JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Reply
Old 15th February 2013, 12:34 PM   #41
Gawdzilla
121.92-meter mutant fire-breathing lizard-thingy
 
Gawdzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
Posts: 18,648
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I think he means "right" in the same sense that some say "if you don't vote then you have given up the right to complain about who gets elected".

I don't agree with either, and they both smack of someone thinking they can decide what "rights" others have, but they both seem to actually mean "have no defensible logical position from which to..."
My question for him stands. In either sense, but most especially in both.
__________________
World War II Diplomatic and Political Resources
Hyperwar, WWII Military History
Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.
Gawdzilla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 02:36 PM   #42
Weak Kitten
Graduate Poster
 
Weak Kitten's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Lost and lonely...will you be my friend?
Posts: 1,910
I understand your position Gawdzilla, however I don't know if it would be possible to change this pastor's mind. If his conclusion is based on what we would consider a warped definition of morality then the only way to change his mind would be to change his definition of morality. Most people are extremely opposed to having their definition of morality even questioned, let alone openly challenged.
__________________
A quick reminder to all participants that although incomprehensibility is not against the Membership Agreement, incivility is. Please try and remember this, and keep your exchanges polite and respectful. -arthwollipot
Weak Kitten is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 02:41 PM   #43
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
Never trust anyone who goes by their Job title (in this case "Pastor") and only their first name!!!! lol

Pastor Jeff

Dr. Phil

Reverend Jim

I rest my case!



p.s. RSL, can't wait to read his response to your email! I also highly recommend you confront these issues in the class (in a non-confrontational manner of course)
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 03:01 PM   #44
Pup
Illuminator
 
Pup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,552
Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I would have said that any good Christian should welcome being murdered because after all, if they have been good they are going straight to Heaven and, there will be an extra bonus in being a martyr whose name will constantly be on the lips of the devout in that maudlin self-pitying way that people who believe in an after-life somehow still have.
Just wanted to emphasize the above post, because I think it's an excellent point. If Christians are going to dictate what logic should apply to atheists, then it seems only fair that atheists should dictate what logic applies to Christians.
Pup is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 03:09 PM   #45
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
Never trust anyone who goes by their Job title (in this case "Pastor") and only their first name!!!! lol
Evidently, this is pretty standard with Pastors.

When I first started corresponding with our church's main Pastor, I was not clear on protocol, and was not yet comfortable with calling someone "Pastor" (being new to the whole "attending church" thing), so I asked him which was more proper, to call him "Mark" or "Pastor Mark".

He didn't say in his reply, but I noticed that he signed it "Pastor Mark", so I called him that in my reply, signing it "Congregant Robert". I don't recall if he has ever called me that, though.

Quote:
p.s. RSL, can't wait to read his response to your email! I also highly recommend you confront these issues in the class (in a non-confrontational manner of course)
I'll only post his reply with his permission, so we'll have to wait on that.

I intend to bring it up in class, non-confrontationally, if I hear something else unfair like that, whether it is about Atheists or anyone else.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 03:21 PM   #46
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,547
Seems to me that the perceived difference between "angry" and "morally outraged" here is the assumption that non believers have no moral code or standards to violate, whereas anger is an emotion to which, presumably everyone has a "right" , including psychopaths and Satanists.

If that is what's meant, the unconscious arrogance would be shocking, had we not all encountered it before- and if we had any right to be shocked.

I wonder if he feels the same about others whose theological views he does not share;- Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus?

Robert, I understand your loyalty to Susan and I'm well aware of your near inhuman patience with Slyvia's adherents, but I also doubt you will remain welcome amongst this group if you continue to face them with uncongenial doses of reality.
Soapy Sam is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 15th February 2013, 06:50 PM   #47
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
Robert, I understand your loyalty to Susan and I'm well aware of your near inhuman patience with Slyvia's adherents, but I also doubt you will remain welcome amongst this group if you continue to face them with uncongenial doses of reality.
Where was I uncongenial?

And, I have been "amongst this group" for nearly two years now, with my Agnosticism known for more than a year and a half, and I remain a welcome and, I would say, a well-liked (by most) member of the "church family".

Everyone there has been very supportive of me, especially the Pastors.

