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41
Jst, I know that being a JW means you have to think that we are in the last days and that things are just getting worse and worse. However I assure you, that is not the case. Did you miss the one most important fact that I gave you? The survival rate of babies and children has become so good that we have gone from 3 billion people to 7 billion in 50 years.[1]

This is a triumph of global public health and safety that has not even been slowed down, let alone stopped by abortion, warfare or famine. I did not say that there were no problems, and that everyone was happy. But you have to start with human survival and then work on getting all those people happy and prosperous. We have accomplished the human survival goal.

I do not expect Jehovah god to do anything for people--there are no gods to do anything for people. We are imperfect human beings and we on our own. So, anything we do will be less than perfect and less than complete. The fact that we have done as well as we have is pretty good, in my book. We made it out of the Cold War and did not blow ourselves up in a nuclear holocaust. Well done, humanity!

Yes, many elderly people are afraid of violent crime, especially in the US. But the global statistics tell a very different story from anecdotes about elderly people (who would not even be alive to become elderly 100 years ago) who are afraid of crime. People in the US who watch a lot of tv are more afraid of crime than average. Old people watch more tv than any other group. News shows are not scientific analysis of crime-- they are tv shows that sensationalize violence to get people to watch. So it follows that elderly people are more afraid of crime, even when the overwhelming majority of them have never been victimized.[2]

It is true that, in the US there are more people in prison than ever before. But this does not mean that the US has become a more dangerous place, full of violent criminals. Prisons are not full to bursting because there are more murderers and rapists. The large increase in incarceration since the 1980's is almost completely due to changes in drug laws.  Violent crime rates have actually fallen since the 1980's even as incarceration rates have risen. Violent crime rates fall in every country when the proportion of young males in a population falls. Period.

Final point--the regions of the world where most people have voluntarily turned away from religious belief are some of the safest, most stable and most comfortable places to live. Japan, Canada, Netherlands Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland have good social services, low crime rates, high education levels and successful economies. People are not desperately trying to leave these atheistic hellholes-- how many Japanese or Swedish refugees are trying to reach the US or Australia or France? Not perfect societies, not paradise, but very decent places overall.

They rely more on common sense, science and rational public policies than on religious belief. When I encounter folks from one of those countries, they are genuinely puzzled as to why other places don't do the same.  They can't figure out why countries are still trying to apply ancient myths that have been proven wrong to modern problems.

They should all be at each other's throats without god, right? Elderly people should be cowering in their homes, afraid for their lives. But the treatment of elderly people, children and other vulnerable folks is better than average in those countries. You cannot find a country that takes better care of their elderly than atheist Japan.

https://www.google.com/search?q=elderly+in+japan&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS584US585&espv=2&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=G4nRU8e2BuTCigLwioCICQ&ved=0CCQQsAQ&biw=1440&bih=775

As for happiness, these more secular non-religious atheist countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands have been rated in the top ten happiest countries in the world. These countries, along with atheist Japan are also some of the most generous in terms of foreign aid and charitable giving. That is a lot of happy, healthy, prosperous, safe, kind, considerate atheists.

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/life/top-10-happiest-countries-in-the-world.html/?a=viewall

If trying to follow god's word or if god's instructions clearly made for a better society, it would show up in the statistics on life expectancy, crime, poverty, child welfare etc. What we find when we look at the numbers is the exact opposite correlation. Higher percentages of people in a country trying to obey god leads to a worse life situation, more backward policies, more death (esp of women and children), more preventable suffering--and ironically, more fighting and discord due to religious differences. It is difficult to argue that adding more god would help the already very religious people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Uganda, Nigeria or Mexico.
 1. We can discuss abortion somewhere else, because that topic gets bogged down really fast.
 2. People's memories are also highly selective. Nobody locked their doors in some mythical idyllic past. Read the news accounts from any large US urban city of the 1880's-1930's. Lynchings, riots, murders, rapes, drug abuse of every kind were commonplace. Some neighborhood were so dangerous the police would not even venture in, just waited on the outskirts for the dead bodies to be thrown out. Poverty was much worse than nowadays, and there was no welfare system. Poor children as young as 6  or 7 who could not find work pickpocketed, prostituted, got drunk and got killed, by police as well as by the respectable people who preyed on them. Nowadays, we frown on sh!t like that. Oh yeah, people were much more religious back then, too.
42
After a quick search on the internet I found this : http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/aquinas.shtml
I'm sure that if you go deeper underground the internet you will be able to find what you want for free.

