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Whitecroc: I disagree. All that can be reliably said about something is that it exists. Anything more than that requires some sort of proof.
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iippo: What you would accept as "some sort of proof"?

Today we can "prove" a lot of things right or wrong, which were "proved" the opposite say 100 years ago. Our age is no more special than any other age before - so in 50 years, 100 years and so on from today - there will be people who will certainly prove that we were actually wrong about many things and wonder just how we could even believe in the crap we do today.

Just think about reality. Mean what is reality? Is it really 3d or could it be something else? Today we take it for granted that "ofcourse reality is 3d + time added" - but who knows what the next 100 years will bring and how that will change our perception of reality.

We have a lot of more or less well educated guesses, but how much a proof that is in the end? Then again, its completely different discussion is objective reality really more important than agreed upon reality...
Ah you seem to be falling prey to our failure to assess the relativity of "wrong". Asimov says it very well (short read, I promise): http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm
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iippo: Satanism is more of a philosophy than "proper" religion btw
That's what I was about to say. It's just one path of many, and Mr. LaVey would have told you it's nothing like the media likes to portray it: animal sacrifices, torture, sexual misconduct, "blah blah blah I'm evil!" A Satanist would not waste time and energy trying to "scare" people or live up to some predetermined "evil" stereotype.

I started learning about it about ten years ago, and to be completely honest, it seems to fit my approach to life more than anything else out there.

Funny thing is, Satanism tends to have a generally negative stigma, but many people are probably closer to Satanists than they realize; it's just that nobody takes the time to see past the "surface" issues.

Anyway, I can't remember if I already responded in this thread, but I agree that waiting until a child is old enough to make an informed decision is better than forcing them into it from birth. I hate the whole "This is just the way it is" justification. Come on, people, use your heads for something other than a hat rack! :-)
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orcishgamer: Well that's the thing, I'm a white, hetero, upper middle class male and I've felt it here (what's more I grew up religious and have studied a ton of religion, not enough for a degree, but far more than your average church goer), so I know where they're coming from, but I feel oppressed too and I'm not even getting the brunt of it.
Yeah, that's why I added in "spoiled".

What I'm saying is, being in any way condescending towards devout people, or implying that we have no use for religion anymore, is extremely ignorant. I can to some extent understand that all the tragic circumstances surrounding organized religion can lead otherwise open minded and insightful people to harbor such an attitude - that's why I mentioned it in my original post. But all that means is that they're ignorant - and, frankly, tedious - for a tangible reason.
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orcishgamer: Ask most religious folks how much of the US is religious and they will usually woefully underestimate the real numbers. Depending on how you count only 11-16% of the US identifies as anything equivalent to atheist. Given that a lot of folks live in even more demographically skewed areas you can literally end up being surrounded by 98% religious people in a lot of places in the US.
About 5-6% identified themselves as atheists/agnostics in 2012 and a further 14% were religiously unaffiliated. Two thirds of the unaffiliated believed there is some sort of a god.

About 3 in 10 believed that the Bible should be taken literally...

http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Unaffiliated/NonesOnTheRise-full.pdf

Yes, I'd think it's safe to say that USA is an extremely religious country.
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iippo: I feel that is pretty big if there. Just feels...too petty to me. Talking about faith, i dont want to believe in petty God(s). But is ofcourse just my opinion and everyone is free to their own.

For example daily praying to any God(s) - i feel that sort of thing may make person think about some deep question and -perhaps- make the person that way more better. But I dont feel that daily praying (or any other ritual) is automatically any sort of free card to heaven.
You're free to think it's a big if, but if it is true, then you should believe it is true. If it so happens that God exists and He is petty (which I think is debatable), then disliking that fact doesn't change it to being false.

I agree that prayer often has benefits simply in the attitude of the person praying. I also agree that there isn't a free card to heaven.

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iippo: I am not confident enough to judge any one on "universal level". I have my own opinions and standards, but I am well aware that my standards simply wont make it on certain parts of world. Objective moral standard might be cool and very assuring to have - just havent seen any better than "Do more good than evil"....But I cant really define what is good and what is evil.
If there is no objective standard, then there really is no good or evil, just opinions shifting in the wind. However, I think something is good to the extent that it fulfills it's final cause. For instance, the final cause of our intellect and communicative facilities is to grasp and convey truth, so the goodness of someone who habitually tells the truth is greater than that of someone who habitually lies. There is a lot of philosophical material on the subject, so if you're interested, you do some research about natural law.

