THESE FORUMS NOW CLOSED (read only)

  • 04 Jun 2023, 17:55
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9   Go Down

Author Topic: Atheist Penelope  (Read 155898 times)

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #100 on: 25 Dec 2008, 16:18 »

@Evander: "Christmas" was a pagan thing before it was "adopted" by Christianity anyway.

Logged

WriterofAllWrongs

  • Vagina Manifesto
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 685
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #101 on: 25 Dec 2008, 16:25 »

Yeah, Christmas is much more of a societal thing than a religious thing nowadays.  Like Valentines' of Flag Day.  Everyone likes receiving gifts, and most like giving them.  I mean, what do the 'values' of not believing in God have to do with celebrating a fun holiday with family and friends?  I mean, for the most part of my life I've been somewhat agnostic and but I see no problem with celebrating a holiday that is, to some, a celebration of some infant with magical powers 2000 years ago.  It got me a guitar!
Logged

Dotes

  • Not quite a lurker
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #102 on: 25 Dec 2008, 17:24 »

Christmas, regardless of its origins, is a nice holiday full of gift-giving and people being nice, even if only for a day or two. I think you'd have to be a pretty cold-hearted atheist to reject Christmas just on principle, when most of your family probably already celebrates it anyway.
Logged

Evander

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 62
    • http://evander.joethecat.com
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #103 on: 25 Dec 2008, 18:21 »

The only people who say that Christmas is okay as a societal secular thing happen to be folks who were raised celebrating it.

There is a very interesting hypocrisy in those who run around quoting Dawkins, but then turn around and deck the halls.  Like I said, it's the Vegan who eats the meat that their mother used to cook.



I have nothing against atheists, and I have nothing against Christians.  The only thing I'm opposed to is people who try to push Christmas on me just because they've personally rationalized religion out of it.
Logged
Make flame love, not flame war.

Alex C

  • comeback tour!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,915
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #104 on: 25 Dec 2008, 18:58 »

I know Jews who think Christmas is fun.


I'm not sure where you're going with this. Atheism doesn't mean you have to go throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is not a revolutionary movement. Ritual and tradition does not need be rooted in god. There really isn't any hypocrisy involved. Atheism is not even a value judgement.
« Last Edit: 25 Dec 2008, 19:01 by Alex C »
Logged
the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty

Evander

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 62
    • http://evander.joethecat.com
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #105 on: 25 Dec 2008, 19:26 »

I'm talking about militant atheists, who run around insulting the intelligence of others for believing in a god.

edit: as in, the type of person that Penelope appears to be.
« Last Edit: 25 Dec 2008, 19:38 by Evander »
Logged
Make flame love, not flame war.

Is it cold in here?

  • Administrator
  • Awakened
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 25,163
  • He/him/his pronouns
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #106 on: 25 Dec 2008, 20:19 »

She said "You can't be serious! You ACTUALLY BELIEVE in ghosts ...", which could be open give and take as well as potentially being insulting. Her body language didn't look hostile or condescending. In 1288, she didn't insult Wil personally. She called the idea "dumb and irrational", but about Wil she just said "Wil believes ... I don't". After that she didn't come out with "dumb and irrational" until Dora probed.

It's consistent with Pen-elope being frustrated as opposed to insulting.

Why do you see her as militant? She hasn't passed out atheist literature, or written a book about God being a delusion, or rung anyone's doorbell trying to convert them (that we know of).
Logged
Thank you, Dr. Karikˇ.

Alex C

  • comeback tour!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,915
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #107 on: 25 Dec 2008, 20:24 »

I haven't seen enough to remotely declare her militant.


Then again, I once broke up with someone over an argument that was tangentially related to skittles. I'm kind of a fickle dater sometimes.
Logged
the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty

WriterofAllWrongs

  • Vagina Manifesto
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 685
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #108 on: 25 Dec 2008, 21:32 »

I'm talking about militant atheists, who run around insulting the intelligence of others for believing in a god.