Well, I now know that Thomas Aquinas was incredulous. I don't hold that against him. He lived 800 years ago, and the only education he had was via the catholics. So between understandable ignorance (very little science had been described) and being born and bred religious, he could hardly come up with anything else.

I'm the child of a later time. I neither fear science not expect too much of it. I understand that it has limitations. That learning an incredible amount about reality takes more than a couple of weeks. The bible, on the other hand, tells us that all of humanity is suffering because the only two new kids on the block messed up some simple instructions.

Which is more likely? The world is complex and natural and without gods, or simple and easily explained. What does Aquinas say? Something must have started things in motion, and it must have been god. He said that as matter-of-factly as someone saying "Watch out for that puddle, you don't want to step in it." He made an observation (something must have set the world in motion) and jumped to the conclusion that the only possible explanation was his (and presumably your) specific god. Couldn't have been that hindu god, nosiree. Had to be mine.

So even though you don't like science, you and Thomas are jumping up and down to the beat of the same bible, and hoping that that you can get everyone else to respond to the same resonant frequency that you find pleasing. You are using a brain that science finds is susceptible to wishful thinking, eyes that can be fooled easily, and emotions that push people off on all sorts of tangents.

You're impressed with yourself, and your ability to quickly find Internet resources, but the rest of us aren't. But you knew that.
43
General Religious Discussion / Re: Why [God] made me with a fallible brain?
« Last post by Lukvance on Yesterday at 05:42:00 PM »
The history of A and E is like the history of this little kid who got burned by putting his hand into the fire.
His dad told him not to do it so he didn't.
One day this other boy come and tempt him to do it nevertheless "it will make you a man, like your father." he says. "Your father don't want you to be like him so he told you not to do it" he adds.
The little boy put his hand in the fire and get burned.
1. Some little boys will blame their father because he did not put out the fire
2. Some little boys will blame their father because he did not build a fence high enough around the fire
3. Some little boys will blame their father because he let him speak to the other boy
4. Some little boys will blame their father because he did not educate them enough.
5. Some little boys will blame their father because because.
6. Some little boys will blame the other kid.
7. Some little boys will blame themselves and take responsibility for their choices instead of blaming other people.
Which one do you think became a real man?
44
The thing preventing a great society is just people having a bad attitude towards other people or hating one another, being selfish and evil and whatnot correct?   Jehovah isn't going to step in and make this happen, we have to do it.

This is exactly right.  He will help us, but he won't make us or do it for us.  He created us with the capacity and even the desire to solve these problems.  Jehovah is not the one failing.  We are.  He is trying to show us the proper path to take to solve most of our problems.  At the foundation of it is to love and do good to one another.  That is what Christ taught.  This is what earthwide education needs to be taught.  This earthwide education is already taking place.

And I agree that a lot of people to want to do good and do.  It is my opinion that the average person wants to live in peace and generally do good.  So why do we still have all of these problems?  Something is standing in the way.  What is it?

Quote
You also said that God can make great leaders like Moses, but, Moses commanded his soldiers to kill entire societies except for young women to be taken.  Doesn't it bother you that, on one hand, we defend God by saying it was a different time, and things like rape and slavery were a necessary evil to be overlooked at that time and eventually weeded out?   But worshiping the wrong god, working on the wrong day, or talking back to your parents was punishable by death?   There was no "waiting for a different time" to abolish those things.   Making fun of a bald prophet was punishable by mystical bear mauling in the Bible, but slavery had to wait? 

Slavery - Rape - Genocide = Necessary evils of the time but thankfully Jesus came and changed all that...
Different faiths - working on Saturday - disrespecting your Dad = Not "time period related" fully worth stoning over and eliminating these most awful behaviors.

