Religion, God and Atheism

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Religion, God and Atheism

noklu
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Here's a thread for any discussion in regards to theology, arguments for and against a God etc etc etc

I don't want this to descend into a flame-fest, so remain civil and remember that other people do believe things that are different to you, so do not disregard their personage on the basis of that.
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades.
Know this and fear.

Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

external memory-2
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
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In reply to this post by noklu
Continuing from the other thread, and focusing on the Abrahamic religions with a particular eye toward Christianity:

MythicFritz wrote
I'm very sorry for staying off topic, but Cobb frustrated me.

DavidJCobb wrote
rather than through legitimate understanding
So all of the religious classes I took in school, all of the Bible studies I've been a part of, the sermons I listen to every week, aren't a legitimate way of learning more about why I believe what I believe?
I said "likely". I am well aware that many people do study the Bible in-depth, but most believers -- certainly those in America -- do not.

This is a different topic, but since you mentioned it, I'd like to point out that the Bible is not an ideal book to study. It is not the written work of God himself, but rather a man-made work that encourages bigotry, hatred, rape, and countless other evils. One can believe in God without believing in the Bible, and indeed, I don't think that a just and loving god would want someone to truly believe in such a vile tome.

I'll cite this as my example: when two angels, disguised as ordinary men, visited Lot in Sodom, they dined peacefully -- but soon after, the Sodomites began knocking on the door, demanding to "know" the visitors. Lot begged the mob to spare the visitors, instead letting them do as they please (near-exact words) with his daughters, who "have not known man". Lot was using "know" in the sexual sense (saying that his daughters were virgins), and that itself serves as a context when trying to figure out how the Sodomites were using "know". The Sodomites were demanding that Lot turn over the visitors, so that the crowd could gang rape them. Lot responded by offering up his own daughters for gang rape instead, taking particular care to mention that they were virgins. The Bible doesn't describe this offer as the reprehensible deed that it is, and indeed, Lot is described as a righteous man in other cases (including by one of Jesus' students, if my admittedly-brief research is correct). According to the Bible, the hearts and minds and lives of women have no value, and it's perfectly okay to let them get raped (and also, presumably, to commit the act oneself).

The Bible justifies homophobia and letting angry mobs gang rape your kids. It condemns the acquisition of knowledge as immoral, and promotes a "sins of the father passed to his son" mentality (Adam and Eve). It endorses blind ignorance and obedience, while discouraging the use of one's own moral faculties (Abraham being rewarded for nearly sacrificing his son). It's a vile book written by ancient men that were clearly incapable of empathy and clearly lacking in conscience, and it can be, and is, used to justify nearly every act of evil one can imagine. If one truly believes that there is a just and loving God, then one ought to condemn the Bible, for it openly contradicts everything that any moral entity -- an atheist, a believer, or a god -- should stand for.

If anything, theists should be condemning the Bible even more than some atheists do. :\
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

external memory-2
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

mrgreenwithagun
In reply to this post by DavidJCobb
DavidJCobb wrote
I said "likely". I am well aware that many people do study the Bible in-depth, but most believers -- certainly those in America -- do not.

This is a different topic, but since you mentioned it, I'd like to point out that the Bible is not an ideal book to study. It is not the written work of God himself, but rather a man-made work that encourages bigotry, hatred, rape, and countless other evils. One can believe in God without believing in the Bible, and indeed, I don't think that a just and loving god would want someone to truly believe in such a vile tome.

I'll cite this as my example: when two angels, disguised as ordinary men, visited Lot in Sodom, they dined peacefully -- but soon after, the Sodomites began knocking on the door, demanding to "know" the visitors. Lot begged the mob to spare the visitors, instead letting them do as they please (near-exact words) with his daughters, who "have not known man". Lot was using "know" in the sexual sense (saying that his daughters were virgins), and that itself serves as a context when trying to figure out how the Sodomites were using "know". The Sodomites were demanding that Lot turn over the visitors, so that the crowd could gang rape them. Lot responded by offering up his own daughters for gang rape instead, taking particular care to mention that they were virgins. The Bible doesn't describe this offer as the reprehensible deed that it is, and indeed, Lot is described as a righteous man in other cases (including by one of Jesus' students, if my admittedly-brief research is correct). According to the Bible, the hearts and minds and lives of women have no value, and it's perfectly okay to let them get raped (and also, presumably, to commit the act oneself).

