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Author Topic:   Identifying false religions.
Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 10 of 479 (564154)
06-08-2010 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by AZPaul3
06-08-2010 9:33 AM

AZP3 writes:
This is much too easy.
Is it 'my' religion with 'my' conception of 'my' god?
If not then it is false.
And you think the world we currently live bad condition?
Just think what would happen if all of the 6 billion people in the world thought the same way you did....we would end up in a more moral and orderly world, right? Right!!
How can someone not seethe idiocy of such statements?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by AZPaul3, posted 06-08-2010 9:33 AM AZPaul3 has seen this message but not replied

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 Message 11 by Rahvin, posted 06-08-2010 4:33 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 13 of 479 (564166)
06-08-2010 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Rahvin
06-08-2010 4:33 PM

Rahvin writes:
Hi Doc,
DS writes:
And you think the world we currently live bad condition?
Just think what would happen if all of the 6 billion people in the world thought the same way you did....we would end up in a more moral and orderly world, right? Right!!
How can someone not seethe idiocy of such statements?
Not that I'm actually agreeing with AZ here, but I;d just like to point out that your statement here implies an appeal to consequence fallacy.
Hey Rahvin,
I know of no better way to evaluate the merits and demerits of a desire, wish, or claim than to assess its consequences.
Any given claim (religious or otherwise) would be either true or false regardless of whether the population of the world is "more moral and orderly.Any given claim (religious or otherwise) would be either true or false regardless of whether the population of the world is "more moral and orderly." If the Christian god (or any other god) exists, then we would not necessarily expect the world to be any more or less "moral and orderly" than if he did not. Beyond that, the accuracy of a claim is similarly independent of the desirability of its implications; the Christian god exists or does not exist, regardless of how nice the idea of eternal life is.
I can't see how you can disconnect a claim form its consequences while assessing it and why you would do something like that.
KH writes:
One thing that really seems quite amazing to me is the number of religions/cults that claim to worship the one and only 'true' God. Surely they can't all be correct, according to the bible there is only one God (Exodus 20:1-6)
What steps would you take to identify a false religion?
Hey Killinghurts,
I would first study the religion and its scriptures if any, then talk to as many number of claimants of the religion as I wish as ask them if following their religion has changed them in anyway for the better. I would try to assess if what they claim reflects reality (so I would preferable talk to friends). Since religion is about morality, the more the religion changes a person for the better, the better it is in my eyes. I also think religions that people are willing to give their life for carry special merit.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Rahvin, posted 06-08-2010 4:33 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Rahvin, posted 06-08-2010 7:39 PM Pauline has replied
 Message 52 by Kitsune, posted 06-13-2010 12:21 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 15 of 479 (564180)
06-08-2010 8:03 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Rahvin
06-08-2010 7:39 PM

So, why are you treating AZ's statements as a statement of fact rather than an expressed philosophy? I can see how the fallacy would apply if I had said said words in response to a...well, fact. If I said "well, this world is a bad place because the sun rises in the east"..then the fact that the sun rises in the east still remains intact and untainted. But we're not dealing with facts here, are we?
You've used facts, Rahvin, to make your point clear to me. Facts about the earth, the sun etc. I fail to see how AZ's:
AZP3 writes:
Is it 'my' religion with 'my' conception of 'my' god?
If not then it is false.
is a fact rather than philosophy........or why you would make it out to be that way in order to facilitate a logical fallacy. All I cannot help but see in that philosophy is ego-centrism....
The consequences of having my bank account suddenly multiply a thousand-fold would be extremely beneficial to me and as such is highly desireable...yet alas I remain middle class in reality.
The consequences of 6 billion people following the philosophy in question would be infinitely detrimental to the world's moral state. So, am I not allowed to draw any conclusion about the merits of the philosophy based on its consequence? Or is that a logical fallacy....I don't see what benefit there is to make it out to be. At best, we would disagree with each other...
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Rahvin, posted 06-08-2010 7:39 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 17 of 479 (564188)
06-08-2010 9:22 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Rahvin
06-08-2010 8:31 PM

I was responding only to your response, where it seemed that you were appealing to the desirability consequence of a more "orderly and moral" world as support for the existence of a deity.
An example of "sometimes you read what you what to read as opposed to what is really written"?
I never said that a morally disorderly world implies the absence or presence of God. If I need to write something within the next two minutes, that doesn't mean that a pencil will fall down from heaven to aid me. A pencil could be present irrespective of whether or not I need it. I can't make it exist by wanting it (well, maybe mentally I could, but not in reality--which reality is more important than the fancy thought world). I only intended to say, ego centrism is a poor philosophy to live by. However, you do raise a relevant point. I think a person who believes other religions are wrong just because they are not his/her religion is himself wrong in his thinking and he could do better. I do not think hinduism is wrong because it is not my religion. I have no personal say on whether a religion is true or false.....and no one does. I feel very sad when people use religion as a tool for personal hidden agendas.
If you were not in fact trying to make any such statement, then we simply have misunderstood each other.
Well, you garlanded me with the prestigious "creationist makes logical fallacy" honor, so what else could I have said?
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 26 of 479 (564249)
06-09-2010 9:00 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by AZPaul3
06-09-2010 12:59 AM

AZP3 writes:
I would hope not all 6+ Billion humans think like this but I would wager that there are multiple hundreds of millions who do.
And you are right, the stupidity of reaction and the violent consequences of this question/answer define the history of almost every religion since man was able to write.
Bitter reality. Your are right. It is ironic that religion, whose intention is peace and morality, often is the source of spite among otherwise congenial brethren. Just take the ongoing hindu vs. muslim battle in India, for example. Hundreds of innocent lives are being sacrificed on the alter of religion for no sane reason.
Religion has been the bane of human existence since the first man believed.
One-eyed prophet? Religiophobe? Sounds like the judgment of Thamus...yeah, the invention of writing did breed forgetfulness and false wisdom but it also enabled widespread communication amongst other benefits. It is rather drastically pessimistic to say that religion is "the" (wow!) bane and nothing but "the" bane" of human history.
KH writes:
We can see that "'my' conception of God" cannot be evaluated against reality... correct?
Correct. 'My conception of god' could equal anything...and that includes intangible ideas...which cannot be tested against reality to assess their truth. Therefore there is no point in even defending or professing "my conception of god' on the basis of "well, its MY religion'.
Evaluating a god concept against reality doesn't always work. For it to work, the god must be tangible...which barring a few hindu gurus, all gods are intangible.

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 Message 23 by AZPaul3, posted 06-09-2010 12:59 AM AZPaul3 has seen this message but not replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 53 of 479 (564950)
06-13-2010 11:57 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Kitsune
06-13-2010 12:21 PM

Peg writes:
if a religion is 'invented' by man, it is false.
Huntard writes:
So, all are. Thanks Peg.
Sorry, Peg...but that was hilarious.
Sounds reasonable enough to me. Though there will be Christian fundamentalists who will claim that being born-again into hatred of science, homosexuals, liberals, women, non-Christians, other Christian sects (i.e. Catholicism), pro-lifers, feminists, etc, has changed them for the better and got a place for them in heaven. Just speaking for myself, I would not find this persuasive.
Hatred of science? People who hate science have serious problems and need immediate help. THAT is a sickening disease.
On topic,
If someone claims to have self-confessed hatred towards an object, then either their religion that they accurately follow is false or they inaccurately follow a inherently true religion...which makes THEM false believers in a true religion. No one can be a true Christian and also, hate willingly, willfully, and pleasurably. To put it bluntly, I would just make the assessment that something is wrong with Christians that hate as opposed to something is wrong with Christianity itself.
And how would you determine this?
By observing the lives of my friends. This is why I mentioned that I'd make my observations on friends.
If a friend of mine who has problems with a notoriously bad temper confessed to have experienced a change in his temper for the better and attributes it to prayer, then I would talk to him about it. Ask him why he prayed. Ask him what exact happened when he prayed. Ask him why he thinks prayer has changed him etc.
Atheists and agnostics seem to be able to live by morals too. Why do you think this is?
Because we all define morality differently. What I think are moral you might think are immoral and vice versa.
So suicide bombers are paragons of virtue? That's kinda scary.
No. Okay, cross off the word merit and make that "deserve special attention"
I meant, when people give their lives for the sake of their religion with no earthly benefits to reap then they must seem to live for a higher purpose and I would try to give that purpose special attention in my analysis. That purpose might or might not be valid, but it certainly speaks out loud. If that purpose turns out to be highly invalid and immoral, like Jihad or whatever, then.....its time to wrap this one up and start probing a different religion to find the true one. But its turns out to be valid and beneficial to everyone, then I would delve deeper into that particular religion.
Non-personal religions would not even qualify in my list of religions to probe.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Kitsune, posted 06-13-2010 12:21 PM Kitsune has replied

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 Message 57 by Rahvin, posted 06-14-2010 1:13 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 58 of 479 (565123)
06-14-2010 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Rahvin
06-14-2010 1:13 PM

