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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good and Evil
« Last post by One Above All on Today at 07:45:30 PM »
While incest can bring out detrimental traits it can also bring out positive traits.

Not with one man, one woman, and three male children. Your examples aren't of a five-individual population where males outnumber females 4 to 1. In that state, any species is declared extinct, because five individuals, only one of whom can bear children, and all of whom are related to each other, is not sufficient for a sustainable population.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Infinite Material Regress?
« Last post by median on Today at 07:41:54 PM »

Think of our world as Flatland, and souls/spirits/God (at least in Heaven, since on Earth when we're alive I see the soul as being linked to the brain, since changes to the brain can change personality) as being from the Sphere's world. Souls, God, etc, do have a three-dimensional physical form in their dimension, we just can't experience them from our current dimension, like how the Square couldn't experience the third dimension without the Sphere's help.

Or, to add on to that, since there have been some reports through history of the spirits and the like, perhaps they operate on a different spectrum than us, like how what we see of visible light is only a tiny part of the spectrum. I feel like the Flatland analogy is a bit more concrete, but I suppose the spectrum thing can be an add-on.

It sounds like you are claiming that a god and/or alleged "spirit" thing are things that exist physically but at another dimension that we can't access or experience. How can you actually demonstrate this claim? And if you have no access to it how can you rightly claim it's there?

Also, mere claims/reports from people in the past are not sufficient since we know people are notoriously unreliable for reporting things accurately (i.e. - they make mistakes in judgement, fabricate, mis-remember, practice confirmation bias, and lie). This is precisely why we have the scientific method; to weed out mistakes, errors, fabrications, faulty explanations, and bullshit.
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indeed.   CD,  I'm curious if you would address my post regarding possibilities and probabilities.

Sure thing-I would have earlier but with all the threads I'm participating in it can get easy to lose track, also I was busy. ^^;

Your bible and religion were used to justify slavery, and the claim was based on the claim that the bible was true and accurate: how could anyone doubt any part of it? The bible advocates slavery constantly and insists that the best slaves stay with their masters no matter what, never daring to seek freedom.  If it is no more than a series of exaggerations and myths, there is no more reason to believe that slavery is right than there is reason to believe in a magical flood or that there was a man/god.

I actually disagree with your last statement there, as I think that even if everyone believed the Bible was just exaggerations and myths, rather than legitimate life instructions, I'm pretty sure that at least some people would consider slavery to be "right". Granted, probably not the majority of the populace, but I'd be willing to bet there's at least some other belief systems that have approved of slavery.

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CD, you often claim that you think that there is a “possibility” that something is true.  Why do you think there is a possibility this is true since there is no evidence to support the claim at all?   One can claim that there is a possibility that the tooth fairy exists.  The problem with this claim is that nothing supports the claim at all and there is plenty of evidence to show that it is false.  The possibility is vanishingly small.  Just because you can imagine something to exist, doesn’t mean it must (the major fault of the ontological argument).   AS for the verse from Mark, I would assume you do get the idea that a claim in one book doesn’t have to be true to be reused and is just one more example of a writer documenting what others believed, not that the belief was true.

I do realize that claiming something exists isn't a very good argument for something actually existing, what I meant were along the lines of how the Bible has been retranslaed and kept mostly consistent over the years, despite having a lot of copies, long before the advent of the printing press. So while a claim in a book doesn't have to be true to be reused, the fact that copies of the Bible's manuscripts exist over a period of several decades at least shows the text had a signficance to the people of that time (which continues to this day).

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I know you aren’t okay with considering that the same arguments can be used for other religions than yours and yours isn’t the one “true” religion and is not any more valid than any others.   I also know that you want to believe your bible over everything else and there is nothing to supports its claims.   It’s not surprisingly that you offer an excuse to ignore Josephus when his claims show your bible to be nonsense.  Christians make claims on how wonderful these supposed extra-biblical sources are but when they show the bible to be wrong, suddenly they lose their shine.  Yep, if JC was real and the events in the bible really happened one would think that they would get more play.  They didn’t and this is more evidence that the claims are false.  CD, it seems you are taking refuge in the usual shell game that is played by Christians, first making one claim is “true” and then when shown to be wrong, claiming that the lack of evidence is “really” evidence that your religion is true.
 

I actually thought that I wasn't ignoring Jospehus at all since I acknowledged that he only mentioned Jesus in one paragraph in his book, or was there something I miss there?  If there was, I apologize and didn't mean to dodge the question or do a "shell game" thing.   And I do know that one can make some arguments for Christianity as for other religions, though the Bible seems to be the most supported and enduring out of all of them. Though I know that the full Biblical canon didn't become finalized until 300 years or so later, I acknowledge that.
 

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So, if mentions of believers and the recording of religious stories aren’t sufficient evidence to support the claims of other religions, then it is not sufficient to support your religion.  That’s all we have for your religion, and we also have no evidence the claims in the bible/Christianity are true and we have evidence that shows something entirely different happened.


I seem to recall that there are some historical documents that are evidence for Jesus's existence—even if they didn't believe he was the Son of God, I'm pretty sure there are at least a few documents at that time (other than the Bible and Josephus's single paragraph on him) mention the historical Jesus.

