died before they were born.

Quote
It's true that we have lots left to learn, but how does this justify making claims about something when you have no way to verify it?  Simply put, even going by your statement above, it's not reasonable to conclude that things were created by some intelligent entity simply because we can't rule it out as a possibility.  It's not reasonable to draw any kind of definite or even tentative conclusions about anything unless there's solid evidence pointing at it, because the space of all possible explanations is simply too large.  No matter what you point at, the odds are phenomenally stacked against you.

We may seem to have no way to verify it, but maybe that's because our technology isn't sophisticated enough yet to do so? 

Quote
If by "around that time", you mean nearly two hundred years later.  The Jews revolted against Emperor Hadrian in 132 CE, and were dispersed in 135 CE.  Christianity didn't even start being tolerated in the Roman Empire until roughly 310 CE, and the official adoption/hegemony of Christianity wasn't for some years after that.

Yes, that's what I meant, thanks for the correction there.

Quote
Do you really think that the various 'pagan' adherents knowingly believed in false religions?  They had their own myths which they accepted as true, just as Christianity does.  By the way, the reason various pagan traditions survive within Christianity is because Christians adopted the Roman tendency towards religious cosmopolitanism and combined various pagan traditions into Christianity to make it easier for them to become Christians.

You know, I never thought about it that way.  The followers of pagan religions likely feel their beliefs are true just as strongly as we Christians do.  After all, if they didn't believe such things with all their hearts, they likely wouldn't worship those other gods/pantheons/aspects of nature.  And zi am aware that Christians adopted pagan customs to ease pagans into converting, like Christmas being at the time of Saturnaillia.

Quote
Sure, speculation is interesting.  Just don't make the mistake of assuming that any speculation can be determined to be true without solid evidence.

I'll keep that in mind from now on.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 19, 2016, 12:16:25 PM

Gladly. :)  I believe that God exists because aspects of the universe, especially things like cells which are small but infinitely complex, do seem like they were created by an intelligent designer.  Also, there have been people who have had near-death experiences, appeared to have seen heaven, and learned information that they couldn't have known otherwise.  And another point: the universe is a pretty big place, and we aren't even close to knowing everything about it.  When we think we've got physics all figured out, we seem to find some new thing that turns it on its head.  With that final point, I'm not trying to pull the "I don't know, therefore God" argument, I'm saying that in truth we know so little about the universe, let alone Earth, and we can't claim to already know everything about it and say it wasn't created by someone. 

This is actually a version of the Argument from Ignorance/Incredulity Fallacy. It is called Shifting the Burden of Proof (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html), and your use of it is precisely what I was pointing out when I asked if you believe everything everyone tells you (or everything you read in dusty old books) until it has been proven false. You don't do that, do you?

The time to accept a claim is after sufficient evidence has been presented. And saying, "Welp, it just looks designed to me!" is not sufficient evidence. Personal interpretation, personal subjective experience, or personal intuitive feelings are not reliable mechanisms for separating fact from fantasy (especially when we're talking about questions pertaining to the world around us). One of the very reasons we have science in the first place (aside from putting a check against credulity) is to independently demonstrate and/or falsify hypotheses that seem counterintuitive. Science often deals with things that can't be seen with the naked eye, cannot be intuitively grasped, and are often hard to comprehend (requiring much study). This is why science class is hard! You have to memorize all those parts of the cell, their functions, the Calvin-Krebs cycle, the periodic table of elements, and all the rest. And then you have to demonstrate that you can recognize them on a test. But just looking at a plant leaf, a frog, or your hand isn't enough to confirm that things like cells, chemicals, or bacteria are there. You need actual demonstrable scientific tools to show that there are such things as cells, quarks, black holes, and that evolution has taken place.

The point is, your intuition is not enough. It is a bad measuring stick for determining whether or not cells are designed by some alleged invisible all-powerful person in another realm somewhere (let alone for determining things like plate tectonics). And this kind of reasoning was exactly what Paul used in Romans ch. 1 where he attempted to just "look at the trees!" and boldly declare it must have just all been designed b/c "the evidence of god is clearly seen" allegedly. Sorry, that isn't how science operates. That method (the one that says, "Well, upon first glance this is how is looks to me!") is precisely how ancient people made huge mistakes regarding the world around them. They didn't have the right information so they just assumed.

Yes, those ancient people inserted The-god-of-the-gaps argument whenever they didn't understand something but when they felt they just had to have the answer right now (just like you are doing). They used that terrible argument as a placeholder for their own ignorance. But that method is both unreliable and logically fallacious. It leads to false and often harmful conclusions. The better method is to admit that you don't know how humans got here on earth and then maybe begin by asking questions or start taking some classes on the subject (online or elsewhere) such as Biological Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology, Principles of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, Natural Selection, DNA, etc.

Start from skepticism instead of starting from belief and working toward confirmation.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on February 19, 2016, 12:33:07 PM
Well said Median.  I like the saying:  "Gods are the finish-line which are placed at the start."
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 19, 2016, 12:40:49 PM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 19, 2016, 01:19:42 PM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 19, 2016, 01:21:06 PM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.

What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on February 19, 2016, 03:09:16 PM
That's a fair question.  I can't answer for Median, but my own answer would be that it would have to be out-of-place, such that the known possible actions of intelligent beings are more likely to get the object there than unintentional natural processes are.

So for example, watches tend to slowly break down when left on their own without upkeep rather than coming together, so finding one on an alien planet suggests intelligent aliens - we know that watches are things that are possible for intelligent beings to make, after all.

But "is X intelligently designed?" is an incomplete question, isn't it?  Because it indicates the subject (X), but it avoids referring to the object.  "Is X intelligently designed by Y, for Z purpose?" is the most complete form of the question.

CD, are you sure that all intelligently (intentionally?) designed things necessarily share common attributes?  How did you come to this opinion?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 19, 2016, 04:18:42 PM
What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.

To approach this from a somewhat different angle:
I suspect that intent is still a significant component to this whole 'intelligent design' schtick.  I don't think it would be off-base if you considered saying "intentionally designed" rather than "intelligently designed," right?

Now...
(https://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/pollock/pollock.number-8.jpg)
Would you say that the image above was the result of intention or not?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 19, 2016, 06:45:53 PM
Good way of wording that complete form of the question, Azdgori.  And nice "watch on an alien planet" scenario hypothesis.

I feel that intelligent/intentionally designed things, at the very least, have common attributes of internal an external forces coming together in a way that isn't just a part of passing down genetic traits that work for a species and eventually discarding those that don't.  So going to your question on whether all forms of intentional design share common attributes of coming together in a way beyond simple element processes.  For instance, while I believe the processes of nature were created by God, with the natural laws in place, water could still form, because hydrogen and oxygen combine to form it.  However, those such as, for instance, humans and animals, have complex systems and consciousness that are more than just a collection of particles and energy, serving some sort of purpose (human beings having imagination and consciousness to be self-aware and grow, plants to be consumed by other life forms as well as filter oxygen into the air, etc.)

And jdawg70, for some reason the picture just shows up as a small blue box with a question mark to me.  Maybe it's just my browser...
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on February 19, 2016, 07:18:17 PM
Good way of wording that complete form of the question, Azdgori.  And nice "watch on an alien planet" scenario hypothesis.

It was just an example...and the "watchmaker" thing had already been brought up, after all!

I feel that intelligent/intentionally designed things, at the very least, have common attributes of internal an external forces coming together in a way that isn't just a part of passing down genetic traits that work for a species and eventually discarding those that don't.

Fair enough, except that those things aren't properties that the object has in the present.  What you've described is the history of the object and how it came together.  Essentially you've said, "intelligent/intentionally designed things are things that were intelligently/intentionally designed".  This gives no new information, aside from specifically what you meant by "intentionally/intelligently". 

So going to your question on whether all forms of intentional design share common attributes of coming together in a way beyond simple element processes.  For instance, while I believe the processes of nature were created by God, with the natural laws in place, water could still form, because hydrogen and oxygen combine to form it.  However, those such as, for instance, humans and animals, have complex systems and consciousness that are more than just a collection of particles and energy, serving some sort of purpose (human beings having imagination and consciousness to be self-aware and grow, plants to be consumed by other life forms as well as filter oxygen into the air, etc.)

How did you go about establishing that things that are only made of particles and such, don't have imagination and consciousness, etc.?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 19, 2016, 08:58:19 PM
Design implies a purpose. If something is made by an intelligent being, it was made for some reason. A watch is designed to tell time.  A dress is designed to cover the body. A car is designed to get from one place to another. And so on. There may be other reasons, like watches that are also jewelry or dresses that are also status symbols or cars that are collectors items. But if the design does not fulfill the primary purpose, it is failed design.  A dress that has no neck opening and will not go over the wearer's head is a failure no matter how beautifully designed. And a car that does not run is a failure even if it looks fantastic.

Assuming that an all powerful god is the universal "designer" we are talking about, we have to wonder about primary purpose. Theists tell us the primary purpose of god designing humans is to have a relationship with him. Okay. So why allow anything in the design that makes it difficult to have that relationship? Like brain chemicals that go haywire and create suicidal depression, psychosis, schizophrenia. Severe mental retardation. Babies that die at birth. Miscarriages. The molar or ectopic pregnancy. Seems like a lot of examples of failed design, lots of dresses with no neck openings, watches with no hands, cars with engines that explode when you start them up.

Why design 95% or more of the living species to become extinct before human beings even appear on the planet? Why design millions of species who have no connection whatever to humans-- like Antarctic viruses, or those sea creatures who live in the darkest parts of the ocean and never even see light? And why would this "intelligent designer" create life forms whose only function is to hurt or kill people? What is the purpose of the guinea worm? The Ebola virus?  Face-eating bacteria? Again lots of failed design.

A perfect designer does not produce design failures. So we have to dump the "intelligent design" idea. But evolution is not intelligent and far from perfect, so we should expect to see lots of "design failures".  Most of the members of the species have to live long enough to reproduce for the species to continue. And when not enough of a species survives due to bad "design" -- too many dresses without neck openings or engines that explode-- the species goes extinct. That's it. No special purpose needed. Evolution is about "good enough". Evolution is sufficient to explain all the diversity of species, how they are related and why they do or do not survive.

The "intelligent design" idea explains nothing, only raises questions that cannot be answered. Because nobody can produce this designer to ask him WTF?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 19, 2016, 10:07:16 PM
And jdawg70, for some reason the picture just shows up as a small blue box with a question mark to me.  Maybe it's just my browser...

Direct link to the image:
https://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/pollock/pollock.number-8.jpg

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on February 19, 2016, 11:03:17 PM
... serving some sort of purpose...

I realize you've been getting plenty of food for thought, CD, but here's some more anyway:  A thing's purpose depends on the intentions of others, and can change depending on what others think.  For example, a couple living in a house might share some purposes for that house (shelter, etc.) but may or may not share others (running a business, raising a family, growing a garden, producing a profit from renovating and resale, and so on.).

The house, alone and of itself, has no purpose without others having intentions for it.[1]  And so those intentions, those purposes, are not really qualities possessed by the house!  They are qualities of the people holding those intentions for it.  When (for example) people say that the purpose of the house is for re-sale, they're not describing the house, but rather themselves and their own goals.

If you need further convincing, consider two physically identical spoons, one with a purpose and one without.  How might one tell them apart?
 1. Of course, if the house was conscious, then it could have intentions for itself as well
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on February 20, 2016, 08:33:31 AM
sorry for jumping in to a discussion with you and Azdgari.  I only have one point here that Az did not cover, though perhaps he did so intentionally. Sorry, Az, if that is the case.

However, those such as, for instance, humans and animals, have complex systems and consciousness that are more than just a collection of particles and energy,

?  What more do we have than matter and energy?  I know it is tempting to say, "we walk around and think!  Mere matter and energy is not enough to explain it!"  But think about, say, a video game.  It runs on a digital machine.  The integrated circuits are only switches that hold high or low voltage.   How the flip can binary switches produce a video image, let alone a first-person-shooter?  It must be more than a collection of matter and energy!  Except, it isn't.

If you think we are more than particles and energy (and be specific about what you mean by "energy"), then kindly demonstrate the special extra ingredient. Philosophers and some scientists used to think there was a "life force" called "elan vital".  But few people take it seriously anymore because it doesn't really mean anything.  It just puts one more step between us and an answer.



Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 20, 2016, 10:29:29 AM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.

What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.

I will gladly answer your question here, but before I do will you agree with me that if we do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that something, or a set of things, has been designed by a person (invisible or no) we should then admit that we do not know how the thing came about?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Airyaman on February 20, 2016, 11:45:50 AM
Yeah, the Abraham and Issac thing confuses me too.  And the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  And those 42 boys being mauled by bears.  Even though God wasn't actually planning to have Issac die and it was all a secret test of character, and I guess you could kind of make the argument that Yahweh is the God of the Israelites so he favored them, but the thing with the bears seemed kind of out of the blue for teasing a prophet.

A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.

Calling someone baldy is a life threatening taunt?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 20, 2016, 12:01:25 PM
Yeah, the Abraham and Issac thing confuses me too.  And the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  And those 42 boys being mauled by bears.  Even though God wasn't actually planning to have Issac die and it was all a secret test of character, and I guess you could kind of make the argument that Yahweh is the God of the Israelites so he favored them, but the thing with the bears seemed kind of out of the blue for teasing a prophet.

A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.

Calling someone baldy is a life threatening taunt?

Its agape threatening.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on February 20, 2016, 12:08:04 PM
A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.

Calling someone baldy is a life threatening taunt?

DA LAWD is very PC[1], you know.
 1. Politically Correct.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 20, 2016, 12:39:08 PM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.

What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.

I will gladly answer your question here, but before I do will you agree with me that if we do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that something, or a set of things, has been designed by a person (invisible or no) we should then admit that we do not know how the thing came about?

I do agree there—as that quote by Carl Sagan in your sig says, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  We have to look at the evidence and see what conclusion we come to. (example: Face on Mars, looked like a face but turned out to be blown sand dues IIRC).

Yeah, the Abraham and Issac thing confuses me too.  And the death of the firstborn in Egypt.  And those 42 boys being mauled by bears.  Even though God wasn't actually planning to have Issac die and it was all a secret test of character, and I guess you could kind of make the argument that Yahweh is the God of the Israelites so he favored them, but the thing with the bears seemed kind of out of the blue for teasing a prophet.

A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.

Calling someone baldy is a life threatening taunt?

My thoughts as well when I read that part in the Bible.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 20, 2016, 06:38:33 PM
What I meant by that was that it seems like all the parts of the cell are designed to work perfectly together.  If the structure were different, the cell would not be able to properly function and we might not have everything the universe possesses now.
The reason it seems this way is because most cells where these internal parts don't work properly together don't even live long enough to get started.  In short, we never see failed cells because they die off and get used as resources by more successful cells.  We can see this on a larger scale with things like miscarriages - if the genetic code of a fetus results in it not being able to survive (due to its internal organs not developing properly), it miscarries.  Same thing with a cell, really.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
Admittedly you're right, I haven't read the books in question, but I have heard accounts of someone learning about the existence of say, a relative who died before they were born.
The brain goes more than a little wonky when the body is near death.  I'd wager that things like this are due to its desperate efforts to stay functioning - like, say, connecting dots that it wouldn't have otherwise even seen.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
We may seem to have no way to verify it, but maybe that's because our technology isn't sophisticated enough yet to do so?
Which is all the more reason not to draw conclusions about it until we have verifiable data to base those conclusions on.  Otherwise it's just too easy to fixate on the conclusions already drawn, to the point of ignoring things which contradict them.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
You know, I never thought about it that way.  The followers of pagan religions likely feel their beliefs are true just as strongly as we Christians do.  After all, if they didn't believe such things with all their hearts, they likely wouldn't worship those other gods/pantheons/aspects of nature.  And zi am aware that Christians adopted pagan customs to ease pagans into converting, like Christmas being at the time of Saturnaillia.
Exactly.  You've just made an important realization here about the nature of human belief, and one I've seen plenty of people completely miss or even ignore.  I hope it's something you never forget.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 20, 2016, 06:44:46 PM
A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.
Learn to read your own Bible before you make such claims, skeptic.

2 Kings 2:23-25:  "23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria."

It was not a gang of children threatening to kill him; it was a gang of children jeering at him mockingly as he was apparently leaving anyway.  For which he called upon his god to have bears maul over 40 of them.  Pretty contemptible behavior when you get right down to it.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 20, 2016, 07:11:47 PM
^^^Yes, indeedy. One of the best bits of evidence against Christianity (or Islam, or Rasta or Hinduism, etc) is the existence of all the other religions.

Believers wear what the religion says to wear, eat what it tells them to eat, marry who it says to marry, celebrate what it says to celebrate.  They talk to invisible magic beings or dead prophets, asking them for help or advice. They value stories that make no sense to the outsider, and create songs, plays, even movies about these stories.  They do painful things to their bodies or avoid doing pleasurable things because of these beliefs. They teach these ridiculous beliefs to their children. Sometimes they even kill other people solely because they hold different beliefs. People are willing to die for beliefs that seem utterly absurd to the non-believer--remember the Hale Bopp people and the Jim Jones followers? 

And believers don't like to think about the fact that their religion developed during a certain historical time and is largely confined to certain geographical areas. Their magical being is entirely absent from some parts of the world, and did not seem to exist at all during some time periods. Strange behavior for supernatural magical beings, supposedly not limited by space and time. But completely expected for ideas made up and transmitted by ordinary human beings.

You will never find evidence of a 2010 Justin Bieber song being sung by a remote tribe in Kenya circa 1950. We know that some guy who says they saw Elvis Presley or John Lennon or Michael Jackson walking down the street in Paris yesterday is mistaken--if it was true there would be videos all over the internet of it. And would any parent buy a vial of authentic Kim Kardashian spit to rub on their child to cure leukemia? If Kim's (or Kanye's) spit really cured anything, you would hear about it on CNN. Pfizer would be testing it, and doctors would be prescribing it.

But substitute religion for popular culture and people completely lose their rational faculties.  &)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 20, 2016, 07:32:39 PM
A gang was threatening Elisha's life. Imagine a gang of 42 boy circling you threatening to kill you. You'd be scared out of your mind.
Learn to read your own Bible before you make such claims, skeptic.

2 Kings 2:23-25:  "23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria."

It was not a gang of children threatening to kill him; it was a gang of children jeering at him mockingly as he was apparently leaving anyway.  For which he called upon his god to have bears maul over 40 of them.  Pretty contemptible behavior when you get right down to it.

Yet another absolutely horrible story about god over reacting with gruesome violence to fairly innocuous human activity. God as Tony Perkins in Psycho or something.

So even though the verse says "taunting" not "threatening", the boys[1] were planning to beat Elisha to death with their bare hands for no reason, as was all-too-common for boys to do back then. We know this was what the boys had in mind because......no, we have no idea why we think the boys want to kill Elisha. We have to assume they were going to kill him, in order to make god seem like less of a d!ck.

Is bear mauling the wisest, most loving action an all-powerful god could think of?

The story reads as if god is chillin' in the La-Z-Boy watching the game. And suddenly, he realizes Elisha is in trouble--maybe he gets a text. What to do? How about god has 1000 angels surround Elisha and fly him safely away? How about god gives all the boys giggling fits and they roll around on the ground laughing until Elisha is gone? How about god fills all their tunics with itching powder and they run home to wash? How about god shows up in person, tells the guys he loves them and does not want them to end up in hell and that they should stop teasing prophets and worship him?

Oh, sh!t, no time for any of that, gotta send down the grizzlies! Raaaaawr!