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iippo: Also, are we to be judged for our deeds or our intents?
I think we will be judged on both. Deeds aren't what get us to Heaven, but there are degrees of rewards within Heaven.

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iippo: Talking about that torturing babies is evil, then is it evil to abort baby? What if mothers health is in danger, does it make difference? Was aztec human sacrifice evil, if they thought it to be necessary to keep world continuing (I have faint memory of it perhaps having something to do with sustaining solar/lunar cycle)?
I think it is evil to abort a baby, but the argument is usually around whether what is being aborted qualifies as a baby. The only time I think an abortion is acceptable is when there is a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the baby. It would still be wrong, but it is acceptable because it is not as wrong as letting the mother die. Likewise, if were true that Aztec human sacrifice was sustaining life on the planet, then it would still be wrong, but not as wrong as letting the planet die.

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iippo: Who knows - maybe someone someone did get a fax from God, but how am I to know it? Even if the person walks to me on street and tells me "Hey I just got fax from God!" - well, there are also plenty other people trying to "sell" you their own religious views every single day just the same way. Could I really be expected to pick "the right one" on the street from all the possibilities thrown at you on daily basis?
It may take a lot of discernment, but it concerns life's most important questions, so I think it's worth spending that time

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iippo: ...which leads me to boring recap: Should there be omnipotent God(s) that is present everywhere - then I feel ill go less wrong by trying to discover his/her/its nature by myself, instead of picking one of the precanned products on the shelve.

Ano no, i dont believe this is cocky or arrogant in the slightest.
I don't think that's cocky or arrogant either, but just because something is "precanned" doesn't mean it's false. I think it is better to examine something and believe or dismiss it on it's own merits rather than broadly dismiss everything just because it's what someone told you.
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Soyeong
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Mrstarker: No he doesn't.
What are you going to tell me next? That this site doesn't sell a bunch of old games? Honestly, it's there, just go look:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1.htm

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Mrstarker: Proving the possibility of something is not the same as proving the existence of something.
Of course, that would be why Aquinas doesn't argue for the possibility of something, but the necessity of it.

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Mrstarker: Design needing a designer _is_ anthropocentric thinking... or at least he's making a flawed analogy.
The argument is radically different from "design needs a designer". Aquinas would have rejected Intelligent Design.

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Mrstarker: Yes there is reason to doubt that. You assume it because of your experience, but there is no reason to apply it to the whole universe. Just because something is one way in the known universe does not mean it's like that everywhere.
The future is unknown to us, but we regularly use our past experiences to extrapolate what we think the future is going to be like when making our plans. What you are doing here is along the lines of telling me that I shouldn't make plans for next week because there is the remote possibility that somewhere in the unknown universe there is a pack a velociraptors with laser beams attached to their heads that is going to attack me tomorrow. I'll be happy to reevaluate my thoughts about their existence while I'm being mauled, but until then, it is irrational to use that say I shouldn't extrapolate from my past experiences.

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Whitecroc: disagree. All that can be reliably said about something is that it exists. Anything more than that requires some sort of proof.
I didn't mean to get into an debate about epistemology, so I can drop it. All I was trying to get across is that it is something that we can say matches the entirety of our experience, so it is reasonable to proceed with treating it as true until it is shown to be otherwise.
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Soyeong
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lukaszthegreat: snip
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keeveek: I don't know if I'm exaggerating. Most civilized countries threw out religion from public life for a reason. I am against teaching religion at public school, so I wouldn't rather see my kid participating in them.

I agree that much depends on a religion teacher. My own in primary school was a fanatic priest who told me few times to knee before wall because I asked some "stupid" question.

It wasn't a city, a smaller town, so you may imagine why it's not that easy for parents to oppose an abusing priest, when "townfolks" support them from fear or "tradition".

My parents were brought up in strictly catholic family, so they tremble even today, when a priest is going from house to house in January to get money, because if you refuse a priest, he will call your name in public and the whole town will know that you didn't give him money.

I don't want my future family to be a part of that shit. I don't want a priest to have my kid's names in their records to use them to condemn them publicly because of something.

I don't know how long ago you were in Poland last time, but religion is still being forced on people, especially on the youngest ones. And it's more than 2 hours a week in school, because kids have to go to church every sunday, and every day during "roraty" to get first communion.

That's a lot of time for some wacko to tell my kid and convience him that his parents are going to hell. And when you are a 6-8 year old brat, you are going to believe him. And maybe we just want to spare ourselves quarrels like that and having to tell him that "thinking about girls is not impure and you don't have to worry about that", like my father had to tell me after religion classes.