Rahvin writes:
Indeed. But I'd like to tackle that seriously by simply stating that the method of delivery is irrelevent to the veracity of a claim. A broken clock is right twice a day. A human being could conceivably randomly stumble upon an accurate description of reality that we would identify as a "religion." Simply identifying a religion that was created by man in no way falsifies the claims of that religion - it's simply attacking the messengerratehr than the argument, a classic ad hominem fallacy.
It struck me as humorous because Peg pretty assertively made a quite false judgment and Huntard followed it up with another false judgment leaving no room for further perusal of the claim made at the beginning.
In order to answer the question, we first need to define "man-made" and also its converse. After this, the people that dogmatically assert that God cannot be detected or understood by human efforts can happily withdraw from the debate. The people that do agree that God-made religion(s) are detectable now need to agree on a set of criteria that identify supernatural origins. And to my knowledge, there is no objective way to detect supernatural "footprints" like you would detect the presence of H2S gas in a chemical reaction. This is where faith comes in.
Rahvin writes:
A broken clock is right twice a day. A human being could conceivably randomly stumble upon an accurate description of reality that we would identify as a "religion." Simply identifying a religion that was created by man in no way falsifies the claims of that religion - it's simply attacking the messengerratehr than the argument, a classic ad hominem fallacy.
Exactly. To me, this disqualifies man-made or heaven-made as a criterion for identifying the true religion. I could tell someone that the Bible is straight from God's mouth....but again, couldn't a Hindu claim that the Bhagavad Gita is of divine origin or something like that? Faced with a situation where pretty much no religion confesses to be man-made, what do you do? Ultimately, it is what one chooses to believe in with faith, not evidence.
Indeed, though it does happen with unfortunate frequency. The fear of some sort of "liberal white-tower intellectual establishment" is nearly palpable, at least here in the US. In many cases, the public has a greater appreciation for what a random guy in a bar says about an important issue than they do for the opinion of a recognized expert on the subject. I don't know about you, but I like to get myinformation from experts, for exactly the same reason that I trust a doctor more than I trust a random guy in a bar when it comes to prescribing medication or diagnosing a disease.
True. But again, there's always two sides to a coin. Just like when the stethoscope was invented, medicine started to become more about the disease than the patient, so also as technology-through science-progresses, some people have made their lives become more about technology itself rather than using technology to make something out of their lives. Balance, is missing.
What I was thinking of when Kitsure mentioned theists hating science, is when people choose to ridicule science when one or more of its theories disagree with what their specific religion claims. Religion does very little to tell us about scientific laws or is where we get that type of information from. And we should respect that. The reason I do not agree with the ToE, however, is because it does not accurately depict reality, IMO. I may be considered a fool for thinking this, but this is the stance I'll take for now.
Rahvin writes:
Why do you say that? Is it impossible that a religion could by factually correct and demand hatred of something? Is there some requirement that the veracity of the claims of a religion be beholden to the moral compass of believers?
Absolutely. There is a reason why every human being, in general, has a sense of right and wrong. Whether a kid has been taught the concept of murder or not, if he does it--then he's going to feel bad about it. Constructive emotions such as love and kindness had a beneficial effect on the human society as a whole. When a religion teaches us otherwise, we are entitled to question--why? If the answer is based on plain dogma (well, because the reliigon says so), then somethings wrong. This said, if the religion in question--like you propose-- calls for squirrel hatred, then we are entitled to question the motive behind this. I wouldn't be impressed by a religion that does this because there is no point to it. (Or, I think there is no point...someone else may love the idea of squirrel-hatred, IDK)
Rahvin writes:
If I could, for the sake of argument, prove that the Squirrel-Hating God is objectively real, you can talk to Him directly and receive responses, He performs miracles in full view of people, and so on, would His requirement that you hate squirrels make Him disappear in a poof of logic because a religion that demands hatred is impossible?
No, assuming you're giving me objective evidence, said god would still god, whether I admire his squirrel-hating ideas or not. The question is, should the squirrel-hating imply something about the god? Does it imply that he enjoys causing others pain? Does he ill-treat lower creatures? Etc. If all said and done, he turns to be a hate-loving god, then I really would be VERY hesitant to worship him. I would think about it.
Does your friend's opinion about how prayer caused a change in his attitude have a guarantee of accuracy? Would simply asking even a large number of people about their opinion of prayer carry statistical weight? After all, you're not exactly performing a double-blind investigation here - you'll easily be able to establish correlation, but not cvausality, and you have nothing uppon which to make a model of the mechanism that causes behaioral change. For all you know, you troubled friend could have also taken anger management classes, or could be on a new medication; perhaps the prayer did help, but was it through divine assistance, or would he have had the same result praying to any deity? Would he have seen the same results through non-religious meditation?
There's a reason that psychiatrists don't simply ask their patients if they have a specific disorder and then take their word on it. I have friends of a variety of religions as well as atheists, ranging from Mormons to Christians to Jews to new-agers and so on. If I were to ask any of them about the positive effects of their faith, they would be able to respons with a variety of effects that may or may not have anything to do with the veracity of their religious beliefs.
The emotional satisfaction or personal benefit of believing something to be true has nothign at all to do with whether the belief is actually true. Looking at my bank account doesn't tend to have a positive effect on me, yet I am assured by my bank that the balance is in fact accurate and I am not a millionaire. If I believe that when I die I will be reborn as a deity in my own Universe, I may find that personally comforting and I could perhaps use any moral instruction given by my new faith to improve my own behavior and life. That doesn;t mean I actually get to be a deity after I die.
THat's the thing about belief: false belief looks absolutely identical to accurate belief in any and all circumstances unless you're comparing those beliefs to reality, where you can use objective testing to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of any belief.
To take their word for it, would be pretty naive. And...foolish. In this sense, I 'm with you.
This particular idea of "religion bringing about a positive change in a believer's life" really stemmed from personal experience. Growing up, I was a pretty stubborn kid. I was great at academia and often used this as an excuse for being obstinate and not listening to my parents. "I know everything". Right around 10th grade, I started taking my religion seriously. Nothing about my parents' upbringing had changed. They have always been people of discipline. Nothing really in my surroundings changed much. I was still great at school. But I experienced a big change in the way I thought ever since I started practicing my religion with all my heart. To my best knowledge, the change was supernatural. I mention this at the risk of "exasperating" you, Rahvin (as you will remember our conversation from the Forum name change thread ), but I do think this is how religion is supposed to work. It’s supposed to change you and that change should, objectively, be attributable to religion and only religion. This would mean that I would first ask my friend if he took anger management classes, or started doing yoga, etc in order to rule out any alternate possibilities. It would be more methe outsidermaking an assessment as to whether or there exists supernatural work in a given person’s life, rather than just taking their word for it. This is what happens when I read missionary biographies. William Carey’s life, for example, bears distincy marks of supernatural intervention. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot’s does. You get the drift. Contrary to how subjective it may sound, I do think that assessment of supernatural working is not only distinguishable and appropriate, but also necessary in religion. Consider Christianity’s, The fruit of the Spirit, the point behind is was precisely this. Do people change for the better and is this because of their God? If you think otherwise, you will explain to me. And I would like to hear.
DS writes:
Non-personal religions would not even qualify in my list of religions to probe.
Non-personal religions are ritualistic and that is a trademark of salvation by works, which IMO, is impossible, salvation by works that is. In Hinduism, for example, you earn your way into nirvana by accumulating good deeds throughout your lives.and who knows, you may or may not make it to moksha. It is strictly man-based. And therein lies a problem. In religion, you shouldn’t have to rely on yourself to achieve spirituality because spirituality thus gained is fallible.
Rahvin writes:
I think that the only way to determine whether any set of beliefs is accurate is to measure those beliefs against reality, regardless of their source, regardless of their consequences, and regardless of whether or not I personally like them.
How would you verify whether belief in Hanuman, a hindu god is accurate or not?
How would you, Jesus Christ?
How would you, Allah?
How exactly do you test beliefs against reality?
Further, a set of religious beliefs cannot be taken as an all-or-nothing set. Some claims of a religion could be inaccurate, and others could still be accurate. There having existed a religious leader named Mohommad, for example, in no way means that he was actually a prophet; each claim must be analyzed for veracity individually.
What exactly is your conception of God, Rahvin? I ask this because what you just said begs the question, is a religion’s God incapable of making it a prefect religion? Is this because he is imperfect? You would think that the true God would create the true faith..true implying everything in it is true.
It requires experimentation, double-blind studies, and an open mind. Above all, regardless of personal feelings, reality always wins the argument. If objective evidence falsifies a claim, that claim is false, regardless of how believing the claim to be accurate might positively affect the lives of believers. If objective evidence supports a claim, then we need to accept that, even if we would prefer different results.
Incorporating science into religion, aren’t you? Why?
What if we NEVER are able to identify the true religion in spite of there existing one? If science was as successful as you portray it to be in solving theological problems, then why are we here on this forum talking about true and false religions?
I'm curious as to why the zeal of a set of follwoers has anything to do with the accuracy of their beliefs, however.
It has nothing to do with the accuracy of their beliefs. I only said that my attention would be drawn to it and it would interest me because I think there must be something special about that religion that makes them behave so nobly. They might very well be behaving nobly for a ridiculously lousy cause...but still they draw attention. And that simply is my point.
I maintain that any religion's set of beliefs constitute a set of claims about reality: "Deity X exists," or "Y happens when you die," or "Z happened a long time ago."
Right. So walk me through on how you, as you claim, would dispel the myths and collect objective data?
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Rahvin, posted 06-14-2010 1:13 PM Rahvin has replied

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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 59 of 479 (565128)
06-14-2010 9:59 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Kitsune
06-14-2010 9:57 AM

