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Author Topic:   Is God evil?
ugolino
Junior Member (Idle past 3651 days)
Posts: 3
From: UK
Joined: 09-08-2008


Message 1 of 30 (481409)
09-10-2008 7:34 PM


Seems like an odd question, but I've been thinking about this ever since I read a thriller called "The Armageddon Conspiracy" by mike hockney in which a group of people plot to kill God. The book presents the Gnostic view of history and this amounts to a belief that the material world was created by an evil demon (Satan) for the purpose of entrapping souls. Since it says in the Bible that "God" created the earth then "God" must be Satan. The True God, meanwhile, lives in a spiritual paradise that has no connection with the earth. It's the task of a Gnostic to see reality as it really is and acquire the secret knowledge (gnosis) to allow his soul to be freed from its prison in this world and return to heaven.

The curious thing is that the "God" worshipped by Christians, Jews and Muslims is, according to the Gnostics, pure evil. Isn't it totally amazing that billions of people worship a God that some people believe to be the very quintessence of wickedness? Judging by some of the things that Christians, Jews and Muslims inflict on their fellow human beings (mass murder, torture, inquisition, suicide bombings, massacres, death camps etc), don't the Gnostics have a very good case?

One of the reaons that religion is so absurd is that it frequently allows the precise opposite views to be arrived at from precisely the same theological "facts". The Gnostics and the Christians both accept that "God" created the earth, but the former conclude that this was an act of supreme evil while the latter celebrate it as a great and glorious thing. Same "facts" - entirely different conclusions. Religion is plainly just a matter of interpretation, opinion and taste. There are no objective standards whatever. Some religions can actually contain diametrically opposed views...how is it possible for an extreme capitalist and an extreme left winger to both claim that they are good Christians obeying God's will? At least one must be wholly wrong.

In democratic terms, no religion on earth commands the allegiance of more than about 16% of the world's population (Catholic Christianity and non-Catholic Christianity must, of course, be considered as separate religions since they have precious little in common). So, whatever set of beliefs you choose to adopt, at least 84% of the world's population say you're wrong. Isn't it bizarre that people who trumpet the wonders of democracy, reject utterly the precepts of democracy in terms of religion? The democratic verdict regarding every religion is that it's wrong. In political terms, people are willing to accept the majority view. In religion, they reject it utterly. How weird!! Shouldn't the fact that no matter what religion they belong to, religious believers are in a tiny minority, cause them pause for thought and make them question their beliefs?


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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 30 (481576)
09-11-2008 6:02 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 3 of 30 (481584)
09-11-2008 6:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ugolino
09-10-2008 7:34 PM


ugolino writes:

The curious thing is that the "God" worshipped by Christians, Jews and Muslims is, according to the Gnostics, pure evil. Isn't it totally amazing that billions of people worship a God that some people believe to be the very quintessence of wickedness? Judging by some of the things that Christians, Jews and Muslims inflict on their fellow human beings (mass murder, torture, inquisition, suicide bombings, massacres, death camps etc), don't the Gnostics have a very good case?

Hi ugolino and welcome to EvC.

There are two immediate problems you must face. The first you accept yourself, it would seem.

That RC Christianity and non-RC Christianity lie at poles (you suggest), renders them different 'religions'. But the God worshipped by Christians (of whatever hue), Jews and Muslims lie at poles, rendering the God of each, different in all but name. Assuming for a moment God exists then some or all have the wrong end of the stick and worship a god made in own image and likeness.

The next problem (assuming God exists for a moment) is this; "what constitutes a Christian?" Clearly God is the final judge of who is and who isn't actually a Christian. 'Christians' of every other hue would not in fact be real Christians - they'd just bear a hollow name. The obvious follow up question is this; do Christians carry out the acts you point to? Or could it be that 'Christians' carry them out? Perhaps its even stevens. Whatever, for want of a way of differentiating, your argument chases shadows.

