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Old 2008-02-17, 17:14   Link #321
Blizzer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quzor View Post
Although I know Vexx can defend himself, I'm going to respond to this because, as you've seen fit to discuss my beliefs in a negative light, so shall I feel free to return the favor.

First of all...I love this bit: "In the world of today all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded, selfish, and objective people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous." How very hypocritical of you. You call yourself morally virtuous while you put down all of those who choose not to believe the same as you do. Which moral virtue is that again?

Secondly, science is not largely theoretical. Theory is a big part of science, this is true. But so is scientific law. Most of what non-religious people find comfort in is this portion of science. Atheists might choose to only believe in scientific fact, and Agnostics might choose to believe in fact while leaving theory open to interpretation and possibility. It is in this instance that the lines of the labels begin to blur. Regardless, saying that it requires faith to believe in scientific theories is hardly the same as the faith necessary to believe in what cannot be proven, as most scientific theories are derived from previous scientific laws.

Lastly, those who believe in science and are, as you so succinctly put it, "told by another it is the truth," function under the same logic as you. You are told by another that there is a God and that is truth. You can't make this argument without turning it back on yourself, because it's an argument that goes both ways. You can't say that we believe something that someone told us it true, and you believe something you know is true, the same way that we couldn't say the opposite (you believe something someone told you is true, we believe something we know is true). This circular argument is moot the moment you try to qualify your theory of belief as fact, while simultaneously denouncing scientific theory as hearsay.

This is precisely what I was talking about in my post so long ago: Arguments like this are what drive people like me to stay away from religion. I am aware that my soul cannot be saved simply by saying I believe in a thing, regardless of how little I practice the principles of that belief. I encourage you to re-read Jesus "Sermon on the Mount," and gain some perspective into your own beliefs, before you go and denounce the beliefs of others.
Discuss your beliefs in a negative light? you mean absence of belief surely?
I would hardly call myself morally virtuous as I said I am not a strict follower of Christianity but I was merely responding to the patronizing attitude of most non-believers. What I said before is correct, followers of religion will seek salvation through virtue, most religions believe this is the path to God, will an agnostic or athestic person strive to follow this attitude as fervently? probably not.

What you have said makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, in science something can be proven definitive and years later another scientist will disprove it with his own theory, scientific fact is not fact. It is as someone said science is one of the better explanations.

You are right in saying it works for religion as well as science that second hand knowledge isn't always truth but faith in God and in salvation is something that I think benefits people positively, as does science, but religion also gives people hope, guidance and solace.
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Old 2008-02-17, 17:29   Link #322
Quzor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
Discuss your beliefs in a negative light? you mean absence of belief surely?
I would hardly call myself morally virtuous as I said I am not a strict follower of Christianity but I was merely responding to the patronizing attitude of most non-believers. What I said before is correct, followers of religion will seek salvation through virtue, most religions believe this is the path to God, will an agnostic or athestic person strive to follow this attitude as fervently? probably not.

What you have said makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, in science something can be proven definitive and years later another scientist will disprove it with his own theory, scientific fact is not fact. It is as someone said science is one of the better explanations.

You are right in saying it works for religion as well as science that second hand knowledge isn't always truth but faith in God and in salvation is something that I think benefits people positively, as does science, but religion also gives people hope, guidance and solace.
This will be my last response about this particular exchange:

First of all, because I don't believe in god, does not mean I lack a set of beliefs. Please do not try to patronize me, or lift up yourself, by saying that I subscribe to a "lack of beliefs."

Secondly, I don't think Vexx was at all patronizing, nor was I. Again, I cannot speak for him, but I was merely trying to point out the flaws in your original statement, which included far too many assumptions and blanket statements. And here you retort with yet another blanket statement. Therein lies my third point.

I try to live a virtuous life day by day, as I'm sure you do as well. However, religious and non-religious people might choose to do so for different reasons. I choose to make a daily attempt at virtue and kindness, because I believe that what you give, so shall you receive (Jesus said something about that, I think..."Do unto others as you would have done unto you."). A religious person might do the same, in the hopes that their actions would lead to the salvation of their soul. Since I do not believe in an afterlife, my soul has no need for salvation. It's as simple as that.

