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91
General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by junebug72 on Yesterday at 05:38:24 AM »
Theists feel compelled for some reason to have an answer for everything. when their description of god falls short, the atheist pounce claiming this as proof  that god doesn't exist. one of Man's greatest attempts to describe God is in the Bible. a completely fallible book. even the God described in that book changed over time although he's not supposed to. if the Bible isn't perfect, atheists claim, god can't exist.  progressive Christian seminaries, however, are totally comfortable acknowledging the Bible was written by men and therefore is not perfect. so it proves nothing.

the core problem is no one is comfortable with uncertainty. No one can say "i don't know", ever. it somehow conveys a weakness. everyone must have a firm opinion on everything at all times. the Theist will say "I know there's a god, and here's what he's like" and then proceed to bumble and stumble. the atheist will laugh and and say "see, no god". neither has an ounce of humility or doubt. both are fools in my book.

I'm atheist and there is a thread in this section called I don't know.  There are many agnostic atheist.  If you ask an atheist what happened before the big bang they will say, I don't know and theist will say God.

The bible is way worse than not being perfect; it's barbaric.   
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by junebug72 on Yesterday at 05:22:52 AM »
Sumariosep,

Do you pray before you post?
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Infinite Material Regress?
« Last post by Add Homonym on Yesterday at 04:53:38 AM »
I took the b out of the middle of the Leibniz Contingency Plan, because it's just not sporting if they want to use an Islamic argument, to defend, ostensibly, Christianity.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Infinite Material Regress?
« Last post by kcrady on Yesterday at 04:04:42 AM »
It's 'Kalam," but I like Kabam better! ;)
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by kcrady on Yesterday at 04:01:31 AM »
Theists feel compelled for some reason to have an answer for everything. when their description of god falls short, the atheist pounce claiming this as proof  that god doesn't exist.

I suppose this probably happens from time to time, but I have yet to encounter it here.  At least, if you're arguing against atheists who claim that if Deity Concept #5891 (some particular theist's description of their deity/deities) fails in some way, therefore all deity concepts are false.  Sure, that would be fallacious reasoning.  However, while I haven't encountered it from an atheist, I've seen it here in the reversed (theist) version all. the. time.  "Can you explain and rigorously prove every conceivable thing about [the Big Bang/Evolution/Abiogenesis/Etc.]?  No?  Therefore, Jesus!  Checkmate, atheists!"  Several of the classical arguments for Yahweh (e.g. First Cause, Argument from Design, Argument from Morality) rest entirely on this strategy.

one of Man's greatest attempts to describe God is in the Bible. a completely fallible book. even the God described in that book changed over time although he's not supposed to. if the Bible isn't perfect, atheists claim, god can't exist.

Well, an imperfect Bible wouldn't be evidence against Ma'at or Thor or Sita or Zeus or [Etc.] existing.  Why, exactly, should we just automatically default to the assumption of Abrahamic monotheism?  Is there any reason to think the Bible is any more accurate in terms of information about "the reality of divinity" (whatever that might be) than the Pyramid Texts or the Vedas?

That said, imperfections in the Bible do refute a goodly swath of the Christian probability-space, like so:

1) If Yahweh is an omnimax[1] and...

2) Yahweh desires to communicate a message to humanity (for purposes of leading us to salvation, rebuking "sin" or whatever), and...

3) Yahweh's chosen method of communication is to "inspire" the creation of the Bible...

4) ...then Yahweh by definition (#1) cannot fail.

In other words, Yahweh as defined in Premise #1 cannot suck at communication or be incapable of preserving and transmitting the fidelity of his message.  Therefore, if there are imperfections, human-authored corruptions, etc. in the Bible (not to mention the possibility of "divinely inspired" texts and/or passages being omitted from the final product), and Yahweh is asserted to be an infallible and perfectly honest source (i.e., he can't lie, troll, or otherwise deliberately insert or allow misinformation to creep into "his message"), then that concept of Yahweh cannot exist.  Other concepts (Yahweh is malevolent, Yahweh is a Trickster, Yahweh is incompetent, Yahweh is too remote or otherwise incapable of managing the fidelity of his alleged communications, etc.) are not necessarily ruled out.  However, we would still need good evidence in favor of the existence of some other concept of Yahweh that's compatible with a fallible Bible before giving the claim any credence.

progressive Christian seminaries, however, are totally comfortable acknowledging the Bible was written by men and therefore is not perfect. so it proves nothing.

I would love to have more of these "progressive" "sophisticated" Christian theologian types around here.  We've got one (Old Church Guy, whom I haven't seen a post from in awhile) who is a local favorite.  The main problem I have with the approach these people take (at least, the ones I'm familiar with, such as James McGrath and Bishop Shelby Spong) is that ultimately, there's no there there.  Just getting any of them to actually specify what they're claiming to be true WRT Christianity is like trying to nail fog to a wall.  I have yet to see any of them offer a good reason why their theology should be Christian, rather than Hindu or Native American or Greek or Egyptian, etc..

