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Author Topic:   Who Made God?
dwise1
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Message 238 of 868 (826691)
01-07-2018 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 237 by Tangle
01-07-2018 5:07 AM


Re: Gaps Are Inevitable
The point is not that there are gaps, it's that filling every gap with a goddidit is silly and a hostage to the future.

For many reasons.

For one, in relation to paleontology, every time you fill in a gap with an intermediate, you immediately create two new gaps. Like Hydra: cut off one head and two will grow in its place.

In relation to the God of the Gaps, while we may not be able to completely fill a gap, we can shrink it down to make it far less comfortable for that god to hide in it.

For another, goddidit is not an answer. We are asking scientific questions, questions which basically are of the "how does this work?" kind. An answer to a "how does this work?" question is one which tries to figure out how it works. goddidit does absolutely nothing towards answering how anything works. How do we calculate the orbit of this asteroid we just discovered? "Goddidit!" But what's the orbit? goddidit tells us nothing about that.

That just shows how useless goddidit is. Take any scientific question and its answer. Lightening should be a good example. We understand a lot of how it works. Does adding goddidit add anything to the explanation of how lightening works? No, it doesn't. Does leaving goddidit out detract from the explanation? Again, no, it doesn't. Clearly, goddidit has no effect on scientific answers and there is no reason to include it. That is regardless of whether any god exists or not, so leaving the gods out of scientific explanations says nothing about their existence, just then mentioning them contributes nothing -- there's also the perennial problem of "which god?", especially when it comes to lightening where the main contenders are Thor and Zeus. We could just as easily try to argue for including all kinds of true statements (eg, 1066, 1848, my dog no longer has fleas, my ancestry is half Scottish, I drive a hybrid) that have nothing to do the question at hand: including them contributes nothing and only serve to turn the entire evolution into an ungodly mess.

It becomes harmful when it creates the illusion of having answered a question. When that happens, people stop asking that question and seeking an answer. A state of perpetual ignorance sets in and entrenches itself. This is harmful because we know that ignorance doesn't work because we've already tried it far too many times. And since that state of ignorance acts as "proof of God", if anybody were to try to ask that question and seek the real answer then they would be resisted (and even arrested if a theocracy has been established) -- read the Wakefield quote in my signature; in another article he notes (quoted freely from memory):

quote:
When a scientist sees a problem, he wants to solve it. When a creationist sees a problem, he sees it as proof of God and will do everything he can to keep it from being solved.

And of course, the only thing that God of the Gaps theology accomplishes is to diminish God and to lead to his eventual elimination. Which would be a good thing if it weren't because of that theology's sheer stubborn stupidity.


{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)

Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.
(from filk song "Word of God" by Dr. Catherine Faber, http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML)

Of course, if Dr. Mortimer's surmise should be correct and we are dealing with forces outside the ordinary laws of Nature, there is an end of our investigation. But we are bound to exhaust all other hypotheses before falling back upon this one.
(Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles)

Gentry's case depends upon his halos remaining a mystery. Once a naturalistic explanation is discovered, his claim of a supernatural origin is washed up. So he will not give aid or support to suggestions that might resolve the mystery. Science works toward an increase in knowledge; creationism depends upon a lack of it. Science promotes the open-ended search; creationism supports giving up and looking no further. It is clear which method Gentry advocates.
("Gentry's Tiny Mystery -- Unsupported by Geology" by J. Richard Wakefield, Creation/Evolution Issue XXII, Winter 1987-1988, pp 31-32)

It is a well-known fact that reality has a definite liberal bias.
Steven Colbert on NPR


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dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 240 of 868 (826693)
01-07-2018 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 239 by Phat
01-07-2018 12:25 PM


Re: Gaps Are Inevitable
Yes, there are indeed different kinds of questions and the kinds of answers offered should be appropriate to the kind of question asked.

Theological questions would indeed very much involve beliefs. Philosophical questions would involve more logic (ie, structured thought and reasoning), though beliefs would also be involved, especially in selecting one's premises and axioms. Theology also involves logic, so there is a lot of cross-over between theology and philosophy.

Actually, if one were truly a creationist, one would have no need whatsoever of invoking "goddidit", because that would be a given in everything. There would be no reason whatsoever to try to counter naturalistic explanations of anything, even the origin of life through natural processes, if one were to take the creationist view that God was still involved since God had created those natural processes. The faux creationist view that we encounter so much, that something arising from natural processes denies God, just doesn't make any sense.

I think that a contributing factor to that false view is the traditional reason for creating gods, which is to try to explain things that we cannot explain (eg, lightening). That is the basis of God of the Gaps and, as has already been discussed, we find that we can discard, or at least disregard, those gods as we discover real explanations for the things they were in charge of. I think that out of that has come attitudes that science disproves God (which it never could do; only creationism has succeeded in disproving God, but only if you accept its false premises) and a feeling among believers that science is at war with religion. Nor does it help matters much when non-believers take at face value believers' pronouncements that scientific explanations disprove God. And the current God of the Gaps is primarily a stop-gap attempt to cling to their impoverished ideas of God in the face of the advance of scientific knowledge.