Next, you are correct to say that many scientific facts are proven wrong as the years progress. However, that does not make them incorrect for the time they are true. Concurrently, religion may have as many "points of fact" that would be false after the fact, but none of that could be proven because no one can report from the afterlife. In that respect, people who find comfort and stake belief in science do so because it is a tangible knowledge, whereas religion requires, even in the smallest amount, a blind faith in what will occur. That is not meant to slight religion in any way, it is simply a matter of fact. Some call it a leap of faith, I choose to use a different definition.

Lastly, the hope, guidance and solace argument makes sense. However, someone who does not believe in the existence of a supreme being, or who questions that existence, might not necessarily look for those feelings in that particular place. Religion isn't the only place to get hope, guidance and solace.
Likewise, science is not the only place for those feelings either. The key is to find a belief structure that allows you those feelings, while still being able to maintain tolerance for people who find those feelings in a different way.
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Old 2008-02-17, 17:47   Link #323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Hypothesis: an omnipotent being exists, created the universe, has enough bandwidth to process *all* incoming calls, sufficient computing power to run universe simulation, etc.
In discussing the existence of a supreme being, as some one who does believe there is one, I agree that hypothesis is easily proven false.

Speaking in terms of Judaism and Christianity (both because of my lack of qualification to speak of anything else and their obvious influence in the mostly-western/less-so-global ideas of God), that is a mistaken hypothesis. I can't call it a straw-man (not that I would accuse you of such, Vexx), because so many people believe that's what they teach.

In Judeo-Christian understanding (though admittedly not the understanding of all who claim to adhere to it--heck, not even most of them), God designed the universe to be self-operating and self-sustaining, not relying on Him to make any action to keep the earth in rotation/start the precipitation process/switch the seasons/whatever. Attributing any action directly to God is mostly metaphorical in the sense of attribution to the creator, the sense of "what substance is the universe made from?", or the sense that it was perhaps arranged by him.

In short, the understanding is that every aspect of the universe was designed to run on auto-pilot, and any cases of manual intervention are done strictly by proxy.

Knowing this is why it irks me that people claim a scientific understanding of how the universe works or began disproves the idea of God. Not at all: It only disproves a misinterpretation of what these religions taught about God.
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Old 2008-02-17, 18:10   Link #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
Discuss your beliefs in a negative light? you mean absence of belief surely?
Even agnostic and atheist people belief, how else could they be non-Christian/Islam/your religion of choice?
In my opinion a true atheist is at least as devoted to science as a devoted christian is to god.
Faith is a common motivation that drives all people on this earth, that applies to atheist and agnostic people too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
I would hardly call myself morally virtuous as I said I am not a strict follower of Christianity but I was merely responding to the patronizing attitude of most non-believers.
Non-beliefers do not exist. Even if there is someone who claims, he/she beliefs nothing - Then that person at least beliefs that he/she beliefs nothing, which is a false conclusion. So everyone beliefs in something. Faith is an integral part of personality. How often faith changes and how flexible believing is, is another question. But with regards to that point, one can only differentiate between more and less consistent beliefers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
What I said before is correct, followers of religion will seek salvation through virtue, most religions believe this is the path to God, will an agnostic or athestic person strive to follow this attitude as fervently? probably not.
And how does this relate to faith?
Agnostics and atheists do not need a god as motivation to seek salvation through virtue yet many of them do it (just for different reasons).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
What you have said makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, in science something can be proven definitive and years later another scientist will disprove it with his own theory, scientific fact is not fact. It is as someone said science is one of the better explanations.
The faith in science itself is what a atheist beliefs in. I know the concept of a variable faith with few consistencies and dogmas must be a rather alien concept for a devoted christian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
You are right in saying it works for religion as well as science that second hand knowledge isn't always truth but faith in God and in salvation is something that I think benefits people positively, as does science, but religion also gives people hope, guidance and solace.
You got the implications wrong. Faith gives people hope, guidance and solace. And faith can be brought by religion but need not necessarily.
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Old 2008-02-17, 18:57   Link #325
Vexx
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And while Blizzer shows himself a poster-child of patronizing, hypocritical, nonsense who failed to address my post and indeed went after the part I explicitly said I wasn't going to discuss (the moral guidance part) - and says this:
Quote:
all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded,selfish people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous
... thus *being* what he accuses those outside his beliefs are. I'm sure Jerry Falwell, Dick Cheney, Bob Roberts, Tom DeLay, etc are all morally virtuous in their own minds. I guess all my volunteer and charity work, my willingness to examine new viewpoints equate to selfishness and close-mindedness. What a bunch of orwellian doublethink on the part of the poster.