There are only five possible avenues to get to Christianity that I know of:

A) Church Tradition--the claim by churches who can directly trace their origins and doctrines to Roman times, i.e. the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Nestorian, etc. Churches--to have received the true message of Christianity from Jesus and his disciples and handed it down without (significant?) distortion to the present day.

B ) The Bible (may fall under #1 for the Roman era churches; it's only the "sole" source code for Protestants).

C) Direct experience of Yahweh, Jesus, angels, etc..

D) Compelling historical and/or scientific evidence for the existence of Yahweh and his attachment to some particular set of Christian doctrines.

E) Some combination of the above.

Good luck getting the "progressive sophisticated Christian theologian" to explain which of these (or any other proposed avenues) they get their versions of Christianity from.  Also, which of the numbered premises above do they reject?  Again, an omnimax, infallible Yahweh cannot fail to get his message across accurately, if that's what he's trying to do.  If he's not trying to get a message across accurately, or can't get a message across accurately[2], on what basis can a Christian claim to know that the bits of Christianity they like are true? 

Then there's the history of Christianity to consider.  I challenge anyone to go through the Bible, or the writings of the Church Fathers, or pretty much anything in Christianity before these modern progressive theologians came along, and find support for this "comfort with uncertainty" of theirs.  The Bible drips with plainly-stated declarations that you'd better believe the right things and/or have the right practices or you are emphatically Not In The Club--dire consequences forthcoming.  Christian history, from Paul's epistles through the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, all the way down to the "Statement of Faith" for every church that has one, is one long sectarian struggle over what constitutes "the One True Faith."  And if anyone is "uncertain" or has some other set of beliefs ("infidel" if not Christian, "heretic" if Christian), then "let him be accursed!"  On what basis can these modern Christians come along, shake the theological Etch-A-Sketch, and pretend that none of that ever happened?  Christianity wasn't invented in 1960.  It really wasn't!
 
the core problem is no one is comfortable with uncertainty. No one can say "i don't know", ever. it somehow conveys a weakness. everyone must have a firm opinion on everything at all times.

Bollocks.  There's all kinds of shit I don't know.  What is "Dark Matter?"  What is "Dark Energy?"  What happened before the Big Bang?  Does "before" even apply in that context?  How did insect metamorphosis evolve (caterpillar wraps a chrysalis around itself, then emerges later as a Monarch butterfly, a whole different creature that can fucking fly, WTF?!)?  I could go on, and on, and on.  The thing is, the limits of my knowledge as such do not provide any evidence that Yahweh exists.  Or Ahura-Mazda, or Quetzalcoatl, or Freya, or Quan Yin, or....etc..

the Theist will say "I know there's a god, and here's what he's like" and then proceed to bumble and stumble. the atheist will laugh and and say "see, no god". neither has an ounce of humility or doubt. both are fools in my book.

I don't know everything about Elvis and John Lennon.  I don't know much about them at all, really.  However, my level of ignorance about them gives me no reason to offer any credence to the claim that they were visiting space aliens, or "doubt" that they weren't.  If someone wants me to "doubt" the non-existence of  some deity or other, it's up to them to provide legitimate evidence for the existence of their proposed deity or deities.  Otherwise, the Null Hypothesis wins by default.  The burden of proof lies with the person who wants to add something (such as a deity, or the existence of flying saucers, fairies, djinn, Higgs Bosons, etc.) to our inventory of the known or the possible.
 1. Possessing the "omni-" attributes; omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and moral perfection.
 2. Because it's a long way here from Arcturus or whatever.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Infinite Material Regress?
« Last post by Add Homonym on Yesterday at 03:38:14 AM »
Put that on our list of standard arguments.

Christian: God exists because of Kabam/Morality/Greatest Possible whatever.
Atheist: Thanks for defending Hinduism/Islam/Scientology. Will you get on to defending your own religion at some point, or is it so lame, you have to defend Islam/Hinduism instead?
97
General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by YRM_DM on Yesterday at 02:05:45 AM »
Theists feel compelled for some reason to have an answer for everything. when their description of god falls short, the atheist pounce claiming this as proof  that god doesn't exist. one of Man's greatest attempts to describe God is in the Bible. a completely fallible book. even the God described in that book changed over time although he's not supposed to. if the Bible isn't perfect, atheists claim, god can't exist.  progressive Christian seminaries, however, are totally comfortable acknowledging the Bible was written by men and therefore is not perfect. so it proves nothing.

the core problem is no one is comfortable with uncertainty. No one can say "i don't know", ever. it somehow conveys a weakness. everyone must have a firm opinion on everything at all times. the Theist will say "I know there's a god, and here's what he's like" and then proceed to bumble and stumble. the atheist will laugh and and say "see, no god". neither has an ounce of humility or doubt. both are fools in my book.

Most atheists will say that there's not enough evidence to convince them that there is a god.

I think that there's no god because god appears to have all the same properties as other imaginary beings like elves and faeries and Santa...