The Bible justifies homophobia and letting angry mobs gang rape your kids. It condemns the acquisition of knowledge as immoral, and promotes a "sins of the father passed to his son" mentality (Adam and Eve). It endorses blind ignorance and obedience, while discouraging the use of one's own moral faculties (Abraham being rewarded for nearly sacrificing his son). It's a vile book written by ancient men that were clearly incapable of empathy and clearly lacking in conscience, and it can be, and is, used to justify nearly every act of evil one can imagine. If one truly believes that there is a just and loving God, then one ought to condemn the Bible, for it openly contradicts everything that any moral entity -- an atheist, a believer, or a god -- should stand for.

If anything, theists should be condemning the Bible even more than some atheists do. :\

I don't know where to begin...
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
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In reply to this post by external memory-2
External Memory wrote
What's the take away, here? Don't plead with God to show mercy on criminals and barbarians (they were rapists treated each other like shit, despite having wealth and abundance, all homosexuality questions aside) after God's judgment has been revealed? Don't move into a bad neighborhood out of guilt and complain when TSHTF?
My guess is that it wasn't intended to show morality, and was meant more a "WHOA SHIT, WE GOT A TOTAL BADASS HERE. DON'T FUCK WITH GOD. LIKE, SERIOUSLY." The moral implications of the episode are unintended, but massive and impossible to ignore nonetheless.

I did a bit more research, and one more interpretation is that the city was cursed as a whole because of Sodom's lack of hospitality toward others, which was seen as a heinous moral failing. Doesn't explain why it took an almost-gang-rape (that almost targeted two women whose "heroic" father nearly sacrificed them to the crowd) for God to come at them, bro.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

noklu
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You know, as much as God declares his anger towards the people of Sodom, he is totally prepared to keep the city's inhabitants alive if so much as one innocent man still lives. This details how utilitarian weighing of morality does not figure in God's perception: good is greater than all evil, and the fact that God cannot do a single evil, even in the course of justice. In addition, the angels save Lot for they believe him to be a good man. They allow him to live for he is the last good man in Sodom.

The story may seem extreme now -- and I think it is somewhat exaggerated -- but the central point to it is the point shown by Abraham's sacrifice of his son. The point is that we should do what God wills -- and trust that he will not lead us astray. Note that God never allows the daughters to be raped -- the angels strike the men down with blindness. Similarly, Abraham is halted before he can complete the sacrifice. The immoral actions are never completed, and strangely, this serves as a support for God's disapproval of these things; he does not allow them to occur.
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades.
Know this and fear.

Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
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This post was updated on .
noklu wrote
You know, as much as God declares his anger towards the people of Sodom, he is totally prepared to keep the city's inhabitants alive if so much as one innocent man still lives.
Actually, I don't think he went any lower than ten, and even then it took some convincing.

noklu wrote
This details how utilitarian weighing of morality does not figure in God's perception: good is greater than all evil, and the fact that God cannot do a single evil, even in the course of justice.
Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, solely because she succumbed to basic human instincts: namely, distress at leaving your home and belongings behind, and natural human curiosity. God killed her, with only these blameless actions to serve as His justification -- an evil committed in the course of justice.

noklu wrote
In addition, the angels save Lot for they believe him to be a good man. They allow him to live for he is the last good man in Sodom.
They believe him to be a good man in spite of putting his own daughters in harm's way.

noklu wrote
The story may seem extreme now -- and I think it is somewhat exaggerated -- but the central point to it is the point shown by Abraham's sacrifice of his son. The point is that we should do what God wills -- and trust that he will not lead us astray.
And why should we? What indication do we have that God has our best interests in mind, or that he loves us?