I still maintain that there is no actual conflict between science and religion, except for the conflict that religion may create. There is no contradiction between natural processes and a supernatural Creator. There is no conflict between evolution and Creation, except when they are maldefined in order to create a conflict.

What I find missing from the creation/evolution discourse is close examination of what creationists actually think and why. Their persistent adversarial approach (in which they keep trying to proselytize at you or pull stupid sophistry tricks) keeps that from happening.

Edited by dwise1, : Actually, if one were ...


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 375 of 868 (849141)
02-26-2019 1:48 AM
Reply to: Message 373 by Phat
02-24-2019 4:10 PM


Re: The apologists defense of the literalist faith
To me, the difference is that humans ...though disagreeing...take God seriously...or at least some do.

Uh, sorry, but which particular gods are you talking about there? Humans have created so many different gods that I doubt we could ever possibly enumerate them. That includes the vast numbers of the Christian gods (mainly millions of believers believing in "only one God" while creating millions of versions of that idea -- re-read Catch-22 for the Santa Ana Army Air Base scene where Yossarian and Lt. Scheisskopf's wife, both atheists, get into a very emotional argument in which their ideas of the god that they don't believe in clash directly -- during the book, we keep hearing of Lt. Scheisskopf gaining rank rapidly until by the end he's a general because he had the primary quality for advancing in the military, being a shit-head (ein Scheisskopf)).

I suppose that one can look at it the way one wants.

Cop-out trying to smooth the waters and appear to be reasonable.

Nobody that I know who is a believer would ever want God to be folklore.

Of course not, because as believers they have a vested interest in it all being real. So then basically wishful thinking, but wishful thinking that they are heavily invested in.

Most unbelievers simply assume that He is, I suppose.

Non-believers are free to observe and analyze and test, etc.

May I share with you one particular "aha!" moment I had with a creationist on a Yahoo Groups forum? He did the usual uninformed creationist thing of repeating false creationist claims, so when he resorted to the "sodium levels in the oceans" claim, I educated him about "residence times" which completely destroyed his claim. My follow-up question for him was why every single creationist claim was so unconvincing, to which he replied that the only reason I found them so unconvincing was because I was not yet convinced myself. Whoa! That revealed to me that truth has absolutely nothing to do with creationism (despite their purported worship of a god who is Truth Incarnate), but rather sounding convincing is their only touchstone. Please review my nascent page at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html where I work with those ideas -- it has not yet been finalized.

All I know is that if I pray right now, I do not believe that I am praying to a figment of my imagination.

Of course not. That kind of prayer has no bearing on reality. Nor any validity when one considers reality.

It seems to me that through these arguments, I sense that I am being asked to let go of the spark of hope that philosophers describe as
"springing eternal.". Do you really have an equivalent hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species??

Those are two different things.

Your "hope springing eternal" tends to derive from your Christian musings, few of which are rational.

The "hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species" is something altogether different and even potentially anti-Christian.

Remember, what is the Christian model for the future? Armageddon! Everything falling apart and quite literally going to Hell.

So then the only "hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species" that could ever be offered in such a Christian environment would be completely and utterly anti-Christian.


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dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 379 of 868 (849191)
02-27-2019 7:56 PM
Reply to: Message 376 by Phat
02-26-2019 7:46 AM


Re: The apologists defense of the literalist faith
I think I understand your points. The fundamentalist would basically assert that the whole concept of science originates with the "ye shall be as gods" dogma. They would argue that basically, humans have this inborn rebellious desire to understand all of reality without having to bow to a God to tell us about it. We by nature want to figure it out for ourselves.

Sorry, but, no, you don't. I'm sure that you're correct about what fundamentalists would assert, but they have it wrong yet again. It is most unfortunate that they are so convinced of the infallibility of their Man-made beliefs, since that creates huge barriers to trying to communicate with them. Ironically, it was the fundamentalists (especially the Jesus Freaks of the early 1970's) who would preach how fallible everything Man-made is, yet here they are insisting that their Man-made theology is infallible.

My main point is that Man created the gods -- the reason why Man knows everything about the gods and how they think and what they want is because Man also created all the stories about the gods. Opponents to this view would over-simplify it as my accusing them of just "making shit up" (rather, that's how they do creationism). Rather, the creation of the gods was part of Man trying to figure out this world that they lived in works; it was very serious business.

Man's main obstacle in that endeavor is our inability to work with the supernatural: we cannot detect it, we cannot observe it, we cannot determine whether it even exists. Even if some extremely powerful supernatural entity were to exist, one that we would very likely identify as "God", we would still be unable to determine anything about it. So in trying to deal or work with that idea, we created gods as substitutes that we could deal and work with. Even if that supernatural entity were "God", the very nature of God places Him outside Man's ability to deal and work with Him -- therefore every believer ends up creating his own personal version of "God", leading to the idea that there are as many different Christian Gods as there are believers.

So what are we to expect believers to do about that? A mature believer would realize that his understanding of God is guaranteed to be wrong. Since that is all that he has to work with, then, like a working hypothesis, he must use it. Using a working hypothesis requires that you also test that hypothesis so that you understand its shortcomings, which would affect the results you get -- part of what that gets you is a better working hypothesis. Similarly, as a believer using his faulty understand of God, he needs to question and test that misunderstanding so that you can find and correct your errors and hopefully develope a better understanding of God.

