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Old 2008-03-07, 05:33   Link #541
Epoq
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Ugh. No surprise here that this thread eventually erupted into endless debates...

Alright, commercial break is over. Back to arguing.
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Old 2008-03-07, 06:11   Link #542
Liddo-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiachopvutru View Post
I'm not Ledgem but rather than him trying to persuade you that God exists, I think he merely pointed out that whether "God does not exist until proven otherwise" or "There's a possibility that God exists until proven otherwise", instead of choosing to go with one or the other, it's perfectly well to consider the other possibility or embrace both principles.

So instead of becoming a believer or an atheist, be an agnostic, at least for a very little while.
For that I would just repost what I've said earlier:

If you're going to say that God exists until someone proves he doesn't exist, then we might as well all believe that anime characters exist in real life. And they're just hidden somewhere on this planet, so there's just no proof YET that they exist in real life.

To make it simple, Ledgem's argument is basically:

Since there's no proof that [insert name of higher being or name of fictional character here] doesn't exist, then there's a possiblity that [insert name of higher being or fictional character here] exists.

Since there's no proof that God doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that God exists.

Since there's no proof that Xenu doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that Xenu exists.

Since there's no proof that Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.

Since there's no proof that Shana doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that Shana exists.

Since there's no proof that Sonic the Hedgehog doesn't exist, then there's a prossibility that Sonic the Hedgehog exists.

Since there's no proof that Bugs Bunny doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that Bugs Bunny exists.

Since there's no proof that Batman doesn't exist, then there's a possibility that Batman exists.

I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I just found his argument to be odd because it's not only God but any fictional character
(whom we don't have any proof if they actually exist in real life) can be slotted in as well.

The only things that matters to me in this world are family, friends, work and of course anime.
I can never consider myself agnostic because frankly, my belief in the existance of a higher being is zero.

@Ledgem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Yeah, damn those history books, too - I bet George Washington never existed.
Though I believe that proving that George Washington existed and became a U.S president is easier, compared to proving the existance of miraculous miracles written on the bible.

Quote:
However your stating that I am disagreeing with you because I believe in God as well as interpreting that sentence to be an insult to you makes me wonder if you're trying to view me as some sort of enemy.
A person doesn't become my enemy just by a forum argument no need to be too sensitive.

Quote:
I am not trying to make anyone believe in God. I simply do not appreciate the haughty attitude of Athiests who feel that they are better than "people who believe in fairytales" and base their superiority on the belief that they are following reasoning, logic, and evidence.
I'm not one of those people, religion is not my way of considering who's the better person.
Though I will gladly argue with religious people who consider a person is "nothing" just because the said person doesn't believe in God or any higher being.

Last edited by Liddo-kun; 2008-03-07 at 11:13.
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Old 2008-03-07, 12:44   Link #543
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liddo-kun View Post
For that I would just repost what I've said earlier:

If you're going to say that God exists until someone proves he doesn't exist, then we might as well all believe that anime characters exist in real life. And they're just hidden somewhere on this planet, so there's just no proof YET that they exist in real life.
I understand your reasoning, but surely you understand why there's debate over whether God exists or not rather than debate over whether anime characters live in the middle of the Earth or whether fairies exist? The reason is that there was a large mass of people who fell in with these beliefs long ago. If Thentus is right in stating that people during that time were all ignorant and gullible, then we probably don't need to wonder about what happened. However I don't believe that people were like that.

So, what happened to make thousands of people in the past believe in this? Did something unusual really happen? We weren't there and we can only analyze the various religious texts and teachings that exist. It becomes further complicated because we can't necessarily take everything at face value.

For example, the story of Jesus feeding thousands of people with a meal that would only be able to feed one man (apologies if that's not the exact story, but I believe it was the idea). If we take it literally it means that Jesus somehow created food from nothing. That idea will always be irrational to skeptics (perhaps until we can do it ourselves with nanotechnology fabricators) and they immediately write it off as ridiculous. But what if Jesus did something else - what if he cut extremely small pieces and made people to feel full by giving them some sort of philosophy, or said something to make them feel good? It still fits what's in the Bible, although now it sounds a bit more realistic and a bit less miraculous.

I'll restate my main point again: what I stated was less of an argument for God, but more of an argument against God detractors who like to think that they're basing a disbelief in God on solid proof. There is no proof that God doesn't exist. There's no proof that Batman doesn't exist, either. The reason we're not discussing Batman is that there isn't an extremely large group of people claiming to have seen him on multiple occasions. That is the critical difference.

Quote:
A person doesn't become my enemy just by a forum argument no need to be too sensitive.
I brought that up not because I care to make friends, but because if you've identified me as a religious fanatic (the types you don't seem to be fond of) then you will never agree with practically anything I say. Justifying disagreement to yourself based on the idea that the other person is cracked, fundamentally wrong, or brainwashed is very easy.

Quote:
I'm not one of those people, religion is not my way of considering who's the better person.
Though I will gladly argue with religious people who consider a person is "nothing" just because the said person doesn't believe in God or any higher being.
I agree with you on all counts. As the religious claim, I think that religion really does improve the lives of some people. At the same time, some people take it too far or take it the wrong way and harm themselves due to it.

