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Old 2008-03-28, 20:58   Link #661
Anh_Minh
I disagree with you all.
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
I don't really get the analogy, but I also contest the last part. With the current technology and what we know now, we can't see God. There's a lot to learn about the universe. As we understand more and more, we may gain a clearer understanding of what God is, or we may find that everything really can be explained as not related to God and that God is clearly a made-up idea.
Yes, but there is still a difference between "not experiencing something yourself, but many people have" and "nobody's ever experienced it, or even has a clue in how to go about it". I may not perform a certain experiment myself, and even if I did may be unable to interpret it, but if the "scientific community" is in agreement that the experienced can be performed reliably and that its meaning is so and so... Well, I guess it comes down to how much you trust the scientific method and its implementation by today's scientists. The fact that planes don't crash and life expectancies lengthen is certainly an encouraging sign, though.

With religion, though, what you must trust is revelation. Not even your own revelation, most of the time, but a revelation to someone that died centuries ago. With nothing reliable to cling to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by macguy View Post
My position is a bit difficult... While at times I can come accross as a christian in regards to my philosophy, this is not the same as accepting Christianity as something I'd be willing to follow. I view Christianity as true, yet I don't wish to follow it as a religion. Perhaps I adopt the religion because it is such an intellectually satisfying view. Well I suppose atheism could be viewed as satisfying to a degree but I find Christianity to be more in depth due to it's supposed problems. When one really thinks about the issues, there are various justifications and logical reason for adopting the coherency of theism. All atheism does is present a bunch of attacks on a particular religion with their rhetorical statements such as the Flying Spaghetti monster that makes their arguments laughable in my opinion. Hence I take the other position to think deeper about issues rather than waving off other religions with cheap rhetoric. This being especially applicable to Richard Dawkins...

Then again, it's not fair to label all atheists as non-intellectuals as in fact I toyed with it for a year and had some interesting arguments against god's existence.. But for the most part, I still didn't find it intellectually satisfying to keep me thinking. So I decided to take the other side to tackle all the problems... That way I won't be bored of just waving god off to atlantis.
Specifics, please. What issues, and how is "God did it" more intellectually satisfying than "Eh, stuff happens". And what's coherent about theism? And what's wrong with the Spaghetti Monster that isn't equally wrong with other gods?
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Old 2008-03-28, 22:40   Link #662
macguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
With religion, though, what you must trust is revelation. Not even your own revelation, most of the time, but a revelation to someone that died centuries ago. With nothing reliable to cling to.
No, this is too much of a generalization. Christianity for example, has always held that we first evaluate the evidence in support of it and then make a devotion to it. Faith seeking understanding is thus the next stage of this process. It is not simply a matter of trusting revelation by blind means that I have seen too many slogans of. For instance, during the times of the disciples, they didn't appeal to testimonies about how God had saved them from tobacco or something of similar nature but rather, these people appealed to evidentiary claims to support their argument. Namely, their argument is that there was evidence that Jesus is God and they appealed to it in numerous occasions. Given this, the only reason one would have for making your claim would be to argue that there is no evidence. However, you don't argue in this way but assert to be making truth-claims of the nature of religion. Even if it is the case that you were arguing that there is no evidence for religion (P) so they blindly follow it (Q), this would still be a generalization for to say otherwise would require a general principle of premise P in that you would set yourself as the standard of what is to be conceived as evidence in order to arrive at what it is not (either Q or Q). If presented in propositional logic (symbolicly), it would go like this:

P --> Q
Q
Therefore Q

Essentially I will negate the consequent, which would be a modus tollens and therefore I see it within your burden to justify the consequential inference of then...Q. Apologies for being a bit technical, but I think this should be clear on what I'm objecting to. Faith is not blind, and Christians have justified this through various theological foundations with philosophical reasons. Furthermore, please explain what would constitutes as reliable? Is it through mutual exclusivity, impossibility to the contrary, inference to the best explanation or occam's razor, etc that you gain reliability? In other words, what is your epistemical framework for what can be reliable? How do we know what we know? You are under no obligation to answers these questions if they're beyond you're knowledge.

Quote:
Specifics, please. What issues, and how is "God did it" more intellectually satisfying than "Eh, stuff happens". And what's coherent about theism? And what's wrong with the Spaghetti Monster that isn't equally wrong with other gods?
Sure, my post was more or less posed as an introductory to my stance; not a sophisticated explanation for what I hold to be true. The primary argument that I've seen as the most constructive and powerful against most theistic religions of a good God would be the problem of evil. Other slightly less provocative would be (1) Divine Hiddenous, (2) Incompatibility of Free Will & Omniscience, (3) Incoherence of Theism etc. The question at hand in my post was not whether God did it it but if God exists which is an exclusive claim to the foundation of whether it is justifiably appropriate to propose that God did it. In a manner of speaking, it is fallacious to argue for "God did it" because the consequent can do no other but the consequence thus the antecedent (viz. if God exists) is logically prior and must always be considered as such. This being realized, we can understand how atheists object to the theory of ID or anything where it is proposed that a designer had created the world. Many don't even want to acknowledge it as a hypothesis that should be tested and critiqued to the very end. Instead, they find it necessary to excuse it with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, label it as creationism and other childish games. But again, I'm not discussing that matter in this thread.

What is intellectually satisfying about theism, at least in my view, is that it has to face these problems posed by atheists while simultaneously refining their beliefs to project a reasonable belief. Atheism, on the other hand, while may have various formulations or none at all such as a lack of belief in God, is in not in this predicament. For all atheists, it is easy to critique something and be free from having to adopt a coherent worldview and answer any challenges other than the arguments that theists may propose. If you think about it, we're the ones who are in a worse situation and I love having such challenges face my way. So as you can see, half of my claim is subjective where as the latter half is the fact that we have all the intellectual challenges across our path. Unlike the atheist, I get to try to think of ways of avoiding issues such as the problem of evil in my defense and I also get to comprehend all the objections in the process. In my case, I'm not obligated to Christianity so I could easily change my views if it may need be. Hence I adopt a position of where I can be intellectually satisfied and have the ability to change my views far better than atheism or christianity where both have some degree of faith. Atheists have the potential to be more smug on issues of looking at developing answers for their own arguments or find flaws within it. This being particularly evident with Richard Dawkins and various others who pose rhetoric and a mixture of critiques to present their argument. When you see someone presenting mockery, there's good reason to believe that they are not really interesting in evaluating their arguments. Believing in theism has provided me with this and more; especially the old writings of philosophers that I can ponder on since these issues are not new. That is, assuming that there is a 50-50 chance of God existing or not, I could simply adopt the other side to where I can be satisfied.

Theism is quite coherent but to do go about explaining the philosophical details of every attribute is too extensive and tiring for my purposes here. All I really want to do is propose my beliefs... The reason why I mentioned coherence of theism is because that is prior to discussion of God's existence. For us to even say anything of value about this God, we must have some definition to what we are describing here. It must be logically coherent or else we cannot say anything of value of this being for that which is contradictory, by definition cannot exist. For example, to say that shebtro exists or have a discussion about it, we must have a definition or it is meaningless. If you're really interesting, I would suggest reading "The Coherence of Theism" (free PDF) to engage into the rationality of the concept itself. It's truly interesting but I don't expect you to read it which is why I hold that atheism is less intellectually driving than my stance because they don't take heart to what is offered. No hard feelings on your part since I can easily imagine you being busy so I can't make any judgement on you per se. As for the spaghetti monster, it is irrelevant to God's existence so I feel no sense in obliging to answer a parody.