It could be argued that viewing Christmas as a strictly Christian holiday and not allowing yourself to enjoy the good spirits that come with such a fun holiday could be militant.  I've got nothing against people who don't like Christmas, and I'm not saying that you should even celebrate the holiday, it's just not that serious really.  People who want to have a good time are always going to always look for an in to a good time, Atheist or no.  Christmas is mostly Christmas nowadays, not Christ-Mass.
Logged

pwhodges

  • Admin emeritus
  • Awakened
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17,241
  • I'll only say this once...
    • My home page
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #109 on: 26 Dec 2008, 00:56 »

Wolcum Yule!
Logged
"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

norcekri

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #110 on: 26 Dec 2008, 16:27 »

Evander, your sweeping generalizations detract from your overall credibility.  I know otherwise from personal experience, so I find I have to take anything else you state with a large degree of skepticism.  Back up and try again?  I think the personal opinions and points are sound, but your attempts to transfer certain feelings onto the rest of the world are ... fallacious.  Back up and try again?

I, too, weary of the overbearing commercialism.  I quietly complain to store officials when their Christmas merchandise appears in late October: when did Advent stretch to 10 weeks?  I also have fun asking how they can have an after-Christmas sale during Christmas (which is 25 Dec - 06 Jan).  Most important, I underscore that their commercial abuse of the holiday means that I severely curtail the money I spend there.  Even though our household observances are a laid-back mixture of Christmas, Hannukah, and Solstice, I adopt a responsibility to the traditions in the face of commercial opportunism.
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #111 on: 26 Dec 2008, 18:50 »

...
I quietly complain to store officials when their Christmas merchandise appears in late October: when did Advent stretch to 10 weeks?
...
I worked retail for a few years, and Christmas stuff starts arriving in the stockroom sometime in August.


Logged

ChippyD

  • Plantmonster
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 34
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #112 on: 26 Dec 2008, 18:58 »

Holy crap. Since when did QC have to be PC? I think Jeff's been pretty cool. Especialy when he handled Martin's Boss as being a homosexual. Its actually very comforting to see a character reference I can relate to. Martin's  boss isn't a flamboyant queen, and neither am I. And I often feel like I'm in a minority. There ARE a lot of flamboyant gay guys out there. Just because I feel that, should I expect Martin's boss to swizzle about with a limp wrist?

Penelope is Penelope. She's defensive to the point of being hostile. Regardless of what view she has, she's being pretty much a jerk to her date (whose name has been stolen from my mind by the Eggnog Monster). Just because people have a different world view, doesn't mean they should keep apart. She's pretty much projecting her anger at her parents on him, when he doesn't seem to be forcing his beliefs on her at all. "How can I date someone who's worldview I fundementaly dissagree with" is a big enough proof that she's seriously doubting his credibility and worth. Its not militant, but it is short sighted and very xenophobic.

Its a jerky character trait, and thats fine. God knows everyone else in this comic has their fair share of schisms and quirks. "
My boyfriend is a devout Jew. He's reform, but he still will not touch non-koshir food. Drives me up a wall, but I'm sure as heck not going to let that ruin my relationship with him. So I'm going to sit back and hope Jeff guides Penelope to a good, maturing outcome. If he's good at anything, its character developement.
« Last Edit: 26 Dec 2008, 19:02 by ChippyD »
Logged

Tyler

  • 1-800-SCABIES
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 804
  • SKULLTOPUS
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #113 on: 26 Dec 2008, 21:14 »

Honestly I am surprised anyone would take any level of offense at a comic strip that mentions religion once every 2 years, especially when the beliefs are those of a fictional character to project depth. I do not think Jeph meant anything more than just that. If it makes you in turn question whether hard lined viewpoints in either direction can be abrasive, then all the better.
Logged
Quote from: Lunchbox
It is not wussy. There are orifices being assaulted all over the shop.

norcekri

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #114 on: 28 Dec 2008, 22:24 »

Tyler & ChippyD:

Well struck!  I would have taken about twice the space to express compatible sentiments.
Logged

JReynolds

  • Larger than most fish
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 117
  • We thought you was a toad!
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #115 on: 29 Dec 2008, 09:09 »

Christmas as it is celebrated in the U.S, Britain and countries heavily influenced by those countries is largely a 19th century invention, as is discussed in the Pulitzer-Prize nominated book The Battle for Christmas.

