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Guest Gasky

I'd Like A Ration And *civilised* Discussion, Please.

30 posts in this topic

Hey, all.

Don't fly off the rails because I'm in this section, and don't burn me at the stake, but you see, I'm an anti-theist. But let's just for the sake of talky-talky say that I'm Atheist, just a little more aggressive in my views.

I'd really like to discuss why you guys believe in a god, or many gods depending on the religion. I LOVE debating... a lot. But, usually when you try to ask people about their beliefs and say things like "well, why do you believe this? Doesn't this say that and that say this?? blah blah blah" they get all defensive, and well... Let's just say these discussions can get out of hand. If I think anyone is gonna start saying that I'm a soldier of satan, evil, possesed, a demon, an idiot, a fool, are going to burn in hell, or any or all of the above I'm gonna bail. I've heard it all a trillion ba-zillion times before, and I don't wanna hear it from you guys... gals... people.

So, my first question, really is for the Christians [largely because Britain/UK is largely Christian, and it's a religion I'm very familiar with]

"Do you agree with everything in the Holy Bible? That is to say, do you follow every word of the bible, and do you believe if to be a literal text? If not, why? If you do believe it to be literal, do you, again, follow everything that God/Yahweh said in the Bible."

Answers away.

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I think it's time that I came out as an anti-theist too.

Whilst I believe that it's people's right to believe whatever they want until it comes to the point of harming somebody, I can't understand why anyone would believe in a deity. I understand in part why somebody would want to believe, I just don't understand why they would let that want blind them.

What irks me is when religious people (some, not all!) try and impose their beliefs on others. I imagine most of us here have seen the damage religion can do in that respect being unavoidably involved as we are in the issues of gender identity and sexuality. I'm perfectly happy to have someone believe in the Almighty Purple Spaghetti-God so long as they don't mind scientific reason being taught in schools etc. and they don't call for everyone to live under the rules imposed by whatever scripture they have.

I'm different from Gasky in that I'm not big on debate in this issue. Religious people are not convinced by logic, are not interested in being convinced, and that's fine. My brain is driven by logic. It's like we're running on different fuel and neither side has the ability to use the other's. I'm content with this so long as no harm is being done (which is not always).

Having said all this I'll fight tooth and nail to defend someone's right to believe in their god(s). Be that the christian god or the spaghetti-god. I am interested however in hearing in-depth people's reasons for their beliefs and to see if we can have an interesting debate. If someone were to put forward a logical argument as to why there must be some kind of deity then so be it, theistic I'd become.

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I believe because in 63 years I have seen too many things that were beyond coincidence-way beyond at times. Seen miracles-really, literally. But why some people are granted them and not others? I'm unable to comprehend. Except that i believe in reincarnation-that helps make sense of it all. Some of my earliest memories are thinking about past lives. There is actually quite a bit of hard proof of reincarnation if you dig for it. Not weird stuff from new age sites but hard evidence. Needs a creator to make that system work.

Because there is no way something as complex as this universe could evolve without some guidance. Not to mention a species as destructive as the human race could have made it out of the mud without divine intervention on a regular basis.

Most of our greatest minds unequivocally believed in a higher power. Not necessarily the God defined by people-how can we begin to comprehend something capable of creating a universe? I know that there is a sentience capable of awareness of billions of individuals-how I can't comprehend.

I believe in evil too. Too much evidence there too.

JJ

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Hey, all.

Don't fly off the rails because I'm in this section, and don't burn me at the stake, but you see, I'm an anti-theist. But let's just for the sake of talky-talky say that I'm Atheist, just a little more aggressive in my views.

I'd really like to discuss why you guys believe in a god, or many gods depending on the religion. I LOVE debating... a lot. But, usually when you try to ask people about their beliefs and say things like "well, why do you believe this? Doesn't this say that and that say this?? blah blah blah" they get all defensive, and well... Let's just say these discussions can get out of hand. If I think anyone is gonna start saying that I'm a soldier of satan, evil, possesed, a demon, an idiot, a fool, are going to burn in hell, or any or all of the above I'm gonna bail. I've heard it all a trillion ba-zillion times before, and I don't wanna hear it from you guys... gals... people.

So, my first question, really is for the Christians [largely because Britain/UK is largely Christian, and it's a religion I'm very familiar with]

"Do you agree with everything in the Holy Bible? That is to say, do you follow every word of the bible, and do you believe if to be a literal text? If not, why? If you do believe it to be literal, do you, again, follow everything that God/Yahweh said in the Bible."

Answers away.

