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Old 18th November 2012, 05:58 PM   #41
qayak
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
For most of us most of the time, the phrase "it is scientifically proven" represents the entire justification for the things that we hold true. (Can you explain the general theory or relativity)? We go along quietly confident that we can drag up a scientific proof when necessary but the truth is that in our threescore and ten years, few of us will personally test more than a handful of the things we believe and even then, we will not prove anything to a mathematical certainty.

In light of this, it is not wise to rule anybody's beliefs a delusion just because they don't coincide with our own.
Just because you don't understand the proof doesn't mean it hasn't been proven. And it doesn't mean someone more intelligent wouldn't understand.

When no one, after thousands of years of the majority of people on earth trying, can produce one bit of evidence that god exists, well . . .
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:02 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by EdG View Post
Religion has provided sets of rules that can improve the human condition when followed. However, following seems to be the hard part.
.
And there's others that are just plain crap, and some are deadly to both the believer, and those who don't believe, but who must be made to... at the peril of their lives.
The rules that work are usually found around the world in all cultures, because when the religious crap is discarded, there's some things that work everywhere for everyone, all the time. Nothing magical about this.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:05 PM   #43
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Sam, if I misread your intent and meaning, please accept my apologies.

What is my faith for me?
A path to peace.
It's farking hard, and I freely admit that my faith journey is far harder than the agnosticism that I practiced for decades.

I still have plenty of ahsshole in me, but I hope it's a bit less than a few years ago. I find that my faith community, up close and personal, looks a hell of a lot better from the inside than it ever did from the outside. I appreciate the problems folks have who had bad or unsatisfactory experiences with religion. Sometimes, I suspect that it's not so much what you are doing, but who you are doing it with.

As of this writing, I am far closer to my wife than I have ever been before. This has a lot to do with the inner transformation my spiritual life has taken. That's not something you can package, I think. But it is what it is.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:08 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by EdG View Post
How so? Did not Jewish dietary laws protect against food-borne illness? Weren't the 10 Commandments an early codification of rules for civil society?
.
The 10 commandments... which 10?... there are two different versions, and then there's the 600 plus in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that include the 10, and a lot of other glop that are unique to the mindset of the Hebrew priests.
And, are hardly the oldest compilations of social rules, which can be found in significantly older cultures.
Most of the books of the OT were written around 700 BCE, and not during the time periods they are set in, being influenced a lot by Zoroastorian theology the Hebrews encountered during the Exile to Babylon.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:16 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by I Ratant View Post
.
The 10 commandments... which 10?...
The conventional 10.

If you want to try and confuse yourself, please chase down the 613. I've read some interesting commentaries on how Jesus was of a mind with the Pharisees (and not so much with the Saducees) in that he'd more often be quoted as emphasizing the spirit of the law than the letter ... but let's not derail.

http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/...mandments.html

You will find them there. Even distilling it down to just ten, you can see that there is grounds for disagreement when resorting to legalism. I must say that the Early Christians, and their successors, sure followed their forefathers in faith, the Jews, in the penchant to bicker and argue about the details. Hmmm, even skeptics do that.

If you want utter pith, try the following Scripture:

Matthew 22: 36-40.

Take it, or leave it, that's the answer. Feel free to look for reasons to be confused, if you like. You are free to do that, and much else.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:36 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
By the same reasoning, fairies and fire breathing dragons exist, too. Do you live your life like they do?

You only see it as a reasonable argument when it applies to god because we have a cultural bias toward believing in gods. Apply the same reasoning to anything else and the absurdity becomes obvious.

Millions of kids all over the world get presents from Santa every christmas and mllions get money under their pillow, for teeth they have lost, from the tooth fairy.

Pretty shoddy evidence I admit but far better than the evidence for god.
I don't live my life like any gods exist. Because I have no proof that they do. I suppose the definition of god comes into play here. I'm not saying any of the religions or their books are right. I'm saying that there could conceivably be a being out there that some might consider to be godlike.

And that that possibility shouldn't affect our lives because we cant prove it.