From the Publisher's Weekly blurb that appears on Amazon:
Quote
Christmas in America hasn't always been the benevolent, family-centered holiday we idealize. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony so feared the day's association with pagan winter solstice revels, replete with public drunkenness, licentiousness and violence, that they banned Christmas celebrations. In this ever-surprising work, Nissenbaum (Sex, Diet, and Debility in Jacksonian America), a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, conducts a vivid historical tour of the holiday's social evolution. Nissenbaum maintains that not until the 1820s in New York City, among the mercantile Episcopalian Knickerbockers, was Christmas as we know it celebrated. Before Washington Irving and Clement Clarke Moore ("A Visit from St. Nicholas") popularized the genteel version, he explains, the holiday was more of a raucous festival and included demands for tribute from the wealthy by roaming bands of lower-class extortionists. Peppering his insights with analysis of period literature, art and journalism, Nissenbaum constructs his theory. Taming Christmas, he contends, was a way to contain the chaos of social dislocation in a developing consumer-capitalist culture. Later, under the influence of Unitarian writers, the Christmas season became a living object lesson in familial stability and charity, centering on the ideals of bourgeois childhood. From colonial New England, through 18th- and 19th-century New York's and Philadelphia's urban Yuletide contributions, to Christmas traditions in the antebellum South, Nissenbaum's excursion is fascinating, and will startle even those who thought they knew all there was to know about Christmas.

There's a 190-year-old tradition of spending and consumerism at Christmastime-- a tradition that has only the weakest links to the New Testament nativity story. Spend, spend, spend, citizen!
Logged
When folly and lies are sown broadcast, one necessarily reaps insanity.  --Zola

Tyler

  • 1-800-SCABIES
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 804
  • SKULLTOPUS
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #116 on: 29 Dec 2008, 12:11 »

Well, duh.
Logged
Quote from: Lunchbox
It is not wussy. There are orifices being assaulted all over the shop.

Ceiling Cat

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 50
  • WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #117 on: 29 Dec 2008, 12:32 »

There's also the element of social pressure in Christmas too...no matter what religion you are, if you live in the West it won't get out of your face. A lot of small businesses rely on the Christmas rush to push them through the next year. People expect you to buy presents, there are the Christmas songs on the radio, the invitations to Christmas parties...Plus, Christmas dinner is just so, so good  :-P
This thread went off topic pretty quickly.
Logged

Is it cold in here?

  • Administrator
  • Awakened
  • ******
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 25,163
  • He/him/his pronouns
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #118 on: 29 Dec 2008, 15:10 »

The phrase for Pennelope is "passionate rationalist".

It was the mention of ghosts, not God, that started the argument, which she told Dora was an "argument about metaphysics" rather than an argument about religion.

By Pen-elope standards she was pretty calm and controlled about the whole thing. We've seen her hyperventilate, after all, in a different context. And she didn't try to convert Wil, though who knows where the conversation would have gone if the bear hadn't interrupted it.
Logged
Thank you, Dr. Karikˇ.

harniq

  • Notorious N.U.R.R.
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #119 on: 30 Dec 2008, 02:46 »

I'm going back to the first post because I felt I had to add something to it.

I'm a believer. I don't know what exactly I believe in but through observation of the world and interpretation of the facts of every given day I realised that most of the stuff that's happening is nigh to impossible without some form of god or higher power. It's very hard to explain this to people. It's even harder to explain this to atheists.

When I discuss religion, faith and related stuff with a christian, jew, muslim, buddhist or any religious person for that matter, it's entirely possible to talk about the differences in our believes, trying to give new insights to eachother and generally just laidback talk about god.

When discussing religion with an atheist it quickly turns into a fierce battle. Atheists generally reject all my reasoning and insights with a simple: "there is no god, period". That's the answer to all my important believes. Most of the time they want to convert ME into their perfect faith of atheism. It's something I come across every time I give a slight hint to people around me about me believing. It's very annoying. Even more annoying is the fact that atheists usually can't explain the reasoning behind their atheism. I can perfectly explain the reasons for a god to exist without a shred of doubt. Them just rejecting my arguments without counterarguments is not productive and does not constitute a decent discussion.
Logged

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #120 on: 30 Dec 2008, 07:55 »

When discussing religion with an atheist it quickly turns into a fierce battle. Atheists generally reject all my reasoning and insights with a simple: "there is no god, period". That's the answer to all my important believes. Most of the time they want to convert ME into their perfect faith of atheism.

You've been talking to the wrong atheists, I think...  :-D

If you don't have even a *shred* of a doubt, I suspect you haven't dug very deeply (for example, all of the common reasons for belief in / disbelief in God are analysed in huge depth in various places online -- have you looked for criticisms of your arguments?).  But either way, the trick is to seek out people who disagree from you and are capable of calm, rational discussion.