Small kid may think that attending to religion classes and communion is a good thing, because "everybody else does that", but that doesn't mean we have to comply. Being "injected" with religion at a young age is in my opinion much more harmful than not being baptised.

And I'm not going to baptise my kid, just as I'm not going to enroll them to karate/boxing/pool/dancing/wrestling classes all at once, because if I don't do that, it may limit their possibilities. We will choose what we think is best for our children, knowing what they do and don't like, what their talents and possibilities are, and by hearing out their opinions.

Not just because "he may want to do something when he's 30yo". Because he might want to be a professional boxer when he turns 20, or a football player too. We can't predict everything.

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lukaszthegreat: You don't baptism him and when time for his first communion comes and your kid wants to participate you will,refuse?
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keeveek: Probably. Just like I would refuse him after he tells "I want that toy because Toby has it". Kids arguments at that age are mostly "I want to take communion because Toby has", and it's not something you should simply follow, because your kid says so.

As I've said I will say again: I believe kids are too small to make choices like that. They are too small to buy themselves an expensive toy or create a twitter account according to law, so they are usually too small to decide if they want to be catholic or not. In my opinion, that decision should be made around 13-15 years old, and allow me to raise my children in that belief.

It would feel rather hypocritical if you let your kid to decide on its own about religion at the age of 8, but you don't let them stay outdoors as long as they want, because "They're just kids" ;-D

And with that, my kid will have a few years to check, get knowledge etc to know better if he wants to be catholic or not. If at the age of 13 or 15 he will still want to be a member of that church, that would mean for me he really wants that, not only follows the flock, because he wants to "fit in" with the rest of the kids.

But I believe it will not be a problem in larger cities in a few years from now, and a lot of kids will not have their communions, just because "it's what everybody's doin"

Of course I will let my kid to decide if he wants to be religious or not - when me and my wife decide the kid is ready and mature enough to do that. Being religious or not, is among the most important decisions in your life.
Religion is an instrument. For the sake of argument we can hypothetically assert that there are majorly two kinds of people in this world - the ones who create rules and instill propaganda so as to delineate and ensure social programming of the other group in question. In ancient times religion was used by kings as a tool to elevate their status as being demi gods or divine entities.This alludes that man has a natural tendency to lean towards moralistic propaganda.

Failure to ascribe to social dogma certainly has consequences and leads to a phenomenon called " the suppression of radical dissent or thought". The dark ages could be cited as being an example of this widespread social phenomenon.... However while moralistic propaganda may to an extent rob of us of trenchant thought, reasoning and imagination it does serve some purpose.For if human beings were to let go of their compunctions then it would lead to a state of dystopia and the eventual fall of man....It is a double edged sword. We are all savages after all and civilization is the only thing that gets in the way of man's primal instinct as being evolution's most efficient killer....
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Lionel212008
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orcishgamer: If others' arguments, which are more well researched and better than any job I could possibly do here (or maybe anywhere) haven't changed your mind about Aquinas, I'm not about to try. There's plenty of great stuff on the subject, dunno if you've read it, kind of sounds like you have and it had no impact.
It sounds to me like you're not diverting from the usual pattern of people being more concerned with convincing me that Aquinas was wrong than understanding what he said. It's rather unfortunate that people are so quick to blindly dismiss him because many of the blunders of modern philosophy exist primarily because we have gotten away from final causality.

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orcishgamer: As far as Carlin, come on, his bits are all over Youtube, just search for "carlin god" and you'll get the most famous bits. I suppose I could transcribe the gist of them here, but they're seriously like 3-10 minutes long.
I watched a 10-minute video on the subject and I kept waiting for him to say something insightful, but it ended before that happened. Quite frankly, I don't see how anyone who has a basic understanding of the Bible (not necessarily someone who believes it is true) could take his thoughts as anything more than a comedy routine, let alone place them above some of the greatest philosophical minds in history. I've watched some of his videos before, but not all of them, so maybe I missed something, but at this point it's up to you to quote something.
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Soyeong
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Lionel212008: Failure to ascribe to social dogma certainly has consequences and leads to a phenomenon called " the suppression of radical dissent or thought". The dark ages could be cited as being an example of this widespread social phenomenon.... However while moralistic propaganda may to an extent rob of us of trenchant thought, reasoning and imagination it does serve some purpose.
I don't suppose you could list one specific example of this happening during the Middle Ages? The dark ages is a modern day myth.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L68e4UTKw5E#t=4m4s
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Lionel212008: Failure to ascribe to social dogma certainly has consequences and leads to a phenomenon called " the suppression of radical dissent or thought". The dark ages could be cited as being an example of this widespread social phenomenon.... However while moralistic propaganda may to an extent rob of us of trenchant thought, reasoning and imagination it does serve some purpose.
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Soyeong: I don't suppose you could list one specific example of this happening during the Middle Ages? The dark ages is a modern day myth.
One wonders just how "dark" it was if the period from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance resulted in... the Renaissance. It certainly didn't pop up overnight! :-)
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Soyeong: Honestly, it's there, just go look:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1.htm
I have read it. Either show me where he provides proof or paraphrase it.

