quote:I believe that there is a difference between what may actually exist versus what humans make up. In other words, I am well aware that humans can imagine all sorts of possibilities and invent science fiction and other fables...I just don't believe that the religious mythos is one of them. (to some extent it likely is, but not totally)
Okay, so you believe there's a difference between fiction and reality. I don't think many people would disagree with that assertion. The problem is that some people assert things to be a part of physical reality when all we have are a few scribbled notes from centuries, if not millenia ago.
However, when you write "to some extent it likely is, but not totally" your position becomes muddy. Physical reality is independent of whether we believe in it or not. That, that is, is. That, that is not, is not. Religious myths and legends are as old as man himself, with certain memes echoing down the ages, like the creation myth and the flood myth.
quote:The tricky part is determining which is which.
That is indeed the tricky part.
quote:While I don't believe that all stories are made up by humans to entertain/convince/control other humans, I will admit that it is not easy to tell which is which.
Insofar as the Bible is concerned, which stories do you think aren't made up or invented (regardless of the motivation), and what is your reason for so believing..?
quote:Perhaps it is better to live as if we were the deciding characters in a cosmic play, or perhaps not.
When you've made up your mind come back and we can discuss it, but hedging your bets on every assertion begins to look silly. I think you should stop looking for external meaning in your life, and start providing your own meaning.
quote:Belief in such concepts as spiritual warfare between angelic/demonic hosts (a battle in which the outcome is already decided, by the way) is probably not going to cause much harm in a daily reality sense unless and until we have incidents like a mother who claims God told her to kill her children, or a president who labels a war in Afghanistan as a battle between good and evil.
You suggest first that such beliefs cause no real harm and then continue about the harm caused by such beliefs. Then there is harm caused by such beliefs.
quote:the real battle between good and evil is in everyones individual conscience.
Choices are either right or wrong or neutral, and that determination is entirely based on the outcomes, so all morality/ethics are situational in nature. Labeling actions as good or evil are entirely based on religious considerations and have no place in physical reality. Not everyone can tell the difference between right and wrong, and those people are mentally disabled.
quote:We all know what actions we could take that are more evil than other,better choices. No belief in any Deities is required to make these daily choices...and we can't blame the bad guy if we fall short. I suppose we need not be required to give credit to God, either...comments?
No, we don't all know what actions we "should" take, because in some people their ability to feel empathy is damaged or missing. There is no God, and hence there is no reason to give credit or blame to any such fictional deity for any choice we make. Many of our choices are predetermined by the kind of person we have become, which is based on our upbringing, culture, education, intelligence, and morality/ethics. The choices you make in life are often determined for you, and you have no conscious knowledge of the subconscious choices being made.
Re: Christ and satan and the discussion of their debated reality.
According to the UN crime stats the rate of murder in RSA is 31.0 per 100,000 in 2012.
Available at https://www.unodc.org/gsh/en/data.html
To keep this in perspective the Bahamas had a murder rate of 29.8 per 100,000 in 2012.
Puerto Rico had a murder rate of 26.5 per 100,000 in 2012.
El Salvador had a murder rate of 41.2 per 100,000 in 2012.
Honduras had a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000 in 2012.
And the murder rate in the United States was 4.7 per 100,000 in 2012, but that's not the entire story.
The murder rate in Detroit, a city of over 500,000, was 54.6 per 100,000 in 2012, and Baltimore's murder rate was 35.0 per 100,000 in 2012. So, statistically you're more likely to be murdered in Baltimore or Detroit than in RSA.
Re: Christ and satan and the discussion of their debated reality.
The size of the country is also part of the equation, which was why I inlcuded Puerto Rico, among others...to show how the data can be tainted to make a political point.
Comparing the murder rate by country is ineffective in showing how dangerous a place is, because you aren't everywhere in the country. The specific area you're located is where you should be looking for data.
The murder rate in Detroit is 10 times the national average. That is a significant difference. What was the murder rate in Johannesburg or Cape Town..? Do the majority of murders happen in the cities, or rural areas..?
quote:Saying that the stories are made up is only based on the idea that evidence is required. My basis for belief is based on experiences that I have had which were unexplainable. It is true that I have a confirmation bias towards faith/belief, and it is true that I would prefer that it be true. The idea of a God that has my back is compelling.
Your experiences, explained or unexplained, are completely separate from whether the stories in the Bible are true or not. If you don't care if the stories are true, then evidence is unnecessary.
Basing your belief in God on unexplained experiences is called the fallacy of ignorance, which means simply that you can't explain something and therefore you will make the assumption that something else caused it.
Isn't the idea of magical pixies having your back just as compelling..?