There's an active thread in the QC "DISCUSS!" forum called "Religious Debate Do You Believe there is a god ? why?", you could also try that:
http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,21997.0.html
Edit: this one's much longer and also pretty recent:
http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,21868.0.html
« Last Edit: 30 Dec 2008, 09:02 by jtheory »
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #121 on: 30 Dec 2008, 10:10 »

...
When discussing religion with an atheist it quickly turns into a fierce battle. Atheists generally reject all my reasoning and insights with a simple: "there is no god, period". That's the answer to all my important believes. Most of the time they want to convert ME into their perfect faith of atheism. It's something I come across every time I give a slight hint to people around me about me believing. It's very annoying. Even more annoying is the fact that atheists usually can't explain the reasoning behind their atheism. I can perfectly explain the reasons for a god to exist without a shred of doubt. Them just rejecting my arguments without counterarguments is not productive and does not constitute a decent discussion.
The issue I often have is when theists (well, Christians) cite the Bible as their evidence of God. It goes like this:

The Bible is the word of God.
The word of God is always true.
Why? Because the Bible says so.

Somehow, that is not viewed as circular logic by those citing the Bible as evidence.

Fine, maybe some of the historical events concerning people have been shown to be accurate. Fine. People wrote the book about other people. Some of the stuff may well be valid. That doesn't validate the supernatural events spoken of. Heck, there's even evidence that the Great Flood may have been the result of a comet or asteroid collision in the Indian Ocean. Imagine that, thousands of years ago, just the sight of a comet in the sky was seen as an omen of evil.

Now think what would happen if you, a simple merchant, heard a great explosion in the distance, or a low but powerful rumbling. Then you see the ocean far off rising up in a great wave. It crashes ashore, and even reaches to where you are; you struggle against a tree as debris speeds past you. After waiting a few long, tiring days for the waters to recede, you see dead people and animals all around, and the villages utterly decimated. You begin to make your way back home. By the time you've told the story to 50 different people, the wave was thousands of feet tall, wiping out entire cities, and the flooding went on for what felt like 40 days and 40 nights. It was high enough to cover the mountaintops, even!
And the fish I caught was thiiiiiiiis big.

Someone heard your great tale of woe, and wrote it down. Clearly, this must be the act of a vengeful deity - we must change our ways immediately!


So no, the Bible is not a valid source as "evidence" of God. And conveniently, "miracles" such as those told of in it just don't seem to happen anymore.


Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #122 on: 30 Dec 2008, 10:21 »

That is one impressive straw man there, Jeff7.

It's HUGE!
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #123 on: 30 Dec 2008, 13:03 »

Really?....yeah, it's simplified, but I find that that's what it often boils down to: The Bible is infallible because The Bible says so, therefore I shall use it as evidence.


Or are you referring to the Great Flood hypothesis? That's not just made up BS, there's been evidence found of a large impact in the Indian Ocean region, based on element traces found in sediment layering on the coastlines.

« Last Edit: 30 Dec 2008, 13:05 by Jeff7 »
Logged

norcekri

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #124 on: 30 Dec 2008, 13:22 »

I find the same thing as Jeff7; that argument is the basis of faith for many people.  Thus, it's not actually a straw-man in the sense of a logical fallacy (although it is circular reasoning).  Furthermore, if you go back to about 400 A.D., you'll note that the BIble did not come as a wholistic work: it actually is a collection of individual books (some of which are related to one another, such as Paul's epistles).  Nicodemus and company determined which books to include and which to exclude, and it seems that much of the decision was based on an attempt to maintain social and political control in that century.  Thus, the books we now know as the Apocrypha were sort of the B-list for that council, and several books discovered since were (obviously) not considered at all (and heaven forbid we should change the Bible at this late date -- except for translation changes, language updates, reinterpretations, and the like).

I have a number of fundamentalist friends (I'm hardly an atheist, myself), and many of them exhibit the logic Jeff7 quotes (which we also found in much earlier tracts in my intro to philosophy class).  Anything consitent with their faith is the word of God; anything inconsistent (such as evidence that the Earth is more than about six millennia in age) is a test of faith.
Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #125 on: 30 Dec 2008, 13:56 »

The straw man is actually that there are all these vague, anecdotal, undefined "bunch of people" who literally believe the Bible is infallible, and believe that because it says so.

This is the 21st century, guys.  There aren't really THAT many of those people - they're just very vocal - and they don't really matter much, especially in any kind of serious discussion.