Then he proceeds to claim several posters making reasoned responses "make no sense" and demonstrates he's got no clue about what the scientific method is about .... sanctimonious is the nicest thing that comes to mind.

Fortunately, Kyuusai shines through as a thinking example of the kind of religious person I can have discussions with. I'd give him a dozen cookies for leading me to write as civil a post as this is. (Of course, some strains would burn him at the stake as quickly as I for having such Deist (aka modern Christian theological thoughts ). People of any faith or not could take clues from how he thinks and comports himself .

This thread is about what religious beliefs we have and why we believe them. I was explaining why I think as I do and got personally attacked by someone apparently very insecure with their own views. Very bad move on their part ...

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-02-17 at 22:34.
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Old 2008-02-17, 19:33   Link #326
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I'm sure all of us will agree that this is an extremely personal topic that gives rise to a lot of emotion from both sides of the argument. What we can strive to do here is to try and keep those emotion in check. Please try to discuss this topic without resorting to petty insult, condescending remarks, patronizing tones and etc.
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Old 2008-02-17, 19:42   Link #327
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It is disheartening to see that not long after I explained why I don't like the atheism/agnosticism distiction several posts have popped up that seem to rely on what I've called the "folk definition" of these terms. I'm only quoting the last one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinto View Post
Even agnostic and atheist people belief, how else could they be non-Christian/Islam/your religion of choice?
The point is, atheists do not necessarily "believe", and in fact, I think most don't. I don't. At least not in the sense of the word as it is normally used in a religious context, where it doesn't simply mean "considering something to be likely". You're equating the word "believe" in contexts like

"I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried." Etcpp.

and

"I believe that the egg price will rise next month."

And when somebody says "I believe that God doesn't exist." it's normally the latter meaning. If you want to reduce the first meaning to the second, the whole concept of religion becomes void.
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Old 2008-02-17, 21:35   Link #328
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I can't think of one good reason why I would want to have a religion ? Can anyone tell me the benefits of having one ? Besides you get to go to heaven.
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Old 2008-02-17, 21:58   Link #329
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I'm agnostic with a preference for aetheism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemstar
I can't think of one good reason why I would want to have a religion?
For moral inspiration and guidance. And, in the case of Christians, to witness the glory promised by Jesus Christ. It's hard to describe the experience of witnessing to someone who doesn't believe in Christ.

Regardless, that is not an excuse to insult Christians (or any other religious person) for believing in silly "fairy-tales". Whether or not a religious person is "silly" depends on that person's actions, and not necessarily on his religion, which he may have misunderstood or misapplied.

Do you need a rational reason to believe? Sometimes yes, but not all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer
What I said before is correct, followers of religion will seek salvation through virtue, most religions believe this is the path to God, will an agnostic or athestic person strive to follow this attitude as fervently? probably not.
This argument has bothered me for a very long time, the idea that individuals without religion have no ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. I can tell you quite confidently today that this argument is categorically wrong, for the simple reason that I know the distinction, and yet I have no religion.