God gets special pleading arguments.  God doesn't appear to act in the natural world.   People make excuses for how his powers work, and why he chooses not to use them.   God has contradictory abilities and descriptions... he loves us, but he owns us and gets angry and can smash anyone, he's perfect and all knowing but gets jealous, he's infinitely great at everything and maximal in all ways but what does that even mean?  Greatest tasting?  Greatest at being evil?  Greatest at sex?   What if you imagine a maximally great being, then, imagine him slightly stronger?

God makes promises in his holy book that don't come true.

The Bible appears to be written by paranoid, bronze age men that owned slaves, thought of women as property, and applied their morality and lack of scientific understanding to a god they invented.

God shares so many characteristics with imaginary myths, and he shares zero characteristics with things that interact with the natural world.

Gravity is invisible, it can't be smelt, touched, tasted, seen... only it's effects can be seen and felt.   But Gravity is repeatably testable and provable.  It reliably affects the natural world.

God appears to never affect the natural world.

The Bible takes the time to write page after page about temples to burn sacrifices, and writes about how plants existed before the sun that moved through the sky, under the vault of heaven.   But it never takes the time to explain anything that science didn't know at the time, or that slavery was wrong.

I'm not close minded about the idea... if a believer can name one provable characteristic that God shares with a real being, I'm game to listen.

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General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by YRM_DM on Yesterday at 01:57:33 AM »
Quote
1.  Cause their adherents to live better lives.
2.  Cause all of their believers to be in agreement.
3.  Cause nonbelievers to live worse lives.
4.  Works miracles.

Since the Bible promises in 12 places that God answers prayers, and in many others that he blesses those who have not seen but believed... 
1. Helps at least a small percentage of adherents to have and live measurably better lives.

Since God/Jesus/Holy Spirit is supposed to be a being that never contradicts itself...
2. Believers, while not always in agreement, would report "the spirit" in a similar way that they might repeat a news story that they all watched.   It'd at least be close.

I think it's silly that an all powerful being would bully those who don't believe because there's no good reason to believe but...
3. If someone was hurting God's followers, you'd expect him to do something to protect them.

Since the Bible makes countless claims of miracles, you'd expect that supernatural events would continue to happen, unexplainable.
4. Yes, if God can violate natural law, you'd expect to see supernatural events.


God wouldn't do everything for everyone... but he'd do something greater than zero.
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General Religious Discussion / Re: New Quote of the Day
« Last post by Add Homonym on Yesterday at 12:52:49 AM »
I thought what you were saying that a muslim who is radicalized will abandon radical islam and chill out after they join the Green party. is this not correct?
so you think if the middle east (or those who sympathize with that area but are not currently residing there) was completely without religion there would be no terrorism?
is islam or religion to blame for terrorism?
will getting rid of religion get rid of terrorism?
how, pray tell, does one get rid of religion?
that wasn't my assumption, that was the Brain's. read my first post, or "try reading it forwards".

"There is no need to create laws or rules that prohibit religion. We simply need to educate people to a level where they see the belief in religion as absurd."
-from the almighty Brain
http://howgodworks.com/why-should-we-actively-work-to-eliminate-religion/

When I read what he says (in that quote), there is no reference to terrorism, or the necessity to ultimately rid the world of religion. It could be advice on how to grow a better pot plant. However, we assume it has something to do with reducing religion. He could be saying that it's not necessary to ban religion, to get a decent outcome, all we need to do, is educate people, so that most of them stop believing it. I don't know... just a guess.. reading forwards.

I read a decent analysis a couple of nights ago, that said what tends to cause terrorism (esp suicide bombing) is (1) occupation and (2) difference of religion. The Tamil Tigers invented suicide bombing, and they are secular. Typically, suicide missions are done by people who walk in, off the street, with no obvious stereotypical profile, and volunteer for a mission to liberate their homeland from the oppressors. The terrorism is strategic, to break up alliances and persuade an occupier to move out. Recently, the people who do the occupying, have poor stomachs for indiscriminate violence inflicted on their community. However, one failing in their theory, is that Americans are so poorly educated that they can barely perceive the reason for the terrorism. Another, is that the Syrian region is now so wrecked up, that occupying forces think they need to stay, to stop the list of other bad guys taking over.

http://thewe.cc/weplanet/news/armed_force/suicide_bombing_blair_alliance_with_bush.htm#this_is_real

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104391493
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General Religious Discussion / Re: Atheists and thinking about God
« Last post by wright on Yesterday at 12:37:28 AM »
the core problem is no one is comfortable with uncertainty. No one can say "i don't know", ever. it somehow conveys a weakness. everyone must have a firm opinion on everything at all times. the Theist will say "I know there's a god, and here's what he's like" and then proceed to bumble and stumble. the atheist will laugh and and say "see, no god". neither has an ounce of humility or doubt. both are fools in my book.

I don't have a problem admitting I know very little with certainty; addressing my own ignorance is a lifelong task. I don't have a firm opinion on a lot of things. I know quite a few atheists on this forum who have displayed humility and doubt, even some theists.
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