It's another symptom of the atheist argument attacking the weakest part of the religious argument.  It's like complaining about people who believe the Earth is flat, or that straight men befriend women with absolutely no intention of ever sexing them.
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

JonSnow

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #126 on: 30 Dec 2008, 15:22 »

The problem is extreme views either way are bad. If you hold the Bible as truth, you're doing it wrong and you're too extreme of a Christian, it's what the extreme muslims are doing with the Koran.

You need to interpret the Bible in different ways, even the 'miracles' Jezus performs. Let's say the multiplication of the bread and fish, where Jezus has spent a day on an island speaking to a massive crowd and people start to get hungry but there is no food. But then a small boy comes to Jezus and hands him a basket of bread and fish and Jezus multiplies the bread and the fish so everybody has food. You could say this most likely happened cause people were greedy and didnt want to share the food they had. But when a little boy did it and they started to feel guilty and the bread and fish multiplied in a not so miraculous way, but in morally better one.

If you believe Jezus performed miracles and are waiting for Him to return, well I'm sorry you're going to have a long time waiting. Plus if he ever would return it is most likely he'd be locked up somewhere in a straight jacket shot full of tranquilizers. If you believe in a God you are one of the people that like to believe, if you dont believe in a God you dont like to believe. In the end I dont think there are any big religions anymore, people will mostly start pasting together their own kind of beliefs that make up there moral ethics. What happens after you die? if you ask me whatever YOU believe will happen. (if you believe in heaven you'll go to heaven, if you believe in reincarnation you get reincarnated, if you're an atheist you're in for a boring ride) Is there a God? to not in the purest sense of the word. God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting eachother.

Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p

Logged

Jackie Blue

  • BANNED
  • Born in a Nalgene bottle
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3,438
  • oh hi
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #127 on: 30 Dec 2008, 15:24 »

A good, thoughtful post from someone new?

No, I mean it, good show, Jon.
Logged
Man, this thread really makes me want to suck some cock.

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #128 on: 30 Dec 2008, 16:32 »

Okay; maybe I should just accept that this thread is staying alive for now, and I'm not the only one keeping it running.  :-D

It's another symptom of the atheist argument attacking the weakest part of the religious argument.  It's like complaining about people who believe the Earth is flat[...]
I agree that attacking the weak arguments is cheating and can be a waste of time (unless you're talking directly with someone who's presenting them), but ideally you'd follow up that comment with even a link to some *strong* arguments that deserve discussion.

You need to interpret the Bible in different ways, even the 'miracles' Jezus performs. Let's say the multiplication of the bread and fish, where Jezus has spent a day on an island speaking to a massive crowd and people start to get hungry but there is no food. But then a small boy comes to Jezus and hands him a basket of bread and fish and Jezus multiplies the bread and the fish so everybody has food. You could say this most likely happened cause people were greedy and didnt want to share the food they had. But when a little boy did it and they started to feel guilty and the bread and fish multiplied in a not so miraculous way, but in morally better one.

This is a more plausible approach than trying to fight for "the Bible is the inerrant word of God", which I think we all agree doesn't get very far.  This approach also lets you set aside the more bizarre parts of the Bible (like long lists of genealogy where everyone lives to 900 years old, some of the particularly nasty things God does, etc.) as interesting historical artifacts that contain no useful moral instruction.  It raises a lot of questions, though -- if the Bible isn't the word of God, how do you know what God actually *does* want?  How and IF he should be worshiped?  Prayed to?  How do you know anything about God at all?  And if you have to use your own morals to decide which parts of the Bible are valuable and which are outdated or irrelevant, doesn't that mean your own moral sense is more important to develop... perhaps by studying some of the vast body of work focused on morality, rather than just the bible?

If you believe Jezus performed miracles and are waiting for Him to return, well I'm sorry you're going to have a long time waiting. Plus if he ever would return it is most likely he'd be locked up somewhere in a straight jacket shot full of tranquilizers.

Good point.  Heh.  Maybe Jesus *did* return....

If you believe in a God you are one of the people that like to believe, if you dont believe in a God you dont like to believe. In the end I dont think there are any big religions anymore, people will mostly start pasting together their own kind of beliefs that make up there moral ethics. What happens after you die? if you ask me whatever YOU believe will happen. (if you believe in heaven you'll go to heaven, if you believe in reincarnation you get reincarnated, if you're an atheist you're in for a boring ride)

Oh, there are still very big religions now, and they have a lot of power....  I doubt that large organized religion is going away any time soon.  Organized religious belief can be used in very nasty ways to make a lot of money, unfortunately (see Scientology), and that kind of scam also isn't likely to go away soon.
But regarding when you die -- do you think that's *factually* true, that whatever you believe will happen to you?  Or just that it's a nice way to think of it?  I guess what I'm saying is, if tomorrow somehow a way were found to find out definitively what happens to human consciousness after death, the soul would be proven/disproven, etc.... would you put money on the idea that whatever the person believed would be true for them?

Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p

The atheist answer here: I don't know, but you don't know either, and there doesn't seem to be any reason to pray to "murky early state of universe" in any case.
Also -- if you assume some super-intelligent being was there to create it, you have to explain where that super-intelligent being came from... was it created by an even *more* super-intelligent being?
Logged

tragic_pizza

  • Psychopath in a hockey mask
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 611
  • Board Certified Curmudgeon
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #129 on: 30 Dec 2008, 16:38 »

The problem is extreme views either way are bad. If you hold the Bible as truth, you're doing it wrong and you're too extreme of a Christian, it's what the extreme muslims are doing with the Koran.
Quite so. In fact, the only disagreement you and I have in your entire post is the following:

Quote
If you believe Jezus performed miracles and are waiting for Him to return, well I'm sorry you're going to have a long time waiting. Plus if he ever would return it is most likely he'd be locked up somewhere in a straight jacket shot full of tranquilizers.
Assuming you mean Jesus, your comment reflects an uninformed eschatological view. The only reason I mention this is that the loaves-and-fishes theory you posit has actually got some agreement in the more liberal Christian theological community, so while not my own, it is not an out-of-the-question interpretation.
Logged
[21:19] andy: Mai, I am sorry, I am going to say this outright that I would doeverything in my power to try and have sweet girl love with you.

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #130 on: 30 Dec 2008, 17:51 »

Assuming you mean Jesus, your comment reflects an uninformed eschatological view. The only reason I mention this is that the loaves-and-fishes theory you posit has actually got some agreement in the more liberal Christian theological community, so while not my own, it is not an out-of-the-question interpretation.

Er... is there an informed eschatological view available?
Logged

tragic_pizza

  • Psychopath in a hockey mask
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 611
  • Board Certified Curmudgeon
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #131 on: 30 Dec 2008, 19:30 »

Define "informed."

If you mean one informed by the words in the book about Jesus, there are several.

If you mean one informed by science, I don't think so.
Logged
[21:19] andy: Mai, I am sorry, I am going to say this outright that I would doeverything in my power to try and have sweet girl love with you.

ShideKnight

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #132 on: 31 Dec 2008, 00:08 »

So, I hope i'm not interrupting anything jumping in the thread here, but I kinda wanna jump in. So here goes... hehe

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting eachother.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.

Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p

Well, if you accept God, He is His own reason. The only uncaused thing in existance. As I recall, it's part of the very definition of God.

This is a more plausible approach than trying to fight for "the Bible is the inerrant word of God", which I think we all agree doesn't get very far.  This approach also lets you set aside the more bizarre parts of the Bible (like long lists of genealogy where everyone lives to 900 years old, some of the particularly nasty things God does, etc.) as interesting historical artifacts that contain no useful moral instruction.  It raises a lot of questions, though -- if the Bible isn't the word of God, how do you know what God actually *does* want?  How and IF he should be worshiped?  Prayed to?  How do you know anything about God at all?  And if you have to use your own morals to decide which parts of the Bible are valuable and which are outdated or irrelevant, doesn't that mean your own moral sense is more important to develop... perhaps by studying some of the vast body of work focused on morality, rather than just the bible?

As to how to go about worshiping God, what He wants beyond a relationship with us, and how go about it... I have heard that this is the main reason God came down as Jesus. We couldn't reliably find God, so he found us, that it's through grace and the Holy Spirit that any kind of connection is made... it's kind of interesting, because that indicates that any kind of human prayer or worship is ineffective just by itself.
Logged

Fenriswolf

  • Pneumatic ratchet pants
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 319
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #133 on: 31 Dec 2008, 00:24 »

I'm a believer. I don't know what exactly I believe in but through observation of the world and interpretation of the facts of every given day I realised that most of the stuff that's happening is nigh to impossible without some form of god or higher power. It's very hard to explain this to people. It's even harder to explain this to atheists.
See, that bolded part really gets to me. Life is overwhelming and we don't understand it so there must be a deity involved? I don't understand how people come to that unshakeable conviction. I have no idea. (Or I have an idea but I've never heard any kind of convincing argument.)