Kitsune writes:
Hi Dr. Sing, I am still confused about the criteria you are using to evaluate what a "true" religion is.
I agree, religion should not teach people to hate. It does seem ironic that the most fundamentalist Christians are people who seem to think it's OK to hurl abusive vitriol at people they believe are not "saved," such as homosexuals, liberals, etc (see my list above). They claim to me that these people deserve it because they're sinners, they've rejected God, etc. There really is no possibility of rational discussion with them.
The question then is, does Christianity encourage hating people? The answer is no. So where are these people who profess to hate certain sects getting their motivation from? Obviously, selfish motives. There is not one verse in the Bible where it says you will hate one another if ou disagree with one another.
So if your friend was a Buddhist, Hindu or New Ager, you'd still be intrigued enough to look into it? It isn't just Christians who pray.
Absolutely. As a skeptic, I would be fair enough to allot equal attention and persual to all religions within reach.
Let's put it this way: neither I nor my non-Christian friends think it's OK to kill, steal, or generally be nasty to people. You will find that most cultures will have these morals no matter what religions they support, because otherwise the cultures would not survive. Human society succeeds through the co-operation of groups. (One thing we could perhaps do with remembering nowadays.)
Yes, Rahvin and you make the same point: The most basic human instincts are positively oriented to achieve community- wide harmony. However, we wouldn't exactly define these as "morals" A moral is a command. A command often is a prohibition of something. To not murder because it hurts someone is FAR different from to not murder because it is sin. The former is an instinct, the latter is a moral. This is what I would argue.
There seems to be this fear some people have that without religion, we'd all go off the deep end. Personally I would be looking for spirituality through religion, if I decided to join one (which I wouldn't, but I'm being hypothetical) -- something that gave me a sense of a community working for a higher purpose, and that that higher purpose existed. It's interesting that you have not mentioned this at all and have been focusing on how we need religion to tell us what to do.
We need religion to even tell us what the higher purpose in question is, yes? How can you separate the higher purpose and religion? You might argue that atheists live for a high purpose: unity and community. But my problem with this is: different atheists have different purposes in reality. What religion does is it streamlines that higher purpose.
(Of course, my own opinion is that we don't need organised religion anyway; that we can be spiritual beings without it.)
Hypothetically, we can. In reality, I don't think its going to happen.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Kitsune, posted 06-14-2010 9:57 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Theodoric, posted 06-14-2010 10:05 PM Pauline has replied
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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 61 of 479 (565135)
06-14-2010 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Theodoric
06-14-2010 10:05 PM

First of all, you can easily substitute religions for atheist above, or actually any other word that is a subset of humanity.
The second statement is just a bland assertion. Or at least an equivocation of how you used the word for describing an atheistic higher purpose.
But is there a common atheistic higher purpose? One that all of them strive to follow or are supposed to follow? Is there one that I haven't yet noticed? Atheism, unlike religious belief systems, doesn't flesh out its dos and don'ts, does it? So atheists are indeed allowed slack when defining their individual higher purposes. Whereas in religion, you are allowed no say or what you want your purpose to be.

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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 68 of 479 (565285)
06-15-2010 7:15 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Kitsune
06-15-2010 4:38 AM

Peg writes:
you go back to my earlier post and you'll see
anglagard writes:
If you are here to convert us, shouldn't you go the extra mile and actually reference your post for the benefit of others?
Hmm, so I'm not the only one that gets accused of proselytizing.
Kitsure writes:
The only people in modern times who make statements like your penultimate sentence are people whose religion tells them that the ToE must be wrong. This does not apply to the vast majority of Christians, but to small subsets of Abrahamic religions (and a few others) who fear that the ToE threatens their literal interpretation of their holy book.
You might want to think about what you said above verrrrrry carefully.
Well, that's why I'm here at EvC. Evolutionist scholar galore. I hope to learn a lot from here even if I'm not able to contribute as much. Like I said somewhere else on this forum, I prefer to stay away from the mainstream Creo-Evo debate itself. This doesn't mean I'm not willing to learn about the ToE. Just, I like to be something of a "lurker" and learn what I can. I don't know what I am going to end up believing. But one thing I do know, I will never be a theistic evolutionist. So for me, it’s either be a Evolutionist/Atheist or Creationist/Christian. Right now I espouse the latter position. And I'm trying to learn more about the former position.
Kitsure writes:
Jesus said we should love one another (which is great). But fundamentalists seem to pay the most attention to the Old Testament, where Yaweh destroyed cities and said it was OK for the Israelites to murder, rape and pillage. I remember how Catholics dealt with passages like these when I was growing up: they pretended they didn't exist.
So, you see inherent contradictions within the teachings of Jesus and the moral behavior of the OT YHWH. You also see contradictions between Jesus' NT teaching and the practical life of many believers. And this is holding you back from being willing to accept Christianity as a valid religion. Yes? I can't resolve this for you.....that too, on an internet forum. I do agree with you that there are apparent contradictions within the Bible. The OT law is eye-for-eye, as opposed to the NT teaching of turn-the-other-cheek. I could, at best, tell you what I--as a Christian do when faced with such a situation as you (believe me, some of us do think about what we believe) but this hardly would be a generalized solution for your problem. Nevertheless, if it will help you, I will tell you.
And yet you are a Christian.
Living in America, [where] there is a high probability of this.[being a Christian]
(Word in brackets is mine, added for my clarity sake)
And how did you choose to be Christian? Is your family Christian?
My family is Christian, yes. Like I said earlier, ever since I started taking my religion seriously (which would be around 15 yrs of age), my scrutiny of Christianity also began. I can't say that I've questioned it with consistent intensity...only progressively increasing intensity. I still question a LOT of things in my religion today... I struggle with them. I was saved as a young kid, 6 yrs old. Given a chance to re-enact my life, I would still choose to be saved at 6 yrs age through my Mom sharing the Gospel with me at home over a period of time until I was able to understand the basic idea behind salvation---Which is what happened in reality. I would not prefer to walk down the road I myself am currently proposing in this thread simply because, as Rahvin, you and I---and everyone else are discussing, it is ridiculously difficult to "pick the true religion from a myriad of imposters" I can say that through all my struggles with my faith, I have never once decide to forsake it. I have many times felt like forsaking it but the emotion vanished faith kicked me back into composure. All this said and done, people might think I am condoning indoctrination. That is not my position. What I'm trying to convey is: religious matters are better off taken on faith rather than scrutiny. This doesn't exclude religion from scrutiny's power. Like I said, by all means question what you believe. Only don't expect to believe or disbelieve by scrutiny. The "guidelines" I propose in this thread might very well have thousands of holes in them. And I can say that pretty much every other guideline set will most probably have atleast 5 holes in it. What do you then? Abandon your search for religion? All roads down the in religion country lead Scrutiny should follow faith not vice versa. Hypothetically speaking, if I was re-enacting my life and happened to be unsaved as a say.19 year old, I would still let faith preceed scrutiny even though I have better analytical skills as a 19 year old compared to a 6 year old. No matter how old and mature a person is, salvation is still by childlike faith. Not astute analysis. This is what I believe.
I understand that by now, I have exasperated many of you (who read this), sorry I had to state the truth. After all, this is the faith and belief is going to come into the picture at some point or the other.
You define a "moral" as a command or prohibition.
A command, not necessarily a prohibition.
DS writes:
A moral is a command. A command often is a prohibition of something. To not murder because it hurts someone is FAR different from to not murder because it is sin. The former is an instinct, the latter is a moral. This is what I would argue.
"Love one another" is as much of a command as is "Thou shalt not steal."
What you leave out is the question of what actually is right and wrong, and who decides. I believe your statement above has got it backward; you seem to think that not murdering someone because it hurts them is instinct. How, exactly? Not wanting to hurt people, and restraining oneself from doing so even when one feels the desire and thinks they could get away with it, would seem to me to be the action of someone who respects other people just for being people. Christians sometimes call this agape.
"Who decides" is a ubiquitous question in any religious conversation. So there's not dodging that...
Now to answer your "how exactly",...
I propose that a instinct differs from a moral in that:
Violation of an instinct is not an offense against an authority but a violation of a moral is an offense against an authority. Morals are an extension, a reinforcement, of instincts if you would. Morals exist because right and wrong exist. Wrong exists because people intentionally go against right. This tendency to intentionally go against right, Christians not only call inherently wrong---but also an offense against a higher moral authority (God). Different religions have different interpretations of morality. In Hindusim, to the best of my knowledge, there is no sin concept. It’s good and bad works that matter. In Islam, neeyat mattersyour intentions. In Christianity, doing wrong (se defined by God) is a violation against God. Human beings are generally prone to positive instincts. Unless in a fit of rage, or under compulsion, people will not usually resort to killing other people. —This is instinct. What moral is, is when a person understands that if he murders he is committing sin and will be held morally responsible for it.
Restraining oneself just because the God in the sky says "thou shalt not" is on the same level as a small child not doing something because they fear punishment from their parents -- not because they realise it's inherently a wrong thing to do.
No. Like I said, religious morality is an extension of an already existing, slightly underdeveloped moral compass. Thou shalt not..because I AM the LORD adds weight to the moral. It makes a violation of law violation against God, the greatest moral authority and this installs fear within a believer. To kill is not only wrong because it hurts people (instinct), but it holds me morally responsible to God for my sin (moral). Instinct's source is developmentally obtained feeling but morality's source is reason. You are are moral person when you choose not to go with your evil instincts. But how do you know what is moral and immoral? Your limited knowledge gives birth to your instincts but laws of morality need to come from....a higher moral figure, if there is one.
You don't need yet another authority figure to tell you what to do and what not to do (the role that most religions fill), because you already know this from your childhood. You also get a sense for what is permissible in your society through its laws. You may also have philosophical or spiritual beliefs about where we came from, where we are going, why we are here and what our inherent nature is, though again these are usually (though not always) adopted without too much question by children from their parents.
What about kids born to abusive, alcohol, drug addict parents? Do they not need a moral authority figure? Furthermore, do individual cultures get to define moral absolutes (assuming there are)? Thats absurd. We're all one culture--humanity. There shouldn't need to be variant models of morality, should there?
People are fully capable of achieving all the virtues that religions espouse, and thinking about philosophical and spiritual issues, without belonging to the institution of a religion. In fact this is the way I see society as heading: away from the comforting blind safety of following the rules of a holy text, and toward a personal type of empowerment in which issues are considered on their individual merits. This is a liberating idea for many but I can also understand how scary it must be for some, because it means taking responsibility for one's thoughts and actions and the uncertainty that can involve.
Unless people subject their morality to a higher moral authority, they are most likely to allow themselves slack when defining and practicing morality. There’s a reason why the participants of a soccer game are not allowed to referee the game they themselves are playing. Yes?
Rahvin writes:
Hi again, Doc,
Whoa, do you like to refute my points...erm, oh.... discuss with me, Rahvin!
I’m sorry I can’t get to answering your post today. I enjoyed reading it and hopefully will respond to it tomorrow...if I've ruminated it for long enough.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : fixed a db code
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Kitsune, posted 06-15-2010 4:38 AM Kitsune has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Kitsune, posted 06-17-2010 5:12 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 69 of 479 (565419)
06-16-2010 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Rahvin
06-15-2010 2:29 PM