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Jesus is the Greek form of Yeshua/Joshua.  It’s a matter of translation.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament

Thanks for the link there. :) I wonder than why no one calls him Joshua/Yeshua, and instead call him by the translation of his name. Sure, it's translated, but you think that we'd at least call him by the right name... :?

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Exactly.   This is what religious sects depend on, no one questioning.   Some Christians depend on no one actually looking at the original texts that they claim are evidence for their god and its actions.  What we have so far are claims of something happening, humans looking for evidence, humans not finding any evidence, humans making false claims that they have found evidence, and other humans looking at the claims and seeing that they are untrue.   


You know, you bringing all that up spurred an interesting thought—has there ever been a research group consisting of two "teams" (atheists and Christians) where both groups both look at evidence that supports their position and evidence against it, then come to a conclusion based on their respective findings? I feel like that could be an interesting research project, and it would have both groups give an honest look at the viewpoint of the other one.


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If one can ignore the claim that the dead rose from their graves in the gospel, why should one believe that one more guy rose from the grave? It’s just an exaggeration.  The flood is an exaggeration, the exodus is just a nationalistic lie. No creation and no original sin and no need for a messiah to “save” us all.   

The Planetary Society has a tour one can take to see that solar eclipse and some of the national parks (of course they don’t have that one up yet: http://www.planetary.org/get-involved/travel/)

The reason there's an importance placed on "one more guy rising from the grave", it's because none of the other people were said to be sent from God/divine/God in human form/the salvation of the world, etc. Jesus rising from the dead is what eternal life hinges on. Like Paul (I think, or was it Peter? I keep getting them confused) said, Christianity lives and dies on the ressurrection.

And thanks for the link there, I may go to that. :)
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good and Evil
« Last post by eh! on Today at 07:35:15 PM »
Jst, why all the dishonesty and strawman lately, nobody has made any of the claims you say we have.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good and Evil
« Last post by Jstwebbrowsing on Today at 07:01:50 PM »
Does that make sense to you?

Yes.  But I can't imagine how one can make moral judgments of the ancient past.

God destroying a generation (living contemporaries) of people is presented as wrong for no other reason that God destroyed a generation of people or because he is God and could have done something else.

But when you scale it downward from humans to the lesser creatures, the morality seems to change.  Is it immoral to kill bacteria?  Do we not fumigate our houses?  Do we not destroy some detrimental things? 

So if human existence is detrimental to the earth's survival, is their destruction immoral?

It seems to me wrapped up in the claim that God's actions were immoral is the premise that human existence is the most important thing there is.  As a human, I think it's very important.  But if I detach myself from the bias and extend my empathy elsewhere then that changes.  If I were to extend my empathy toward the earth itself, then I'd have a hard time justifying continued human existence.  If I were the earth, I don't know that I'd want humans living on me.

If I were some of the animal species that have been saved from extinction by human actions, I'd probably want humans around.  If I were some of those animal species that have gone extinct because of human actions, I'd probably think their removal is "good".

I think to attempt to understand some of God's actions requires one to look at things from a perspective other than human perspective.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good and Evil
« Last post by median on Today at 06:31:38 PM »
I think this needs to be set straight.  One the one hand, I consistently hear from atheists that there is no such thing as good and evil.  On the other hand, I consistently hear that everything God or his followers have done is evil.

There is a huge disconnect between these two arguments and I am confused.  Can anyone clear up this apparant contradiction?

First off, none of the non-believers I know of have said that everything in that book (that the alleged deity supposedly did) is evil. I suspect you are misrepresenting them.

Second, it is the question of the very meanings of those words that you are missing. Most atheists do not believe in some Cosmic™ "good" or "evil" (i.e. - the alleged "sin" or "satan" or "demons" etc). Typically, when Christians talk about "good/evil" they are trying to reference actions that allegedly do not comport with "god's [alleged] nature". As you can imagine we do not accept the claim that there is such a thing as "god's nature". And thus, we don't accept the claim that there is such a thing as "good" or "evil" under that definition. Was this really that hard for you to grasp? Is it really that tough for you to understand that we disagree on the definitions of terms like "good" or "evil"?
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BTW, JW's don't teach that bad people burn in hell forever. They (we) all just die. Jst says that Jehovah loves us all too much to torture us forever. Now, letting other people torture folks right here and now on earth, or killing others in some horrible way-- that is all fine by Jehovah. His love only goes so far.  He will not intervene.

Jehovah is not into the eternal torture bit, according to JW's. He will just kill us all at Armageddon and be done with us. But that is what we atheists also believe. When you die, you just die.  :?
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Good and Evil
« Last post by YRM_DM on Today at 06:22:21 PM »
I think this needs to be set straight.  One the one hand, I consistently hear from atheists that there is no such thing as good and evil.  On the other hand, I consistently hear that everything God or his followers have done is evil.

There is a huge disconnect between these two arguments and I am confused.  Can anyone clear up this apparant contradiction?

I believe that acts and people in general can be described as being "more good" or "more evil" than others.   Good and evil are adjectives like any other.   