Well, nearly everyone. There is one man in my Bible Study group who appears to have a problem with my being an Agnostic. And what little negativity he has shown has been rather unquantifiable, more in the order of giving me a "bad vibe" than anything I could put my finger on.

So, while I think it safe to say that most there who know I am a non-believer wish (for ny sake) that I was a believer, I have never been made to feel unwelcome, nor like I am only being tolerated until I "come to my senses" and become a believer.

For whatever reason, I have always done fairly well in communities of people who believe differently than I do. From the John Edward fan forum in 2001, where I was liked there by most - especially the site owner (who seriously disliked Skeptics). When news of my stroke got back to them, years after I had stopped being a regular there, they held a "prayer chain" for me, and the site owner described me - to the people there who were too new to have known me - as "the nice skeptic" and "the respectful skeptic", to the VanPraagh fan forum, where I was liked by most, including JVP himself (until he finally had me banned), to the Para-X "all paranormal" Internet radio station, where I got along so well that I ended up hosting a skeptical-themed show (The Resident Skeptic), I seem to usually get along inside communities of people with whom I disagree regarding the belief they all share, and which is the basis for their community.

And I remain in contact with several friends I made in each of these communities.

So I see no reason why this all should not continue to be true at this church, especially when I am married to someone who shares the belief which binds this community together.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 04:06 AM   #48
Gawdzilla
121.92-meter mutant fire-breathing lizard-thingy
 
Gawdzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
Posts: 18,648
Originally Posted by Weak Kitten View Post
I understand your position Gawdzilla, however I don't know if it would be possible to change this pastor's mind. If his conclusion is based on what we would consider a warped definition of morality then the only way to change his mind would be to change his definition of morality. Most people are extremely opposed to having their definition of morality even questioned, let alone openly challenged.
True that, you can't argue with the insane. However, you can show that people act morally without his god, so it therefore follows that people can act morally without any god.
__________________
World War II Diplomatic and Political Resources
Hyperwar, WWII Military History
Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.
Gawdzilla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 09:03 AM   #49
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
True that, you can't argue with the insane. However, you can show that people act morally without his god, so it therefore follows that people can act morally without any god.
Without professed belief in his God, anyway.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 11:02 AM   #50
CORed
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Central City, Colorado, USA
Posts: 5,176
Originally Posted by Dubious Dick View Post
This is the old "where does morality" come from if not from god codswallop.

If anyone cannot see that survival of the human species depends essentially upon cooperation, and the golden rule, and that this does not require any edicts from any god to make it real, then they are simply desperately seeking to shore up their belief with a non-argument.

If the people who peddle the nonsense about atheists being essentially immoral can prove the existence of their deity, then they can start to argue about whence morality. Until that point, the only sensible conclusion is that it is all man made anyway, and their views are irrelevant.
Agreed. I find it kind of disturbing that many religious people seem to have never though about any basis for morality beyond "Don't do anything that will piss God off."
CORed is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 12:13 PM   #51
dlorde
Philosopher
 
dlorde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,163
My inclination would be to bone up on the Euthyphro Dilemma, and its implications from a Christian viewpoint.

Roughly, it comes down to whether something is good simply because God commands it, whether God commands it because it is good.

If the latter, morality is independent of God, and the pastor's claim is clearly invalid.

If the former, a can of worms opens, for not only does the moral distinction between good and bad become entirely arbitrary - based solely on God's fiat, and so God actually loses moral authority, but the question of God's nature and what is good becomes a circular argument - why is good morally better than bad? because it is what God commands. Why is what God commands good? because it accords with his nature, and his nature is good. Why is God's nature good? because good is morally better than bad...

There is also the bible problem - if actions consistent with God's nature are moral, and those inconsistent with it are immoral, and if God's actions are always consistent with God's nature, then God's actions are always moral. Now, choose any biblical injustice inflicted by God (e.g. God punishes the children for the sins of their parents, or worse). If God's actions are always moral than that apparent biblical injustice is actually moral, and we can, or should, follow suit. However, if one argues that it is moral only when God does it, and not when we do it, then clearly God's actions and nature do not provide our moral framework.
__________________
Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...
dlorde is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 09:21 PM   #52
xterra
So far, so good...
 
xterra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: On the outskirts of Nowhere; the middle was too crowded
Posts: 1,191
Robert,

I have read only to the end of page 1, so if this has been said, sorry for the repetition.