P.S I'm only 16 so I have plenty more ahead of me to learn in philosophy but at the moment, I am happy with where I am I respect your beliefs and all others but I'm just not going to accept them unless there is reason to do so.

Last edited by macguy; 2008-03-28 at 22:51.
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Old 2008-03-29, 00:01   Link #663
Ledgem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KholdStare View Post
Ah, let me explain more then. The student claims that because the class cannot see into the professor's brain, it doesn't exist. The class is 0.0000000000000000000000001% of all the people on Earth. Just because I can't save a life because I don't know CPR, that doesn't mean other people can't, just like there are people who can take an X-Ray of the professor's brain or use some weird technology to see it.
In that case, I think I see what you're saying. But I don't think that the student was claiming that just because the class couldn't see the professor's brain that it didn't exist. By asking whether anyone had seen the professor's brain (and the answer, of course, is "no") it raises a counter to the questioning of "have you ever seen/felt/smelt/heard God? No? Then how do you know that God exists?" We know that the professor's brain exists, but nobody in the class had directly observed it.

We know that the brain exists because of former discoveries. My take on it is that the student is attempting to say that he knows of the existence of God from - something (it isn't stated). Just as we haven't observed the professor's brain directly, we believe it to be there based off of what we know. Just as the student hasn't observed God directly, he believes God to exist based off of what he knows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Yes, but there is still a difference between "not experiencing something yourself, but many people have" and "nobody's ever experienced it, or even has a clue in how to go about it". I may not perform a certain experiment myself, and even if I did may be unable to interpret it, but if the "scientific community" is in agreement that the experienced can be performed reliably and that its meaning is so and so... Well, I guess it comes down to how much you trust the scientific method and its implementation by today's scientists. The fact that planes don't crash and life expectancies lengthen is certainly an encouraging sign, though.
I'm not as trusting as you of the scientific community. There are studies out there that show a clear link between smoking and lung cancer, but there are also studies that show that there is no link. You can usually tell which it will be based on who funded the study - if it's a tobacco company, it's likely going to be one of the former.

The fact that the sponsor of an experiment can determine its outcome and/or analysis and that conflicting conclusions can be reached about certain matters should give you reason to be skeptical about these things. I've had plenty of scientific training and - dare I say it? - I'm a scientist. There's nothing that I hate more than reading over some news article or "scientific paper" where they half-ass the materials & methods section, because I want to see what they did, how they did it, and determine for myself whether their conclusion is proper or whether they screwed up and didn't account for something (it's also important to see where the funding came from). I respect the scientific community but I do not view them as all-knowing at all. I've brought it up too many times already, but don't forget that the most powerful and respected scientific community in Europe used to sanction the concept of spontaneous generation - that life could randomly come about from inanimate objects. We like to think that we're a lot more sophisticated in modern times, but the theory of spontaneous generation existed until the mid-1800's - that's only two or three lifetimes ago.

Admittedly I am taking this a bit farther than it needs to go, but I hope you see the point. I trust the scientific method, but a belief is a belief. Spontaneous generation didn't go down without a huge fight and many experiments to prove that it was false (along with the discovery of a new scientific field, microbiology).

If you're happy to be spoon-fed scientific discoveries, that's perfectly fine, but understand that there's a faith component to this. You're believing that someone did the lab work properly (good experimental design and good technique, with the addition of honesty of results) and then, perhaps more importantly, that they're understanding the results properly and are making a good interpretation of them. That's a lot of faith to put in someone or a group of people. Is it more credible than believing a book that was written thousands of years ago? Yes, I'd say so - an experiment done today can be directly scrutinized, but no real checks can be made on the Bible. This sort of goes back to what Vexx said about rational vs. irrational faith. But recognize that you're still believing information without going through and doing the checks for yourself.

I've mentioned it before, but just as I'm not a fan of spoon-feeding of science (to those who have the knowledge/training/ability to understand the full experimental writeup for themselves), I don't support people who blindly go to their religion. Read the scientific paper for yourself, I say - weighing their level of expertise against yours, think for yourself if they covered everything and if they interpreted the results correctly. I say the same thing about religious texts - don't just take someone else's interpretation for it, go over it for yourself and see if your conclusions match theirs. Unfortunately we're a few thousand years too late to check over the methods section of the Bible, of course
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Old 2008-03-29, 00:19   Link #664
Kishimyu
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*sigh* why does religion matter????
can't we just get along????
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Old 2008-03-29, 04:08   Link #665
Anh_Minh
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Ledgem: I didn't say science should be trusted absolutely and blindly. That trust may vary from issue to issue, according to how much controversy they raise among specialists themselves, to how sure scientists are of the results and their interpretation, both as a whole and as particulars having done the experiment and thinking themselves. That trust may be built from the fact that science, while occasionally wrong, and always approximative, has consistently given good results. Or because you yourself examine the methods and results and interpret them - if you've got the brain for it (I freely acknowledge that there are many fields of science where my training would fail me...) Or, yes - blind faith. That unfortunately happens more often than it should. If you think on a particular issue, science is 60% reliable, then you're 60% certain. Depending on circumstances, it may or may not be good enough, but unless you're able and willing to do the scientific research yourself, you'll have to live with the uncertainty for the time being.

But at least with science you have the former two options. With religion you only have the third.

To take an extreme example: while science says I would get hurt if I was hit by a speeding train, no one's ever performed the experiment of throwing me under a train, so we can't be 100% sure, right? I can be skeptical about the ability of a train to hurt me.

But if I was to throw myself at a speeding train and expect to be fine, I'd be a damn idiot. Not just "Oh, he bet on the wrong horse, it happens", but an irretrievable moron who did the gene pool a favor by removing himself from it. Even a Darwin Award wouldn't be enough to describe my stupidity.


Oh, and about trusting a small group of people to do their job properly... You've forgotten an element of that trust: the trust that there is larger group of people out there, waiting for a chance to call them wrong. That's part of the scientific method, too.


Macguy: yes, I realize I just said that religion rested on blind faith. Again. I will answer your post when I have more time.
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Old 2008-03-29, 04:37   Link #666
macguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Macguy: yes, I realize I just said that religion rested on blind faith. Again. I will answer your post when I have more time.
If this is the case then you clearly have not done so in you're statement because it seemed as if you said that the only reliable "source" we can depend on is revelation according to the religion itself. I can easily disprove such a notion with Christianity which has long been one of the contending champions of reason among religious beliefs. Because of their beliefs, modern science was able to be produced in it's entirety. Now, if you indeed meant to say that then it should've been noted that regardless of whether a religion appeals to religion to arrive at the reliability of it's revelation, it is still founded on blind faith (in your view). It is important to make the distinction between YOUR view and something that is of a factual basis. Whether you have been convinced of the truth is not a concern to me because obviously enough, you are not the standard of what should be held as truth (neither am I). Hence why I ask for a justification for this view but it appears you will simply reject that you claimed religion itself teaches blind faith and purport to argue that it is blind faith. If so, then I have no reason to argue with you other than to say that you should be very cautious in how you word things especially in making a claim about religious beliefs. What you said to Ledgem is pretty much the same process of the Christian definition of faith. Therefore despite your attempt to label religions such as Christianity, it will fail unless it can be demonstrated within the text itself.
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Old 2008-03-29, 05:08   Link #667
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macquy
Christianity for example, has always held that we first evaluate the evidence in support of it and then make a devotion to it.
Exactly *where* did you get that idea and what evidence do you propose to present?
Quote:
Because of their beliefs, modern science was able to be produced in it's entirety.
I'm sure the Islamic domain and the Chinese domain would be ecstatic to hear all their prior works were for nought (as well as the Greek and Roman sciences...). The Renaissance (rediscovery) only took root as the explanations of the Church failed to correspond with what people were actually learning and observing.