-

One of the reaons that religion is so absurd is that it frequently allows the precise opposite views to be arrived at from precisely the same theological "facts". The Gnostics and the Christians both accept that "God" created the earth, but the former conclude that this was an act of supreme evil while the latter celebrate it as a great and glorious thing. Same "facts" - entirely different conclusions. Religion is plainly just a matter of interpretation, opinion and taste. There are no objective standards whatever. Some religions can actually contain diametrically opposed views...how is it possible for an extreme capitalist and an extreme left winger to both claim that they are good Christians obeying God's will? At least one must be wholly wrong.

You're excluding the logical possibility that one or other religion is 'right'. Perhaps not 100% right but right enough in whatever areas that might be considered essential. That the 'wrong' religions differ with the 'right' one is neither here nor there. Indeed you might very well expect it to be so. You can't tar all religions with one brush unless you can figure out a way to stand them against the same wall.

Your argument could equally be applied to atheistic morality btw - without any possibility of anyone being right. One atheist can find it perfectly moral to commit acts of rape. The other finds otherwise. There are no objective standards.

I'm not sure what a persons politics have to do with them being Christian or no. No politics is "right" - it's just politics.

-

In democratic terms, no religion on earth commands the allegiance of more than about 16% of the world's population (Catholic Christianity and non-Catholic Christianity must, of course, be considered as separate religions since they have precious little in common). So, whatever set of beliefs you choose to adopt, at least 84% of the world's population say you're wrong. Isn't it bizarre that people who trumpet the wonders of democracy, reject utterly the precepts of democracy in terms of religion?

What precept are you talking about?

-

The democratic verdict regarding every religion is that it's wrong. In political terms, people are willing to accept the majority view. In religion, they reject it utterly. How weird!!

I accept the majority view - most think me wrong. Now what would you have me do? Democracy doesn't demand that I change my view anymore than the majority voting Conservative means a Labour MP should give up Labour views.

-

Shouldn't the fact that no matter what religion they belong to, religious believers are in a tiny minority, cause them pause for thought and make them question their beliefs?

Religions are belief based worldviews. Athiesm is also a belief based worldview - based on a belief system involving empiricism and a host of other philosophies.

Atheists are a tiny, tiny minority.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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ICANT
Member
Posts: 6115
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 4 of 30 (481629)
09-11-2008 11:11 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ugolino
09-10-2008 7:34 PM


Re-Religion
Hi ugolino, welcome to EvC.

ugolino writes:

Shouldn't the fact that no matter what religion they belong to, religious believers are in a tiny minority, cause them pause for thought and make them question their beliefs?

Let me address your tiny minority guess to start with then I will give my view.

That tiny minority you refer to comprise 84% of the world's population.

There is only 16% of the world population that is non-religious.

You can find a chart Here

The non-religious is the minority and a very small one at that.

If my understanding is correct there is one God. That God made the rules concerning His creation.

Last counts I had there was over 34,000 religions in the world. There are over 1,280 different denominations of so call christianity in the US.

There can only be one that is 100% correct as they all differ in some points of their belief system.

That means that all the rest are either part wrong or completely wrong.

I would be totally surprised if more than 4% are doing what God said do the way God said do it.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
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Brian
Member (Idle past 2933 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 5 of 30 (481669)
09-12-2008 3:21 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by ICANT
09-11-2008 11:11 PM


Re: Re-Religion
There can only be one that is 100% correct as they all differ in some points of their belief system.

However, this doesn't mean that one of the existing religions is 100% correct.

The 100% correct religion may not have made its appearance yet.


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2163 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 6 of 30 (481726)
09-12-2008 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by ICANT
09-11-2008 11:11 PM


Re: Re-Religion
There can only be one that is 100% correct as they all differ in some points of their belief system.

So which one is the 100% correct one?