That is the best he can do? God could not do anything but send bears to rip the boys into pieces. After which Elisha blithely continues on his way, daintily stepping over the 42 mangled bodies so as to not soil his sandals with the gore. There must have been blood and guts all over the place. What about the families of the boys? Do their parents or siblings come looking for them and find them dead like that in the woods? WTF is this story supposed to teach, anyway?

Nice god you have there.
 1. now a "gang"--I suppose, consisting of time-jumping coke-addicted face tattooed El Salvadoran guys in their 20's, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and Uzis
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on February 21, 2016, 04:59:19 PM
Good way of wording that complete form of the question, Azdgori.  And nice "watch on an alien planet" scenario hypothesis.

I feel that intelligent/intentionally designed things, at the very least, have common attributes of internal an external forces coming together in a way that isn't just a part of passing down genetic traits that work for a species and eventually discarding those that don't.  So going to your question on whether all forms of intentional design share common attributes of coming together in a way beyond simple element processes.  For instance, while I believe the processes of nature were created by God, with the natural laws in place, water could still form, because hydrogen and oxygen combine to form it.  However, those such as, for instance, humans and animals, have complex systems and consciousness that are more than just a collection of particles and energy, serving some sort of purpose (human beings having imagination and consciousness to be self-aware and grow, plants to be consumed by other life forms as well as filter oxygen into the air, etc.)

And jdawg70, for some reason the picture just shows up as a small blue box with a question mark to me.  Maybe it's just my browser...

so you wish to claim that somehow "parts" of the universe required your god or force or whatever you've made up.  Please do show how you can tell the difference. 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 23, 2016, 01:50:14 PM
^^^Yes, indeedy. One of the best bits of evidence against Christianity (or Islam, or Rasta or Hinduism, etc) is the existence of all the other religions.

>snip<

And believers don't like to think about the fact that their religion developed during a certain historical time and is largely confined to certain geographical areas. Their magical being is entirely absent from some parts of the world, and did not seem to exist at all during some time periods. Strange behavior for supernatural magical beings, supposedly not limited by space and time. But completely expected for ideas made up and transmitted by ordinary human beings.

And so, we circle back to the question of the OP, which I don't recall seeing any believer here even attempt to engage.  A world of "little circles," wherein the gods and goddesses of each religion did all their alleged acts, from whence news of them only spread by human contact, flows naturally from the hypothesis that deities are human cultural artifacts, just like folk dances, styles of dress, culinary traditions, and the like.

If we compare that with, say, the hypothesis that all of the gods and goddesses are real, we notice that this hypothesis has no natural explanation for why they're local in space and time.  We see no evidence of Thor visiting ancient Egypt or Hathor visiting the Maya, or anything along those lines (i.e., deities from one culture appearing in places and/or times where they could not have been spread by humans from that culture.).  An advocate of this hypothesis would have to spawn one or more additional claims to explain divine locality.

Monotheists (especially those who posit an omnimax mono-God) face the same problem, only worse.  Not only does their hypothesis need additional claims in order to explain why "God" was confined to a little circle and only spread beyond its boundaries by humans, it needs more claims to explain all the other "little circles."  It is not as if all the peoples outside the little circle on the OP's map were just living in dismal darkness until the marvelous tales of divine action emerged from the circle, giving them their first glimpse of anything resembling a deity and miracles.  No, they all already had their own tales, their own circles that defined them as the specially chosen people of the divine, whose culture and traditions were vouchsafed to them from the supernatural realm.  This is obviously not something we would expect if there was only one all-powerful divine being.  So now the monotheists need to start asserting the existence of "demons" or "djinn" or whatever, other supernatural beings who deceive everyone else but [the correct sect of] the monotheists themselves.

These secondary claims make the hypotheses they're attached to less likely in terms of prior probability (the estimate of likelihood we can make from background knowledge, "prior" to searching for evidence for and against the hypothesis) because the secondary claims must also be true, in order for the primary hypothesis to be true.  For example, "Hillary Clinton drove to the airport" is more likely than "Hillary Clinton drove to the airport in a red car" because it can be true no matter what color of car she might have driven, including a red car.  The latter hypothesis requires that the car she drove also be red; any other color, and it's false.

So, when we engage in the act of "locating the hypothesis" (picking one out of the vast landscape of possible hypotheses that could be used to explain religions for further examination and testing), we can see that "gods and goddesses are human cultural artifacts" fits perfectly with the "world of little circles" (many religions, spread by humans) we know from background knowledge. 

The "monotheism" hypothesis requires numerous secondary hypotheses to prop it up: "Yahweh chose to reveal himself only through the ancient Hebrews because...well, he just did, OK?"  "There's this other guy--not another god, no really!--called Satan who has this whole army of demons, and they go around pretending to be other gods and goddesses to cover up the truth of monotheism!" "'Sin' prevents people from being able to tell the One True Faith from all the false ones because we're just rotten to the core."  "Yahweh gave us 'free will' so that we could choose one of those fake demon-religions or no religion if we want to...but he'll punish us later if we do."

That's quite a collection, and it's not necessarily exhaustive.  So, if we are going to privilege a hypothesis by selecting it as the one to have a closer look at, and we want our best chance of picking the one most likely to be true, should we not choose the "gods and goddesses are human cultural artifacts" one, instead of automatically defaulting to monotheism?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 23, 2016, 10:21:30 PM
Occam's Razor, slicing right through all the apologetics and complicated "well ya see" attempts to explain stuff that is really very simple.

People. Make. Sh!t. Up.

There. Are. No. Gods.

Any questions? See science.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jynnan tonnix on February 23, 2016, 11:33:30 PM
Occam's Razor, slicing right through all the apologetics and complicated "well ya see" attempts to explain stuff that is really very simple.

People. Make. Sh!t. Up.

There. Are. No. Gods.

Any questions? See science.

Exactly. And why is it that no theist ever (at least in my recollection) attempts a response which both addresses Occam's razor and their beliefs/apologetics at the same time That's really all I ask here...
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 24, 2016, 02:10:05 PM
Occam's Razor, slicing right through all the apologetics and complicated "well ya see" attempts to explain stuff that is really very simple.

People. Make. Sh!t. Up.

There. Are. No. Gods.

Any questions? See science.

Exactly. And why is it that no theist ever (at least in my recollection) attempts a response which both addresses Occam's razor and their beliefs/apologetics at the same time That's really all I ask here...

But if you recall, Ockham was a Christian. His razor did not tell him to stop believing in God.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 24, 2016, 02:12:38 PM
But if you recall, Ockham was a Christian. His razor did not tell him to stop believing in God.

Congratulations!

You've missed the point for the 5,000th time!  Your check is in the mail.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 24, 2016, 02:22:10 PM
But if you recall, Ockham was a Christian. His razor did not tell him to stop believing in God.

Congratulations!

You've missed the point for the 5,000th time!  Your check is in the mail.

I hate it when you guys do that.

But think about it logically. The man who came up with the razor did not think it ruled out God. Otherwise, he would've been an atheist.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jetson on February 24, 2016, 03:05:53 PM
But if you recall, Ockham was a Christian. His razor did not tell him to stop believing in God.

Congratulations!

You've missed the point for the 5,000th time!  Your check is in the mail.

I hate it when you guys do that.

But think about it logically. The man who came up with the razor did not think it ruled out God. Otherwise, he would've been an atheist.

What would "rule out" God?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 24, 2016, 03:10:31 PM
What would "rule out" God?

I don't know. You guys are the atheists. Haven't you ruled Him out?

Is there much of a difference between "There is no God" and "I don't believe the claim 'God exists'?" 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 24, 2016, 03:13:27 PM
I hate it when you guys do that.
Then stop missing the point so damn often.

Quote
But think about it logically. The man who came up with the razor did not think it ruled out God. Otherwise, he would've been an atheist.
What of it?

Just because I come up with an idea doesn't mean that I'll use that idea effectively.  That goes for Occam as well, or, well, any other human being.  Because the value of the idea does not stem from the person proposing the idea, but rather, the merits of the idea itself.

That is the point that sailed by you.  In fact, that point has been sailing by you for your entire tenure on this forum.  You may hate it when we call you out on missing the point, but I, for one, am starting to hate that you miss the point so damn often.

So stop missing the point so damn much and everyone will be happier.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on February 25, 2016, 12:49:50 AM
Quote
... Because the value of the idea does not stem from the person proposing the idea, but rather, the merits of the idea itself.
The above reflects a fundamentally different way of thinking, jdawg.  We think this way, but skep does not.  He's still using a more traditional epistemology, an authority-based one, in which the identity of the person proposing an idea matters far more than the merits of the idea itself.

This makes sense in the context of his religion, in which things are true/good because God says they are, regardless of their apparent merits (or lack thereof).
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: skeptic54768 on February 25, 2016, 01:29:38 AM
I hate it when you guys do that.
Then stop missing the point so damn often.

Quote
But think about it logically. The man who came up with the razor did not think it ruled out God. Otherwise, he would've been an atheist.
What of it?

Just because I come up with an idea doesn't mean that I'll use that idea effectively.  That goes for Occam as well, or, well, any other human being.  Because the value of the idea does not stem from the person proposing the idea, but rather, the merits of the idea itself.

That is the point that sailed by you.  In fact, that point has been sailing by you for your entire tenure on this forum.  You may hate it when we call you out on missing the point, but I, for one, am starting to hate that you miss the point so damn often.

So stop missing the point so damn much and everyone will be happier.

Are you saying that Ockham was smart in coming up with the idea, but too dumb in applying it?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jynnan tonnix on February 25, 2016, 02:05:03 AM

Are you saying that Ockham was smart in coming up with the idea, but too dumb in applying it?

It's not impossible. People can often be blind to some of the things closest to them.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on February 25, 2016, 02:10:44 AM
Are you saying that Ockham was smart in coming up with the idea, but too dumb in applying it?

Why not work that out for yourself?  Reason it through.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jetson on February 25, 2016, 08:48:46 AM
What would "rule out" God?

I don't know. You guys are the atheists. Haven't you ruled Him out?

Is there much of a difference between "There is no God" and "I don't believe the claim 'God exists'?"

Rather than state the obvious about what atheists have done with God, why not take a serious stab at answering my question? From your perspective, the way you see God and the world, what would rule out God? If the answer in your mind really is nothing, then just say it.

On the other hand, if something could truly "rule out" God, what might that be?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 25, 2016, 09:09:12 AM
Just because I come up with an idea doesn't mean that I'll use that idea effectively.  That goes for Occam as well, or, well, any other human being.  Because the value of the idea does not stem from the person proposing the idea, but rather, the merits of the idea itself.

Are you saying that Ockham was smart in coming up with the idea, but too dumb in applying it?
a) That is certainly a possibility.  I don't think there is much of an argument to rule out that possibility, though I don't think it's the case.  I never met the dude, so I'm kinda hesitant to make a guess.  I'll just go with no.
b) Isaac Newton was smart enough to create calculus, but he would have been unable to apply calculus effectively to study the motion of galaxies.  His information was out of date.
c) The other way to say it is that Occam was smart enough to come up with the idea but, being a fallible human being, was still subject to failure of application of concept.  That is different than dumb.
d) Ultimately, the result you get from application of Occam's razor is highly dependent on what you're attempting to trim.  What you're attempting to trim is a combination of the information available to you, your set of beliefs, how your mind operates, etc.  That's one of the reasons why it's simply a rule of thumb and not, like, an actual 'thingie' that establishes validity of a claim.  It is a rule of thumb.  It's a good rule of thumb, but still just a rule of thumb.

skeptic54768, do you understand that there are a myriad of ways and explanations for why a human being can be wrong about something?  Beyond being just stupid or lying, a human being can be wrong for any other number of reasons, including, but not limited to:
1) Lack of information.  We generally refer to this as 'ignorance'.
2) Possession of other incorrect information.  We generally agree that human beings can believe false things to be true.
3) Heightened emotional states that affect judgment.  We generally agree that human cognition can be affected, sometimes adversely so, by emotional states.
4) General fallibility of the human mind.  We generally refer to short-term instances of this that do not have long-term deleterious effects as 'brain farts'.

Varying combinations of the above plus other reasons not listed here...there can be a lot of differing explanations for why a human being may be wrong about something.  But you've seriously got to get the association of "wrong = lying" or "wrong = stupid" the hell out of your noggin'.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: kcrady on February 26, 2016, 10:47:06 AM
Are you saying that Ockham was smart in coming up with the idea, but too dumb in applying it?

If you can understand why you don't want to apply Ockham's Razor to Christianity, you can understand why William of Ockham wouldn't.  When you consider how deeply Christians are conditioned against applying any sort of critical scrutiny to their faith, it's hardly surprising that Ockham didn't turn his Razor on Christianity.  And don't forget that the Inquisition was a thing in his time.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Astreja on February 26, 2016, 11:01:43 AM
When you consider how deeply Christians are conditioned against applying any sort of critical scrutiny to their faith, it's hardly surprising that Ockham didn't turn his Razor on Christianity.  And don't forget that the Inquisition was a thing in his time.

Good point about the Inquisition.  Even if Ockham had indeed applied the Razor to his own beliefs, he may have maintained a public pretense of belief in order to protect life and limb.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 26, 2016, 01:23:17 PM
If you can understand why you don't want to apply Ockham's Razor to Christianity, you can understand why William of Ockham wouldn't.

Thing is, I don't think that skeptic54768 is trying to not apply the razor to Christianity.

Basically, he's shaved but simply does not notice that he still has a 5 o'clock shadow.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 26, 2016, 10:21:14 PM
Just to be clear, Occam's Razor is not some kind of 100% foolproof method of determining THE TRUTH. It only says that you should consider and eliminate the simplest possibilities before entertaining all sorts of more complex possibilities. Religions ask us to accept the most complex possibilities without even eliminating the most basic, simple answers.

The Miracle of the Empty Tomb: Someone dies and later on people can't find the dead body in the tomb. What are the simplest possibilities? Someone stole the body and did not tell anyone. It was buried somewhere different and nobody was notified. The names got mixed up and the person you thought was in the tomb ended up in a different one. The person was not really dead, but in a coma; they woke up and wandered off. The person who says they saw the dead body in the tomb lied. The "dead" person owed someone money and faked their death to escape paying their debts. The entire story is mythical and never really happened. Some wrote the story down wrong. And so on.

All of those simple possibilities, singly and in combination, have to be eliminated before you get into stuff that is inexplicably complicated. But people tell us that we should instead believe explanations requiring the existence of magic, supernatural beings, perfectly accurate witnesses, perfectly accurate memories, perfectly accurate recording of those witnesses accounts, and that defy all known biology, known physics, known facts about dead bodies, etc. Occam's Razor says that is way too many moving parts to be considered when you have not eliminated all the simpler possibilities. Yet, there are people who actually posit "The Empty Tomb" as irrefutable proof of a miracle.[1]

Like, we are supposed to accept that some really complex magical invisible god-being got angry and sent a hurricane to destroy a town because gay marriage was legal, when much simpler, easily explainable natural forces (wind currents caused by sun's rays, convection, etc) could have done it. And we should accept stories of people experiencing phenomena that defy every principle of science, instead of assuming that they lied, were mistaken, did not understand what happened, had a hallucination, had a psychotic episode, dreamed it happened, were using drugs, etc. God-beings, magic and miracles are waaaaaaay more complicated than any ordinary explanation.

Occam's Razor says in the absence of better evidence, go with the simplest, most ordinary answer. That is it.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/scientific-experiments/occams-razor.htm
 1. What is disingenuous is the exact same story would be rejected, on the basis of Occam's Razor, if any other religion proposed it as proof of their god's miracles.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on February 27, 2016, 06:55:34 AM
You see NGFM, magics actually are the best answers for everything  &)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 27, 2016, 09:30:56 AM
Good clarification there on what Occam's Razor is, NGFM. :). And speaking of, your example in that post had me think of something regarding the Empty Tomb... where is it?  Sure, Googling the question says its in Jerusalem, but it also says there's numerous places it could be.  Shouldn't it be obvious, well known, and a big pilgrimage site since it's the tomb where Jesus was resurrected?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on February 27, 2016, 10:04:17 AM
regarding the Empty Tomb... where is it?

The tomb of Jesus is not to be taken literally. In this case, the tomb was a metaphor, for the feminine. Jesus went back to the feminine. That's why females visited the tomb... not that they actually visited the tomb, because it was a metaphor, for re-birthing. Once they went back the the feminine concept of Jesus, they were born again.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 27, 2016, 11:12:31 AM
Good clarification there on what Occam's Razor is, NGFM. :). And speaking of, your example in that post had me think of something regarding the Empty Tomb... where is it?  Sure, Googling the question says its in Jerusalem, but it also says there's numerous places it could be.  Shouldn't it be obvious, well known, and a big pilgrimage site since it's the tomb where Jesus was resurrected?

Very good questions. Nobody bothered to mark the place where all this incredible stuff happened. And archaeologists have not been able to find it, either, after centuries of looking. Interesting.

Just like the fact that there are no contemporary reports about this remarkable death and burial and rebirth. The "greatest story ever told" was the greatest story never told. Not written down until many years had passed.  There are no original documents of anything Jesus did.

We had a Christian here suggest that the reason there are no reports about Jesus doing miracles, and no marking of the spot where he was buried and came back is this: there were lots of prophets doing miracles like that all the time back then, so there was no point in noting every time something magical happened!

Right. Everyone was used to it.[1]Even though people noted down the most boring, mundane things, like what the price of olive oil was at the market, who was getting married, who had not paid their taxes, they did not make any record of miracle events. People died and came back after three days in a tomb routinely, so when Jesus did it, no biggie.

This Christian didn't seem to notice that they had just destroyed their entire religion.  :o
 1. Like when somebody shoots a bunch of people somewhere in the US. We don't even bother to put it on the national news, do we? Unless the person with a gun had an Arabic name....then it is worth nationwide panic. And more people buying guns.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: junebug72 on February 27, 2016, 11:31:24 AM
Occam's Razor, slicing right through all the apologetics and complicated "well ya see" attempts to explain stuff that is really very simple.

People. Make. Sh!t. Up.

There. Are. No. Gods.

Any questions? See science.

With all due respect Nogods, in a documentary I just posted in the You tube video collection, humans were atheist for 190,000 years before religion was invented.  Before science.  That implies the evidence they had for non belief is there were no gods present to believe in. 

That being said I think history can also answer those questions.  This thread is about history.  To me when you talk about history you are honoring those that have lost their freedom, their lives! to the virus called religion.  May they all RIP.

I think a side effect of leaning on science so much is leading the theists away from science not causing them to embrace it.  That is an opinion.  To me Science along with History is a much more compelling argument. 

The theist would much rather focus on the gaps in science than to focus on their embarrassing past.  That is why we still have god of the gaps arguments.   Respectfully.  It was Bloody History more than Science that caused me to turn away from religion. 

Then and only then did Science start to mean anything to me.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 27, 2016, 11:37:32 AM
History, in order to be accurate, has to follow something like the scientific method. In both cases, you have to go where the evidence takes you and evaluate it critically. That is how we can figure out that magic and miracles did not happen. So history is not very different from science.

That is why I say "see science" for good information about the world. No other method gives verifiable results.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on February 27, 2016, 11:48:31 AM
What would "rule out" God?

I don't know. You guys are the atheists. Haven't you ruled Him out?

Is there much of a difference between "There is no God" and "I don't believe the claim 'God exists'?"

You claim to have been an atheist, what ruled the Christian god out when you lacked a belief in all gods?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: junebug72 on February 27, 2016, 11:50:53 AM
History, in order to be accurate, has to follow something like the scientific method. In both cases, you have to go where the evidence takes you and evaluate it critically. That is how we can figure out that magic and miracles did not happen. So history is not very different from science.

That is why I say "see science" for good information about the world. No other method gives verifiable results.

I understand.  Thanks for the explanation.  It's critical thinking that connects the dots.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on February 29, 2016, 11:12:51 AM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.