Hi Gasky;

You have some real good points- The original bilbe was writen in hebrew and through time has been translated so many times I lost count wich leads me to this- how do we or anyone in the last 200 years know that man has interjected their views into the bible to get us to think that it came from God or one of his deciples. The Bible contradicts it's self so many times between the old testament and the new testament that it's hard to figure out who said what and who did what. Granted there were predictions made in the bible that really did come true,but not all of them came true. They have in the bible that man should not dress as woman, but didn't God himself run around in robes which in our time are dresses? Didn't the deciples run around in robes that looked like dresses? Come on- where did this come from?---MAN!! I don't think a God of love and compassion would go cutting other people down for being born different. I would think He'd try to help them not hinder them. Look at the blind guy he helped and look at Mary Magdelin. He helped them. Some people that have all these churches think they can change the world to their ways and all it will get them is heart ache and trouble- point in case- Westboro Baptist Church. Don't get me going about some catholics. Lets chew on this for a while. Lots of love and hugs Regina Rena

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I believe because in 63 years I have seen too many things that were beyond coincidence-way beyond at times. Seen miracles-really, literally. But why some people are granted them and not others? I'm unable to comprehend. Except that i believe in reincarnation-that helps make sense of it all. Some of my earliest memories are thinking about past lives. There is actually quite a bit of hard proof of reincarnation if you dig for it. Not weird stuff from new age sites but hard evidence. Needs a creator to make that system work.

Because there is no way something as complex as this universe could evolve without some guidance. Not to mention a species as destructive as the human race could have made it out of the mud without divine intervention on a regular basis.

Most of our greatest minds unequivocally believed in a higher power. Not necessarily the God defined by people-how can we begin to comprehend something capable of creating a universe? I know that there is a sentience capable of awareness of billions of individuals-how I can't comprehend.

I believe in evil too. Too much evidence there too.

JJ

Well, if you believe in God [Yahweh], and all that, then you MUST believe in evil. God himself said that evil was born from him. That's fine, you can't judge the good without the bad right? Can't appreciate victory without defeat? Fair enough.

You said there's "hard proof" for reincarnation... Where is it?

I'd like to point out as well that evolution has been proven. We see it in action today. Transitional fossils, and all that, as well.

You go on to say that "most of our greatest minds unequivocally believed in a higher power." Who? Can you name any?

And finally "Because there is no way something as complex as this universe could evolve without some guidance. Not to mention a species as destructive as the human race could have made it out of the mud without divine intervention on a regular basis."

Actually, we know that it's more than just possible. *shrug* But who am I to argue? I mean, on one side there's blind chance -- a guess if you will --, a hope, a "maybe something did this" or "i don't see how X could happen without Y," and on the otherside there's evidence. I know who to side with.

Glad to see this thread is going smoothly, though.

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I believe because in 63 years I have seen too many things that were beyond coincidence-way beyond at times. Seen miracles-really, literally. But why some people are granted them and not others? I'm unable to comprehend. Except that i believe in reincarnation-that helps make sense of it all. Some of my earliest memories are thinking about past lives. There is actually quite a bit of hard proof of reincarnation if you dig for it. Not weird stuff from new age sites but hard evidence. Needs a creator to make that system work.

Because there is no way something as complex as this universe could evolve without some guidance. Not to mention a species as destructive as the human race could have made it out of the mud without divine intervention on a regular basis.

Most of our greatest minds unequivocally believed in a higher power. Not necessarily the God defined by people-how can we begin to comprehend something capable of creating a universe? I know that there is a sentience capable of awareness of billions of individuals-how I can't comprehend.

I believe in evil too. Too much evidence there too.

JJ

Miracles or simply very very unlikely? I mean, the amount of 'events' that happen on a daily basis, improbable events become likely to happen. We simply don't notice the sheer number of 'ordinary' events (millions and more a second) so the unlikely ones stand out. Do these events defy the laws of science, or just what we expect from probability?

No way something this complex could evolve? Surely that's the definition of evolution, of ever-increasing complexity from simplicity by small comprehensible changes over 'generations'? And no matter what path was taken, whatever observers (nothing to say that there had to be any) would perceive the fact that they existed as unlikely. It's simply that you have to consider that this was just one improbable option of many, which just form a set of all outcomes. Like picking one ball from a bag of a thousand, simply on a much larger scale. One ball had to be picked!

Simply because our greatest minds believed something to be true does not make it so. Science was held up for years because people believed Newton to be unequivocally right, and it took Einstein to come along and challenge that before people dared to believe something different despite all the evidence! That's what progress is, if we simply believed great minds that came before us, we'd all be stuck in the past believing in Ra and dancing to make the rains come?

(Hi JJ! I hope you don't find any of that rude! You of course can believe what you like. Nice debating with ya, see you around. :))

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First of all I have to plug two of my favorite movies. "Lord, Save us from your Followers" and "Religulous". The first is a truly balanced look at the ways different beliefs are dividing us, or in the words of John Stewart, "Religion: offering comfort to those in need living in a world torn apart....by religion." The second is Bill Maher's view on religion's more insane and rediculous aspects. If you haven't seen them, CHECK THEM OUT!

Second, my personal views are that I believe in God, but not religion. I think any work out there, be it the Bible, etc, is a work of man and that's all. I don't believe a word of any of it. i do believe however, that God exists, not in the bearded, shining, booming voice from the sky version painted by religion. More of an energy, that's all around. The collective energy of life. I know this because I listen to it. Any time you've ever done something simply because "it's the right thing to do", I believe that feeling you get in your heart telling you that's the right thing to do is God. Many times the feeling I've gotten has told me things contradictory to the teachings of the church, which is why I don't believe in religion. Basically, I believe if God wants to speak to you, it will do so, and doesn't need a book, or a building, or a preacher to do it for it.

