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iippo: Well if youre born lets say in middle of amazon and live your life there without knowing "the Word" (of which ever particular religion) youd still end up in hell? That is one thing I find tiny bit weird. In my opinion, if there's God(s) either he/she/they/it dont mind which ever particular religion you follow or just plain dont care.
I believe we will all be judged for what we do with what we know. Again, your opinion on whether they don't mind or don't care has no bearing on the matter if it happens to be true.

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iippo: -> Especially when you start to think about the usual "good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to hell" thing - I mean what is good and what is evil in the first place? Depending wether you live 2000bc, year 0 or 2000ad - there are plenty opinions even in the same region and religion, never mind the differences with cultures.
Is it conceivable to you that someone torturing their babies for fun could ever make it off the evil list? If there is an objective moral standard according to God's nature, then our differing opinions matter only as far as they measure up to that standard. On the other hand, if there is no standard, then we have no moral grounds by which to judge torturing their babies as abhorrent. We have our opinion and they have theirs, and if no one has the might to stop them, then they are right.

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iippo: I understand the need of many people to look for some holy book or prophet to explain them in absolute terms how to do and how not to do, but cant bring myself to believe in it. Too detailed, too singular - should there be some kind of divine über law I highly doubt it could be put in a book or teached by words alone.
Love your neighbors as yourselves. The rest of moral code is more or less just spelling that out.
Anyway, I am not totally convinced that the possible God would have any sort of personality or even be self conscious entity. Certainly if that was a case, think what sort of being omnipotent personality would be? The God would propably have to know and sense anything and everything in the universe - that would lead my thoughts on to pretty deterministic path. ...and unbending fate and destiny are something I dont believe - would be damn boring for the God too ;)
The Bible details interactions between God and man, so that would help you to understand His personality. You may be interested in reading about Molinism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinism
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orcishgamer: In this case there isn't "true" there is only faith, isn't that what most religions believe anyway?
This is a common misconception of faith, which is actually more akin to trust. One way I've seen in described is, "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." If I use my reason to determine that someone's past actions have made them trustworthy, then when they make a promise, it is reasonable to have faith that they are going to keep it. Even though I might later have doubts when I do not see how they are going to keep their promise, I can continue to have faith that they will by keeping my mind focused on the reasons I have for trusting them.

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orcishgamer: And as for religion's truth, there's some pretty damned good philosophical arguments against all of them. Many of them are so simple George Carlin (and possibly others) are able to distill them down for a comedy bit.
And I think there are even better philosophical arguments in favor of them. George Carlin is laughable.

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orcishgamer: That's where I think it all falls down, btw, people think science will disprove god/religion. While this is possible, the ability to "move the bar/claim god is behind the next mountain instead" makes it fairly not useful. Whereas philosophy is much better equipped to pose the sorts of questions and demonstrate the incongruity religion. I guess that's a long way to say, if you need a way to disprove religion, look to philosophy, not science.
Science has many uses, but it is completely unable to prove/disprove anything that is not observable, repeatable, and verifiable, so I agree that it is better to look to philosophy for those matters. I'm not an expert in it, but I have read a some philosophical books recently, including a few by Edward Feser. He does an excellent job explaining Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, who I think has logically shown that God is a necessary being.
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Soyeong: And I think there are even better philosophical arguments in favor of them. George Carlin is laughable.
http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=54
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Soyeong: And I think there are even better philosophical arguments in favor of them. George Carlin is laughable.
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Mrstarker: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=54
Aquinas goes into just a bit more detail than that in his Summa Theologica
Post edited February 10, 2013 by Soyeong
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Soyeong: ....
To be clear, my statement is that science has disproven god time and again, it's just not very useful for showing a believer that, as they tend to move the goal post for what god is/does as science keeps revealing that god isn't behind the previous particular "rock". Philosophy, however, is very useful for debating with believers.

Also, Carlin makes a more coherent and useful philosophical statement than Thomas does:)
Post edited February 10, 2013 by orcishgamer
Simple to me, and I don't bother thinking of it further: Neither side can prove or disprove the other.

For those that have faith, that is all that is needed, whereas for those that don't, empirical evidence fills the void.

For those that have faith, the latter doesn't matter, and for those that don't, faith is a concept that can't supplant empirical evidence.

People can argue until hell (if it exists) freezes over, but neither will shake the other.

Indeterminate.
Post edited February 10, 2013 by Dischord
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Soyeong: Aquinas goes into just a bit more detail than that in his Summa Theologica
Oh this is the cosmological argument yet again.

Even if we accept that there is a First Cause, which is debatable, it does in no way follow that this is God, or that this is intelligent, or a perfect being, or that it would interact with the universe at all.