Unfortunately, most believers are not mature, so they enshrine their misunderstanding of God as unquestionable dogma. Hence, they never question their misunderstanding, which prevents them from ever correcting their mistaken beliefs. A book from a few decades ago, co-written by a rabbi, was based on the theme of "stupid ways of thinking about God". They found that most believers have very childish ideas about God, because they had formed those ideas as children and had never revisited those childish ideas and hence never tried to form more mature ideas as they matured in most other ways.

Phat writes:

It seems to me that through these arguments, I sense that I am being asked to let go of the spark of hope that philosophers describe as "springing eternal.". Do you really have an equivalent hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species??

Those are two different things.

Your "hope springing eternal" tends to derive from your Christian musings, few of which are rational.

The "hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species" is something altogether different and even potentially anti-Christian.

Remember, what is the Christian model for the future? Armageddon! Everything falling apart and quite literally going to Hell.

So then the only "hope in human survival and science to ensure the survival of our species" that could ever be offered in such a Christian environment would be completely and utterly anti-Christian.

You seemed to have missed this part. My point here was that Christianity has a very definite plan for the future, which has nothing whatsoever to do with ensuring the survival of our species. Armageddon. For a believing Christian to work against that plan would be blasphemous at least, if not heretical.

The other side of that coin would be the creation of a self-fulfilling prophecy. A fundamentalist as the leader of a nuclear power could decide to fulfill prophesy by starting WWIII. Or that leader could decide to ignore environmental emergencies (eg, climate change) and even make things far worse, since the End Times are about to be upon us so the environment doesn't matter. Far more the pity should the Christian model of the End Times turn out to be utterly false, so they would have destroyed the earth and humanity for no reason.

So if you have hope for ensuring the survival of our species, then Christianity is not the model you should be using.

dwise1 writes:

My follow-up question for him was why every single creationist claim was so unconvincing, to which he replied that the only reason I found them so unconvincing was that I was not yet convinced myself. Whoa! That revealed to me that truth has absolutely nothing to do with creationism (despite their purported worship of a god who is Truth Incarnate), but rather sounding convincing is their only touchstone.

I think that whenever we believers, myself, GDR,ICANT etc...get into science, we try and use the science to convince ourselves that our beliefs are valid.(measurable,provable) but I can really only speak for myself.

That wasn't my point. Please refer to my page-under-construction, Fundamental Differences Between Scientists and Creationists, for my comparison of science and creationism and how their different goals yield very different results.

Scientists seek to discover how things work, so they depend on actual evidence and testing their hypotheses -- basically, their goal is finding the truth. Their research depends on the research of other scientists, so the validity and quality of that other research is very important, which leads to standards of scholarship and honesty that must be met. Research that turns out to be wrong is eliminated very quickly and scientists who falsify data or create a hoax are ostracized from the scientific community.

Creationists' goal is to support their religious beliefs and to proselytize to others. They will seize upon misunderstood, misrepresented, and/or fabricated scientific sources to create claims which are judged only by how convincing they sound. They do not care one whit how much of a lie their claims are -- even when they know for a fact that a claim is false, they will continue to use it unabated so long as it still sounds convincing (sadly, I have seen this done over and over again, including by that creationist on the Google Groups forum and now more recently here by candle2). If a creationist is caught lying or creating a hoax, then he is actually rewarded for it if what he comes up with sounds convincing -- the only way a creationist can fall out of favor is if he makes a theological mistake.

The end result from these differences is high degrees of dishonesty in the creationist community as they retain and continue to reuse their blatantly false claims despite witnessing those claims being refuted a thousand times (hence PRATT). Sadly, I have witnessed outright deliberate lying and deliberate deception being practiced far too rampantly by creationists. Not only does that reflect very negatively on the underlying religion (ie, Christianity), but it most definitely reveals that theology as being both immoral and promoting immorality.

--------------------------

I see that you are still hopped up on that "Der Ewige Jude"-like propaganda movie, "God is not Dead". What is it about that movie's vicious lies that you love so much?

Edited by dwise1, : Added paragraph "The end result ... "


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Replies to this message:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 381 of 868 (849224)
02-28-2019 3:12 PM
Reply to: Message 380 by Phat
02-28-2019 12:54 PM


Re: The apologists defense of the literalist faith
quote:
"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. For if you understand, you have failed."
(Augustine of Hippo)

I started replying before you changed your reply.

If one were to think that they understand God, then that would be arrogant, akin to thinking of oneself as greater than human even approaching being a god oneself.

But being guaranteed to be wrong should not be a bad thing, so long as one continues to work at being less wrong. As our minister would teach, the proper use of religion is not to provide us with answers, but rather to get us to ask the right questions which lead us to seeking the answers. And engaging in that search is how we grow spiritually.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 383 of 868 (849235)
02-28-2019 11:52 PM
Reply to: Message 382 by Phat
02-28-2019 3:59 PM


Re: The apologists defense of the literalist faith
Apart from the stereotypical "angry atheist" meme, I don't see that much in the way of lies. Enlighten me.

Really?

The blatantly anti-Islamic tropes? Really?

All the negative atheistic tropes? Really?

The "professor of philosophy" and his hyper-anti-theistic approach in his class? Really?

