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91
General Religious Discussion / Re: Proof of God! But is it?
« Last post by lotanddaughters on Today at 08:40:03 AM »
I would also like to add that atheists often find themselves dealing with far-fetched claims with more respect than the claims deserve when trying to get across to theists. I happen to know about Joseph Smith, golden plates, King James' English, and magic underwear because I find the subject fascinating.

But, the reality is, as soon as an atheist hears "Angel with golden plates", they immediately write it off as bullshit. And rightfully so. No need to waste time pondering it. It's like when I was a child. I learned what letters look like and sound like. I learned how to read words. Now, I'm reading pages without worrying about the shapes and sounds of each individual letter. If I'm dealing with a human I'm unsatisfied with, I immediately know I'm dealing with an animal who eats, sleeps, shits, breathes, and dies. I don't waste a single ridiculous thought on whether or not Satan is involved or what my prayers can possibly do about the situation.
92
General Religious Discussion / Re: Proof of God! But is it?
« Last post by lotanddaughters on Today at 08:14:25 AM »
There is a pretty vast difference of meaning with the word 'inspired' between Rob Bell's book and Joseph Smith's book.  In the former, 'inspire' would seem to be in the same sense of the writers of the screenplay Prefontaine - that is, the writers saw a person and the events that occurred in his life and felt like making a dramatized account of Steve Prefontaine's life.  Which is categorically different to the latter, insofar as it would be claimed that god himself 'inspired' Joseph Smith by engaging him to write something.  The former is passive - someone observed something and felt the need to write something in relation to that something.  The latter is active - the object of inspiration actively reached out to the person.

I dare say that use of the word 'inspired' in the case of Joseph Smith would be incorrect use of language.  That is, the word 'inspire' is the wrong word.  It communicates the wrong information that the person using the word 'inspire' intends to convey.

The writer of a manual for an automobile wasn't inspired by their boss to write the manual; they weren't inspired by the engineers to write the chapter 'Troubleshooting'.

Sorry...'inspired' is becoming something of a button word for me.  It seems to be one of those words, like 'faith', that is used willy-nilly by the religious as a placeholder label for 'I have no clue what I mean when I say this, but it's the arrangement of letters that I'll throw in here so that I don't have to think about why I believe this thingie I believe is true'.  That may or may not be true for you OldChurchGuy - I don't really know - but do you think you could better explain what you mean when you use the word 'inspire'?

The key may be a definition we can agree with on the word "inspired".  Here is one from Dictionary.com
"aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence:
an inspired poet."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inspired

"1.of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse:
"they had to thank the goalie for some inspired saves""
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/inspired

If these definitions do not suit you, please present one that better fits what you mean by "inspired". 

I think we can roll with those definitions.

In the case of Rob Bell and Karen Armstrong, do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration (in this case, god) need actually be real to be aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something (in this case, write stuff down)?

In the case of Joseph Smith, do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration (in this case, god) need actually be real to actually influence Joseph Smith to write The Book of Mormon?  Do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration need actually be real in order to actually make manifest actual golden plates written in actual ancient Egyptian that could be actually translated into the English language?

I guess my point is that the word 'inspire' is sorta still hiding information.  Rob Bell could similarly be 'inspired' by the little engine that could to write about the merit of determination without the little engine that could being an actual manifest entity in reality.  But you cannot say the same thing in the case of Joseph Smith - Joseph Smith could not be 'inspired' by the little engine that could to write about the actual words that the little engine that could without the little engine that could actually existing.

Basically, I can see how either actual god or the idea of god could inspire Rob Bell or Karen Armstrong to write what they wrote.  But I cannot see how, in any way, the idea of god could provide Joseph Smith with actual golden plates to translate.

Again, one could say that Rob Bell was 'inspired' by god, and that Joseph Smith was 'inspired' by god, but in that case, you're actually still talking about two categorically different things.

Does that make any sense?  Am I being overly pedantic here?

The key in this thread, to me anyway, seems to be the credibility of Joseph Smith.  Did he actually experience a visit from God and/or angels that led him to the plates plus the ability to translate them?  Did he believe he had such an experience?  Or.....the list of questions can go on and on.

Short of creating a time machine and going back to watch him, one can never know with absolute certainty. 

While I don't believe Joseph Smith actually had the experiences he claims, I do not rule them out completely.  If I am dealing with a God responsible for the known universe, how can I say with certainty God did not choose Smith? 

As always,

OldChurchGuy

Not having 100% complete certainty is the unavoidable backdrop of everything we discuss about reality. But what about probability? Is it more probable that God chose Smith to relay a message from some golden plates to the rest of humanity? Did God decide, "Well, it's the 19th century, it's about time"? Did God want the message to be delivered via Early Modern English? Did God care that all study of anthropology and linguistics go against Smith's account of ancient people's journey to America?

Or is this guy just another charlatan who can be easily dismissed as just another fraud?

This is a no-brainer for anyone who is not indoctrinated into such a ridiculous worldview.
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Tried to give you two karmas in a row, but couldn't. Yes, this. Exactly. How is it possible to hold so strongly to this belief on the one hand, yet never for a second wonder what the source of an "answered prayer" or other supernatural-ish  event might be on the other?

Compartmentalization.  And skeptic54768 is the damn king of it.  I am convinced that he is so skilled at compartmentalization that he actually doesn't see certain posts and responses to him.  Like, he'll initially see a post from someone, but depending on the content, his brain does some special trick that makes it 'disappear'.  It's either that or he is consciously, and very transparently, closing his eyes and covering his ears with respect to certain posts.  But that would mean he is being disrespectful and disingenuous.  And I'd hate to think that's the case.
94
I would think demons would want to use us.  We must be easy to take over since we don't buy into the Big Guy.  I think demons are missing a great marketing opportunity with atheists bodies at hand.
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Chatter / Re: A Different "Nam" Than You're Used To
« Last post by jdawg70 on Today at 08:03:21 AM »
Nam, are you trying to hypnotize us?