At my university it's not unusual to be approached at least twice a year by a person (often holding a Bible) who will ask what you think about God, or what your religion is, or if you go to Church - questions like that. If you have the time, they'll sit you down and give you a miniature lecture, generally followed by a plug for a Christian group or a local Church. I often reverse the lecture and discuss Judaism with differences to Christianity, or different interpretations of Christian texts. I don't do this to cause trouble, but to make them think. If you don't care about religion and don't want to think about it that's perfectly fine, but if you're going to choose a view on religion (that includes the Athiests) I want you to have a constant train of thought going. Don't just listen to a preacher and accept it - read, review, and think on your own. Too many religious people just go to Church for their weekly lecture and then never think twice about what was said to them, they just accept it as fact. In a sense that's almost like brainwashing.

If a Christian comes to me stating that I am going to hell for not being a Christian (which I've heard before), I will counter with other Christian ideals and Jewish texts. I will attempt to have him evaluate what he said and why he said it. Similarly, if an Athiest comes to me stating that God doesn't exist and that he is more rational than religious people, I will counter him because I believe he has not considered what he is saying. Where is his proof? There is none. Why is he more rational? Simply because he is choosing to believe that events that groups of people wrote about a long time ago are made up. I have no problem with the belief of either, but the justifications employed by both are not practical. (It's also amusing how Athiests get very upset when they begin realizing that they're really not too different from thiests, even though they'd worked themselves very well into believing that they were completely different.)

Lastly, I write a lot here and that's because I'm cooped up in a basement office with no windows and very little contact with my co-workers, and I get fiesty during those 20-minute breaks when the computer is processing
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Old 2008-03-07, 13:29   Link #544
Icehawk
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Quote:
I'll restate my main point again: what I stated was less of an argument for God, but more of an argument against God detractors who like to think that they're basing a disbelief in God on solid proof. There is no proof that God doesn't exist. There's no proof that Batman doesn't exist, either. The reason we're not discussing Batman is that there isn't an extremely large group of people claiming to have seen him on multiple occasions. That is the critical difference.
Personal claims regardless of how big the number, which cannot be backed up in any meaningful way are useless. Atheists do not require anysort of "Proof that God DOESNT exist". For something as grandiose and with such far reaching consequences as a god we MUST have proper EVIDENCE to believe that it or they even exist in the first place, plain and simple, it just is not something we can simply put our "faith" in.
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Old 2008-03-07, 15:50   Link #545
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icehawk View Post
Personal claims regardless of how big the number, which cannot be backed up in any meaningful way are useless. Atheists do not require anysort of "Proof that God DOESNT exist". For something as grandiose and with such far reaching consequences as a god we MUST have proper EVIDENCE to believe that it or they even exist in the first place, plain and simple, it just is not something we can simply put our "faith" in.
Of course Athiests do not require proof that God doesn't exist to believe that God doesn't exist.

Christians don't need any proof that God exists to believe that God exists.

Understand? Nobody has proof. Both are chosen beliefs. Neither is superior to the other, neither is more rational than the other, neither is more grounded than the other.

Even evidence is subjective. You dismiss mass personal claims as admissable evidence in the same manner that people dismiss records and videos of the lunar landing as proof of the fact that man was on the moon. No evidence should immediately be accepted, but in this case you're not even bothering to examine it further to find out whether there's even a hint of truth in it.

Once again, this is not against Athiest beliefs. This is against Athiests claiming that their beliefs are backed by proof, reasoning, and being greatly more rational than the religiously observant.
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Old 2008-03-07, 16:54   Link #546
Anh_Minh
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There is no evidence against atheism, but every imperfection in the world is evidence against a perfect creator.
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Old 2008-03-07, 17:20   Link #547
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
There is no evidence against atheism, but every imperfection in the world is evidence against a perfect creator.
Correct - to an extent. What is "perfect" is rather subjective, isn't it? Further, keep in mind that you can't chain that argument to suddenly claim that all religion, or a belief in God, is flawed.

I think that many people hear about great acts of God (miracles and so on) and immediately accept them as essentially being acts of magic - both Athiests and Thiests alike. The Athiests are turned off by this and immediately say that such a thing is irrational and could never happen, therefore God is false. Thiests are attracted to this idea and boost the argument to say that God can do everything and anything, including breaking the laws of nature, and thus this is perfectly believable. In this case I'd be inclined to agree with the Athiests - I occasionally entertain the idea of magic but don't find it to be practical or realistic. However I can't dismiss God outright because not everyone believes that God performs magic. A good majority of the religious people seem to, but as we've established a good majority of them don't think twice about what they are told of their religion and they do not understand it very well themselves.

Perhaps the best way to show what I mean is to draw a comparison with the following question: do you believe in intelligent alien life?

A potential response (not my own) is no, I do not. Why? Well, if alien life existed, they would have contacted us by now. To make the example even more obvious, I could say no, I do not, because I don't believe in little green men.