What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.

I will gladly answer your question here, but before I do will you agree with me that if we do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that something, or a set of things, has been designed by a person (invisible or no) we should then admit that we do not know how the thing came about?

I do agree there—as that quote by Carl Sagan in your sig says, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  We have to look at the evidence and see what conclusion we come to. (example: Face on Mars, looked like a face but turned out to be blown sand dues IIRC).

Would you agree with me, then, that your position should currently be agnostic and not Catholic since we do not have any demonstrations of alleged deities creating life and/or universes (unlike things like cars or buildings where we do have demonstrations of those things being designed by people)?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 29, 2016, 03:13:45 PM
You bring up good points, Median.  You are right in that I don't believe everything I'm told or read until its proven false.  Overtime I've gotten more into analyzing things to discern what is true, hence starting to look into Bible history more rather than just accepting everything it said, especially as I started to read it more.

And I'm aware the god-of-the-gaps argument has been used for almost everything, though nowadays we know that diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria rather than demons or God cursing someone.  Same with natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods.

So, instead of doing what the ancients did, believing at-the-outset that we were "designed", you should disbelieve that claim until it has been demonstrated.

What would you consider to be a good demonstration of some form of intelligent design?  Not trying to turn the question around, I'm legitimately curious.

I will gladly answer your question here, but before I do will you agree with me that if we do not have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that something, or a set of things, has been designed by a person (invisible or no) we should then admit that we do not know how the thing came about?

I do agree there—as that quote by Carl Sagan in your sig says, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".  We have to look at the evidence and see what conclusion we come to. (example: Face on Mars, looked like a face but turned out to be blown sand dues IIRC).

Would you agree with me, then, that your position should currently be agnostic and not Catholic since we do not have any demonstrations of alleged deities creating life and/or universes (unlike things like cars or buildings where we do have demonstrations of those things being designed by people)?

To be perfectly honest, I don't think I can really call my position agnostic, since if I recall correctly agnostic is when you're not really sure whether or not God exists.  We have demonstrations of cars and the like being designed because we as humans have created them and know precisely how their structures work.  The universe, however, is something that we aren't even close to having explored completely.  Voyager 1 is only just out of reaches of the solar system and that's been traveling over 30 years, and though we have telescopes like the Hubble we can't see everything in the entire universe.  Not to mention people are still trying to figure out how consciousness works.

So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

... Speaking of, I just got a bit of a thought experiment idea.  The impulses in the brain are like electrical charges that flow through the brain, and can get damaged if there's an impact to the brain or a chemical imbalance, such as when seizures happen.  And at times, when people allegedly have seen ghosts, there's reportedly an electrical/electromagnetic disturbance.

So random thought-experiment theory: what if our souls are actually manifestations of electricity, and thus the energy still remains in some form when people die.  And maybe there's some sort of quantum energy dimension that conforms to the general idea of heaven, it's just indefensible by modern science so far?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on February 29, 2016, 03:56:29 PM
To be perfectly honest, ...still trying to figure out how consciousness works.

?  What's any of that got to do with it?

So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things. 

How about Odin?  Should we or should we not rule out Odin because we have imperfect knowledge of the universe?  Or Vishnu?  How about leprechauns? 

Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

1. You're not Catholic.  You may think you are.  You may self identify as one.  But, jeeze, how much core Catholic teaching can you reject and still be Catholic?  I'm not condemning you.  I was the same way when I was Catholic.  I believed birth control, abortion and masturbation were good things.  I believed miracles were bullshit.  I believed the pope was just some elderly virgin in a dress and Versace shoes who didn't know shit about anything.  I thought confession was a stupid idea.  And I still thought I was Catholic.  But really, I wasn't.  I was a noncatholic who attended a Catholic Church because my family had always done so. 

Being Catholic means something more than that. It means believing specific things and not believing others.  And if you don't believe those things you are supposed to believe, or believe some of those things you are not supposed to, at some point you are not a Catholic. 

You are not a Catholic.

2. God has been defined intentionally so as to be completely unable to be ruled out.  Not coincidentally, so are another gods.  Take the entire weird pantheon of Hindu gods.  Rule them out.  Go ahead, try.  You cannot do it if you are being honest.  Try the Norse gods.  Same problem.  How about Joe Smith, of Mormon fame?  Can't do it.  Now, try ruling out witches, vampires and werewolves.  Can't do it. 

That is the problem with believing things just because you cannot rule them out.  If "can't prove it isn't" is your argument, then you have no basis for rejecting many, many ridiculous things.  See also, Russel's Teapot and Screwtape's dog.


So random thought-experiment theory: what if our souls are actually manifestations of electricity, and thus the energy still remains in some form when people die. 

First law of thermodynamics would apply.  We would find excess electricity coming from nowhere, and we don't.

And maybe there's some sort of quantum energy dimension that conforms to the general idea of heaven, it's just indefensible by modern science so far?

That's just stringing together words that sound sciency but is actually meaningless.


Also, please cut down on the nested quotes.  They clutter up the joint.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on February 29, 2016, 04:15:32 PM
Here's something that might help you out a bit, Crystal Dragon.

Imagine the world, as it currently exists, but with your god definitely not existing.  It's a thought experiment, a way to envision things which you can't test.  The reason I'm suggesting it is because, right now, it looks like you're caught in a logic loop.  You've been taught to believe that your god really exists, yet at the same time, you've started noticing things which suggest the opposite.  Both of these can't be true at the same time, so you're kind of stuck between them, in a loop going back and forth between, "I believe my god exists" and "all these other things tell me that my god doesn't exist".  The idea of doing thought experiments is to help break you free of the loop.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 29, 2016, 04:43:02 PM
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

I don't understand the 'thus' above.

CrystalDragon, do you think that 'I am not ruling out god as an option as the explanation' is synonymous with 'I believe god is the explanation'?  I just feel like you're conflating 'not ruling out' with 'acceptance'.

What I'm struggling with - and it's not just from you - is the relationship between 'acknowledge as a possibility it has happened or is happening' and 'actually believe that possibility is what has happened or is happening'.  Your sentence above, to me, showcases my struggle with it.  I do not understand where the 'thus' connection is happening with these statements.  It just sounds like this to me:

I can't rule out invisible 5-headed dragons as the causal factor in supernovae since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I consider myself a believer in 5-headed dragons as a causal factor in supernovae.

Seriously.  That is what your statement sounds like to me.  Does it not sound like that to you too?  If not, what is different?  If so, why do you not believe that invisible 5-headed dragons are a causal factor in supernovae?  Would any of your thinking change if I said that there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentions invisible 5-headed dragons?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on February 29, 2016, 04:58:32 PM
?  What's any of that got to do with it?

By that I was pointing out that there's still a lot we don't know about life, self-awareness, and the universe, and as of now humanity doesn't yet have the knowledge to give a completely fact-based answer that everyone accepts, such as "You can't jump high because of Earth's gravity."

Quote
How about Odin?  Should we or should we not rule out Odin because we have imperfect knowledge of the universe?  Or Vishnu?  How about leprechauns? 

I see your point there, especially because 1. all those religions came out around the same time and 2. we haven't explored every part of the world yet, especially the ocean (I know there aren't any legends of aqatic leprechauns and the like, but that would be interesting.  Regarding those other gods though, they're said to be part of a heirachy and weren't responsible on their own for creating the universe in their legends, instead being gods of something specific.

Quote
1. You're not Catholic.  You may think you are.  You may self identify as one.  But, jeeze, how much core Catholic teaching can you reject and still be Catholic?  I'm not condemning you.  I was the same way when I was Catholic.  I believed birth control, abortion and masturbation were good things.  I believed miracles were bullshit.  I believed the pope was just some elderly virgin in a dress and Versace shoes who didn't know shit about anything.  I thought confession was a stupid idea.  And I still thought I was Catholic.  But really, I wasn't.  I was a noncatholic who attended a Catholic Church because my family had always done so. 

Being Catholic means something more than that. It means believing specific things and not believing others.  And if you don't believe those things you are supposed to believe, or believe some of those things you are not supposed to, at some point you are not a Catholic. 

You are not a Catholic.

2. God has been defined intentionally so as to be completely unable to be ruled out.  Not coincidentally, so are another gods.  Take the entire weird pantheon of Hindu gods.  Rule them out.  Go ahead, try.  You cannot do it if you are being honest.  Try the Norse gods.  Same problem.  How about Joe Smith, of Mormon fame?  Can't do it.  Now, try ruling out witches, vampires and werewolves.  Can't do it. 

That is the problem with believing things just because you cannot rule them out.  If "can't prove it isn't" is your argument, then you have no basis for rejecting many, many ridiculous things.  See also, Russel's Teapot and Screwtape's dog.


Got to sway, I have some variances to your beliefs when you considered yourself Catholic.  I believe birth control, abortion, and masturbation are all bad, I still believe in miracles and that it's good to go to confession, though I do acknowledge that the Pope way not be quite infallible.

If you don't consider me to be Catholic given me not totally believing the Bible, what would you consider me?  A non-denominational Christian?

And you do make a good point there about not bring able to rule some things out, and "Can't prove it isn't" isn't the most valid argument.

Also "Screwtape's dog" sounds like a counterpart to Schrodinger's Cat. :)


Quote
First law of thermodynamics would apply.  We would find excess electricity coming from nowhere, and we don't.

That's just stringing together words that sound sciency but is actually meaningless.


Also, please cut down on the nested quotes.  They clutter up the joint.  Thanks.

I was reluctant to put that "thought experiment" in the first place, since I wasn't trying to be particularly clear-cut sciencey and rather more along the lines of pondering speculation.

Also, I'll keep the quote-nesting in mind for the future, thanks.

(Will respond to the other posts in a little while, my phone's about to run out of batteries.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on February 29, 2016, 06:44:09 PM
CD, if you believe that birth control, masturbation and abortion are bad, you must believe that god meant for every egg and sperm that are made by a human body should become a living breathing human being, no matter what.

So, do you plan on having 8, 10, 12 or 16 pregnancies in your life?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on February 29, 2016, 09:02:55 PM
Got to sway, I have some variances to your beliefs when you considered yourself Catholic.  I believe birth control, abortion, and masturbation are all bad, I still believe in miracles and that it's good to go to confession, though I do acknowledge that the Pope way not be quite infallible.

If you don't consider me to be Catholic given me not totally believing the Bible, what would you consider me?  A non-denominational Christian?

What is your understanding of the content and the purpose of the Nicene Creed?

Have you ever wondered where the word 'catholic' comes from?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on March 01, 2016, 11:00:41 AM
?  What's any of that got to do with it?

By that I was pointing out that there's still a lot we don't know about life, self-awareness, and the universe, and as of now humanity doesn't yet have the knowledge to give a completely fact-based answer that everyone accepts, such as "You can't jump high because of Earth's gravity."

But there is a huge problem you seem to be missing, and that problem is what I originally pointed out. You are still trying to use the logical fallacy called Shifting the Burden of Proof  (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html)(even though a moment ago you admitted that we shouldn't believe things when we do not have sufficient evidence to believe them - such as believing in a magic flying teapot that orbits our galaxy but which cannot be seen).

In short, since you do not have sufficient evidence to actually demonstrate that some alleged "god" thing created the universe and life on earth then you should admit that you do not know! Just as you pointed out a second ago, we do have sufficient evidence for where houses, cars, and factories come from (b/c we can demonstrate where they come from) but since you cannot demonstrate any alleged "god" thing creating universes or life you cannot compare the two. And thus, if you are intellectually honest, you must admit that you do not know where the universe or life came from.

ADDITIONAL NOTE ABOUT "RULING OUT" STUFF:

What if I told you that I have an extraordinary vehicle in my backyard, unlike any other vehicle you have ever seen, and that from my research it could not be ruled out that aliens from another galaxy created that vehicle since that hypothesis has not been proven false. Would you start believing it was aliens that created my unique vehicle? You wouldn't, would you? It would be bad and/or unwarranted of you to do so b/c the logic I just used there was the same fallacious reasoning you are using. It a version of the Argument from Ignorance (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance) fallacy. We do not just believe claims until they have been proven false. We disbelieve them until they have been demonstrated to be true. Otherwise, you should just take my word for it and believe the vehicle in my backyard is an alien spacecraft.


(http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y52/median/AV2_zpsulcjnwb9.jpg)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on March 01, 2016, 11:12:13 AM
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

I don't understand the 'thus' above.

CrystalDragon, do you think that 'I am not ruling out god as an option as the explanation' is synonymous with 'I believe god is the explanation'?  I just feel like you're conflating 'not ruling out' with 'acceptance'.

What I'm struggling with - and it's not just from you - is the relationship between 'acknowledge as a possibility it has happened or is happening' and 'actually believe that possibility is what has happened or is happening'.  Your sentence above, to me, showcases my struggle with it.  I do not understand where the 'thus' connection is happening with these statements.  It just sounds like this to me:

I can't rule out invisible 5-headed dragons as the causal factor in supernovae since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I consider myself a believer in 5-headed dragons as a causal factor in supernovae.

Seriously.  That is what your statement sounds like to me.  Does it not sound like that to you too?  If not, what is different?  If so, why do you not believe that invisible 5-headed dragons are a causal factor in supernovae?  Would any of your thinking change if I said that there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentions invisible 5-headed dragons?

CrystalDragon, just FYI:
I know that I've probably got a few open questions to you, and there's no need to get to all of those[1], but I want to point out that of all the possible lines of discussion with you, this one is of particular interest to me.  And OldChurchGuy, if you're out there lurking, just FYI, this interests me for the exact same reasons why our conversations in the past had been of interest to me.

Cards on the table: as far as I can tell, I have a fundamental misunderstanding of what someone like you or OldChurchGuy mean when you say "I believe that god exists."  There is some connection that you and OldChurchGuy make in between "x is possible" and "x is" that I simply have been unable to figure out.  And I think conversations revolving around the "thus" thingie alluded to above may help me start figuring that one out.
 1. As I'm aware you're probably getting close to overwhelmed with the sheer number of posts directed at you.  I think Star is in the same boat.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 01, 2016, 11:21:16 AM
Cards on the table: as far as I can tell, I have a fundamental misunderstanding of what someone like you or OldChurchGuy mean when you say "I believe that god exists."  There is some connection that you and OldChurchGuy make in between "x is possible" and "x is" that I simply have been unable to figure out.  And I think conversations revolving around the "thus" thingie alluded to above may help me start figuring that one out.

I don't think that they have a good reason.  God beliefs usually are a result of childhood indoctrination, so those beliefs are simply held through life, and once those particular beliefs get woven into the fabric of one's life, they are difficult to let go.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on March 01, 2016, 03:04:24 PM
Here's something that might help you out a bit, Crystal Dragon.

Imagine the world, as it currently exists, but with your god definitely not existing.  It's a thought experiment, a way to envision things which you can't test.  The reason I'm suggesting it is because, right now, it looks like you're caught in a logic loop.  You've been taught to believe that your god really exists, yet at the same time, you've started noticing things which suggest the opposite.  Both of these can't be true at the same time, so you're kind of stuck between them, in a loop going back and forth between, "I believe my god exists" and "all these other things tell me that my god doesn't exist".  The idea of doing thought experiments is to help break you free of the loop.

Okay, looking at it from that thought experiment... If the world existed exactly as it currently is (as in, all physics is the same and what-not) then the one major difference I'd see is a lack of churches (if we're adding "everyone believes that no god exists" and that we'd cease to exist when we die and everyone would accept that as part of their reality (or frantically try to avoid any situation that may cause death).  We also likely wouldn't have people hurting/killing others in the name of God, though that doesn't mean we wouldn't see that behavior fueled by other things (the girls who stabbed their friend "for Slenderman" for instance.

CD, if you believe that birth control, masturbation and abortion are bad, you must believe that god meant for every egg and sperm that are made by a human body should become a living breathing human being, no matter what.

So, do you plan on having 8, 10, 12 or 16 pregnancies in your life?

I don't think that every egg and sperm was meant to become a living breathing human being, but the ones that connect and become an embryo in the womb are.  I can understand though, admittedly, why birth control may be taken in some instances (such as going into some area you know is dangerous and assuring that you won't get pregnant if something bad happens), but just to take birth control pills just for the sake of having sex isn't necessarily advise able.

As for the abortion thing, let me ask you this: at what point in development do you consider an embryo to be a living, breathing person?  Is there a month cut-off in your view?

(And for the moment, I don't plan on having any pregnancies.  And16 is a lot.)

What is your understanding of the content and the purpose of the Nicene Creed?

Have you ever wondered where the word 'catholic' comes from?

My understanding of the content is that the Niceness Creed is a profession of faith that those who state it believe as the set Catholic doctrine.  And seeing as "catholic" means "universal", I always thought (and qas taught as such) tat the Catholic Church was the one true church since it was the Church founded by Peter at Jesus' request.

But there is a huge problem you seem to be missing, and that problem is what I originally pointed out. You are still trying to use the logical fallacy called Shifting the Burden of Proof  (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html)(even though a moment ago you admitted that we shouldn't believe things when we do not have sufficient evidence to believe them - such as believing in a magic flying teapot that orbits our galaxy but which cannot be seen).

In short, since you do not have sufficient evidence to actually demonstrate that some alleged "god" thing created the universe and life on earth then you should admit that you do not know! Just as you pointed out a second ago, we do have sufficient evidence for where houses, cars, and factories come from (b/c we can demonstrate where they come from) but since you cannot demonstrate any alleged "god" thing creating universes or life you cannot compare the two. And thus, if you are intellectually honest, you must admit that you do not know where the universe or life came from.

ADDITIONAL NOTE ABOUT "RULING OUT" STUFF:

What if I told you that I have an extraordinary vehicle in my backyard, unlike any other vehicle you have ever seen, and that from my research it could not be ruled out that aliens from another galaxy created that vehicle since that hypothesis has not been proven false. Would you start believing it was aliens that created my unique vehicle? You wouldn't, would you? It would be bad and/or unwarranted of you to do so b/c the logic I just used there was the same fallacious reasoning you are using. It a version of the Argument from Ignorance (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance) fallacy. We do not just believe claims until they have been proven false. We disbelieve them until they have been demonstrated to be true. Otherwise, you should just take my word for it and believe the vehicle in my backyard is an alien spacecraft.


(http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y52/median/AV2_zpsulcjnwb9.jpg)

You have a point that there are fallacies that can be stated to be involved—I always had figured that seeing the size and complexity of the universe was enough of an argument that God designed the universe and the natural laws that came along with it.  As you point out about the "not ruling out" stuff, we can't just believe things with no basis.  However, wouldn't you also say that you can't completely disprove God didn't create the universe, and can't we just admit that there's a lot we don't know for certain?

I don't understand the 'thus' above.

CrystalDragon, do you think that 'I am not ruling out god as an option as the explanation' is synonymous with 'I believe god is the explanation'?  I just feel like you're conflating 'not ruling out' with 'acceptance'.

What I'm struggling with - and it's not just from you - is the relationship between 'acknowledge as a possibility it has happened or is happening' and 'actually believe that possibility is what has happened or is happening'.  Your sentence above, to me, showcases my struggle with it.  I do not understand where the 'thus' connection is happening with these statements.  It just sounds like this to me:

I can't rule out invisible 5-headed dragons as the causal factor in supernovae since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I consider myself a believer in 5-headed dragons as a causal factor in supernovae.

Seriously.  That is what your statement sounds like to me.  Does it not sound like that to you too?  If not, what is different?  If so, why do you not believe that invisible 5-headed dragons are a causal factor in supernovae?  Would any of your thinking change if I said that there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentions invisible 5-headed dragons?