Whatever actual philosophy class would ever use that approach? Did anybody on the staff of a Christian movie production ever attend any actual philosophy class? Really?

Think about this: what actual philosophy professor would have ever acted in such a manner? None.

There used to be on Netflix a Christian movie about evolution in which the entire narrative revolved around the professor's basic argument of "which came first, the chicken or the egg"?

Really? That is a stupid philosophical argument, not anything to do with evolution. Did anybody on the production staff of that utterly stupid Christian movie ever attend an actual biology class? Really?

OK, now it's your turn. You state:

Apart from the stereotypical "angry atheist" meme, I don't see that much in the way of lies. Enlighten me.

OK, so show us that those stereotypical lies in that film are true. Show us that atheists are only acting out from anger. Show us that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And show us that you are not just a fucking liar.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(2)
Message 385 of 868 (849238)
03-01-2019 7:32 AM
Reply to: Message 384 by Phat
03-01-2019 2:55 AM


Re: The apologists defense of the literalist faith
Why do you sound so angry?

Alcohol.

I noted the stereotypes. And no they are not true. I guess that makes some people angry. I never really noticed since the characters seemed acceptable though typecast. I'm not trying to defend the movie, apart from the basic arguments which I thought were not lies. Maybe I've led a sheltered life.

You had originally posted a recommendation for that movie as having inspired you so much. So even though you now are saying that you note the stereotypes and that you know that they are not true, you originally said that you had found those stereotypes inspiring. If you are so enlightened to recognize the lies, then why did you also find those lies to be inspiring?

Frankly, I am sick and tired of theists who smugly insist that they know in intimate detail why atheists are atheists even though what they say demonstrates that they have absolutely no clue. Sorry that you are having to pay the price of their having poisoned the well for you.

There is one local "creation science" activist in particular, a pathological liar (whether attracted to creationism by his own character flaws or corrupted by creationism is unclear), who falsely claims to have been an atheist even though he had admitted to me that he had never stopped believing in God. I could quote his story directly if you wish. He tells of how as a teenager he had used evolution (specifically the Time-Life parade graphic of hominids which has been caricatured so many times) as an excuse to pretend to become an atheist only so that he could indulge his bubbling hormones without guilt. Except he admitted to me that during that entire period of his life he had prayed to God every single night, which is not what an atheist would do, so that nails down that he was only pretending to be an atheist in order to rationalize his pretense -- he even quoted the New Testament, Romans something as I seem to recall, to justify his pretense, even though that still contradicts what an atheist would actually think. He kept accusing me of only being an atheist because I hated God for my son's death 16 years ago (even though I had become an atheist over 50 years ago because I had started reading the Bible and found that I simply could not believe what I was reading -- does creationism really damage the brain so much that one becomes incapable of doing very basic arithmetic to the point of not being able to recognize that over 50 is far greater than 16?); plus what he falsely characterized as me hating God was actually my hatred of him for his vicious personal lies (in particular, he accused me of having attacked his wife when I had never said anything about her, and then when I tried to clear that up he refused all my attempts to identify what he could possibly be talking about while mocking me mercilessly, so, yes, I thoroughly hate him, not God, for being a complete malicious creationist asshole, though his own personal god whom he says is why he's such a complete asshole ("I do this because I loooooove Jeeeesus!") must be even more of an asshole, but that is just yet another case of believers inventing their own personal god as an invisible friend who agrees with them and "coincidentally" also hates everybody that they personally hate). Please refer to my page, Encounters with Creationists -- HINT: I'm not the only one to have noticed this particular creationist behavior. Basically, from what we can determine they cannot possibly support their bullshit lies, so they use whatever thoroughly offensive behavior they can to drive us away from being in their face over their standard lies. BTW, that local "creation science" activist is a dedicated YEC and had "converted" solely because of YEC, yet in 20 years of email correspondence he absolutely refused to go anywhere near any YEC claims despite my repeated attempts to take us there. So then, yes, he knows full well that YEC claims are pure bullshit which is why he avoids them.

Again, I personally apologize to you for your fellow theists having poisoned the well for you, but to quote William Claude Fields from memory: "There comes a time in the affairs of men that you just have to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation."

------------

Postscript:

It can be so frustrating for atheists to try to talk to theists, especially of the fundamentalist variety. They seem to be so entrenched in their views, yet they never openly discuss those views. We cannot even determine what their definition of atheism is.

-----------------

Post-Postscript:

That local creationist wasn't the only one to have had bubbling hormones. Twice in my time as a young atheist (18 to 24 years of age) married women approached me for sex, a young man's wet dream. In the first case, I knew her husband so I could not commit such a transgression against him -- BTW, I was also very strongly attracted to her. In the second case, I did not know her husband, an Air Force member stationed in Japan who stated that his steady diet was lack-a-nookie -- even though I did not know him, I simply could not do that to him.

The first case was a fundamentalist who immediately challenged my moral decision, since I was an atheist. I could not articulate it at the time, but basically it was empathy with the husband -- in the first case, I already knew her husband, but in the second case I did not, but that didn't make any difference in my atheist mind. End of story, I wore white at my wedding and my ex-wife is the only woman I've ever had sex with, all while having been an atheist.