In the first case, I've stated my opinion and justified it with a personal assumption - if there were alien life, it would have contacted us. The assumption is that life would have contacted us - it is a personal bias of mine that intelligent life scouring the galaxy wouldn't hesitate to do so if it existed. Who am I to say whether life would or would not do that? Perhaps this is similar to people who say "if God existed, X would have happened and/or Y would have happened" - who are you to say what God would do, or what would have happened if God did or did not exist? If there is alien life, we don't yet understand it and thus we don't know what it would do. Similarly if there is a God, we clearly don't have a firm understanding of this entity, and we can't say what God would do. The big idea here is that you are justifying to yourself that something can't exist based on your own expectations of that something.

The second case is more on track with the arguments I've heard here. If I say that aliens don't exist because I don't believe in little green men (perhaps because I don't believe that green people can exist), I have likely bought into a common belief about what aliens were commonly depicted as (at least, this was a common depiction in the past - now aliens are depicted as "greys"). Similarly, if you choose not to believe in God because you don't believe in miracles and magic, you have bought into a common conception of God. Could little green men exist? Perhaps, but unlikely. Could a magical God exist? Perhaps, but unlikely. To deny all possibilities of alien life because the idea of little green men doesn't seem feasible to me is a huge stretch. Who says that alien life has to come in that form? Just because it's a common idea doesn't make it an absolute. Similarly, to deny all possibilities of a "higher power" because I don't believe in magic is a rather large stretch. Who says that a higher power has to be a miracle worker?

The idea of God and the implications of the belief are more complicated than that, of course. I recognize that, and if anyone wants to discuss possible reasoning behind the idea of God or religious texts we can do so. That involves reasoning, and linking it with history may also serve as proof. But to say that God doesn't exist simply because there is no evidence that I've seen or that I find acceptable? If you don't want to believe in God, I don't think any evidence would ever be acceptable to you. It's the same for any subject - if you believe strongly in something, you will very likely ignore or belittle any evidence that goes against your belief. It isn't ignorance, but it is a very closed way of thinking that certainly requires you to ignore a fair bit of information.
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Last edited by Ledgem; 2008-03-07 at 20:50. Reason: Missed a response to Anh_Minh's statement
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Old 2008-03-07, 20:46   Link #548
Tonytime20
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I'm not religious at all. I don't really know if there's a god, but I'm open to the possibility of there being one. Just can't say since nobody know. That's right. Nobody knows.
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Old 2008-03-07, 21:52   Link #549
Liddo-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I understand your reasoning, but surely you understand why there's debate over whether God exists or not rather than debate over whether anime characters live in the middle of the Earth or whether fairies exist? The reason is that there was a large mass of people who fell in with these beliefs long ago. If Thentus is right in stating that people during that time were all ignorant and gullible, then we probably don't need to wonder about what happened. However I don't believe that people were like that.

So, what happened to make thousands of people in the past believe in this? Did something unusual really happen? We weren't there and we can only analyze the various religious texts and teachings that exist. It becomes further complicated because we can't necessarily take everything at face value.

For example, the story of Jesus feeding thousands of people with a meal that would only be able to feed one man (apologies if that's not the exact story, but I believe it was the idea). If we take it literally it means that Jesus somehow created food from nothing. That idea will always be irrational to skeptics (perhaps until we can do it ourselves with nanotechnology fabricators) and they immediately write it off as ridiculous. But what if Jesus did something else - what if he cut extremely small pieces and made people to feel full by giving them some sort of philosophy, or said something to make them feel good? It still fits what's in the Bible, although now it sounds a bit more realistic and a bit less miraculous.
I'm completely aware that we're debating whether God exists or not.

I hope you do notice that I've placed in there other characters related to a religion, such as God (Christianity), Xenu (Scientology) and Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism). The fictional characters (Sonic - some kids claim that Sonic is real and believe thay have just not seen him yet because he's too fast, Batman - my 12 year old cousin believes that he's not seen Batman yet because he's hiding in the Bat Cave) are there for a reason as well, because they share a common trait with all these characters related to religion - All are beings whom we don't have solid proof of existance but some people believe in them for a reason. And the reason for the belief is these people have FAITH (at varying levels) that those beings exist, so they are willing to believe even when there's no physical evidence of those beings actually existing.

It's no different than the FAITH in the existance of God, which of course we have no physical evidence of Him existing.
God doesn't walk around the street nor does he live in the Vatican with the Pope. Simple to say God is not physically here, that puts him on the same situation with other religious deities whose existance is yet to be proven, with anime characters whose existance is yet to be proven, with Batman whose existance is yet to proven..Until they actually show up and proclaim themselves, we can consider them to be nothing but products of people's over active imagination.

Quote:
I'll restate my main point again: what I stated was less of an argument for God, but more of an argument against God detractors who like to think that they're basing a disbelief in God on solid proof. There is no proof that God doesn't exist. There's no proof that Batman doesn't exist, either. The reason we're not discussing Batman is that there isn't an extremely large group of people claiming to have seen him on multiple occasions. That is the critical difference.
I'll restate my main point then:

Unless God actually comes down from heaven, he will just be a fictional character.