CrystalDragon, just FYI:
I know that I've probably got a few open questions to you, and there's no need to get to all of those[1], but I want to point out that of all the possible lines of discussion with you, this one is of particular interest to me.  And OldChurchGuy, if you're out there lurking, just FYI, this interests me for the exact same reasons why our conversations in the past had been of interest to me.

Cards on the table: as far as I can tell, I have a fundamental misunderstanding of what someone like you or OldChurchGuy mean when you say "I believe that god exists."  There is some connection that you and OldChurchGuy make in between "x is possible" and "x is" that I simply have been unable to figure out.  And I think conversations revolving around the "thus" thingie alluded to above may help me start figuring that one out.
 1. As I'm aware you're probably getting close to overwhelmed with the sheer number of posts directed at you.  I think Star is in the same boat.

If there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentioned 5-headed dragons creating supernovae[2], I might be more inclined to believe it rather than if it was just told to me—providing there was some form of evidence for it.  If, for instance, there were various fragments of writing as well as temples from that time that depicted 5-headed dragons creating supernovae, and this was widespread, then I'd be inclined to believe it.

That's in part how I feel about the Bible.  The Bible has had many documents of it discovered, with, as far as I know, more consistency and closer to the alleged time it happened than other religious texts.  So it has more merit thanI'd be inclined to feel toward others.

As for the connection between "X is possible" and "X is", this is how I see it.  To acknowledge that "God is possible" would mean that I acknowledge that the presence of a God in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist, but there's also a likely chance that everything was just created naturally with no direction of conscious intent.  Saying "God is" though implies that I feel strongly that the universe, afterlife, etc. had a creator involved with its creation, not thinking that all this could have reasonably come into being through strictly natural processes.
 2. totally going to use that in a book someday now
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 01, 2016, 03:23:52 PM
I don't think that every egg and sperm was meant to become a living breathing human being, but the ones that connect and become an embryo in the womb are. 

I've underlined the part which, IMO, is flawed thinking, and is that which leads you down a path of further flawed thinking and conclusions.  I wince every time I hear someone say "I guess it was meant to be"  or the ubiquitous  "everything happens for a reason".  I just want to scream at the stupidity.  What kind of fantasy world to these people live in anyway?  It demonstrates a painful lack of critical thinking and a total lack of understanding of our (humans) place on this planet.  Such statements imply (if not demand) that everything - everything - is controlled by some outer force or entity, as though we are all on puppet-strings.

By your statement above, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Charles Manson et al, were "meant" to be born.  If that's the case, your "god" is a monster.

I suggest that if you abandoned your supernatural world view and adopted a naturalistic world view, you wouldn't have to rationalize or make excuses for a whole host of material.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on March 01, 2016, 03:33:24 PM
I don't think that every egg and sperm was meant to become a living breathing human being, but the ones that connect and become an embryo in the womb are. 

I've underlined the part which, IMO, is flawed thinking, and is that which leads you down a path of further flawed thinking and conclusions.  I wince every time I hear someone say "I guess it was meant to be"  or the ubiquitous  "everything happens for a reason".  I just want to scream at the stupidity.  What kind of fantasy world to these people live in anyway?  It demonstrates a painful lack of critical thinking and a total lack of understanding of our (humans) place on this planet.  Such statements imply (if not demand) that everything - everything - is controlled by some outer force or entity, as though we are all on puppet-strings.

By your statement above, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, Charles Manson et al, were "meant" to be born.  If that's the case, your "god" is a monster.

I suggest that if you abandoned your supernatural world view and adopted a naturalistic world view, you wouldn't have to rationalize or make excuses for a whole host of material.

What I meant by that was that a bunch of sperm and eggs are in every human make and female respectively, but that doesn't mean that every single one of them is going to result in a child.  For instance, girls are born with about a million or so eggs, with only around 400 reaching maturity, but that doesn't mean a woman will have 400 kids in her lifetime.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 01, 2016, 03:43:52 PM
Erm, that doesn't add anything as far as I can see.  What do you mean when you say this:

"Every egg and sperm that connect and become an embryo in the womb are meant to connect."
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on March 01, 2016, 04:01:46 PM
Erm, that doesn't add anything as far as I can see.  What do you mean when you say this:

"Every egg and sperm that connect and become an embryo in the womb are meant to connect."

What I mean by that is that after an egg and sperm connect, they begin to grow into a living person.  That person has a soul, so they are meant to connect because God them gives them life through possessing a soul/consciousness/awareness.  True, that meant like people like Hitler were born, but circumstances and their own choice and personality were what caused them to act the way they did.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 01, 2016, 04:06:44 PM
What I mean by that is that after an egg and sperm connect, they begin to grow into a living person.  That person has a soul, so they are meant to connect because God them gives them life through possessing a soul/consciousness/awareness.

A "soul" is yet another supernatural, superstitious concept born out of humanity's ignorance of our origins.  There is no such thing as a soul, and believing such ideas (which were planted in your mind as a child no doubt), leads you once again down a path of further required supernatural justifications.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 01, 2016, 04:19:25 PM
So, if something happens, then it was meant to happen?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Boots on March 01, 2016, 05:29:39 PM
Also "Screwtape's dog" sounds like a counterpart to Schrodinger's Cat. :)

It is...and it isn't (sorry, couldn't resist!!)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on March 01, 2016, 11:49:04 PM

You have a point that there are fallacies that can be stated to be involved—I always had figured that seeing the size and complexity of the universe was enough of an argument that God designed the universe and the natural laws that came along with it.  As you point out about the "not ruling out" stuff, we can't just believe things with no basis.  However, wouldn't you also say that you can't completely disprove God didn't create the universe, and can't we just admit that there's a lot we don't know for certain?

A few things here:

First, these aren't just "fallacies that can be stated to be involved". Fallacies are involved, b/c you are using them to justify your belief in a god. Those arguments are fallacious and therefore unsound. They do not support your belief that some alleged invisible magic person that you call "god" created the universe or life. And therefore you should admit that you do not know how the universe came about or how life came about. Is that so hard to admit?

Second, when you use the word "certain" I become instantly suspicious about your knowledge (or lack thereof) regarding science. Science does not make claims to "absolute certainty". Science makes inferences to the best explanation. Science does not deal with "truth". It deals with statistical probabilities and accurately made predictive models (which can vary by degree). This is in stark contrast to religion which starts with it's conclusion and attempts to work backwards toward confirming what it already wanted to find (which is called Confirmation Bias).

If you admit that you cannot "just believe things with no basis", and your current basis for belief in a god are bad and/or irrational arguments based in logical fallacies, then you should admit that you do not know how the universe got here and how life got here. Is it "possible" that some thing called "God" created the universe and life? Well, the first thing that I would need in order to determine an answer for that question would be a meaningful, rational, and coherent definition of what that word is referring to. So far as I have seen, no theist has been able to provide for me a rational definition of what "god" means. They talk about "an invisible all-powerful person" or "a spirit" but I have no idea what the heck those terms even mean. What are they even talking about? People are physical. We have zero examples of people that exist without a physical body. So for me, the word "god" has not been shown to have any actual meaning. It's just a word. It sounds nice for some but I have yet to see anyone make it refer to anything actual or meaningful.

Lastly, can you rule out that I might have an alien built spacecraft in my backyard? Is it "possible"? How would you even know if it was possible or not without knowing the facts about what is being claimed? Is a round-square possible? What if I showed you the saucer thing in my backyard and every time you pointed out fallacies in my reasoning I just kept making excuses and saying, "Well it's possible, isn't it?" The point is, just b/c you personally think something is "possible" (or more importantly, just b/c you want to believe something) doesn't mean it is possible or even plausible to believe. Again, the time to believe something is after sufficient evidence has come in and not before. So then you should disbelieve until there is sufficient evidence.

Agreed?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on March 02, 2016, 04:39:43 PM
What is your understanding of the content and the purpose of the Nicene Creed?

Have you ever wondered where the word 'catholic' comes from?

My understanding of the content is that the Niceness Creed is a profession of faith that those who state it believe as the set Catholic doctrine.  And seeing as "catholic" means "universal", I always thought (and qas taught as such) tat the Catholic Church was the one true church since it was the Church founded by Peter at Jesus' request.
Don't suppose it was the Catholic Church that taught you that the Catholic Church was the one true church, was it?

Quote
I don't understand the 'thus' above.

CrystalDragon, do you think that 'I am not ruling out god as an option as the explanation' is synonymous with 'I believe god is the explanation'?  I just feel like you're conflating 'not ruling out' with 'acceptance'.

What I'm struggling with - and it's not just from you - is the relationship between 'acknowledge as a possibility it has happened or is happening' and 'actually believe that possibility is what has happened or is happening'.  Your sentence above, to me, showcases my struggle with it.  I do not understand where the 'thus' connection is happening with these statements.  It just sounds like this to me:

I can't rule out invisible 5-headed dragons as the causal factor in supernovae since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I consider myself a believer in 5-headed dragons as a causal factor in supernovae.

Seriously.  That is what your statement sounds like to me.  Does it not sound like that to you too?  If not, what is different?  If so, why do you not believe that invisible 5-headed dragons are a causal factor in supernovae?  Would any of your thinking change if I said that there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentions invisible 5-headed dragons?

CrystalDragon, just FYI:
I know that I've probably got a few open questions to you, and there's no need to get to all of those[1], but I want to point out that of all the possible lines of discussion with you, this one is of particular interest to me.  And OldChurchGuy, if you're out there lurking, just FYI, this interests me for the exact same reasons why our conversations in the past had been of interest to me.

Cards on the table: as far as I can tell, I have a fundamental misunderstanding of what someone like you or OldChurchGuy mean when you say "I believe that god exists."  There is some connection that you and OldChurchGuy make in between "x is possible" and "x is" that I simply have been unable to figure out.  And I think conversations revolving around the "thus" thingie alluded to above may help me start figuring that one out.
 1. As I'm aware you're probably getting close to overwhelmed with the sheer number of posts directed at you.  I think Star is in the same boat.

If there was a really old book from a really long time ago that mentioned 5-headed dragons creating supernovae[2], I might be more inclined to believe it rather than if it was just told to me—providing there was some form of evidence for it.  If, for instance, there were various fragments of writing as well as temples from that time that depicted 5-headed dragons creating supernovae, and this was widespread, then I'd be inclined to believe it.

That's in part how I feel about the Bible.  The Bible has had many documents of it discovered, with, as far as I know, more consistency and closer to the alleged time it happened than other religious texts.  So it has more merit thanI'd be inclined to feel toward others.
 2. totally going to use that in a book someday now
Honestly, CrystalDragon, my only advice here is for you to go ahead and read the book.  See if this claim of 'consistency' has any merit whatsoever.  I mean, based on your conversations here, would you say that the bible was at least somewhat consistent with reality or no?

And, just to throw it out there: shit made of digest chocolate will likely be more tasty than shit made out of sulfur.  Pretending for a moment that's actually the case, does that mean that shit made out of chocolate would taste good?

Quote
As for the connection between "X is possible" and "X is", this is how I see it.  To acknowledge that "God is possible" would mean that I acknowledge that the presence of a God in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist, but there's also a likely chance that everything was just created naturally with no direction of conscious intent.  Saying "God is" though implies that I feel strongly that the universe, afterlife, etc. had a creator involved with its creation, not thinking that all this could have reasonably come into being through strictly natural processes.
I am still at a loss as to where your 'thus' came from then.

Quote from: CrystalDragon
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.
This is how I'm reading that sentence in light of your response above:
Sentence 1: I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist.
Sentence 2: Thus, because I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist, I still consider myself a Catholic because I strongly feel that the universe, afterlife, etc. had a creator involved with its creation, not thinking that all this could have reasonably come into being through strictly natural processes.

I am still missing the 'thus' connection.  And I think it's because you've in no way connected 'the possibility of x' to 'I feel strongly that the possibility of x actually is'.  Is the following a more accurate representation of what you're trying to say:
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Since I can't rule him out, I will rule him in - that is, since god is not ruled out as an option for the explanation of x, y, and z, I will rule him in as the explanation for x, y, and z.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

It's just, to me, it still looks like you're conflating "possibility of x" and "x actually is."

I'm guessing not, but I don't know.

Out of curiosity, as you know that I identify as an atheist, do you think I do or do not acknowledge the possibility of 'god exists'?  You can look through old posts to get the answer if you like, I won't consider it cheating :)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: YRM_DM on March 02, 2016, 06:14:23 PM
(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/Hmmmmm_zpsn3yw12aa.jpg.html)

Right, and, all of the actions took place outside of the reach of the printing press, or China's advanced writing practices, or mass media, in one little slice of historical time.

It should be obvious that the religion originated in much the same way as the Norse or Greek or Egyptian religions.   The fact that other religions died doesn't imply that surviving = truth.   It just means that the more advanced armies carried the surviving religions into new territories when they wiped out the old.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 02, 2016, 07:02:04 PM
Well said median.  This echos all that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lvgUUxzfNc&feature=youtu.be
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on March 03, 2016, 07:24:11 AM
CD, your argument has come down to that you want to believe in nonsense and no matter what, you'll always find an excuse on why that last gap isn't closed and your god lurks in it.  It's the need to believe that you know something special and that your opinions are supported by a powerful magical entity that must agree with you since no one can show it doesn't.   
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 03, 2016, 10:10:33 AM
CD, your argument has come down to that you want to believe in nonsense and no matter what, you'll always find an excuse on why that last gap isn't closed and your god lurks in it.  It's the need to believe that you know something special and that your opinions are supported by a powerful magical entity that must agree with you since no one can show it doesn't.

As Carl Sagan said:  "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe."
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 01:20:36 PM
You asked the question,

"if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?"

You are assuming that God (and I specifically mean the Christian God) has a moral obligation to communicate His Gospel message of salvation to everyone, and that if He does not, then He is unjust. Am I correct?

The truth is, God is not obliged to do any such thing. The Gospel message is a manifestation of God’s mercy. If God were to cast an entire population of criminals to Hell, He would be perfectly justified in doing so. Allow me to flesh out my argument.

The Bible clearly teaches that God is Holy; He is a righteous, perfect, and just Judge, and that God’s laws are perfect. The Bible also clearly teaches that all of humanity is guilty of breaking God’s laws, and that a penalty must be paid for crimes committed.

In all societies, if someone breaks the law, the governing body must exact a penalty against the lawbreaker. That is “Justice”. If society allows a criminal to go free without a penalty being paid, then the cries of “Injustice” would arise from the population. Societies actually reflect God’s character in regard to justice. 

Now suppose I have committed the crime of stealing one thousand dollars from you, and I have confessed my guilt to the crime. My penalty is a fine of one thousand dollars, and I don’t have the money to pay the fine. But you, out of mercy, take out your wallet and pay the fine for me, and now I am free because you paid the penalty for my crimes.
   
A few questions come to mind. Was I guilty of committing a crime? Yes. Is society justified to punish me for my crimes? Yes.  Were you obligated to pay my fine? No. You would be perfectly justified in keeping your wallet closed and allowing me to receive the penalty I deserve for my crime. Would it be wrong for a judge to release me from the laws demand without either me or you paying the fine on my behalf? Yes. You would cry out, “That’s not fair”, and rightfully so. That would be unjust.     

So, if all human beings (who are created by God and are therefore obliged to obey His laws) are guilty of breaking God’s laws, then God must necessarily exact a penalty for crimes committed. If He does not, then He is unjust. Do you agree? Before you answer that question, please consider that a society would never tolerate criminals going free without a penalty being paid. 

If God wants to “open His wallet” and pay the penalty for crimes committed, He is acting out of mercy. He is not obliged to rescue anyone from the penalty of the law.

So, if all have broken God’s laws, and all justifiably deserve a penalty for their crimes, is God obliged to pay the penalty that the law demands? No. So if God should choose to” open His wallet” and pay the debt of some criminals, and allow the other criminals to receive justice, is God unjust? No.  God is not unjust. ?  “Mercy”  is not receiving the due penalty for crimes committed. God has mercy on some, but the rest receive Justice. There is nothing unjust about that. It would be unjust for God to punish a person who has not committed a crime.

So to answer the question you laid out at the beginning,     

“if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?”

Have you ever considered that God might not be trying to reach everyone? Since the Gospel message of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is the conduit by which God extends mercy to some criminals, He is not obligated to communicate the Gospel to everyone. If He wanted to confine His Gospel message only to the tiny island of Fiji, allowing everyone else to suffer the consequences for their crimes, then He would be perfectly just in doing so.

If we have broken God’s laws, then each human being is confronted with a massive dilemma that they cannot resolve on their own. We each have a debt to the laws demand that we cannot pay. No amount of good deeds can erase the fact that we have committed crimes and are therefore criminals. God demands a penalty.

It is true that God is merciful. But God is also a perfect Judge. He must do what is right.  He cannot just sweep crimes under the rug and pretend they never happened. We would never allow that in our society. A penalty must be paid. So God paid the penalty Himself (He opened His wallet) in the person and work of Jesus Christ. On the cross Christ received the penalty (physical and spiritual death) the pardoned criminal deserves. We stand before God “Justified” when we receive Christ by faith, as Lord and Savior.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is supremely benevolent of God to rescue any criminal from the penalty they deserve for their crimes. 

 I challenge anyone to defend the position which accuses God of being unjust in meting out justice to some and giving mercy to others. If you follow the logic, God is not unjust.   


Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on March 04, 2016, 01:32:10 PM
^^

Welcome. This should be good.

But my question is why do you suggest "god" is not trying to reach everyone when "god's" other representatives here tell us that he is?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 01:36:29 PM
Cute analogies designed for an 8 year old, but your entire argument is based on the presupposition that your god exists.  You need to first provide evidence for your wild claims (the bible is not evidence, it is the claim).  You are living in a fantasy world, just like someone reciting the the story of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as though it were true.

Your "argument " makes no sense to me.  It sounds more like a rationalization/excuse.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 01:39:32 PM
I would argue, from the Bible, that they are wrong. If God wanted to reach everyone, He certainly could. The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 01:42:29 PM
I would argue, from the Bible...

This is where you are erring.


(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/CircularReasoning-2.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/CircularReasoning-2.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on March 04, 2016, 01:55:14 PM
I would argue, from the Bible, that they are wrong. If God wanted to reach everyone, He certainly could. The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

Youre assuming hes real. Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 02:08:56 PM
Cute analogies designed for an 8 year old, but your entire argument is based on the presupposition that your god exists.  You need to first provide evidence for your wild claims (the bible is not evidence, it is the claim).  You are living in a fantasy world, just like someone reciting the the story of the Lord of the Rings trilogy as though it were true.

Your "argument " makes no sense to me.  It sounds more like a rationalization/excuse.

Excuse me, but you said "IF" god exists. That is a pre-suppositional question. I logically and thoughtfully laid out my argument, "If god exists", just like you asked Christians to to. If you want to argue for God's existence, that is a different argument. I am still waiting for your response to my argument.

You see, the problem is that instead of you answering my argument, you avoid the substance of my argument by deflecting the issue into some other category that is not relevant to the subject you raised.
 
You should know that Christians use the Bible to make their arguments. I have no obligation to prove anything about the Bible, any more than you must prove to me that Naturalism is true. 

You also accuse me of having the intellect of an 8 year old, another shameful deflective strategy atheists employ to ignore solid rebuttals. What's the deal, you can't handle answering my argument, so you must attack me? I thought there would actually be an intelligent discussion here, but you would rather resort to undignified attacks instead of substantive answers. Why don't you stick to the issue and answer my critique of your question? 

You said, "Your "argument " makes no sense to me". Explain to me, in detail, why it makes no sense to you, then we can have a discussion.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 02:10:29 PM
^^

Welcome. This should be good.

But my question is why do you suggest "god" is not trying to reach everyone when "god's" other representatives here tell us that he is?