Look at Genesis: he tells two people who are incapable of understanding right and wrong that it is wrong to eat from a tree that He put there in the first place, and when these two people inevitably commit the "evil" action of acquiring knowledge, He punishes not only them, but all of their descendants. It was impossible for Adam and Eve to comprehend the wrongness of their actions until after having committed them, something that an omniscient deity would know -- and if He really didn't want them to understand morality, He could simply have not put the tree there in the first place! Instead, He deliberately assembled a scenario that would allow Him to punish two people -- along with their entire species, even those who weren't even alive at the time -- for actions that the two could not possibly understand, and that He ultimately caused. This is not the behavior of a just and loving caregiver.

noklu wrote
Note that God never allows the daughters to be raped -- the angels strike the men down with blindness. Similarly, Abraham is halted before he can complete the sacrifice. The immoral actions are never completed,
But neither are the men condemned for their readiness to commit them.

Let's say that a sociopath named John Doe puts a gun to your head and pulls the trigger, but an undercover cop had removed the firing pin hours ago: the gun doesn't shoot. The authorities prevented the evil act, but that doesn't mean that the individual who nearly committed it should go free and unpunished. Even more striking would be if this undercover cop was the one who ordered John Doe to kill you: in such a situation, the cop deliberately put your life at risk and inflicted considerable amounts of psychological stress upon you (via fear), and possibly even on John Doe (if Doe was reluctant), and with these things considered, that cop wouldn't really be all that good of a person.

Such is the nature of God's actions. That He prevented Lot from allowing his daughters to be raped doesn't absolve Lot, for Lot put the women in harm's way without any assurance that they would be protected. And Abraham, though reluctant, was still entirely willing to kill an innocent person with no assurance that that person's life would be saved; moreover, one can presume that Isaac experienced considerable psychological distress in the form of the sheer terror that people generally experience when their father tries to murder them, while Abraham himself experienced psychological distress from his reluctance to kill his own child. The Sodom tale demonstrates a clear moral failing on Lot's part, while the binding of Isaac demonstrates moral failings on the part of both Abraham and God.

noklu wrote
and strangely, this serves as a support for God's disapproval of these things; he does not allow them to occur.
Here, also, we come to a paradox. If God demonstrates His disapproval of evil by preventing it, then why the bloody hell isn't He doing anything now? Does He now approve of torture, kidnapping, rape, and murder?
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

Locke087
In reply to this post by DavidJCobb
DavidJCobb wrote
Continuing from the other thread, and focusing on the Abrahamic religions with a particular eye toward Christianity:

MythicFritz wrote
I'm very sorry for staying off topic, but Cobb frustrated me.

DavidJCobb wrote
rather than through legitimate understanding
So all of the religious classes I took in school, all of the Bible studies I've been a part of, the sermons I listen to every week, aren't a legitimate way of learning more about why I believe what I believe?
I said "likely". I am well aware that many people do study the Bible in-depth, but most believers -- certainly those in America -- do not.

This is a different topic, but since you mentioned it, I'd like to point out that the Bible is not an ideal book to study. It is not the written work of God himself, but rather a man-made work that encourages bigotry, hatred, rape, and countless other evils. One can believe in God without believing in the Bible, and indeed, I don't think that a just and loving god would want someone to truly believe in such a vile tome.

I'll cite this as my example: when two angels, disguised as ordinary men, visited Lot in Sodom, they dined peacefully -- but soon after, the Sodomites began knocking on the door, demanding to "know" the visitors. Lot begged the mob to spare the visitors, instead letting them do as they please (near-exact words) with his daughters, who "have not known man". Lot was using "know" in the sexual sense (saying that his daughters were virgins), and that itself serves as a context when trying to figure out how the Sodomites were using "know". The Sodomites were demanding that Lot turn over the visitors, so that the crowd could gang rape them. Lot responded by offering up his own daughters for gang rape instead, taking particular care to mention that they were virgins. The Bible doesn't describe this offer as the reprehensible deed that it is, and indeed, Lot is described as a righteous man in other cases (including by one of Jesus' students, if my admittedly-brief research is correct). According to the Bible, the hearts and minds and lives of women have no value, and it's perfectly okay to let them get raped (and also, presumably, to commit the act oneself).