Why would the concept of the God of the Bible, who is cruel, immature, vain, and selfish (according to the stories about Him) provide you with any life-affirming support..?
I was specifically answering a post where the person posting said that there were stories that he didn't think were fictional. And that was why I asked which ones weren't fictional or made up, and how he knew they weren't fictional or made up.
quote:I fail to see any evidence. Which is not evidence of absence, in my book.
Well, that's your book isn't it..? In the history of Lourdes, the place where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared to a young Frenchwoman, there have been only 69 miraculous healings recognized by the Catholic Church. Approximately 5 million people visit Lourdes every year. It is said that 200 million people have visited Lourdes since 1860. Certainly, not all the people that visit Lourdes come there looking for a miracle, but even if only 1/10 of 1 percent came looking for a miracle, then the batting average for God is pretty dismal (assuming that the supposed healings are actually miraculous, which may not be true at all). One might also ask why God hates amputees, since no amputee has ever been healed.
quote:This is where so many people make a wrong turn and fail to ask for directions. Some assume that they know the territory.
Ask directions of whom, you..? The lack of evidence for your God is deafening. There is as much evidence for Hercules as there is for your God. Even if the Bible, an anonymous and apocryphal book from antiquity, were true the God depicted in it is hardly worthy of worship. Did He have Job's back..? What about the daughter of Jephthah..?
quote:I suppose, however, that technically they have as much right as I do to assume such things.
Technically, and in every other way, but you know that your assumptions are better founded, right..? Why is that..?
quote:They assume that the map is internal and subjective. I believe that the map is internal and imparted objectively by God.
Except they have evidence to support their internal subjective map, and you have nothing but wild conjecture for your objective map imparted from your God.
quote:They assume that in this vast universe---for now---humanity and human wisdom---relying on each other----is all we have.
Because that's what the evidence supports. Do you have some demonstrable evidence that shows something else..? The James Randi Educational Foundation has a $1,000,000 offer open to anyone who can demonstrate anything supernatural.
No, I don't. But I'd be willing to entertain any evidence you might have that supports your conjecture. Do you have any evidence that supports your conjecture..?
quote:Communion is better for all of us.
How do you know that's the case..? How do you know you have communion with an invisible deity, for which there is no evidence..? How do you know you're not simply communing with yourself, in your own head, or worse communing with Satan..?
quote:He is not selfish about it.
Are you referring to the same deity written about in the Old Testament. Because if you are that God appears to be incredibly selfish, insecure, childish, and vain.
quote: not something He makes happen.
But He could make it happen if He chose to, because He's omnipotent, right..? So, it's His decision not to make it happen.
quote: We ask for it. Its a joint decision.
If you're required to beg/ask without the benefit of convincing evidence, and then under threat of torture it isn't a joint decision at all. It's similar to the Mafia boss who threatens to break your legs unless you pay for protection. That's a joint decision too, according to your thinking. It can only be a free and fair decision if there are no threats or promises, and that's not the case is it..?
quote:Personally I would listen to GOD as to what is evil.
Is that because you lack a moral compass of your own..? If you have no morality except for what God gives you how do you know God is good..? Was slavery good, because God approved of it..? What about child abuse, human sacrifice, genocide, murder, rape, pillage, to mention just a few..? Are you suggesting that these things are moral, because your God supports all of them.
quote: Feel free to pray on it
Prayer is a waste of time, even if you believe in your deity, and a colossal waste of time if you don't.
quote: OR if that is to difficult for you,
Mumbling a few words to yourself is not difficult in the least, but it is a waste of time. Please provide your evidence for the efficacy of prayer.
quote: lets review history.
Sure, what history would you like to review..? How about the lack of historical evidence for Moses..?
quote:You have to realize the people in your current discussion clearly don't understand biblical record
What record..? The Bible doesn't provide an historical record, according to historians.
quote:or if they do they don't accept it,
Bingo. Historians don't accept the Bible for its historicity, so why should anyone else..?
quote: nor do they seem to appreciate a revelation from God.
I would if you could provide some mechanism to differentiate said revelation from a delusion/hallucination. Can you provide any such mechanism..?
quote:Most likely, based on what I am seeing they are the people who believe in everything from nothing.
This is called a Strawman Argument. I don't know anyone who thinks this way, except for theists, because their God is something that came from nothing.
quote:Moving forward, I would like to communicate that I absolutely agree with you Phat.
Of course you do; people who share the same delusion often agree with each other.
quote:You're not alone in receiving revelations from God.
The mental hospitals and psych wards are full of people who claim to have had these revelations.
quote:This is not a science
No, it's not. Science requires evidence. Science provides testable results. Science is peer reviewed.
quote:this is the supernatural.
For which there is not a scintilla of evidence. Saying something is so, doesn't make it so. The James Randi Educational Foundation is offering $1,000,000 to anyone who can provide evidence of the supernatural.
quote:IF science could explain it, it has yet to explain it.
Delusional thinking has been explained for over 100 years. However, insofar as the supernatural is concerned, science cannot explain that which does not exist.
quote:These are personal experiences that are meant to be personal experiences too.
If that's the case why are you all so intent on telling us all about them..? Why is Lourdes a shrine..? How can you tell the difference between a genuine revelation and a delusion..?
quote: Anyone who has read Matthew 6:5-6 would understand that.
Matthew 6:5-6 is about prayer, not revelation. Now how about providing us with the slightest reason we should believe you've had a genuine revelation, and are not simply delusional..?
quote:I don't have time to pick through your list of rubbish, but I will argue a few of them.
Wow, I feel honored. This should be interesting, insofar as the rubbish you're willing to argue.
quote:I will take time later to argue the other points if I must.
What you decide to argue is entirely up to you, so you needn't argue anything, especially if you feel you're unable.
quote:Please post your sources for "child abuse, human sacrifice, genocide, murder, rape, pillage" if you wish to argue them.
My sources..? My single source is the Bible. Do you mean you want to know where in the Bible it explicitly or implicitly approves of slavery, child abuse, human sacrifice, genocide, rape, murder and pillage..? Are you kidding..? Okay, here are just a few of the many instances where the Bible (the inerrant word of your God) supports the above:
Slavery - EX 21:20-12; LE 25:44-46, DT 15:17, EP 6:5, CN 3:22, TS 2:9, 1PE 2:18; EX 21:7-11.
Child Abuse - GE 17:14; EX 21:17, LE 20:9, DT 21:18-21; PR 13:24, 22:15, 23:13.
Human Sacrifice - LE 27:29; NU 31:31-40 (32 virgins are set aside for Jehova, to be burnt offerings).
Genocide - 1SA 15:7-8, 20; EX 32:27; NU 21:3; NU 21:35; NU 31:17-18; DT 2:33-34; DT 3:6; DT 7:2; JS 6:21-27; JS 10:28;
Rape - NU 31:18, 35, JG 21:12; NU 31:9; NU 31:31-40; DT 21:10-13.
Murder - GE 4:13-15; EX 32:27, DT 7:2, 13:15, 20:1-18
Pillage - EX 3:20-22, DT 20:13-17; JS 6:21-27; JS 10:28.
quote:I do draw morality from within the bible but this does not mean I don't have a sense of current cultural morality.
So, when they are in conflict, do you obey the morality of your deity, or the morality of your culture..? You know, like where it says you should kill people for working on the Sabbath.
quote:Honestly a huge list, if not all, of moral things I disagree with or agree with are congruent from within biblical terms.
Like killing homosexuals..? And killing people who plant different crops side by side, and wear two different kinds of cloth..? What about cutting the hands off of women..? Are these the morals you find superior..?
quote:One could argue that I learned those moral rules because of culture, or one could argue that I just feel this way.
The morals of yours that I'm interested in are the ones that come from the Bible, and that are not part of our culture, like burning women with fire because the live a lifestyle you don't approve of, like a sex worker.
quote:We can't prove, if we have some instinctual moral code that it is not from God.
Just as we can't prove any negative, like that our morals come from pixies, or elves. You are asserting your morals come from God, and that places the burden of proof squarely on you. Either you find the morality espoused by your God as correct or incorrect. Which is it..?
quote:Why evil occurs (from an atheist vantage) is not proven.
And it's not necessary to "prove" any such thing. All that needs to be shown, to villify your God, is that evil exists, and that He permits or condones that existence.
quote:This is actually a huge topic but I will leave that for you to think about.
The existence of evil contradicts a loving God who is omnipotent. The Euthyphro dilemna is one of Plato's early dialogues, and shows clearly that the existence of God and evil are incompatible.
quote:As for slavery in the bible, slaves under hebrew/jewish law were treated very well.
Oh sure they were....ROFL. Does that include where it says in the Bible you can beat a slave as long as he doesn't die in a day or two..? How they were treated is not the issue. The only issue is whether it is moral to own another human being as property. The Bible and your God assert that it is moral, but in the modern world it is not moral. Which do you agree with..?
quote:In fact most of them were treated better than those slaves here in the USA to the 17 trillion dollar debt/the elite/corp. IF you think Americans are free you are insane. We are privileged. And it is only a matter of time before those great privileges are reduced. I always love it when they use LAW to give freedom. LOL.
OMG, are you a Teabagger..? This comment has nothing to do with the thread, or anything I posted, so I'll just assume you wrote it while you were off your meds.
quote:Not in my life. Prayer has been extremely helpful. I don't ask for to much, most of the time it is thank you. I will say I am blessed on so many levels. It is very strange how well life has gone.
Apparently, you missed the point. If your God is omniscient then He already knows everything, including your desires and needs. In fact He would've taken those things into account before making His plans, and if He is perfect then His plan must be perfect as well. Consequently, anything you might ask for would be unnecessary and would be a request for Him to change or alter His plans, which being perfect He couldn't or wouldn't do. Prayer to an omniscient God is a waste of time, since He already knows everything.
quote:How about you prove you are mumbling a few words to your self. Oh wait, you cant prove it.
As a former Christian, who was baptized and attended church for years I can certainly state without fear of contradiction that I prayed much the same as you do. I can't prove I did any more than you can prove you do, but since this is an unremarkable claim I take you at your word when you say you pray. Too bad you don't take me at my word.
quote:Oh wait, you cant prove it. Even on a scientific level you could form a theory. I would love to see a theory that shows prayer is useless.
Intercessory prayer has been shown to be worthless in a variety of studies, but that's insufficient proof for you, isn't it..?
quote:My evidence has been given to me, all through my life.
And that evidence may be convincing for you, but it should never be convincing for anyone else. My question is, how do you know that the evidence you received all through your life is evidence, if you accept it on faith..?
quote:Perhaps the other 33%/or 2.3 billion of 7 billion people on planet earth are crazy to believe in the power of prayer to Christ.
Perhaps they are, or maybe it's just wishful thinking. In any case the number of people who believe a thing to be true in no way makes it true. When the majority of people believed the earth was flat, did that make it flat..? And when they changed their beliefs and began to believe it was round, did the earth change and become round..?
quote:I don't need to provide it to you.
He who asserts must prove, so yes you do. However, your failure to provide evidence for the efficacy of prayer simply shows you have no such evidence.
quote:IF you want to see how prayer can help you, you need to pray with all your heart showing that God and Christ do exist. IF you pray without thinking those things, it is pointless. Perhaps that is your problem. If you don't know how to pray look below. Let me remind you, those faithful people permeate all parts of society from the average person to those working in physics, running companies, etc.
I was a Christian for many years, and prayed exactly in the same manner as you, whether you belive it or not (here comes the no true Scotsman fallacy). The one thing that those who were Christians, and later became atheists can attest to is the fact that prayer is useless, except that it might make you feel better. However, that says nothing about its efficacy, does it..?
quote:Like that of Alexander The Great? We have no more proof of Alexander The Great than we do for Moses. Even if there was more evidence, it is still just an argument.
Not true at all, but even if you were right, it wouldn't matter. How does your claimed lack of evidence for Alexander the Great impact my life, or anyone else's life..? How would a lack of evidence effect the lives of Christians..? See the difference..?
Here is a lengthy response to your assertion about Alexander the Great...
It's entitled "Alexander the Great, Jesus, and David Marshall: A Simpleton's Approach to History, By Dr. Hector Avalos"
quote:You do know that lack of evidence does not compute to does not exist. Perhaps you didn't realize that evidence is not proof?
Yes, that's right a lack of evidence is not equivalent to non-existence. So Bigfoot, fairies, elves, and Leprechauns are all as believable to you as Moses..? Lack of evidence requires a degree of skepticism, and the default is non-belief until sufficient convincing evidence is provided. You only get proof in mathematics, and alcohol. In history we get a degree of certainty. Read the article I provided, it explains it in detail.
quote:Take for example the fossil record. Maybe God created life via evolution? My point, evidence does not speak, it is interpreted based on other evidence that is known. Then over time, those interpretations change.
Yes, that's called the scientific method. Interpretations change because new evidence and theories explaining the evidence are advanced. It doesn't happen by whim, or because of revelation.
quote:I always love it when they realize we don't know where the universe came from. We are lost. I also love it when they claim they know where the universe came from. You do know that inflation is a joke, just like the bb. There is absolutely no evidence for inflation.
And you have evidence that denies or contradicts the evidence found and corroborated by scientists all over the world that specifically supports the big bang..? Could you provide that evidence..? An opinion, especially from someone who has no knowledge, or training in the field of cosmology, is less than convincing.
quote:If you need help finding the information for my claims just ask. Look up the electric universe/thunderbolts.info. Refer to their interpretations of the cosmic microwave background radiation and further their interpretations of redshift or the doppler effect.
