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Old 2010-09-27, 19:18   Link #2841
Miyuki-ism
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You're not supposed to take the bible literally, for the most part.

One of the reasons I want to read all of it is because of my mother, who is my ultimate role model. She has no house or car, limited money and lives in a room she is renting in a house of this rich Chinese family. Despite all of this she is as happy as ever, so I want to see her motivation.

She's 57.
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Old 2010-09-28, 00:06   Link #2842
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D0rYn View Post
Here's a hint - when reading the Bible, make sure you take in consideration the many logical fallacies scattered throughout it. Most Christians just ignore them, and this tells a lot about their religious beliefs, in my opinion.
Here's a corollary hint: Atheism doesn't stop with rejecting God. Many "atheists" think that is all there is to it, and this tells me a lot about their attitude to life, in my opinion. There's a lot more reading and reflection to be done, and denying the divine is the easy part — it's just the beginning, in fact.

In the absence of God, what follows? How is one supposed to conduct oneself in a godless world? What is one supposed to believe in such a situation?

So, ideally, posters shouldn't post to cast doubts or put other people's beliefs in poor light. If you don't believe, then you simply don't — there's no need to pour scorn on others who do. Rather, what I want to read about are your beliefs, religious or not, and why you choose to have them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyuki-ism View Post
You're not supposed to take the bible literally, for the most part.

One of the reasons I want to read all of it is because of my mother, who is my ultimate role model. She has no house or car, limited money and lives in a room she is renting in a house of this rich Chinese family. Despite all of this she is as happy as ever, so I want to see her motivation.
For most of my life, I believed myself to be heavily influenced by Confucian ethics but, truth be told, I have never formally studied The Analects. This is a shortcoming I'm now trying to address. The Bible, to me, is a collection of guidelines for deeper reflection that would, in turn, hopefully inspire virtuous behaviour. The Analects work in the same spirit — read literally, most of the verses aren't relevant to modern concerns. But, on reflection, some of the advice still rings true to this day.

With regard to your context, this was recorded:
The Master said: Riches and position are what men desire. If their attainment is to be by departing from the Way, do not have them. Poverty and wellness are what men hate. If their abandonment is to be departing from the Way, do not abandon them. If the gentleman abandons benevolence, how is he to live up to his reputation! The gentleman does not deviate from benevolence, not even during meals, during hectic times, nor in destitution.
- The Analects, Book IV, Verse 5
Implicit in the verse is the assumption that to follow the Way is to be virtuous. But the "Way" can mean different things to different people in different contexts. So, my advice when you seek to learn as much as you can from the Bible:
The Master said: Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.
- Book II, Verse 15
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Old 2010-09-28, 00:57   Link #2843
O.D.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf
Here's a corollary hint: Atheism doesn't stop with rejecting God. Many "atheists" think that is all there is to it, and this tells me a lot about their attitude to life, in my opinion. There's a lot more reading and reflection to be done, and denying the divine is the easy part — it's just the beginning, in fact.
Here's another hint: I am Agnostic, not Atheist. Don't start assuming things just like that, thank you.

Also, I am not trying to "put other people's beliefs in poor light". What I really want to do is to "make people look more in a more 'objective' manner at what they believe". That's all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf
In the absence of God, what follows? How is one supposed to conduct oneself in a godless world? What is one supposed to believe in such a situation?
Umm... Wouldn't this thread be far more suitable for this kind of discussions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf
Rather, what I want to read about are your beliefs, religious or not, and why you choose to have them.
Already posted my beliefs a bunch of pages ago. If you had read them, you (probably) wouldn't have made all these assumptions.
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Old 2010-09-28, 01:22   Link #2844
james0246
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Discussions of The Bible, or any religious text, are strictly forbidden. A quote or two to emphasize why such spiritual text has influenced your beliefs is more than acceptable (in fact it is encouraged if relevant), but any discussion of holy text is strictly outside the scope of the topic "What's Your Religion?".

Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
So, ideally, posters shouldn't post to cast doubts or put other people's beliefs in poor light. If you don't believe, then you simply don't — there's no need to pour scorn on others who do. Rather, what I want to read about are your beliefs, religious or not, and why you choose to have them.
This is the reason for this thread. Preach on Brother Tiny .
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Old 2010-09-28, 03:15   Link #2845
domomonster
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Im agnostic... i used to be christian but then i got sick of people - particularly the younger people i knew who would tell people they were good catholics and preach about morals but would still sleep around, get drunk and basically do the things that they preach against... i appreciate religion and like that some people find happiness and purpose in life with it but i dont like it being shoved in my face as if its the only thing that one should be listening too or following - i dont like influence in politics or law either...
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Old 2010-09-28, 03:35   Link #2846
Shinjite
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I have no idea what a Christian, agnostic, or Atheism or any other religion is.
I dont know what they believe in and neither do i want to know.

I dont have a religion.

Only thing i believe is that we are not alone in the universe.
I dont know if this has a special name?
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Old 2010-09-28, 04:26   Link #2847
monster
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Quote:
what lead you (the individual posters) to your current world view
If you were religious but not any more due to other people of that religion, is it because you don't want to be associated with them? Or do their actions make you think the religion is pointless since even those who are supposed to be religious can turn out to be flawed human beings as well?

If there are other (hopefully better*) reasons which I haven't considered, feel free to share them.



* Don't worry, while I don't personally think the reasons I mentioned are good, I'm not here to debate their merits. Especially since we're not supposed to debate in this thread. I just want to know people's reasons in this particular matter.

Last edited by james0246; 2010-09-28 at 08:44. Reason: deleted off-topic portion...
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Old 2010-09-28, 07:06   Link #2848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinjite View Post
I have no idea what a Christian, agnostic, or Atheism or any other religion is.
I dont know what they believe in and neither do i want to know.

I dont have a religion.

Only thing i believe is that we are not alone in the universe.
I dont know if this has a special name?
that would probably make you agnostic, kinda like me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monstert View Post
I don't understand why this type of reasoning is used a lot (against having religion, in this case). Especially since the part I bolded meant that it probably wasn't the religion itself that was the problem.

So what do other people think about this? There are plenty of reasons why one would reject a religion, but to reject it because other people may not be so good at being faithful to that religion seems a bit strange.

It appears as if people do not want to be guilty by association. Which I feel is the wrong attitude to approach religion, since it's supposed to be a personal matter first and foremost.
Im not that im against religion as such, its just im not a religious person and i can accept that but still do believe there is possibly a god and i agree with some of the morals and values that religion teaches. I have great respect for true christians who actually practice what they preach
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Old 2010-09-28, 07:56   Link #2849
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
Here's a corollary hint: Atheism doesn't stop with rejecting God. Many "atheists" think that is all there is to it, and this tells me a lot about their attitude to life, in my opinion. There's a lot more reading and reflection to be done, and denying the divine is the easy part — it's just the beginning, in fact.

In the absence of God, what follows? How is one supposed to conduct oneself in a godless world? What is one supposed to believe in such a situation?

So, ideally, posters shouldn't post to cast doubts or put other people's beliefs in poor light. If you don't believe, then you simply don't — there's no need to pour scorn on others who do. Rather, what I want to read about are your beliefs, religious or not, and why you choose to have them.



For most of my life, I believed myself to be heavily influenced by Confucian ethics but, truth be told, I have never formally studied The Analects. This is a shortcoming I'm now trying to address. The Bible, to me, is a collection of guidelines for deeper reflection that would, in turn, hopefully inspire virtuous behaviour. The Analects work in the same spirit — read literally, most of the verses aren't relevant to modern concerns. But, on reflection, some of the advice still rings true to this day.

With regard to your context, this was recorded:
The Master said: Riches and position are what men desire. If their attainment is to be by departing from the Way, do not have them. Poverty and wellness are what men hate. If their abandonment is to be departing from the Way, do not abandon them. If the gentleman abandons benevolence, how is he to live up to his reputation! The gentleman does not deviate from benevolence, not even during meals, during hectic times, nor in destitution.
- The Analects, Book IV, Verse 5
Implicit in the verse is the assumption that to follow the Way is to be virtuous. But the "Way" can mean different things to different people in different contexts. So, my advice when you seek to learn as much as you can from the Bible:
The Master said: Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.
- Book II, Verse 15
I always found "Formal Study" of a religious or a philosophical text one of the prime reasons that founded fundamentalism. That is to say, the assertion that there must exist a "specific" mode of study and analysis before one's beliefs opinions on the text and teachings in question could be considered valid. I also studied parts of The Analects as part of a class in college, and I read the Tao Te Ching "informally" for my own pleasure. While there is nothing wrong with some sort of formalized approach, especially for academic purposes to assist in more difficult aspects such as symbolism, context and such, strict formal study will become the cornerstone that cultivates narrow mindedness.