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969


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rueh
Member (Idle past 1635 days)
Posts: 382
From: universal city tx
Joined: 03-03-2008


Message 7 of 30 (481750)
09-12-2008 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Brian
09-12-2008 3:21 AM


Re: Re-Religion
The other possibility is that the 100% correct religion was already around and then dropped out of popularity due to conflict.
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Brian
Member (Idle past 2933 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 8 of 30 (481803)
09-12-2008 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by rueh
09-12-2008 11:55 AM


Re: Re-Religion
Yes, good call.

then dropped out of popularity due to conflict. The other possibility is that the 100% correct religion was already around and then dropped out of popularity due to conflict.

The Christians have probably murdered them all. :D


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doctrbill
Member (Idle past 738 days)
Posts: 1174
From: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Joined: 01-08-2001


Message 9 of 30 (481988)
09-13-2008 7:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ugolino
09-10-2008 7:34 PM


ugolino writes:

Catholic Christianity and non-Catholic Christianity must, of course, be considered as separate religions since they have precious little in common.

I once believed the same myself but the more I learn about Christianity the more I wonder at how much these two are alike. Not to put too fine a point on it because I realize it is not your main concern but what exactly do you see as the “precious little” which Catholic and non-Catholic Christians have in common?

Is it that they both purport to follow the biblical Jesus (which neither actually does)?

Is it that they both promote ignorance and superstition: engendering spurious guilt and bogus fear, fostering false hope and unrealistic expectation?

Is it that they fleece the poor and mentally abuse the helpless in an effort to maintain slimy dominance over the hearts and minds of the innocent?

Is that the “precious little” you see they have in common?


Theology is the science of Dominion.
- - - My God is your god's Boss - - -
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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 10 of 30 (482007)
09-13-2008 10:31 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by iano
09-11-2008 6:48 PM


iano writes:

... "what constitutes a Christian?" Clearly God is the final judge of who is and who isn't actually a Christian. 'Christians' of every other hue would not in fact be real Christians - they'd just bear a hollow name. The obvious follow up question is...

First off, if by some chance it turns out that the Christian God (whatever version) doesn't exist, then who is the final judge of who is/is not actually a Christian? Secondly, regardless of the previous point, isn't it the case that a significant number of Christians have in fact taken it upon themselves to draw this distinction?

Frankly, I've always considered the issue of "validating" a person's Christianity as being perhaps the most difficult and puzzling aspect of this religion. I'm sure and do not doubt that there are people who have had some sort of experience that absolutely validates, for them personally, their own Christianity. But two questions are still left wide open:

1. What proportion of people who consider/call themselves (or are called by others) "Christians" have really had that sort of personal religious experience, as opposed to simply associating themselves with (declaring membership in) a particular group?

2. Looking just at the people who have had such an experience, how many immutably distinct groups do they fall into, such that each group would look at the others and say "those people cannot be real Christians, because their beliefs are wrong"?

Your argument could equally be applied to atheistic morality btw - without any possibility of anyone being right. One atheist can find it perfectly moral to commit acts of rape. The other finds otherwise. There are no objective standards.

Whoa. No objective standards? Only if you want to deny the concept of objectivity altogether. (I seem to recall that you've been known to do that here at EvC, iano. Really, it's not much use as a debate tactic.) Are you suggesting that the "golden rule" is strictly a religious concept and has no basis in objectivity? If so, well, we must just disagree on that, and I'll honestly and consistently assert that you're wrong. Maybe you or some of the religiously devout will not accept anything as proof of my position, but there is rather a lot of evidence that religious faith is not a prerequisite for a good and firm system of ethics.

So, whatever set of beliefs you choose to adopt, at least 84% of the world's population say you're wrong. Isn't it bizarre that people who trumpet the wonders of democracy, reject utterly the precepts of democracy in terms of religion?

What precept are you talking about?

I think you're right to question the OP's statement (and terminology) here. Perhaps ugolino was not expressing his thoughts clearly enough. There are notable differences in how people adopt and act on political affiliations as opposed to religious ones.