All theists I've shared that with have poo-poo'd it away, but it does show the strength of actual moral values based on empathy against legalistic relativistic morality as proposed by "good Christians."

Edited by dwise1, : postscript

Edited by dwise1, : Typo: had left out "activist" in "creation science" activist

Edited by dwise1, : Post-Postscript


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 397 of 868 (849455)
03-10-2019 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 396 by Phat
03-10-2019 3:37 PM


Re: The never answered question will be asked again.
That attitude you just expressed is like what I've been hearing from creationists for decades (at least the very few willing to begin to engage in a discussion): "I have this set of highly detailed specific beliefs (eg, young earth, Noah's Flood, specific sequences of historical events) that absolutely must be literally true. If even one of those beliefs is wrong, then they are all wrong and I should just completely give up." Seriously, they would emphatically and vehemently insist that that was the way it was and the only way it could possibly be.

Since many tend to view these things in terms of a spiritual war, let's use that as an analogy. One of the primary duties in the military is training -- close to that is maintaining military readiness, a principal component of which is being current on your training. You plan for dealing with many different possible threat scenarios and you train to meet those threats. If any of those scenarios do not actually happen, was all your training a complete waste of time? Or didn't the benefits inherent in engaging in that training make that training worthwhile?

Part of military thinking is Operational Risk Management (ORM). As you are about to engage in an evolution, you analyze what could possibly go wrong, how likely that would be, how to handle that kind of emergency, and what you need to do and put into place to be able to handle those possible emergencies. For example, at a unit softball game you ensure that you have enough liquids to keep everybody properly hydrated, first aid gear and somebody who knows how to use it (eg, have a corpsman present), the means to call for EMTs (almost trivial now with mobiles) which would include knowing what number to call and how to tell them where you are located, etc. If no emergency arises, were all your precautions nothing but a waste and so you shouldn't bother with any of that the next time? Of course not!

Same thing in private life when you drive your car to somewhere. When I was stationed in North Dakota, we were all required to keep a winter survival kit in our car. If our car never dove into a ditch, was that kit and training useless? Of course not! BTW, ditch-diving is a popular sport in ND; the fewer of your car's wheels that end up on the ground, the higher your score.

The primary benefit of training is not in the end result, but rather in the training itself.

The benefit of working with spiritual questions is not confirming what you had started out believing in the first place (far from it!), but rather in how it leads you to grow spiritually. The goal is not to find answers, but rather in asking the right questions and then trying to work towards answers even though you can never actually find those answers.

To question is the answer.


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dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 411 of 868 (849497)
03-11-2019 6:03 PM
Reply to: Message 409 by Phat
03-11-2019 4:12 PM


Re: Who Imagined Whom?
Which means that doing all the right things that are good for us, as well as obeying any commandments is just a pipe dream.

Let's see:


"Where do you get your morals?"
"What's stopping you from going on a crime spree right now?"
"Aren't you afraid of hell?"

Bingo! (Message 938)

Morality comes from human society, not from religion. Religion incorporates morality into its teachings and then takes the credit (copyright infringement!). Many of the commandments in the Bible are downright immoral, so believers conveniently ignore them (unless they prove useful against a group that they hate, since God always hates the same groups that they do) while only noticing the ones that are moral, but giving their Bible credit for being completely moral.

We do the right things because they are the right things. It's like denouncing Nazis and those who support Nazis. Why is that so hard to do?


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dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 683 of 868 (859057)
07-27-2019 7:08 PM
Reply to: Message 682 by jar
07-27-2019 5:28 PM


Re: jars Christianity
So what is the test to determine if you have "The Holy Spirit" and what does it mean "to have the Holy Spirit"?

Former fundamentalist minister, now "America's Leading Atheist", Dan Barker describes it in his book godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists. A fundamentalist preacher will go off on a tangent in which he preaches stuff that's not only not in the Bible, but even conflicts with biblical teachings. And the entire congregation eats up every word he says, because "the Holy Spirit is moving and speaking through him!". He described having seen it with other preachers and experienced it himself, ironically when he was starting to express his own growing doubts and he got positive feedback for what the Holy Spirit had said through him.

There's also my own misgivings about the doctrine that the Holy Spirit guides us all towards the proper and truthful interpretation of Scripture. And yet that same Holy Spirit appears to be telling every single individual something different from the others, thus contributing ever more to the splintering of Protestant Christianity. British philosopher Bertrand Russell (Why I am not a Christian) once said that when a Catholic becomes a freethinker then he becomes an atheist, but when a Protestant becomes a freethinker then he just founds a new church. Catholics believe in one Universal (AKA "Catholic") Doctrine so the only alternative is heresy and atheism, whereas Protestants have a long tradition of splitting off from previous churches over minor theological disputes, so their alternative is to form a new church. Former most extremely fundamentalist Ed Babinski expressed it in this cartoon of the evolutionary tree of Christianity:

Now, most Christian denominations teach closed revelation, that all that was "revealed" a couple millennia ago is all that God will reveal to us and "Revelation is closed". That makes tons of sense for an established religion for whom further revelation could prove disasterous. Though how new interpretations through that highly capricious Holy Spirit are supposed to fit into that, I cannot follow ("Dammit, Jim! I'm an engineer, not a fecking apologist!").