Hey Rahvin,
When you say "it's impossible to detect it, but I know it's there based on faith," you are anticipating as if the subject does not actually exist. It's a curious behavior in humans.
Imagine that I claim to have a unicorn in my garage. You'll immediately want to see it, right? Well, of course it's invisible. You could then suggest that you listen to the sound of its breathing, or throw flour in its general direction to covert it in something visible...but then I respond that of course the unicorn is intangible, as well. In this case, I am in every instance anticipating as if the unicorn does not exist. For every experiment you can devise, I have a rationalization as to why we should expect the result that would normally indicate that there is in fact no unicorn present.
I find this analogy inappropriate. Here, you claim to have a unicorn...with certain qualities. You mentioned no evidence of there actually existing such a unicorn. Whereas, Christianity (I'll speak for it, since I am one) has a structured network of evidence, though not all of it is tangible evidence. Certainly, God is not tangible--but this doesn't mean that He isn't real. There a lot of other things that are real but not tangible...emotions, intelligence, ideas etc. We can see manifestations of these intangible entities but not the entities themselves. Your unicorn doesn't seem to have any effects attributable as evidence of its existence. The only "evidence" that I gather from your post, is you yourself. First-hand eye witness testimony....and I really can't go by that small amount of evidence. I need more. In Christianity, you have data and you also need faith because you don't have all the required data. The difference is, some people treat this data as evidence and other people who are more tuned into accuracy and science tend not to treat it as evidence. Let me illustrate. Let's suppose an accident occurred on a interstate and a bunch of people witnessed it. You were not there at the moment but heard about the accident and became curious about how it occurred. You come to me, who happened to be there when the accident occurred, and ask me what exactly happened there...whose fault did I think it was etc. Well, I tell you that a dark demon with black and white feathers, green claws and big feet came from the sky and collided with a particular car on purpose and immediately after the collision, it disappeared.<--That's an eye-witness testimony. Being the rationalist you are, you immediately dismiss my testimony as...a pathetically foolish cooked-up story. You then find someone else and ask them for their testimony---and they say exactly the same thing I did. Under the impression that every eye-witness you met is a fool, you set out to the accident site to find "evidence". You find some black and white feather.......a green claw.....and a giant footprint. Now, this is the xrux of the matter. Do YOU, Rahvin, believe in demons? No. You don't. So what do you do? Dismiss the data as non-evidence or, interpret the data as evidence of something else (some weird animal or something....but not a demon) Supposing another guy--who believes in supernaturalism--hears my testimony, he is likely to believe what I said. And to him--my eye-witness testimony and the data from the accident site, all translate as evidence.
When people approach the same data with different worldviews, differences in opinion are bound to arise. The reality of the matter in question is not affected by opinions. However, individual interpretations are.
This behavior typically means that the person making the claim does not actually believe the claim to be true themselves. They simply believe that it is "good" to believe the claim. For instance, it's "good" to believe the Bible...but in any and all cases where an objective test is possible, there is a rationalization for why a negative result would be observed (sometimes even going so far as to claim that the negative result is actually a positive one, much like the California governor in WWII who claimed that not having been attacked through sabotage was positive evidence that an insidious Fifth Column saboteur movement was present). I find this tendency to be both interesting and extremely disturbing.
Christians don't have a pre-conceived idea of God. We take what we read in the Bible as the description of God, about whom we otherwise would never have known or discovered. So, the rationalization accusation is not the fault of believer.s The fact that the God of the Bible is intangible is what is causing our dilemma. If God was tangible, I would be the first person to fly down with Him to wherever you live, Rahvin, and show Him to you. (if I found Him before you did, that is) I would have no need to rationalize the intangibilities because there are none. When He claims to be intangible, in His word, then Christians have to accept that and move on. Its not like we cooked up this image, and named it--God--, assigned certain qualifiers to it one of which is intangibility and try to rationalize the irrational. No, we take what we get form the Bible and just present it as it is. The data given in the Bible is your problem, not the believer who presents it to you himself.
I'm a rationalist. I cannot ever take a person's word for any extraordinary claim. If you claim that something is true I need you to show me why I should believe you. For me, "faith" never enters the picture at all.
Exactly. Well, I can't present you with any more tangible evidence than is already present before you. I've explained that, in religion, faith is inevitable. In fact, a lack of faith is the criterion for damnation in Christianity. I say this not to threaten or offend you, only to present you with the truth that I believe. Ultimately, Rahvin, all said and done, faith is unavoidable. Its like Lycra--you either have it or you don't. There's nothing more I can present to you that will instill faith in you....apart from all that you already see, but do not accept as good enough evidence.
But that line of reasoning turns "identifying false religions" into "identifying religions I personally prefer." I find even the mere suggestion that one can "choose" to believe something to be absurd - I can no more "choose" to believe Christianity than I can "choose" to believe in that unicorn in my garage. How does personal preference have anything at all to do with whether the beliefs of a given religion accurately reflect reality?
It's like my ex-step-daughter when she was 13, claiming that regardless of facts, her opinion was completely valid because opinions are subjective and cannot be wrong. I really do wish I could make that argument to my bank - I'd immediately be of the "opinion" that my bank account contains a few orders of magnitude more money than it currently does. Or perhaps I could solve world hunger by being of the "opinion" that nobody starves.
The fact that human beings associate personal preference with a higher probability of accuracy is merely a demonstration that our instinctual cognitive processes are so deeply flawed as to be broken. And that's exactly what you're describing with "faith," if you can "choose" what to believe without relying on any form of objective evidence.
So there's zero evidence for Jesus' existence, the Bible veracity etc. There's zero evidence for historical evidence presented in it. The evidence for God stand on the same level as the evidence for your unicorn. Let me ask you this, do you even believe that there might exist a supernatural realm in this universe? If you don't, then chapter closed, right? It's like you dismissing me when I tell you that a dark demon caused the accident on the road. You don't even believe in demons. However, if you allow for the possibility of the existence of demons, you might after all be able to interpret the data as evidence.
To use an example in current events, I really, really hate it when an individual claims to know how to better resolve the Gulf oil spill than the "so-called experts" do. The experts have been dealing with oil rigs and deep-sea drilling for years. The average person claiming "they can do more!" or "they should just..." likely couldn't even describe the workings of the blowout preventer, or walk me through capping a well under normal circumstances. The illusion of self-competence by the incompetent is maddening - we all need to be able to admit when we don't know something, even when we feel powerless in the face of a disaster and feel that strong urge to act.
I'm with you. You will find no disagreement from me here.
I will never call anyone a fool who adds "for now" when stating any position. It means that according to the evidence you're aware of, you've taken a position, but that you retain the ability to change your mind. That's true open-mindedness (as opposed to "believe anything anyone says ever, especially me," which is how some people use the term), and it's something we all need to remember. Yes, I include myself in that. Along with assigning a higher probability to personally preferable hypotheses, human beings also tend to vigorously defend established positions and very rarely change their minds regardless of evidence or argument. Remaining rational is exceedingly difficult.
All said and done, it will take some massive explanation to convert me to atheism. I'm a dreamer, you're a rationalist. I love philosophical thinking. Physical evidence is great, but it also needs to agree with my logic and cognition. If the physical "evidence" disagrees with what reason and logic tell me, then I'm not trusting my eyes on that one. Just to illustrate one example, let's take the huge cognitive gap between humans and other animals. How does evolution explain it? I also have a big problem with abiogenesis (though ToE doesn't incorporate it, it sure relies on it).....apart form copious other matters of interest.
Do you have evidence to support that claim (that a child who is never taught that killing is wrong will automatically know that it's wrong)?
Because my experience with children shows me that they don't instinctively feel guilty for any number of "wrong" things, including stealing, hitting, etc, and that they only "feel bad" that they receive a negative response from an adult. Feelings of guilt without being caught come later. Children don't seem to be able to innately tell right from wrong - they need parental and cultural influences to develop a functional moral compass.
Evidence as in like a scientific journal paper? No. I'm presenting evidence from experience.
My parents work with abused people and abusive people. Often, people who come from poor economical and morally backward backgrounds, will confess sensing a feeling of fear and guilt after doing something beating up a spouse, or killing. It is when people do such things over and over and over again that their conscience gets de-sensitized to the feelings of guilt. People who come form morally poor backgrounds do not always turn out to be bad people. In fact, an exposure to more evil would awaken people's sense of morality.
And yet whether an emotion is constructive or destructive depends on circumstances. Anger and outrage, often identified as "negative" emotions, helped start and sustain the American Civil Rights movement. Hatred of injustice can be constructive.
Once again you're assigning probability of accuracy based on what is personally preferable to you, not any sort of objective test of claims. You don;t need to be "impressed" by the Squirrel-Hating God. You don't have to like Him. You can love squirrels (those fuzzy tails are rather cute). Your opinion of Him and your personal preference has nothing to do with whether the Squirrel-Hating God actually exists. If the Squirrel-Hating God walked up to you and said "hello, mortal," wouldn't you be obligated to believe that He exists? The "moral positivism," the "warm-fuzzies," your personal preference has absolutely nothing to do with whether the Squirrel-Hating God is real. How, then, can you use those things as tests to identify false religions?
Isn't it possible with such a line of reasoning for you to identify a true religion (one that accurately reflects reality, whose claims are all objectively verified) as a false one?
I agreed with you, for arguments' sake, that the squirrel-hating god exists. Then I posed a question, is he a moral god? According to what my inner instincts told me, I judged him as slightly immoral. Based on this, I told you that I would not be impressed with him or feel encouraged to worship him. Let's apply this to real life. I do not appreciate Sati. This does nothing to the existence or lack thereof to the hindu god who calls for it. So, yes, I agree with you that my moral compass is only a guide----not an authority. Nevetheless, if I have it, I will make use of it.
But believing something to be true carries no obligation of worship. I believe you exist, but I don't feel the need to bow down. Even if you identified a religion that was objectively true, you'd carry no obligation to follow it if you disagreed on a moral level. During my deconversion from Christianity, one of the questions that ran through my head was "should I worship the God who felt that murdering the firstborn of Egypt or drowning the entire world's population was a morally righteous action? After all, that makes Him guilty of genocide." Note that I still believed that the Christian God existed, and that there was a global Flood, and that Exodus was an accurate representation of events. I no longer believe any of those things, but that's incidental - you can believe claims to be true without liking or approving of them.
So you not only find zero evidence to back up Christianity's claims but also strongly disagree with the Bible moral content? May I ask you, which factor plays stronger in your opinion of Christianity?
I'll counter with this: I have experienced a massive positive personal change since giving up Christianity.
Why should I believe that this happened only because you left Christianity? Couldn't something else in your life have changed?
Let's try an experiment. I'm going to give you a few sets of three numbers. See if you can identify the pattern. In fact, I'll open it up to everyone else who sees this post. If you think you see the pattern, feel free to send me a PM and ask if your own sets of three numbers follow the same pattern. Test your hypothesis.
Okay, so I identify the pattern behind your three series and make up my three and PM them to you?
Isn't it possible that Hinduism is actually accurate, that when you die you attain nirvana depending on your good works, despite the fact that this contradicts your view of what should be?
Once again - you are assigning probability of accuracy based on the personal preferability of the hypothesis. Whether you like or agree with the hypothesis has nothing to do with whether it accurately reflects reality.
Well, my reasoning is based on the idea that heaven is a perfect place. I have not, till date, met a single person who conceives of a imperfect heaven. Tell me then, Rahvin, would we expect to also find imperfect people in heaven? If you attained nirvana, that means either 1. nirvana (hindu heaven) is a imperfect place, or 2. you have achieved ultimate perfection. I think hinduism encourages pursuit of the latter...hence the whole idea of accumulate good works. But I see neither option as a reasonably possibility, philosophically speaking. An imperfect heaven, is the same time, human perfection is....impossible.
And therein lies the rub - how is Jesus, or Allah, or Yahweh, or Hanuman, different from my unicorn? If everyone including believers anticipates the result of any proposed test to be identical to what would normally be considered a negative result (unanswered prayers? "God works in mysterious ways." Bad things happen even to believers? "Sometimes God tests our faith." Etc.), then the claim is very likely to be false. An absence of evidence is evidence of absence (in every single case, objectively the failure to observe evidence supporting a hypothesis can only increase the probability that the hypothesis is false according to how often we would expect the supporting evidence to be observed, even if that means it's only slightly evidence of absence).
Barring scientific testing, do you allow other methods of testing at all? You know, testimony...history etc? I agree that the concept of gods is not subject to science simply because god is often defined as intangible. But how other claims?
To have a predefined concept of "god" is to put the cart before the horse. I'm willing to evaluate any and all claims, those identified as gods and those not identified as gods, omnipotent or merely semi-phenomenal, almost-cosmic. If it's accurate, it's accurate, regardless of any preconception I may have.
What are some observations of yours which you interpret to be not in line with religion in general?
The "true religion," after all, could simply be something that no human being ever conceives of and is never told about. Failure to discover the "true religion" is always a possibility - in fact, if we take "true religion" to mean "a completely 100% accurate comprehension of the real Universe and its workings," then I'd wager that finding the "true religion" is impossible.
Okay, So youre not one of those people who thinks scinece is the answer to all our questions.
But the real problems are the ones I'd wager you're really talking about - the completely untestable, unfalsifiable claims. And for those, I'll repeat my answer:
Like what claims?
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Rahvin, posted 06-15-2010 2:29 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by Rahvin, posted 06-17-2010 1:38 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 72 of 479 (565676)
06-19-2010 1:39 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by Rahvin
06-17-2010 1:38 PM