I would argue, from the Bible, that they are wrong. If God wanted to reach everyone, He certainly could. The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 02:12:20 PM
I would argue, from the Bible...

This is where you are erring.


(http://i160.photobucket.com/albums/t172/Paddywacked/CircularReasoning-2.jpg) (http://s160.photobucket.com/user/Paddywacked/media/CircularReasoning-2.jpg.html)

And why is that? Typical atheist response. Leveling unsubstantiated claim.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 02:16:16 PM
I would argue, from the Bible, that they are wrong. If God wanted to reach everyone, He certainly could. The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

Youre assuming hes real. Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?

Honestly, could you please communicate your ideas and questions intelligibly so I can actually understand what you are trying to say? 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 04, 2016, 02:19:08 PM
"The Gawd" is responding to this bit, specifically:

Quote
The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

He's pointing out that this conclusion is not necessary, unless one assumes the deity is real in the first place.  He then offered another interpretation:

Quote
Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?

He says that another possibility is that folks are just making stuff up about "God" and that that would also explain the discrepancy between your conclusion and that of others.

Is that clearer?

EDIT:  The Gawd, there's supposed to be an apostrophe in "you're".  ;)
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 02:26:45 PM

Excuse me, but you said "IF" god exists. That is a pre-suppositional question.

No it is not. It is merely a question. It pre-supposes nothing.


Quote
I logically and thoughtfully laid out my argument, "If god exists", just like you asked Christians to to.

You may think, feel & believe that your "argument" was logical & thoughtful, but it is not. You are merely regurgitating a wild, fantastical, supernatural account of reality, and all without a shred of evidence.


Quote
If you want to argue for God's existence, that is a different argument.

Not really, for your entire premise is based upon that.  Your "argument" starts at the finish line and claims victory.  I know it's difficult for theists to go back to the starting line, but you must.



Quote
You should know that Christians use the Bible to make their arguments.

As I was a true believer for many years, I am fully aware of that, but again, that is where you walk into the big pie in the face.  I'd like you to notice how you dismiss Muslims when they quote the Quran.




Quote
I have no obligation to prove anything about the Bible

If that's where your argument is founded, then I'm afraid you do have that obligation.



Quote
You also accuse me of having the intellect of an 8 year old...

I did not.  I said that the analogies that you offered were designed for [children].



Quote
...another deflective strategy atheists employ to ignore solid rebuttals. What's the deal, you can't handle answering my argument, so you must attack me? I thought there would actually be an intelligent discussion here, but you would rather resort to undignified attacks instead of substantive answers. Why don't you stick to the issue and answer my critique of your question? 

Eww, there's nothing worse than self-praise (I think there's a verse in Proverbs about that).  You may feel that your "argument" was a "solid rebuttal", but I'm afraid I've heard these rationalizations all before a million times, and they simply don't stand up to any kind of scrutiny.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Yc_DuZkLY
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 02:35:15 PM
"The Gawd" is responding to this bit, specifically:

Quote
The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

He's pointing out that this conclusion is not necessary, unless one assumes the deity is real in the first place.  He then offered another interpretation:

Quote
Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?

He says that another possibility is that folks are just making stuff up about "God" and that that would also explain the discrepancy between your conclusion and that of others.

Is that clearer?

EDIT:  The Gawd, there's supposed to be an apostrophe in "you're".  ;)

Instead of you trying to interpret The Gawd's unintelligible answer/question and telling me what you think The Gawg means in his response to me, why don't you let him answer my response to him on his own? Because honestly, I don't have a clue what you are talking about.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: ParkingPlaces on March 04, 2016, 02:47:55 PM
Zebra

Do you have the figures on what percentage of the human population your god loves? If he isn't even trying to reach everyone, he surely doesn't love the rest of us. And if he's on the border with a few, and has his missionaries running around trying to sign them up, that is another number I'd like to have.

So:
What percentage does he love?
What percentage does he want to love?
What percentage does he not give a rats ass about?

Now if you've reached your conclusions that god doesn't want to reach everyone in a desperate attempt to explain why he obviously hasn't, then you probably don't have any of the above figures. But if you're working off of hard evidence, religious knowledge or god-inspired guesses, methinks you should have some of those numbers handy.

Oh, and welcome.

P.S. If he made humans and doesn't give a crap about some easily measurable percentage of us, why is he so hot to trot in the punishment department? If he doesn't feel like using his omni-stuff on us while we're alive, why would he be at all concerned about punishing us, now or later? American judges don't concern themselves in any way, shape or form with crime in Madagascar. Why would god concern himself with 'sins' committed outside of his group of pet humans?

Not caring and burning anyway is psychopathic by the way.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on March 04, 2016, 02:51:17 PM
"The Gawd" is responding to this bit, specifically:

Quote
The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

He's pointing out that this conclusion is not necessary, unless one assumes the deity is real in the first place.  He then offered another interpretation:

Quote
Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?

He says that another possibility is that folks are just making stuff up about "God" and that that would also explain the discrepancy between your conclusion and that of others.

Is that clearer?

EDIT:  The Gawd, there's supposed to be an apostrophe in "you're".  ;)

Instead of you trying to interpret The Gawd's unintelligible answer/question and telling me what you think The Gawg means in his response to me, why don't you let him answer my response to him on his own? Because honestly, I don't have a clue what you are talking about.
Azdgari's explanation was just fine. I try to keep it nice and short. Theists typically don't read their bible, what's the likelihood of them reading a long post?

If you don't have a clue about what's being said perhaps you have already done too much talking/typing and not enough learning.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 03:04:04 PM
The truth is, God is not obliged to do any such thing. The Gospel message is a manifestation of God’s mercy. If God were to cast an entire population of criminals to Hell, He would be perfectly justified in doing so. Allow me to flesh out my argument.
No, he wouldn't be, not even if he were the actual deity you believe he is.  What you are describing is arbitrary, not just.  It is the argument that dictators throughout history have used to justify similarly arbitrary actions.

Quote from: zebra23
The Bible clearly teaches that God is Holy; He is a righteous, perfect, and just Judge, and that God’s laws are perfect. The Bible also clearly teaches that all of humanity is guilty of breaking God’s laws, and that a penalty must be paid for crimes committed.
Problem one; you are assuming that what the Bible teaches is correct.  Problem two; by all appearances, your god is not particularly righteous or just, and certainly is not perfect.  Until you actually show those things to be correct, and not simply base your argument on "the Bible teaches", it will continue to fail to be convincing.  It doesn't even convince Christians, as evidenced by the existence of various Christian sects which believe different things to be true about your god.

Quote from: zebra23
In all societies, if someone breaks the law, the governing body must exact a penalty against the lawbreaker. That is “Justice”. If society allows a criminal to go free without a penalty being paid, then the cries of “Injustice” would arise from the population. Societies actually reflect God’s character in regard to justice.
I like how you put justice in quotes, because what you're describing isn't actually justice.  In fact, justice isn't really about punishing people for wrongdoing in the first place.  It's about preventing wrongdoing from happening.  The reason human societies punish wrongdoing is to keep people from committing wrongs in the future - but that's not a very effective way of doing it, because even with the punishments, people still commit wrongs.  We've already come up with better ways to prevent wrongdoing than to punish the wrongdoer.

Surely, if humans have come up with them, your god must have at least come up with them as well, and yet, your god's initial idea for the proper punishment for murder was to make it so that nobody could take the murderer's life.  Do you know what the most likely result of this would be?  More people committing murder in order to safeguard their own lives.

Quote from: zebra23
Now suppose I have committed the crime of stealing one thousand dollars from you, and I have confessed my guilt to the crime. My penalty is a fine of one thousand dollars, and I don’t have the money to pay the fine. But you, out of mercy, take out your wallet and pay the fine for me, and now I am free because you paid the penalty for my crimes.
Is this supposed to be mercy or stupidity?  If someone were to steal a thousand dollars, and someone else came along and paid it for them, the most likely result would be for the person to do it again, because they wouldn't have learned anything.  Your idea that the victim should pay the fine is not much better than 'punishing' people for murder by making it so that nobody else would take the murderer's life.

If you want to be merciful, you have to do it in such a way that it discourages further wrongdoing, or else you're actually making matters worse.
   
Quote from: zebra23
A few questions come to mind. Was I guilty of committing a crime? Yes. Is society justified to punish me for my crimes? Yes.  Were you obligated to pay my fine? No. You would be perfectly justified in keeping your wallet closed and allowing me to receive the penalty I deserve for my crime. Would it be wrong for a judge to release me from the laws demand without either me or you paying the fine on my behalf? Yes. You would cry out, “That’s not fair”, and rightfully so. That would be unjust.
Sorry, but these are little more than attempts at rationalization, and not very good ones at that.

As I said earlier in my post, justice isn't about exacting punishments, but about making sure people receive equitable treatment.  The reason for punishments is because human societies do not always do a good job at that, but that doesn't mean that the punishments are just.  In a perfectly just society, there would be no need for punishments, because nobody would commit wrongs.  Therefore, justice is about preventing wrongs, not punishing them.

Quote from: zebra23
So, if all human beings (who are created by God and are therefore obliged to obey His laws) are guilty of breaking God’s laws, then God must necessarily exact a penalty for crimes committed. If He does not, then He is unjust. Do you agree? Before you answer that question, please consider that a society would never tolerate criminals going free without a penalty being paid.
Why is a creation obligated to obey a creator's laws?  This is just another example of a presupposition you are taking for granted rather than actually thinking about.  For example, why are children expected to obey their parents?  The reason is because their parents know more about the world than children do...but eventually, children grow up and are expected to make their own way in the world.  At that point, they are no longer expected to obey their parents; they are expected to use their own judgment in order to decide what to make of their lives.

That is why the common 'parent' analogies that Christians like to use ultimately fail.  Because children grow up and become independent of their parents.  Yet according to Christians, humans are never supposed to become independent of the Christian god.  We are instead supposed to remain his eternal children, always under his rule and expected to follow his rules without complaint.  Sorry, but I'm not interested in exchanging my actual parents who I respect greatly because they allowed me to outgrow them, for an "eternal parent" who I'll be stuck living under forever and ever, and who has no apparent interest in letting me or anyone else ever outgrow him.

The point is that even if your god did in fact create us, it wouldn't justify the idea that we are always and forever supposed to live under his rules.  That kind of clinging 'love' I can live without.  If your god truly loves humans, then he has to accept us as we are, rather than imposing laws on us in order to make us something we're not, threatening awful punishments on us when we don't abide by those laws, and then 'forgiving' us for transgressing in order to make us grateful or something.

I'm going to stop there, because the rest of your argument depends on parts I already showed to not work as they stood.  You will need to spend some time repairing the flaws in your argument before you try this again.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 03:04:47 PM

Excuse me, but you said "IF" god exists. That is a pre-suppositional question.

No it is not. It is merely a question. It pre-supposes nothing.


Quote
I logically and thoughtfully laid out my argument, "If god exists", just like you asked Christians to to.

You may think, feel & believe that your "argument" was logical & thoughtful, but it is not. You are merely regurgitating a wild, fantastical, supernatural account of reality, and all without a shred of evidence.


Quote
If you want to argue for God's existence, that is a different argument.

Not really, for your entire premise is based upon that.  Your "argument" starts at the finish line and claims victory.  I know it's difficult for theists to go back to the starting line, but you must.



Quote
You should know that Christians use the Bible to make their arguments.

As I was a true believer for many years, I am fully aware of that, but again, that is where you walk into the big pie in the face.  I'd like you to notice how you dismiss Muslims when they quote the Quran.




Quote
I have no obligation to prove anything about the Bible

If that's where your argument is founded, then I'm afraid you do have that obligation.



Quote
You also accuse me of having the intellect of an 8 year old...

I did not.  I said that the analogies that you offered were designed for [children].



Quote
...another deflective strategy atheists employ to ignore solid rebuttals. What's the deal, you can't handle answering my argument, so you must attack me? I thought there would actually be an intelligent discussion here, but you would rather resort to undignified attacks instead of substantive answers. Why don't you stick to the issue and answer my critique of your question? 

Eww, there's nothing worse than self-praise (I think there's a verse in Proverbs about that).  You may feel that your "argument was a "solid rebuttal", but I'm afraid I've heard these rationalizations all before a million times, and they simply don't stand up to any kind of scrutiny.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76Yc_DuZkLY

It is very sad that atheists insist on one set of rules for the home team, and another set of rules for the visiting team. If I must prove the existence of God in order for the argument to proceed, then you must prove to me that Materialism is true. Why don't you try being intellectually honest. Instead you throw around unsubstantiated claims and make wild assumptions.

I am still waiting for you to address the substance of my argument in rebuttal to your original question. Doesn't your post begin, "CHRISTIANS, PLEASE EXPLAIN" I gave my explanation. I have not heard a single reasonable statement coming from the atheists regarding my answer to the question originally posed.  Its has all been attack, attack, attack. That is bull and you know it. You must hold yourselves to the same standard of proofs that you demand from Christians. If you demand proof from me concerning my worldview, then I demand proof from you concerning yours. Stop your intellectual dishonesty. 

If you think the burden of proof lies with the Christians, but not the atheists, I would like to know why. Because I think It is unfair to demand proofs from Christians but then you fail to supply proofs to substantiate your own worldview.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 03:16:39 PM
Zebra

Do you have the figures on what percentage of the human population your god loves? If he isn't even trying to reach everyone, he surely doesn't love the rest of us. And if he's on the border with a few, and has his missionaries running around trying to sign them up, that is another number I'd like to have.

So:
What percentage does he love?
What percentage does he want to love?
What percentage does he not give a rats ass about?

Now if you've reached your conclusions that god doesn't want to reach everyone in a desperate attempt to explain why he obviously hasn't, then you probably don't have any of the above figures. But if you're working off of hard evidence, religious knowledge or god-inspired guesses, methinks you should have some of those numbers handy.

Oh, and welcome.

P.S. If he made humans and doesn't give a crap about some easily measurable percentage of us, why is he so hot to trot in the punishment department? If he doesn't feel like using his omni-stuff on us while we're alive, why would he be at all concerned about punishing us, now or later? American judges don't concern themselves in any way, shape or form with crime in Madagascar. Why would god concern himself with 'sins' committed outside of his group of pet humans?

Not caring and burning anyway is psychopathic by the way.

I don;t know and I don't care about percentages. That is irrelevant.

God is love, true, but God is also a just judge. A judge can be a loving person, but a just judge would never allow criminals to go free just because he is a loving person. Love has nothing to do with justice. If a person breaks the law, just because the judge is a loving person should not factor into the decisions of justice.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 03:17:41 PM
"The Gawd" is responding to this bit, specifically:

Quote
The fact that not everyone has heard the Gospel message must necessarily mean that God is not trying to reach everyone.

He's pointing out that this conclusion is not necessary, unless one assumes the deity is real in the first place.  He then offered another interpretation:

Quote
Another reason why you all could be telling us two opposite things is because youre each making it up, no?

He says that another possibility is that folks are just making stuff up about "God" and that that would also explain the discrepancy between your conclusion and that of others.

Is that clearer?

EDIT:  The Gawd, there's supposed to be an apostrophe in "you're".  ;)

Instead of you trying to interpret The Gawd's unintelligible answer/question and telling me what you think The Gawg means in his response to me, why don't you let him answer my response to him on his own? Because honestly, I don't have a clue what you are talking about.
Azdgari's explanation was just fine. I try to keep it nice and short. Theists typically don't read their bible, what's the likelihood of them reading a long post?

If you don't have a clue about what's being said perhaps you have already done too much talking/typing and not enough learning.

Well, I did not understand it at all.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 03:18:59 PM
It is very sad that atheists insist on one set of rules for the home team, and another set of rules for the visiting team. If I must prove the existence of God in order for the argument to proceed, then you must prove to me that Materialism is true. Why don't you try being intellectually honest. Instead you throw around unsubstantiated claims and make wild assumptions.

How would I go about proving to you the natural world-view?  If you were completely lacking in the five senses, ok, I would need to do some work, but I suspect that you aren't deaf, blind etc, so the testable, observable view of naturalism is all laid out before you.  It is the theist who is adding something to that, and therefore it is they (you) who are saddled with "proving" said claims.  I'm not sure why that's so difficult to understand.
 

Quote
I am still waiting for you to address the substance of my argument in rebuttal to your original question.

See jaimehlers post above.



Quote
If you think the burden of proof lies with the Christians, but not the atheists, I would like to know why.

See my answer above.


Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 03:21:39 PM
It is very sad that atheists insist on one set of rules for the home team, and another set of rules for the visiting team. If I must prove the existence of God in order for the argument to proceed, then you must prove to me that Materialism is true. Why don't you try being intellectually honest. Instead you throw around unsubstantiated claims and make wild assumptions.
It's even more sad when Christians, faced with the necessity of demonstrating that their claims are correct, fall back on tiresome strawmen like this.  Atheists are not trying to argue that materialism is true; they are demanding that theists provide evidence to show that their beliefs are correct.  The reason is because there are many different theistic beliefs out there, but nothing that shows that there is any reason to favor one of them as correct over any of the other ones.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jetson on March 04, 2016, 03:22:59 PM
If you think the burden of proof lies with the Christians, but not the atheists, I would like to know why. Because I think It is unfair to demand proofs from Christians but then you fail to supply proofs to substantiate your own worldview.

Atheists are not making any positive truth claims about the existence of any gods. The original claim has always been that a god or gods exist. That claim has the burden of proof, not the rejection of it by atheists in the case of god claims.

Because no god or gods have ever been shown to actually exist, it is well within the atheists right to say there are no gods, as a firm rejection of a completely unsubstantiated original claim.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: zebra23 on March 04, 2016, 03:28:21 PM
I gotta say, I have never encountered a more indignant and unreasonable group as I have encountered on this site. It is beneath my dignity to continue advancing the Christian argument here because of the hatred and bigotry, the intellectual dishonesty, the unjustified attacks, the unsubstantiated claims, and the double standards. If that is how you treat people in your little world here, then I want no part of it.   

 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on March 04, 2016, 03:34:59 PM
Yes, yes, atheists are bullies, we abused your "goodwill" throughout the course of 11 posts and a positive karma (you didn't receive a negative, if I might add). It has nothing to do with the fact that you bit off more than you could chew, and you know it.
For the record, this post - my post - is the most abusive post you've received here, and it's nothing more than a two-sentence long sarcastic rant.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Astreja on March 04, 2016, 03:37:21 PM
Indeed, Zebra -- You've been treated quite reasonably, considering that all we want is empirical evidence for your extraordinary claims and bald assertions.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 03:39:18 PM
I gotta say, I have never encountered a more indignant and unreasonable group as I have encountered on this site. It is beneath my dignity to continue advancing the Christian argument here because of the hatred and bigotry, the intellectual dishonesty, the unjustified attacks, the unsubstantiated claims, and the double standards. If that is how you treat people in your little world here, then I want no part of it.

I must say, this is quite revealing.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: One Above All on March 04, 2016, 03:42:55 PM
I must say, this is quite revealing.

Which part? The delusions of grandeur, the psychosis, the save-face attempt that reeks of desperation, or the projection?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: ParkingPlaces on March 04, 2016, 03:45:57 PM
I don;t know and I don't care about percentages. That is irrelevant.

God is love, true, but God is also a just judge. A judge can be a loving person, but a just judge would never allow criminals to go free just because he is a loving person. Love has nothing to do with justice. If a person breaks the law, just because the judge is a loving person should not factor into the decisions of justice.

Okay, part of your answer is fine. But it doesn't tell me why he doesn't care about some, yet insists on justice for all. If his give-a-shit factor is zero about every other aspect of some peoples lives (like, you know, all the Hindu's, and us atheists for instance), why does he care about the justice part? Being only partially disregarded becomes a bitch if he's doing it the way you say he is. If he doesn't care about me, I don't care about him, and I am still toast because I jaywalked or tore the tag off of my mattress, he's sounding real Donald Trumpish. I'm not impressed.

