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Discussion in 'General Open/Public Discussion' started by Ground Chuk, 6 Aug 2007.
....well, some won't think so!
An interesting point of view. Thinking that there is no afterlife can free you of a lot of taboo's and morals that the world thrusts at you. This also can cripple you as far as developing a human. I think that a life based upon documented morals isn't a life at all. Now, before I get a bunch of bashing here, when I put down documented morals, I meant that, much like traits or skills in games like LOTRO and WoW, you develop an almost 'cookie-cutter' life. Live your life like so and so, and it's going to be a rewarding life.
Not true. Unless you do EXACTLY as that person does, AND have the same experiences as that person, you're not going to live that life. Morals are derived from life experiences. Each person is different, thus each person's morals are different. There are several who's morals are the same, but I cannot say with absolute certainty that my morals are the same as, say Manitou. I'd like to think so, but I cannot say for certain.
Does this make me an athiest or a Satanist? Hardly not. My experiences in my life tell me that there is a God. It's not the God of Catholicism, or the God of Protestantism, or even the God of Jehovah. You can't label God like that. It's my God. I choose to worship him using the belief system that I was both brought up on and my choices in life. For example, if I want to be forgiven of my sins, I'm not going to go to church, pray among several people and ask forgiveness. I'm going to say, "God, I screwed up. And I know that what I learned from that will change me. May I please beg your forgiveness?" At the end of my life, I won't be judged on good deeds, but on my morality.
BTW, I'm very private about my religion, so coming out to say that was very hard for me.
Sentrosi, wow I feel the exact same way you do! AMEN, Brother!
Don't let me drag out my soapbox.
Hehe, wasn't about to Mani. I know your religion and I respect and admire your dedication to it.
I like to term it a relationship.
Hamma All Religions
If there is one thing I have learned about religions and the way people interact with them, we are a passionate species. If we choose to devote ourselves to a belief, we defend that belief through hell and high water. Especially when it comes to the supernatural aspects, which ironically are probably of the least importance when it comes down to the underlying message of the faith. I see it all too often nowadays that people are caught up in the "my god is the real god" argument that the moral ideas, that is, the ideas of most importance, get tossed aside. If you look at the core ideals of most major religions, they are very similar, however the dieties vary, and that is what makes people so (covertly) hostile towards the virtually identical practices.
Me? I'm an atheist. That is, I am A-theistic: I do not believe in gods. I feel religion has a good premise, but all of the mythological mumbo jumbo drowned out most of the underlying messages and the metaphor became far too literal. I feel that believing in things such as an afterlife, miracles, gods, and the like is a hindrance to our intellectual nature of the here and now each to their own respect. I spend lots of time on religion debate boards discussing these topics with all sorts of individuals.
Intellectually speaking, god, in all of its forms, is shrinking. Having originally been the explanation to fill the gaps of the unexplained, those gaps grow ever smaller, and the need for a god to arbitrarily explain it grows ever smaller as well. Not to say explaining the unexplained was God's only purpose. People use the idea of this higher being favoring them to bring comfort in trying times as well. It also gives the individual a sense of moral justification to know that their decision is backed by God himself. The human mind is a fascinating thing. The brain has a subconscious level where imagination is a "mustard seed of faith" away from reality, and even if that reality is a warped one, it is very real to the individual. However, it is usually those of religious faith that will stubornly grasp this reality and fight against logic itself to keep that reality safe. You don't have to be a mental case to let your subconscious get the better of you.
What I mean to say is that the religious person will probably say "I have faith that A is the ultimate truth.", whereas the non-religious person will probably say "Given the evidence thus far, B seems most logical." Any of you more devout religious people here willing to cast aside your religion if it could somehow be proven wrong? Or is it more likely that you will continue to believe what you do out of faith no matter how thoroughly God could be disproven? It is a good thing to be resolute, but not when it becomes destructive to one's intellectual awareness. To believe in any specific god means one must deny all other possibilities. That to me, is intellectually restricting. You're fooling yourself to think that what you believe is universally true because you have faith, or think you talked to god, or prayed for a miracle and it happened.
Then you'll get the one person religions where the idea of God is unique to the individual. If god is as unique as the individual thinking of it then why can't everyone just agree god is an entirely human idea? Where each individual believer has their own manifestation of god that extends no farther into reality than their own mind takes it? That would be a step in the right direction.