Hi Rahvin,
Pretty long post. I'll take it in I might not address all points in one post.
This illustrates perhaps the largest problem with human cognition: affirmation bias.
The problem is not that one has insufficient data. The problem is that one can have insufficient data to establish a high probability of accuracy, while simultaneously having a high degree of confindence that the hypothesis is accurate.
Human beigns tend to "search for truth." We look for the "right" answers. But it's completely impossible for us to ever be absolutely certain about anything. You can never be right. Neither can I, or anyone else.
The best we can do is strive to be lwess wrong.
This is an interesting point. I think a lot of people who are lovers of objectivity, science, and accuracy tend to fleer the generic religious worldview since it often incorporates absolutes and dogmatic affirmatives. This tends to "get the missionary in trouble" with the more educated, and analytical "proselytes" since they perceive the religious message conveyed to them as a threat to their worldview (how can you be so sure that I will go to hell, or even if there's a hell???), or simply irrelevant to their worldview (who cares, I'm going to have fun when I'm alive...we'll cross the bridge when we get there)--the more indifferent people tend to take this stance. As much the rationalists or naturalists, or whatever you like to call them, disdain the moral imperatives/absoultes of religion, note that the religious also view the lack of a religious moral framework (meaning, one that is based on God and His statues) as a pathetic...almost foolish attempt at living morally. So,you've got one group of people who believe we can't be 100% sure of or right about anything....and another group who believes, unless we are right about some things, we are doomed. This is something the Christian worldview incorporates. Absolutes like "God is always good", "The Universe is in God's control both under good and bad circumstances", "God will never leave nor forsake you", "God rewards evil with evil and good with good" are all examples of things we are called to be sure of 100%, in Christianity. For those of us who are of the religious worldview, this take a lot of faith to consistently believe such things (and proclaim them). Not because they are inconceivable, but because we are inconsistent in our cognition and are easily swayed from our principles by momentary negative feeling or emotion. I'm not sure why different worldviews perceive absolutes differently. But this generally seems to be the case.
The method of thinking you describe involves searching for confirmation for an existing hypothesis.
It's backwards.
The strength of any hypothesis, of any explanatory model, is what it cannot explain. The modern model of the solar system could not explain the Sun rising in the West,for example.
What can my unicorn hypothesis not explain? It can explain both the observationa nd the lack of observation of a unicorn. It can explain flour exposing the surface of the unicorn, or flour falling to the ground. Because it can equally explain all possible observations, it is useless as a hypothesis.
What if I were to list a variety of reasons to beleive that the unicorn is present? Perhaps I could claim that the unicorn tells me things - that the unicorn told me that I should accept that promotion at work, for example. Perhaps I could claim that the unicorn told me that a great disaster would befall the United States, a few months prior to the Gulf oil spill. Perhaps I could claim that when I pray to the unicorn, my prayers are answered, even if sometimes the answer is "no."
All of that sounds very convincing, doesn't it? Or rather it would if we didn't already know that I'm talking about an imaginary unicorn. Surely the observation that the unicorn has conveyed messages to me, has predicted future events, and answers my prayers is evidence supporting the hypothesis that the unicorn exists, even if you can't see it, or touch it, or hear it? Surely the evidence available is sufficient to take the rest on faith?
You seem to count "answered/unanswered prayers" and "fulfilled/unfulfilled prophesy" as evidence, be it confirmatory or contradictory to the hypothesis in question. Whether you yourself have this view or whether you think theists have this view is still unclear to me. I understand that the gist of this section of your post is, treating "answered/unanswered prayers" and "fulfilled/unfulfilled prophesy" as evidence for a deity's existence is a flawed thought process because it incorporates affirmation bias. So, I'm leangin more towards---you think this how theists think. However, I disagree with theists that think that way. All the times when I prayed and prayed and prayed in anticipation of my Cell Biology tests (gah!) during College and still got a B or a C+ and all those days when I didn't bother to pray much about my General Chemistry (pretty easy) tests and still got A's, are not evidence (either confirmatory or contradictory) for the existence of my God. Christians who stake their faith on the criterion of "answered/unanswered prayers" are clearly flawed in their thinking.
Furthermore, it cannot be objectively determined whether a answered prayer or a fulfilled prophesy is exclusively attributable to a deity's intervention or not. (Theists base such matters on faith) Yet, we see Christians saying "God healed my daughter of cancer", or "God protected me from a car accident yesterday".....and this is not because they like attributing seemingly fantastic occurrences to God, they simply are agreeing with what the Bible says. IOW, when God says in the Bible that He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb 13:5) or His angels camp around the ones that fear Him (Ps 32:8), Christians believe those words and agree with them. Unfortunately, some of us do it backwards. We think answered prayers point to "God's goodness"....and voila! His existence. That's plain wrong. I can see how the latter thought process is affirmation bias, but not the former Rahvin.
If my bother promised his son ice cream after dinner, then my nephew is being fair when he tells me the next day that Dad was supernice and kept his promise (something he expected anyway). If, OTOH, my nephew comes and tells me, Dad took me out for ice cream, therefore he is a good dad (I doubted it, but he did it)---then, I would be lead to believe that this little guy needs to change his way of thinking. (whats going to happen when dad forbids him certain things?) God's existence is not contingent on whether or not our prayers are answered. God's credibility certainly is contingent on whether or not predicted premises come true and whether or not promises are kept up, but again isn't this thought likely to be floating around in a believer's mind? So, until a person shows faith, he ideally need not be talking in terms of answered or unanswered prayers.
I have tried specifically to not address Christianity individually, since the topic of the thread was "identifying false religions," not "is Christianity a false religion?" I will say (I don't know if I;ve mentioned it to you) that I am a former Christian myself, and am well aware of the beliefs of a variety of different denominations. My own background included Congregational, Presbyterian, and Christian Reformed churches, though I have been exposed to many other denominations as well. I have read most of the Bible, my grandfather was an educator at a private Christian school, and before my deconversion I was extremely confident in my beliefs. I had a great deal of faith. If you would like to discuss Christianity specifically, I'd be happy to oblige, simply because it's something I think we're both very familiar with. But for the purposes of this thread, I'm going to try to be a but more general and speak about all religions (indeed, all claims about the real world, including religion but not limited to it).
I think you did mention it to me, in the Forum name change thread. And I agree, a different thread would be more appropriate for a Christianity-specific conversation, something I would be interested in. I will try to make my responses as general as possible. I might illustrate my general points using Christian examples though, just to make my case.
Eyewitness testimony is evidence.
Topic for a different thread but......and yet, the 4 Gospels are treated as fairy-tales by some skeptics. They don't even consider them as viable evidence, let alone whether they support the hypothesis or not.
Eyewitness testimony is evidence. How strongly that evidence supports the hypothesis that a demon actually caused the accident depends on the prior probability of a demon existing before the eyewitness came forward (relatively low given demons are not thought to exist in the matieral world), the likelihood of the witness observing the demon if it caused the accident (possibly relatively high if the witness was in a good viewing position, or lower if not), and the probability of the witness observing the demon if the demon had not caused the accident (in other words, a hallucination or trick of the eyes, which I wouldn't call "very probable," but certainly higher than the prior probability of the demon existing).
The probability of a demon having caused the accident given the eyewitness testimony is equivalent to the probability of the witness seeing the demon assuming that a demon really did cause the accident (call it 90%, we'll assume the witness was in a good position) multiplied by the prior probability that a demon caused the accident before hearing the witnesses testimony (this one depends on a lot of other factors,including what other evidence has been evaluated previously, but I'd call this one pretty low...let's say 1%), divided by the probability that the witness would come forward with their testimony if a demon had not caused the accident (a trick of the eyes with a bird, "swamp gas" like they used to say in UFO sightings, plain old hallucination, etc - certainly not a very high probability, but definitely within the realm of possibility. Let's say 10%).
P(H|D)=.9 * .01 / .1
Given those fudged numbers, I would place the probability that a demon did in fact cause the accident at 9%. Certainly not enough to inspire any confidence.