The Bible justifies homophobia and letting angry mobs gang rape your kids. It condemns the acquisition of knowledge as immoral, and promotes a "sins of the father passed to his son" mentality (Adam and Eve). It endorses blind ignorance and obedience, while discouraging the use of one's own moral faculties (Abraham being rewarded for nearly sacrificing his son). It's a vile book written by ancient men that were clearly incapable of empathy and clearly lacking in conscience, and it can be, and is, used to justify nearly every act of evil one can imagine. If one truly believes that there is a just and loving God, then one ought to condemn the Bible, for it openly contradicts everything that any moral entity -- an atheist, a believer, or a god -- should stand for.

If anything, theists should be condemning the Bible even more than some atheists do. :\
I am studying the old testament this year, and have read the new testement, the book of mormon, and d&c all the way though muitible times, so the old testament is messed up, yes, but the old testament does not really condone the things they did nor does encourage it, it is just honest with itself and god also held the people of that time to a different standard, very different culture in those times. if fact in imho that is is not even the most messed up story there. I also going to assume that you have only read one translation of the bible and no other scriptural text. Remember also the bible was NOT left untouched, translation and the courts in rome kind of made alot the version you read incorrect, also it is not just textual errors but many regions just take the bible to literally.

also my religion doesn't believe that we are held accountable for adam's sin though that is one of things that makes us unique , also I would love to know where it the bible it says that we shouldn't gain knowledge. Lastly Abraham and Issac is not blind faith he was so in tune with the spirt that he believe that god knew what was best for him and the lord rewarded him after, it is also a very symbalic story about whether we are able to give the things in are lives that are becoming false gods.

typing on my ipad so sorry for the typos
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

noklu
Administrator
In reply to this post by DavidJCobb
just to the last point -- i'm not in the mood for full length argumentation, and in fact, my realm is not the area of biblical study -- i don't hold the bible as infallible and don't particularly give a damn about the Sodom stories -- so I shall say simply to the last point this: prevention of evil requires intervention in the world. God does not interfere with free will. To intervene in a man or woman's actions requires alteration of free will. Have you seen the film Bruce Almighty? Very similar concept applied there: there is no point in making someone like or love you, one has to do so of one's own free will. Why does God not intervene in free will? Perhaps it's a greater evil to do so. We don't know, and can never know whether it is or isn't, because we simply don't have access to all the information. Another reason why is that God wants us, like in Bruce Almighty, to come to him willingly. Hell, I don't know -- if I knew everything it would have no point. Knowing everything is useless, there becomes a lack of inclination to do anything at all. If you already know that you'll win the lottery and spend money on nice stuff -- and you know the feelings (i.e., experienced the feelings in advance) then there is no point to that at all.

Just reiterating: biblical study is not my forte, and I do not hold that the story of Sodom is going to impact on my life, or most any other people's lives in any fashion. I don't know why people even bother bringing it up. Well, I do. It forms a case for God being immoral -- which it actually doesn't succeed in doing for the simple reason that it could very well prove that certain biblical sections are not infallible. As the atheist already holds that the Bible is not infallible, then that is all that is proved. The only way an atheist can prove that God is immoral is by agreeing with certain theists by saying that the BIble is completely infallibe...and he would have no grounds for doing so, since the atheist also disbelieves in God, which is just about the only entity capable of creating an infallible text. Which I don't think is necessarily true. But like I said: biblical argumentation only supports a case for biblical fallibility, not the non-existence of God.