Ever wonder why atheism is on the rise? Well number one, because being atheist isn't punishable by death anymore, though still a trait viewed as negative by the general U.S. public (70 some odd percent say they would not vote for an atheist to be president, just because they are atheist), but also because the newer generations aren't satisfied with "because this book says so". It will be interesting to watch how religion evolves in the coming years. The Creationism Museums opening up here and there around the nation are an interesting start to religion's adaptation to modern science. Trying to make the more irrational concepts of the bible creation story seem plausable. I may visit one of these museums some day to see how they manage it. Though it may be hard to keep a straight face as I listen to someone try and explain how the universe is only 6000 years old... (sorry, sorry)
But yeah, that's my take on it. The mythology surrounding Christianity is obviously the most fascinating to me. This is purely hypothetical, but if Christianity turned out to be true, I almost think I'd be backing Satan. Yes, seriously. Keep in mind I never accepted God as good and Satan as evil, because I believe good and evil are subjective. When you aren't indoctrinated with the idea that God is "all loving, omnipotent, yada yada" and are able to judge his actions from a non-biased standpoint, he's really a petty, egotistical jerk. Lots of the things God does, did, and will do are pretty evil assuming it is all true. The Rapture for example. If god made all of man, but chooses to "save" only a select few, and cast the rest into hell, even the innocent that had simply never heard of Jesus, does he really seem all loving? Maybe God is the tyrant and Satan tried to end the tyrannical grip he has? Look how he punished Satan. That seem very "all loving"? Seems like God's mercy is only present to those that worship him. What did Satan do to get God's panties in a knot? He defied him. Who is to say Satan's means were not justified? This is all of course hypothetical. That is thinking subjectively, something a believer in God could *never* do without questioning their own belief.
That is why I am proud to not follow religion. I am able to question my own beliefs with my own sense of morality. I don't need an already decided outline, essentially skewing my belief into a cookie cutter template.
Kaikou, you left out that subjugation/humiliation of women is a common theme in organized religion used to unify men. A twisted, yet powerful tool when you need an army.
Thus I restate my original sentiment that I do not support organized religion. I am in a relationship. This drives all other relationships that I have, to include the ones with the four most important women in my life: wife and three daughters. Sky, I think if I tried to "subjugate" any one of them, I would find myself sitting on the curb.
I find it revealing that everyone feels free to defend their own "religion", while taking subtle (or not so subtle: Kai) shots at Christianity. One would do well to study biblical Christianity. I won't sit here and say Christianity is perfect, as whenever you have mankind involved it will be far from that. But you might sincerely take a look at the tenets of biblical Christianity as taught by Christ. He taught a relationship with Himself, not a religion.
Kai, you do have a religion. A religion can be defined as nothing more than "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects" or "something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience"
("religion." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 09 Aug. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion>.)
Man we need to play more games lol!
mani, I wasn't necessarily thinking of Christianity in particular with that statement although it does apply. Christianity has come a long way from it's roots. Today a Christian woman is told she "should" obey her husband. In the past she was told she "must" obey him.
An obedient wife was presented as a reward from God.
I don't like organized religion because it is too clouded with people forcing their ideas on others and demanding compliance. Believe exactly this or you're going to hell. Agree with me or I (my God) will stab you right through your soul.
I spent my entire childhood in open prayer with God till age 11. The day I closed my prayer is the day I questioned something I was told in sunday school. I went to my father and told him I didn't believe what I was told, that I felt it was wrong. You know what he did? He brought me to the pastor of the church and they both told me it was a sin for me to question what I'd been told. Questioning it was wrong and I was being a bad person in doing so. I didn't believe in my heart that this thing I'd been told could ever be true of the God I had prayed to every single day of my life, who had kept me from suffering pain during brutal beatings and who'd made me feel loved even during the most horrifying psychological and emotional abuse. I closed my prayer and then I was left there with nothing.
Today I am spiritual, not religious.
Mani, unfortunately I have to disagree with your statement that I have a religion. As your definition states: "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion."
By definition, I would have to be part of a specific organization of people that share "a specific fundamental set of beliefs" which I do not. I have my own not-so-fundamental set of beliefs that is in no way influenced nor associated with largely fictional literature followed by the masses of any particular religion. I don't incorporate supernatural entities in my moral decision making. I don't ask God if something is right or wrong, because in reality, there is no right or wrong. It is all subjective to the individuals involved. Is it right to save the butterfly by killing the spider? Some ask a god for the answer, I ask myself, but at the same time realize that my decision is subjective to my individual self and nobody else. If you think it is good to save the butterfly by killing the spider, you have a butterfly bias. Same goes for my hypothetical Satan vs God argument in the last post.