I shall not go further than that. As monir has pointed out, this is likely to be a highly emotional issue, so I don't want to raise a ruckus over matters of belief. This thread is meant for sharing your beliefs. Discussions or disagreements ought to be taken to PMs.
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Old 2008-02-17, 22:14   Link #330
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
This argument has bothered me for a very long time, the idea that individuals without religion have no ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. I can tell you quite confidently today that this argument is categorically wrong, for the simple reason that I know the distinction, and yet I have no religion.
Note also that the reverse holds true. The Jewish oppression over the Canaanites, the Christian Crusades, and the more recent Islamic Jihadists are all historical examples of where religious groups went as a majority force to oppress and bring violence to others. It has been said that the only religion to not cause war and strife is Buddhism, so I presume that there are other examples that I'm simply not aware of. With the exception of the Jewish acts (and probably only because these happened so long ago that the only historical accounts of it are in the religious texts themselves), the Crusades and the current Jihad are waved away as not being part of the religion itself. That is, the religion does not dictate that these should occur, but the religious organization instruments them. That hand-waving does nothing to alleviate the fact that the devout tend to partake in these activities, believing that they must be right because their organization dictated them to occur. Both the Crusades and the Jihad are today recognized as being relatively atrocious acts. If those with religion on their side can truly distinguish the difference, they wouldn't have participated. In fact, it would have been their duty to speak out against such acts.

I am aware that not everyone who participated in the Crusades were Christian. The Church basically announced an open-game session on the Middle East, and even non-Christians attended. It doesn't change the fact that the Church itself was the driving force behind the Crusades, and that Christians did participate as well.
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Old 2008-02-17, 22:26   Link #331
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Quote:
In the world of today all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded,selfish and objective people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous.
And in a world dominated by religious institutions, hideous massacres such as the Crusades took place. Most of them on the guise of what was supposed to be the "morally virtuous" thing to do.

EDIT: Whoops, seems I didn't read enough... I hate rushing my replies.
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Old 2008-02-17, 23:05   Link #332
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Here is an interesting thing to ponder when questioning whether or not religious people who believe in an absolute being that dictates right from wrong have a better grasp on ethics then those who do not believe...

The entire premise that to be ethical requires an absolute being rests on the idea that the answer to the euthyphro dilemma is that it is "right because God says so". This makes God an objective being- meaning that all he says is 100% truth and reality. If God were to say leprechauns exist, they would. In comparison, we are subjective beings. Reality is not bended to our will. If we believe that we see a leprechaun during an acid trip, it does not mean that leprechauns exist. It just means they exist in our mind. Our thoughts and opinions on reality are subjective and thus open to question.

To put it in simpler terms, think of God ( Objective ) as a game programmer and us ( Subjective ) as characters in his game ( Reality ). The programmer dictates reality and we have no choice but to go with it.

The thing about being a subjective being is that pretty much everything we experiance or think is subjective. For all we know, everything we hear, breath, touch, and know is an illusion via a system similar to "the matrix". We can "know" things for 99.9999 % but we can never reach 100%. Every piece of knowledge we come accross must first be comprehended by our subjective minds. Which explains why we humans have different opinions on what things mean - different ideals mean different things to two different subjective minds that have experienced reality through other perspectives. Ironically, this is why we even have different religions in the first place.

Now lets take it up a notch and look at the relationship between a subjective being and an objective being. If one of us was to talk to God and God was to tell us the meaning of life, would he then have objective knowledge regarding life's purpose ? Actually, he wouldn't. In order to understand the objective knowledge that is being transferred, the subjective being in question would go through a number of subjective walls.

First: acknowledge that they are talking to an objective being ( God ) - Subjective. How does the person know they are talking to God and not their own hallucination ? Even if He really was talking to God, it doesn't change the fact that his understanding of the situation is still subjective.

Second: Acknowledge and comprehend the wisdom that has been given to you by the objective being. Wake up ! You just got told the meaning of life. So now what do you do ? Simple, the first thing the subjective being would do is attempt to figure out what he has been told actually means to him. whether this is done subconsciously or consciously doesn't matter, if the subjective being has any hope of remembering what he has been told, he goes through this step.

This creates a problem: No matter what, a subjective being cannot gain access to objective wisdom even if it is told directly to you by the almighty one himself, because Just by comprehending what it is you have been told through a subjective mind, the objective wisdom you have gained becomes subjective to your own understanding and thus becomes subjective in the process. Its the same as pouring water into orange juice, no matter how much watter is poured in their will still be some orange juice inside. its that barrier between 99.999999999999999% and 100% that we as subjective beings, by definition cannot ever cross.