The only things I care about is philosophical groundings for God, the ontological properties of said entity, and the New Testament. And maybe not even the whole of that testament. That's actually a tad limited -- there are also the Psalms and a couple other books of the Old Testament that are pretty nice. Lamentations. Proverbs. But yeah, if you want to say whether or not God is existent of possesses these qualities, you won't succeed in doing so via biblical argumentation. All you end up doing is denying biblical infallibility.

edit: sorry, i just repeated the same thing a billion times. it may be a tad abrasive sounding, but that's because i've been assaulted by small children this whole afternoon.
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades.
Know this and fear.

Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
Administrator
In reply to this post by Locke087
Locke087 wrote
also I would love to know where it the bible it says that we shouldn't gain knowledge.
Punishing Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating knowledge. Punished for. Seems pretty clear to me.

Locke087 wrote
Lastly Abraham and Issac is not blind faith he was so in tune with the spirt that he believe that god knew what was best for him and the lord rewarded him after,
If a man in today's age took out a knife, slit his child's throat, and said, "No, guys, it's cool. I'm in tune with the spirit. God'll be here any second to fix everything, bros. Whoa, now, there's no need for those handcuffs, officer." How would you react to such an event?

noklu wrote
prevention of evil requires intervention in the world. God does not interfere with free will. To intervene in a man or woman's actions requires alteration of free will.
If we look at the world in a physical sense, causality -- the principle upon which the entire universe is based -- is more-or-less the antithesis of free will.

If we look at it in a logical sense? Well, okay, what about the victim's free will? If some psychopath were to break into my window right now, put a gun to my head, and blow my brains out, where is my free will in that? That individual would be exercising his free will at the expense of my free will -- indeed, at the permanent expense of my free will. Even if we ignore causality's effects on the notion of free will, it is impossible to ignore that free will is not absolute; He giveth, but we taketh away.

Why, then, is He somehow unable to intervene when a severe act of evil -- say, murder or rape -- is about to take place? Someone is going to lose their free will; why can't He ensure that the innocent is the one who keeps their free will and their safety? Especially when He supposedly intervened in such a manner before, to save Isaac? There is nothing to lose from interfering in such a manner -- someone loses free will regardless of whether he intervenes -- but there is everything to gain -- saving innocent hearts, minds, and lives from undeserved agonies.

noklu wrote
Another reason why is that God wants us, like in Bruce Almighty, to come to him willingly.
Stopping an act of evil != forcibly converting people to Christianity/Catholicism/etc.

noklu wrote
Well, I do. It forms a case for God being immoral -- which it actually doesn't succeed in doing for the simple reason that it could very well prove that certain biblical sections are not infallible.
I don't need Lot's story to question the goodness of God; I can do that with simple logic and examination of present-day phenomena, and I vaguely did so above. Lot's story is valuable because it takes the pretense that the Bible is an infallible source of morality -- a belief held by a considerable number of religious individuals, especially in America -- and smashes that pretense to pieces so thoroughly that few fully-rational people could continue to defend the book afterward.

noklu wrote
As the atheist already holds that the Bible is not infallible, then that is all that is proved.
Proved to us. Not to others. Not to the people who use the Bible to justify homophobia and other evils. As long as even ten people on this planet go on to use the Bible as a justification for their own immorality, the book's flaws will need to be pointed out and thoroughly explained.

noklu wrote
But yeah, if you want to say whether or not God is existent or possesses these qualities, you won't succeed in doing so via biblical argumentation. All you end up doing is denying biblical infallibility.
True.

noklu wrote
edit: sorry, i just repeated the same thing a billion times. it may be a tad abrasive sounding, but that's because i've been assaulted by small children this whole afternoon.
Know that feel. I get e-abrasive in e-conversations when I'm not feeling so well, too.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

noklu
Administrator
physical causality point: well, you can only assume that if you first reject souls, God etc., which is begging the question in your favour.