If an act does more help than harm, has positive intentions and at least a reasonably positive end result, it's on the good side of the scale.
If an act does more harm than help, has selfish and negative intentions, and the end result hurts people and only helps the person acting, it's on the evil side of the scale.

I don't think "good" and "evil" are black and white, cut and dry situations.

If you steal bread to feed your family who is fleeing a war zone, it's not the same as stealing an expensive purse for fun.
If you kill an intruder that is threatening your family, it's not the same as killing someone for no reason.

Our laws all reflect these obvious realities, as "self defense" is a defense for an act that is punishable by law.

If you purposely insult someone, without any intent of helping them, without any constructive criticism, and your goal is to make them feel worse about themselves...   that's different than making a negative, but constructive comment about someone's project with the intent to help them improve.

If you have the power to help someone in immediate dire need, and you fail to act, that's potentially evil, and at the very least, "not good".

Morality doesn't necessarily have one right answer or one wrong answer...   it has many peaks and valleys.   There are options that do more benefit to more people, and options that do more harm to more people.

This is obvious, and, it doesn't have to be 100% black and white.

Just as there isn't one correct "room temperature" for all people... there isn't one correct answer for morality.   There are many viable answers and many horrible answers.

We recognize people's freedom to best choose among the viable answers.


If you, as a Jehovah's Witness, get on a bus to help rebuild homes for people struck by a natural disaster, and put no obligation on those people to change their faith because you helped, that's a good action.    If an evangelical, or atheist, or catholic does the same thing, it's still a good action.

I'm perfectly fine with using words like "truth", "good" and "evil" as descriptive measurements to show "how true" or "how good" or "how evil" something is.

A kid pulling the wings off a butterfly might be doing an act that's "kinda evil".
A genocidal rapist dictator who terrifies his people might be "really evil".

Does that make sense to you?
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Infinite Material Regress?
« Last post by CrystalDragon on Today at 06:21:05 PM »
What is a god/spirit thing made of?

POSITIVE TRAITS (n)   NEGATIVE TRAITS (n)
not physical
not material
not energy
not tangible
not corporeal
not extended in space
not measurable
not testable
not verifiable

Then what the heck is it?!

They are literally trying to talk about nothing and don't realize it.

Saw the challenge to have someone answer this in the recent karma thing, so I decided to take a crack at it. :)

I'll try to give an answer as far as my take that doesn't use any of those "nots", unless I use those phrases in relation to my description:

If any of you have ever heard of Flatland, a flat square is visited by a sphere from a higher dimension, and taken above Flatland to see the 3D world. Granted, the sphere exiles the square back to Flatland when it questions if there's a 4th dimension since the sphere doesn't like to think about it, but that's a different topic so bear with me.

Think of our world as Flatland, and souls/spirits/God (at least in Heaven, since on Earth when we're alive I see the soul as being linked to the brain, since changes to the brain can change personality) as being from the Sphere's world. Souls, God, etc, do have a three-dimensional physical form in their dimension, we just can't experience them from our current dimension, like how the Square couldn't experience the third dimension without the Sphere's help.

Or, to add on to that, since there have been some reports through history of the spirits and the like, perhaps they operate on a different spectrum than us, like how what we see of visible light is only a tiny part of the spectrum. I feel like the Flatland analogy is a bit more concrete, but I suppose the spectrum thing can be an add-on.
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When scientists using some other theory besides biological evolution manage to produce an application that works, the entire world will drop what they are doing and pay attention. So far, nobody has done it. Nobel Prizes await.

Evolution, stubbornly, amazingly, continues to produce stuff that works--vaccines, improved crops, cloned designer puppies. The entire human genome. I guess god just wants people to believe it is true, since he keeps on making it work.  :?

Everything discovered about the world in every field that has tested it seems to support the TOE. Fossils, DNA, geological formations, medical research, archeology, botany, forensics--throw anything at the TOE and it still comes out a winner.

When they found the exact place where chimp DNA differs from human DNA, right where the TOE predicted it had to be, I thought, naively, well, that's it, then. Everyone has to accept it now. But no. And as we make more discoveries about how closely related non-human hominids like Neanderthals are to homo sapiens, I think, okay, that will be it. Everyone will have to accept it.....but no.  :-\

Some religious folks need more evidence. Not for their god, of course. Faith, feelings and old stories are enough there. No believer is holding out for actual DNA evidence of their god. No believer is demanding that their religious leaders produce the entire unbroken fossil record for their religious faith. No believer says, "I will believe Jesus rose from the dead when I see the video-- how do you know it happened? Were you there?"

This extra high level of evidentiary standard is demanded only for certain scientific principles. Not germ theory or gravitational theory, either. Just evolutionary theory. Not sure why that one is such the bugaboo.

Strange, how well the TOE has held up over the past 150 years of scientists in various fields actively trying to tear it apart. Since it is, according to non-experts in science, apparently a slapdash silly unscientific theory that no real scientist takes seriously, has no evidence or proof to support it, should only be taught as mythology, and should be taken out of the textbooks and thrown out of every university biology class immediately.  &)
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