In politics, people will tend to accept a situation, and make a choice, where there are relatively few available alternatives (e.g. effectively only two parties in the U.S., and few nations with more than four viable political parties). Also, they tend not to view their party affiliation as a monolithic, all-or-nothing decision: it's clear that each party contains factions that are pulling in different directions on various issues, and people have no difficulty with "crossing party lines" with regard to a specific candidate or proposition.

Contrast that with religious affiliation, where the tendency is always in the direction of fracturing into smaller groups (which can only grow in size if evangelism by group members is successful, never by merging with other groups), and declaring membership in any one group tends tends to be an exclusive, all-encompassing acceptance -- people don't tend to base their religious practice on making choices like "well, I like this bit about Judaism, and that part of Islam, and these other things from Catholicism, and those Lutherans are pretty good on some points..." (and similarly for rejecting the particulars that they don't like).

I accept the majority view - most think me wrong. Now what would you have me do? Democracy doesn't demand that I change my view anymore than the majority voting Conservative means a Labour MP should give up Labour views.

Now you're the one who isn't expressing thoughts clearly enough. That first sentence sounds like a complete self-contradiction. If you accept the majority view, then you are accepting the view that most people think is right. If most people think you are wrong, it must be that you are not actually accepting the majority view, but are expressing or supporting some other view instead. I guess it hinges on what you mean by "accept" here.

Atheists are a tiny, tiny minority.

Well, if you want to try to treat the 16% who are not religious adherents as being somehow fractured into subgroups, only one of which is "atheist", okay, fine. But no matter how you slice it, the subdivisions within that 16% are of no consequence, in comparison to the rifts that split up the 33% "Christian" and 21% Islam. (Numbers based on the chart referred to in ICANT's reply.) I think "tiny, tiny" is a bit far fetched. And the non-religious 16% are not shrinking, and are not fracturing into further subdivisions, in contrast to the bigger pieces in that pie chart.


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
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iano
Member
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 11 of 30 (482102)
09-14-2008 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Otto Tellick
09-13-2008 10:31 PM


iano writes:

... "what constitutes a Christian?" Clearly God is the final judge of who is and who isn't actually a Christian. 'Christians' of every other hue would not in fact be real Christians - they'd just bear a hollow name. The obvious follow up question is...

Otto Tellick writes:

First off, if by some chance it turns out that the Christian God (whatever version) doesn't exist, then who is the final judge of who is/is not actually a Christian? Secondly, regardless of the previous point, isn't it the case that a significant number of Christians have in fact taken it upon themselves to draw this distinction?

Q1: Whatever else it is that defines such things I suppose. Whatever the next absolute that happens along..

Q2: People who identify as Christians have certainly declared on who is or isn't. It would be interesting to see how many who are God-defined accurately declare on who is or isn't a God-defined-Christian.

-

1. What proportion of people who consider/call themselves (or are called by others) "Christians" have really had that sort of personal religious experience, as opposed to simply associating themselves with (declaring membership in) a particular group?

It would be interesting to see someone pose a method of figuring out the answer to that question. It appears to me too that there will be God-identified-Christians who never identified with either of the above groups. Add that to the mix!

-

2. Looking just at the people who have had such an experience, how many immutably distinct groups do they fall into, such that each group would look at the others and say "those people cannot be real Christians, because their beliefs are wrong"?

As many immutably distinct groups as there are ways to decide on immutably distinct, I imagine. You'll get some Calvinists calling Arminians heretics and some Calvinists describing those whom they consider to be fellow Christians "doctrinally challenged".

Then there are the shades in between such extremes. And that's but two views.

-

Your argument could equally be applied to atheistic morality btw - without any possibility of anyone being right. One atheist can find it perfectly moral to commit acts of rape. The other finds otherwise. There are no objective standards.

Whoa. No objective standards?

"No objective standards ...from the atheistic pov" ...I could have better expressed. As in having the atheist say; "there are no objective standards".