In the case of stopping evil equaling conversion, well let's take that example of the person who has a gun shoved against his head during a home invasion. You suppose that this should be stopped by God. Say God does stop it. How does he do it? Make the gun suddenly faulty? Make the murderer run away? I don't see very many ways to stop something like that, without it being seen as something damned miraculous. It doesn't mean instant conversion, but I would think it tilts the balance a fair way.

On Abraham and Isaac. Your counter-example is shonky. Abraham never killed his son.

Another pedantic point: the Bible is a collection of books. I would not say that, say, the Psalms, have any gross examples of evil.

On Adam and Eve: Punished for disobedience. And, since the knowledge of evil is implied to be evil or cause evil (the first is the doctrine of original sin, the second is something I call 'potential for sin') then it seems that such punishment can be justified. In the case of original sin, it is easier to defend that punishment is warranted -- but harder to defend the morality. The potential sin argument stands better, and one could say that the change in state from pure to impure is wrong and warrants punishment or perhaps that disobeying God is wrong, or perhaps that the consumption of the fruit was intended by God as a part of his plan to allow the development of free will -- before then, as Adam and Eve are implied to be in a pure state, they did not truly have free will. The apple allowed the development of free will, and the 'punishment' could be simply allowing humanity to stand on its own feet and make free choices.
I think that last explanation is interesting and perhaps controversial to most people. Oh, and seeing as I do controversy well, here's a friendly warning for the future: never assume my views are the same as the majority of Christians. :)

Another point: yeah, go ahead and tell people that they cannot justify evil via bible. If you know that they won't suddenly deconvert, then tell them that they should let the Spirit guide their actions first and foremost. If you read up a tad on Christian theology, you can easily defend that position -- even as an atheist -- and it'll lead to better actions for all concerned. You do not have to believe the whole Christian thing to use our arguments to attempt to convince people to not be evil. If the end result is the (hopefully) prevention of evil, and you use whatever argument at your disposal -- well, that's good, right?

Hmm, those responses are totally out of order. Yay for disjointed madness.
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades.
Know this and fear.

Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
Administrator
noklu wrote
On Adam and Eve: Punished for disobedience.
Except that they literally had no way to understand concepts like good, evil, obedient, or disobedient. They had absolutely no way to understand that disobedience is wrong, and the circumstances made disobedience inevitable. God pretty much made them unwittingly do something wrong, and then punished them for actions that He caused.

noklu wrote
or perhaps that the consumption of the fruit was intended by God as a part of his plan to allow the development of free will -- before then, as Adam and Eve are implied to be in a pure state, they did not truly have free will.
And He couldn't just create them with it already in place... why?

noklu wrote
The apple allowed the development of free will, and the 'punishment' could be simply allowing humanity to stand on its own feet and make free choices.
As I recall, the punishments were banishment from Eden, a considerably shortened lifespan, and massive pain during childbirth.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

noklu
Administrator
mm, yes, forgot about those parts of the punishment section. As for why he didn't choose to create mankind with free will, perhaps its an allegorical tale, or perhaps its a complete mystery. Whatever it is, it doesn't make a difference to me. I enjoy arguing these points, more for the sake of argument than anything else.

But hey, let's move from biblical debate to something less tangible. Why should one have a opinion that is worth stating on the truth value of the statement 'God exists'? Read that question carefully; I'm not asking why God exists or not, but why the question matters at all to you. It's an easier answer for the theist here, by the way. (Oh, and this is not really an argument, more of a discussion topic. Friendly discussion always trumps argument -- and is often better suited to convincing people. That's a hint -- if you want to convince people, don't argue with them.)
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades.
Know this and fear.

Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
Administrator
noklu wrote
mm, yes, forgot about those parts of the punishment section. As for why he didn't choose to create mankind with free will, perhaps its an allegorical tale, or perhaps its a complete mystery. Whatever it is, it doesn't make a difference to me. I enjoy arguing these points, more for the sake of argument than anything else.