I'm thinking you may be thinking "blind faith" or irrational faith is somehow an insult rather than a description of vision/revelation and emotional persuasive appeal?
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Old 2008-03-29, 05:39   Link #668
DarthNicolas
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The only true religions :
Spoiler for Deities:



Aside from joking,I might not be a total fanatic,but I'm a christian,even for a bit(things about going to the church to prove u believe or anything is total bull%$#^...)
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Old 2008-03-29, 05:43   Link #669
oompa loompa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthNicolas View Post
The only true religions :
Spoiler for Deities:



Aside from joking,I might not be a total fanatic,but I'm a christian,even for a bit(things about going to the church to prove u believe or anything is total bull%$#^...)
now there are some religions i can go for
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Old 2008-03-29, 05:53   Link #670
macguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Exactly *where* did you get that idea and what evidence do you propose to present?
Evidence? There is plenty of evidence to support this idea... Tektonics presents my case for me rather well.

Quote:
I'm thinking you may be thinking "blind faith" or irrational faith is somehow an insult rather than a description of vision/revelation and emotional persuasive appeal?
It's especially an insult to Christianity, when considering it says to "critically examine everything" which encourages the use of reason. Blind faith is not a description of revelation but a direct attack. Reason and revelation correspond with each other at least in the Christian sense. But I do not deny that emotional testimonies or whatnot cannot be used to justify what they believe, and it's fine if one views their revelation as subjective. However, to speak of the religious belief itself is of another matter. I have yet to see anyone demonstrate that the Bible teaches blind faith. Or more specifically, appeals to such arguments in the text itself.

Quote:
I'm sure the Islamic domain and the Chinese domain would be ecstatic to hear all their prior works were for nought (as well as the Greek and Roman sciences...). The Renaissance (rediscovery) only took root as the explanations of the Church failed to correspond with what people were actually learning and observing.
I said modern science, not the sciences of the greeks or romans... They had various problems that prevented science from providing it's full potential due to their beliefs. This provides some background of the history.

Last edited by macguy; 2008-03-29 at 06:44.
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Old 2008-03-29, 09:28   Link #671
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macguy View Post
No, this is too much of a generalization. Christianity for example, has always held that we first evaluate the evidence in support of it and then make a devotion to it.
What evidence? The Bible? That's pure revelation.

If there is evidence - real, scientific evidence - of God in the world, I've not heard of it. Not just "unexplained phenomena". To see an unexplained phenomenon and claim it's evidence of divine intervention is the height of arrogance. It basically means "in this vast, complex world, the only thing that can stump us is God". It's not even like unexplained is the same as unexplainable...

Quote:
Faith seeking understanding is thus the next stage of this process. It is not simply a matter of trusting revelation by blind means that I have seen too many slogans of. For instance, during the times of the disciples, they didn't appeal to testimonies about how God had saved them from tobacco or something of similar nature but rather, these people appealed to evidentiary claims to support their argument. Namely, their argument is that there was evidence that Jesus is God and they appealed to it in numerous occasions.
OK, so, for starters, screw the time of the disciples. Why do people believe today?

Secondly, we actually know very little of the time of the disciples. It was two millenia ago, and record keeping wasn't then what it is now.

Thirdly, I don't remember, even accepting the NT as factually true, that there was any evidence of universe creation. A few miracles here and there do not a supreme being make.

Fourthly, "Faith seeking understanding" is starting with the conclusion. You accept that the God exists, and is good, and so on, and seek ways to twist the facts of the world to conform to your vision. I'm much more sympathetic to Saint Augustin's "Credo quia absurdum", "I believe because it's absurd". At least it's intellectually honest, and unassailable.

Quote:
Given this, the only reason one would have for making your claim would be to argue that there is no evidence. However, you don't argue in this way but assert to be making truth-claims of the nature of religion. Even if it is the case that you were arguing that there is no evidence for religion (P) so they blindly follow it (Q), this would still be a generalization for to say otherwise would require a general principle of premise P in that you would set yourself as the standard of what is to be conceived as evidence in order to arrive at what it is not (either Q or Q). If presented in propositional logic (symbolicly), it would go like this:

P --> Q
Q
Therefore Q
I really don't see what symbolic logic brings to the case, but what I've said, using your notations, would be
P --> Q
P
Therefore, Q.

And yes, I do have standards of evidence. While I don't consider myself to be an authority, I did assume some kind of consensus could be reached as to what constitutes "evidence", just as I assume a similar consensus can be reached for every word we use. Otherwise, discussion isn't meaningful.

Quote:
Essentially I will negate the consequent, which would be a modus tollens and therefore I see it within your burden to justify the consequential inference of then...Q. Apologies for being a bit technical, but I think this should be clear on what I'm objecting to.
I think you should strive for clarity too. In fact, I think you should strive harder.

Quote:
Faith is not blind, and Christians have justified this through various theological foundations with philosophical reasons.
No, they really haven't. At least, I never came across such a justification that wasn't either "God exists because it's written so in the Bible, and the Bible is true because God exists and made it so", or "God exists because I feel so".

Quote:
Furthermore, please explain what would constitutes as reliable? Is it through mutual exclusivity, impossibility to the contrary, inference to the best explanation or occam's razor, etc that you gain reliability? In other words, what is your epistemical framework for what can be reliable? How do we know what we know? You are under no obligation to answers these questions if they're beyond you're knowledge.
I don't believe in absolute reliability. After all, maybe everything is a dream. What standards to use also depends on the issue. For example, if I want to know the time, my watch is reliable enough. If I want to measure the half-life of one of those fancy particles that never stay in existence more than a few microseconds, then my watch is useless to me.

That said, I have no idea what would constitute a reliable proof of the existence of God. I just can't imagine it. Parting seas would be a start, I suppose. If a guy could do that - even if I'm still skeptical of his having created the universe thing, I don't think I'll tell him that to his face.

However, I do think that, for an issue such as the origin of the world, and our place in it, and how we should give a lot of our money to the Church, the personal feelings of strangers and a book of stories (I can't even call it history) along with a few unsubstantiated rumors of miracles just can't be described as "reliable". It's not even like the Bible said anything like "And lo, 19 centuries after the death of the Messiah, mankind shall split the atom, first to make bombs, and then electricity." And provided detailed plans. If it did, I'd look at it differently.

Especially when such things can give rise to so many contradictory things, like the Invisible Guy in the Sky, the Animal Headed People, the Six Armed Woman...


Quote:
Sure, my post was more or less posed as an introductory to my stance; not a sophisticated explanation for what I hold to be true. The primary argument that I've seen as the most constructive and powerful against most theistic religions of a good God would be the problem of evil. Other slightly less provocative would be (1) Divine Hiddenous, (2) Incompatibility of Free Will & Omniscience, (3) Incoherence of Theism etc. The question at hand in my post was not whether God did it it but if God exists which is an exclusive claim to the foundation of whether it is justifiably appropriate to propose that God did it. In a manner of speaking, it is fallacious to argue for "God did it" because the consequent can do no other but the consequence thus the antecedent (viz. if God exists) is logically prior and must always be considered as such.
What do you mean?

Quote:
This being realized, we can understand how atheists object to the theory of ID or anything where it is proposed that a designer had created the world. Many don't even want to acknowledge it as a hypothesis that should be tested and critiqued to the very end.
If you have evidence for ID, trot it out. If you can make falsifiable claims about it, go ahead and test them.

Quote:
Instead, they find it necessary to excuse it with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, label it as creationism and other childish games. But again, I'm not discussing that matter in this thread.

What is intellectually satisfying about theism, at least in my view, is that it has to face these problems posed by atheists while simultaneously refining their beliefs to project a reasonable belief. Atheism, on the other hand, while may have various formulations or none at all such as a lack of belief in God, is in not in this predicament. For all atheists, it is easy to critique something and be free from having to adopt a coherent worldview and answer any challenges other than the arguments that theists may propose. If you think about it, we're the ones who are in a worse situation and I love having such challenges face my way. So as you can see, half of my claim is subjective where as the latter half is the fact that we have all the intellectual challenges across our path. Unlike the atheist, I get to try to think of ways of avoiding issues such as the problem of evil in my defense and I also get to comprehend all the objections in the process. In my case, I'm not obligated to Christianity so I could easily change my views if it may need be. Hence I adopt a position of where I can be intellectually satisfied and have the ability to change my views far better than atheism or christianity where both have some degree of faith. Atheists have the potential to be more smug on issues of looking at developing answers for their own arguments or find flaws within it. This being particularly evident with Richard Dawkins and various others who pose rhetoric and a mixture of critiques to present their argument. When you see someone presenting mockery, there's good reason to believe that they are not really interesting in evaluating their arguments. Believing in theism has provided me with this and more; especially the old writings of philosophers that I can ponder on since these issues are not new. That is, assuming that there is a 50-50 chance of God existing or not, I could simply adopt the other side to where I can be satisfied.
I'm not even sure what you're trying to argue here. That atheists don't exercise their intellect as much as theists do because they find logical flaws rather than look for ways to twist logic to conform to whatever absurd idea religion spews? Or that atheists don't think about those issues at all? Which is it?

And even if they don't think about those issues, much as they don't think about how to make Santa or the Tooth Fairy work, what of it? The world has plenty of other stuff to think about. Like "How does the world work? How did it come to be?" those questions are much harder if you don't accept "God did it" as an answer.


Quote:
Theism is quite coherent but to do go about explaining the philosophical details of every attribute is too extensive and tiring for my purposes here.
That depends on your brand of theism. There isn't just one sort of Christianity, let alone one sort of Theism.

Quote:
All I really want to do is propose my beliefs... The reason why I mentioned coherence of theism is because that is prior to discussion of God's existence. For us to even say anything of value about this God, we must have some definition to what we are describing here. It must be logically coherent or else we cannot say anything of value of this being for that which is contradictory, by definition cannot exist. For example, to say that shebtro exists or have a discussion about it, we must have a definition or it is meaningless. If you're really interesting, I would suggest reading "The Coherence of Theism" (free PDF) to engage into the rationality of the concept itself. It's truly interesting but I don't expect you to read it which is why I hold that atheism is less intellectually driving than my stance because they don't take heart to what is offered.
You do know that there are things besides theology one can exert one's intellect on, don't you?

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No hard feelings on your part since I can easily imagine you being busy so I can't make any judgement on you per se. As for the spaghetti monster, it is irrelevant to God's existence so I feel no sense in obliging to answer a parody.
Why can you dismiss the Spaghetti Monster as a parody, but not the Invisible Guy in the Sky? What's the difference?

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Old 2008-03-29, 19:34   Link #672
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What evidence? The Bible? That's pure revelation.
No, revelation appeals to evidence rather than arguing by circular reasoning that Jesus is God because He says so. That's what I was trying to arrive at and you misunderstand the point here. Now you can dispute the evidence that the apostles mentioned such as the evidence of wonders and signs, fulfilled prophecy, and the empty tomb but this is beside the point. I understand anyone can deny these evidences yet, what I'm trying to say is that the Bible doesn't appeal to it's own revelation but to evidentiary claims. There is entirely different type of faith than the stereotype that you define it as.

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If there is evidence - real, scientific evidence - of God in the world, I've not heard of it.
Why does it have to be scientific evidence? Why not historical evidence?

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OK, so, for starters, screw the time of the disciples. Why do people believe today?
Screw the people, that is not the point I was arguing with since quite frankly, the followers have nothing to say of their religion unless it is of truth. Their subjective experience is fair enough but I'm not going to argue why people believe things today. That is a waste of my time merely because it's irrelevant and would eventually lead to the fallacy of Appeal to Popularity. What should be of focus here is what the text itself claims for us to arrive at any truth of the nature of religion. You're changing the subject from the nature of religion --> the nature of religious people which is of a different category. Preferably, if you wish to continue with that discussion, I would not want to say anything further unless there are questions on your part of what I think about their actions or whatnot. Other than that, the individual experiences is not something I can speak of as an individual myself so it isn't worth it. Not to mention that there are too many variables to assess why everyone believes and hence goes to a hasty generalization.

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Secondly, we actually know very little of the time of the disciples. It was two millenias ago, and record keeping wasn't then what it is now.
So? I understand that their record keeping wasn't as good as today but anyone could figure that out. There's still plenty of documents for us to have a say on that period of time. Saying nothing about it (e.g "I don't know!") is a poor researcher even under your own standards because there are various documents to go by. Sure, not extensively but how does this matter? Their writings expresses what they taught in great detail.

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Thirdly, I don't remember, even accepting the NT as factually true, that there was any evidence of universe creation. A few miracles here and there do not a supreme being make.
True, I just wanted to explain that your definition of faith is not functional under Christian thinking. As for the miracles, it is not the only reason for believing in the Scripture but one of many.

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Fourthly, "Faith seeking understanding" is starting with the conclusion. You accept that the God exists, and is good, and so on, and seek ways to twist the facts of the world to conform to your vision. I'm much more sympathetic to Saint Augustin's "Credo quia absurdum", "I believe because it's absurd". At least it's intellectually honest, and unassailable.
Px = x is evidence
Qx = x is a rational faith
Fx = x is irrational faith
Sx = x is faith seeking understanding

Px --> Qx
Qx --> ~Fx
Therefore: Qx --> Sx

In other words, as a result of faith being founded upon rationality, it then follows that this faith seeks understanding. Can you point to where I started with the conclusion in this argument? It seems you understand the argument in the following manner:

Sx --> ~Px
~Px --> Fx
Therefore: Sx --> Fx

Here you propose that Sx has no evidence and so I'm adopting a irrational belief. However, what my argument actually states is that the evidence comes first, and then we arrive at Sx due to reliable grounds for believing in the faith. As a result, we are thus able to seek understanding in light of our faith (not blind) to abide by what reality tells us. Faith seeking understanding doesn't twist the facts around them, but only seeks to explain them in light of his/her belief. Issues such as the problem of evil being a primary example of faith that seeks to understand this within their worldview. I don't clearly understand how u arrived that "Faith seeking understanding" means twisting facts unless of course you adopt the view that Christianity teaches irrational faith. As for "I believe because it's absurd", that is a misquote from skeptics to prove the irrationality of christians but if you investigate it further, you'll understand that it is saying the opposite!


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I really don't see what symbolic logic brings to the case, but what I've said, using your notations, would be
I was attempting to practice my logic formation and hoped that it would clarify things. It might be more confusing than it really is so if that's the case, I'd be happy to stop doing so. Thanks for going along with it XD

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I think you should strive for clarity too. In fact, I think you should strive harder.
I'm not sure if I should take this as an insult in response to my sentiment in your post which was merely hypothetical, or take this as an encouragement. Either way, I agree that I should strive for clarity... That's entirely the point why I debate on forums for around 2 years now. Can I ask where I need to improve in my clarity? Thanks and I apologize if I offended you.

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No, they really haven't. At least, I never came across such a justification that wasn't either "God exists because it's written so in the Bible, and the Bible is true because God exists and made it so", or "God exists because I feel so".
You're missing out in what Christian thinkers have to say. They never have appealed to such reasoning and I haven't see anyone demonstrate the irrationality of belief in God. The concept at least is very coherent and it makes it reasonable for one to understand why others believe albeit through simplistic means. It appears that you want to push that belief in God is irrational because there is no evidence for it but that's not the case. The scientific method cannot empirically verify itself because we all know that is a logical method and while it may not be the best, it's still pretty reliable for it's usage. In the same way, even if God doesn't have any evidence in support of it doesn't mean that it's irrational. It can be very helpful in understanding things from a different point of view than say an atheist. Are we going to say that those who don't believe in God are being irrational due to their lack of belief in one? Then why say that those who negate your belief are irrational? Atheism may be more rational but I wouldn't say it is irrational. Why are atheists so adamant in attacking religious people by claiming they are being stupid? I get that impression from your statements... The concept itself is not irrational, but it may not be worth believing it for some unless there is evidence which is perfectly logical. I'm not going to say that we should just do away with find evidence but that hypothetically speaking, it is not irrational. It's just that it has no evidence in support of it... Although I think it does.


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However, I do think that, for an issue such as the origin of the world, and our place in it, and how we should give a lot of our money to the Church, the personal feelings of strangers and a book of stories (I can't even call it history) along with a few unsubstantiated rumors of miracles just can't be described as "reliable". It's not even like the Bible said anything like "And lo, 19 centuries after the death of the Messiah, mankind shall split the atom, first to make bombs, and then electricity." And provided detailed plans. If it did, I'd look at it differently.
The church invented that "money" thing, but the Bible teaches salvation as a gift from God and not a result of anyone's works.. Again I agree with you on reliability but I'm not going to argue for it right now until we got this other issue solved.

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What do you mean?

In other words, to say that "God did it' requires that we have logical reasons to believe that such a being exists in the first place. So the discussion should first start with whether God exists... Not on the issue of "God did it".

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If you have evidence for ID, trot it out. If you can make falsifiable claims about it, go ahead and test them.
There's no need until we can finish this conversation of faith. If that is accomplished, I would be willing to discuss the other issues of whether there is evidence for God, and if ID can be thought of as a scientific endeavor -- rather than a appeal to ignorance.


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I'm not even sure what you're trying to argue here. That Atheists don't exercise their intellect as much as theists do because they find logical flaws rather than look for ways to twist logic to conform to whatever absurd idea religion spews? Or that Atheists don't think about those issues at all? Which is it?
It has nothing to do with atheists or theists but the belief systems. I mentioned "atheists" to demonstrate that within the framework of atheism, it is not as intellectually satisfying. Theists can be stupid, smart in the same way that atheists can but their beliefs systems are the most important aspect. Every religious idea in religion has to be absurd? That's quite unnecessary... I don't see why you're so hostile to religious beliefs. Again, neither. Theism is more intellectually satisfying for the reason that it has be both on offense and defense while also pertaining some intriguing ideas. Atheism, on the other hand, is simply a lack of belief in God and contains no defense other than arguing against theistic claims. It's easy to present rhetorical arguments for them as well.

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The world has plenty of other stuff to think about. Like "How does the world work? How did it come to be?" those questions are much harder if you don't accept "God did it" as an answer.
God is the ground of all things if He did exist to which creates a worldview of everything else. For example, it would effect how one views themselves, morality, God, and yes, even the world. It's not worthless to think about such a fundamental question that would make sense of all the world. If atheism is true for example, it would make sense for why there is evil (due to evolution). If Christianity is true, it explains morality or issues such as truth. You take theism way too lightly and mockingly.



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That depends on your brand of theism. There isn't just one sort of Christianity, let alone one sort of Theism.
Yes, but usually those other branches are not very sophisticated as the philosophical outlook of things. I would say that the only true branches are 30% of the rest. Many of them are logical as well.

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You do know that there are things besides theology one can exert one's intellect on, don't you?
Yes but everything seems to exert back to religious beliefs. It proves to be a fundamental issue in the world. Plus I personally find interest in that subject more than other things... Well I do have anime such as Death Note that makes me think but it still goes back to morality and god etc. Not much I can do about that... So I go along with it and enjoy the ride.


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Why can you dismiss the Spaghetti Monster as a parody, but not the Invisible Guy in the Sky? What's the difference?

Both the invisible guy and monster are parodies. God is not a "guy" nor does he live in the sky along with an invisible world. The difference is clear... God is more of a metaphysical notion, rather than a physical being. Those for which you describe have properties that are defined within the world and therefore are dependent upon it. Completely different and it's a waste of my time. Why answer a parody when I can simply explain the rationality of the belief while providing evidence? Rhetoric doesn't convince me.
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Old 2008-03-30, 01:14   Link #673
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You have a ... "very interesting" definition of "evidence" (followed the link where many semantic and linguistic acrobatics were found concerning faith and evidence, though it was an interesting proposition. He didn't defend it very well from the skeptic who critiqued it) so I won't waste much more time on this other than to note you're about to have a lot of *Christians* disagreeing with many of your points so you might want to modulate your posts so as not to seem to be speaking for all Christians. You (nor the author of that article) speak for all Christians and there's more than a few Christian theologists that will take issue with some of the assertions. Good luck with that. If rhetoric doesn't convince you, you might want to stop using it yourself.

After studying Christianity and its history for 35-some odd years and being raised around it beforehand, I'm very much done with it.
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Old 2008-03-30, 02:11   Link #674
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
You have a ... "very interesting" definition of "evidence" (followed the link where many semantic and linguistic acrobatics were found concerning faith and evidence, though it was an interesting proposition. He didn't defend it very well from the skeptic who critiqued it) so I won't waste much more time on this other than to note you're about to have a lot of *Christians* disagreeing with many of your points so you might want to modulate your posts so as not to seem to be speaking for all Christians. You (nor the author of that article) speak for all Christians and there's more than a few Christian theologists that will take issue with some of the assertions. Good luck with that.
Yes, linguistic and semantic arguments are needed to present the meaning behind biblical faith according to the text. If you could provide any reason for rejecting the proposition within the Bible then by all means please present your case otherwise I see no inclination to believe that He didn't defend it very well from the skeptic who critiqued it. Appealing to what Christians believe is not what I am concerned about and I've tried to make this distinction though admittedly I may be failing in doing so. What I take issue with is whether the Bible teaches blind faith and as of yet, I have seen nothing from the Christian side besides emotional arguments to reject my proposition. Somehow they don't seem to realize that this reliability is not absolute so much as to allow some degree of "faith" but again, I am not going to convince that crowd. If they follow things blindly, what makes you think that they'd know what their Bible teaches other than the fundamental beliefs? They almost never deal with the philosophical side of the issue. All intellectual Christians are in agreement with my definition so I'm satisfied with that.


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If rhetoric doesn't convince you, you might want to stop using it yourself.
How am I using it myself? Please back this up because I can provide a response to this. Rhetoric such as Invisible Ski-Daddy or of similar nature though that art of mocking a belief is not convincing in the least. Now there may be some good rhetoric but I'm not so sure what that would be... I haven't thought about the entire issue deeply.

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After studying Christianity and its history for 35-some odd years and being raised around it beforehand, I'm very much done with it.
Ah I see, well may I congratulate you in this study and for you're perhaps well-reasoned conclusion. If I am not to pass away beforehand, I hope to use many years in study as well to improve my knowledge. I still need much improvement
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Old 2008-03-30, 03:07   Link #675
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I reviewed the area I thought was rhetoric (one of your earlier posts where you elucidated your logic paths) and withdraw the statement. I initially mistook the explanation for being functionally identical to a Spaghetti-Monster parable.

However, I don't think you can discard the SM parable (or pixies, Thor, etc) so easily as it does highlight some of the underlying axiomatic issues with many religions (not just Christianity). However, I'll let someone else take up the pros and cons of that.
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Old 2008-03-30, 06:06   Link #676
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Originally Posted by macguy View Post
No, revelation appeals to evidence rather than arguing by circular reasoning that Jesus is God because He says so. That's what I was trying to arrive at and you misunderstand the point here. Now you can dispute the evidence that the apostles mentioned such as the evidence of wonders and signs, fulfilled prophecy, and the empty tomb but this is beside the point. I understand anyone can deny these evidences yet, what I'm trying to say is that the Bible doesn't appeal to it's own revelation but to evidentiary claims. There is entirely different type of faith than the stereotype that you define it as.
In that case, how come Christian priests don't preach agnosticism? I mean, where are your signs and portents today? Where are your eyewitnesses? Why should we consider them any better than News of the World? What does an empty tomb prove, and where is it? Has any living man's great grandfather seen Jesus perform a miracle?


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Why does it have to be scientific evidence? Why not historical evidence?
Because historical evidence would be "some guy said he saw God", which really isn't convincing. But hey, if you've got any historical evidence that you think proves the existence of God, or at least that Jesus' life was as advertised in the NT, go ahead and show it.

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Screw the people, that is not the point I was arguing with since quite frankly, the followers have nothing to say of their religion unless it is of truth. Their subjective experience is fair enough but I'm not going to argue why people believe things today. That is a waste of my time merely because it's irrelevant and would eventually lead to the fallacy of Appeal to Popularity. What should be of focus here is what the text itself claims for us to arrive at any truth of the nature of religion. You're changing the subject from the nature of religion --> the nature of religious people which is of a different category. Preferably, if you wish to continue with that discussion, I would not want to say anything further unless there are questions on your part of what I think about their actions or whatnot. Other than that, the individual experiences is not something I can speak of as an individual myself so it isn't worth it. Not to mention that there are too many variables to assess why everyone believes and hence goes to a hasty generalization.
As far as I'm concerned, religion is as religion does. It makes very little sense to separate it from the believers.

But hey, if you want to focus on the texts, I'll indulge you for a bit.

What do the texts say? Well, for starters, they take God's existence as given. They just claim he exists, one and indivisible, alpha and omega, and so on. They present no evidence of his existence, save for tales of God talking to people, who just accept he is God.

As for Jesus, well - he had to prove he was the Son of God a bit, by performing miracles, but what you've got, in the end, are tales of Jesus convincing people he was who he said he was, And distributing nuggets of wisdom along the way.

Where's your evidence, here?


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So? I understand that their record keeping wasn't as good as today but anyone could figure that out. There's still plenty of documents for us to have a say on that period of time. Saying nothing about it (e.g "I don't know!") is a poor researcher even under your own standards because there are various documents to go by. Sure, not extensively but how does this matter? Their writings expresses what they taught in great detail.
No, there really isn't that much documentation. From a historical point of view, the very existence of Jesus is in doubt, let alone the particulars of his life.


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True, I just wanted to explain that your definition of faith is not functional under Christian thinking.
And you've failed. You've claimed that Christians aren't supposed to accept things on faith, but done little to show it.

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As for the miracles, it is not the only reason for believing in the Scripture but one of many.
That's nice, because it's not a really good one. Now, what are the others?

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Px = x is evidence
Qx = x is a rational faith
Fx = x is irrational faith
Sx = x is faith seeking understanding

Px --> Qx
Qx --> ~Fx
Therefore: Qx --> Sx
If you're going to use symbolic logic, use symbolic logic. Just stringing a few expressions together doesn't make your claim logical.


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In other words, as a result of faith being founded upon rationality, it then follows that this faith seeks understanding. Can you point to where I started with the conclusion in this argument? It seems you understand the argument in the following manner:

Sx --> ~Px
~Px --> Fx
Therefore: Sx --> Fx

Here you propose that Sx has no evidence and so I'm adopting a irrational belief. However, what my argument actually states is that the evidence comes first, and then we arrive at Sx due to reliable grounds for believing in the faith. As a result, we are thus able to seek understanding in light of our faith (not blind) to abide by what reality tells us. Faith seeking understanding doesn't twist the facts around them, but only seeks to explain them in light of his/her belief. Issues such as the problem of evil being a primary example of faith that seeks to understand this within their worldview. I don't clearly understand how u arrived that "Faith seeking understanding" means twisting facts unless of course you adopt the view that Christianity teaches irrational faith. As for "I believe because it's absurd", that is a misquote from skeptics to prove the irrationality of christians but if you investigate it further, you'll understand that it is saying the opposite!
Very well. Then I retract my sympathy.


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I was attempting to practice my logic formation and hoped that it would clarify things. It might be more confusing than it really is so if that's the case, I'd be happy to stop doing so. Thanks for going along with it XD



I'm not sure if I should take this as an insult in response to my sentiment in your post which was merely hypothetical, or take this as an encouragement. Either way, I agree that I should strive for clarity... That's entirely the point why I debate on forums for around 2 years now. Can I ask where I need to improve in my clarity? Thanks and I apologize if I offended you.
It's a simple statement that your posts aren't clear. As for where you can improve - stop misusing needlessly complicated words and notations in an effort to appear intellectual, and we'll go from there.


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You're missing out in what Christian thinkers have to say. They never have appealed to such reasoning and I haven't see anyone demonstrate the irrationality of belief in God. The concept at least is very coherent and it makes it reasonable for one to understand why others believe albeit through simplistic means. It appears that you want to push that belief in God is irrational because there is no evidence for it but that's not the case.
Then, again, where is your evidence?

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The scientific method cannot empirically verify itself because we all know that is a logical method and while it may not be the best, it's still pretty reliable for it's usage. In the same way, even if God doesn't have any evidence in support of it doesn't mean that it's irrational.
Yes, it is. The scientific method, while also an act of faith, has something to show for itself. And the faith is mostly that the physical laws today, tomorrow, and yesterday are all the same.

But God? Not only is it an extraordinary claim - especially if, along with "God exists" you add things like "I know what he's like", "I can talk to him" and so on - but what can you do with such a belief? What test can you put it to? Go to war with the unbelievers and check if God is really with you?