The Mormons buck that system by believing in continuing revelation. How do they receive those new revelations? Through their dreams, and the higher your rank in the Mormon hierarchy the more important are your dreams. When Mormons gather together and someone starts to talk about a dream he had had, suddenly everybody starts listening very closely.

So when somebody starts talking about the Holy Spirit, just what the feck is he talking about? What it looks like is an excuse to go all loosey-goosey on what you are supposed to follow and think. An excuse for bad behavior on par with "cheap grace" in which you can commit any sin you want to just so long as you can justify it as serving your god (please remind me again of which Christian god is served by lies and deception) plus all you need to do is ask your invisible friend god for forgiveness and you are certain to receive that forgiveness (an invisible friend who refuses to automatically grant forgiveness is a sign of very serious psychological problems that you really need to seek professional help for, like before you start killing lots of people around you).


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 Message 682 by jar, posted 07-27-2019 5:28 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 684 by jar, posted 07-27-2019 7:13 PM dwise1 has replied

  
dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 685 of 868 (859077)
07-28-2019 12:21 AM
Reply to: Message 684 by jar
07-27-2019 7:13 PM


Re: jars Christianity
The "Not perfect but forgiven" card sells well.

Uh I hate that bullshirt! (watch some The Good Place episodes on Netflix to suggest some Faith-inspired censorship workarounds).

As I've observed, that's just an excuse for escaping responsibility. Everything you do is imperfect and you "stumble" all the time, so nothing you do is "perfect" but the important part is that you are "forgiven". Whatever you do, you will most likely mess up, so your eternal out is that your god will forgive you when you mess up. But then when you start to push it, knowing where you are messing up, so you learn quickly where you can push it -- and in your quiet time with your god, you can ask for and receive forgiveness for your many transgressions.

"Not perfect but forgiven". Jeez! You don't even have to make any effort at all to do the right thing. "I'm forgiven, so I'm cool!" What about the other person? Your transgression against that person still exists. The consequences of that transgression still exists. The suffering that that person experienced because of your transgression still exists. So you are personally forgiven, but how does that ever possibly address your transgressions against that other person? The guy you wrong so very much never ever sees any restitution for it. Complete and utter moral nonsense!

Those "true Christians" are just deflecting the gross immorality of their actions. The typical excuse that their religion offers them.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 712 of 868 (859603)
08-02-2019 1:42 AM
Reply to: Message 707 by Theodoric
07-30-2019 9:33 AM


Re: All this is essential to the topic.
jar writes:

and that Jesus was simply a failed Messiah.


And that the Jesus of the christian new testament stories does not exist at all in the rabbinical literature.

My understanding is that the Pharisees were the Messianic sect. There was a great number of Messiahs coming forth, even more that the fake Dmitris (in Russia, fakers posing as Ivan the Terrible's dead son, Dmitri, which were many and very troublesome), so it was up to the Pharisees to check out each and every one of the new Messiahs, especially since a true Messiah's claim would directly conflict with the occupying Roman forces. Quite rightly, any claim of being the Messiah would have to be checked out by the Pharisees.

By my understanding, after the Diaspora c. 70 CE the Rabbinic tradition was predominantly Pharisaic. Since that opposed (or at the very least did not agree with) nascent Christianity, that made the Pharisees the bad guys in early Christianity.

So then, no, the Jesus of the New Testament should not be expected to exist in rabbinical literature. And one of their favorites, Josephus, did not mention Jesus in the original, but rather in an insertion in Old Church Slavonic (which is to Russian as Latin is to the Romance languages).


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
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Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 713 of 868 (859604)
08-02-2019 1:44 AM
Reply to: Message 710 by Dredge
08-01-2019 9:45 PM


Yeah right - that’s how it might read to a five year-old ignoramus who doesn’t understand that ...

Said by the self-admitted extremely low-level ***** with a self-admitted IQ approaching single digits.


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


(1)
Message 736 of 868 (860109)
08-05-2019 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 734 by Phat
08-05-2019 10:21 AM


Re: Be careful what you teach.
This is but your opinion and does nothing but reinforces your brand of ... secular humanist/Jewish/Episcopalian philosophy based on your own minds conclusions as to how God *must* be.

And you don't do the same thing to reinforce your brand of theology based on your own minds conclusions as to how God *must* be?

...but sadly you do harm by not teaching that we humans can only succeed by being in Christ.

And sadly you do harm by teaching that we humans can only succeed by being in Christ.

Here is one case: the DivorceCare program. It's a Baptist program that's widely used (the US Army required it for all couples going through marital problems, and might still require it) that apparently had been put together by Christian counselors. Overall, it's well meaning, but, like all Christian-counseling-based singles and marital programs/presentations, ends up doing more potential harm than good with used outside the intended audience (Christians, especially of the conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist variety).

In a late-80's speech, ex-fundamentalist preacher Dan Barker, now "America's Leading Atheist", described fundamentalism as "when your theology becomes your psychology." Normals especially notice that when observing fundamentalists in the wild. Therefore it would make sense that these Christians would need their own specially trained Christian counselors, since normal counselors would not give them the theological motivations and justifications that their altered psychologies require. By the same token, Christian counselors would not be suitable for normals, especially the non-Christians, the non-religious, the agnostics, and the atheists.