You're making the assertion, so it's not up to me to look up the evidence that you assert exists. If you had any evidence for your wild conjecture it would have been published and you (or the people making this claim that are putting forward) would have a Nobel Prize in physics. Do you have a Nobel Prize..? No..? Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson share a Nobel Prize for discovering the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang.
I didn't write that you were fearful of my response. I wrote that you shouldn't live in fear, and that was specifically directed at the kind of deity you assert exists, and that you feel the need to worship.
quote:I think you don't understand the point of my post.
Your post had a point..? Well, then I most certainly did miss it. It appeared that you were rambling about many things, with very loose connectivity to them. Could we perhaps return to the thread..?
quote: I will respond shortly.
Why don't you try answering the questions I posed, and which you've done your best to ignore..?
quote:I know the revelation is from God because of revelation.
This statement is meaningless, did you perhaps forget a word..? If you think that Jehova and Satan both exist, even though there is no evidence for either, how do you know which one is sending you a revelation..? Or are you just assuming it's God and not Satan..?
quote:I was not always a Christian.
Probably not in the womb, but since then...yes, you probablly were, even if you didn't give it much thought. An atheist wouldn't need to "test" a deity with prayer. The exercise would be meaningless.
quote:I prayed to whatever was out there to make itself known to me. I didn't ask Christ, or Elohim to speak to me. I asked God if you are out there make yourself known to me. This lead to a many revelations, not mere coincidences.
How do you know they weren't coincidences, or confirmation bias, or delusion..? What kinds of double blind tests did you run..?
quote:Now I accept Christ as the son of God.
Because of something you heard in your head..? Spoken like a true atheist...er, former atheist.
quote:I am not going to dive into the specifics of the revelation because it is personal.
Too bad, I was looking forward to a burning bush or perhaps a moment of zen.
You can't imagine the number of people I've run into who believe with all their hearts that they've had communications with a deity, and then they find out things aren't always as they appear. It could have been a delusion, or an hallucination, or simply wishful thinking, and all of these are more likely than supernatural revelation. Before the supernatural can be invoked as a causal agent, all other natural explanations must first be considered.
One person, on another website, told me about how his father was near death, and when he prayed (as an atheist no less) his father was miraculously healed, and even the doctors said it was a miracle. When I asked where this miracle had been written up in the JAMA, he admitted that they diidn't write it up, just that they told him it was a miracle.
I pointed out that very often when Doctors can't explain something, rather than look stupid to the patient or the patient's family they will invoke a miracle. However, when the medical practioner is pressed they simply mean it was an unexplained event. Unexplained remission of disease is not automatically a miracle, since spontaneous remission can be seen in lab rats. Unless you think your God is healing rats miraculously..?
The logical absolutes say you are wrong, and that there are many things that are impossible. Can you square a circle..? Can a dog be a cat..? Something cannot be itself, and yet not itself.
quote:I disagree with the ideology of science being the only method for discovering reality.
Science is the only way to determine reality with any degree of confidence. You can always claim some other methodology works, but unless you use the scientific method of empirical evidence, peer review, and testing it isn't viable.
quote:We all interpret data, and based on our desires we form our conclusions.
Yes, we do, but not all opinions are of equal validity. Unless you have training, and a certain amount of expertise in a subject your opinion amounts to nothing more than hot air.
quote:This is true for scientists as well, there is always competing theories.
Sometimes there are, and sometimes there aren't. However, the scientists determine and put forward new theories based on empirical evidence and critical thinking, not on a revelation or faith.
Your answer simply means you didn't understand the question. A square is a geometric form just like a circle. They are by definition different, and therefore it is impossible to make a square into a circle and retain being a square. Please tell me more about what you've done in software that refutes basic logic. Can you also make a dog a cat and retain its being a dog..?
quote:Can a dog be a cat..?
Yes. Label a cat a dog, and a dog a cat.
This is not only stupid, but a violation of the law of identity. You can call a dog a cat, which pretty much sums up the ability of theists to use logic, but it doesn't stop it being what it is.
quote:Something cannot be itself, and yet not itself.
Yes it can.
No it can't. It's the law of identity.
quote:You don't know much about quantum physics do you. Learn about wavicles/electrons or photons and light waves.
And you do..? Where did you get your PhD is physics..? I don't need to know anything about quantum mechanics to know you don't know what you're talking about regarding logic. You are thinking of human labels, and I am talking about identity. They are not the same thing. An electron is what it is and cannot be what it is not, even if we don't yet fully understand what it is.
quote:Anything is possible.
No, you're simply wrong. The logical absolutes tell us that some things are impossible, even if you can't understand the logical absolutes. Example: it is impossible for me to be omniscient.