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Soyeong: Of course, that would be why Aquinas doesn't argue for the possibility of something, but the necessity of it.
Again, show me the link.

Step 1: First Cause (debatable)
Step 2: ???
Step 3: god with Christian attributes

You can't just go "First Cause, therefore God".

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Soyeong: The argument is radically different from "design needs a designer". Aquinas would have rejected Intelligent Design.
The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Not so radically different, it seems.

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Soyeong: The future is unknown to us, but we regularly use our past experiences to extrapolate what we think the future is going to be like when making our plans. What you are doing here is along the lines of telling me that I shouldn't make plans for next week because there is the remote possibility that somewhere in the unknown universe there is a pack a velociraptors with laser beams attached to their heads that is going to attack me tomorrow. I'll be happy to reevaluate my thoughts about their existence while I'm being mauled, but until then, it is irrational to use that say I shouldn't extrapolate from my past experiences.
But that's not what you are claiming. You are claiming to know what happened before the Big Bang because you know what happened yesterday.
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Mrstarker
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Soyeong: ...which leads me to boring recap: Should there be omnipotent God(s) that is present everywhere - then I feel ill go less wrong by trying to discover his/her/its nature by myself, instead of picking one of the precanned products on the shelve.
I'm not saying that it is impossible to realize one's spirituality completely on one's own terms, but reducing any religion to a "precanned product" isn't doing it justice at all. Christianity isn't wholly contained in that one old book and whatever relevance it might or might not retain today. It represents the collective struggle of millions of people (some not without a certain... talent), over the course of two thousand years, to reach for something higher.

I cannot bring myself to believe that what Christianity is describing is what's actually going on behind the scenes, but I do believe that it represents a valid, rewarding and sophisticated way to approach the spiritual quest that I believe every human being is on.
Post edited February 12, 2013 by Ivory&Gold
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Soyeong: I don't suppose you could list one specific example of this happening during the Middle Ages? The dark ages is a modern day myth.
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DieRuhe: One wonders just how "dark" it was if the period from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance resulted in... the Renaissance. It certainly didn't pop up overnight! :-)
It honestly wasn't that dark, even if you did happen to live in Europe. (It was quite bright at that time in other places.) The whole Dark Ages thing was invented in the Enlightenment as a way to make the modern age (at the time) seem more awesome, and therefore more enlightened. It's the same classic demonize-the-past strategy that people have used since forever. The only thing that makes it particularly dark to modern historical scholars is that most Europeans were illiterate at that time, so there is a relative scarcity of written records except from churches and monasteries, which actually kept very good records. Of course, lack of records doesn't actually mean that times were "dark" in the traditional sense, but they are to a degree inscrutable.
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Ivory&Gold: Christianity isn't wholly contained in that one old book and whatever relevance it might or might not retain today. It represents the collective struggle of millions of people over the course of two thousand years, to reach for something higher.
Ill approach this from another angle by stupid example:

Now lets say had studied to become an economist and my job is to do wise business decisions about share's - the usual what to buy, when to sell and so on. Now I want to do some really good decisions so, tell me how many economic newspapers of today and past I have to read so that I can know before hand what is going to happen tomorrow?

And now to your example, how many books I must read to discover God? How in detail I must be aware of earlier people's lives, who have struggled with the same question? If I read a thousand books about christianity (for example) and read another thousand books of the past saints - will I either discover the God or atleast be closer to God?

...some may think so, but I certainly do not.

Just like you cannot discover tomorrows share courses from todays newspapers, you arent very likely to find God hiding between the pages of some old book.

Sure you can get to know a lot of other peoples opinions, get new ideas and perspectives and so on - but in the end the share ups and downs dont care about journalists opinion one bit. Just like some omnipotent being wouldnt have any liability to fit itself in to our narrow image's of God.