You've already said it, that your argument on the non-existance of God is the same reason as the non-existance of Batman.
The only difference is Batman does not have a huge following as God does. They're the same, both are entities that are yet to proven to exist, only God has a larger "fanbase".

Quote:
I brought that up not because I care to make friends, but because if you've identified me as a religious fanatic (the types you don't seem to be fond of) then you will never agree with practically anything I say. Justifying disagreement to yourself based on the idea that the other person is cracked, fundamentally wrong, or brainwashed is very easy.
Thought you were a religioous fanatic who thinks atheists are "nothing", it's all cleared up now though.

I was actually impressed and gave you a +rep for this post on Scientology weeks ago.

http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost...3&postcount=93

Quote:
I agree with you on all counts. As the religious claim, I think that religion really does improve the lives of some people. At the same time, some people take it too far or take it the wrong way and harm themselves due to it.

At my university it's not unusual to be approached at least twice a year by a person (often holding a Bible) who will ask what you think about God, or what your religion is, or if you go to Church - questions like that. If you have the time, they'll sit you down and give you a miniature lecture, generally followed by a plug for a Christian group or a local Church. I often reverse the lecture and discuss Judaism with differences to Christianity, or different interpretations of Christian texts. I don't do this to cause trouble, but to make them think. If you don't care about religion and don't want to think about it that's perfectly fine, but if you're going to choose a view on religion (that includes the Athiests) I want you to have a constant train of thought going. Don't just listen to a preacher and accept it - read, review, and think on your own. Too many religious people just go to Church for their weekly lecture and then never think twice about what was said to them, they just accept it as fact. In a sense that's almost like brainwashing.

If a Christian comes to me stating that I am going to hell for not being a Christian (which I've heard before), I will counter with other Christian ideals and Jewish texts. I will attempt to have him evaluate what he said and why he said it. Similarly, if an Athiest comes to me stating that God doesn't exist and that he is more rational than religious people, I will counter him because I believe he has not considered what he is saying. Where is his proof? There is none. Why is he more rational? Simply because he is choosing to believe that events that groups of people wrote about a long time ago are made up. I have no problem with the belief of either, but the justifications employed by both are not practical. (It's also amusing how Athiests get very upset when they begin realizing that they're really not too different from thiests, even though they'd worked themselves very well into believing that they were completely different.)
Agreed on the fact that it can get annoying.
My most unpleasant experience was with the nun, as I've already mentioned on a previuos post.

Though rather than being threatened with hell. They tend to use more complicated words like Limbo and Purgatory in the hopes of convincing me to join Christianity. If I still refuse to believe in God, they would say "scarier" threats that I will be possessed by a demon or some evil spirit would get me someday.

Another reason for being approached is when they're asking for charity donations. I usually give if they ask for donations to help sick and disabled children. But if it's donation for expanding/rebuilding churches then I won't give any.

Quote:
Lastly, I write a lot here and that's because I'm cooped up in a basement office with no windows and very little contact with my co-workers, and I get fiesty during those 20-minute breaks when the computer is processing
Hopefully the place you're in is well ventilated.

Posting this before my shift starts (10 hours of work each day mon-sat).
Life is challenging enough without having a religion.

Last edited by Liddo-kun; 2008-03-08 at 20:41. Reason: We're not supposed to complain about - reps.
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Old 2008-03-07, 22:39   Link #550
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liddo-kun View Post
I'm completely aware that we're debating whether God exists or not.

I hope you do notice that I've placed in there other characters related to a religion, such as God (Christianity), Xenu (Scientology) and Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism). The fictional characters
...
And the reason for the belief is these people have FAITH (at varying levels) that those beings exist, so they are willing to believe even when there's no physical evidence of those beings actually existing.
...
It's no different than the FAITH in the existance of God, which of course we have no physical evidence of Him existing.
I really can't disagree with anything there as you've presented it. I'd just like to once again make the distinction between Batman or Sonic and God. Nobody has ever claimed to have seen or known the existence of either fictional character, but there are mass accounts (or at the very least, lasting stories) of acts of God.

Scientology is actually a wonderful example to be used here, although I shied away from it since it's a huge topic in itself (it would have been a great example to counter Thentus' statement of pondering whether people now are more rational than in the past, though). If someone comes up to me and tells me that they know of some superior entity, the creator of mankind and the world, I'd figure that they were either a con artist or needed psychiatric assistance. If someone tells me that Sonic exists - but we just haven't seen him yet, it's a very similar thing in my mind (although children are excused from the harsher judgement). Scientology is a fledgling religion at this point and while it has its believers I think that all of us here can agree that it's incredibly sketchy. We also have rather strong evidence for that statement.

It gets rough with regular religion. Here is a story/history that has been handed down rather seriously through generations. I can't think of many other stories or myths that exist because people continued to strongly believe in them. This doesn't make it more credible, but to me it makes it a bit harder to simply wave away. I find it intriguing, not enough to dedicate my life to but enough that I enjoy these discussions, reading about religion, and exchanging ideas.