A person who does not lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc, because of a belief that doing those things will bring supernatural punishment and not doing them will bring supernatural reward is not being moral. That person is acting only out of self-interest.

Only the person who doesn't cheat, steal, murder, etc, because of a belief that these things are wrong in and of themselves, and who does not believe in a Supernatural Power*, is being moral.

This seems to me to be so self-evident that it almost need not be said, but apparently this is not the case.

If this is read as implying that the adherents of most religions are not moral, so be it; I won't disagree.


*Whether the Power is Jehovah, Zeus, Thor or Siva makes no difference to this argument.
__________________
Over we go....

Last edited by xterra; 16th February 2013 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Font size for last line
xterra is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 10:42 PM   #53
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
aN INTERESTING POINT, XTERRA. i HAVE THOUGHT MUCH THE SAME THING IN THE PAST, BUT HAD NOT THOUGHT TO APPLY IT TO THIS SITUATION.

Sorry for the "shouting".
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 16th February 2013, 11:13 PM   #54
Roboramma
Philosopher
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 7,656
For the sake of argument, let's consider: Perhaps the christian viewpoint that morality comes from god is correct. In that case an atheist is unaware of the source of morality, though he may or may not follow it's principles regardless of this ignorance (clearly at least some do). Moreover, just as the moral framework applies to a child too young to understand it, it also applies to an atheist who, for whatever reason, is ignorant of it.

That ignorance could, depending on your perspective, spring from foolishness, lack of education, intelligence, reason, being exposed to falsehood, or whatever you like, but it doesn't, as far as I can see, put him outside of that moral framework any more than the ignorance of a child puts the child outside of it.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 01:19 AM   #55
Spockette
Scholar
 
Spockette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: State of Confusion
Posts: 109
Robert, may I ask, since you are a nonbeliever, why, in fact, do you attend church? Is it to provide emotional support to your wife? If so, I understand. But if that's not the reason, I would be very interested in knowing.
Spockette is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 02:56 AM   #56
Stimpson J. Cat
Graduate Poster
 
Stimpson J. Cat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,919
Originally Posted by RSLancastr
He also said that Jim had left out an important part of what he had said in that discussion. I don't have the exact quote with me, but basically he wrote that he did not say that the Atheist would not have the right to be angry, but rather that the Atheist would not have right to be (I think he said) "morally outraged".
Sounds to me like he just playing a game of semantics, though he probably doesn't realize it.

If what he means by "morally outraged" is "outraged that somebody has done something that is against god's rules", then essentially he is right. Although I would say that it is not so much a matter of the atheist "having no right" to be morally outraged, as it being a matter of there simply being no reason to be outraged that a fictional god's rules have been broken. I know that when somebody steels from me, the fact that the person has violated one of Jehovah's rules does not bother me in the slightest. So by your Pastor's definition, I would not be "morally outraged".

But if this is the case he is basically just redefining the word "morality" to mean "following god's rules" rather that "doing what is right". As other people have already pointed out in this thread, there are many ways in which people develop a sense of morality (or come to have strong feelings about what is right and wrong). Most of it has to do with upbringing, social conditioning, empathy, and basic human nature. Simply equating "right" and "wrong" with blindly obeying a set of rules provided by some entity is not morality. Nor is it what most religious people who think their morals come from God actually do. Instead, what most believers actually do is interpret and rationalize their holy books in such a way as to make the rules and lessens therein seem to correspond to what they already feel is right and wrong.

Show me a religious person who does something they personally feel is wrong because they think it is what God wants them to do, and therefore the "moral" thing to do, and I will show you a self-loathing and dangerously immoral person.
__________________
A poke in the eye makes Baby Jesus cry.
Stimpson J. Cat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 03:23 AM   #57
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 32,788
Originally Posted by Stimpson J. Cat View Post
Sounds to me like he just playing a game of semantics, though he probably doesn't realize it.