The argument from design just seems flawed anthropocentric thinking. Aristoteles himself rejected this, if memory serves.

Furthermore, it is unwise to apply observations from our own small corner of the world to the universe at large. Things work way different on the quantum level, so why would we assume that they are the same in the other extreme?
Post edited February 10, 2013 by Mrstarker
Congratulations on coming out as an athiest. I don't keep in touch with my folks, and the few times I have, it's never come out in conversation and I'd probably just lie about it anyway, so I can't say I've ever done that before. Anyone in real life I bother to talk to for more than two minutes at a time has been athiest, so it's never been something I think about much.

I'm not at all sure what your situation has to do with being nice, but I can tell you this. Being nice isn't supposed to pay off. It's being a jerk and a crook that gets you places. If you find that being nice seems terribly unrewarding, let me tell you that you're in good company. The reason most people are jerks is that you can get a lot of good things out of scamming people, and even bothering to pretend to give a damn about somebody else takes some amount of effort.

The purpose of being nice is that nobody likes a jerk. Sometimes good deeds seem to pay off, sometimes they can lead to friendships, and if you go out of your way to get recognition for being nice and generous, somebody might give you an award to shut you up and everyone will quietly think you're a douchebag, but generally, you know you're doing a good job being nice when you end up poorer and it feels like nobody even notices. That sounds like it's bad, but it's not. Nobody takes note of people who are nice, but everyone can make a list of people they can't stand to be around.
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orcishgamer: snip
Thumbs up for George Carlin. Don't really have anything else to add...
I feel these science versus religion debates miss the point. Religion isn't about explaining phenomenons, it's about providing people with spiritual guidance, hope, stability in life... these things. Hell, the guys that came up with the Genesis knew perfectly well that all this stuff didn't really happen... the idea is that by contemplating the texts the reader achieves a closer understanding of and greater proximity to god. It was Western Christianity that dropped the ball in that regard, by trying to rationalize everything (including the Trinity, the whole point of which it is to not be rationally comprehensible).

I've been an atheist since I can remember, but I genuinely believe that finding god would make me a more mature, better human being. It certainly has done exactly that to a lot of people, as well being an incomparable solace against the tragedy of live.

I find myself getting as pissed off with tedious smart asses being condescending towards religion as with all the right wing nuts and fundamentalists. I guess being raised in a bigoted family, or having to cope with the bullshit of a powerful Christian right on a regular basis like I imagine many US citizens must, or being one of the many victims of organized religion goes a long way to explain this kind of one sided attitude, but sometimes I just wanna bash those smalltime intellectuals over the head with one of the countless transcendental works of art inspired by religion, and created by devout believers a thousand times more intelligent and interesting than them (and yes, of course me also.)

/rant
Post edited February 11, 2013 by Ivory&Gold
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Ivory&Gold: I guess being raised in a bigoted family, or having to cope with the bullshit of a powerful Christian right on a regular basis like I imagine many US citizens must, or being one of the many victims of organized religion goes a long way to explain this kind of one sided attitude
US Christianity has oppressed not only atheists, but minority religions as well. They even oppress their own over here (ask a Mormon if they've ever been accused of being "not a Christian", the name Christ actually appears in their real church title but it doesn't matter).

I know many aren't cognizant that they're doing it or that it's happening, but regardless, US Christians have a myth that they're in the minority and in a war against the devil, who is winning. This makes them vicious and small minded. It's hard to get angry at people who rail against this treatment when literally they are often attacked, oppressed by small minded laws, and in an actual minority.

So yeah, sometimes you see a jackass like Dawkins, I understand why he does it, it's just not really productive. Regardless, he's no longer trying to persuade, he's decided he's in a war and he's fighting fire with fire. Again, not productive, but it's hard to get too mad when he's sunk no lower than those on the other side have generally been.

Long story short, a US Christian is often a nice person, they make a good direct neighbor (as good as anyone) and will generally treat you with kindness. US Christians, however, are the opposite. Once you're not part of their "tribe" by virtue of not being on a first name basis nor sharing their belief system in common, they often act... not nice.

Sorry if I've offended any, just my experience, YMMV.
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iippo: Well if youre born lets say in middle of amazon and live your life there without knowing "the Word" (of which ever particular religion) youd still end up in hell? That is one thing I find tiny bit weird. In my opinion, if there's God(s) either he/she/they/it dont mind which ever particular religion you follow or just plain dont care.
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Soyeong: I believe we will all be judged for what we do with what we know. Again, your opinion on whether they don't mind or don't care has no bearing on the matter if it happens to be true.
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.