Tell me Mani, hypothetically, if somehow Christianity was discredited entirely and found to be just another story, that the relationship you share with Jesus is simply a subconscious mechanism at work. How would you look at the world from that point on? Would the world have less meaning or more meaning to you? Would you be able to maintain meaningful relationships with people? Finally, and most importantly, why? Please answer this hypothetically.
Yes, I take shots at Christianity, but only the parts I find destructive to our intellect. I've said it many times before: I don't disagree with the core ideas of religion, because most generally say "do unto others as you would yourself, etc etc" I simply find all of the mythological mumbo jumbo piled on top a complete waste of time and intellect. I don't mean to take shots at anybody personally, but I understand that it can be mistaken for a personal shot when someone's core ideals are questioned. However, therein lies one of the problems. Religious people are generally devout to a specific belief when it conforms with their religion, and turn a blind eye to any other possibilities. "Maybe that voice I heard wasn't really Jesus..." "Maybe that euphoric feeling I just felt wasn't the holy spirit filling my vessel, but a spasm of the pituitary gland temporarily releasing elevated levels of endorphin?" Those are some ideas not likely to come up in a religious person's thoughts. They'd much rather keep believing Jesus really did talk to them, or really did give them an overwhelming feeling of happiness than analyze other realistic possibilities. It is an intellectually suffocating way to conclude things. It is living in a world where everything is arbitrarily fact if it conforms with the religion and is dismissed otherwise.
A confirmation bias world if you will. Not the best place for intellectually inquisitive minds to expand.
I think I've beatin this one to death in the past.
I don't categorize myself really, I am tired of people being categorized as one thing or another it's why our country's political system is taking a shiat.
Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative, Liberal, Christian, Catholic blah blah etc.
The only column I put myself in is White because I have no choice
Kai, I could ask you the same thing about your stand. You see, we have two different world views. Yours is naturalistic and denies the existence of God, whereas I believe God exists and has revealed Himself in His Word, which is inerrant and infallible.
We have had this debate a number of times to no avail. There is nothing that I can say that will change your mind. I will not change what I know to be truth either.
The thing is, without the Bible, none of this makes any sense. The uniformity of nature, the existence of absolute truth, the existence of logic - it all demands a supernatural sustainer.
Why even argue about it if there is no absolute truth? What difference would it make? In a relative universe, we could both be right. But we know that isn't true because logic dictates this. "A" cannot be "A" and "Not A" at the same time in any given situation. Why not? Because logic demands this.
But how do we go out and buy a pint of logic? We can't - it is a universal invariant constant. It is a transendent quality. We expect logic to work in Arizona as well as Kentucky. But why would we expect this? Because we both accept and rely upon logic and truth being the same in both places.
These concepts are established by something outside of mankind - something above mankind and I submit that something is God. If we deny this, we deny the fact of these transcendent qualities which is silly because you have already admitted to the concepts of "good" and "bad". But who is to say these concepts of "good" and "bad" are the same for you and me?
You say it is subjective. Okay, if it is, and I was standing there next to you, I could simply shoot you in the head and state that I was right and I win. If you demand that I could not do that because it is "wrong", you are admitting to some overarching sense of "right" to which I must adhere. But in my subjective world it is right for me to win however I can.
We both know cheating is wrong. We have competed together and worked for the same goal to win without cheating. But why? Why did we used to get so angry when we caught someone cheating? Maybe to them, it was okay to cheat. Its not okay to cheat because there is an objective transcendent truth to which every one of us is cognizant.
The Bible states that every man and woman has a knowledge of God and yet they deny that knowledge and suppress it. Even though they claim the knowledge of right and wrong, truth and lie and are somewhat successful in life, mankind doesn't even realize his successes come from a suppressed knowledge of God.
If He doesn't exist, there is no reason for anything. God exists because of the impossibility of the contradictory.
Mani, thanks for not giving up on us.
I love you guys too much.
Man made God
I am Man
I am God
It's really that simple.
If you have any questions, read above again.
That is indeed a very simplified version, Ground Chuk.
I'm sure the universe would still work the way it does if the bible and all of its stories suddenly disappeared. It got along just fine for the billions of years Christianity didn't exist. The uniformity of nature is a result of billions of years of trial and error, refinement of ideas that work and discarding ideas that don't. I know it can seem all too complex to have happened naturally, but when you get a bigger sense of the universe we exist in, and realize just how long stuff has had to clump together, you realize that all of the mechanisms are in place. Besides our human minds being incapable of understanding the entire workings of the universe, I see nothing unlikely about an entirely naturalistic formation of what we see today. Absolute truth? What absolute truth? Spread your genes, that's about the only "absolute truth" the universe has in store. Since the beginning of life on earth the one goal has been to reproduce. Up until humans gained cognitive thought, then they began wanting the meaning of life to mean something more. The existence of logic? Is that to say God influences the logic in 2 + 2 = 4? How so? If you're going to say "because he made everything the way it is" you need to support it....somehow. The whole "I believe in god thus believe it is possible that he can do all the things he did, because he did them somehow" is not only a logical fallacy, but intellectually dishonest. So don't use those answers.