For example, I was associated with Saddleback Church's 50+ singles ministry's dance classes both to help balance out the classes and as part of my own therapy through social dance -- BTW, that is a Baptist church and dancing is rather problematic for Baptists, which led to some interesting internal politics. They also participated in near-by Mariner's Church's singles activities which included a series of singles lectures presented by two Christian counselors. Most of what they presented was fairly standard counselor talk (eg, setting boundaries, being selective in whom you associate with), but then they would invariably swerve sharply left into the weeds with criteria and motivations that appeal to the Christians in the audience but were either meaningless or objectionable to non-Christians (eg, only associate with those who will bring you closer to God, do this because that's what Jesus wants you to do). They were starting to make some good points, but then they completely lost part of their audience.

I was needing to look into some kind of divorce program, but the only suitable one I found was on the same night as the dance classes at Saddleback, so I'd have to drop those for a couple/few months. When I informed my friend, who was the organizer for the dance classes, she urged me to attend the DivorceCare classes instead and recommended it very highly -- obviously, it never occurred to her that it might not be appropriate for an atheist (yes, she knew all along that I'm an atheist).

I knew that there would be some religious content, so I took that in stride. There were some kernels of good ideas and insight offered, even though I had to dig through mountains of religious chaff to separate those kernels from the chaff. Having previously been a Jesus Freak fellow traveler three decades prior (also as an atheist), I had eyes to see and ears to hear and I knew their position. And there was the therapeutic part of discussing what we were going through.

But towards the end, one particular theme kept being presented and emphasized over and over again: "You can never recover from divorce on your own. Only Jesus can help you recover. Without Jesus, you will never recover."
So then what must have been intended as offering hope for the Christians in the program ended up just being yet another of their dishonest proselytizing ploys: "Convert now or else you will be miserable for the rest of your life." Find a vulnerable population and exploit their situation in order to gain converts. A friend who used to be a homeless veteran encountered that with Christian charities helping the homeless, some especially veterans, who would exploit that situation to proselytize and would even deny serving those who wouldn't cooperate (such as my friend). All I can say to them (and this was basically my attitude towards DivorceCare at that point) is "Fark you, you farking iceholes!"

What DivorceCare was teaching is basically what you just said and which I quoted above in the qs-box. Just think of how a non-Christian could react to that ultimatum. In a weakened condition like that and faced with an unacceptable choice (ie, converting) or else see no end to the current pain, that could possibly push some over the brink. That's like the creationist "public school edition" materials where are nothing more than proselytizing tools which first present disinformation and then require the students to choose right then and there between the "unnamed Creator" and "atheist evolution"; faced with accepting creationism which is plainly false and ridiculous, many students have chosen atheism, a choice that was unnecessarily forced onto them by the zealots (some of those new atheists have been elementary-grade students).

Are you being to see some of the harm that your position can cause?

Now, what about our fighting men and women? For decades, there has been a growing scandal in which fundamentalists have been infiltrating our military's chaplain corps. We've mainly been hearing about it in the Air Force, but a few years ago I learned that the US Army chaplain corps had chosen to require all members going through marital problems to go through the DivorceCare program. All members regardless of religion. Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Mormon, Catholic, or atheist were all required to go through an explicitly Baptist program. Remember back on my own personal experience and then just think of the harm that US Army directive has caused. I don't know whether that's still required; I certainly hope not.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 734 by Phat, posted 08-05-2019 10:21 AM Phat has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 739 by Phat, posted 08-12-2019 10:03 AM dwise1 has replied

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 5112
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 750 of 868 (861033)
08-16-2019 2:52 AM
Reply to: Message 739 by Phat
08-12-2019 10:03 AM


Re: Be careful what you teach.
DWise1 writes:

And sadly you do harm by teaching that we humans can only succeed by being in Christ.


Stop for just one moment. What is so harmful with embracing just that? Forget about church and religion. All that I (or any Baptist Divorce Group, perhaps) is doing is telling someone that a relationship with God(in the incarnation of Jesus) is the starting point for all other relationships to succeed in their life. etc, etc, etc

{sigh} You completely missed what I was saying.

You can believe whatever you want for yourself and you may want to convince others of it. But when you are in a position of power in which your words and actions will have a far greater impact, both positive and negative, on those under you, it is not permissible for you to abuse your power by forcing your beliefs on others.

Being a veteran of 35 years of military service (6yr USAF, 29yr USNR) and the associated training (especially as a member of the Top Three, the top three enlisted ranks which represent senior enlisted leadership), this seems like it should be common knowledge and common sense so it's difficult to understand why you don't understand it yourself. Every single level of leadership training that I've gone through has repeatedly stressed how we must by all means possible avoid abusing our position of power over our subordinates. Haven't you ever had to go through similar HR-directed training, including sexual harassment? Resorting to using your position of power to pressure a subordinate to your personal will is strengst verboten ("most strictly forbidden")!

That abuse of power includes forcing your own personal religious beliefs on your subordinates or on the people you are offering to help. When somebody approaches you for help, they are in a weaker position (since they are seeking help) while you are in a much stronger position (since you are able to provide that help), so the same opportunity for abuse of power exists for you.