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iippo: -> Especially when you start to think about the usual "good boys go to heaven and bad boys go to hell" thing - I mean what is good and what is evil in the first place? Depending wether you live 2000bc, year 0 or 2000ad - there are plenty opinions even in the same region and religion, never mind the differences with cultures.
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Soyeong: Is it conceivable to you that someone torturing their babies for fun could ever make it off the evil list? If there is an objective moral standard according to God's nature, then our differing opinions matter only as far as they measure up to that standard. On the other hand, if there is no standard, then we have no moral grounds by which to judge torturing their babies as abhorrent. We have our opinion and they have theirs, and if no one has the might to stop them, then they are right.
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.

Also, are we to be judged for our deeds or our intents?

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)?

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iippo: I understand the need of many people to look for some holy book or prophet to explain them in absolute terms how to do and how not to do, but cant bring myself to believe in it. Too detailed, too singular - should there be some kind of divine über law I highly doubt it could be put in a book or teached by words alone.
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Soyeong: Love your neighbors as yourselves. The rest of moral code is more or less just spelling that out.
"You want to learn a great deal quickly, don't you? Very well, I shall teach you the Torah while you stand on one foot. This is our Holy Torah: 'What is hateful to you, do not do unto others.'" -Hillel

A random quote I just happened to remember - Now if the religious authorities could keep this kind of thinking in their mind more often...

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iippo: Anyway, I am not totally convinced that the possible God would have any sort of personality or even be self conscious entity. Certainly if that was a case, think what sort of being omnipotent personality would be? The God would propably have to know and sense anything and everything in the universe - that would lead my thoughts on to pretty deterministic path. ...and unbending fate and destiny are something I dont believe - would be damn boring for the God too ;)
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Soyeong: The Bible details interactions between God and man, so that would help you to understand His personality. You may be interested in reading about Molinism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinism
Although some claim otherwise, I believe all the holy writings to be written by men or women. Which, like I mentioned earlier - is good food for thought, but which I also cannot take as literal Word from God(s).

Sure it would be pretty convincing to have either stone tablet or email or two from "up there" - Ive never got one. Thus like i mention waaaaaay back, I believe this sort of thing should be discovered on more personal level, through personal insight - instead of just taking someone elses word for it.

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?

...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.

Thanks for the link btw, ill check it out later.
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orcishgamer: To be clear, my statement is that science has disproven god time and again, it's just not very useful for showing a believer that, as they tend to move the goal post for what god is/does as science keeps revealing that god isn't behind the previous particular "rock". Philosophy, however, is very useful for debating with believers.
The problem here is that even if we were to completely understand everything science can tell us about the physical interactions, we still could not determine whether those interactions are natural or whether there is a nonphysical being that is causing them. There is no goal post moving that needs to be done, all that's needed is the acceptance of the reality of what science can and can't tell us. Of course belief in the existence of this nonphysical being should be withheld until there is sufficient evidence, that's still a long way from disproving it.

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orcishgamer: Also, Carlin makes a more coherent and useful philosophical statement than Thomas does:)
Feel free to start quoting Carlin or to start taking a crack at Aquinas' Five Ways.
Post edited February 11, 2013 by Soyeong
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Ivory&Gold: I feel these science versus religion debates miss the point. Religion isn't about explaining phenomenons, it's about providing people with spiritual guidance, hope, stability in life... these things.
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Ivory&Gold: I've been an atheist since I can remember, but I genuinely believe that finding god would make me a more mature, better human being. It certainly has done exactly that to a lot of people, as well being an incomparable solace against the tragedy of live.
Stability, hope, maturity and all that can be achieved whether youre religious or not - I dont feel that religion is in any way necessary for that. Sure religion can bring a lot of positive things in ones life, but also the opposite is very much possible.

Actually - I think that I could compare religion to booze:

"Viina on viisasten juoma" -> "Wine/booze is drink for wise men" = you need certain amount of maturity and control to enjoy it responsibly...

Hopefully i didnt insult anyone.
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orcishgamer: YMMV
We do have our share of nutcases, but they are not as politically influential as their US counterparts. Also, considering just my personal contacts, I have met more intolerant atheists than Christians. Among certain parts of the educated classes being religious seems to be something to be vaguely ashamed of.

I'm aware that my views on the matter are heavily influenced by the very fortunate fact that I haven't had to deal with all the bad shit many people have experienced, being the spoiled, heterosexual middle class white guy that I am, but I've read posts on this forum by otherwise perfectly considerate members that are essentially insults to some of my friends and relatives, as well as borderline megalomaniac, considering all the people who are deeply religious, and that kind of thing does get my goat.