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Hi Gasky;

You have some real good points- The original bilbe was writen in hebrew and through time has been translated so many times I lost count wich leads me to this- how do we or anyone in the last 200 years know that man has interjected their views into the bible to get us to think that it came from God or one of his deciples. The Bible contradicts it's self so many times between the old testament and the new testament that it's hard to figure out who said what and who did what. Granted there were predictions made in the bible that really did come true,but not all of them came true. They have in the bible that man should not dress as woman, but didn't God himself run around in robes which in our time are dresses? Didn't the deciples run around in robes that looked like dresses? Come on- where did this come from?---MAN!! I don't think a God of love and compassion would go cutting other people down for being born different. I would think He'd try to help them not hinder them. Look at the blind guy he helped and look at Mary Magdelin. He helped them. Some people that have all these churches think they can change the world to their ways and all it will get them is heart ache and trouble- point in case- Westboro Baptist Church. Don't get me going about some catholics. Lets chew on this for a while. Lots of love and hugs Regina Rena

Good points about the contradictions and the way the Bible should be interpreted. When you get to that point of picking the bits that are right aren't we simply using our own brains to decide what is good and what is bad? Isn't this what atheists do all the time? There's no doubt that the Bible has some good life lessons in it. So do a lot of the fiction books on my bookshelf. It doesn't have to be true to have this value.

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Hi Gasky :)

I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious person.

I believe in God because I choose to.

Love

Brenda

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First of all I have to plug two of my favorite movies. "Lord, Save us from your Followers" and "Religulous". The first is a truly balanced look at the ways different beliefs are dividing us, or in the words of John Stewart, "Religion: offering comfort to those in need living in a world torn apart....by religion." The second is Bill Maher's view on religion's more insane and rediculous aspects. If you haven't seen them, CHECK THEM OUT!

Second, my personal views are that I believe in God, but not religion. I think any work out there, be it the Bible, etc, is a work of man and that's all. I don't believe a word of any of it. i do believe however, that God exists, not in the bearded, shining, booming voice from the sky version painted by religion. More of an energy, that's all around. The collective energy of life. I know this because I listen to it. Any time you've ever done something simply because "it's the right thing to do", I believe that feeling you get in your heart telling you that's the right thing to do is God. Many times the feeling I've gotten has told me things contradictory to the teachings of the church, which is why I don't believe in religion. Basically, I believe if God wants to speak to you, it will do so, and doesn't need a book, or a building, or a preacher to do it for it.

I'll make a note of those films to find. I intended to see Religulous a while ago when it was on at my student cinema but ended up forgetting about it. :P

Whilst I respect your right to interpret your feelings that way you'll forgive me if I don't take it as proof. My actions as a result of my sense of justice etc. are due to my genes and memories and suchlike. Those are in turn simply the product of a long history, of events playing themselves out as a result of the physical rules of the universe. Just because I cannot comprehend the complete workings of my mind yet does not mean I have any evidence to suggest that it's not scientifically based.

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Hi Gasky :)

I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious person.

I believe in God because I choose to.

Love

Brenda

That's not a reason.

Which "god" do you believe in? why? Why do you "choose to"? To simply say "because I choose to" seems very evasive to me.

Second, my personal views are that I believe in God, but not religion. I think any work out there, be it the Bible, etc, is a work of man and that's all. I don't believe a word of any of it. i do believe however, that God exists, not in the bearded, shining, booming voice from the sky version painted by religion. More of an energy, that's all around. The collective energy of life. I know this because I listen to it. Any time you've ever done something simply because "it's the right thing to do", I believe that feeling you get in your heart telling you that's the right thing to do is God. Many times the feeling I've gotten has told me things contradictory to the teachings of the church, which is why I don't believe in religion. Basically, I believe if God wants to speak to you, it will do so, and doesn't need a book, or a building, or a preacher to do it for it.

The voice in your head is your conscience. It is made of rational thinking, looking at the scenario, and making a decision based on your own personal moral compass, the weight and possibility of actions, the possible courses of action and consequence. The human mind does all that itself. I can't understand why that requires another sentient force...

And who's to say what that "god" is telling you to do is the right thing? Millions of people have murdered, raped, pillaged, and done more because they were "told to" by an unknown force, voice, entity or god. To say they are purely insane would be, at least from your point, hypocritical. Yes indeed, they are insane, but it's real to them. Just as your view of god is real to you.

I don't like the idea that people can't think for themselves.

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And who's to say what that "god" is telling you to do is the right thing? Millions of people have murdered, raped, pillaged, and done more because they were "told to" by an unknown force, voice, entity or god. To say they are purely insane would be, at least from your point, hypocritical. Yes indeed, they are insane, but it's real to them. Just as your view of god is real to you.