If what he means by "morally outraged" is "outraged that somebody has done something that is against god's rules", then essentially he is right. Although I would say that it is not so much a matter of the atheist "having no right" to be morally outraged, as it being a matter of there simply being no reason to be outraged that a fictional god's rules have been broken. I know that when somebody steels from me, the fact that the person has violated one of Jehovah's rules does not bother me in the slightest. So by your Pastor's definition, I would not be "morally outraged".

But if this is the case he is basically just redefining the word "morality" to mean "following god's rules" rather that "doing what is right". As other people have already pointed out in this thread, there are many ways in which people develop a sense of morality (or come to have strong feelings about what is right and wrong). Most of it has to do with upbringing, social conditioning, empathy, and basic human nature. Simply equating "right" and "wrong" with blindly obeying a set of rules provided by some entity is not morality. Nor is it what most religious people who think their morals come from God actually do. Instead, what most believers actually do is interpret and rationalize their holy books in such a way as to make the rules and lessens therein seem to correspond to what they already feel is right and wrong.

Show me a religious person who does something they personally feel is wrong because they think it is what God wants them to do, and therefore the "moral" thing to do, and I will show you a self-loathing and dangerously immoral person.
Brigham Young said that when he first heard of polygamy he wanted to die but did it because of gods will....oh wait.
tsig is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 03:54 AM   #58
Gawdzilla
121.92-meter mutant fire-breathing lizard-thingy
 
Gawdzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
Posts: 18,648
Quote:
...but rather that the Atheist would not have right to be (I think he said) "morally outraged".
So, I don't have a right to be morally outraged by something just because I'm an atheist?

I'd love to meet this schmuck IRL.
__________________
World War II Diplomatic and Political Resources
Hyperwar, WWII Military History
Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.
Gawdzilla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 05:36 AM   #59
kellyb
Philosopher
 
kellyb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Tennessee. Ain't you jealous?
Posts: 5,467
Originally Posted by Spockette View Post
Robert, may I ask, since you are a nonbeliever, why, in fact, do you attend church? Is it to provide emotional support to your wife? If so, I understand. But if that's not the reason, I would be very interested in knowing.
I'm wondering that, too.
__________________
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts ~ Bertrand Russell
kellyb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 07:51 AM   #60
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by Spockette View Post
Robert, may I ask, since you are a nonbeliever, why, in fact, do you attend church? Is it to provide emotional support to your wife? If so, I understand. But if that's not the reason, I would be very interested in knowing.
It's a rather looong answer, so I will refer you to my old thread My Purple Bible (read the first few posts).
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 08:43 AM   #61
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 32,788
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
RELATED TOPIC: When we lived in California, Susan regularly attended a church she dearly loved. She belonged to the choir, went to an Adult Bible Study there, and, although Agnostic, I saw the great comfort and strength she took from her time there. After my stroke, Susan's "church family" was as supportive of her during that awful time as were you, her "JREF Family".

When we moved up here to Oregon, Susan missed her "Church Family" nearly as much as she did her real family. in some ways, even more. She attended a church or two up here, but none of them really "clicked" with her like her old church had, from her very first visit to it. Not only that, but she didn't feel comfortable leaving me alone at home for a couple of hours so that she could attend a church.

A week or so ago, I put together a Schedule for my daily/weekly activities. Something to help me remember to take my pills, do my exercises, take my showers, and so on. I also scheduled in some things that Susan and I needed to be doing together on a regular basis, but which had somehow fallen by the wayside over the years. Things like a weekly "Date Night".

When I showed the Schedule to Susan, I think she was quite surprised that I had scheduled in our attending church together on Sunday mornings. She even asked me why I had done so, and, I think, was pleased with my reasons:

* 1. I knew it was something very important to her that she no longer had in her life.

* 2. I felt the "social" aspect of it could help us to make some local friends - something very much lacking in our lives.

* 3. I greatly miss singing, and hoped we could find a church with a choir I'd enjoy joining.

* 4. It would give us something to share outside the walls of our apartment.

I also promised I wouldn't be too much of a smartass there.

So, this past Sunday, we attended a church which Susan had yet to check out.

We hope to make it "our church", but time will tell.

If we do, I suspect that I'll be known there as The Guy With The Wheelchar...

and The Purple Bible.
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
It's a rather looong answer, so I will refer you to my old thread My Purple Bible (read the first few posts).
I hope you haven't blown that one. Questioning authority is often seen as threatening and can be met with aggressive action however you do seem to have a gift for soothing troubled waters.