Quote
This is a plausible scenario under Moses.  A father and son are in Moses army, and they raid some village.  They put all the male babies to the sword, and all the non-virgin women.   The father no longer has a wife, she died in childbirth, and he's looking around for a pretty young virgin to make as a wife after she's given her two months to grieve, as it says in scripture.   There's a curled up, weeping, girl that the father spots... she's hot... he says to his son... "I've killed her mother, father, and brothers, and when she is done grieving, I'll make her my wife!  As is the law under Moses and our Lord!"

The son says to his dad, "Dad, this just isn't right... I don't see how killing her baby brother was honorable at all, I don't want to do this any more.  She's not going to want to share a bed with you!  You're a monster."   (is this such an unbelievable point of view?  might you not have this same view if you were at war today?)

In this very plausible scenario

Or it could be that she is glad to be out of the rulership of her oppressors.    Maybe she was abused all of her life.  Maybe her father is a murderer.  Maybe her brother died, as a child sacrifice, forced to walk through fire.  Maybe her mother's been raped.  Maybe she's completely destitute and suicidal.  This is very plausible too.  How do you know how she felt? You don't you know her living conditions.

Quote
I'm NOT reading the Old Testament incorrectly, this is IN THERE.  Apologists even admit to it.

But you add with it personal imaginings.  You don't have any actual situational facts to speak of apart from their wickedness described in the Bible, which was very wicked. 

Quote
And if you personally have God's ear, and can request prayers that he doesn't ignore... let me know because I know a few deserving children who could really use a miracle, and will never get one.   I'd literally convert tomorrow if a miracle happened for one of these children.

That would depend on the request.

Quote
All the best to you... it'd really help me to relate to you if I felt like you at least had some qualms over the issues that I raised above.   Don't lie about it if you don't, but, if you honestly wonder about that stuff too, it'd go a long way.

As I demonstrated above, it would be situational.  The scriptures paint a very bad picture of these people while you seem to want to look at this with rose colored glasses.  If it's supposed God punished them then it should also be supposed they were not good people.  Either the account is reliable or it's not.

If Jehovah punished good people and promoted the rape of women that would be bad.  But there is no evidence that he did. You are trying to look at his enemies with rose colored glasses.  And he is also bound by his oath to Abraham.  His interferences all revolve around that oath.

You Jehovah's Witnesses are sick. Your religion is sick, and your excuses are sick.
45
How do you know that the people you are talking to don't want to learn about miracles on their own?  How do you know they are criticizing miracles without knowledge?
Every time I ask for support they dodge.

How do you know they are dodging as opposed to supporting their arguments?

Yeah, right...as if. I take the HB paper and tell them the same counter arguments you give here (if there are any left) And you think they wouldn't laugh?
Btw I submitted the paper as "the lead signer of my band" under the "what do you do?" column.

They would laugh because the counter arguments used here are regarding miracles, not the Higgs boson particle.

Would counter arguments against the Higgs boson particle work against miracles?
46
The thing preventing a great society is just people having a bad attitude towards other people or hating one another, being selfish and evil and whatnot correct?   Jehovah isn't going to step in and make this happen, we have to do it.

This is exactly right.  He will help us, but he won't make us or do it for us.  He created us with the capacity and even the desire to solve these problems.  Jehovah is not the one failing.  We are.  He is trying to show us the proper path to take to solve most of our problems.  At the foundation of it is to love and do good to one another.  That is what Christ taught.  This is what earthwide education needs to be taught.  This earthwide education is already taking place.

And I agree that a lot of people to want to do good and do.  It is my opinion that the average person wants to live in peace and generally do good.  So why do we still have all of these problems?  Something is standing in the way.  What is it?

Quote
You also said that God can make great leaders like Moses, but, Moses commanded his soldiers to kill entire societies except for young women to be taken.  Doesn't it bother you that, on one hand, we defend God by saying it was a different time, and things like rape and slavery were a necessary evil to be overlooked at that time and eventually weeded out?   But worshiping the wrong god, working on the wrong day, or talking back to your parents was punishable by death?   There was no "waiting for a different time" to abolish those things.   Making fun of a bald prophet was punishable by mystical bear mauling in the Bible, but slavery had to wait? 