Exactly, to say that a force helps us choose what is 'right' is to say that God changes what is right to each person (for surely we don't all get the feeling that the same things are right and just). What of those who are told by their sense of right and wrong that it is right to kill someone because they were adulterous or committed some other transgression against a religious order? I can't imagine that everyone's sense of right comes from one all-powerful being when it fluctuates thus. Much more plausible is that it is our individual brains with their individual makeup, which are oftentimes weak to suggestion from cultural and religious values and in some set in a manner that is unacceptable to right-thinking people.

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Miracles or simply very very unlikely? I mean, the amount of 'events' that happen on a daily basis, improbable events become likely to happen. We simply don't notice the sheer number of 'ordinary' events (millions and more a second) so the unlikely ones stand out. Do these events defy the laws of science, or just what we expect from probability?

No way something this complex could evolve? Surely that's the definition of evolution, of ever-increasing complexity from simplicity by small comprehensible changes over 'generations'? And no matter what path was taken, whatever observers (nothing to say that there had to be any) would perceive the fact that they existed as unlikely. It's simply that you have to consider that this was just one improbable option of many, which just form a set of all outcomes. Like picking one ball from a bag of a thousand, simply on a much larger scale. One ball had to be picked!

Simply because our greatest minds believed something to be true does not make it so. Science was held up for years because people believed Newton to be unequivocally right, and it took Einstein to come along and challenge that before people dared to believe something different despite all the evidence! That's what progress is, if we simply believed great minds that came before us, we'd all be stuck in the past believing in Ra and dancing to make the rains come?

(Hi JJ! I hope you don't find any of that rude! You of course can believe what you like. Nice debating with ya, see you around. :))

For one thing I was driving a car that was moved sideways-across and intersection-a very crowded intersection in Denver in rush hour traffic. A car turned pulled out directly in front of me-a car with small children on the passenger side front and back-a small one and I drove an LTD. There was nowhere to go -no way to avoid the collision-I was doing approx 35-40 miles an hour and the car was no more than 3 feet from my bumper by the time it was I front of me The next thing I knew I was at the opposite side of the intersection-not further forward. my passenger observed te same thing. There were no tire marks. the other car pulled over to the cub and te woman was trembling all over and asking me ow I did that. I don't know. I never will-because it was impossible. and I ad a suicide attempt where I took a month and 1.2 s prescriptio for valium at once and lots of alcohol to make sure beyond a doubt and here I am to talk about it. As little as a forth of that dosage even without the alcohol should have done the trick. I didn't throw them up-didn't go to te hospital but woke up knowing I wasn't allowed to go yet. found out a week later I was pregnant. Those are pretty subjective but to the first there were witnesses. There have been other instances that could not be chance. beyond physical laws. if you read all you can find written from a dispassionate view you will find there are hundreds of accounts of physical impossibilities-many from Drs

Do you really think evolution alone can account for our survival as a species? You have more faith in evolution than I do. Of course I would ask -where did it all come from in the first place? And why-with our enormous and still ludicrously simple scientific knowledge can we still only simulate life?

How does the mind of some people manage in the tests( done at Duke wasn't it-) to influence the outcome of chance? To predict symbols before they are shown when generated at random? React to pictures just BEFORE they are shown.(That one was an unexpected outcome observed in a scientific test for something else entirely althoug i can't remember today exacly what te original test was designed to do-I think it had to do w/ universal human facial expressions). All of this argues that we haven't yet grasped the fundamentals of our mental abilities. We don't know how any of that works.

There are SOME-a few I agree but SOME investigations of apparitions that can't be explained by any scientific means. yet they are recorded.

Albert Einstein believed in God and the probability of the manifestation of spirits after death. Steven Hawking also believed in God. i am tired today but will later look up names but I have read -numerous times and in numerous sources-it is not an exception but the rule fhor te most brilliant to believe in the existance of a higher power.

You don't offend me-I like to debate-we probably won't change a view at all but will have an interesting dialogue.

I'd cite a lot of my own experiences to supprt my beliefs but tey are all subjective!

Basically I'm saying search for manifestations of the physically impossible from valid reliable sources-you will find it. In abundance actually if you ave te patience to sift through all the guano to get to it. The same goes for reincarnation. The prof is out there but you ave to wade throug a lot of muck to find it.

Sorry for my wonky keyboard-I just can't catch allof it

Jj

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ok, I'm only going to get involved in this once, because a belief system is just that. It's a belief. It really can't be debated or torn apart or supported. So those arguing for or against a belief system are basically doomed to failure. And rationality to me is a belief system. A reasonably good one, but just one. Many of the parts of it are visible, but who knows how many aren't. Just go to any historical era and listen to the scientists of the time, make the claim that they are THISSSSSS Close to explaining everything. The more we discover, the more we realize what we don't know.

The questions we keep asking are, who are we and why are we here. So, What's the point of those questions. All living things before us were basically evolutionary selections, mostly because they respond to changes in nature, not act independently, and when nature changes too abruptly, the ones that can't respond, die. And so will we if take that tack.