You can say there is no evidence of dragons/fairies/zeus/whatever and a reasonable conclusion to draw from that is that they don't exist. I'm just pointing out that short of omniscience that is still an opinion or belief. It comes from more logic than the other side IMO.
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Old 18th November 2012, 06:55 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by EdG View Post
Did not Jewish dietary laws protect against food-borne illness? Weren't the 10 Commandments an early codification of rules for civil society?
1. What, all the dietary rules?
2. No
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Old 18th November 2012, 07:13 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by kerikiwi View Post
1. What, all the dietary rules?
2. No
Actually, on number 2, yes, but you can make the case that there were other rules likewise codified that weren't as general, and were indeed more specific. The bits about putting murderers to death, and such ...
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Old 18th November 2012, 07:45 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
Until there is definitive evidence either way you can't say for certain whether a deity exist. You only believe they do or don't.
I think some people like Qayak are lumping all agnostics together, which is a mistake. There is a pretty clear difference between the kind of agnostic who say's "I'm neutral on whether the God of the Bible exists" and one who says "I can't say for sure that there's no god of any type so I won't." I think there's a blurry line between the strongest agnosticism and atheism. I am somewhere in that line, for instance, unwilling to say for sure that there's nothing at all that might some way be called divine, but willing to assume there isn't (e.t.a. or that if there is it doesn't matter) and to live life accordingly. Qayak and others can call me lazy or stupid or anything else they want to call me if it makes them feel good. I feel better being lazy and not caring so much.
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Old 18th November 2012, 07:51 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Just because you don't understand the proof doesn't mean it hasn't been proven. And it doesn't mean someone more intelligent wouldn't understand.
What somebody else has proven and what somebody else purports to have proven are not necessarily the same thing. The only way that you can know the difference is if you are able to test their work for yourself.

Otherwise, you are just choosing what to believe.
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Old 18th November 2012, 09:07 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
What evidence is there against a god-like being? I didn't say the bible was fact just that we can't know what's out there. So why decide one way or the other?
Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad
There's evidence for Santa or the Tooth Fairy!?
I don't suppose you see the problem there, do you?

Are you calling the Bible, evidence? Are you agnostic about Harry Potter existing?

Why after finding out god belief after god belief are myths is it not the same as finding out Santa is a myth?
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Old 18th November 2012, 09:11 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
Until there is definitive evidence either way you can't say for certain whether a deity exist. You only believe they do or don't.
How many god myths do you need to figure out they're all myths?

How many bird species do you need to see before you recognize a species you've never seen before is a bird? At some point we generalize conclusions about lots of things. Why are god myths not evidence for the fictional nature of gods.
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Old 19th November 2012, 12:17 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Complete myth, made up by Bible apologists. In truth, hand washing would have done wonders to decrease the spread of disease (nowhere to be found in JudeoChristian traditions though they care to wash feet) and all the pork needed was thorough cooking, not banning. There were no doubt many other illnesses spread in meat that would have been a more useful food to ban.

It's my understanding that food taboos merely serve to identify the group. "We don't eat pork, they do. We are better than them."
Not to mention that some rules in there don't actually prevent any diseases. E.g., the rule against mixing grains. If it's safe to eat barley bread and it's safe to eat wheat bread, then there is no disease you risk by eating mixed bread. Which was actually popular in ancient times, because it was less bitter than pure barley, and due to seasons, soil and time spent planting and reaping, you couldn't produce only wheat.

I would tentatively disagree with it being just a group identity thing. It's part price control by the rich against the poor (e.g., if the poor don't eat wheat with their barley, the rich don't have to pay as much for wheat) just like purity laws in the middle ages, and part just fleecing the congregation to make the priests richer (e.g., the temple was a glorified slaughterhouse and made good money from it, so OF COURSE they commanded against imported seafood and the like.)

Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
1 through 4 of the commandments are useless rules to worship a particular god myth. And I'm pretty sure the other six were the cultural norm without the list.

Are you under the false impression societies didn't already have structure including rules? One need merely look at primitive tribal societies that still exist today to see adding something like the 10 Commandments would just be superfluous.
Completely agree, but just for the sake of adding a couple of examples for our deluded friends, take Hammurabi's law code from circa 1772 BCE or the 40 effective commandments in the Egyptian negative confession in the book of the dead, both LONG before the book of Exodus which is circa 6'th century BCE. Clearly people had laws and rules against murder or theft LONG before anyone wrote down the 10 commandments. Heck, long before the (unfounded) dates even the religious ascribe to Moses.

And not only that, but they have better and more detailed laws.

But even those are late comers, as the oldest known written code of laws covering that stuff is the Code Of Ur-Nammu, a little before 2000 BCE. Not only it's a more detailed code than the 10 commandments the Hebrews came up with 1500 years later, but in some aspects it's actually a more moral code. E.g., in Ur-Nammu's code, you can't just throw out your old wife at will, but must then give her a mina of silver, i.e., about 1.25 pounds of silver. Which is not a whole lot (though it means a bit more for that early time than, say, by AD times), but it's better than nothing in the Hebrew version. I.e., someone actually thought about, 'so, how's that woman going to feed herself and all?' And actually came up with a slightly more moral answer than 'God' did.