Quote:
Unless God actually comes down from heaven, he will just be a fictional character.

The only difference is Batman does not have a huge following as God does. They're the same, both are entities that are yet to proven to exist, only God has a larger "fanbase".
That may be so, but until we can determine whether everything written about God is fiction (and that's a lot of material) that's a questionable statement. And again, we don't know the level of truth that is written about God. Show me a list containing Batman sightings, or accounts of people who claim to have seen Batman or know Batman - then we'll be closer to being able to make the comparison as you said it. This comparison is easy for you to make because you don't accept the Bible or other religious texts as anything other than pure fiction. Maybe they are, but maybe they aren't.

Quote:
Posting this before my shift starts (10 hours of work each day mon-sat).
Life is challenging enough without having a religion.
That's a rough work schedule - kind of reminds me of the shifts that nurses work (although they do four day weeks, if I remember right).

Life is rough, but religion can ease it. Many people absolutely need religion to feel that living is worthwhile. I am personally happy to deal with the struggles and joys of life - if I was created by God then I hope that I'm doing a good job in His eyes, and if I was just born and will die then I'm happy to know that I'm working toward making the world and society a better place (and when I'm dead, I won't be able to care anymore, and that is fine with me). It's a bit saddening to me that some people really can't live without feeling that God is watching over them, or that everything must happen for a purpose. But you know, if that's what they need to be productive, cheerful, and enjoy life, what's wrong with that? It's a comforting notion.

As you've said, the overly zealous Christians give a bad vibe. I can understand their intent - they feel that they've made a huge revelation for good. I guess the equivalent would be finding a way to make your car get 100x better mileage - you'd want to share that with practically everyone you know so that they can reap the benefits, too. Unfortunately the sell for Christianity is often stating that you're damned if you don't follow along. It sort of reminds me of a funny excerpt from something that stays in my mind:

Quote:
Originally Posted by memory
Eskimo: So let me get this straight - if I believe in God then I will be saved, if I don't then I will go to Hell, but if I didn't know about God, then I wouldn't go to Hell?
Preacher: Correct.
Eskimo: Then why did you tell me?
Quote:
And lastly, I will say it now, I'm only stating personal opinion here, not ridiculing people who follows a religion. I only hit back when I'm struck first (like the Nun preaching religion in my office and saying "You, without God you are NOTHING!" when I refused to believe in God). Sure, I'm an atheist who gives +reps to atheists on this thread but I have NEVER given a neg rep to someone because he/she follows a religion. So no more neg reps please. -_-
People have been negative repping you for your posts? Where are my positives

Just kidding - I hope that the reputation won't prevent you from speaking your mind on this subject (nor any subject). I do appreciate the time you, Thentus, WanderingKnight, Anh_Minh and Ice Hawk have put in for your thoughts and I hope that you'll all continue thinking and speaking. (I'll give you a +rep to balance it out, Liddo-kun)

Happy Friday everyone.
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Old 2008-03-07, 22:53   Link #551
Edgewalker
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Emerald Forest ( yes its a real place. )
Its best to avoid debating whether God exists or not, and not because "everyone has their right to their opinion" or any other politically correct cheesy line you can come up with...but because better to focus on philosophy. This is something I have found through years of debating God's existence myself, watching others debate it, and reading books on it by people who have also spent a few too many years meditating under the waterfall.

The fact you must consider is this: is belief even a choice ? Most of us would view the idea that we do not choose our belief systems for ourselves as laughable, but when you think about it we really don't.

Try this the next time you wake up in the morning: look at your hand while trying to believe that your hand is actually your foot and that you have in reality been walking on your hands all your life. Try to reprogram all the memories of your life to be from the notion that you have always handstanded your way from life since day one. And don't just say it out loud - Honestly try to believe just that.

...You can't do it can you ?

Of course not. At best you might be able to imagine what life would have been like in such a bizzaro-backwards-world, but a part of your mind will always know that your memories of standing have always been on your feet. Not your hands.

We may make decisions based on free will from day to day - choosing to watch anime instead of drink booze all day - But we do not choose to believe that we are watching anime or drinking booze, it simply happens. Belief is a state of mind. It is a comprehension of reality, not something we choose.

I can choose to raise my hand in front of my eyes right now, but will I be choosing to believe that my hand is in front of my eyes ? Not really. I see it, and thus my comprehension of my current reality changes so that I understand my hand is in front of me. Basic logic.

When you think about it, the same thing occurs with religion. People do not choose their religion, they simply come to the conclusion that a religion is true based on the evidence they experience from it be it an incident they understood as supernatural, or an emotional need to fit into society that leads a person to pursue religion, or even just something as simple as being raised in a family with parent's telling them that "such and such" is true from day one. They live their life everyday believing that a supernatural force is - or is not - following them around and guiding them through life. Just like you cannot reprogram your memories to believe that you have always walked on your hands your life, it is both naive and absurd to think that anyone will just magically be able to reprogram their beliefs by walking up to and telling them that "Jesus loves them" or that "Adults with imaginary friends are stupid".