Luck.
tsig is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 11:47 AM   #62
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
I have been a smartass, but not too much of one, I think.

For example, I often make humorous comments about the pastors' sermons - in emails to the pastors! They have taken the comments well, and return the barbs in kind. The fact that they are, in general, pretty much "regular guys" plays a large part in my feeling comfortable there.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 12:02 PM   #63
Gawdzilla
121.92-meter mutant fire-breathing lizard-thingy
 
Gawdzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
Posts: 18,648
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I have been a smartass, but not too much of one, I think.

For example, I often make humorous comments about the pastors' sermons - in emails to the pastors! They have taken the comments well, and return the barbs in kind. The fact that they are, in general, pretty much "regular guys" plays a large part in my feeling comfortable there.
Sounds like a few of them might be ready for The Clergy Project?
__________________
World War II Diplomatic and Political Resources
Hyperwar, WWII Military History
Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.
Gawdzilla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 12:39 PM   #64
Anerystos
Muse
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 773
Originally Posted by The Don View Post
He could not understand that I would do something just because it was the decent thing to do and just because I would feel good about myself for behaving in that way.
Many years ago I had a similar conversation with a fellow student - a hard line bible thumping god-botherer. Like your guy, I got the same argument. Why would you be "good" if you don't have a sky-daddy who will punish you if you are not. Like you, I do it for the simple reason that it makes life easier for everyone.

Courtesy costs nothing, but it does oil the wheels of social interaction. Telling the truth means that you don't have to remember what lies you have told and to who. Might be temporarily embarrassing, but in the long run it pays off.

OK, a few months ago I had a break-in. Not strictly an break-in: more an opportunistic "try front doors to see if any are unlocked". Mine wasn't, simply because I had come in desperately needing the toilet and didn't check that it was locked when I came came out of the bog. The front door was open. I lost a few pounds and my cards (which I easily cancelled). But I learned an important lesson: always check that the outer doors are locked. My wife now thinks I am in an advanced stage of paranoia. She may be right!

Ultimately, not "being good" encourages people to screw me. But it's easier to "be good" and accept being screwed occasionally. I don't condone the professional fraudsters, incidentally: I've been semi screwed by a couple of them. All it's taught me is to be wary. No bad thing.

Last edited by Anerystos; 17th February 2013 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Grammar!
Anerystos is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 17th February 2013, 07:31 PM   #65
xterra
So far, so good...
 
xterra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: On the outskirts of Nowhere; the middle was too crowded
Posts: 1,191
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
aN INTERESTING POINT, XTERRA. i HAVE THOUGHT MUCH THE SAME THING IN THE PAST, BUT HAD NOT THOUGHT TO APPLY IT TO THIS SITUATION.

Robert, why not make my point to either of the two people you mentioned, the pastor or the person you described originally, and see how they respond? I for one would like to know what they say.


Originally Posted by Paul W View Post
Ultimately, not "being good" encourages people to screw me. But it's easier to "be good" and accept being screwed occasionally. I don't condone the professional fraudsters, incidentally: I've been semi screwed by a couple of them. All it's taught me is to be wary. No bad thing.

Paul W, forgive me but I don't understand the paragraph I quote. First, what does "being good" mean? Is it:

a. acting in a religious manner (whatever religion), or
b. applying some version of "do unto others," or
c. something different from either of these?

Next, how does not being good, however you define it, encourage people to screw you?

Third, I too suffered a break-in last summer. I was away from my house for several weeks when someone(s) broke through the back door and into my garage. They stole all my tools, many pieces of hardware (plumbing, etc), and some family heirlooms.

Why wouldn't I now be more careful about locking doors, reinforcing striker plates on the door jambs, putting better security grilles on the windows, etc? This is not paranoia. It might be called "locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen," but not if one has another horse. And I do have new tools, so I protect them.

Also, have I forfeited a "moral right" * to be angry that my possessions have been stolen because I am an atheist? Does a dog or cat have no moral right to protect its food because it is not religious (the animal, not the food)?