But yeah, even before those, there is no reason to assume that people had no rules. ANY tribe that the anthropologists ever met, had their own list of things that are off limits.
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Old 19th November 2012, 01:27 AM   #54
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Ginger

Quote:
The evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion gods are mythical beings humans invented.
What evidence would that be? Seriously. Unless you've studied some different aspect of the problem than I have, we have both seen all the evidence there is. No surprise if so; it's a quick read.

Now, perhaps we simply disagree about its bearing. That could easily be. But it is unremarkable to call a thin-seeming gruel thin - maybe even the same soup that someone else pronounces filling. Anybody who finds the evidence thin and still forms an opinion will do so based mostly on something else besides the evidence that isn't there, in their estimation.

And um, I wasn't aware that deists had anything to apologize for, nor anybody to apologize to. They just disagree with both of us about a matter of opinion. This happens.

Quote:
... but that doesn't shake my conclusion about what the evidence supports.
Nor should it, anymore than your opinion can be expected to bear on theirs. Questions about deism, however, would need to be addressed to deists. All I can say is that deism is well within the range of possible conclusions that could be drawn, and are drawn. It has nothing to do with political correctness, so I am unsure why that came up.

And although it was addressed to someone else,

Quote:
How many god myths do you need to figure out they're all myths?
Behold the problem of induction, in its crudest form. To figure out to your own satisfaction? As many as satisfies you. To insist that someone else agree with you? As many as satisfies them. To rise above it being a matter of opinion? There is no such "many." The question is inherently contingent. At best, you might get unanimous interpersonal agreement; and then, when all the opinions agree, there may be no felt uncertainty. The smart money isn't holding its breath waiting for even that much in the case of (G)(g)od(dess)(e)(s).


DreamingNaiad

Your subsequent posts show a more developed aspect of your views, but just to cover the base from your first post in the series,

Quote:
I've never understood how people can demand evidence to back up a claim but then turn around and blindly insist that religion is fact or fiction.
Looking at individuals, it is perfectly reasonable to be guided by evidence when there is evidence. When there isn't, then you can either refrain from forming an opinion, or else form an opinion based on something else. For uncertain contingencies, the "something else" differs in many ways from person to person. How could the conclusions people draw be unanimous?

Looking at groups, evidence is what happened in the world. It not only has the capacity to influence your beliefs, but also the capacity to influence many people's beliefs, simultaneously and possibly in the same way with similar force. Evidence fosters coordination of group opinion. Without a mechanism, like evidence, for the coordination of autonomous thinkers, why would you expect agreement among them?

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Old 19th November 2012, 01:56 AM   #55
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Actually, yes, there is evidence that

A) humans invent gods and religious traditions, and other people go with it.

I could refer you to recent cults which we know are invented (either deliberately, or as the result of a schizophrenic mind.) E.g., Scientology, Mormonism, the Ba'hai, or Charles Manson finding his revelations in Beatles lyrics. In fact just about every single cult where we actually have enough data to make such a judgment is invented.

But there's just the sheer number of them, and the overlapping magisterial, or the serious differences where they've been homologated. They can't all be true. Even if you don't go exclusivist monotheistic, you can't really make the male Ra and female Amaterasu the same Sun deity. Not just because of the gender flip, but because they do radically different things. And the Sun can't be two different and incompatible deities.

Also, because the vast majority of them contradict not just science, but each other in their creation accounts and other myths. E.g., the Sun can't hide in a cavern on Earth, like Amaterasu once did, because it's orders of magnitude bigger than the Earth. Even if you could somehow compress it into neutron matter to be small enough for that, the resulting gravity well would crush all life on Earth, and for that matter the Earth itself. E.g., we know that the Sun isn't eaten by the sky (as goddess Nut) each evening and born out of the sky's birth canal each morning, like one Egyptian myth had it. E.g., we know there isn't a giant scarab pushing it up the sky like in another myth, and for that matter that the very notion of the Sun being pushed up the sky is utter nonsense. E.g., again, we can't really reconcile that with the Amaterasu myths: at least one of the two must be false.

Heck, even the apathetic god of the Deists, we can know it's a recent invention, and that it's based on nothing. It's invented from a big fat nothing. At least other religions can point out to revelations in dreams or divine interventions, but deism invented a God that doesn't reveal himself and doesn't intervene. Then how would they know he's there? How would they know what said deity wants or values, if he never told anyone? On what evidence is it based? Is it not clearly an invention from scratch?