I keep staring at it, waiting for it to go to plaid.
96
So you would use your free will to allow a murderer to use his free will to kill someone? This would indicate that you are OK with murder. God wants us to use our free will to do good things, not bad things.
Does god have free will?

Quote
Nobody curses God if an 85 year old grandma dies in her sleep. Yet, God still allowed her to die. If a 70 year old dies in their sleep, nobody curses God. But you have a 60 year old die in their sleep, then it becomes a little "iffy" and people start cursing God. It seems everyone wants to "play God" and decide which age is the "cut off" age for dying in their sleep.
Do you think those statements would have been true in 1900, when the average life expectancy of people was around 50?
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Glad to see you guys are having fun with a dead serious subject.

Disappointed that you're completely ignoring the subject.

The OP is quite specific.  You've not even acknowledged it.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Proof of God! But is it?
« Last post by OldChurchGuy on Today at 07:48:02 AM »
There is a pretty vast difference of meaning with the word 'inspired' between Rob Bell's book and Joseph Smith's book.  In the former, 'inspire' would seem to be in the same sense of the writers of the screenplay Prefontaine - that is, the writers saw a person and the events that occurred in his life and felt like making a dramatized account of Steve Prefontaine's life.  Which is categorically different to the latter, insofar as it would be claimed that god himself 'inspired' Joseph Smith by engaging him to write something.  The former is passive - someone observed something and felt the need to write something in relation to that something.  The latter is active - the object of inspiration actively reached out to the person.

I dare say that use of the word 'inspired' in the case of Joseph Smith would be incorrect use of language.  That is, the word 'inspire' is the wrong word.  It communicates the wrong information that the person using the word 'inspire' intends to convey.

The writer of a manual for an automobile wasn't inspired by their boss to write the manual; they weren't inspired by the engineers to write the chapter 'Troubleshooting'.

Sorry...'inspired' is becoming something of a button word for me.  It seems to be one of those words, like 'faith', that is used willy-nilly by the religious as a placeholder label for 'I have no clue what I mean when I say this, but it's the arrangement of letters that I'll throw in here so that I don't have to think about why I believe this thingie I believe is true'.  That may or may not be true for you OldChurchGuy - I don't really know - but do you think you could better explain what you mean when you use the word 'inspire'?

The key may be a definition we can agree with on the word "inspired".  Here is one from Dictionary.com
"aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something, by or as if by supernatural or divine influence:
an inspired poet."
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inspired

"1.of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse:
"they had to thank the goalie for some inspired saves""
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/inspired

If these definitions do not suit you, please present one that better fits what you mean by "inspired". 

I think we can roll with those definitions.

In the case of Rob Bell and Karen Armstrong, do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration (in this case, god) need actually be real to be aroused, animated, or imbued with the spirit to do something (in this case, write stuff down)?

In the case of Joseph Smith, do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration (in this case, god) need actually be real to actually influence Joseph Smith to write The Book of Mormon?  Do you think that the 'thingie' of inspiration need actually be real in order to actually make manifest actual golden plates written in actual ancient Egyptian that could be actually translated into the English language?

I guess my point is that the word 'inspire' is sorta still hiding information.  Rob Bell could similarly be 'inspired' by the little engine that could to write about the merit of determination without the little engine that could being an actual manifest entity in reality.  But you cannot say the same thing in the case of Joseph Smith - Joseph Smith could not be 'inspired' by the little engine that could to write about the actual words that the little engine that could without the little engine that could actually existing.

Basically, I can see how either actual god or the idea of god could inspire Rob Bell or Karen Armstrong to write what they wrote.  But I cannot see how, in any way, the idea of god could provide Joseph Smith with actual golden plates to translate.

Again, one could say that Rob Bell was 'inspired' by god, and that Joseph Smith was 'inspired' by god, but in that case, you're actually still talking about two categorically different things.

Does that make any sense?  Am I being overly pedantic here?

The key in this thread, to me anyway, seems to be the credibility of Joseph Smith.  Did he actually experience a visit from God and/or angels that led him to the plates plus the ability to translate them?  Did he believe he had such an experience?  Or.....the list of questions can go on and on.

Short of creating a time machine and going back to watch him, one can never know with absolute certainty. 

While I don't believe Joseph Smith actually had the experiences he claims, I do not rule them out completely.  If I am dealing with a God responsible for the known universe, how can I say with certainty God did not choose Smith? 

As always,

OldChurchGuy
99
Hmm...maybe Christian non believers aren't entirely safe.   There's still hell remember!  Maybe the demons don't see it's worth making our lives a misery for now seeing as they already know they've got plenty of time to do it in the afterlife within that place!  :D

Sorry Skep.   Couldn't resist that one!   ;)
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Why is one type of death OK but not another? Why is it OK to die of a heart attack from high cholesterol or die from liver failure from drinking?

Why not also put the example of being shot do death by someone who isn't you?  You know, for the sake of topical relevance.

Again, skeptic54768 - you're not thinking this through.

P.S.

I assume that you've read my previous posts and are selectively ignoring it.  Like you're wont to do.  I have no expectation of you changing or doing anything in response to this; I just wanted to express the observation.  Just understand that, just because you close your eyes and cover your ears does not mean that those posts become invisible to everyone else.
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