Far too many Christian charity groups abuse that power. A friend of mine is a fellow USAF veteran and a life-long atheist who went through a period of homelessness. He encountered Christian charity groups out there trying to help homeless veterans (on the surface, a very worthy cause), but part of their programs was to abuse that opportunity to proselytize to the recipients of their "benevolence", in some cases (as I gather from talking with him) to the point of refusing service to those who refused to be proselytized to. He started volunteer working for one homeless veterans charity to build up a new resume and to work himself out of homelessness, but they eventually forced him to leave because he was an atheist.

So you see (I can only hope), there is a difference between having a particular religious belief and sharing it with peers, and being in a position of power in which you feel that you can impose your beliefs on others.

Here's a different scenario. Someone has a substance abuse problem, so they come to your recovery program for help. He's desperate for help and you are offering it. Your recovery program preaches and depends almost entirely on dependence on Jesus to help you recover (basically, the fundamental message of DivorceCare). But this guy is not a Christian. So, from your position of power, your message to that guy is that he must convert in order to recover from substance abuse. Even though that is what you yourself might personally and truly believe, isn't imposing that belief on this person an abuse of your power?

Let's impose a further minor restriction to this scenario in that your program is the only one available. So you are forcing this guy to convert to Christianity or else he has no possible chance of ever recovering from substance abuse. Why wouldn't he convert? Maybe he's a believer of a different religion such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc, such that conversion to such an infidel or trefe religion with a long history of your religion's atrocities against his religion would make conversion to Christianity beyond unthinkable. Maybe he's an atheist, in which case the long track record, especially in the recent decades, of "true Christianity" in the USA being the enemy of America, being the supporter of The Beast (AKA "'Tiny' Trump"), being the enemy of most Americans and of all American ideals, etc, has so irreparably damaged Christianity in the minds of Americans as to make the prospect of converting to that evil religion unthinkable.

Faced with such a dilemma between a serious problem (ie, substance abuse) and committing an act that is so unthinkable and even evil as converting to Christianity, I can see some just giving up and succumbing to their addiction in the belief that there is no hope for them.

None of your mamby-pamby "Perhaps we need to consider the possibility that God exists and wants a relationship with us". You, in your position of power, demanded that they make an unthinkable choice or else perish. That is what's happening and that is what I was talking about.

DWise1 writes:

Here is one case: the DivorceCare program. It's a Baptist program that's widely used (the US Army required it for all couples going through marital problems, and might still require it) that apparently had been put together by Christian counselors. Overall, it's well meaning, but, like all Christian-counseling-based singles and marital programs/presentations, ends up doing more potential harm than good with used outside the intended audience (Christians, especially of the conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist variety).OK I get it. All you people want is to keep religious beliefs out of mandatory public policy. Perhaps this is a necessary process.


OK I get it. All you people want is to keep religious beliefs out of mandatory public policy. Perhaps this is a necessary process.

No! You still don't understand!

These are military members we are talking about. Orders are orders. Regardless of their own religious beliefs, they are being ordered to participate in a very sectarian religious program. Remember the discussion of abuse of power over subordinates offered above? Is the choice of that particular divorce program really for the benefit of all military members regardless of individual religious beliefs? Or is it for one particular Christian sect, having infiltrated the US military chaplain corps, to abuse their power in order to impose their own sectarian religious beliefs on all military members regardless of those members' own religious beliefs.

So let us look more closely at your response:

OK I get it. All you people want is to keep religious beliefs out of mandatory public policy. Perhaps this is a necessary process.

On the radio I heard of a popular surgical procedure for your group (on both the religious and the political side) in which your sternum is replaced with a piece of clear plexiglass so that when your head is up your ass you can still see where you are going. There's an actual technical name for that procedure.

Now take a moment and think of what you are saying. If it would help you in this Gedankenexperiment, instead of it being your own particular sectarian religion dictating that "mandatory public policy", it were instead a religion antithetical to yours doing it, like Islam or the Mormon Church or the Roman Catholic Church (that last would most definitely touch off an entire series of rants from Faith).

A few decades ago, I wrote a couple Letters to the Editor to our local newspaper which you can read here:


I really cannot understand why everybody doesn't understand this extremely simple fact: when a government chooses any religion to promote, then it is promoting that religion over all others.

In the case of posting the Ten Commandments, that is anything but "non-sectarian". There are at least three different versions: Jewish, Catholic, Protestant. When you as a government agent choose which one to display, then through you the government has chosen one religion over all the others. Don't you see that that is so? Don't you see that that would be an extremely clear violation of the First Amendment: the government would be enacting a law (policy) promoting one religion and prohibiting all others (AKA "inhibiting the free exercise")?

 
So then, you want "religious beliefs" included in "mandatory public policy"?

Whose "religious beliefs" do you want? Obviously your own beliefs, but what if somebody else's beliefs are being promoted, ones which conflict directly with your own. Yet you are required to be happy with that. Is that still what you want? Please explain why and why not (hopefully, you might learn something in the process).

Or would you rather not allow any one group to be given that much power for the protection of all? In that case, welcome to our camp!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 739 by Phat, posted 08-12-2019 10:03 AM Phat has taken no action

  
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