I personally prefer the interpretation presented in the novel "Ishmael".

noklu wrote
But hey, let's move from biblical debate to something less tangible. Why should one have a opinion that is worth stating on the truth value of the statement 'God exists'? Read that question carefully; I'm not asking why God exists or not, but why the question matters at all to you. It's an easier answer for the theist here, by the way.

The existence or nonexistence of God is an important thing to me for two reasons:

  • The deeds that people do in His name.
  • If He exists, then He ought to be held accountable for His actions, even if only by my insignificant self.

The second in particular is important to me. Having looked at the deplorable state of human society, and having examined (and shot down) all possible explanations for inaction, I feel that there are no circumstances under which the God described by Abrahamic religions can exist, not intervene to save the lives of innocents, and still remain a good entity. So if God, as described by Abrahamic religions, exists, then I presume that He must be either indifferent or sadistic, for these would be the most likely explanations if any human in His position -- capable of stopping countless acts of evil from taking place, with no significant repercussions -- remained inactive. So it is my belief that God does not exist; however, if He does exist, I know that He is not particularly deserving of my affections, and indeed that He, being either sadistic and cruel, or callous and indifferent, deserves no affection from anyone.

Essentially: I care about the existence of God insofar as I desire to hold Him morally accountable for His inaction, if He exists. Which I doubt.

noklu wrote
(Oh, and this is not really an argument, more of a discussion topic. Friendly discussion always trumps argument -- and is often better suited to convincing people. That's a hint -- if you want to convince people, don't argue with them.)

I'll try my best to not sound angry. Religion is deeply intertwined with (a misperception of) morality, and hence with good and evil, and hence with evil -- and I do tend to get... upset... when thinking of the depravity of many members of our species.

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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

Locke087
This post was updated on .
<quote author="DavidJCobb">
noklu wrote
mm, yes, forgot about those parts of the punishment section. As for why he didn't choose to create mankind with free will, perhaps its an allegorical tale, or perhaps its a complete mystery. Whatever it is, it doesn't make a difference to me. I enjoy arguing these points, more for the sake of argument than anything else.
<p>I personally prefer the interpretation presented in the novel "Ishmael".</p>

noklu wrote
But hey, let's move from biblical debate to something less tangible. Why should one have a opinion that is worth stating on the truth value of the statement 'God exists'? Read that question carefully; I'm not asking why God exists or not, but why the question matters at all to you. It's an easier answer for the theist here, by the way.
<p>The existence or nonexistence of God is an important thing to me for two reasons:</p>
<ul>
<li>The deeds that people do in His name.</li>
<li>If He exists, then He ought to be held accountable for His actions, even if only by my insignificant self.</li>
</ul>
<p>The second in particular is important to me. Having looked at the deplorable state of human society, and having examined (and shot down) all possible explanations for inaction, I feel that there are no circumstances under which the God described by Abrahamic religions can exist, <em>not</em> intervene to save the lives of innocents, and still remain a good entity. So if God, as described by Abrahamic religions, exists, then I presume that He must be either indifferent or sadistic, for these would be the most likely explanations if any <em>human</em> in His position -- capable of stopping countless acts of evil from taking place, with no significant repercussions -- remained inactive. So it is my <em>belief</em> that God does not exist; however, if He does exist, I <em>know</em> that He is not particularly deserving of my affections, and indeed that He, being either sadistic and cruel, or callous and indifferent, deserves no affection from anyone.</p>

<p>Essentially: I care about the existence of God insofar as I desire to hold Him morally accountable for His inaction, if He exists. Which I doubt.</p>

For your first bullet point i would really like to say that, the lord really doesn't when people take his name in vain so some these things done in his name are breaking the commandments

for the second bullet i link you to a recent talk cause they explain it better than i do, go in with a open mind 

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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

Captain Pineapple
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The fact that I exist is proof enough for me that there is a God.
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

external memory-2
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

mrgreenwithagun
In reply to this post by noklu
@ExternalMemory, How do you mean negentropy in this context?