Slavery - Rape - Genocide = Necessary evils of the time but thankfully Jesus came and changed all that...
Different faiths - working on Saturday - disrespecting your Dad = Not "time period related" fully worth stoning over and eliminating these most awful behaviors.

Quote
This is a plausible scenario under Moses.  A father and son are in Moses army, and they raid some village.  They put all the male babies to the sword, and all the non-virgin women.   The father no longer has a wife, she died in childbirth, and he's looking around for a pretty young virgin to make as a wife after she's given her two months to grieve, as it says in scripture.   There's a curled up, weeping, girl that the father spots... she's hot... he says to his son... "I've killed her mother, father, and brothers, and when she is done grieving, I'll make her my wife!  As is the law under Moses and our Lord!"

The son says to his dad, "Dad, this just isn't right... I don't see how killing her baby brother was honorable at all, I don't want to do this any more.  She's not going to want to share a bed with you!  You're a monster."   (is this such an unbelievable point of view?  might you not have this same view if you were at war today?)

In this very plausible scenario

Or it could be that she is glad to be out of the rulership of her oppressors.    Maybe she was abused all of her life.  Maybe her father is a murderer.  Maybe her brother died, as a child sacrifice, forced to walk through fire.  Maybe her mother's been raped.  Maybe she's completely destitute and suicidal.  This is very plausible too.  How do you know how she felt?  You don't you know her living conditions.

Quote
I'm NOT reading the Old Testament incorrectly, this is IN THERE.  Apologists even admit to it.

But you add with it personal imaginings.  You don't have any actual situational facts to speak of apart from their wickedness described in the Bible, which was very wicked. 

Quote
And if you personally have God's ear, and can request prayers that he doesn't ignore... let me know because I know a few deserving children who could really use a miracle, and will never get one.   I'd literally convert tomorrow if a miracle happened for one of these children.

That would depend on the request.

Quote
All the best to you... it'd really help me to relate to you if I felt like you at least had some qualms over the issues that I raised above.   Don't lie about it if you don't, but, if you honestly wonder about that stuff too, it'd go a long way.

As I demonstrated above, it would be situational.  The scriptures paint a very bad picture of these people while you seem to want to look at this with rose colored glasses.  If it's supposed God punished them then it should also be supposed they were not good people.  Either the account is reliable or it's not.

If Jehovah punished good people and promoted the rape of women that would be bad.  But there is no evidence that he did.  You are trying to look at his enemies with rose colored glasses.  And he is also bound by his oath to Abraham.  His interferences all revolve around that oath.


47
I have to relate to their lack of knowledge and use something similar that they know and understand. That way they might understand better how miracles are proof of the existence of God outside our body.

Your rationale doesn't work though.  It doesn't help them understand. 

What if I did the same thing to you regarding miracles and tooth fairies? 

I give you what I consider evidence for tooth fairies.  You examine it and go to great lengths to research tooth fairies and find that what I consider evidence is not sufficient and does not prove tooth fairies.  You explain the problems, give links and do everything you can.  I however dismiss everything you say because I think you lack knowledge and you are refusing to learn about tooth fairies.  So I say that the evidence for tooth fairies is in parallel with the evidence for miracles.  Does me making that comparison help you understand the proof of tooth fairies?

I use the HB to underline how your counter arguments means nothing and are based on ignorance or my inability to convey ideas simply enough.

I don't see how comparing the two underlines anything about the counter arguments.

Would comparing miracles and tooth fairies underline how your counter arguments regarding the tooth fairy evidence mean nothing and are based on ignorance or my inability to convey ideas simply enough?

48
And you would be right if I wasn't talking to people who do not want to learn about miracles on their own and allow themselves to criticize it without knowing anything about it.
How do you know that the people you are talking to don't want to learn about miracles on their own?  How do you know they are criticizing miracles without knowledge?
Every time I ask for support they dodge.

Scientists are not being criticized by music composers or even scientists from other field.

This is contrary to reality though.  Anyone can criticize the work of scientists and many scientists do in fact criticize scientists in different fields all the time.  Take proponents of Intelligent Design for example, some may specialize in engineering yet they criticize scientists who specialize in biology. 