*This leaves aside the definition of moral rights as opposed to rights in general.
__________________
Over we go....
xterra is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 12:28 AM   #66
Flo
Master Poster
 
Flo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Massongy, France
Posts: 2,977
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Okay, I got a reply from Pastor Jeff.

First, he said that he would like to continue the discussion in person, as he feels the topic is far too complex to successfully discuss it via email.
Translation: he knows he stands a much better chance if you can't research arguments you're not familiar with while he's deluging you with theological nonsense ... Typical and standard procedure.


Quote:
I replied, saying that I would like that, but feared I would be outgunned debating theological/moral issue with a man who had studied them for years, and who discussed them for a living.
That's exactly what he is expecting.

Quote:
He also said that Jim had left out an important part of what he had said in that discussion. I don't have the exact quote with me, but basically he wrote that he did not say that the Atheist would not have the right to be angry, but rather that the Atheist would not have right to be (I think he said) "morally outraged".
Same thing: it's still a more or less polite way of saying that non-believers are amoral, of even immoral animals.
Flo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 08:33 AM   #67
xterra
So far, so good...
 
xterra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: On the outskirts of Nowhere; the middle was too crowded
Posts: 1,191
Robert,

This appears to demonstrate the position of at least the first person you mentioned.





I do not remember the source of the cartoon, but it is used without permission of the artist. If the artist becomes aware of this posting and wishes the cartoon removed, I will certainly (but not happily) do so.
__________________
Over we go....
xterra is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 11:00 AM   #68
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by Flo View Post
Translation: he knows he stands a much better chance if you can't research arguments you're not familiar with while he's deluging you with theological nonsense ... Typical and standard procedure.

That's exactly what he is expecting.

Same thing: it's still a more or less polite way of saying that non-believers are amoral, of even immoral animals.
I truly don't think so.

I don't know Jim (the teacher of the 101 class) well at all, but I have had a number of interactions with Pastor Jeff, both via email and face-to-face over the past year and a half, and I don't see of feel this from him at all.

I can see why you would think that - and I might too, from an outside perspective. But Jeff has built up enough credibility with me that I would not suspect of him what you say.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 11:05 AM   #69
Craig4
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,248
Originally Posted by Flo View Post
Translation: he knows he stands a much better chance if you can't research arguments you're not familiar with while he's deluging you with theological nonsense ... Typical and standard procedure.




That's exactly what he is expecting.



Same thing: it's still a more or less polite way of saying that non-believers are amoral, of even immoral animals.
This is why I would never engage in this sort of discussion. When confronted (admittedly rarely) with the argument that as non believe I don't have a right to claim a moral stance I simply claim the stance and ignore the complaint as to my right to it. I think it's better to assume the right than attempt to defend what you already have.
Craig4 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 11:14 AM   #70
Pup
Illuminator
 
Pup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,552
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I truly don't think so.

I don't know Jim (the teacher of the 101 class) well at all, but I have had a number of interactions with Pastor Jeff, both via email and face-to-face over the past year and a half, and I don't see of feel this from him at all.

I can see why you would think that - and I might too, from an outside perspective. But Jeff has built up enough credibility with me that I would not suspect of him what you say.
I've had someone do the same thing under similar circumstances--break off a cordial email discussion about religion and want to do it in person. The vibes I got then, and now, were not so much that they thought they could win through logic by putting the other person at a disadvantage. Instead, they realized they couldn't win through logic, because what they were typing wasn't sounding as good as they hoped, despite the fact that it had worked with others before and sounded really good in their head. So they figured that face to face, with all that friendly tone and looove, it would work like it was supposed to.
Pup is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th February 2013, 11:33 AM   #71
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,547
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Where was I uncongenial?
I'm confident you have not been.
It's reality that some of the group may find uncongenial.
Quote:

And, I have been "amongst this group" for nearly two years now, with my Agnosticism known for more than a year and a half, and I remain a welcome and, I would say, a well-liked (by most) member of the "church family".

Everyone there has been very supportive of me, especially the Pastors.

Well, nearly everyone. There is one man in my Bible Study group who appears to have a problem with my being an Agnostic. And what little negativity he has shown has been rather unquantifiable, more in the order of giving me a "bad vibe" than anything I could put my finger on.