So, yes, humans invent gods. And if every single god we can actually check or have a good opinion about is false, exactly what insanity is needed to assume that, nah, but everything else than we can't check is not invented? Is it any different from those guys who, no matter how often mediums and seances are debunked, retreat in assuming that yeah, but it still works in the instances that weren't tested?

B) In the meantime we have enough data to debunk the 'evidence' even the ones we can't directly test.

E.g., a lot of religions take their revelations from dreams. Judaism and Christianity too. Read the first couple of pages from Matthew and see how much of the Christian theology is from dreams. E.g., Joseph knows that Mary is really bearing God's child, because he has a dream telling him so. E.g., he decides to abandon his home and trade and all, because a dream told him that the king wants to kill his baby.

E.g., other parts come from visions.

But in the meantime we have a pretty good idea that dreams and visions (read: hallucinations) have nothing divine about them. In fact, we know that visions are actually normal effects of certain kinds of epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Once you take that from a lot of religions, their 'evidence' vanishes.

C) And for that matter, there's the issue that those 'Gods' never seem to know such stuff. They never show more intellect or knowledge than some guy from the apropriate era.

D) We also have a pretty good idea of what kind of stuff works with people, and that stories with an unnatural (or "counter-intuitive) twist are more remembered than purely normal stuff. It seems to be the normal modus operandi of the brain, and there are even computational models for why that's an evolutionary advantage.

E.g., if I told you

- a perfectly intuitive story (e.g., I saw a cow grazing)

- a natural but bizarre story (e.g., I saw a cow someone painted blue and wrote Milka on the side)

- a minimally counter-intuitive story (e.g., a fable with a cow that talks)

- a maximally counter-intuitive story (a cow that talks, flies, is invisible, and shoots laser beams out the ass)

... after an hour you'll remember the first kind the best, but after a week the minimally counter-intuitive one is remembered best. And the maximally counter-intuitive one gets distorted.

So since we have a pretty clear idea for why god myths are naturally fitting that sweet spot of being the right mix of natural and counter-intuitive, do we really need much more to explain them?
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Old 19th November 2012, 02:40 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Heck, even the apathetic god of the Deists, we can know it's a recent invention, and that it's based on nothing.
Apathetic and apophatic. The most parimonious explanation for a deity possessing no definable properties is that it doesn't exist at all. One can invert Anselm's ontological proof, that among the properties attributable to the greatest thing that can be conceived must be the property of existence. The deist god, by being completely inconceivable, endows himself with the property of non-existence.
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Old 19th November 2012, 02:48 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
...
What I want to know is what is different about religion from other "woo" that lets it past the filters of some of the smartest and most rational individuals I know, while I dismiss it all, tens of thousands of years of historical belief and certainty, without a qualm.

...
Indoctrination since childhood, apparent acceptance by the majority of peers, general societal pressures (so you see it challenged less often and less scathingly than say believers in fairies or unicorns - the free pass it gets 'cos apparently it's impolite to point your finger and laugh at supposed grown-ups who still believe in a magical sky-fairy so long as that fairy is called 'god') and fear of death. In other words, brain-washing (both overt and subtle but pretty universal) to pander to an existing fear.

Yes, you have been exposed to most of the same but for some of us, the natural reaction to societal pressures is non-conformance so it is easier for us to question - indeed, being encouraged not to absolutely guarantees it from some of us contrary buggers! Suspect you are closer to this camp than Rolfe.

Good tactic though - asking religious people what they actually believe gets a very interesting reaction... at least from the non-zealots... especially if you ask them to explain it without using socially coded words like 'god'. <Anecdote>Reactions I've had range from a very vague and apologetic 'Well it would be nice if there was something' to a garbled explanation where the 'god' word keeps drifting back in which usually tails off to 'Well it sounds a bit silly when I can't use the word 'god''</Anecdote> That 'god' word is a powerful excuser - hmm, very like brain washing then.

NB I used to be much more polite about believers but tbh I've realised it's this free pass that helps keep the whole lot going. Religion should be given the same amount of respect as every other form of woo - perhaps even less so as some of the others can (initially) appear to have some (albeit imperfect if you look deeper) evidence on their side.

Having said all that, I do respect Rolfe and other posters who contribute far more to this forum than I do... won't stop me dissing their woo beliefs though, just as I wouldn't expect them to give me a free pass on any of mine.
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Old 19th November 2012, 04:27 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I don't suppose you see the problem there, do you?