However, we have something I have yet to see in other species. We have hope. We can hope for ourselves or more importantly for someone or something else and that someone or something can be or doesn't even have to be anywhere near us or able to affect us directly in most ways, yet we can still have it. Show me any animal that knows what others of the species are doing beyond simple voice communcation range. (Whales had a great communication venue, and we're doing a wonderful job of completely ruining that, aren't we). Better yet, show me the evolution of hope in the living species world and I may seriously consider altering my views.

The next problem is our concept of God. In order to understand God, I would think we would have to be God. Well, we're not!, regardless what any of those phony televeangelists try to convince you, or any human ranter or raver. We cannot begin to understand the concept of God (if there is one). So anyone asking anyone else to define God or explain God or whatever, is asking a (knowingly) ridiculous question. God cannot be defined at least not by humans. Therefore, we really don't know if God is taking an active part in this world, or sitting back and watching, or ignorning us totally. (note that I don't use pronouns in talking about God. That's ridiculous because that's putting my belief system onto something that cannot be defined.)

Why do we have hope? What's the point? I think that's part of why we have God. We hope for a better future. Whether it's for us or for our descendents or even those we don't directly know (Sub-Saharan Africans for example). Hope allows us to view God as best we can, and because there are 6 billion people, I believe there are 6 billion views of God, because each person has a completely different set of hopes.

So we do our best to lay our value systems on God and 'hope' that that's what it might take - to continue as a species, to have our ability to hope mean something. And to me, since it makes us special, it has to mean something. But that's just my belief system.

As I said earlier, what exactly is the point of life? To procreate? Well, you look at a lot of industrialized, comparatively wealthy nations, and birth rates are considerably lower than other places. Some religions of course demand pro-creation, but I think that's just a male oriented desire to keep women in their place. Why are birth rates down if we are to (evolutionarily or religiously speaking) pro-create? Because we don't need that many offspring. Ha! I guess we missed that evolutionary or religious lecture. Yeah, too many people and all that, but nature and religion have ways to deal with that problem, quite easily.

As for the Christian Bible, except for understanding where the religion got its start (with Abram/Abraham), the Old Testament really isn't worth that much. The Gospels of Jesus tell us that while the old laws may still have some importance, Jesus commands us to live by the top two. Love your God, Love your Neighbor. It's the New Convenant

The problem with humans is that when one gets upset with another, the first reverts back to some Old Testament mumble jumble, because it's there, and justifies their actions with something totally un-Christ like.

Today's religious leaders, I tend to associate with the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Jesus' time. If there is a Second Coming, that Jesus will probably be roundly denounced by the Religious Powers as being a heretic or anti-Christ, because that reincarnation will be preaching - again - a life of love and acceptance. For example, what disease today could we so easily associate with Leprosy of Jesus' time. AIDS, obviously. So when Jesus returns and heals the HIV person, and preaches against the NRA, guess which groups will roundly denounce him. Because Jesus won't fit 'THEIR' personally human pre-ordained version of what they want HIM to be. Because they consider themselves God-like, so they can define who they think God should be. Sorry, won't wash.

As I said, it's a belief system, like democracy, or a republican form of government, or capitalism, or free enterprise. They are belief systems, all subject to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, as well as dogmatic belief in some form of each that doesn't fit someone else's view.

So, I have mine, you have yours. Mine says Love your Neighbor. If your's says grab what you can and your neighbor be darned, well, I will try to love you as best I can, but I don't hold out much hope for you.

Hugs

Chloë

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Well, if you believe in God [Yahweh], and all that, then you MUST believe in evil. God himself said that evil was born from him. That's fine, you can't judge the good without the bad right? Can't appreciate victory without defeat? Fair enough.

You said there's "hard proof" for reincarnation... Where is it?

I'd like to point out as well that evolution has been proven. We see it in action today. Transitional fossils, and all that, as well.

You go on to say that "most of our greatest minds unequivocally believed in a higher power." Who? Can you name any?

And finally "Because there is no way something as complex as this universe could evolve without some guidance. Not to mention a species as destructive as the human race could have made it out of the mud without divine intervention on a regular basis."

Actually, we know that it's more than just possible. *shrug* But who am I to argue? I mean, on one side there's blind chance -- a guess if you will --, a hope, a "maybe something did this" or "i don't see how X could happen without Y," and on the otherside there's evidence. I know who to side with.

Glad to see this thread is going smoothly, though.

You have to read-a lot-to find the hard scientific proof-but it is there amid all the hype and muck. I promise you. And really it only takes one proven case doesn't it?

I'm a little under the weather today so can't cite exactly where but I have read of several cases . I've remember lives since I was around 3-before there was tv or I had ever even seen a movie by the way-so I have been reading about cases for over 45 years. I don't cite my experiences here since I never bothered to seek hard evidence about them and they are subjective.

I don't question evolution. I question how it began and that it is strictly random. You'll find many scientists question that.

Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein to name a couple. I'll have more names for you tomorrow. Actually a belief in a higher power-note not some particular deinition of that power-is the exception rather than the rule among those considered te most brilliant minds. Basically the belief boils down to the fact that there has to be something running the universe because it is not theortically possible for some of it to function .

And it is not someting I condemn you for believing-nor are my beliefs to be confused with narrow minded bigoted religiousness. I do believe and accept science and scientific theory. I do however mourn that science has yet to accept and begin to explain the more esoteric phonemena. Because hard science refused to accept at one time that the world was round didn't make it flat-and the inability of science to define the existence of thought or soul doesn't mean they don't exist.

JJ

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Y

Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein to name a couple. I'll have more names for you tomorrow. Actually a belief in a higher power-note not some particular definition of that power-is the exception rather than the rule among those considered tfe most brilliant minds. Basically the belief boils down to the fact that there has to be something running the universe because it is not theoretically possible for some of it to function .

JJ

Well I put that backwards-most of the top scientists and the so-called brilliant minds DO believe in a higher power. Those that don't are the exception-although some state that it is a belief they came to as they experienced and investigated more having started out as atheists. I'll try to find chapter and verse.

Do I know of a scientific or brilliant mind that really believes in the literal translation of the bible? Nope.

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ok, I'm only going to get involved in this once, because a belief system is just that. It's a belief. It really can't be debated or torn apart or supported. So those arguing for or against a belief system are basically doomed to failure. And rationality to me is a belief system. A reasonably good one, but just one. Many of the parts of it are visible, but who knows how many aren't. Just go to any historical era and listen to the scientists of the time, make the claim that they are THISSSSSS Close to explaining everything. The more we discover, the more we realize what we don't know.

The questions we keep asking are, who are we and why are we here. So, What's the point of those questions. All living things before us were basically evolutionary selections, mostly because they respond to changes in nature, not act independently, and when nature changes too abruptly, the ones that can't respond, die. And so will we if take that tack.

However, we have something I have yet to see in other species. We have hope. We can hope for ourselves or more importantly for someone or something else and that someone or something can be or doesn't even have to be anywhere near us or able to affect us directly in most ways, yet we can still have it. Show me any animal that knows what others of the species are doing beyond simple voice communcation range. (Whales had a great communication venue, and we're doing a wonderful job of completely ruining that, aren't we). Better yet, show me the evolution of hope in the living species world and I may seriously consider altering my views.

The next problem is our concept of God. In order to understand God, I would think we would have to be God. Well, we're not!, regardless what any of those phony televeangelists try to convince you, or any human ranter or raver. We cannot begin to understand the concept of God (if there is one). So anyone asking anyone else to define God or explain God or whatever, is asking a (knowingly) ridiculous question. God cannot be defined at least not by humans. Therefore, we really don't know if God is taking an active part in this world, or sitting back and watching, or ignorning us totally. (note that I don't use pronouns in talking about God. That's ridiculous because that's putting my belief system onto something that cannot be defined.)

Why do we have hope? What's the point? I think that's part of why we have God. We hope for a better future. Whether it's for us or for our descendents or even those we don't directly know (Sub-Saharan Africans for example). Hope allows us to view God as best we can, and because there are 6 billion people, I believe there are 6 billion views of God, because each person has a completely different set of hopes.

So we do our best to lay our value systems on God and 'hope' that that's what it might take - to continue as a species, to have our ability to hope mean something. And to me, since it makes us special, it has to mean something. But that's just my belief system.

As I said earlier, what exactly is the point of life? To procreate? Well, you look at a lot of industrialized, comparatively wealthy nations, and birth rates are considerably lower than other places. Some religions of course demand pro-creation, but I think that's just a male oriented desire to keep women in their place. Why are birth rates down if we are to (evolutionarily or religiously speaking) pro-create? Because we don't need that many offspring. Ha! I guess we missed that evolutionary or religious lecture. Yeah, too many people and all that, but nature and religion have ways to deal with that problem, quite easily.

As for the Christian Bible, except for understanding where the religion got its start (with Abram/Abraham), the Old Testament really isn't worth that much. The Gospels of Jesus tell us that while the old laws may still have some importance, Jesus commands us to live by the top two. Love your God, Love your Neighbor. It's the New Convenant

The problem with humans is that when one gets upset with another, the first reverts back to some Old Testament mumble jumble, because it's there, and justifies their actions with something totally un-Christ like.

Today's religious leaders, I tend to associate with the Pharisees and Sadducees of the Jesus' time. If there is a Second Coming, that Jesus will probably be roundly denounced by the Religious Powers as being a heretic or anti-Christ, because that reincarnation will be preaching - again - a life of love and acceptance. For example, what disease today could we so easily associate with Leprosy of Jesus' time. AIDS, obviously. So when Jesus returns and heals the HIV person, and preaches against the NRA, guess which groups will roundly denounce him. Because Jesus won't fit 'THEIR' personally human pre-ordained version of what they want HIM to be. Because they consider themselves God-like, so they can define who they think God should be. Sorry, won't wash.