@DavidJCobb, After reading all of your posts, I wonder what you expect to experience when your body dies. Do you have a belief of what you will experience?
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Re: Religion, God and Atheism

DavidJCobb
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This post was updated on .
Locke087 wrote
For your first bullet point i would really like to say that, the lord really doesn't when people take his name in vain so some these things done in his name are breaking the commandments
The universe operates on causality, and so if the Lord is the cause of the universe, He is likewise the cause of everything that has come since -- including their actions. Given that He is supposedly omniscient, if He really didn't want people to use His name to justify evil, He had ample knowledge and could have simply caused the universe in a way that would not have led to such deeds.

But that is a technicality. The real meaning of my first bullet point is this: if nobody believed in the existence of God, then nobody could use it to justify the unjustifiable.

...Now regarding the article you linked, I tried looking at it with an open mind. The results weren't pretty. It didn't answer my questions or doubts, though I'm not so sure it was meant to address such things directly... It focused on "why does it happen", rather than "why isn't it immoral". Nonetheless, my rebuttals:

Third, the Father’s plan of happiness for His children includes not only a premortal and mortal life but also an eternal life as well, including a great and glorious reunion with those we have lost. All wrongs will be righted, and we will see with perfect clarity and faultless perspective and understanding.
God creates a universe and allows it to fall into disrepair. He makes no attempt at intervening in the suffering of the innocent, instead leaving them to be harmed and slaughtered. But when people like me try to hold Him accountable for His inaction, His believers reply, "Oh, it's okay. He'll make everything right in the end. He told us so." Wait, what? He does something that is morally reprehensible, but we should not hold Him morally accountable because of words that He Himself said?

Metaphor time. A serial killer blows an innocent man's head off with a shotgun. You attempt to arrest him. He says, "Dude, no, don't worry, I'll make everything right in the end." The "God" reaction, for lack of a better descriptor, would be to believe the statement wholesale and allow the serial killer to go free, choosing not to hold him accountable for his actions because he himself offered us some unprovable and incredibly vague promise -- and this, without even telling us the reason he harmed the innocent in the first place.

Many do not appreciate that under His loving and comprehensive plan, those who appear to be disadvantaged through no fault of their own are not ultimately penalized.
Not "ultimately" penalized? Sure, if He exists, is good, and is trustworthy. But it's still penalized in the here and now, and it shouldn't be.

Fred replied, “No, by getting me on this mission, you saved my life.” All of the missionaries thanked the Lord for preserving them.
So basically, when circumstance leads to the saving of lives, that's God in action -- but when circumstance leads to the destruction of lives... God has nothing whatsoever to do with it?

There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences.
Define "necessary".

A unique challenge for those who have lost loved ones is to avoid dwelling on the lost opportunities in this life . . . But when we look through the wide and clear lens of the gospel instead of the limited lens of mere mortal existence, we know of the great eternal reward promised by a loving Father in His plan.
So we shouldn't mourn the dead or victimized, because the entity that is ultimately responsible for their victimization has promised that He will un-victimize them at some indefinite point in the future, without offering even the smallest shred of proof or even the smallest demonstration that He can be trusted.

I must also question (again) the "loving" bit. Even if you had some means of fully and entirely healing the trauma, would you still let someone you love and care about be victimized in a horrific way, for literally no reason whatsoever?

mrgreenwithagun wrote
@DavidJCobb, After reading all of your posts, I wonder what you expect to experience when your body dies. Do you have a belief of what you will experience?
I won't experience anything. I take the view described by a man much more eloquent, intelligent, and tolerant than I...

As you start to fall asleep, you will fade in and out of stage-1 sleep. You "miss" time -- when you fade back into consciousness, you've no idea that you ever lost awareness and you've no perception of the lost time. Your consciousness literally shuts off, like flipping a lightswitch, and then turns back on, and in the intervening time you experience absolutely nothing. Death is like stage-1 sleep.
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