In other words, even if an absolute objective being exists that dictates the reality behind ethics...as far as we are concerned and as far as we can comprehend, it doesn't matter. As subjective being's we will always find ourselves turning to our own reason at one time or another, because thats what we ultimately understand. Even if God were to give us Objective knowledge of morality we would still only be able to comprehend that objective knowledge through a subjective mind. Our ethical standards would still be subjective.

If God was to tell us that murder is in fact, morally good, how many of us would honestly just flat out stop thinking about what we feel is right or wrong and go kill everyone we know and love ? Except for the few extremely brainwashed individuals, most of us would try to protect our families from the inevitable onslaught to come. Personally, I would give God the finger. But thats just me.

In conclusion: absolute "Universal Laws" dictating what is right and wrong are as far as we're concerned, nonexistent.

Just my 2 cents.




EDIT NOTE: I am not posting this in an attempt to stir up flamewars. I'm simply posting my personal view of objective vs subjective morality. Take it to mean as you will. There is obviously nothing to stop anyone from flaming me for it, but just be aware that I will ignore any response to this post that I feel would result in this thread getting locked if it was taken seriously. Of course, for those who have something constructive and non flammatory to say, I'm all ears.

Last edited by Edgewalker; 2008-02-17 at 23:16. Reason: Flamewar prevention.
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Old 2008-02-17, 23:59   Link #333
Kyuusai
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Vexx, thank you for the kind words. That's one of the highest compliments I've been paid.
I honestly hope that doing my best to be respectful, even-handed, and intellectually honest serves as a sort of apology for those religious folks who aren't. No matter who/what religion is correct, accuracy of religious belief doesn't make people any less, well, people, after all, and people can be (for lack of a better word) real goobers.


On the debate of the necessity of religion for a moral framework, I say this... Accuracy of religious belief does not make one a better person. It could serve as a most valuable tool in that pursuit, but Judaism/Christianity draw a clear distinction that religious belief and the condition of the heart are quite separate things (things that can work in tandem, but separate).

In Christianity/Judaism, the moral framework isn't just based on "God's whim", but is a set of "operating recommendations" for the world God created. Based on that, religion isn't necessary for a moral framework; all you'd need are observational skills and critical thinking (which is how half of the moral framework of these religions made it into the religions in the first place).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemstar View Post
I can't think of one good reason why I would want to have a religion ? Can anyone tell me the benefits of having one ? Besides you get to go to heaven.
Well, it could provide a sense of purpose, a moral framework, fill your live with meaning... but if you want all that, you can go join a club. Practically speaking, that's all most religions are. Those are all available without converting and deciding that you want to adopt a set of beliefs wholesale.

If a person has a religion, it should be a natural consequence of their critical thinking to form their beliefs, or some unmistakable revelation that makes it clear.

The mere question of the existence of a creator is good for little more than curiosity.
If there is a creator and/or a spiritual world, though, and we can know at least a little something about it that will actually be relevant to our lives, that would be good to know.
If there is a creator who loves you and wants to have a relationship with you... that would be REALLY good to know.

A religion won't do you much more good than an MMO guild. A knowledge and understanding of the world observable beyond our physical senses (should one believe it exists)... is another thing entirely. What good it would do you depends entirely on what the details of that are.

I guess that's just a fancy way of saying "Each religion has its own answer to that question."

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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Note also that the reverse holds true. The Jewish oppression over the Canaanites, the Christian Crusades, and the more recent Islamic Jihadists are all historical examples of where religious groups went as a majority force to oppress and bring violence to others. It has been said that the only religion to not cause war and strife is Buddhism, so I presume that there are other examples that I'm simply not aware of. With the exception of the Jewish acts (and probably only because these happened so long ago that the only historical accounts of it are in the religious texts themselves), the Crusades and the current Jihad are waved away as not being part of the religion itself. That is, the religion does not dictate that these should occur, but the religious organization instruments them. That hand-waving does nothing to alleviate the fact that the devout tend to partake in these activities, believing that they must be right because their organization dictated them to occur. Both the Crusades and the Jihad are today recognized as being relatively atrocious acts. If those with religion on their side can truly distinguish the difference, they wouldn't have participated. In fact, it would have been their duty to speak out against such acts.