So, while I think it safe to say that most there who know I am a non-believer wish (for ny sake) that I was a believer, I have never been made to feel unwelcome, nor like I am only being tolerated until I "come to my senses" and become a believer.

For whatever reason, I have always done fairly well in communities of people who believe differently than I do. From the John Edward fan forum in 2001, where I was liked there by most - especially the site owner (who seriously disliked Skeptics). When news of my stroke got back to them, years after I had stopped being a regular there, they held a "prayer chain" for me, and the site owner described me - to the people there who were too new to have known me - as "the nice skeptic" and "the respectful skeptic", to the VanPraagh fan forum, where I was liked by most, including JVP himself (until he finally had me banned), to the Para-X "all paranormal" Internet radio station, where I got along so well that I ended up hosting a skeptical-themed show (The Resident Skeptic), I seem to usually get along inside communities of people with whom I disagree regarding the belief they all share, and which is the basis for their community.

And I remain in contact with several friends I made in each of these communities.

So I see no reason why this all should not continue to be true at this church, especially when I am married to someone who shares the belief which binds this community together.
Well, let's hope so. In my experience, , when a group is held together by a belief structure, someone who clearly does not share that belief and who asks hard questions about the assumptions behind it, is rarely welcome for long. That probably reflects my own, less patient, temperament.
Soapy Sam is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 12:50 AM   #72
Flo
Master Poster
 
Flo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Massongy, France
Posts: 2,977
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I truly don't think so.

I don't know Jim (the teacher of the 101 class) well at all, but I have had a number of interactions with Pastor Jeff, both via email and face-to-face over the past year and a half, and I don't see of feel this from him at all.

I can see why you would think that - and I might too, from an outside perspective. But Jeff has built up enough credibility with me that I would not suspect of him what you say.
I'm sure Jeff isn't a plotting villain trying to deliberately put you at a disadvantage but, as Pup says :

Originally Posted by Pup View Post
I've had someone do the same thing under similar circumstances--break off a cordial email discussion about religion and want to do it in person. The vibes I got then, and now, were not so much that they thought they could win through logic by putting the other person at a disadvantage. Instead, they realized they couldn't win through logic, because what they were typing wasn't sounding as good as they hoped, despite the fact that it had worked with others before and sounded really good in their head. So they figured that face to face, with all that friendly tone and looove, it would work like it was supposed to.
Flo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 05:25 AM   #73
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Originally Posted by Flo View Post
I'm sure Jeff isn't a plotting villain trying to deliberately put you at a disadvantage but, as Pup says :
Sure, that is a possibility, but it is also a possibility that at some point in my discussion with Jeff in his office, he will pull a lever on the floor under his desk which will open a trap door beneath me and I will fall into a pit of alligators.

I can only hope that my wheelchair can outrun them.

Seriously, I could be totally wrong about Jeff, and Pup's scenario (or some version of it) may happen. If so, I will deal with it.

I will soon know, as he and I are trying to set up a time for the meeting (difficult, given his full calendar, and my participation being limited to times when Susan can drive me to the church).

We are currently aiming for tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

I will discuss here how that meeting goes.
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 05:31 AM   #74
Gawdzilla
121.92-meter mutant fire-breathing lizard-thingy
 
Gawdzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northern St. Louis County, Missouri.
Posts: 18,648
Send him the URL for The Clergy Project.
__________________
World War II Diplomatic and Political Resources
Hyperwar, WWII Military History
Bellum se ipsum alet, mostly Doritos.
Gawdzilla is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 05:32 AM   #75
BStrong
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: California
Posts: 5,878
Originally Posted by The Don View Post
I think that it's a well thought out and well worded note.

I've encountered the view that "if you're not a Christian then you are not bound by God's laws" before and the suspicion that as an Atheist I will kill, steal and whatever just because I won't get punished by God.

I think that this speaks more to their frame on mind than mine. Are they really saying that if it weren't for the fear of divine retribution they'd be killing people right now ?

I suppose what the person has done is to say that they think that the law is divinely inspired "thou shalt not...." and so if you don't believe in God then you aren't entitled to protection under that law (God says you can't steal, you don't believe in God therefore it must be OK to steal).