For that is what any self-respecting, self-declared-objective atheist must conclude for himself.

-

Contrast that with religious affiliation, where the tendency is always in the direction of fracturing into smaller groups (which can only grow in size if evangelism by group members is successful, never by merging with other groups), and declaring membership in any one group tends tends to be an exclusive, all-encompassing acceptance -- people don't tend to base their religious practice on making choices like "well, I like this bit about Judaism, and that part of Islam, and these other things from Catholicism, and those Lutherans are pretty good on some points..." (and similarly for rejecting the particulars that they don't like).

Your conflating (understandably), religious affiliation with belonging to a particular people called "the (a la Christian view) saved".

If I were to suggest that such a party ("the saved") will consist of Luterans, Baptists, Brethern, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, etc., etc., then your point would begin to flounder.

Were I to further suggest that a particular people called "the (a la Christian view) damned" would consist of members belonging to all of the above denominational parties then your point would sink without trace.

So it is, I suggest.

-

I accept the majority view - most think me wrong. Now what would you have me do? Democracy doesn't demand that I change my view anymore than the majority voting Conservative means a Labour MP should give up Labour views.

Now you're the one who isn't expressing thoughts clearly enough. That first sentence sounds like a complete self-contradiction. If you accept the majority view, then you are accepting the view that most people think is right. If most people think you are wrong, it must be that you are not actually accepting the majority view, but are expressing or supporting some other view instead. I guess it hinges on what you mean by "accept" here.

Accepting the majority view (in a democracy) means accepting that the majority view should hold sway / have it's will expressed - even thought my (minority) view would desire that we all chart a different course.

Accepting the majority view in a democracy doesn't mean I think the majority view is right/best/advisable/wise/etc

-

I think "tiny, tiny" is a bit far fetched.

Tiny, tiny was going too far perhaps. 84% spiritual vs. 16% non-spiritual would be one way to split the party political cake. Saved/unsaved would be another. Perhaps that ratio balance will be even more skewed in the final summing up - it would depend on how narrow the narrow path.

And how broad the broad.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


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Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 304 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 12 of 30 (482139)
09-15-2008 1:46 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by iano
09-14-2008 6:02 PM


Whoa. No objective standards?

"No objective standards ...from the atheistic pov" ...I could have better expressed. As in having the atheist say; "there are no objective standards".

Can you provide a link or quote of an atheist saying there are no objective standards? Have you actually seen or heard any atheist assert this with respect to ethics or anything else? (AbE: Recall that I was responding to this statement of yours: "One atheist can find it perfectly moral to commit acts of rape." -- any actual examples?) I certainly have never seen/heard any such, but if you do come up with one or more, then I suppose that it could make a solid case for dividing the atheist group into profoundly different, irreconcilable sub-groups, falsifying my earlier statement on that point.

For that is what any self-respecting, self-declared-objective atheist must conclude for himself.

I find this incomprehensible. Please explain yourself. It sounds both insultingly presumptuous and inane -- you presume to ascribe your own conclusions to me, which I reject, and your conclusion is nonsensically self-contradictory. Was there some particular substantive argument you have on this point, or are you just tossing around some provocative phrases for the sake of a clever retort?

(Perhaps you felt that I had been doing that to you, and turn-about is fair play? If so, my apologies for coming across as a bully. But really, don't bother throwing this kind of stuff around if you can't say something substantive in the process. {AbE: and being coherent is also important.)

Your conflating (understandably), religious affiliation with belonging to a particular people called "the (a la Christian view) saved".

If I were to suggest that such a party ("the saved") will consist of Luterans, Baptists, Brethern, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, etc., etc., then your point would begin to flounder.