In which case we'd ruin teh numbers again - except this time the prior probability is the result from our last analysis, since all evidence is cumulative. Let's say this witness was in a similar position and so still would have had a 90% chance to see the demon if it did in fact cause the accident.
P(H|D)=.9 * .09 / .1
With two eyewitnesses in excellent locations to view the accident as it happened and no further data, I would have to say that it is not 81% likely that a demon caused the accident. Now that is a numbe tha might inspire some confidence that the hypothesis is correct.
Okay, I'm with you so far.
Rahvin writes:
DS writes:
Under the impression that every eye-witness you met is a fool, you set out to the accident site to find "evidence". You find some black and white feather.......a green claw.....and a giant footprint.
Wow. How do I model this? Obviously our prior probability is now 81%, but how do I model the probability that the feather, the claw, AND the footprint would be found, both if a demon didn't cause the accident (pretty darned low) and assuming it did (all three? not as high as any given one, since probability of concurrent events is multiplicative, but we'd still have to give it a decent number)? The first (P(D)) would be low but not zero, simply because it's still possible that the feather, claw, and large footprint were unrelated - perhaps the feather is from a bird, etc. Let's call it 30%. The second (P(D|H)) should be relatively high, as we would expect a creature involved in a car accident to leave bits behind, though it wouldn't be absolutely certain. Further, all three bits of evidence are multiplicative. Let's call the probability of each item being left behind assuming a demon caused the accident 90%. .9 * .9 * .9 gives us about 73% for finding all three.
P(H|D) = .73 * .81 (our previous cumulative result from toehr evidence) / .3
P(H|D) = 197%
Holy crap, We might have a demon.
But do you see the problem yet? It should be obvious given my previous comments. In fact, there are two.
1) we have established evidence that a large creature with white/black feathers, green claws, and very large feet caused an accident. We have not established evidence that the creature was "a demon," or in fact given any definition for what a "demon" is. A very large bird would seemingly fit the same description. The indentification of teh observed creature as a demon is a conclusion, not an observation - support for the hypothesis that a large feathered and clawed creature caused a car accident is not necessarily evidence that it was a demon.
You showed me the beauty of rationalism, Rahvin. Now let me show you the beauty of imagination (well, you might not like it, but....I listened to you so, )
Assume with me that both the testimonial and material data found from your analysis fits no known creature. Assume also that it was proven that no toys with white/black feathers and green claws were found within the vicinity of the accident site. You are unable to reconcile you data with your hypothesis (large bird or toy) and also my hypothesis (demon). What do you do?
You'll note that this is not my thought process at all. Rationality means examining all evidence, regardless of whether that evidence increases or decreases the probability that your pet hypothesis is correct. An accurate hypothesis will always come out with a higher probability than inaccurate hypotheses regardless, and why would you ever want to remain confident in an inaccurate hypothesis? To a true rationalist, worldview is irrelevant - only evidence matters. Inaccurate hypothesis, regardless of your prior confidence that they were accurate, must always be forsaken. One can never grow stronger by retaining the same beliefs - only by changing beliefs by discarding inaccurate hypotheses in favor of more accurate hypotheses, by becoming less wrong, can we become stronger.
I don't pretend to be a perfect rationalist, any more than you would claim to be a perfect Christian. But like you, that's the ideal I strive for.
As you admitted in you previous post, we might NEVER be able to "find the true religion." (OR, I propose, we might be able to find it if we work with available data.) But here's my question, in such a situation, why are you not comfortable enough to wager you faith? What holds you back? After all, faith in God is not a question of being less or more is matter of "you know it or don't know it"...Why would you not place you faith on something based on available evidence (though not comprehensive) if its a all or none situation?
The preconception doesn;t have to be your own, Doc.
When I said pre-conceived ideas, I meant ones that people make up. "God should be like this...or that" But the Bible is hardly a pre-conceived notion? It is a historical document. Sure, it contains abstract people like...the Holy Spirit, but it also contains Jesus Christ.
The preconception lies in defining a subject before making observations; drawing conclusions before examining evidence.
I don't know about other religions, but I propose that Christianity doesn't think that way. I won't go into illustrating my point by comparing religions because that would stray from the general tone of this thread.
You read about your deity and establish your idea of god from there, and seek confirming evidence, when you should be making observations in the real world and establishing your concept of what god (if any) may exist from reality.
There's a reason. You might not think its valid, but there is one. And I'm pretty confident that it is generally common to most major religions. And the reason is, people believe God cannot be detected by naturalistic observations and analysis. In Hinduism, you meditate...and "know" or "feel" god, In Buddhism also, you give up earthly possession-become an ascetic and meditate UNTIL you "know" or "feel" god, In Islam, Allah is God because the Quran says so period. In Christianity, we know who God is only through the Bible. Don't you think that such a idea might infact be true? You know, that fact that God cannot be detected through scientific analysis.....establishing, that true religion is something that we might never discover through scientific and naturalistic analysis? Do you see the common thread that holds the beads together?
"The evidence of things unseen, the confidence of things hoped for," isn't that an accurate paraphrase from the Bible's description of faith? I think it sums up the largest flaw in human gognition quite nicely
Or it is the most beautiful manifestation of human imagination. Faith. I have faith that you will read this message, Rahvin. You might or might not, in reality. I live in SC, I don't know where you live. There's no physical way I could predict if you will read this message with 100% accuracy. BUT, I have 100% faith you will. And when you have read this post and responded to it, my faith will have been proven to be valid. I imagine that you interested in furthering this conversation based on the level of interest and time you put into your previous couple posts. I imagine that you will respond pretty soon, since you have been doing so. I imagine that you will indeed further our conversation. I do not assertively say you will, only that I believe you will. That's faith, the evidence of things unseen...being sure of things hoped for.
I didn't say any of that. Doc, there is evidence supporting certain aspects of the Bible. The Jews actually exist; the nations and monarchs and various other verifiable historical figures check out. The problem is twofold:
1) Each individual claim in the Bible is separate. The fact that Jerusalem exists as claimed in the Bible does nto provide evidence that the Earth was Created in six days, any more than the discovery of the city of Troy is evidence supporting all of the claims from the Illiad, like a man who was invulnerable except for a spot on his heel.
The Doctrine of Inerrancy rests on the single premise that God's Word is inerrant and the Bible is God's word, therefore the Bible is inerrant. Facts that stand on the same level do not lend each other credence, i'm with you on that part. But, that's hardly how inerrancy works.
2) Evidence is not binary. Evidence that fits with the claims of the Bible can also fit with other hypotheses, and the strength of the support can vary from one hypothesis to the next; if I find a pen on my desk, that observation supports both the hypothesis that I put it there and that a space alien sent by Emperor Xenu put it there - but it supports one of those hypotheses more strongly than the other.
I think the Jesus described in teh Bible was based on one or more real individuals. I think that personal testimony is evidence for the existence of the Christian God - it's simply not convincing evidence because it equally supports a variety of hypotheses
I have never come accorss the particular view you hold of Jesus. It is quite intriguing. How about his claims? Are they also from a mix-up of different people's claims?
The data currently does not support a high probability for most of the claims of the Bible, including basically all of Genesis and Exodus. Modern Christian argument for the existence of a deity typically bear strong resemblance to my unicorn - their hypotheses equally explain all possible data, and so convey no knowledge.
Most of Genesis, we can't say prove or disprove. Creation? It is a historical event. Flood? The data is controversial. Noah;s Ark? It is most likely that we will not find it (atleast not in recognizable shape or form) because it provided Noah's family with ready resources in a land of zero natural resources and would have been dismantled. We can't go around dealing with each every piece of data...that would take forever. Furthermore, isn't it curious that the Bible never addresses matters of history when it calls for faith? This is why theistic evolutionists exist. The rest of the Bible is great, but creation is a fairy-tale. Well, doesn't that also explode the ballon that hold God's credibility? Since God says He created the world.....
The rest of the post, tomorrow...
I apologize for any typos.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Rahvin, posted 06-17-2010 1:38 PM Rahvin has not replied