Here's my perspective: life is amazing and awe-inspiring at times. Seeing pictures deep in the Antarctic or of far away solar systems can fill you with wonder. Finding new species in strange places where we never would have imagined to find life is exciting. Seeing how life comes together biologically, both systemically and cellularly is full of wonderment, as is learning about carbon-based life forms and how changing distribution of atoms can create such a different solution.

We don't understand how something like 80% of our brain works. We don't understand half of what our hormones do, we learn by trial and error. No one has any clue about what preceded the big bang, or how the universe can be both infinite and constantly expanding.

And this is why I love science! I'm not a scientist, I don't even have an undergraduate degree. But learning more, knowing there is always more to learn, finding out something that was always accepted is totally wrong is exciting for me! We understand so much, yet so little. This, to me, is not a bad thing, and it makes me sad we seek out absolutes.

Explain to me why our lack of understanding or lack of ability to conceptualise equates to the sure existence of a higher power. Please.
Logged

Jeff7

  • Furry furrier
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 176
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #134 on: 31 Dec 2008, 00:59 »

....
Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p
One notion is that the Big Bang singularity caused an eruption of space, energy, and time. What would a realm without causality be like?

It always boils down to though, who created God? If the Big Bang must have some cause, and it's not "ok" to say it may have "originated" in a realm devoid of causality as we know it, then why is it ok to say that nothing created God?



Well, if you accept God, He is His own reason. The only uncaused thing in existance. As I recall, it's part of the very definition of God.
Where is the evidence of this?
I can define "table" to be a thing which is un-caused. I can arbitrarily define things to be whatever I want them to be. We assign meaning to our own words, because we humans create languages.



Concerning the idea that "most of the stuff that's happening is nigh to impossible without some form of god or higher power" - we're trying to effectively reverse engineer what nature spent billions of years doing. How long have we had what we'd consider to be "good" science? A few centuries maybe? Some of the sciences are even younger than that. How long have general and special relativity been known about? When was the electron discovered? When were bacteria discovered to be one of the causes of illness? Things once attributed to "gods" are now within our ability to observe and explain, constantly pushing these deities back into the roles they've always held: Gods of the gaps.

If we don't know how something works, God did it. Once we find out how it works, and see that it's not God, oh well, God never did it.


And again, if you think this Universe is orderly or friendly to life (which really, it's downright hostile to life), then a creator entity would need to be even more complex and orderly, perhaps requiring an even more complex creator. Then from there, it's turtles all the way down.

* I've heard that said that the Universe is "tuned perfectly" for life. 99.99999......% of the Universe will kill us. The Sun is capable of generating massive coronal ejections which would pound Earth's magnetic field and strip away the upper atmosphere, allowing us to enjoy a lovely cleansing and sterilizing bath of unfiltered ultraviolet radiation. That aside, even the majority of our own "perfect" planet's volume is fatal to us. We only inhabit a very thin layer on the surface, and even some portions of that are deadly. Too much water, too little water, too hot, too cold, too toxic - take your pick. And there are organisms all around us which are constantly battling our own defense systems. Yes, we need an active defense system just to keep the planet from killing us.
Beyond this planet, there are other fun things like quasars, emitting immense amounts of radiation. Also out there are these gamma ray bursts. If one happened sufficiently close to Earth (I think something like <1000 light years away), a good portion of the atmosphere would get puffed away, and we might enjoy a healthy dose of gamma radiation poisoning.

Perfect for life? I want my money back.

Logged

JonSnow

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #135 on: 31 Dec 2008, 01:34 »

Define "informed."
If you mean one informed by the words in the book about Jesus, there are several.

I find it very wrong to concider the bible an informed opinion. It's a book written 100's of years after the facts it describes. There are literally 100's of different gospels at that the Christian Church filtered all but the 4 they wanted you to see. So it's by far not a realistic, unbiased opinion of what happened. I find it very sad how so many people concider the Bible to be 100% truth or total crazytalk. There is always a gray area you know. (and yes that also for you athe´st)

So, I hope i'm not interrupting anything jumping in the thread here, but I kinda wanna jump in. So here goes... hehe

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting eachother.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.
As I see it this is by far not the mainstream Christian view, Jezus was the personification of God yes, but most Christians still want to depict God as the wise old man with the beard sitting in the clouds watching over us. and I would make the pope faint if I told him Jezus was a woman or even a black man. I dont think a religion that would hold love as the most important characteristic from their God, could have such non loving point of views.