Are you calling the Bible, evidence? Are you agnostic about Harry Potter existing?

Why after finding out god belief after god belief are myths is it not the same as finding out Santa is a myth?
I honestly can't tell if you're deliberately misunderstanding or not.

I was pointing out that whether the bible (or any other religious book) is fact or fiction has nothing to do with the possibility of a god-like being existing.

There probably isn't such a creature so I'm not going to waste my life worrying about it. But there's nothing wrong with keeping my mind open to the tiny possibility.

How that means I believe harry potter/dragons/fairies/'pick a god any god' exist I have no idea. Or how I must be livivg my life as if they do.

I've never said that belief in any religions definition of a deity is correct. I'm saying that just because every religion can reasonably be called fiction doesn't mean there could never ever be a being out there that could fit the description 'god'.

Please see post #49. Bruto explained it better than I ever could.
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Old 19th November 2012, 05:51 AM   #59
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I don't understand why people keep feeling a need to urge us all to keep our minds often. I think any skeptic, by definition, is prepared to accept anything for which there is actual evidence (and no, the bible ain't), regardless of how counter-intuitive or even mind-boggling it is. I mean, for example, QM is counter-intuitive even to QM professors, but we accept it because it's the best supported thing ever. If God presented ample evidence of him existing, enough to disprove the null hypothesis, most of us would just go, "oh look, I was wrong" and accept him.
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Old 19th November 2012, 05:53 AM   #60
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That said, it seems to me like bringing in Harry Potter does have merit. Because every argument for why we should keep an open mind about gods, DOES apply verbatim to Harry Potter or Cthulhu.
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:09 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
Sam, if I misread your intent and meaning, please accept my apologies.

What is my faith for me?
A path to peace.
It's farking hard, and I freely admit that my faith journey is far harder than the agnosticism that I practiced for decades.

I still have plenty of ahsshole in me, but I hope it's a bit less than a few years ago. I find that my faith community, up close and personal, looks a hell of a lot better from the inside than it ever did from the outside. I appreciate the problems folks have who had bad or unsatisfactory experiences with religion. Sometimes, I suspect that it's not so much what you are doing, but who you are doing it with.

As of this writing, I am far closer to my wife than I have ever been before. This has a lot to do with the inner transformation my spiritual life has taken. That's not something you can package, I think. But it is what it is.
Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
The conventional 10.

If you want to try and confuse yourself, please chase down the 613. I've read some interesting commentaries on how Jesus was of a mind with the Pharisees (and not so much with the Saducees) in that he'd more often be quoted as emphasizing the spirit of the law than the letter ... but let's not derail.

http://www.the-ten-commandments.org/...mandments.html

You will find them there. Even distilling it down to just ten, you can see that there is grounds for disagreement when resorting to legalism. I must say that the Early Christians, and their successors, sure followed their forefathers in faith, the Jews, in the penchant to bicker and argue about the details. Hmmm, even skeptics do that.

If you want utter pith, try the following Scripture:

Matthew 22: 36-40.

Take it, or leave it, that's the answer. Feel free to look for reasons to be confused, if you like. You are free to do that, and much else.
The hililited needs work.

Last edited by tsig; 19th November 2012 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:21 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
I honestly can't tell if you're deliberately misunderstanding or not.

I was pointing out that whether the bible (or any other religious book) is fact or fiction has nothing to do with the possibility of a god-like being existing.

There probably isn't such a creature so I'm not going to waste my life worrying about it. But there's nothing wrong with keeping my mind open to the tiny possibility.

How that means I believe harry potter/dragons/fairies/'pick a god any god' exist I have no idea. Or how I must be livivg my life as if they do.

I've never said that belief in any religions definition of a deity is correct. I'm saying that just because every religion can reasonably be called fiction doesn't mean there could never ever be a being out there that could fit the description 'god'.

Please see post #49. Bruto explained it better than I ever could.
We know that the human mind creates gods, there's no evidence that god created the human mind.
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:23 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
Sam, if I misread your intent and meaning, please accept my apologies.

What is my faith for me?
A path to peace.
It's farking hard, and I freely admit that my faith journey is far harder than the agnosticism that I practiced for decades.

I still have plenty of ahsshole in me, but I hope it's a bit less than a few years ago. I find that my faith community, up close and personal, looks a hell of a lot better from the inside than it ever did from the outside. I appreciate the problems folks have who had bad or unsatisfactory experiences with religion. Sometimes, I suspect that it's not so much what you are doing, but who you are doing it with.

As of this writing, I am far closer to my wife than I have ever been before. This has a lot to do with the inner transformation my spiritual life has taken. That's not something you can package, I think. But it is what it is.
DR thanks for this. It's really the nearest thing to an actual answer to the question in the OP, as neither Llwyd nor Prof. Yaffle claims to be a believer in the literal sense.

I'd note that neither do you. You say that faith- or at least being a member of a faith-based community is beneficial to you and I assuredly have no problem with that- it's true for many people. It's the sort of answer I get to this question from most people and I admit one I find a bit disappointing. I keep hoping for an insight into belief itself, as I keep hoping for insights into mathematics. No luck there either.
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:26 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Ethan Thane Athen View Post
Indoctrination since childhood, apparent acceptance by the majority of peers, general societal pressures (so you see it challenged less often and less scathingly than say believers in fairies or unicorns - the free pass it gets 'cos apparently it's impolite to point your finger and laugh at supposed grown-ups who still believe in a magical sky-fairy so long as that fairy is called 'god') and fear of death. In other words, brain-washing (both overt and subtle but pretty universal) to pander to an existing fear.

Yes, you have been exposed to most of the same but for some of us, the natural reaction to societal pressures is non-conformance so it is easier for us to question - indeed, being encouraged not to absolutely guarantees it from some of us contrary buggers! Suspect you are closer to this camp than Rolfe.

Good tactic though - asking religious people what they actually believe gets a very interesting reaction... at least from the non-zealots... especially if you ask them to explain it without using socially coded words like 'god'. <Anecdote>Reactions I've had range from a very vague and apologetic 'Well it would be nice if there was something' to a garbled explanation where the 'god' word keeps drifting back in which usually tails off to 'Well it sounds a bit silly when I can't use the word 'god''</Anecdote> That 'god' word is a powerful excuser - hmm, very like brain washing then.

NB I used to be much more polite about believers but tbh I've realised it's this free pass that helps keep the whole lot going. Religion should be given the same amount of respect as every other form of woo - perhaps even less so as some of the others can (initially) appear to have some (albeit imperfect if you look deeper) evidence on their side.

Having said all that, I do respect Rolfe and other posters who contribute far more to this forum than I do... won't stop me dissing their woo beliefs though, just as I wouldn't expect them to give me a free pass on any of mine.
This is pretty much my own position.
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Old 19th November 2012, 06:41 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
We know that the human mind creates gods, there's no evidence that god created the human mind.
I completely agree. A super-being didn't create us. Doesn't mean there isn't one out there. There's a teeny tiny chance. It won't affect how I live though.
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Old 19th November 2012, 07:09 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by DreamingNaiad View Post
I completely agree. A super-being didn't create us. Doesn't mean there isn't one out there. There's a teeny tiny chance. It won't affect how I live though.
But again, the same can be said about Harry Potter or Cthulhu. You don't have any evidence for a super-secret mage school, nor for a city in a warped bubble of curved space-time beneath the Pacific. But obviously, it's impossible to full disprove either.

But nobody would have a problem if you just said "I don't believe in magic" or "I don't believe in Cthulhu". There wouldn't be such a rush to tack BS on it about needing to keep an open mind, and acknowledge the infinitesimal probability that secretly sorcerous schoolboys exist.

In fact, I dare say it would be clear to anyone that IF one day Hogwarts went public and showed everyone that it exists, most of us would just go, "oh, hey, so it was real all along." Or that if one day deep R'lyeh rose and Great Cthulhu started eating people like popcorn, there wouldn't be anyone looking at him and going, "nah, THAT can't exist." It would be clear that IF good evidence existed, we'd accept magic or monstrous aliens, but as it is, there is none.

Only for religion if you mention disbelief, there's this insulting implication that surely you're not just lacking evidence, but you're absolutely close-minded to it.
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Old 19th November 2012, 08:20 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Ginger

What evidence would that be? Seriously. Unless you've studied some different aspect of the problem than I have, we have both seen all the evidence there is. No surprise if so; it's a quick read.
Hans posted a thorough answer. I would add we also observed the Cargo Cults invent a religion in recent historical times. Is it possibly that you can't see current god myths in the same light as such god myths as Zeus and Thor?

Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Now, perhaps we simply disagree about its bearing. That could easily be. But it is unremarkable to call a thin-seeming gruel thin - maybe even the same soup that someone else pronounces filling. Anybody who finds the evidence thin and still forms an opinion will do so based mostly on something else besides the evidence that isn't there, in their estimation.
The evidence is thicker than any fiction section of the largest libraries combined.

Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
And um, I wasn't aware that deists had anything to apologize for, nor anybody to apologize to. They just disagree with both of us about a matter of opinion. This happens.
An 'apology' in this case, is making an excuse for why god beliefs are continually inconsistent with scientific discovery.

Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Nor should it, anymore than your opinion can be expected to bear on theirs. Questions about deism, however, would need to be addressed to deists. All I can say is that deism is well within the range of possible conclusions that could be drawn, and are drawn. It has nothing to do with political correctness, so I am unsure why that came up.
Deism besides being a belief in an irrelevant god, has that huge logical flaw I noted. If a god got the ball rolling and no longer interferes, there is no way for people to be aware of said god. Adding a god layer to the creation of the Universe adds nothing to our understanding.

Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Behold the problem of induction, in its crudest form. To figure out to your own satisfaction? As many as satisfies you. To insist that someone else agree with you? As many as satisfies them. To rise above it being a matter of opinion? There is no such "many." The question is inherently contingent. At best, you might get unanimous interpersonal agreement; and then, when all the opinions agree, there may be no felt uncertainty. The smart money isn't holding its breath waiting for even that much in the case of (G)(g)od(dess)(e)(s).
Nonsense. We generalize about most things we are certain of. According to your position we cannot say evolution is a fact until we decipher the genomes of every life form on the planet.


Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Looking at individuals, it is perfectly reasonable to be guided by evidence when there is evidence. When there isn't, then you can either refrain from forming an opinion, or else form an opinion based on something else. For uncertain contingencies, the "something else" differs in many ways from person to person.
I would encourage you to broaden the evidence gods don't exist. Instead of only asking can we prove they don't, ask the question, what best explains the evidence we have for god beliefs.
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Old 19th November 2012, 08:44 AM   #68
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Just to make it clear what apologist means -- I thought it wasn't necessary, but here we actually have someone mistaken about it -- let's look at what apology and apologist mean:

apologist

a·pol·o·gist [uh-pol-uh-jist]
noun
1.
a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.
2.
Ecclesiastical. a.
Also, a·pol·o·gete [uh-pol-uh-jeet] . a person skilled in apologetics.
b.
one of the authors of the early Christian apologies in defense of the faith.
Which in turn comes from meaning 2 of...
apology

a·pol·o·gy [uh-pol-uh-jee]
noun, plural a·pol·o·gies.
1.
a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another: He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.
2.
a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.
3.
(initial capital letter, italics) a dialogue by Plato, centering on Socrates' defense before the tribunal that condemned him to death.
4.
an inferior specimen or substitute; makeshift: The tramp wore a sad apology for a hat.
Basically it's the original meaning of the word, which was in continuous use since ancient Greece. An "apologia" didn't mean expressing regret or anything, but simply meant "defense". As in, for example, the defendant's speech in his own defense before a court of law.

Such as for example the defense of Socrates when accused of impiety and crimes against the city. He's not expressing any regret in it. In fact in his final chance to argue for a milder penalty, he's so defiant that he actually manages to alienate even half of those who voted innocent in the first phase of the trial. Not only he doesn't say he's sorry, but even thinks that a fitting "punishment" would be a permanent seat at the establishment where prestigious figures and foreign diplomats were fed. You can't get any less apologetic than that. But that's how an apologia worked. Overwhelmingly it meant a chance to explain why you're right, not how much you're sorry.

Ditto for the early Christian apologists, thanks to which we still have the word "apologist" for religious propagandists. They're not called apologists for being sorry for being Christians, since they weren't sorry at all. Their "apologies" were the same kind of "apologia", i.e., a defense of their faith as being right.
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Old 19th November 2012, 08:54 AM   #69
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I've discussed this before and have been accused of being a "Closet Christian" so I'll give up halfway through if it starts going that way again.