As I said, it's a belief system, like democracy, or a republican form of government, or capitalism, or free enterprise. They are belief systems, all subject to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, as well as dogmatic belief in some form of each that doesn't fit someone else's view.

So, I have mine, you have yours. Mine says Love your Neighbor. If your's says grab what you can and your neighbor be darned, well, I will try to love you as best I can, but I don't hold out much hope for you.

Hugs

Chloë

You're the kind of believer I like, because you state that it's a belief system, not something that can be debated or supported. You believe it, like you say, because to you our ability to hope has to mean something. You need it to; need to have a purpose to our existence. You take from Christianity the bits you agree with, and live by them as you would if you didn't believe in any of it.

To me, it's astounding to look at all of us here and think of the millenia of history that led us here, inch by chaotic inch, of the utter improbability that led to this particular individual outcome, and of the billions of events each second leading us on. I don't need a deity to make that any more important to me. I agree that our ability to hope (whether or not it is unique to us) is amazing, but I can see it as an evolutionary product (it gives you that extra stamina to keep going when all seems lost, and to keep trying when something seems impossible). If evolution had led us to a different set of values we hold dear we would be saying the same about those! Because they came about this way does not diminish their value in my eyes.

Hope in other species? I don't know if any other species feels emotions like we do, after all their brains are necessarily different, but there is certainly evidence that they 'feel'. When cows who have their calves removed call for them for weeks, don't they feel a form of hope? Don't they hope to be reunited? Didn't Gana the gorilla hope that her son might revive, and all those other gorillas that carry their dead young around for weeks?

I agree that with more scientific knowledge we're discovering that we have yet more to learn than we thought. However there is nothing to say that we will not be able to discover these things as the things that came before them, by experimentation and theorising and eventual understanding as part of the physical laws that govern the universe.

It is indeed funny that if there were to be such an event as your Second Coming the religious leaders would probably turn on it! :lol: Oh and I promise you my personal values aren't 'grab what you can and your neighbor be darned'. :D

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First, I gotta say, I love a good intellectual discussion :)

And , like you it sounds , I feel it should be able to be just that; intellectual people discussing. Not zealots "championing" for anything.

That being said.....

"Do you agree with everything in the Holy Bible? That is to say, do you follow every word of the bible, and do you believe if to be a literal text? If not, why? If you do believe it to be literal, do you, again, follow everything that God/Yahweh said in the Bible."

LOL You're kidding right? Heck no. I'm a Christian. And I don't think that being one (my personal take) requires that. For me, having looked into the bible as an ad nauseumly translated, non-contextual, recompiled multipully at various intervals to appease and/or coincide with culture groups, political interests, interest groups, controlling factions, etc, etc, I would never regard it as more than what it is in my view; an archeological remnant; refurbished for use at this given time holding some truths regarding human nature and plausable advisings on human behaviors that may yield more productive and wholesome results for the whole community. Thats my take on the whole work. The Gospels in particular are a "good" (and I put it in quotes being positive there are 9999 alterations made since the originals ) retelling of the Christ story and recount of his lifetime. I accept that he was the son of man ( the divine made flesh, offspring of the creator ) and so I am Christian. But a literalist? No. Nada. I believe "the word" is there for human assistance , not as a ball and chain. Its for humans not the humans for the word. (meaning that humans should twist and distort themselves to match -at this point- a largely human gratifying document.

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It is important to remember that the Bible is not only a holy book, it is a marvelously crafted piece of literature. There are layers of meaning with subtle and beautiful motifs that run throughout. If you read the Bible as a literal work, it will naturally contradict itself. Moreover, I believe it is an insult to God to read it as a literal text. We are created in God's image - that does not mena we look like him, it means we are capable of higher reasoning and abstract thought. It is in spirit and mind that we resemble our creator. If he wanted us to think about his book as solely a literal work, he would have created something that read more like stereo instructions.

As for the logic of there being a God? There is none. I just know it to be true. Life is far more complex and intertwined for it all to be coincidence. Science can describe the universe but it really can't explain why it is the way that it is.

Bobbie

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As to the belief in God portion that, in reading the responses, has arisen; yes I do believe 1000%

Why? :) Nope , won't even go through the mill with you on that one, that, I believe , is something that either happens for a person personally or does not. ;)kind of that whole "mystery" thing they tell you about. But I WILL say this: millions of people "wish" for "magic" in the world. It exists every moment. It's called "God". And you will know it if you ever experience it. And if you should grow a good relationship -and its like any relationship, its two sided and you have to give your part- you'll experience it over, and over.....

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Alot of these posts are way too long for me to read through right now. But one question i do have is, when someone says they're still here because of god and things...I often wonder why if it is the case that god 'saved' them or whatever why he doesn't do for everyone? It is something that baffles me. (I'm not attacking I'm just curious as to others thoughts on this matter)

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Just a coda to my previous 'rant'. Go look in any Christian Bible (or I suppose any Koran or Torah or whatever religious guide book that's been published) and look at the first few pages and find the copyright notice.