....
Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p
One notion is that the Big Bang singularity caused an eruption of space, energy, and time. What would a realm without causality be like?

It always boils down to though, who created God? If the Big Bang must have some cause, and it's not "ok" to say it may have "originated" in a realm devoid of causality as we know it, then why is it ok to say that nothing created God?
It wasnt nothing that created God, we did, we created him with our urge for knowledge, combined with our lack of patience. You're right God is the God if the gaps, but he has become so much more, he is the only solace that a lonely religious man will need. While a lonely athe´st will spend his days filandring, or drinking to find his solace. Just the fact that you believe in a greater being on itsself can help you carry the heavier burdens of life.

You cant believe in something you have seen. Because then it  becomes knowledge and not belief. It's the very definition of believing, that you trust in something , trust that something exists without the certainty that you're doing the right thing.

Okay; maybe I should just accept that this thread is staying alive for now, and I'm not the only one keeping it running.  :-D

You need to interpret the Bible in different ways, even the 'miracles' Jezus performs. Let's say the multiplication of the bread and fish, where Jezus has spent a day on an island speaking to a massive crowd and people start to get hungry but there is no food. But then a small boy comes to Jezus and hands him a basket of bread and fish and Jezus multiplies the bread and the fish so everybody has food. You could say this most likely happened cause people were greedy and didnt want to share the food they had. But when a little boy did it and they started to feel guilty and the bread and fish multiplied in a not so miraculous way, but in morally better one.

This is a more plausible approach than trying to fight for "the Bible is the inerrant word of God", which I think we all agree doesn't get very far.  This approach also lets you set aside the more bizarre parts of the Bible (like long lists of genealogy where everyone lives to 900 years old, some of the particularly nasty things God does, etc.) as interesting historical artifacts that contain no useful moral instruction.  It raises a lot of questions, though -- if the Bible isn't the word of God, how do you know what God actually *does* want?  How and IF he should be worshiped?  Prayed to?  How do you know anything about God at all?  And if you have to use your own morals to decide which parts of the Bible are valuable and which are outdated or irrelevant, doesn't that mean your own moral sense is more important to develop... perhaps by studying some of the vast body of work focused on morality, rather than just the bible?
People should indeed start evolving moral senses again, because due to multiple reasons (I'm not goin to point them out or explain them here as it is another discussion) people are generally becoming assholes, and this in all group of society no matter what age, sex or colour you are. People no longer have old folks have their seat on the bus. The old folks hit you with their purses for waiting in line and accidentally being ahead of them. The 10y old girls want to dress up like Britney Spears and hope to have had sex by the time they're 12 and the 10y old boys are never learning what's good or bad anymore. This decay in morals, this every man for himself kind of trend well it's a very sad thing.

The bible holds a certain set of morals, by far not a bad one if you're living in a society. eg: love your neighbour, put others ahead of yourself and care for them like you would want to be take care off,...  No matter how you interpret the bible those morals will always become obvious. and those morals are what make the bible an important book.

If you believe in a God you are one of the people that like to believe, if you dont believe in a God you dont like to believe. In the end I dont think there are any big religions anymore, people will mostly start pasting together their own kind of beliefs that make up there moral ethics. What happens after you die? if you ask me whatever YOU believe will happen. (if you believe in heaven you'll go to heaven, if you believe in reincarnation you get reincarnated, if you're an atheist you're in for a boring ride)

Oh, there are still very big religions now, and they have a lot of power....  I doubt that large organized religion is going away any time soon.  Organized religious belief can be used in very nasty ways to make a lot of money, unfortunately (see Scientology), and that kind of scam also isn't likely to go away soon.
But regarding when you die -- do you think that's *factually* true, that whatever you believe will happen to you?  Or just that it's a nice way to think of it?  I guess what I'm saying is, if tomorrow somehow a way were found to find out definitively what happens to human consciousness after death, the soul would be proven/disproven, etc.... would you put money on the idea that whatever the person believed would be true for them?

I believe this due to my own reasoning, every human is different, there are no two people alike. And all those different people have different views, different lives, ... so is that unlikely they will experience death differently? if you want me to present you with a scientific approach to this well there is this theory that the white light is caused by a heavy release of neurotoxins in the brain right before death. