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07/21/2007 08:42:16 PM · #101
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

But the evidence of the senses can be utterly misleading; ask any pilot who's lost his instruments while flying through heavy cloud cover. Or did you ever put a blindfold on someone, tell them you were going to burn them, and then touch them with an ice cube? They SCREAM...

I don't deny that sensory input is imperfect, but that's not the same thing as saying that a disciplined, scientific analysis that seeks to determine the existence or non-existence of something is just as error-prone as believing one's "intuition", or personal experiences, or the like. It's patently not so.
07/21/2007 11:31:19 PM · #102
Here is my two cents on your question, i believe most people know that you cant prove that there is or is not a God, and i hope that no one tells people that they have proven it because that is a straight up lie or the same if someone has claimed that they have proved that God doesnt exist because that is also impossible. Everyone has a choice of their own to believe in God or to not. It is completely faith to believe in God and it is also completely faith to not believe in God, there is no way to prove either way.
On your question "Why do people push their belief in God on others", its simply because they have seen what He does in their life and wants the same for others, but i would agree with you that there are some overzealous people that try and do this and this ends up pushing people away from believing in a God, as are there overzealous people in any belief/religion. The truth is it is an individual belief for each individual person. No one can force any belief on any other person.
And on your question of "why is it such a bad thing to question the existence of a God" there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and if someone tells you otherwise then they are the ones in the wrong. There is nothing wrong with questioning whether there is a God or whether there isnt, and when you question that you will find the answers. We dont need to base our decision on what a preacher says from behind the pulpit, we need to seek answers out on our own and not just take what someone else is telling us. The only way you are ever going to find any answers is to seek them out on your own, no one else can find them for you, no one else can force it on you. That is what i have learned from what He has shown me in my life, if you have any questions you can PM me or post it on this thread.

Ryand
07/22/2007 10:49:33 AM · #103
Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by paddles:

1. But that is essentially the same arguing "Some religious people frown on logic, therefore religion frowns on logic.", which I'm sure you're aware is a logical fallacy, just as "Some athiests murder people, therefore athiesm promotes murder" is a logical fallacy.

That is absolutely a logical fallacy, yes. Whereas it might not have been apropos to mention specific examples, if you refer to number two in my list, the issue of faith vs. fact is universal to belief in god(s), and supports what I'd originally said about the major religions discouraging the use of reason in determining whether or not God exists.


Ahhh yes, I had thought I'd responded to number 2, but perhaps I hadn't.

Originally posted by Louis:

2. The very basis of the majority of religion, especially Catholicism, which is what I have experience with, is "faith without questions", where reason, logic, and even evidence is diametrically opposed to faith, which is belief without the need for these things. Routinely using words like "Mystery", "Divine Plan", "Knowledge is evil", and other such code words for the eschewing of logic and reason is proof positive of this.


I have never heard any Christian, anywhere, say that knowledge is evil. I don't recall hearing it from people of other religions either. The few people I have heard (of) preaching faith without questions are not people I consider to have any credibility. If I was ever in a church where someone preached it, I would be questioning it very hard, and if there was no willingness to reconsider, I'd be out of there - sounds more like a cult to me.

"Mystery" - well, some things are mysterious, even paradoxical. Mysteries can be explored, wrestled with, or accepted as something we can't solve (not necessarily a cop-out - if humans can engage in behaviours that defy analysis, why not a god?). I accept that there are some mysteries that I might never find the answer to in this lifetime - but that doesn't mean I won't think about/explore them.

"Divine Plan" - I'm not sure what this has to do with despising logic?

In short, there might be some things that are unknowable/unanswerable, but that doesn't mean thinking about them, or thinking at all, is considered bad.

Originally posted by Louis:

Originally posted by paddles:

In any case, Christianity doesn't fundamentally depend on intelligent design...

No, but the reverse might be true, despite how it's being generically packaged.


True and agreed. However concluding religion is illogical because intelligent design is illogical is faulty logic.

Originally posted by paddles:

It also supposes that intelligent design is illogical. I totally agree that intelligent design is not scientific...

No, it supposes that the promulgation of Intelligent Design as science is unreasonable, when it is clearly not science.

Originally posted by paddles:

This comes back to the fundamental epistemological question, "how do we know what we know?"....

This is an interesting way to excuse the colossal lack of evidence for the existence of God. It's difficult for me to accept mystical explanations and discreet mathematics as a basis for the possible existence of God. I know it's not your intention, but it smacks of a shell game. Yours is a philosophical approach, and therefore doesn't address concrete issues of observation of the evidence of the senses, science, and human history. [/quote]

OK, maybe we've got our wires crossed here. You suggested that evidence available to me about the existence of God shouldn't be good enough for me if that same evidence isn't available to you as well. My responses were to question that statement (I'm not suggesting that the evidence I have should be good enough for you, but why can't I use it?). What would you consider to be suitable as evidence for the existence of God - any god, not just the Christian one? What can be used as evidence for the existence of anything - love, friendship, chocolate?

I also wasn't arguing that lack of evidence excuses anything. I wouldn't expect you to believe in God with a lack of evidence. But if you're talking about proof - well things can be true without being provable. Gödel, in his incompleteness theorem, proved that in any formal (logical) system that had enough rules/structure to handle basic arithmetic, there would be statements that were true but unprovable. Belief without evidence is one thing - but belief without proof, well, we all do that, even scientists.
07/22/2007 12:25:09 PM · #104
Originally posted by paddles:

I have never heard any Christian, anywhere, say that knowledge is evil.

The Genesis story concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil is evidence for me that the very basis of that particular religion considers that having knowledge is the fundamental cause of evil in the world. Forgive me again for taking a broader view. Also, refer back to David Ey's post here, where he says that those who question the existence of God are "too smart". He's not just pulling that out of thin air, it's part of his greater belief system.

Originally posted by paddles:

if humans can engage in behaviours that defy analysis, why not a god?

You have to first establish satisfactorily that such god exists, before assigning characteristics to it. And again, the use of "Mysteries" in a broader context is an obfuscation on the part of those unwilling to fairly explore greater questions of belief. I don't deny that their are fair-minded intelligent believers who haven't arrived at their position after some internal struggle, and assign their conclusions to "religious mysteries". But the Catholic Mysteries, for example, were not invented by some latter-day scholar who has everything sorted out, all questions answered, and seeks to disseminate knowledge. No, religious "mysteries" like these are simply a mechanism to tacitly imply that adherents are not to question the logic, or in some cases even the sanity, of religious dogma, edicts, fatwahs, ideas, ideology, and much else.

Originally posted by paddles:

"Divine Plan" - I'm not sure what this has to do with despising logic?

As mentioned, this is a code word for shunning the reasonable investigation into the reality of believing in God. I draw largely on my early Catholic education, but as an example, when one asks, "Why does a benevolent god see fit to accept the prayers of a star athlete at the beginning of a game to help him win, yet completely ignore the pleas of a child to help save a parent suffering from terminal cancer," the incredible answer comes: it's a Divine Mystery. I admit this is an intentionally coy example, but I'm sure you get it.

Originally posted by paddles:

True and agreed. However concluding religion is illogical because intelligent design is illogical is faulty logic.

Again, I concluded that one religion in particular was unreasonable in promoting Intelligent Design when, clearly, said "theory" promotes an agenda rather than real science.

Originally posted by paddles:

(I'm not suggesting that the evidence I have should be good enough for you, but why can't I use it?).

From a purely personal position - of course you can, nothing is stopping you, with the exception, hopefully, of serious internal debate. And even then, when it comes right down to it, it is of no consequence to me or anyone else what you believe in, or how you justify that belief - until you start proclaiming yours to be the only belief, or until you begin to legislate your belief into various aspects of my life, or until your belief no longer respects the separation of the state from itself, or until your unproven belief takes precedence over my proven science and begins to affect the education of my children, or until you begin to demand that your belief becomes my belief. At that point, I will in turn demand even the slightest shred of evidence that anything you say regarding your belief be substantiated by hard facts, derived at by serious scientific evidence. If you can't produce such a thing, you and your beliefs should, at the least, remain together in silence, at the most, should be forced to do so. Because if you can't find the restraint to withold beliefs that are affecting my life in an adverse manner, you don't deserve a forum. (I trust you understand all this "you" stuff is generic.)

Speaking personally, sometimes even small displays of god-belief are offensive to me, such as those we find in the forums, or as notes on photographs. This is because they can contain such ridiculous lapses of logic that seem frightening and other-worldly. One example that I haven't actually seen here is the notion that God takes precedence over one's spouse. This to me is an uncanny, weird notion that violates what it means to be committed to the life of another human being. I find it patently offensive, but some people accept this kind of thing as a matter of course, and are not shy about promoting this sort of belief everywhere. My sense is that those same kinds of people are quick to equate atheism with child murder, if you refer back to the picture of the billboard in this thread.

Originally posted by paddles:

What would you consider to be suitable as evidence for the existence of God - any god, not just the Christian one? What can be used as evidence for the existence of anything - love, friendship, chocolate?

This is almost too easy. Show me any kind of evidence of God. It has to be convincing. I don't know what it is - you believe in God, not me, so it would be up to you to prove that he's left some trace here that shows he actually exists. Better yet, since he is purportedly a living god, please show evidence that he is here, now. Anything will do. Anything at all. I will accept evidence immediately and without hesitation. Regarding love, friendship, and chocolate, I can produce chocolate in about half an hour if you'll let me go to the store, I can show you my spouse of the last thirteen years and talk about the struggles we've had and the happiness we've found in one another despite huge personal difficulties to show you evidence of love, and I can dig up a few dozen current and past friends to talk about our feelings for one another to show you evidence of friendship.

Originally posted by paddles:

But if you're talking about proof - well things can be true without being provable. Gödel, in his incompleteness theorem, proved that in any formal (logical) system that had enough rules/structure to handle basic arithmetic, there would be statements that were true but unprovable. Belief without evidence is one thing - but belief without proof, well, we all do that, even scientists.

Without knowing this theory, and probably without ever being able to adequately understand it, I could probably surmise that it is actually referring to having to believe in mathematical principles unproven, but overwhelmingly inferred at by other principles that are absolutely proven. This is highly scientific, and is not the same thing as suggesting that one can believe in God even when the existence of such a god is unprovable.
07/22/2007 01:10:22 PM · #105
Originally posted by Louis:

... as an example, when one asks, "Why does a benevolent god see fit to accept the prayers of a star athlete at the beginning of a game to help him win ...

The real question is, assuming God hears equally sincere pleas from players on both teams, why God would favor one team over another. Besides, the whole theory is undermined by the previously-established fact that the Yankees are the tool of the Devil, yet win 25% of all championships ... : (
07/23/2007 04:48:07 AM · #106
Originally posted by Louis:

Speaking personally, sometimes even small displays of god-belief are offensive to me, such as those we find in the forums, or as notes on photographs. This is because they can contain such ridiculous lapses of logic that seem frightening and other-worldly.


This is something that I too find somewhat alarming. In particular, I find it very worrying that when a member reports a personal crisis that common responses are for people to pray for them and to encourage them to seek guidance from god or accept something as god’s will.

I can suffer the prayers – notwithstanding that prayer may employed at the expense of more direct, potentially effective, action (think Life of Brian), it provides some mental support for the target (though no more so than saying “you are in my thoughts”).

I have more of a problem with those who encourage others to seek and rely on guidance from, or worse still, submit to the will of, god. Rather than encouraging people to help themselves, consider the problem from many angles, find solutions and take action, they are instead encouraged to allow passively events to happen to them. Well wishers of this persuasion are positively damaging and negative influences on society.

07/25/2007 02:45:30 AM · #107
Like i've said before, Religion and politics are the 2 taboo topics for discussion because its all based on opinion and its so deep rooted, that even people that agree, will argue for hours.

You know why some people push religion down your throat? The same reason that Agnostics or Athiests will argue faith and the "story book" called the bible. People remember extremes, you don't remember the blah. Take 10 photographs and lay them out, With 10 being the sharpest possible and 1 being completely out of focus. You'll remember the Sharpest and the out of focus more than you will remember that average photo in the center. Take 10 people of differing degrees of religion, from a dead-set athiest to the most extreme religious fanatic, and the extremes will stick out and be memorable.

Some people take everything their religion says literal (like alot of people do, even with common sense topics) instead of how they interpret it. One might believe that they have to witness to you by telling you what they've learned word for word and that if it worked for them, it has to work for you. Religion isn't F/stop. f/4 will give the same amount of light on any lens set to f/4, but you can't set f/4 in religion and get the same meaning from every person about religion.

I personally don't try to talk to anyone about my beliefs. I gave up on "church" because people believe that you have to go to a building, pay your tithe and get the pastors personal beliefs handed to you, and I've seen too many hypocrits. Even in the bible, it says where 2 or more are gathered, I am there. Not a brick and mortar establishment, just small groups. I try to witness by example, and actions speak louder than words anyway.

I'll respect anyones beliefs and their right to them, even those that don't believe. Its just a shame that the money scamming "evangelists" you see on TV (and I can't lump all of them in the same boat) bring anybody with even the tiniest belief into the same big boat of religion. Just like people like the lump the general muslim community in with the fanatics.
07/25/2007 01:57:21 PM · #108
I agree that extremists are the worst kind of believers, and the one that stand out more - doesn't matter which religion/sect they're in. Catholics and their crusades? Islam's Jihad? Which is more brillant? Depends of the side you're on. ;)

I'm on a "live and let live" basis towards religion/sprituality. Believe what you want, as long as it doesn't hurt other people. Don't you try to convert me from my beliefs though. I'm not trying to convince anyone here, I'll just say my opinions. I may talk more of Catholicism because it's what I know the most, but all religions are equals.

What proves me that my "beliefs" (keyword here) are worth more than yours, or vice-versa? Nothing. Oh, you can dismiss mines, finding fails upon how YOU see them... Same can be done for yours from my point of view. It all goes down to what YOU prefer to believe and what you want to stick at (often what you grew up in). For all we know, Greek or Egyptian "mythology" could be the real deal... Some day, Christianism, Muslim, Buddhism could also be classed as mytholgy, being replaced for the new "flavor of the century" religion...

It's so easy to write up books promoting/dissing something as vague as pure beliefs, or unproven/disguised facts...

Remember back then (not that far ago)? God (or whatever divine figure) was responsible for thunderstorms, eclipses, what we now call natural disasters, etc... Persons suffering from epilepsy, trisomy or other debilitating diseases were obviously possessed by the Devil (or other malicious entity). And the "witch" hunts? And the heretic "scientists" that proposed the roundness of the Earth... Everybody that went against them (even if they're proved right by now) were comdemned. Back then, we were burning those people alive! Nazis before their time...

Now many of theses facts are proven, the Church accepts these (well, they don't condemn 'em as fiercely as before) yet never really apologised or acknoledged they were in the wrong. Moving right along.

That's what I don't like about most religions, some are so stubborn and intolerant and they want to control everything, to the shape of the Earth. Hey, religion, your job is spiritual support, that's it. NOT curing diseases, exploring space, etc.

I think the real problem is that religion is "controlled" by Men (as a specie)... They teach and transmit their own beliefs. Heck, after centuries, Limbo doesn't exist anymore!!! God(s) should update religions by now, they're all corrupted! (but please, no format and reinstall)
07/25/2007 02:37:48 PM · #109
Originally posted by Louis:


Without knowing this theory, and probably without ever being able to adequately understand it, I could probably surmise that it is actually referring to having to believe in mathematical principles unproven, but overwhelmingly inferred at by other principles that are absolutely proven. This is highly scientific, and is not the same thing as suggesting that one can believe in God even when the existence of such a god is unprovable.


It's not just math, it's ANY logical system. No logical system can "prove" its own correctness because such a proof, by definition, would be self-referential. Philosophers understand this just as well as mathematicians do. In math, geometry is a good, understandable example of this; you begin by learning postulates, axioms, which are unprovable but accepted as truth. From this the entire rational structure is deduced and "proven". At the basic level, this gives us "plane" or "Euclidean" geometry, which postulates, among other things, that two parallel straight lines will never meet.

But on the earth there is no such thing as a straight line, because the earth is 3-dimensional. Plane geometry is inadequate to the task of exploring the mysteries of the universe. Other geometries (spherical et al) were created for this purpose, and they, too, are valid and logically consistent geometries.

It's all in how you choose to view the thing.

R.

Message edited by author 2007-07-25 14:38:43.
07/25/2007 03:41:42 PM · #110
Religion and politics often make some people lose all perspective and give way to ranting and raving and carrying on like emotional children. They either refuse to discuss it with reason or else they prefer argumentum ad homeinem, which is a hell of a way to conduct a discussion.

Well, anyhow, not long ago I was talking about the elections and how the campaigns were ignoring the issues and sticking instead to invective and personal crap that had nothing to do with the substantive problems of running a government (which is all true as you know if you followed the speeches and so-called debates of the candidates).
Anyhow, one of the guys I was talking with said not a word in the whole conversation except at the end when he suddenly chuckled and said we were all full of sh*t and why didn't we all go live in Russia or China if that was the way we all hated the United States of America!

Next thing you know, the whole blooming discussion is more like a brawl and the epithets flew thick and fast and the noise was incredible! Someone said "son of a *****" and I think he said "bastard!" (I couldn't be sure; it was all so confusing.)

Well, anyhow, I was attempting to get it all back on a rational level. I tried, for example, to talk to the one who had started it all and I asked him just what did he mean we were all full of sh*t? Was he making a statement of fact as he knew it and where was his documentation to back up his claim? I think Socrates would have been proud of the way I refuted his argument. That is, I *tried* to refute it. But all he could offer by way of rebuttal was more of the same: about how we were all full of sh*t. But he wouldn't say why; he just kept on repeating it. That and the part about Russia and China and Communist dupes. And I'll have to confess that I got a bit angry and told him to stuff his ideas up his *** (which you don't have to tell me is hardly a way to convince anyone in an argument).

Then he got salty and threatened to give me a punch in the mouth if I didn't shut up. And I really got hot and the others did, too. And we all beat the sh*t out of Mr. Conservative. And, after all, he had only himself to be blamed. This is still a free country and anyone telling a fellow like me "brother, you're full of sh*t" better be good and ready to answer politely when asked if he'd care to say WHY!

-- Dr Demento
07/25/2007 04:28:11 PM · #111
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

It's not just math, it's ANY logical system. No logical system can "prove" its own correctness because such a proof, by definition, would be self-referential. Philosophers understand this just as well as mathematicians do...

There's nothing you say that I don't agree with, especially concerning self-referential, or circular, arguments.

However, by saying that "no logical system can prove it's own correctness", you seem to be suggesting that ultimately every discourse is mired in circular argument and therefore must rely on unspoken assumptions, but that isn't so. A carefully constructed debate about such things as the existence of God is possible. Circular arguing is merely a trap one can fall into, either purposefully with the end goal being obfuscation, or accidently due to poor arguing skills.
11/08/2007 10:27:01 AM · #112
Originally posted by Matthew:

I have more of a problem with those who encourage others to seek and rely on guidance from, or worse still, submit to the will of, god. Rather than encouraging people to help themselves, consider the problem from many angles, find solutions and take action, they are instead encouraged to allow passively events to happen to them. Well wishers of this persuasion are positively damaging and negative influences on society.

I feel as though God looks out for my dumb @$$, but I also figure that he gave me my brains, skills, and heart to use them. Yeah, I feel that if I do my best to be a good and decent human being that I'll be looked upon favorably, but I also think God's not going to look out for me if I step out of a 17th floor window. That's just stupidity.

One of the adages I find amusing, inspiring, and some days just aggravating is the old, "God never gives us more than we can handle.". I like that because it inspires me to do, and be, the best I can, but that there is perhaps a plan and that I can seek solace in believing that I suffer for a reason when I have the week from Hell.

But I also believe that His grand scheme of things is to have me be self-sufficient and motivated to live my own life to the best of my abilities.

And I choose to thank God for the things in life that are full of meaning and beauty that far outstrip the borders of explainable things in my mind and I'm okay with not having a rational explanation for everything.

Like love and sunsets, and little teeny flowers that grow in the harsh deserts, and why bumblebees can fly.

So I have my faith and beliefs, yet I'm willing to learn, and grow with what I learn here as well.

So yeah, I have strong faith and beliefs, but I'm not such an idiot that I don't learn from what goes on here and now in my life.

Somehow, my God, as I understand Him, doesn't have a problem with that.
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