People who believe and have a faith usually have experienced a sense of hierophany in their lives where they know that "something" is out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierophany
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:00 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by eight bits View Post
Ginger



What evidence would that be? ...
.
Actually, it's the lack of evidence that is most obvious relating to the existence of the supernatural.
Not a single physical item proves there is a supernatural.
ALL the "evidence" comes from people's thinking on the subject and those thoughts wander all over the possibilities of anything supernatural.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:03 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
The hililited needs work.
.
I'd been told years back that I'd had an ******* implant, and it rejected me.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:07 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
...
Ditto for the early Christian apologists, thanks to which we still have the word "apologist" for religious propagandists. They're not called apologists for being sorry for being Christians, since they weren't sorry at all. Their "apologies" were the same kind of "apologia", i.e., a defense of their faith as being right.
.
That's what surprised me about Augustine and Aquinas... obviously very intelligent, and yet failing to determine the basic errors in the faith which they defended very well, working with the same information we have, that shows some of us the blatant problems with the ideas.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:19 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Nor do I. I didn't intend to suggest I do. Did you read me that way?
Indeed that's precisely my question. People like Rolfe, Kittynh, Hal, yourself are sceptical rationalists and in no sense stupid. I'm asking what they see in religion that I don't.
What I find interesting is that people who don't have religion in any form can accept that the universe is purposeless and valueless, and still live their lives as if they had purpose and value.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:25 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Just because you don't understand the proof doesn't mean it hasn't been proven. And it doesn't mean someone more intelligent wouldn't understand.

When no one, after thousands of years of the majority of people on earth trying, can produce one bit of evidence that god exists, well . . .
When no one can produce one bit of evidence that god doesn't exist, well...
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:34 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
What I find interesting is that people who don't have religion in any form can accept that the universe is purposeless and valueless, and still live their lives as if they had purpose and value.
.
Mine is quite important to me. I value it, as problem wracked as it is.
And the lives of those near and dear and those not anything like near and dear.
Their lives are important to them, so it behooves us to respect everyone, and not make arbitrary waves in the lives of others.
Hit'em up side the head wif a stob when they misbehave, but don't go looking for misbehavior.
Our "purpose" is to get to the cemetery at an advanced age, with few self-generated difficulties impeding the trip. And, being remembered after we've made the journey as nice people who valued other people.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:37 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
When no one can produce one bit of evidence that god doesn't exist, well...
.
You're stuck at the starting point then. No evidence for or against.
"If there is..." needs more evidence than "if there isn't..." which has all of it right now.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:46 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
When no one can produce one bit of evidence that god doesn't exist, well...
The positive claim is that God exists. That's the one with the burden of proof.
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:48 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But again, the same can be said about Harry Potter or Cthulhu. You don't have any evidence for a super-secret mage school, nor for a city in a warped bubble of curved space-time beneath the Pacific. But obviously, it's impossible to full disprove either.

But nobody would have a problem if you just said "I don't believe in magic" or "I don't believe in Cthulhu". There wouldn't be such a rush to tack BS on it about needing to keep an open mind, and acknowledge the infinitesimal probability that secretly sorcerous schoolboys exist.

In fact, I dare say it would be clear to anyone that IF one day Hogwarts went public and showed everyone that it exists, most of us would just go, "oh, hey, so it was real all along." Or that if one day deep R'lyeh rose and Great Cthulhu started eating people like popcorn, there wouldn't be anyone looking at him and going, "nah, THAT can't exist." It would be clear that IF good evidence existed, we'd accept magic or monstrous aliens, but as it is, there is none.

Only for religion if you mention disbelief, there's this insulting implication that surely you're not just lacking evidence, but you're absolutely close-minded to it.
Except we know who the authors are and they have never claimed these were real.

I understand what your saying about people tip-toeing around religion. I've met a few atheists I've had to tiptoe around too. I have witnessed some truly massive freak outs from both sides. Mostly they are hilarious

I think some people avoid saying for definite because they don't want someone trying to convert them.

I usually try to avoid religious topics because it fills me with rage. People calling themselves 'good christians' have done a lot to my family. I'm fine with people beliving in whatever they want but once they start trying to control the way people act and think I see red

I think that's part of some peoole's need for religion too. They need someone else to tell them what to do and think or they will feel lost. Someone to say "If you do X and Y everything will be ok".
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:50 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
What I find interesting is that people who don't have religion in any form can accept that the universe is purposeless and valueless, and still live their lives as if they had purpose and value.
Why? Aren't you just pretending your life has purpose and value when you know that it doesn't? How does magical thinking and pretend make your life more meaningful?

Isn't the meaning of life in and of itself a gift that encourages you to live every day as if it were your last, because it well could be. Atheists understand this. They aren't "waiting for the magic" they are making it now.

Originally Posted by westprog View Post
When no one can produce one bit of evidence that god doesn't exist, well...
Which god?
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Old 19th November 2012, 09:51 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
The positive claim is that God exists. That's the one with the burden of proof.
Yeah you can't prove a negative (IIRC. It's been ages since I took Philosophy).
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