Oh, and how was I supposed to tell I was being lied to when I was a kid ( jesus loves me, etc.)? Is there a way for those of us for whom he cares nada to know, so that we don't have to be nice to the doorknockers and the fundy uncles and such? I mean, if I'm toast anyway (literally) I can't think a reason in the world to be nice to those who are lying to me about being able to be saved and stuff like that.

I've always thought that god has his chance to reach me when i was a kid, but he didn't bother, and I became an atheist shortly thereafter. Now that i know he didn't care, that explains a lot. Nor should he care about my half-century plus of atheism. Which I'm sure he doesn't. I just go climb into a caldron when I die and cook forever. Not because of that time I ran a stop sign and my inability to be nice and watch yet another episode of "Murder She Wrote" with my close-to-fundy stepmom (now that she is almost dead, she's found god, I guess). But because if I'm on auto-toast anyway. The sin stuff should be totally irrelevant. My name isn't on his list, he shouldn't need to pay one whit of attention to me and my actions. And if I was a muslim or of some other clearly antithetical belief, his caring should also be automatically zero, because he already knows where they're headed to.

Why the big deal about justice if there is none available for me or my friend Aahil anyway? If we're due to cook more or less for all of eternity anyway, the rest is just plain mean.

Which means he's sinning. He should end up right beside me down there.

By the way, you, a christian, have brought yet another brand new, never before discussed paradigm to this forum. I keep asking you guys to sit down together, get your story straight, and make up your minds before coming here and hitting us with your wisdom. You never do it. You keep coming as individuals, expounding mostly on your individual versions of your individual interpretation of your individually chosen variation of the basic christian theme. Its exciting for us, but aren't you a little embarrassed when you to talk to each other, having to pretend all the time that you are brethren, when you don't actually agree about much besides the JC died for you part?

Or do you do it this way because honesty is a sin?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 03:51:59 PM
I must say, this is quite revealing.

Which part? The delusions of grandeur, the psychosis, the save-face attempt that reeks of desperation, or the projection?

The part where we were expected to swallow his pills whole, without chewing.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 04, 2016, 03:52:47 PM
Instead of you trying to interpret The Gawd's unintelligible answer/question and telling me what you think The Gawg means in his response to me, why don't you let him answer my response to him on his own? Because honestly, I don't have a clue what you are talking about.

His meaning was very clear to me.  If there is a part that you don't understand, then by all means point it out and explain what's unintelligible about it.  That way, he or someone else can explain it to you.

So, what is the problem with his post, specifically?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 04, 2016, 03:55:49 PM
I gotta say, I have never encountered a more indignant and unreasonable group as I have encountered on this site. It is beneath my dignity to continue advancing the Christian argument here because of the hatred and bigotry, the intellectual dishonesty, the unjustified attacks, the unsubstantiated claims, and the double standards. If that is how you treat people in your little world here, then I want no part of it.

So far, I've tried to clarify a post that you said you couldn't understand.  I gave one of your posts a +1 for what I saw as a reasonable approach.  And I even poked fun at the poor punctuation of The Gawd.

Could you help me become a better person by quoting where I've expressed the things you talk about in this post of yours?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Boots on March 04, 2016, 03:57:33 PM
I challenge anyone to defend the position which accuses God of being unjust in meting out justice to some and giving mercy to others. If you follow the logic, God is not unjust.

by definition, "Mercy" is the withholding of "justice."  therefore, your deity is unjust in doling out undeserved leniency ("mercy")
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 04:12:05 PM
Welcome to the forum, Zebra. I see you've already met some of the folks here.

I agree that your post is logical. You started with the premise (from the initial post) "if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?" That was the starting point of this thread, as is clear to anyone who bothered to read it. However, as you can see, the replies have been mostly of the form "We don't believe God exists. You have to first prove He exists."

This is a flaw in the logical sensibilities I've seen in many (but not all) of the people on here. You started with a premise (which wasn't even yours to begin with) and proceeded to respond to it in good faith. They react by rejecting not just your argument, but the original premise itself. They have fundamental problems with logic and argument, which you will learn if you stay on this site for any length of time. And then they have the nerve to tell you that you are the one who is not making any sense. They'll also act very condescending and resort to personal insults in an effort to conceal their lack of logic (though they do a very shoddy job of that too).

For everyone who is responding to Zebra, please note: The very first post in this thread gives the starting point "If your god exists." This is a type of "If A is true, explain B" discussion. Therefore it is illogical to attack statement A, when A was given in the original post. Now I know you will never admit that you're guilty of a logical error. But I'm simplifying this situation for you in the hopes you can understand Zebra's frustration.

Imagine the original post asked this: "If you were in the market for a car, why would a Toyota be a good choice?" And Zebra explained why he thinks a Toyota is a good choice. Now you may not agree with his reasoning, or you may not like Toyotas at all. You can reply with that opinion. But it is incorrect to simply state "Well I'm not in the market for a car, so your explanation is worthless."

Understand?

I hope so.



Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 04:14:45 PM
What, this guy has quit already?

Why do they have so much trouble with engaging reasonable, honest, educated, moderate thinking adults. Is the basis for their belief that weak and shallow. No surprise they target children, the illiterate, the uneducated and the primitive so much.

Please dear god in all your infinite power and awesomeness send someone with some power, substance and stamina.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: shnozzola on March 04, 2016, 04:14:55 PM
   One of the interesting things about this website, whywontgodhealamputees.com, is how seldom people get banned here.  Arguments are direct and can seem attacking, but the whole debate is to look for some universal truth.  One problem for a theist can be an overwhelming group of people wanting to debate.   While it may be that there is certain group-think here, a theist may want to consider that atheists usually are argued against (or worse) throughout society, and the internet allows for safe arguing.

   If an atheist argues like this in Kabul Afghanistan, he will quickly be stoned to death by Muslims.  If an atheist visits a Christian website, such as rr-bb.com, known as "rapture ready", as soon as the visiting atheist questions the group-think, the person is permanent banned, which fits into the idea - Calvinism I believe (a fraction of the 43,000 denominations) - that the omnipotent creator of the entire universe is only interested in welcoming some human beings on planet earth.  How dare anyone ever question beliefs?

 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 04:18:25 PM
@ star:

IF god exists why are we all (including theists) limited to making hypothetical claims about his existence in order to discuss his existence.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 04, 2016, 04:21:10 PM
IF god exists why are we all (including theists) limited to making hypothetical claims about his existence in order to discuss his existence.

I know you asked Star, but I'll bite because the answer is quite simple:  They're talking to folks who don't share the premise.  Therefore, since "X" isn't assumed by all parties, they use "well, if X, then..." - as they must, in that situation.

Almost everyone does this.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 04:27:50 PM
@ star:

IF god exists why are we all (including theists) limited to making hypothetical claims about his existence in order to discuss his existence.
Your lack of reasoning ability doesn't surprise me anymore.
See my example of the Toyota. If I'm in the market for a car, why do we have to make hypothetical claims about me being in the market for a car in order to discuss Toyotas?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 04:31:43 PM
But Toyotas clearly exist and regardless of individual belief no sane person atheist Muslim or xian disagrees or questions it.....yahew??

I might be missing yr point???

Nobody invokes miracle stories, mysterious ways or a justification of materialism to discuss Toyotas.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 04:36:29 PM
   One of the interesting things about this website, whywontgodhealamputees.com, is how seldom people get banned here.  Arguments are direct and can seem attacking, but the whole debate is to look for some universal truth.  One problem for a theist can be an overwhelming group of people wanting to debate.   While it may be that there is certain group-think here, a theist may want to consider that atheists usually are argued against (or worse) throughout society, and the internet allows for safe arguing.

   If an atheist argues like this in Kabul Afghanistan, he will quickly be stoned to death by Muslims.  If an atheist visits a Christian website, such as rr-bb.com, known as "rapture ready", as soon as the visiting atheist questions the group-think, the person is permanent banned, which fits into the idea - Calvinism I believe (a fraction of the 43,000 denominations) - that the omnipotent creator of the entire universe is only interested in welcoming some human beings on planet earth.  How dare anyone ever question beliefs?
Shnozzola, you're exactly right that there is a lot of group-think going on here. It's exhibited by several of the members, but by no means all. I won't name names.

Couple that with their absolute inability to admit when they're wrong. The result is that, once an opponent gets tired of the ad hominem attacks, lack of logic, and lack of courtesy, he or she will leave. Then these pseudo-intellects will pat themselves on the back and say "yup, we chased another one away with our superior arguments."
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 04:37:05 PM
I gotta say, I have never encountered a more indignant and unreasonable group as I have encountered on this site. It is beneath my dignity to continue advancing the Christian argument here because of the hatred and bigotry, the intellectual dishonesty, the unjustified attacks, the unsubstantiated claims, and the double standards. If that is how you treat people in your little world here, then I want no part of it.
I find this personally insulting, because I go out of my way to treat people here, whatever they might believe, with decency and respect.  You've been here less than a day, and already you're presuming to judge?

They have fundamental problems with logic and argument, which you will learn if you stay on this site for any length of time. And then they have the nerve to tell you that you are the one who is not making any sense. They'll also act very condescending and resort to personal insults in an effort to conceal their lack of logic (though they do a very shoddy job of that too).
While I appreciate your attempt to play peacemaker, statements like this don't help.  It undercuts the message you're trying to send and makes you look like an underhanded jerk.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star Stuff on March 04, 2016, 04:38:49 PM
I agree that your post is logical. You started with the premise (from the initial post) "if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?" That was the starting point of this thread, as is clear to anyone who bothered to read it.

I didn't think I'd need to spell it out, but the entire point of the initial post was not to go into some session of theological masturbation, but merely to point out that your god, like all gods, are constructs of the human mind (imaginary), and the recipe of the particular christian god, is a trainwreck.  That was the point of using the word "if".
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 04:39:06 PM
Star can you provide examples to these claims, you sound butt hurt and about to grab your toys and make a grand theatrical exit from the sand box.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 04:40:06 PM
But Toyotas clearly exist and regardless of individual belief no sane person atheist Muslim or xian disagrees or questions it.....yahew??

I might be missing yr point???

Nobody invokes miracle stories, mysterious ways or a justification of materialism to discuss Toyotas.
Please, eh, stop digging yourself in deeper.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 04:40:22 PM
But Toyotas clearly exist and regardless of individual belief no sane person atheist Muslim or xian disagrees or questions it.....yahew??

I might be missing yr point???

Nobody invokes miracle stories, mysterious ways or a justification of materialism to discuss Toyotas.
Yes, you missed it by a mega-mile.
Let me rephrase it as "If Superman were real, and he chooses to save Lois Lane instead of a little child, would he still be a noble hero?" Zebra argued that yes, he's still noble. Your response is "Well Superman doesn't exist, so your argument is invalid."

Does that make sense?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: YouCantHandleTheTruth on March 04, 2016, 04:43:38 PM
Excuse me, but you said "IF" god exists. That is a pre-suppositional question. I logically and thoughtfully laid out my argument, "If god exists", just like you asked Christians to to. If you want to argue for God's existence, that is a different argument. I am still waiting for your response to my argument.

You see, the problem is that instead of you answering my argument, you avoid the substance of my argument by deflecting the issue into some other category that is not relevant to the subject you raised.
 
You should know that Christians use the Bible to make their arguments. I have no obligation to prove anything about the Bible, any more than you must prove to me that Naturalism is true. 

You also accuse me of having the intellect of an 8 year old, another shameful deflective strategy atheists employ to ignore solid rebuttals. What's the deal, you can't handle answering my argument, so you must attack me? I thought there would actually be an intelligent discussion here, but you would rather resort to undignified attacks instead of substantive answers. Why don't you stick to the issue and answer my critique of your question? 

You said, "Your "argument " makes no sense to me". Explain to me, in detail, why it makes no sense to you, then we can have a discussion.
Welcome to the forum, Zebra. I see you've already met some of the folks here.

I agree that your post is logical. You started with the premise (from the initial post) "if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?" That was the starting point of this thread, as is clear to anyone who bothered to read it. However, as you can see, the replies have been mostly of the form "We don't believe God exists. You have to first prove He exists."

This is a flaw in the logical sensibilities I've seen in many (but not all) of the people on here. You started with a premise (which wasn't even yours to begin with) and proceeded to respond to it in good faith. They react by rejecting not just your argument, but the original premise itself. They have fundamental problems with logic and argument, which you will learn if you stay on this site for any length of time. And then they have the nerve to tell you that you are the one who is not making any sense. They'll also act very condescending and resort to personal insults in an effort to conceal their lack of logic (though they do a very shoddy job of that too).

For everyone who is responding to Zebra, please note: The very first post in this thread gives the starting point "If your god exists." This is a type of "If A is true, explain B" discussion. Therefore it is illogical to attack statement A, when A was given in the original post. Now I know you will never admit that you're guilty of a logical error. But I'm simplifying this situation for you in the hopes you can understand Zebra's frustration.

Imagine the original post asked this: "If you were in the market for a car, why would a Toyota be a good choice?" And Zebra explained why he thinks a Toyota is a good choice. Now you may not agree with his reasoning, or you may not like Toyotas at all. You can reply with that opinion. But it is incorrect to simply state "Well I'm not in the market for a car, so your explanation is worthless."

Understand?

I hope so.

I'm trying to understand.  I think I see where you're coming from.  I just think (if I'm understanding this correctly) that the atheist would respond with "Zebra - have you driven the price comparable cars that Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, etc. have in order to determine that the Toyota is the best choice for you?  Have you done your full research on the subject?  Have you read Car & Driver and Motor Trend and compared the Toyota to all of these other vehicles in the same price range?"

It may be presumptuous of me to say you're a Christian.  I don't know.  But that's the argument I would trot out as an atheist, because it holds true in religion as it does in cars.  There are thousands of options.  In order to arrive at the best option, you have to do your research.  You don't just go into the Toyota dealership and make a deal right out of the gate.  That's just it see - most Christians will just pick Christianity because it's the first lot they see.  Have they researched Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, and so on down the line?  Have they really researched the history of religions and said "after careful debate, I've determined Christianity is the best religion for me."  Unlikely in almost all cases - they're just choosing Christianity because it's what is in front of them - like the guy that just shows up at the Toyota dealership and is too lazy to search around, and just says "ah the heck with it, I'll just buy this one."

If I'm missing your point, my bad.  If I'm not, this car analogy is actually one I've used with Christians (and others who believe only one God is right - not the believers in a nebulous God).  Just trying to remain civil moving forward, and presenting another side to the coin.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 04:45:02 PM
It makes sense if we are discussing literature and fairy tales and the people all know it in the context of the discussion, you are claiming that either superman actually exists or by having a discussion about Superman is evidence/proof of Superman.

Help a brother out here.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: YouCantHandleTheTruth on March 04, 2016, 04:51:01 PM
   One of the interesting things about this website, whywontgodhealamputees.com, is how seldom people get banned here.  Arguments are direct and can seem attacking, but the whole debate is to look for some universal truth.  One problem for a theist can be an overwhelming group of people wanting to debate.   While it may be that there is certain group-think here, a theist may want to consider that atheists usually are argued against (or worse) throughout society, and the internet allows for safe arguing.

   If an atheist argues like this in Kabul Afghanistan, he will quickly be stoned to death by Muslims.  If an atheist visits a Christian website, such as rr-bb.com, known as "rapture ready", as soon as the visiting atheist questions the group-think, the person is permanent banned, which fits into the idea - Calvinism I believe (a fraction of the 43,000 denominations) - that the omnipotent creator of the entire universe is only interested in welcoming some human beings on planet earth.  How dare anyone ever question beliefs?
Shnozzola, you're exactly right that there is a lot of group-think going on here. It's exhibited by several of the members, but by no means all. I won't name names.

Couple that with their absolute inability to admit when they're wrong. The result is that, once an opponent gets tired of the ad hominem attacks, lack of logic, and lack of courtesy, he or she will leave. Then these pseudo-intellects will pat themselves on the back and say "yup, we chased another one away with our superior arguments."

Star - this is where you'll dig yourself a hole.  Let's acknowledge this - on both sides (theist and atheist) we struggle to admit we're wrong.  I've seen it on our side, and I've seen it on yours too (when we were debating whether God said the Earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the Earth).  We would argue something, make points, and you'd circumnavigate that argument.  I think you feel the Bible is inerrant - and so you have to do that, I get it.  We're just pointing out why we think it ISN'T inerrant - and that's just because it was written by men - who have always made mistakes from the beginning of time.  Not only that, we love to make up stories!  Big ones!  I was abducted by aliens, I saw BigFoot, I saw the LochNess Monster, etc.  The Bible stories may not have even been just to control people - but maybe it was also written by people that desperately wanted attention.  This is often what we see in some people.  I even remember the guy that claimed to kill Jean Benet Ramsey and it turned out he didn't.  Some people love attention.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 04:55:05 PM
I'm trying to understand.  I think I see where you're coming from.  I just think (if I'm understanding this correctly) that the atheist would respond with "Zebra - have you driven the price comparable cars that Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, etc. have in order to determine that the Toyota is the best choice for you?  Have you done your full research on the subject?  Have you read Car & Driver and Motor Trend and compared the Toyota to all of these other vehicles in the same price range?"

It may be presumptuous of me to say you're a Christian.  I don't know.  But that's the argument I would trot out as an atheist, because it holds true in religion as it does in cars.  There are thousands of options.  In order to arrive at the best option, you have to do your research.  You don't just go into the Toyota dealership and make a deal right out of the gate.  That's just it see - most Christians will just pick Christianity because it's the first lot they see.  Have they researched Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, and so on down the line?  Have they really researched the history of religions and said "after careful debate, I've determined Christianity is the best religion for me."  Unlikely in almost all cases - they're just choosing Christianity because it's what is in front of them - like the guy that just shows up at the Toyota dealership and is too lazy to search around, and just says "ah the heck with it, I'll just buy this one."

If I'm missing your point, my bad.  If I'm not, this car analogy is actually one I've used with Christians (and others who believe only one God is right - not the believers in a nebulous God).  Just trying to remain civil moving forward, and presenting another side to the coin.
I appreciate you remaining civil.
The original question wasn't "why is the Christian God the one who exists and all the others imaginary?" It was more like "Let's suppose the Christian God does exist. Is it fair of Him to only send his message out to certain people and not the rest of humanity?" This second question was the one Zebra answered.

My Toyota analogy can only go so far and breaks down at some point (no car pun intended).
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 04:59:20 PM
Okay, looking at it from that thought experiment... If the world existed exactly as it currently is (as in, all physics is the same and what-not) then the one major difference I'd see is a lack of churches (if we're adding "everyone believes that no god exists" and that we'd cease to exist when we die and everyone would accept that as part of their reality (or frantically try to avoid any situation that may cause death).  We also likely wouldn't have people hurting/killing others in the name of God, though that doesn't mean we wouldn't see that behavior fueled by other things (the girls who stabbed their friend "for Slenderman" for instance.
Perhaps I was a little unclear.  I wasn't suggesting that you envision "a world where everyone believes there are no gods".  I was suggesting that you envision the a world where people believe in gods, but gods do not actually exist.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 05:02:48 PM
Star do you see how every analogy you make fails and you excuse yourself by admitting they fail to do what you planned as if admitting they fail is excuse enough to use them.

Please explain why the Toyota analogy fails and try again instead of disregarding the point you were trying to make, it looks like a ploy of avoidance through derailment and obfuscation.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: ParkingPlaces on March 04, 2016, 05:16:02 PM
I'm a little confused by the confusion. I'm with Star and Zebra on this one.