God is a subject that many people feel an emotional need or just a simple feeling that leads them to believe in him. You can argue that facts till they are blue in the face, but the conclusion will lead nowhere. I have seen hundreds of religious debates with neither side budging an inch. And why would they ? Each side has spent their entire life practicing, feeling, studying their own religion. Each side believes that their God talks to them in some way, or in the case of atheists that it is all a delusion. Personally I side with the Atheist's in that regard, but it doesn't change the fact that a person will only stop believing in their religion if the thing that causes them to understand reality - the "Hand in front of the eyes" - goes away first. This almost never happens, and when it does - it can take years.


Which is why rather then focusing on what is and what isn't true in regards to a being that has no real evidence going for him in either direction - you should instead focus on the philosophy behind why such a being's existence intrigues us. Why do most people find a need to believe in god ? How much Do we really know about what is out there ? What is the meaning to our lives anyways ? Is right and wrong a defined thing, or simply the product of human wisdom and foolishness ? If a light goes out in a world with no light and no one to see it, was there ever a light worth seeing ?



We can't change that fact that we have all experienced life from a different viewpoint in different cultures and will thus inevitably understand the supernatural in different shades of gray. Focus on the thing's that you can make choices on. Not the things that you can't.

Last edited by Edgewalker; 2008-03-08 at 20:02.
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Old 2008-03-07, 23:29   Link #552
ChainLegacy
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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
OK.

Than that is a self-contradiction.

If you were simply leading on, I "suppose" it is extremely flawed that you would use "but" to cancel out everything you said before.
There is nothing semantically misleading about my post. Religion can mean a variety of things, including religion based on a rational faith, which is why I called his definition loaded and inaccurate (I felt he was throwing all religions under the bus as illogical when faith in God can be a fairly reasonable conclusion at which to arrive if founded in logic.)

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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
Yes, very hard to prove things that don't exist, well don't exist.

That(my response) sort of sounds sarcastic =/. It's not.
I'm sorry, but such a close-minded approach is counterproductive to this discussion and doesn't add anything. You can't prove God, but you can't prove anything in regards to the universe's origin. It is an uncertainty, with God as a potential option.

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I personally think people should not just irrationally "come" to conclusions. Now of course, they only took those conclusions and now we just have a bunch of subordinates to a cause that was long ago thought very worthy.
I agree, coming to conclusions without much preponderance and examination of logic is fairly invalid. A theist has plenty of reason to believe as they do based on logic (see the Anthropic Principle, First Cause Argument, Argument for Design, Cosmological Argument, etc). Whether these arguments truly hold any weight is opinion, but I believe one can argue the theist's stance with quite a bit of validity.

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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
Even if they are not all bible lunatics or blind believers, THOSE are the type of people that somehow manage to shape my opinion of one who TRULY believes in god.
You weaken your credibility by mentioning you do not consider the only logical believers to be true believers .

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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
Don't criticize me for my "grammar", it was on purpose as you can clearly see my opinion.
Was this some kind of preemptive defense? I don't post very often, and I've never made a post regarding a member's grammar .
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Old 2008-03-08, 02:48   Link #553
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Correct - to an extent. What is "perfect" is rather subjective, isn't it?
In the Bible, God is regularly described as angry, and as having to correct wickedness.

Quote:
Further, keep in mind that you can't chain that argument to suddenly claim that all religion, or a belief in God, is flawed.
I know. I don't think the idea of a god or gods who are imperfect and limited is inconsistent with the world as we know it. Not much more plausible than Santa, but not inconsistent.


I just think that if there is a god, no understanding of him is to be found in a book claiming perfection.

Quote:
I think that many people hear about great acts of God (miracles and so on) and immediately accept them as essentially being acts of magic - both Athiests and Thiests alike. The Athiests are turned off by this and immediately say that such a thing is irrational and could never happen, therefore God is false. Thiests are attracted to this idea and boost the argument to say that God can do everything and anything, including breaking the laws of nature, and thus this is perfectly believable. In this case I'd be inclined to agree with the Athiests - I occasionally entertain the idea of magic but don't find it to be practical or realistic. However I can't dismiss God outright because not everyone believes that God performs magic. A good majority of the religious people seem to, but as we've established a good majority of them don't think twice about what they are told of their religion and they do not understand it very well themselves.

Perhaps the best way to show what I mean is to draw a comparison with the following question: do you believe in intelligent alien life?

A potential response (not my own) is no, I do not. Why? Well, if alien life existed, they would have contacted us by now. To make the example even more obvious, I could say no, I do not, because I don't believe in little green men.

In the first case, I've stated my opinion and justified it with a personal assumption - if there were alien life, it would have contacted us. The assumption is that life would have contacted us - it is a personal bias of mine that intelligent life scouring the galaxy wouldn't hesitate to do so if it existed. Who am I to say whether life would or would not do that? Perhaps this is similar to people who say "if God existed, X would have happened and/or Y would have happened" - who are you to say what God would do, or what would have happened if God did or did not exist? If there is alien life, we don't yet understand it and thus we don't know what it would do. Similarly if there is a God, we clearly don't have a firm understanding of this entity, and we can't say what God would do. The big idea here is that you are justifying to yourself that something can't exist based on your own expectations of that something.
The major problem with your assumption is that we know that intelligence doesn't imply the ability to contact other planets. Imagine they're still at 19th century technology?