It sounds like the whole thing is an exercise in strawmanning. I once worked with a fundamentalist YEC Christian (quite rare here in the UK, he was South African) and we got along very well. he simply could not understand my lack of belief in God and because I was generally kind and compassionate he thought that I must be a Christian. When I pressed him on it, he said why would I behave in such a way when there was no fear of being judged by God. He could not understand that I would do something just because it was the decent thing to do and just because I would feel good about myself for behaving in that way.
I've run into the exact same mentality, and more than once off the jub got into discussions that focused on the question of enforcing "God's Laws" (the assumption being all laws are based on the 10 Commandments) while being an atheist - the other parties to the discussions seemed to believe that I as an Atheist was somehow unfit to be a LEO.

Some folks just have screwy ideas.
BStrong is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 05:50 AM   #76
Flo
Master Poster
 
Flo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Massongy, France
Posts: 2,977
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Sure, that is a possibility, but it is also a possibility that at some point in my discussion with Jeff in his office, he will pull a lever on the floor under his desk which will open a trap door beneath me and I will fall into a pit of alligators.
I can picture Rev. Lovejoy doing this to Flanders ...



Seriously, I don't think you're that wrong about Jeff being a good guy. However, theologians are trained in how to tackle embarrasing questions, and going face to face is one of their favorite way, for good reasons. It's a bit like chess: they spent years learning the rules and rehearsing games and moves arguments and counter-arguments. You've spent mere days looking at them. They can quote them all by heart and how to move the goalposts when it doesn't go the way they hoped, you have to try to figure how and when they did it as the conversation goes along ... I learnt that at the cost of many long and boring courses and conversations with members of the school of theology at the local university (Geneva - calvinists, the worst sort in my experience ).

They don't do it out of malice, just out of habit and training ...
Flo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 06:06 AM   #77
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 32,788
Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Sure, that is a possibility, but it is also a possibility that at some point in my discussion with Jeff in his office, he will pull a lever on the floor under his desk which will open a trap door beneath me and I will fall into a pit of alligators.

I can only hope that my wheelchair can outrun them.

Seriously, I could be totally wrong about Jeff, and Pup's scenario (or some version of it) may happen. If so, I will deal with it.

I will soon know, as he and I are trying to set up a time for the meeting (difficult, given his full calendar, and my participation being limited to times when Susan can drive me to the church).

We are currently aiming for tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

I will discuss here how that meeting goes.
If he has a large white cat in his lap, head for the door!
tsig is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 06:11 AM   #78
RSLancastr
 
RSLancastr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 17,034
Sage advice, tsig - thanks!
__________________
Who is "Kaz?" Read about her at www.StopKaz.com.

Curious about Sylvia Browne? Read about her at www.StopSylvia.com.

Ever wonder "What's the Harm?" with psychics, alternative medicine, etc?
RSLancastr is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 07:04 AM   #79
CynicalSkeptic
Graduate Poster
 
CynicalSkeptic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: state of denial
Posts: 1,545
So RSL, have you heard back from Jim?

Will Jim be in this meeting with you and Pastor Jeff? You brought up several points in your response, and it seems Pastor Jeff only wants to address his "moral outrage" stance on theft. That's fine and all, but you had several other points for Jim to discuss.

I'll agree with some of the others and say it does sound like a semantics game. He's going to define moral outrage, or rather "morals" as coming from god. Can religious adherents of non-Christian faiths have "moral outrage"? Where do their morals comes from if not God? Is secular humanism a religion? Can Secular Humanists have morals? Can atheists be secular humanists?
CynicalSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th February 2013, 07:18 AM   #80
CynicalSkeptic
Graduate Poster
 
CynicalSkeptic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: state of denial
Posts: 1,545
Wikipedia has an interesting article on Religion and Morality. I think it's definitely worth reading before your discussion with Pastor Jeff. It may even be worth sending to Jeff ahead of time.

Quote:
Religion and morality are not synonymous. According to The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, religion and morality "are to be defined differently and have no definitional connections with each other. Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides."
...
Religious commentators have asserted that a moral life cannot be led without an absolute lawgiver as a guide. Other observers assert that moral behaviour does not rely on religious tenets, and secular commentators point to ethical challenges within various religions that conflict with contemporary social norms.
CynicalSkeptic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:03 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.