Trump supporters and Trump non-supporters could have a discussion about what they think he would do about health care if he were president. Both sides would know that it was a 'what if' situation, and not something based on current facts. Having only one side know that it isn't based on facts doesn't hurt the analogy at all.

I can discuss stuff with Star or Zebra as if there is a god, all the while knowing that I don't think that there is one. If we sat around and waited until any given theist had proof of god's existence before arguing with him or her that there is no proof, we'd have nothing to discuss.

They don't require proof. And they can't provide it anyway. It is nonsensical for us to demand that they make such info available before continuing any given discussion.

I like being able to say that if there is a god, he is patently silly. I can't do that if I'm stuck in the rut of demanding proof he is real first.

The OP asks "if you god exists". Zebra is answering on that assumption. How is that wrong?

Insert negative karma here: __________
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 05:17:13 PM
Star do you see how every analogy you make fails and you excuse yourself by admitting they fail to do what you planned as if admitting they fail is excuse enough to use them.

Please explain why the Toyota analogy fails and try again instead of disregarding the point you were trying to make, it looks like a ploy of avoidance through derailment and obfuscation.
*shakes head*  Actually, eh, he's right in this case.

He's trying to argue that something is valid (which is to say, the structure of the logic hangs together), while you're trying to argue that it isn't sound (which is to say, the basis of the logic is flawed somehow).  That's what the Toyota analogy was intended to show.  The topic was set up to argue about the structure of the logic that underlies Christianity, not to argue about the basis of that logic.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Star on March 04, 2016, 05:17:23 PM
Star do you see how every analogy you make fails and you excuse yourself by admitting they fail to do what you planned as if admitting they fail is excuse enough to use them.

Please explain why the Toyota analogy fails and try again instead of disregarding the point you were trying to make, it looks like a ploy of avoidance through derailment and obfuscation.
Sigh!
Eh, I can't be the only one who thinks you're just not picking up what I'm trying to lay down. Anyone?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 05:23:06 PM
I want to know why you keep using inadequate analogies in place of attacking an argument directly with a deductive counterargument and actual evidence.

My only answer is Star prefers to argue about the structure of arguing than provide an actual argument or counterargument to support his claims.

Diversion like he is doing now with the "if" rant as IF it has anything to do with the OP.

IF Star does not understand why atheists use "if god......" then Star has the problem not me.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on March 04, 2016, 05:57:12 PM
Okay, looking at it from that thought experiment... If the world existed exactly as it currently is (as in, all physics is the same and what-not) then the one major difference I'd see is a lack of churches (if we're adding "everyone believes that no god exists" and that we'd cease to exist when we die and everyone would accept that as part of their reality (or frantically try to avoid any situation that may cause death).  We also likely wouldn't have people hurting/killing others in the name of God, though that doesn't mean we wouldn't see that behavior fueled by other things (the girls who stabbed their friend "for Slenderman" for instance.
Perhaps I was a little unclear.  I wasn't suggesting that you envision "a world where everyone believes there are no gods".  I was suggesting that you envision the a world where people believe in gods, but gods do not actually exist.

Oh, okay.  Thanks for the clarification. :)

In that case, envisioning a world where people believe in gods but gods don't exist, we'd likely see a world that's well, pretty similar to our own.  Though if we take out those moments that are firmly recognized as visions or divine revelation like the Virgin Mary at Fatima (whether they be direct Otherworldly contact or not), there might be less of a strong presence of one church dominating many others, instead with many groups around the world having various beliefs in gods that disagree with one another.  For instance, the Christian religion seems to have more of a prescience in the world than other religions, with records like The Bible being widely spread in contrast to a lot of other religious texts, but if reports of divine intervention/communication seemed to not particularly support one religion over another, the world would be very much like our current one, though possibly with more division in the varying religions and no religion appearing to have more merit than any other.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 06:07:23 PM
If his analogies are inadequate, eh!, why is it that several of the more prominent non-theists on the board - myself, Azdgari, ParkingPlaces, and a few others - had no trouble understanding what he was trying to get across?

In order for topics like this to hope to accomplish something, atheists have to be willing to accept that theists will answer questions like the OP based on the presumption that their god exists.  To argue that they shouldn't make such a presumption in answering makes the discussion futile, because in that case they just won't answer, except for the rare few who already have questions they don't know how to answer.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 06:32:23 PM
But zebra and star were the ones making the objection to be jumped for the whole "IF" usage that's how this tangent started.

Are you conceding that all anologies re god are impossibly useless hence we should accept all of them.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Azdgari on March 04, 2016, 06:41:20 PM
But zebra and star were the ones making the objection to be jumped for the whole "IF" usage that's how this tangent started.

Could you re-word this sentence with proper syntax and such?  As it stands, I can barely make it out.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 04, 2016, 06:48:00 PM
In that case, envisioning a world where people believe in gods but gods don't exist, we'd likely see a world that's well, pretty similar to our own.  Though if we take out those moments that are firmly recognized as visions or divine revelation like the Virgin Mary at Fatima (whether they be direct Otherworldly contact or not), there might be less of a strong presence of one church dominating many others, instead with many groups around the world having various beliefs in gods that disagree with one another.  For instance, the Christian religion seems to have more of a prescience in the world than other religions, with records like The Bible being widely spread in contrast to a lot of other religious texts, but if reports of divine intervention/communication seemed to not particularly support one religion over another, the world would be very much like our current one, though possibly with more division in the varying religions.
Alright.  A couple of thoughts I had upon reading:

1.  Why would we take out visions or things that are seen as divine revelations, given that humans see patterns in things based on things they're familiar with?  For example, a person looking at the night sky will see the constellations they're familiar with, rather than constellations invented by some other culture.

As an example, here's a picture with the Greek constellations in blue and the Chinese constellations in yellow.  Which do you find easier to see?
(http://www.chinasage.info/stars.htm)

2.  Consider that for the better part of the past five centuries, Christian nations had a substantial technological edge and thus were better able to spread throughout the world than other nations.  For example, the five most widely spoken languages in the world (http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/most_spoken_languages.htm) are Chinese, Hindi, English, Spanish, and Arabic.  Chinese and Hindi are because China and India/Pakistan, which have them as official languages, are extremely populous.  But what about English, Spanish, and Arabic?  England and Spain are pretty small countries, all in all; England is around the size of Idaho, and Spain is only about as large as Texas.  For that matter, Portugal, home of the seventh-most spoken language in the world, is only about the size of Tennessee, yet more than 200 million people around the world speak it as their first language, in countries which Portugal culturally dominated for decades if not centuries.

Furthermore, England, Spain, and Portugal all exerted a huge amount of cultural influence, which would have included Christian influence, comparative to their relative sizes.  I mean, close to a billion people around the world speak those three languages as their first language, and that didn't happen by accident.

I think it is fair to say that in this world I asked you to envision, that other factors would have influenced how religions spread.  Correct?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jynnan tonnix on March 04, 2016, 06:49:21 PM
Just going to make a quick point here even though I have not read the entire thread (which I generally do try to do before responding), but I don't have a lot of time at the moment and didn't want to lose my train of thought.

Your (Zebra) post spoke of crime and punishment, and the fact that society would not look kindly, in general, on, say, a thief going free without making amends or paying a penalty.

This is, though rather a simplistic view, probably a valid point.

The thing is, though, that there are certain "crimes", especially such as those like lies or hurtful words, for which fines or punishments can be completely superfluous. If the wronged party is willing to forgive, it's no one else's place to say whether some sort of justice was served. Especially if the person is penitent, which I would guess most people are, on some level, if they know they have done wrong. Even if they don't come right out and say it. But God can supposedly see inside someone's heart anyway, right?

So, here we have a god who is able to wipe away any conceivable sin, regardless of whether the person actually wronged can ever get over it. He can forgive simply by virtue of the sinner's belief in him.
But if the sinner does NOT have the right faith, then no amount of penitence on the side of the sinner's, nor forgiveness on the side of the wronged will be enough to save him.

And, on top of everything, the biggest "sin" out there apparently IS the simple failure to believe.

Why can God not forgive a slight like that, which hurts no one except ...I don't know...just how significantly hurt could an omnimax being BE by the lack of worship by any individual of the billions upon billions ever created? And why would it take the sacrifice of himself to himself to actually manage that forgiveness if he was so inclined anyway?

Sorry if it turns out a similar point has already been made (no doubt better), but I just wanted to get the thought out there.

ETA: Well, darn...that will teach me to assume that just because there are a couple more pages of comments the person I am addressing is still around or anything...


Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 04, 2016, 08:11:41 PM
^^^That is a good observation.

And zebra raises some very interesting points. The assumption that god is loving, fair, wise and just--but chooses not to bother with most of humanity at all[1] before torturing the vast majority of us forever for unknown crimes is downright breathtaking in its cheerful, clear-eyed brutality. This zebra person articulates an abusive totalitarian dictator's perspective with a masochistic abandon seldom seen outside a Donald Trump rally, a North Korean prison camp or a really involved sub-dom scenario at Madame Olga Youhavebeenaverybadboyski's Bondage Basement Whipatorium.[2]

If there was no speed limit posted, ever, anywhere, if everyone had to teach themselves how to drive, and if cars did not have speedometers, it would seem more than a bit unfair if police suddenly started to pull people over and give out $500 speeding tickets. What Highway Patrolgod is doing, is pulling over nine out of every ten cars for speeding-- and letting the tenth go on past no matter how fast or how badly they were driving. But he does not just give a ticket, a fine or a warning. And he does not even explain what the law is that the person broke. He pulls over nearly everyone and when they ask, "What is the problem, officer?" he pulls out his service weapon and shoots them in the head.

Because, as zebra has explained, a bullet in the head is what everyone deserves for driving down the road badly and at the wrong speed. What about the ones Highway Patrolgod lets go? Well, he secretly gave them a Rules of the Road booklet, installed a speedometer in their cars and told them what the speed limit was. And, even when they speed anyway, he gives them a friendly nod and wave. Because love and mercy.

In the world that zebra describes, Hindus, Muslims, Rastas, Buddhists, Santeros and native folks-- most people all over the world-- have been purposely ignored by god. He did not think it important to show up and talk to them, so he did not bother. Therefore, when they die, they are shuffled right off to hell to burn in agonizing torment for all eternity. Including, we have to assume the babies, children, mentally disabled, and so on of those societies.

It does not matter that the babies, children, etc, were ignorant of the rules. Everyone except the chosen few are ignorant of the rules, and even those chosen few deserve punishment. However, only the ignorant will actually get the punishment. Punished most severely, forever, for crimes that they did not even know they committed. It is like the ultimate Kafka story, where anonymous government bureaucrats arrest you, sentence you and do awful things to you and nobody will tell you why. And it goes on for all eternity.

Sin is a crime against god. If god never even shows up and tells people that there are such crimes, that they should not commit them, and what they can do about it if they do, how can punishment for these crimes be just in any way, shape or form?  :-\

Why oh why do people believe such sh!t? &)
 1. Remember we are his specially created most important beings in the universe for whom the earth was intelligently designed and made as a perfect paradise in the only place where life could exist
 2. If only god would give us non-believers the safe word..... :o
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: YouCantHandleTheTruth on March 04, 2016, 09:23:34 PM
I'm trying to understand.  I think I see where you're coming from.  I just think (if I'm understanding this correctly) that the atheist would respond with "Zebra - have you driven the price comparable cars that Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, etc. have in order to determine that the Toyota is the best choice for you?  Have you done your full research on the subject?  Have you read Car & Driver and Motor Trend and compared the Toyota to all of these other vehicles in the same price range?"

It may be presumptuous of me to say you're a Christian.  I don't know.  But that's the argument I would trot out as an atheist, because it holds true in religion as it does in cars.  There are thousands of options.  In order to arrive at the best option, you have to do your research.  You don't just go into the Toyota dealership and make a deal right out of the gate.  That's just it see - most Christians will just pick Christianity because it's the first lot they see.  Have they researched Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Jainism, and so on down the line?  Have they really researched the history of religions and said "after careful debate, I've determined Christianity is the best religion for me."  Unlikely in almost all cases - they're just choosing Christianity because it's what is in front of them - like the guy that just shows up at the Toyota dealership and is too lazy to search around, and just says "ah the heck with it, I'll just buy this one."

If I'm missing your point, my bad.  If I'm not, this car analogy is actually one I've used with Christians (and others who believe only one God is right - not the believers in a nebulous God).  Just trying to remain civil moving forward, and presenting another side to the coin.
I appreciate you remaining civil.
The original question wasn't "why is the Christian God the one who exists and all the others imaginary?" It was more like "Let's suppose the Christian God does exist. Is it fair of Him to only send his message out to certain people and not the rest of humanity?" This second question was the one Zebra answered.

My Toyota analogy can only go so far and breaks down at some point (no car pun intended).

So what's your answer to the first question?  Do you think it's fair of him to send his message out to certain people and not everyone?  My answer there would be no, because too much is at stake with an eternity in hell.  How would you answer this? 

I'd add a question on top of this - if this were in fact the case, that it was the Christian God that existed and he withheld his existence to a majority of the world, do you think this God is worthy of praise?  If so, why?  Is it for self-preservation and to avoid torture?  Or is there something else you admire about this God?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 09:29:07 PM
Top points for redirecting this thread to topic in spite of the desperate attempts at diversion.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Astreja on March 04, 2016, 11:35:11 PM
I've been mulling over one particularly troublesome aspect of the question this evening:  Why would a god withhold its message, and all associated benefits, from anyone at all?

For a moment, suspend the "mysterious ways" cliché and imagine yourself in place of the Biblical god.  To have such things as a "chosen people," "saved" versus "unsaved," or in fact any division designed to let some people in and keep the others out, what mindset would you have to be in?  There You are on your heavenly throne -- Sorting mortals according to absurd criteria such as birthplace, birth era, or the believability of your own message.

Why?  I just don't get it.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 04, 2016, 11:52:18 PM
Cue "our ways are not his ways". Its all for a higher good, way too high for your feeble human mind to comprehend such awesome awesomeness....... amiright, theists??
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 05, 2016, 12:01:24 AM
Strange that "love" or "caring" etc are also supposed to be important facets of this god's nature. Again, Christians have to redefine what they mean by godly love to include this: 

love; verb, as in "god loves all people" ; def: Completely ignore most of the people he created so that they burn in torment forever.

I do not recall anything remotely like that being one of the definitions of love in any dictionary anywhere in this universe. Even a skeptic parent/teacher analogy would be hard pressed to include "ignore those in your care completely so that they suffer eternal damnation and torment" as an example of one of the things good adults do with the kids they love and are responsible for.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 05, 2016, 12:12:45 AM
This is an analogy free thread thanks.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 05, 2016, 12:17:07 AM
This is an analogy free thread thanks.

I know, right? Even describing one is like saying the name of the monster or demon and making it appear before you. Doh! :o
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 05, 2016, 12:24:40 AM
Yup, and guess what you missed earlier, a lecture on logic by a guy who claims miracles and that human comprehension is too feeble to see past the obvious contradictions his god belief presents and claims that physical impossibilities are possible when god does it every time his own logic leads him shit up against a wall.

Its a laugh a minute with these turkey's.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jetson on March 05, 2016, 08:10:46 AM
I gotta say, I have never encountered a more indignant and unreasonable group as I have encountered on this site. It is beneath my dignity to continue advancing the Christian argument here because of the hatred and bigotry, the intellectual dishonesty, the unjustified attacks, the unsubstantiated claims, and the double standards. If that is how you treat people in your little world here, then I want no part of it.

Try being an atheist on a Christian forum. Not that it would matter to you since your mental fortitude appears to be on level with an 8 year old. Until you can put on your adult pants and recognize that your opinions and beliefs hold no sway over anyone but yourself, it is most definitely best to stop posting here.

Your visit was voluntary, and your response is yours, and yours alone. Perhaps you can find an atheist website that will cower to your brilliance, that way you can continue with your personal delusion about a magic sky daddy who makes it clear that people like atheists are to burn in eternal hellfire.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on March 05, 2016, 09:39:05 AM
I've been mulling over one particularly troublesome aspect of the question this evening:  Why would a god withhold its message, and all associated benefits, from anyone at all?

For a moment, suspend the "mysterious ways" cliché and imagine yourself in place of the Biblical god.  To have such things as a "chosen people," "saved" versus "unsaved," or in fact any division designed to let some people in and keep the others out, what mindset would you have to be in?  There You are on your heavenly throne -- Sorting mortals according to absurd criteria such as birthplace, birth era, or the believability of your own message.

Why?  I just don't get it.

I think that was reasoned quite succinctly by zebra. God has chosen to ignore most of the world's population, therefore there must be a reason.

It's practically an empirical proof that the argument is invalid.

This attitude also solves many other problems. Why would God flood the world, and kill all animals and plants? Well, he just did, so there was a very good reason. You just aren't trying hard enough, to see it from God's POV.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on March 05, 2016, 09:54:39 AM
Star do you see how every analogy you make fails and you excuse yourself by admitting they fail to do what you planned as if admitting they fail is excuse enough to use them.

Please explain why the Toyota analogy fails and try again instead of disregarding the point you were trying to make, it looks like a ploy of avoidance through derailment and obfuscation.
Sigh!
Eh, I can't be the only one who thinks you're just not picking up what I'm trying to lay down. Anyone?

Part of the art of making sensible conversation on a forum full of random rabble, is to engage in conversation with the posters that are capable of reasoned argument.

However, I have noticed that most Christians who come here, get so much attention, that it enables them to duck out of answering the better questions.

Something that Christians often forget, is that your duty is to convince us, not simply make it look like you are fighting the "good fight".
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jaimehlers on March 05, 2016, 10:10:16 AM
This is an analogy free thread thanks.
It isn't your thread, nor are you a moderator, so stop with the off-topic complaints about people making analogies already.  Like it or not, eh, you're setting an absolutely horrible example in this thread, to the point where the theists you were complaining about were being more reasonable and sensible than you.

Haven't you figured out yet that trying to dictate to people who disagree with you is almost guaranteed to backfire?  It's like trying to discipline a cat by hitting it; the cat will actually do the behavior more after being struck at than if you had chosen some other way to discourage it.  If you think people are using analogies incorrectly, you have to show them that the analogy doesn't work, not simply complain about them using analogies.  Otherwise they're just going to assume that you're being a jerk (or something worse) and keep using the analogies.  They might even take pleasure in doing so if you annoy them enough, since it'll be an easy way for them to show you up.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: screwtape on March 05, 2016, 12:16:42 PM
It makes sense if we are discussing literature and fairy tales and the people all know it in the context of the discussion, you are claiming that either superman actually exists or by having a discussion about Superman is evidence/proof of Superman.

Help a brother out here.

That is essentially what we are doing.  Literary criticism.  We are arguing whether we have an omniscient narrator or an unreliable narrator when it tells us God is perfect and just and wonderful and his farts smell like roses. 

I think the point of the original question was a little more than that though.  It was an observation that some things that appear incongruous with god's alleged perfect and justice and try to figure out alternative explanations. 

When we ask whether Hamlet was crazy we do not first have to prove he was real.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jynnan tonnix on March 05, 2016, 12:56:05 PM

However, I have noticed that most Christians who come here, get so much attention, that it enables them to duck out of answering the better questions.


This!

Though it is, admittedly, difficult to resist jumping into a discussion with another take on a question, or tackling another argument, or simply making a snarky comment, it really does get jumbled up, and all those comments do make it easier for the Christian to weasel out of the really solid points made by glomming onto some random side-comment and running with that instead (I'm looking at you, Skeptic).

The shelter, as first conceived, might have been a solution, but seems not to be an attractive option to too may theist we get who see it as being rather condescending or something.