You are free to read scientific papers and if you find a problem then you can let the scientist know.  They will respond if they agree or disagree and explain why.
Yeah, right...as if. I take the HB paper and tell them the same counter arguments you give here (if there are any left) And you think they wouldn't laugh?
Btw I submitted the paper as "the lead signer of my band" under the "what do you do?" column.
49
Perfect brains would never make mistakes, would always make the right moral choice. God created us with less than perfect brains, brains that could make the wrong moral choice. That had to be god's plan, to make us that way, since he made us that way. If he had a different plan, he would have made us differently.

Since he intentionally made humans that way, he knew that we would make the wrong moral choice at some point. That also had to be his plan. Then, after making the wrong moral choice (whether due to the serpent or not, does not matter here because it is still the human who did wrong) he punished humans severely, every generation. That was also in his plan.

We were created with brains that could make mistakes. And were punished for making mistakes, using brains that were designed to make mistakes. God planned it that way.

That is like breaking your dog's leg, and then giving it to the pound because his limping annoys you.  It is like trashing your own home in a drunken rage, and then having an arsonist burn the house down because it is such a pit. It is like a father throwing his daughter out of the house for being a prostitute-- when he is her pimp.

What is the A and E story not like? The actions of loving parents who care unconditionally for their children.

Any analogy you think up for this godly scenario is so repellent as to boggle the mind. How is that fair, just, kind or loving? How does the power and authority not rest entirely with god in this scenario? Didn't he know what he was doing when he created humans the way he did, innocent, immature, curious and gullible? A and E are like overgrown babies, right up until they do what babies normally do--color outside the lines-- and then get punished as if they were fully responsible, mature adults.

The only way this story even makes sense as a fictional myth is if the bible god is the same as the other ancient deities-- powerful, but not omnipotent; caring, but not completely benevolent; knowledgeable, but not omniscient. In other words, god in the bible stories is just like Krishna, Zeus or Shango: sometimes angry and vengeful, sometimes nice and generous, sometimes unwise and incautious, or capricious, or jealous, or guiltily distracted by a pretty goddess or human female. Fate affects the gods as well as the humans, and makes everyone's plans backfire or turn out differently. 

Then the A and E story is just another cautionary tale of what happens when people or gods try to do right--they can still screw up: see Icarus, King Midas, Pandora or Loki. The lesson is not "always obey god no matter what and everything will turn out well" like Christians might want to think.  The lesson is "do the best you can, things just are the way they are and sometimes not even gods can outsmart or outflank fate."

Hardly a story about the ultimate creator of the universe, just a story about a larger than life version of a normal human king. How he became all that and a bag of chips is the result of the endless "my god is bigger than your god" contest between the ancient peoples. The rest is dramatic irony.
50
Median : How about you address the argument(s) instead of me?
I see something in your text that I might have failed to explain properly. Theology isn't used to prove the existence of God as you seem to suggest "They do not demonstrate a God!" Theology allows us to learn about gods and formulate theories about each one of them. Each of those theories are reviewed by peers. And those who have error(s) in them are refuted.
I'm really impressed by the fact that you took some theology courses and that you are not aware of that. Maybe it's because you did not complete the diploma.
You like switching words? Instead of switching miracles let's switch to make the phrase about your existence. It might help you understand how your counter argument of fallacy doesn't hold here.

Median interacting with the world is the proof of the existence of Median. The evidence that Median is the cause of Median interacting with the world comes from your knowledge of Median and what he can do and what he would do if he was to prove his existence using Median interacting with the world. From that knowledge you can conclude that it is indeed Median who caused the event, we then call the event "X".

Let's now change it in my original explanation (before your change)
"X" is the proof of the existence of Median . The evidence that Median is the cause of "X" comes from our knowledge of Median and what he can do and what he would do if he was to prove his existence using X. From that knowledge you can conclude that it is indeed Median who caused the event, we then call the event "X".
Where X can be : Median answering messages in a forum.
As you can see, I used Median. Is this proof still a fallacy. If not would you change it so it wouldn't be? How is it different from the modifications I could make so you accept that miracles are proof of the existence of God.
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