I am aware that not everyone who participated in the Crusades were Christian. The Church basically announced an open-game session on the Middle East, and even non-Christians attended. It doesn't change the fact that the Church itself was the driving force behind the Crusades, and that Christians did participate as well.
Wait a tick.

The devout do, indeed, tend to do atrocious things. If it's in opposition to the teaching of their religion, though, how is the religion to blame?

Christians and Jews have religious texts that stress one theme above all the others: That people keep screwing it up! It's a constant cycle: The religious leaders and/or majority of the adherents ignore the teaching of their religion and screw things up beyond belief, and a small minority are left to try to reign them in and fix things.

If the religion itself admonishes its adherents of the preceding generations that ignored the moral teachings of the religion, how is the religion to blame when people again ignore those moral teachings? The religion is not the people, except in cases where the religion specifies a group of people as infallible keepers of the religion. Catholicism is the only example of that that comes to mind at the moment, but the Roman Catholic church has NEVER represented the entirety of Christianity. What we today call Judaism actually even considered the organized clergy and religious teaching/leadership to be different roles.

Atrocities are perpetrated regardless of religion. It's not that the people tend to do such things because they are devout, but that people tend to find excuses to do what they're after. That they'll be done in the name of religion can't be considered a reflection on the religion unless the religion calls for such atrocities. As I've said before in another thread, the only decent example in Judeo-Christian religious text of a divine mandate for gruesome acts (as opposed to gruesome acts being done along the way) was to a nation of people who'd been following a pillar of fire through the desert for forty years, and done specifically as an act of preservation. To quote myself: "I think that's a good litmus-test for a holy war, and no one has passed it since."
Anything since I would consider to be non-representative of the religions, no matter what the actors in these cases claimed.
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Last edited by Kyuusai; 2008-02-18 at 00:18.
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:09   Link #334
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On reading Kyuusai's post, I felt the urge to post my (further offtopic) comment on religions:

I have no problem with people believing whatever they want. What I do have problems with is with other people using the beliefs as tools to herd people around. And, historically, that's what religions have been--a tool to herd people. Some currents of thinking may also argue that the very reason why they were born was to control people... so, under those views, religion is actually bad in and of itself (well, if you actually consider the manipulation of people a bad thing, that is).

I'm not alleging adherence to that line of thinking, but my heart would rather do so.
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:09   Link #335
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@Edgewalker: I remember seeing this thought process in one of my first religious studies classes in university. Nice presentation of it and the translative boundary filter between Objective and Subjective.


@Kyuusai: I think he's pointing at the God-directed massacres of entire peoples (and their little dogs) that occupy a fair amount of the Old Testament as told from the perspective of the massacring agents. I'm not going to add to that because I suspect you and I have some similar ideas on the Old Testament in regard to its applicability on "how to live one's life."
Also, when the Roman Empire hoisted the "Christian" flag after that particular battle -- many aspects of that religion took a sudden turn.

@all: I'm a little concerned that this thread is transmogrifying from an explanation of one's belief system (or why one doesn't) ... into a critique of particular religions or non-religious views. Subtle difference, yeah. Just try to bat the sacred cows around without slamming them into each other, eh? Its hard to explain why you don't believe something without bumping someone else's personal tablets.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-02-18 at 00:23.
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:20   Link #336
Ledgem
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Originally Posted by Kyuusai View Post
Wait a tick.

The devout do, indeed, tend to do atrocious things. If it's in opposition to the teaching of their religion, though, how is the religion to blame?
The religious organization orchestrating the affair could be to blame, but I was not stating that the religion itself is to blame - I believe you saw what I was saying and have probably seen those examples used to justify stating that religion is evil and causes strife. That's a different subject entirely. What I was saying was indirectly in response to Blizzer's statements/implying that a non-religious person lacks a sense of morals. TinyRedLeaf stated that he felt this was false because he feels that there is a distinction and knows of it, despite being agnostic.

I merely wanted to take his argument a step further and turn it slightly on the offensive by showing that even those with religion on their side can and have commit wrongs - they've committed some of the most atrocious wrongs in the history of the civilized world. I feel it's important to know this because many people feel that because they are religious, that they are superior to the non-religious and/or those of "inferior" religions. When you feel that you are morally and ethically superior to those around you, you are set to commit some horrible wrongs and not even realize it. I want the religious zealots to be sober and know that they're not immune from committing the very sins they dedicate their life to eradicating.