It would be good if people just naturally let especially new theists here get warmed up gradually to the more serious arguments, but we get so few of them that, as I said, it's just too tempting for too many people to get their own word in.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Add Homonym on March 05, 2016, 07:29:01 PM
That is essentially what we are doing.  Literary criticism.

Like why didn't Frodo use one of Gandalf's eagles to get the ring to Mordor?

Answer: Unbeknownst to both the narrator and Frodo, there was a secret force wall that excludes eagles. Frodo must have been psychic and known about it.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: khadine on March 05, 2016, 09:16:57 PM
You asked the question,

"if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?"

You are assuming that God (and I specifically mean the Christian God) has a moral obligation to communicate His Gospel message of salvation to everyone, and that if He does not, then He is unjust. Am I correct?

The truth is, God is not obliged to do any such thing.

I hope you come back, because I'm curious about your response to some of the questions raise. I'm not holding my breath, simply because, and please forgive my prejudice here, I expect you feel offended and require some measure of ego-stroking courtesy to justify your time. I find that problematic for a couple reasons. The first is, your attempt to claim the moral high road in a discussion in which you're arguing a character who fits the very definition of an unjust, unpredictable, capricious tyrant is morally superior is not just the epitome of hypocrisy, it's a cruel reminder of the utter lack of consideration for what morality even means or how it might apply to actual, living, breathing people.

Secondly, this style of communication is written only. Posters here respect anonymity. There are no threats to your physical or emotional well-being, and any comments you consider rude can be so easily ignored while still allowing you the ability to reply to others. The bible says to always be ready to give a defense for your faith, not be ready to give a defense only so long as your audience will be polite. Well, to be fair, it also says don't bother, pearls before swine and all that, so perhaps the holy ghost is undecided. Surely it can't be as convenient as find the bible verse that supports what you want already - what kind of divine revelation is that?

But I'd like to know how a character in a story would not be obliged to take the moral high road when that character is defined by its own personally selected community as being the author and arbiter of all morality. How does the creator of a supposedly universal and perfect moral code fail to behave in such a way that we understand morality to mean? Why is it expected to be held above accountability? That seems to me to censure a very important conversation about recognizing what morality is. For example, if the god of the bible is moral, then our rejection of human trafficking, systematic rape, slaughter, genocide, poison, and seeking vengeance upon children and grandchildren for offenses of the past generation is mistaken. We should have no problem instituting these practices back into public policy insofar as it goes to support the appropriate worship of this god of the bible who can [and supposedly will] rain down hell on earth for those who fail to do so. But we don't. Do you have any objections to human trafficking? Do you have any objections to forcing women to drink potions to induce abortions in order to discern whether or not the babe developing in the womb has their husbands' DNA?

If God wants to “open His wallet” and pay the penalty for crimes committed, He is acting out of mercy. He is not obliged to rescue anyone from the penalty of the law.

Unless his laws are unjust and immoral. Then the one breaking these laws are fighting against tyranny. Fighting against unjust tyranny is generally considered to be a superior moral act to supporting tyranny. But not with God. With God, one must simply submit, believe, to ask pre-approved questions only. One learns to censor themselves lest they realize the entire construct is built not on logic or reason, but on emotions, and those emotions can be found outside of a restrictive religion. The entire community will apply pressure to those who stray too far from the safety parameters.

God forbid the individual Christian learns that moral questions can be better answered outside a naturally restrictive religion.

So to answer the question you laid out at the beginning,     

“if your god does exist, and Jesus is his representative, why did he fully ignore the vast majority of humanity - the very people he was trying to reach?”

Have you ever considered that God might not be trying to reach everyone? Since the Gospel message of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is the conduit by which God extends mercy to some criminals, He is not obligated to communicate the Gospel to everyone. If He wanted to confine His Gospel message only to the tiny island of Fiji, allowing everyone else to suffer the consequences for their crimes, then He would be perfectly just in doing so.

I read this and I think to myself, "Imagine if the United States had a law that made wearing shoes illegal, and only people in a remote town in South Dakota had been given the information and ability to turn in their shoes, the US would be perfectly justified to send in military troops to round up every American who had footwear and send them to camps in North Korea to be worked as slave laborers for the rest of their natural lives. And then for the next billion lifetimes. Never to end.

If this is what Christians consider morally justified, that creates a very real concern for the peace and security of our society. I don't like to think of myself as prejudiced, but if Christians are happy to abdicate consideration of what morality is, what it means and how it effects life on earth, then how can I be expected to trust a person who identifies as a Christian to know what is moral, what is good, what is right and what is wrong?

I challenge anyone to defend the position which accuses God of being unjust in meting out justice to some and giving mercy to others. If you follow the logic, God is not unjust.

There was no logic here, only assurances that God is first just because He is strongest and wields the most control. This is nothing more than "Might Makes Right" moral code, otherwise known as the Schoolyard Bully Mentality. God is the ultimate schoolyard bully, and you've simply elected to follow him so he protects you --- from himself!

So get this. Christians have to be "Saved".... from their own god!

That's not logic, it's the perfect racket.

You're paying the bully's representatives (and thanks to so many people who are happy to not think about this, state and federal taxes support them, too) to comfort you in the knowledge the bully won't attack you.

Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: eh! on March 05, 2016, 09:32:59 PM
Khad, you is aaawright.

Would have given you karmas by now but mods disabled me that function cos I am a dick.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 06, 2016, 01:55:43 PM
She shoots, she scores!

khadine, please, please tell me you are black. Lie to me if need be. Don't knock yourself off the pedal stool (as one of my students once wrote) that I have put you on. I imagine you saying everything you have written in the resplendent voice of Barbara Jordan. If there was a god, it would be her. Click on this and listen to a few minutes to see how far we have fallen as a country.... http://www.biography.com/people/barbara-jordan-9357991[1]
 1. Imagine what she, an expert orator, constitutional scholar, and all around fearless kicka$$ would do with this current crop of republican clowns, comparing their anatomy, disrespecting the president and trashing the Geneva accords! She called out Nixon for Watergate. She would have eaten Donald Trump for lunch and pooped him out by now.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on March 08, 2016, 04:33:22 PM
Mr Zebra won't be back. He has too much to lose. That is the typical religious fundamentalist way. They become entrenched in their rigid system of 'faith' and when challenged they realize that 1) they are hearing things they really don't want to hear (that their presuppositions are in error), 2) their beliefs are being threatened and they start to think about the consequences of giving up their "belief-uber-alles" mentality (loss of friends, peers, family, psychological consequences, etc), and 3) they must run away since denial feels safer than change and admitting that they don't know what they claim to know is not an option (b/c after all, making that admission feels very uncomfortable and is therefore intolerable).

I can remember when I first started asking the tough questions of my former (Christian) friends. They would tell me to pray about it, just have faith (trust no matter what), or they would give me convenient canned answers they pulled from a pastor, a Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel book, or they would just thump the bible. But as time went on and those rationalizations became less and less satisfying (and as I discovered how irrational, in error, and/or intellectually dishonest they were), my former "friends" stopped calling (and this is in spite of their words to the contrary). Slowly but surely they pulled away and I could tell they were afraid of beginning to doubt those things themselves. In order to maintain their homeostasis they had to label me as "given over to the enemy" and move on (thus exposing themselves as not true friends but fair weather).

Superstition is (unfortunately) a virus of the mind.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: CrystalDragon on March 24, 2016, 02:42:52 PM
Okay, finally gotten a chance to reply to jdawg's post here...

Don't suppose it was the Catholic Church that taught you that the Catholic Church was the one true church, was it?

Kind of.  Not specifically the Church itself, but more like people I know and family who follow the Catholic faith.  Funnily enough I don't recall it ever being brought up at Mass aside from Jesus's "Upon this rock I will build my Church" quote when speaking of Peter, and I seem to recall the explanation I got of how do we know the Catholic Church was something about Peter then spreading the religion to the Roman Empire and Roman Catholicism is therefore the closest to Peter's teaching since it was passed down directly from him.

Quote
Honestly, CrystalDragon, my only advice here is for you to go ahead and read the book.  See if this claim of 'consistency' has any merit whatsoever.  I mean, based on your conversations here, would you say that the bible was at least somewhat consistent with reality or no?

And, just to throw it out there: shit made of digest chocolate will likely be more tasty than shit made out of sulfur.  Pretending for a moment that's actually the case, does that mean that shit made out of chocolate would taste good?

Seeing as I haven't read the full Bible yet (I plan to though, especially with my research and our conversations here) but read some parts, I can say that while some aspects of the Bible may be consistent with reality, not every part of it is.  Especially in regards to morals and the like.

And pretending for a moment that was actually the case, just because shit is made from digested chocolate rather than silver doesn't mean it would taste good at all.  Probably better than the silver, but it would still taste like crap. :angel:

Quote
This is how I'm reading that sentence in light of your response above:
Sentence 1: I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist.
Sentence 2: Thus, because I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist, I still consider myself a Catholic because I strongly feel that the universe, afterlife, etc. had a creator involved with its creation, not thinking that all this could have reasonably come into being through strictly natural processes.

I am still missing the 'thus' connection.  And I think it's because you've in no way connected 'the possibility of x' to 'I feel strongly that the possibility of x actually is'.  Is the following a more accurate representation of what you're trying to say:
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Since I can't rule him out, I will rule him in - that is, since god is not ruled out as an option for the explanation of x, y, and z, I will rule him in as the explanation for x, y, and z.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

It's just, to me, it still looks like you're conflating "possibility of x" and "x actually is."

I'm guessing not, but I don't know.

Out of curiosity, as you know that I identify as an atheist, do you think I do or do not acknowledge the possibility of 'god exists'?  You can look through old posts to get the answer if you like, I won't consider it cheating :)

I suppose that what I was meaning was more along these lines:
God is possible - while there is a likelihood that God exists or is valid, there's evidence that can be argued against God existing, but there's still enough evidence to support the existence of God that can't be completely ruled out.
God is - the explanations that seem to point to God not existing are not substantial or informed enough to be seen as valid enough, and the evidence for God's existence refutes what could evidence against the existence of God.

As for your last part, I looked through a few of your old posts, especially the conversations with Star near the end of February, and it seems at least from those that you do acknowledge the possibility of"God exists", but given the evidence and experience you don't see any substantial reason to believe that God exists.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on March 24, 2016, 03:09:33 PM
Seeing as I haven't read the full Bible yet (I plan to though, especially with my research and our conversations here) but read some parts, I can say that while some aspects of the Bible may be consistent with reality, not every part of it is.  Especially in regards to morals and the like.

CD, take the time to look through this site as well, shows that the bible is not authentic in any way.

http://see_the_truth.webs.com/Old%20Testament.html
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on March 24, 2016, 03:57:54 PM
CD, the possibility of a "god" existing are different from zero probability of the biblegod existing. The biblegod as typically described is an impossibility.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on March 24, 2016, 04:09:19 PM
I suppose that what I was meaning was more along these lines:
God is possible - while there is a likelihood that God exists or is valid, there's evidence that can be argued against God existing, but there's still enough evidence to support the existence of God that can't be completely ruled out.
God is - the explanations that seem to point to God not existing are not substantial or informed enough to be seen as valid enough, and the evidence for God's existence refutes what could evidence against the existence of God.


As for your last part, I looked through a few of your old posts, especially the conversations with Star near the end of February, and it seems at least from those that you do acknowledge the possibility of"God exists", but given the evidence and experience you don't see any substantial reason to believe that God exists.

There are multiple problems with what you have written there [my bold].

First, in order to demonstrate that something is possible you must first provide a meaningful and coherent definition. But no such definition has been provided for the term "God". And all attempts by theists I have seen ultimately fail at this task. They wind up talking about alleged "spirits" or "non-physical substance" (i.e. - they wind up giving wholly negative definitions which tell us nothing). It's like saying, "I believe in this thing called Schmarbelfarben but I can't tell you what Schmarbelfarben is. I can only tell you what it is not." Nonsense.

Second, the fact that something "can't be ruled out" does not give us rational warrant (or good reason) for believing in that said thing. Let me give you a few examples of things that "can't be ruled out".

•Unicorns •Pixies •Faires •Space Aliens •Big Foot [•God] •Santa Claus •fire breathing Dragons •Leprechauns


Now, are you going to just believe in those said things until someone "proves them false"? The fallacy that you presented above is called Shifting the Burden of Proof. We do not just believe claims until they have been proven false (b/c they can't be "ruled out"). That is just faulty reasoning. On the contrary, we disbelieve claims until they have been demonstrated to be true. If those claims have not been demonstrated to be true then belief in not warranted. HINT: The belief in a God is not warranted. It sits right smack in the middle of that list b/c (just like the others) there is no sufficient evidence for it. So again, the time to actually believe a claim is after sufficient evidence has come in - not "until it has been proven false".

Lastly, how did you go about determining your claim that "there is a likelihood that God exists or is valid"? Whether or not something is likely pertains to statistics (and specifically statistical data). What statistical data have you analyzed which gives rise to your claim that God (whatever that word means) likely exists? The last I checked we only have one universe to examine. And saying, "Well, I just can't see how it could have happened any other way than by God doing it" is another logical fallacy - called the Argument from Incredulity.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 24, 2016, 05:49:10 PM
The incredulity argument is especially weak when you cannot even demonstrate a god to begin with. If there is not any god available to analyze, to test, to see if he has the qualities needed to create a universe, than how can you even suggest that only he could have done it?

Does god have the tools, materials, expertise to create a universe? How would you find out? Or do you just assume that a) he exists and b) he has the tools etc, and c) he made the universe because you cannot think of any other way it could have happened?

That is like saying that the Great Wall of China was built by Mr. Spock and the crew of the Enterprise using Vulcan magic. First, you have to show that Mr. Spock, etc are real. Then you have to show that they have magic or the tools, materials, etc to build the wall. Then you have to show evidence in historical records, etc that they did it. Or else, why should anyone believe you? Saying you cannot imagine any other way for the Great Wall to get there beside Mr. Spock making it seems silly, doesn't it?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: mrbiscoop on March 24, 2016, 09:11:08 PM
WOW! 14 positive  Darwins in only 4 posts for khadine.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: jdawg70 on March 24, 2016, 09:28:39 PM
Okay, finally gotten a chance to reply to jdawg's post here...
I suppose that what I was meaning was more along these lines:
God is possible - while there is a likelihood that God exists or is valid, there's evidence that can be argued against God existing, but there's still enough evidence to support the existence of God that can't be completely ruled out.
God is - the explanations that seem to point to God not existing are not substantial or informed enough to be seen as valid enough, and the evidence for God's existence refutes what could evidence against the existence of God.
Take some time to really absorb median's post.  That explains what I think is missing when I say that I'm missing the connection of the 'thus':
Quote from: CrystalDragon
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.
This is how I'm reading that sentence in light of your response above:
Sentence 1: I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist.
Sentence 2: Thus, because I acknowledge that the presence of a god in the universe who has a presence here on Earth could possibly exist, I still consider myself a Catholic because I strongly feel that the universe, afterlife, etc. had a creator involved with its creation, not thinking that all this could have reasonably come into being through strictly natural processes.

I am still missing the 'thus' connection.  And I think it's because you've in no way connected 'the possibility of x' to 'I feel strongly that the possibility of x actually is'.  Is the following a more accurate representation of what you're trying to say:
So I think that God shouldnt be ruled out as an option since we're still understanding those things.  Since I can't rule him out, I will rule him in - that is, since god is not ruled out as an option for the explanation of x, y, and z, I will rule him in as the explanation for x, y, and z.  Thus, I still consider myself Catholic because I believe God exists, and it's too early in our scientific progress to directly rule out that the universe wasn't created by a deity.

It's just, to me, it still looks like you're conflating "possibility of x" and "x actually is."

I'm guessing not, but I don't know.
As far as I can tell, it is becoming more evident that you are conflating "possibility of x" and "x actually is," unless you can provide some evidence that is not of the nature "can't rule out possibility of x."

In other words, positive evidence that x actually isPositive evidence that god actually exists.

I want to try to approach this in a somewhat different way.  I'm just not sure we're on the same page...at least, my spidey-sense is tingling and making me think it's heading that way.  Think about this question:

In what way can you rule out the existence of an undetectable octopus named Fred in your bedroom?

I don't want you to answer the question.  I'd be interested to know why you think I'd be interested in your answer, in the context of:
GodFred is - the explanations that seem to point to GodFred not existing are not substantial or informed enough to be seen as valid enough, and the evidence for GodFred's existence refutes what could evidence against the existence of God.

Quote
As for your last part, I looked through a few of your old posts, especially the conversations with Star near the end of February, and it seems at least from those that you do acknowledge the possibility of"God exists", but given the evidence and experience you don't see any substantial reason to believe that God exists.
Do you think the two following statements convey the same thing:
I do not see substantial reason to believe that god exists.
I do not see evidence to accept as true the claim that god exists.

If not, could you explain the difference?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: velkyn on March 25, 2016, 07:54:44 PM
I suppose that what I was meaning was more along these lines:
God is possible - while there is a likelihood that God exists or is valid, there's evidence that can be argued against God existing, but there's still enough evidence to support the existence of God that can't be completely ruled out.
God is - the explanations that seem to point to God not existing are not substantial or informed enough to be seen as valid enough, and the evidence for God's existence refutes what could evidence against the existence of God.

what is this "evidence" that supports your god, CD?   Please do give examples.  And I mean for your god, not the vague bs that is in the various arguments that Christians (especially Catholics) trot out as "evidence".   You should have evidence that this god of the bible exists, and that the essential events of the bible happened. 
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: nogodsforme on March 25, 2016, 09:22:26 PM
If believers could produce the, you know, actual god, that would be all the evidence they would need.

The best evidence that I have a vintage blue 1984 Jaguar[1] is not the car title, or a story about the car, or a bill of sale from the Jaguar people, or a logical argument in favor of me having a car, or a written description of the car, or my drivers license or even a photo of me sitting in the car or a video of me driving the car.[2]

The best evidence is the car.

 1. Yeah, right. On a public university professor salary. ;D
 2. Although producing all of those is pretty good evidence and added up is way more than what any believer can show about their god.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: Eddie Schultz on March 25, 2016, 11:33:05 PM
If believers could produce the, you know, actual god, that would be all the evidence they would need.

The best evidence is the car.

But then they wouldn't need faith. You know how the story goes.  ;D

Who knew indoctrination could have such a strong hold?
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: The Gawd on March 25, 2016, 11:44:15 PM
If believers could produce the, you know, actual god, that would be all the evidence they would need.

The best evidence is the car.

But then they wouldn't need faith. You know how the story goes.  ;D

Who knew indoctrination could have such a strong hold?
And faith is basically admitting the thing doesn't exist. To use nogod's example, I don't have faith that I have my car... I just have my car.
Title: Re: Christians, please explain
Post by: median on March 27, 2016, 11:29:02 AM
If believers could produce the, you know, actual god, that would be all the evidence they would need.

The best evidence is the car.

But then they wouldn't need faith. You know how the story goes.  ;D

Who knew indoctrination could have such a strong hold?
And faith is basically admitting the thing doesn't exist. To use nogod's example, I don't have faith that I have my car... I just have my car.

I like Dr. Peter Boghossian's definition of faith.

• Faith - pretending to know things you don't know

When all apologetics arguments fail and when bible paraphrasing and thumping don't work they pull the final straw. "Well, I just have faith..." But the underlying [hidden] message is much more telling. "Well, it doesn't matter to me that I can't demonstrate my claims. It doesn't matter to me that my arguments are irrational. It doesn't matter to me that I'm practicing confirmation bias or that I am unable to meet my burden of proof. I'm just going to keep saying that I know my beliefs are true even though I don't have any sufficient evidence that they are, b/c frankly, I really want them to be true true." (i.e. - pretending!)

It really is the case that Jesus (and/or Yahweh/Allah) is the Santa Claus for grown ups.