Quote:
The second case is more on track with the arguments I've heard here. If I say that aliens don't exist because I don't believe in little green men (perhaps because I don't believe that green people can exist), I have likely bought into a common belief about what aliens were commonly depicted as (at least, this was a common depiction in the past - now aliens are depicted as "greys"). Similarly, if you choose not to believe in God because you don't believe in miracles and magic, you have bought into a common conception of God. Could little green men exist? Perhaps, but unlikely. Could a magical God exist? Perhaps, but unlikely. To deny all possibilities of alien life because the idea of little green men doesn't seem feasible to me is a huge stretch. Who says that alien life has to come in that form? Just because it's a common idea doesn't make it an absolute. Similarly, to deny all possibilities of a "higher power" because I don't believe in magic is a rather large stretch. Who says that a higher power has to be a miracle worker?

The idea of God and the implications of the belief are more complicated than that, of course. I recognize that, and if anyone wants to discuss possible reasoning behind the idea of God or religious texts we can do so. That involves reasoning, and linking it with history may also serve as proof. But to say that God doesn't exist simply because there is no evidence that I've seen or that I find acceptable? If you don't want to believe in God, I don't think any evidence would ever be acceptable to you. It's the same for any subject - if you believe strongly in something, you will very likely ignore or belittle any evidence that goes against your belief. It isn't ignorance, but it is a very closed way of thinking that certainly requires you to ignore a fair bit of information.
Well, that's not my personal stance. I don't believe in God because:
- I have seen no evidence, or even heard of good evidence;
- I don't want to believe. Or rather, I just don't believe. Faith, if you will.

On the other hand, when it comes to specific religions - namely, the ones claiming that they know God, and that God is perfect and listens to them... Well, I have more rational reasons to disbelieve them, don't I?
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Old 2008-03-08, 03:54   Link #554
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I'm decidedly unsure which makes me an Agnostic to be technical, although, for practical purposes, I do not spend much time concerning myself with religion or the meaning of life and such. That being said, I see many Atheist arguing that they are not religious when the opposite seems to be true in my opinion. Which is to say that I find little difference between those that argue passionately for there being a God and those who argue just as passionately that there isn't one. Atheist have faith that there is nothing just as those they chide (i.e. 'religious' people) have faith in something, nevertheless, faith exists in both which makes me dubious regarding separating the two groups from each other.
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Old 2008-03-08, 09:59   Link #555
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It's all so easy. You either believe in religion or not. Don't try to explain the unexplainable things.

Neither atheist, nor christian, nor muslim nor hindu can give definite answers, because there are questions that just can never be answered. Even if humankind lives for another 3 billion years, those fundamental questions can't be answered. The circle of life just continues. You'll be born, you'll live, you'll die. Everything starts, everything ends. That's just it. You only have to accept it.It's all about BELIEVING.

BUT, i can argue about the attitude of the people. My experience is, that the answer lies in the middle. For me, atheism is as bad as fundamental religiousness. Either way, you exclude possibilities and options and you make yourself intolerant. And most of all: Either of them thinks they're totally right. But they're not. Every human is subject to errors and false thinking.

Atheists, and that is my experience, by beeing very self centered and thus, often kind of unsocial Fundamental people, by beeing ignorant and immune to reason.

We, as educated and enlighted societys have a big problem nowadays, because we just can't find the right middle course.

Nowadays we become more and more atheistic societys. Religion is losing it's ground. But nothing comes with downsides. While it's true that we get more and more educated and modern, promoting science and "logic", we also get much more egoistic, unfriendly and unsocial. You can see that everyday. The warmth, the heart, the love is losing it's ground. It's getting rough and hard.

For the sake of a the current modern lifestyle, everything has to be possible. And that's wrong. There are certain valules, that shouldn't be changed. Family for example. Europe is losing it's people. We may be modern and everything, but we need the birth rates of religios societys to survive in the long term. So i ask myself: Where's the logic? Where's the reason?

Of course humankind itself won't go extinct, but, and that's the funny part, the current way of thinking will go extinct, because those people who are strong in believes and hold other values, will just demographically overtake. And then you have it, that all that, what was achieved until now, will be gone or not be as important anymore.

So i ask myself. Logicically and from a reasonable and maybe even evolutionary point of view!! Is our current way of thinking, our current society, evolutionary a failure? Are we dooming ourself? I mean, today it seems totally normal for many, that 100.000's of children are abortet each year. It's the right of every woman to decide, we say. But i ask my self: Why beeing so egoistic in the first place? Ofc, i exlude all those women, who were raped or who are very young. But every girl over 18, should take responsibility for her actions. Life means struggle. But that's what we want to avoid in todays time. Struggle and Responsibility.

That's why i promote a middle course. Otherwise we'll always be stuck in situations of conflict.