Replies to this message:
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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 74 of 479 (565702)
06-19-2010 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by Rahvin
06-17-2010 1:38 PM

Adults are poor test subjects - even coming from "morally backward backgrounds," an adult has still been exposed to social pressures. Children, on teh other hand, start as blank slates - they don't know much of anything unless someone teaches it to them. The observed behavior of children is that they tend to be selfish, what little sense of property they have is dictated more by their own desire than by who owns what (hence everything is "mine!"), and more importantly, typically have absolutely no concept of "death" or "murder." They do empathise - when they see someone who is sad, they will feel sad; when they see someone who is happy, they will feel happy. It's a basic instinct of any social animal (part of the reason dogs make great pets), but there is no real inherent sense of "right" and "wrong.
No, I am not talking only about adults. Take a look at a recent study conducted by Yale University on Morality in babies. The research was well formulated and the results prove to be decisive. Children are indeed born with a innate sense of right and wrong. Whether we term this as morality, in the more adult connotation of the word, is a secondary question. The objective of this research. was to explore the presence/absence of a innate sense of right and wrong in babies.
You can read about the experimental setup for yourself, but I'll highlight the main conclusions of the study and a few afterthoughts.
1. "A growing body of evidence, though, suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life. With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone. Which is not to say that parents are wrong to concern themselves with moral development or that their interactions with their children are a waste of time. Socialization is critically important. But this is not because babies and young children lack a sense of right and wrong; it’s because the sense of right and wrong that they naturally possess diverges in important ways from what we adults would want it to be."
--Page 1
2. Many developmental psychologists will tell you that the ignorance of human babies extends well into childhood. For many years the conventional view was that young humans take a surprisingly long time to learn basic facts about the physical world (like that objects continue to exist once they are out of sight) and basic facts about people (like that they have beliefs and desires and goals) let alone how long it takes them to learn about morality.
I am admittedly biased, but I think one of the great discoveries in modern psychology is that this view of babies is mistaken.
--Page 1
3. All of this research, taken together, supports a general picture of baby morality. It’s even possible, as a thought experiment, to ask what it would be like to see the world in the moral terms that a baby does. Babies probably have no conscious access to moral notions, no idea why certain acts are good or bad. They respond on a gut level. Indeed, if you watch the older babies during the experiments, they don’t act like impassive judges they tend to smile and clap during good events and frown, shake their heads and look sad during the naughty events (remember the toddler who smacked the bad puppet). The babies’ experiences might be cognitively empty but emotionally intense, replete with strong feelings and strong desires. But this shouldn’t strike you as an altogether alien experience: while we adults possess the additional critical capacity of being able to consciously reason about morality, we’re not otherwise that different from babies our moral feelings are often instinctive. In fact, one discovery of contemporary research in social psychology and social neuroscience is the powerful emotional underpinning of what we once thought of as cool, untroubled, mature moral deliberation.
--Page 6
4. Morality, then, is a synthesis of the biological and the cultural, of the unlearned, the discovered and the invented. Babies possess certain moral foundations the capacity and willingness to judge the actions of others, some sense of justice, gut responses to altruism and nastiness. Regardless of how smart we are, if we didn’t start with this basic apparatus, we would be nothing more than amoral agents, ruthlessly driven to pursue our self-interest. But our capacities as babies are sharply limited. It is the insights of rational individuals that make a truly universal and unselfish morality something that our species can aspire to.
--Page 7
This stuck me as interesting...
Bloom writes:
...The morality of contemporary humans really does outstrip what evolution could possibly have endowed us with.
Rahvin writes:
But your moral compass is not a guide at all when determining whether something exists or not. You made the argument that your moral compass should be able to guide you towards "true religions" and away from "false religions," but you have already admitted that that is not really the case. Your moral compass guides you towards beliefs you personally approve of, which has nothing to do with whether those beliefs accurately reflect reality. The ethical ramifications of a hypothesis are totally irrelevant to whether the hypothesis is accurate. Whether you personally approve or not, whether you would worship or not, is independant of whether the Squirrel-Hating God actually exists.
No, I said I will use it as a guide in trying to find the true religion. For there to exist a true religion, there must also necessarily exist a few or more false religions. My moral compass doesn't tell me "false religions don't exist", it only tells me "this might be the true religion." This is what I meant when I said, my disliking Sati does nothing to the existence or lack thereof of the hindu god, but tells me that the hindu religion is more prone to be a false one. Now, there is personal preference in evaluations that involve a innate moral compass. No doubt. But you can't discard the compass altogether since it does help to evaluate the moral integrity of various religions. It doesn't help to resolve the existence/non-existence issue, but that's hardly a reason to throw it away from the general search.
I think I have switched my thinking more along the lines of "will the true religion ever condone x activity according to what my innate moral compass says" and you are tuned into "why does it matter what my compass says to the existence or non-existence of a religion". So we might both be addressing different questions. Remember, the true religion is not identifiable by objective, scientific analysis. You often refer to it as "a 100% accurate depiction of reality." We can only hope to find such a description, we never will. Now, can we have faith that we have found it? Some do.
My "opinion of Christianity" encompasses multiple questions. My assessment of how likely Christianity is to accurately reflect reality is driven solely by evidence - the moral aspect doesn't even come into it.
Meaning, you completely exclude the claims God makes in the Bible when evaluating Christianity's accuracy? That's absurd, Rahvin. Why would you do that? You yourself have admitted defining the true religion as "100% accurate depiction of reality" that we might never get around to finding it. In such a situation, don't you have to resort to other means? Means such as
Currently I woudl estimate the probability of the Christian god's existence to be pretty low - certainly not likely enough for me to have any amount of confidence that he actually exists
This is too vague to answer. By christian God, do you mean the OT God, or Jesus? Or both?
Morally, Chrsitianity is a mixed bag. There's some pretty nasty stuff in teh Old Testament, ranging from genocide to rape to slavery to "ripping up" pregnant women. Not to mention stoning rebellious children, putting homosexuals to death, punishing the children for the sins of the parents, and so on. Jesus, on the other hand, seemed like a mostly decent guy - he claimed to not be trying to get rid of the old laws or antyhing, but he definitely focused more on the whole "love thy neighbor" moral lessons than the ridiculous nonsense of the Old Testament. Only in Paul's writings (particularly when they deal with women) and Revelations do I again start to have moral opposition to the New Testament.
See, even you are using your innate moral compass and acquired view of morality to evaluate Christianity's moral integrity (or lack thereof). This certainly does nothing to prove its existence or non-existence, but again can we ever PROVE anything? We can hope to be fully assured about something, and that's exactly what faith is. You disdain Biblical moral content, so you tend not to think of Christianity as a canditate for the true religion. (Now, I do think your view of the Bible is based on misconceptions. You might have excellent book knowledge. You might be able to spit out the numbers, people, places, and facts much better than I could. But what does it matter if your knowledge is based on misconceptions?)
Yes! That's the point! Personal change in a person's life often has very little to do with what we attribute it to...and even when it does, the mechanism we attribute is often not correct.
What mechanism? I don't use any mechanism to say that I've changed for the better since being a true Christian. Neither does anyone else. It is simply a confession.
My positive changes involved shifting to a rationalist outlook on life,
...not giving up Christianity.
revaluing life as a single chance and where death and suffering are not counterbalanced by any sort of heavenly afterlife
...simply a change in viewpoint
and being able to critically examine my own beliefs better than I could previously. I also happened to get much better jobs, and my lifestyle is now significantly improved over when I was a Christian. Some of that resulted from my deconversion, but some of it was the driving force behind my deconversion.
Should I take the latter result as a ramification of the former cause, and the former result as a ramification of the latter cause ("driving force behind my deconversion")? This is a strange mix-up. I don't see any supernatural intervention. You simply claim to have left Christianity because rationalism appealed more to you. You claim to have lived a better life as a non-Christian than a Christian, but yourself do not attribute any supernatural cause to it. You are the driving force behind these changes.
When a person expressesthat they have experienced positive changes which they attribute to divine providence since adopting a given religion, those positive changes are correlated with the religion, but the religion (and specifically the mechanism of divine providence) is not necessarily the cause of the positive change.
No, there are effects attributable to religion only. The thousands of missionary lives lived in jungles serving the barbaric are evidence of this. The strong supernatural invention in the preservation of their lives is evidence of this. When observers are able to distinguish a remarkable positive change in a believer discarding all other alternatives in a valid way, that is evidence. The negative effects that come from leaving a religion though are simply a ramification of human freewill. God does not force people.
So far I have encountered no set of claims that self-identifies as a "religion" that also carries a high probability of being accurate.
Some of your atheist counterparts might disagree with you. Some of the more non-stringent people tend to lean towards lending credence to religions like hinduism and buddhism.
"There exist two afterlives - one is called heaven and it's a paradisical reward for people who live good lives/worship this deity. The other is called hell and is a place of eternal torment for people who didn't obey the rules/worshipped the wrong deity."
Thats why Pascal came up with a wager.I don't understnad why some people are willing to wager and some other people are not at all.
Obviously I'm being somewhat lighthearted here. But the point is that none of these can be objectively evaluated - any observation you could ever make would equally support all possible relevant hypotheses. There's simply no way to test the accuracy of any claim like these. Remember, the strength of a hypothesis lies in what it cannot explain; if the hypothesis can equally explain any conceivable observation, the hypothesis conveys no knowledge. What observation would not be explained by the existence of an afterlife? What observation would not be explained by the existence of a deity? What observation would not be explained by my unicorn? If there are none, how can you ever claim your hypothesis to be less wrong than any other mutually exclusive hypothesis?
Hypothesis and observations are great for evaluating and understand tangible and natural things. Whereas claims like the ones you mentioned, rely on faith or doubt.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : No reason given.
Edited by Dr. Sing, : editing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by Rahvin, posted 06-17-2010 1:38 PM Rahvin has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Kitsune, posted 06-20-2010 2:47 AM Pauline has replied
 Message 78 by Rahvin, posted 06-22-2010 8:11 PM Pauline has replied

Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 76 of 479 (565867)
06-21-2010 4:53 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Kitsune
06-17-2010 5:12 PM

Kitsune writes:
I wonder why it's these two extremes for you, when the vast majority of people in the world happily espouse more moderate views? I am an agnostic evolutionist (though I don't like that phrase because it implies that evolution is a religious belief, when it is in fact a robust scientific theory). I arrived at this position by applying a large degree of reason the way Rahvin explains and also from going by intuition, personal experience and what "speaks" to me (which I'm sure Rahvin would tear down with his invisible unicorn or spaghetti monster or whatever, but these types of epistemological debates have been happening elsewhere on this forum -- you might want to take a look sometime). I don't even like to apply "agnostic" to myself really. I do have spiritual beliefs, which maybe lean more toward pantheism.
I do not believe in theistic evolution because I believe that Bible falls or stands as one piece.
No, for a couple of reasons. First of all, there are many reasons why I can't reconcile the Biblical account of things with reality; and secondly, I don't know what you mean by "valid." Seeing as how a large percentage of the world's population is Christian, it's socially valid. I can't argue with what Jesus preached; anyone who tells us to love each other is OK in my books. So that's valid too. If I were still a Catholic I'd just continue to ignore the nasty stuff in the Old Testament or try to rationalise it away somehow.
There are a lot of things I don't understand or can't explain in the Bible. And yes, most of that is OT material. For the life of me, I can't wrap my head around an eternal hell. The list goes on. Kitsune, no one has perfect faith. We all try. Those who spend their best years "ignoring" and "rationalizing" are pretending to possess perfect faith.
You might like to address this in another post and relate it to the topic of identifying false religions. I do not see the subject as a "problem," though you apparently do. And thanks for the offer of "help" but I'm as likely to convert back to Christianity as Rahvin. Sorry.
I was hardly trying to impress Christianity upon you. I was only giving you an honest answer: I don't know the answer, but here's what I do. But you're right, this deserves a whole new thread.
I think both can, and probably should, apply. You've having a pretty long conversation with Rahvin about this so I won't go over that ground again myself.
I have already proposed that only faith applies. Even, Rahvin would agree with this, I think. Belief in God is based on blind faith rather than analysis. The people who claim to believe in a particular religion will often confess to not understanding certain parts of it. This hardly means that they "do not have faith" in those parts, it means that they choose to have faith over sitting and analyzing those parts. One example is, the Doctrine of Trinity.
I took the best of what I discovered from different kinds of spiritual practices and arrived at my own set of beliefs, which I explained at the beginning of this post. You still seem to think that religion and spirituality have to be the same thing. Religion is a social institution, and for much of history it has simply been used to control people.
No, religion and spirituality are not the same thing. Faith, and spirituality are the same thing. The viewpoint you likely hold is better labeled humanistic. You detach morality from deity, don't you? Then how come you still deal in terms of spiritual and non-spiritual when those terms traditionally belong to the religious realm?
There are many Christians, including creationists, who would happily have him put to death for what he'd done, and call it justice. I happen to be against the death penalty for anyone because two wrongs don't make a right, and execution is little more than revenge (plus some other reasons).
And I happen to be with you.
So you've perhaps got a bit of a conundrum here as to why I, a non-Christian, am against the death penalty, while many Christians fervently support it. Even the US government makes it legal.
No, I am not surprised actually. Non-Christians often espouse more moderate, congenial views. (Although I think if you strtch that too far, we might end up not even having a US legal system.....everything will "be right". Prostitution, abortion...everything.) Often Christians, in their "righteous anger" (Well, is it really necessary?) espouse more stringent views. Either way, true justice is to be sought, whether that means becoming more moderate- or becoming more stringent, according to what the situation demands. No one is always right or always wrong.
And I make a conscious choice as to whether or not I think that is a good way to live, which I believe requires more maturity and wisdom than someone who does what they are told because they know they'll get punished if they don't. As parents we expect our own children to move beyond that; fundamentalists seem to be extremely hesitant to do so. Like I said, I think it's maybe something to do with needing the comfort and certainty of a higher authority telling someone that they're doing the right thing because figuring it out for themselves requires taking responsibility for one's actions and risking the possibility that they're wrong.
Which Bible do you read from? Obviously, we're reading from different books.
I don't agree with this. I explained in my previous post how the superego is formed, and the function it has. I've mentioned that human beings live in groups, and groups can only be successful if the members have some respect for one another and don't indiscriminately hurt each other and destroy trust and relationships. Studies with social animals bear this out; it doesn't just apply to humans. As to the finer details of what is or is not permissible in the society, that is often defined by the culture and its way of life.
We all start out with basic instincts and develop them as we go along. I don't disagree with this. But morality is not just learning how to get along with each other as a species. Getting along involves and makes use of morality but morality itself is not about getting along.
I don't understand this question. Are you saying that such people cannot teach morals, or that the morals of the society will fail to reach children raised in such families? I would say that it's important to help families in these situations, but throwing Bibles at them would not be on my personal list of approaches. Besides, there are plenty of people who believe themselves to be God-fearing Christians who are abusive, alcohol and drug addicted parents.
We definately should help such people. I'm with you on that.
You left your most absurd statement for last, it would seem.
In what way is it absurd?
Edited by Pauline, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 71 by Kitsune, posted 06-17-2010 5:12 PM Kitsune has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 84 by New Cat's Eye, posted 06-23-2010 11:11 AM Pauline has not replied
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Member (Idle past 3841 days)
Posts: 283
Joined: 07-07-2008

Message 80 of 479 (566090)
06-22-2010 11:57 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by Rahvin
06-22-2010 8:11 PM

Rahvin writes:
Holy crap I hit the length limit! More to come.
Uh, sure did, Rahvin
I can't promise a reply before Friday. Over the weekend, most probably. But that should be okay....since you've proposed a lot for me to think about and the fact that I'm in the middle of a hectic week.
Have a good week!
Edited by Pauline, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Rahvin, posted 06-22-2010 8:11 PM Rahvin has not replied

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