So, you are talking here about a new and very different sort of deity, who considers the content of the Bible (and the Quran, and the Vedic texts, etc, etc) to be of secondary or lesser importance -- all this fuss about accepting the whole of the Bible as the sole word of God becomes really sort of superfluous. So long as folks get themselves right on the right subset of particulars, they're bound for glory, no problem. (Of course, we're not being explicit here about what subset we're talking about... that's left as an exercise for these students in the school of life, I suppose?) So there's really no need for church, baptism, bowing to Mecca five times a day, foregoing meat -- none of that nonsense. Sounds good to me, and I'm all for it.

Who among those various groups will be joining us in the here-and-now to appreciate this new revelation? (And between all the "children of Abraham" on the one side, and the Hindus and Buddhists on the other, I wonder who is closer to the truth of our new deity on the issue of reincarnation vs. one-shot-then-eternity?)

AbE -- an afterthought: Or maybe you're really talking about some novel sort of polytheism, where all the Gods of these different groups are really there, all collaborating? Somehow this doesn't fit the image presented in the Old Testament, but I suppose anything is possible in this sort of discussion.

Were I to further suggest that a particular people called "the (a la Christian view) damned" would consist of members belonging to all of the above denominational parties then your point would sink without trace.

Well, since I certainly don't subscribe to any notion of a "hereafter", let alone a concept of being "damned" therein, I guess I wouldn't have much of a point to make about that. My point was actually about how the members of these various groups conduct themselves during life, with regard to handling their various religious observances. How many different denominations of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc, etc, do you attend in the course of a year? How many times do you cross party lines when you vote?

Edited by Otto Tellick, : grammar repair

Edited by Otto Tellick, : (as noted in my 3rd paragraph)

Edited by Otto Tellick, : (added next-to-last paragraph, as noted)

Edited by Otto Tellick, : added to first paragraph, as noted


autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.
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Doctor Witch
Junior Member (Idle past 2591 days)
Posts: 27
From: Both Sides
Joined: 08-05-2011


Message 13 of 30 (627980)
08-05-2011 10:16 PM


The question is who definies good and evil? The answer is society. Hence God may be evil in the eyes of a Luciferian society.

Lucifer is a slanderer, not obvious open iles but distortions of the truth and disinformation. The concept of democracy being good is dependent on adequate education for voting to be informed. Otherwise, democracy is bad in an uneducated, brainwashed society.

I think that the election of GWB should prove which side of good and evil modern democracy has fallen.

If we go back to the Lucifer story, his intention was not to destroy the Earth but create a paradise just like God wanted to. He arrogantly thought that God's way of doing it was wrong and that he knew better.

The big question appears to come down to a simple old saying, the ends justify the means. If God sees the future, then this must be true for any divine plan.

And that is simply where our morality, including new christian morality, diverges from God. We now focus entirely on the mechanisms of change being good and unfortunately that inevitably leads to evil results, the opposite of what was anticipated.

This is the Luciferian connundrum that we face in deciding what is good and evil.

Edited by Doctor Witch, : No reason given.


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Coyote
Member (Idle past 80 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 14 of 30 (627981)
08-05-2011 10:25 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Doctor Witch
08-05-2011 10:16 PM


Myths
Lucifer is a slanderer, not obvious open iles but distortions of the truth and disinformation.

Lucifer is an early tribal myth.

It has no relevance to the modern, rational, world.

If you disagree, present your empirical evidence to the contrary.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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 Message 16 by Doctor Witch, posted 08-06-2011 1:37 AM Coyote has responded

  
Doctor Witch
Junior Member (Idle past 2591 days)
Posts: 27
From: Both Sides
Joined: 08-05-2011


Message 15 of 30 (627992)
08-06-2011 12:58 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Coyote
08-05-2011 10:25 PM


Re: Myths
There appear to be as many opinions as to what Lucifer refers to as people who mention the name, including several planets.

I should have mentioned that I was referring to the traditional biblical concept of Lucifer, which is commonly taken as the embodiment of evil in a Judeo-Christian based society.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Coyote, posted 08-05-2011 10:25 PM Coyote has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by 1.61803, posted 08-23-2011 6:08 PM Doctor Witch has not yet responded

    
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