I really don't know where you're getting with the absolute truth thing. Are you saying *IF* there is no ultimate, universal goal all people should strive to meet, that is, an absolute truth, does that make life less meaningful to you?
What could we both be right about? That gods can both exists and not exist? No, I'm pretty sure it's going to be 100% one or the other.
You're taking an unknown, and because it is unknown, assigning it to God. No further evidence nor proof of the claim is involved. It is entirely a baseless assumption that that something is a God. Mankind is too young to understand the complete workings of the universe, but as that understanding grows, these "transcendent qualities" which can only be described as magic right now will probably begin to reveal their logic, and explain why things act the way they do in this universe. Beyond that, coming to understand how and why the laws of the universe became the way they are, that will be yet another step. How do you think people viewed gravity before an understanding for it was formulated? It's workings in the universe were already completely implemented, man simply didn't know about those implications yet. "When I jump, I come back down" was the most scientific definition of gravity. Now we have a better understanding of the physical workings of this universe and ultimately how and why gravity acts the way it does *on a cosmological scale*. Taking the gray areas and filling them with God is a common tactic, but it proves nothing, unless of course some form of evidence is present, which in the many many years of debate, none has been collected. Christians are not exempt from evidential proof if they want to be taken seriously. They're well versed in baseless assumptions though.
But think about it, how many people will stand behind the gunman's action as justified in the given situation? What justified your means of shooting me in the face? It is morally wrong to murder, it doesn't take a god to recognize that trend among humans. It is a sense of humanity. Of course I would see your actions as wrong because murder in cold blood is generally viewed as such. How do I come to that conclusion? I understand life's value enough that I don't want to take it away from others. Sure somebody can believe in their mind that they are justified in randomly killing me, maybe god told them to, but that person is sick, and I doubt I'd be the only one to say that.
Here's why I don't like cheating: Cheating, gives a player an unfair advantage. In the interest of competition, the playing field is supposed to be even. Cheating violates that rule, and spoils the competition. Thus cheating is bad. It isn't a difficult concept to rationalize. The fact that most people come to this conclusion holds no truth in there being a "transcendent truth" that cheating is, by definition of god, bad.
Well I say every man and woman has a knowledge of Gerichol the toaster fairy and yet deny that knowledge and suppress it. See how absurd it sounds? It is just a cheap assumption, and you can't expect me to believe it because the bible says so. That is a pretty major claim. So are my moral decisions in fact influenced without my knowing by this God? Whatever happened to free thought? Is it just some sick illusion?
Who says? That is somewhat of a doomsday attitude isn't it? Like I asked earlier, hypothetically, if god were to be proven false (hypothetically, hypothetically, hypothetically), how would you react? Judging form the above statement, is it fair to assume the reaction wouldn't be a positive one?
How do you rationalize this theory? This sounds like a statement of faith more than a rational reasoning. There's nothing impossible about the contradictory, in fact, quite the opposite. It is just your belief that the contradictory is impossible because if it were possible, God wouldn't fit. Confirmation bias. It is more important that god remain intact to the believer than it is to better understand the universe around themselves. Why is that?
I have a question! Who made man? Remember, mankind is a creature - therefore he is not a primary cause. Mankind did not create himself. Oh, also remember: life cannot come from non-life (abiogenesis).
Kai, I am at work so I can't spend the time needed to respond properly. When I get home this afternoon, I will try to explain.
One thing to remember in this: we both have starting presuppositions which are basic to our worldview. Those presuppositions won't change - only the assumptions we have that support them. A short parable on this:
I have a friend who is convinced he is a dead man. He honestly thinks he is dead! I try and try to convince him that he is not dead and yet he continues to believe it. Finally I realize a way to convince him. I ask him if dead men bleed. He says "No, dead men do not bleed." So I grab his hand and prick his finger. He bleeds! I triumphantly point to his finger that is bleeding and say "See! You are bleeding, therefore you are not dead!" He replies "Well I'll be! I guess dead men DO bleed!"
His assumption changed but his presupposition did not. It didn't matter the truth of the situation and no evidence would dissuade him.