As an old professor of mine used to say, formal study and fundamentalism is like being in Plato's Cave.
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Old 2010-09-28, 09:43   Link #2850
TinyRedLeaf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
I always found "Formal Study" of a religious or a philosophical text one of the prime reasons that founded fundamentalism.
You answered your own concern:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
While there is nothing wrong with some sort of formalized approach, especially for academic purposes to assist in more difficult aspects such as symbolism, context
The Analects are, unfortunately, too sparse to be understood on their own, so I'm currently reading it in conjunction with The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics by Chin Ann-Ping.

I'm a working man with pragmatic concerns. I hardly have time to read philosophy for its own sake. So, I believe I'm a long way off from developing fundamentalist delusions.
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Old 2010-09-28, 09:50   Link #2851
MeoTwister5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
You answered your own concern:


The Analects are, unfortunately, too sparse to be understood on their own, so I'm currently reading it in conjunction with The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics by Chin Ann-Ping.

I'm a working man with pragmatic concerns. I hardly have time to read philosophy for its own sake. So, I believe I'm a long way off from developing fundamentalist delusions.
Likewise. I have to spend more time with science to have time with more moralist and abstract things. Of course I still think that many aspects of Confucianism easily apply in the modern world, especially in Medicine. Obviously I actually need a license first before I can put that to practice.
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Old 2010-09-28, 14:27   Link #2852
Cipher
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Originally Posted by D0rYn View Post
Here's another hint: I am Agnostic, not Atheist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by domomonster View Post
that would probably make you agnostic, kinda like me.
Quote:
Agnostic Atheism

Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not have belief in the existence of any deity, and agnostic because they do not claim to know that a deity does not exist.

-wiki
Atheism, in its broadest definition, is absence of faith. So, agnosticism and atheism are not necessarily separated, nor is agnosticism and theism.

By wiki's standard, I'm probably Agnostic Theist. But, man, I dilute myself in this cycle of confusion. Is such a position even rational?

I'm also weak agnostic.
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Old 2010-09-28, 16:08   Link #2853
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cipher View Post
Atheism, in its broadest definition, is absence of faith. So, agnosticism and atheism are not necessarily separated, nor is agnosticism and theism.

By wiki's standard, I'm probably Agnostic Theist. But, man, I dilute myself in this cycle of confusion. Is such a position even rational?

I'm also weak agnostic.
Atheism is like you said, the complete absence of faith in all senses. But isnt Agnosticism the belief that there is true value of certain claims between the existence of a deity, and the non-existence of any deity? So that means they atleast "think' that deities can exist in any since. Atheists disapprove against any evidence that a deity exists in the world at all. While Agnostics believe it only if it has some proof to it.
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Old 2010-09-28, 17:13   Link #2854
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Hooves View Post
Atheists disapprove against any evidence that a deity exists in the world at all. While Agnostics believe it only if it has some proof to it.
And what would it take for agnostics to believe in the divine?

Long ago, in my callous youth, I told a good friend of mine, a devout Christian, that I don't believe in God because miracles (the pillar-of-salt, parting- the-Red-Seas kind) can't possibly exist. To which he replied: Would I be able to recognise a miracle when I see it, if I don't believe in miracles in the first place?

It seemed a flippant answer at the time. But consider a single, powerful scene from The Watchmen, when Dr Manhattan, the ultimate symbol of Big Science, realised the sheer impossibility of coincidences that led to a single, completely unique, individual he loved: Laurie, the Silk Spectre.

Miracle or random chance? What you fundamentally believe affects how you interpret reality.
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Old 2010-09-28, 17:26   Link #2855
Anh_Minh
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Sounds like sample selection bias to me. Or maybe the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Snowflakes are unique too. Who gives a damn?

Though I don't deny the problem of using miracles as a yardstick for the existence of the divine. I mean, if you believe them plausible, they're not very miraculous, are they? And if not, you'll always reach for the "alternate explanation". Even if it's a bit of a stretch.
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Old 2010-09-28, 18:42   Link #2856
justsomeguy
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Originally Posted by Hooves View Post
Atheists disapprove against any evidence that a deity exists in the world at all.
It's pretty hard to disapprove of evidence that doesn't exist.

A more accurate distinction is:
*Atheists do not believe god(s) exist, for whatever reason.
*Agnostics believe the existence or non-existence of god(s) is unknown.

As for miracles, there have been none that can be directly attributed to God. "Miracles" themselves are often paired with disasters or misfortune of some kind, so they are hardly the sort of good thing that people think they are. Better not to be a victim in the first place than to have to "be saved."
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Old 2010-09-28, 19:31   Link #2857
monster
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I view miracles in two ways:

1. Generally, any work done by God.
2. Any work done by God that humans may not be used to.

So both the continuation of life and water turning into wine are miracles, going by view #1. But going by view #2, only water turning into wine is specifically called a miracle because humans are not used to that, while we see life continues everyday.
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Old 2010-09-28, 20:31   Link #2858
TinyRedLeaf
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Sounds like sample selection bias to me. Or maybe the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. Snowflakes are unique too. Who gives a damn?
I still don't believe in miracles, the #2 kind that monstert described. No offence.

Selection bias is precisely the point I've been trying to drive across, not just in this thread, but also in a number of other threads in this forum.

In here, for example, we find people who are already so dead set against any one religion that they can easily proffer up any number of quotes and examples to support their case. How often do we find people doing the opposite, confronting their own biases as and where they exist, to check that they aren't merely looking for facts to confirm their own prejudices?

That's why I request people to reserve judgment on the beliefs that others wish to post here. We are not required to believe what they do. You might even find them silly. But we shouldn't let that prevent others from articulating their beliefs to the best of their abilities. And, in so doing, I hope to learn whatever I have not thought about before.

To translate that into the context of this thread, I am agnostic. Having decided that it is impossible to know whether God exists, I choose forever more to defer judgment on that question. At the same time, I am a secular humanist: I choose to have faith in humanity's capacity for good. It is very hard to keep faith, not least because of the ample amount of human failings, from the petty to the egregious, that I see every day.

But I remind myself that I have a duty and obligation to my fellow men. Where I believe they err, I must ensure that I don't. And one of the first errors I must avoid is to mock others without first mocking myself.

Only by mastering my own faults can I hope to show an example for others to follow. My faults are legion.
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Old 2010-09-29, 16:11   Link #2859
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
That's why I request people to reserve judgment on the beliefs that others wish to post here. We are not required to believe what they do. You might even find them silly. But we shouldn't let that prevent others from articulating their beliefs to the best of their abilities. And, in so doing, I hope to learn whatever I have not thought about before.
I don't think snap judgments against religious people are alright, but speaking from personal experience, I think I can understand why some people do it.

For years, western nations were so dominated by Christianity that deviance from the religion was unthinkable. In my case, my father grew up in a religious household in Ireland where the influence of Catholicism was very strong until relatively recently. To him, the idea of going against Catholic beliefs is unthinkable. There's no room for discussion, no acceptance of alternative beliefs. Now, I can't fault him because that is what has worked for him and how he was taught, but if I ever try to express my viewpoints for any reason I am promptly told how my beliefs (in his words) are "dribble". He can so casually dismiss anything I say, and I suspect this is a fairly common theme amongst families that have been religious for such a long period of time.

They can't wrap their heads around people denying religion because, to them, it just wasn't (isn't) done. So people like me, who grew up in that type of environment, but found the logic behind religion not to our liking, are so used to being instantly dismissed that we have these 'talking points,' as you said, that we use to poke holes in their beliefs. When your views are rejected so quickly, it is nice to have some ammunition of your own to throw back. It wasn't until I was 16-17 and I met actual theologians who were willing to discuss beliefs openly, and made an effort to explain the thinking behind why they believed that way, that I realized theism can be a justifiable stance, and that it is better to wait and see what people's arguments are before jumping down their throat about fallacies and the like. I would guess that many others never have this experience, and thus only view religion through people like my father who can't be bothered to consider other stances.

Last edited by ChainLegacy; 2010-09-29 at 16:32.
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Old 2010-09-29, 19:14   Link #2860
Vexx
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A recent poll in the US uncovered a "disturbing lack of knowledge" in people concerning their own religion (never mind other religions). Agnostics and atheists (self-identifying as such) scored substantially higher in knowledge... as did Mormons (but then that religion actually has *classes* about their religion).
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html
http://www.religionnewsblog.com/19478/religion-poll-2
http://ncse.com/news/2010/09/darwin-...eligion-006205
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