Explain to me two things - how can humans copyright God's word. Really! If it is truly God's Word, than no individual or corporation can in good conscience or I would think legally, own it. And if they do claim ownership, how can it be God's word. Might just as well read some writings off gold plates in your hat to a printer. Oh, wait, that's been done.

And second if most religions are supposed to be evangelical or proselytizing, why would any religion need a copyright? Wouldn't an organized religion WANT people to go and spread the word? Copyrights are there to restrict dissemination, except through specific channels.

Reminds me of the old joke, three religious leaders were asked how they decide to distribute the collections they take. The first said, draw a line on the ground, toss the money up in the air, however it comes down one side goes to God's work, the other side I keep. The second said, draw a circle, toss the collections in the air. Inside the circle is for God's work, outside I keep. The third said, toss the money in the air, anything God can catch, God can keep.

Regarding hope - humans can have hope for people, places, things, events that are distant to them. Animals most likely are responding to evolutionary desires to keep the species from dying out. A desire that a dead organism can be brought back to life through grief, is not hope.

My father in law passed away in late June. I can grieve his death. Part of that may be acting as if he didn't die. But, I cannot hope that he didn't die. They may look the same to outside observers but there's a huge difference.

Hugs

Chloë

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Alot of these posts are way too long for me to read through right now. But one question i do have is, when someone says they're still here because of god and things...I often wonder why if it is the case that god 'saved' them or whatever why he doesn't do for everyone? It is something that baffles me. (I'm not attacking I'm just curious as to others thoughts on this matter)

Personal take:

When people say "I'm still here because [yadda yadda]" its said as a form of "praise" or thanks if you will but always still realizing that it has occured only because it was in line with unknown intent. I don't believe its all 'prescripted' in a micro way, but I do think that there is and "ultimate" intent for the absolute ending. And , that theres accommodations in that broad sense for most of us leaving here (what we term "death" ) one way or another one time or another. The "immediate scripts"? are subject to change at any given time (hence the thanking) but the overall intent will always be met.

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Good points about the contradictions and the way the Bible should be interpreted. When you get to that point of picking the bits that are right aren't we simply using our own brains to decide what is good and what is bad? Isn't this what atheists do all the time? There's no doubt that the Bible has some good life lessons in it. So do a lot of the fiction books on my bookshelf. It doesn't have to be true to have this value.

The problem is that we get those out there that let it go to their heads, then they think that going out and shoving the bible down people's throats is doing God's work when in fact it is hurting God. Do you think God wants people going out and starting wars and doing terrorisim in his or her name? A big NO!! Does God want humans depriving other humans of their rights? again NO!! As to the Bilble- there are alot of things in it that are just plain common sence, then there are things in the bible that have no bussiness being in there except that man incerted their attitudes and ideals into it. For a thousand years we had and still have the Roman Catholics trying to put things in life and humanity their way.

When I was studing to be a minister we found the some of the so called religons out in the world are nothing more than an acult. I do beleive in God and evil- they both do exist.

As to the Bible you have to take alot of it with a grain of salt.

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Just a coda to my previous 'rant'. Go look in any Christian Bible (or I suppose any Koran or Torah or whatever religious guide book that's been published) and look at the first few pages and find the copyright notice.

Explain to me two things - how can humans copyright God's word. Really! If it is truly God's Word, than no individual or corporation can in good conscience or I would think legally, own it. And if they do claim ownership, how can it be God's word. Might just as well read some writings off gold plates in your hat to a printer. Oh, wait, that's been done.

And second if most religions are supposed to be evangelical or proselytizing, why would any religion need a copyright? Wouldn't an organized religion WANT people to go and spread the word? Copyrights are there to restrict dissemination, except through specific channels.

Reminds me of the old joke, three religious leaders were asked how they decide to distribute the collections they take. The first said, draw a line on the ground, toss the money up in the air, however it comes down one side goes to God's work, the other side I keep. The second said, draw a circle, toss the collections in the air. Inside the circle is for God's work, outside I keep. The third said, toss the money in the air, anything God can catch, God can keep.

Regarding hope - humans can have hope for people, places, things, events that are distant to them. Animals most likely are responding to evolutionary desires to keep the species from dying out. A desire that a dead organism can be brought back to life through grief, is not hope.

My father in law passed away in late June. I can grieve his death. Part of that may be acting as if he didn't die. But, I cannot hope that he didn't die. They may look the same to outside observers but there's a huge difference.

Hugs

Chloë

Chloe ; You're right on the money with what you have here. Religon has been turned into a money maker and a way to control people's thoughts and actions or at least try to control.

Is God sitting in some office building collecting all this money from copy rights? NO! He attacked the money changers in the temple. Left them know how He felt about what they were doing. I beleive that if a person wants to know about God they would ask some one. They would also try to meet God half way by doing good deeds and treating others with a kind heart and love, and not goig out and hurting anyone they can or by beating them over the head with a bible or having wars in God's name.

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