Conclusion:

Atheism is in my oppinion as bad as religious fundamentalism. Both things are on each end of the spectrum. The atheist often beeing very egoistic and self centered, the fundamentlist, beeing ignorant and immune to reason. They are united in the fact, that both think, they are totally right and not subject to errors. Both don't "believe". Both "know". At least they say. Otherwise i don't understand, why atheists say, that atheism is not the same thing as any other religion. If you believe, it's the same thing. And if you KNOW, you're just the same as a fundamentalist.
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Old 2008-03-08, 10:11   Link #556
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First time post. I'm a muslim and i lived in Malaysia.
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Old 2008-03-08, 14:55   Link #557
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So much posting happened, so I'll just start a new point.

Religion can be considered a topic in which everybody is ignorant about. Face it, the ones who came up with those stories and those messages are the only ones who know something. Sure you can TRY and pass it on, as this society has, to future generations but will you ever get the message across fully? Will you even get the message across? If you do what about the next generation? Unless you are the person sending the message, you have no idea about the topic. Sure you can analyze it, but who says your analyzation is the way the original creator of said topic made it to be? If we really don't know than YOU don't know anything. NOBODY knows ANYTHING. Nobody can be labeled as "someone who has no ignorance", not that they aren't already but this just further adds on to it.

Look, unless you wrote the bible and created the EXACT message trying to be sent, it is hard to consider you credible about a topic in which you did not create yourself. Sure, society considers it "good enough" because of sheer human nature(also known as laziness). If someone really cared, they would be doing everything in their power to change this, and if they actually are that passionate about it something should happen. Nobody cares about true perfection anymore because it's "good enough".

Don't give me any crap about "well perfection is an opinion, therefore I can consider it perfect", because this is not a court of law.

Implications and your analyzation are not knowledge, please remember that.
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Old 2008-03-08, 15:17   Link #558
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Apparently someone here didn't like my comment about how most of these 28 pages are about if God exists and if the Bible is valid. It seems that someone here was being a little too serious about their discussions and got angry at a humorous attempt to get this thread back on topic...
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Old 2008-03-08, 15:27   Link #559
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Are you talking to me .

Also

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem
I do appreciate the time you, Thentus, WanderingKnight, Anh_Minh and Ice Hawk have put in for your thoughts and I hope that you'll all continue thinking and speaking.
I also appreciate everyone giving some time to post here and actually thinking to create a conversation worthwhile to continue in. Conflicting views started it, and give us the point of continuation.

Last edited by Thentus; 2008-03-08 at 15:39.
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Old 2008-03-08, 15:45   Link #560
teachopvutru
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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
So much posting happened, so I'll just start a new point.

Religion can be considered a topic in which everybody is ignorant about. Face it, the ones who came up with those stories and those messages are the only ones who know something. Sure you can TRY and pass it on, as this society has, to future generations but will you ever get the message across fully? Will you even get the message across? If you do what about the next generation? Unless you are the person sending the message, you have no idea about the topic. Sure you can analyze it, but who says your analyzation is the way the original creator of said topic made it to be? If we really don't know than YOU don't know anything. NOBODY knows ANYTHING. Nobody can be labeled as "someone who has no ignorance", not that they aren't already but this just further adds on to it.

Look, unless you wrote the bible and created the EXACT message trying to be sent, it is hard to consider you credible about a topic in which you did not create yourself. Sure, society considers it "good enough" because of sheer human nature(also known as laziness). If someone really cared, they would be doing everything in their power to change this, and if they actually are that passionate about it something should happen. Nobody cares about true perfection anymore because it's "good enough".

Don't give me any crap about "well perfection is an opinion, therefore I can consider it perfect", because this is not a court of law.

Implications and your analyzation are not knowledge, please remember that.
In that sense, you should just view the Bible as a piece of literature. Much like a whole bunch of literary works, nobody knows its exact meaning, what it exactly meant to tell, but what it might tells.

Also, society considers it "good enough" (not sure where that came from) because, like you said, only the original author knows its exact meaning. If the creator is dead or refuses to elaborate on it further, then shouldn't "good enough" be the most you can get out of? I'm only one part of the society, so I can't say whether or not the whole society cares about true perfection, yet in that sense, perfection only depends on the situation. However, rather than the society not caring about true perfection, are they even satisfy with that "good enough"? Because, I don't see why further analyses have to be made if they already are contend with them.

Still, at a whole, those add up to what you started in your first sentence "Religion can be considered a topic in which everybody is ignorant about." I honestly doubt anyone will argue with that (afterall, in that same sense, you could point out so many things that "everybody" is ignorant of). Even so, I don't see how "good enough" should be considered "ignorant" either. What we analyze can be knowledge, as no knowledge is concrete. But really, what you meant to argue was that it couldn't be the "truth" or "facts".

EDIT: But you know, I suck at literature , but those pieces of literature seem like they are made to be analyzed, since they only provide hints and frameworks for what they try to tell. (although it could be argued that certain things can't be pointed out without a story, a metaphor, an analogy, and/or an etc. XD)
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