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It can be very helpful in understanding things from a different point of view than say an atheist. Are we going to say that those who don't believe in God are being irrational due to their lack of belief in one?
Who's "we"? Some people do say that.

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Then why say that those who negate your belief are irrational?
Well, that really depends. Just merely believing in a God isn't necessarily irrational. Well, actually, it is, but not in a bad way. In itself, it's no more irrational than atheism.

Believing in the Christian God - well, I'd like to hear answers to the Problem of Evil, and the others you cited. Answers that aren't "Eh. It's God. Logic doesn't apply."

And then, there's claiming there's evidence, when there really isn't. And that gets on my nerves.

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Atheism may be more rational but I wouldn't say it is irrational. Why are atheists so adamant in attacking religious people by claiming they are being stupid?
Why do the Americans have so much trouble with Evolutionary biology?

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I get that impression from your statements... The concept itself is not irrational, but it may not be worth believing it for some unless there is evidence which is perfectly logical. I'm not going to say that we should just do away with find evidence but that hypothetically speaking, it is not irrational. It's just that it has no evidence in support of it... Although I think it does.
If it has no evidence, it is irrational.



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The church invented that "money" thing, but the Bible teaches salvation as a gift from God and not a result of anyone's works.. Again I agree with you on reliability but I'm not going to argue for it right now until we got this other issue solved.




In other words, to say that "God did it' requires that we have logical reasons to believe that such a being exists in the first place. So the discussion should first start with whether God exists... Not on the issue of "God did it".
And yet, people use "God did it" as evidence that God exists.


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There's no need until we can finish this conversation of faith. If that is accomplished, I would be willing to discuss the other issues of whether there is evidence for God, and if ID can be thought of as a scientific endeavor -- rather than a appeal to ignorance.
Don't make extraordinary, offensive claims if you're not ready to defend them.



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It has nothing to do with atheists or theists but the belief systems. I mentioned "atheists" to demonstrate that within the framework of atheism, it is not as intellectually satisfying. Theists can be stupid, smart in the same way that atheists can but their beliefs systems are the most important aspect. Every religious idea in religion has to be absurd? That's quite unnecessary... I don't see why you're so hostile to religious beliefs. Again, neither. Theism is more intellectually satisfying for the reason that it has be both on offense and defense while also pertaining some intriguing ideas. Atheism, on the other hand, is simply a lack of belief in God and contains no defense other than arguing against theistic claims. It's easy to present rhetorical arguments for them as well.
Atheism is simple and consistent. That's intellectually satisfying, even if atheism is too poor to produce anything.

Christianty, on the other hand, is fraught with inconsistency, and makes many extraordinary claims with nothing but millenia-old hearsay to support them. Against scientific evidence, I might add. That makes anything it does produce of questionable value. I don't consider that intellectually satisfying.

Well, what I just said only goes for "literal" Christians, I suppose. For those of them who only take the Bible's basic message to be "Be nice to each other", all the rest being metaphor, it's not the same.

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God is the ground of all things if He did exist to which creates a worldview of everything else. For example, it would effect how one views themselves, morality, God, and yes, even the world. It's not worthless to think about such a fundamental question that would make sense of all the world. If atheism is true for example, it would make sense for why there is evil (due to evolution). If Christianity is true, it explains morality or issues such as truth. You take theism way too lightly and mockingly.
And if the moon is made of cheese, would you like a slice? The difference is, we've been able to ascertain that the moon isn't made of cheese. For God, all those claims - starting with the claim that he's anything like described in any religion, let alone the Christian one - rest on nothing.



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Yes, but usually those other branches are not very sophisticated as the philosophical outlook of things. I would say that the only true branches are 30% of the rest. Many of them are logical as well.
Well done. You've just insulted 70% of theists, and we don't even know which 70%.

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Both the invisible guy and monster are parodies. God is not a "guy" nor does he live in the sky along with an invisible world. The difference is clear... God is more of a metaphysical notion, rather than a physical being. Those for which you describe have properties that are defined within the world and therefore are dependent upon it. Completely different and it's a waste of my time. Why answer a parody when I can simply explain the rationality of the belief while providing evidence? Rhetoric doesn't convince me.
"God is an idea" is an atheist claim. Christians are supposed to believe he created the universe (that's about as physical as it gets), appeared to various people in one form or another, and caused various miracles to happen. Now, maybe "Invisible Guy in the Sky" isn't an entirely fair description, but changes nothing to the fact that "Spaghetti Monster" isn't any more absurd than the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Just less popular. So far...

Last edited by Anh_Minh; 2008-03-30 at 14:29.
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Old 2008-03-30, 18:50   Link #677
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Why does religion have flaws?

Hmm?
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Old 2008-03-30, 21:54   Link #678
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I'm responding to particular parts because your other points are things I either don't agree with, cover things that we've already discussed, or can be covered in response to these parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Christianty, on the other hand, is fraught with inconsistency, and makes many extraordinary claims with nothing but millenia-old hearsay to support them. Against scientific evidence, I might add. That makes anything it does produce of questionable value. I don't consider that intellectually satisfying.
Christianity/Judaism is fraught with inconsistency if it is misinterpreted (and no, I don't mean "it's all myth and metaphor"). I won't blame any one for making that assumption, though, since the overwhelming majority of believers don't interpret it properly anyway (Thank you, human pride, and especially western culture). Millennia of cultural belief combined with the fact that it takes an understanding of several cultures and their history of events and beliefs can do that, of course. Working out seeming inconsistencies takes a lot less historical and cultural insight than making out some of the more esoteric poetry and prophecy, though.

I am really not sure what you mean by "against scientific evidence". Sure, there are claims that miracles/amazing phenomenon occurred, but science saying that doesn't happen ordinarily doesn't mean much. If there is a part of the world presently unobservable and unmeasurable by us as these religions claim, then it's not far-fetched to say that those forces act to create phenomenon we're presently unable to explain.

Reason for believing such a part of the world exists generally goes back to irrational faith. (Although some try to disprove it by explaining the "how" and assuming that negates the reason for the "why", much like arguing the non-existence of a car manufacturer by explaining how the combustion engine works.)

There is something else to consider: There are many people who have concrete personal experiences that they see as evidence to support their irrational faith. Not abstract assumptions about coincidental events, but concrete, observable things, often with multiple eye-witnesses. Hey, a religion that says miracles are worked ought not get too far without at least some of the lay-people seeing something, right? (Ought not, but many, of course, do. And then there's the televangelist contingent throwing a wrench in things.)

You'll never hear a rational person try to use such personal experiences to convince you of anything, though. It would be fruitless not to mention insulting to you. As far as you're concerned, any miraculous experience of theirs could be a misinterpretation, a lie, or insanity. Unless it happened to you, or at least to a person who's judgement and lack of bias you trust, then you have zero reason to believe it. No matter how concrete their personal experiences are, claims of miracles by believers do nothing to convince you, so you likely won't hear them.