I am not anti-religious; I am not religious, but I belong to one of the "major three" religions. I feel it's important to know what religion can lead to partly because I've seen plenty of stuck-up Christians. They feel that they must save everyone else and that because they go to church every Sunday, they're saints. Many of these people are quite deplorable and unkind, to put it nicely. I feel that they've become drunk with moral righteousness while putting in very little effort to improve themselves. I will echo Vexx in stating that you approach these matters with a cool head, Kyuusai. You are a good example of a person who follows religion and takes its message the right way - or maybe you're just a good person at heart.
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:23   Link #337
cicido
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
On reading Kyuusai's post, I felt the urge to post my (further offtopic) comment on religions:

I have no problem with people believing whatever they want. What I do have problems with is with other people using the beliefs as tools to herd people around. And, historically, that's what religions have been--a tool to herd people. Some currents of thinking may also argue that the very reason why they were born was to control people... so, under those views, religion is actually bad in and of itself (well, if you actually consider the manipulation of people a bad thing, that is).

I'm not alleging adherence to that line of thinking, but my heart would rather do so.
And that is the reasons why religion is important for most governments throughout history.

But everybody have a religion, not just Christianity, or Buddhism, but it is the belief. If you believe that there is no god then that is your religion. So I don't really get why would people say things like "I have no religion" or "religion is bad for you"
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:24   Link #338
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The entire premise that to be ethical requires an absolute being rests on the idea that the answer to the euthyphro dilemma is that it is "right because God says so". This makes God an objective being- meaning that all he says is 100% truth and reality.
The dilemma can be expressed with a simple question: "Is morality independent from God?"

Is God a guide who points out the way to good behaviour, or is He the final arbiter of what is good? If God defines what is good by fiat, he is no different from an individual who defines what is good based on his own judgement.

For the statement, “God is good,” or more generally, “X is good,” to even make sense, we need some idea of what “good” means. Both theists and atheists have a hard time grappling with this concept.

Hm, in any case, I worry that any further discussion would lead this thread astray. Feel free to PM me instead if you wish to continue.
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:25   Link #339
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If you believe that there is no god then that is your religion.
Err, no, if you believe there is no god, that's called atheism, and it's the opposite of religion. Religion is based on a belief with zero factual evidence (namely, the existence of a superior being). Atheism, on the other hand, is based on factual evidence.

(PS: We may discuss all day about whether people can live without believing in something or not, but the "true" definition of atheism still stands).
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Old 2008-02-18, 00:33   Link #340
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In regards to this whole "Crusades" and "Jihad" discussion -

From what I understand, events of this nature are not perpetrated by the members of the religion at large, but rather by isolated extremist groups, who either take their religious texts too literally, or not literally enough. The Crusades (and now I'm assuming we're talking about the goings on in the middle ages, forgive me for not remembering dates) were a bit of a different scenario, in that those who chose not to go along with the Crusaders, were persecuted as heretics. Although the Crusades were still largely carried out by extremist sects of Christianity, the entire religion was sort of dragged along by the coattails because of what those people were actually trying to accomplish (a "cleansing," if you will, of the Christian faith).

Jihads, I think, are on a slightly similar wavelength, though slightly different as well. For the most part, Islamic and Muslim leaders who discuss Jihads, do so by aligning them with a specific (or non-specific) group of extremists (lately, Al-Qaeda has been popular). And I think, in a sense, that is true. From what I've bore witness to, Islamic and Muslim leaders neither agree with, nor adhere to, the standards and definitions procured by these groups. It's something like extremist Christianity; there's lots of people who believe the world is only as old as the Bible (Fundamentalist Christians), but that's certainly not the majority of the religion's followers. It's only one interpretation of the text, and it encompasses just a small group of believers, when compared against the whole Christian world. In a sense, those who participate in extremist Jihads are of the same fashion, in a different religion.

Maybe that's what you were trying to say all along, but that was just sort of burning in my brain, so I thought I'd spew it onto the page...
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