My point in talking about personal evidence is this: While you may have nothing that compels you to believe something, try to have a teensy ounce of respect for people who just might have more reason for believing something than "wishful thinking" as you might assume.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Well done. You've just insulted 70% of theists, and we don't even know which 70%.
I'll go further: Nearly or absolutely 100% of theists are pretty well wrong about something major. I don't know of any religion that claims to explain more than a tiny bit of a world it describes as quite vast. Even their patriarchs were generally understood to be "working blind", so later practitioners are bound to be in error in some capacity, even according to their own philosophy and beliefs. Some will be more than others depending on their presumptions, prejudices, and particular ignorance.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
"God is an idea" is an atheist claim. Christians are supposed to believe he created the universe (that's about as physical as it gets), appeared to various people in one form or another, and caused various miracles to happen. Now, maybe "Invisible Guy in the Sky" isn't an entirely fair description, but changes nothing to the fact that "Spaghetti Monster" isn't any more absurd than the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Just less popular. So far...
Even as a person of faith, I think the FSM is a great example of what's wrong with what's become known "Intelligent Design" (which is really a very particular set of bad scientific assumptions quite distinct from the philosophical idea of intelligent design).

However, it's a bad example to weigh against the Judeo-Christian deity. Judaism and Christianity understand any term used to describe God as a human metaphor used to describe a being we don't actually understand the full nature of. The FSM, on the other hand, is (almost) equivalent to the "Man in the Sky" nonsense, which makes the audacious and ridiculous assumption that deity is in the form of some earthly creation.

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Originally Posted by Thentus View Post
Why does religion have flaws?

Hmm?
Because it's administered by very flawed humans. Even religions (tend to) recognize this.
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Old 2008-03-31, 00:16   Link #679
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Originally Posted by Kyuusai View Post
I'm responding to particular parts because your other points are things I either don't agree with, cover things that we've already discussed, or can be covered in response to these parts.



Christianity/Judaism is fraught with inconsistency if it is misinterpreted (and no, I don't mean "it's all myth and metaphor"). I won't blame any one for making that assumption, though, since the overwhelming majority of believers don't interpret it properly anyway (Thank you, human pride, and especially western culture). Millennia of cultural belief combined with the fact that it takes an understanding of several cultures and their history of events and beliefs can do that, of course. Working out seeming inconsistencies takes a lot less historical and cultural insight than making out some of the more esoteric poetry and prophecy, though.

I am really not sure what you mean by "against scientific evidence". Sure, there are claims that miracles/amazing phenomenon occurred, but science saying that doesn't happen ordinarily doesn't mean much. If there is a part of the world presently unobservable and unmeasurable by us as these religions claim, then it's not far-fetched to say that those forces act to create phenomenon we're presently unable to explain.
Simple example: the Flood. There's not enough water in the world. There are no geological traces of a global flood. It's impossible for a family of, what, ten? Twenty? to build an ark big enough for a couple of every species. Not every species lived within walking distance of Noah, wherever Noah lived. Genetically speaking, it is unlikely every member of a given species is descended from a unique couple that lived only a few thousand years ago.

Now, I suppose an omnipotent Being could have Flooded everything, made the traces disappear, shortened the distances, and so on... But that still means that, scientifically speaking, evidence speaks against the Global Flood.

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Reason for believing such a part of the world exists generally goes back to irrational faith. (Although some try to disprove it by explaining the "how" and assuming that negates the reason for the "why", much like arguing the non-existence of a car manufacturer by explaining how the combustion engine works.)

There is something else to consider: There are many people who have concrete personal experiences that they see as evidence to support their irrational faith. Not abstract assumptions about coincidental events, but concrete, observable things, often with multiple eye-witnesses. Hey, a religion that says miracles are worked ought not get too far without at least some of the lay-people seeing something, right? (Ought not, but many, of course, do. And then there's the televangelist contingent throwing a wrench in things.)
Plenty of religions with miracles, though. So, yes, let's say people see miracles. What of it?

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You'll never hear a rational person try to use such personal experiences to convince you of anything, though. It would be fruitless not to mention insulting to you. As far as you're concerned, any miraculous experience of theirs could be a misinterpretation, a lie, or insanity. Unless it happened to you, or at least to a person who's judgement and lack of bias you trust, then you have zero reason to believe it. No matter how concrete their personal experiences are, claims of miracles by believers do nothing to convince you, so you likely won't hear them.

My point in talking about personal evidence is this: While you may have nothing that compels you to believe something, try to have a teensy ounce of respect for people who just might have more reason for believing something than "wishful thinking" as you might assume.
What, like seeing a miracle? That proves nothing. That certainly doesn't prove that Christianty, out of all the religions which exist or have existed, or will exist, is the right one. Or, for that matter, that there is a right one.

And besides seeing a miracle, personal revelation, and culture, what is there?

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I'll go further: Nearly or absolutely 100% of theists are pretty well wrong about something major. I don't know of any religion that claims to explain more than a tiny bit of a world it describes as quite vast. Even their patriarchs were generally understood to be "working blind", so later practitioners are bound to be in error in some capacity, even according to their own philosophy and beliefs. Some will be more than others depending on their presumptions, prejudices, and particular ignorance.
So much for papal infallibility.


Quote:
Even as a person of faith, I think the FSM is a great example of what's wrong with what's become known "Intelligent Design" (which is really a very particular set of bad scientific assumptions quite distinct from the philosophical idea of intelligent design).

However, it's a bad example to weigh against the Judeo-Christian deity. Judaism and Christianity understand any term used to describe God as a human metaphor used to describe a being we don't actually understand the full nature of. The FSM, on the other hand, is (almost) equivalent to the "Man in the Sky" nonsense, which makes the audacious and ridiculous assumption that deity is in the form of some earthly creation.
Ah, yes. So I guess you're not down either with the animal headed people of Egypt, the people-like gods of Greece, Rome, or Scandinavia, or the Hindu Gods whose shapes I'm not sure of, or the Shinto Gods...
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Old 2008-03-31, 00:38   Link #680
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Simple example: the Flood. There's not enough water in the world. There are no geological traces of a global flood. It's impossible for a family of, what, ten? Twenty? to build an ark big enough for a couple of every species. Not every species lived within walking distance of Noah, wherever Noah lived. Genetically speaking, it is unlikely every member of a given species is descended from a unique couple that lived only a few thousand years ago.

Now, I suppose an omnipotent Being could have Flooded everything, made the traces disappear, shortened the distances, and so on... But that still means that, scientifically speaking, evidence speaks against the Global Flood.
Global flood? It doesn't take that much of a flood to destroy six hundred years worth of human procreation. There are proponents of the global flood idea (with different explanations for it), but a global flood certainly not necessary to match the story.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Plenty of religions with miracles, though. So, yes, let's say people see miracles. What of it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What, like seeing a miracle? That proves nothing. That certainly doesn't prove that Christianty, out of all the religions which exist or have existed, or will exist, is the right one. Or, for that matter, that there is a right one.
That all depends on context, doesn't it? My point remains: Just because some one doesn't tell you in a vain attempt to convince you of their point, don't be disrespectful under the assumption that they have no experiences that convince them of their beliefs.

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
So much for papal infallibility.
As much as I want to agree with that statement, even the Roman Catholics with their ideas of papal infallibility only claim that infallibility applies to things declared infallible. Anything else is up for being declared "wrong". Take a look at the Purgatory debate come anew..

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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Ah, yes. So I guess you're not down either with the animal headed people of Egypt, the people-like gods of Greece, Rome, or Scandinavia, or the Hindu Gods whose shapes I'm not sure of, or the Shinto Gods...
Well, no, I'm not "down" with those. However, I do recognize that they believe fundamentally different things about the nature of those deities than Jews/Christians do about their own God.
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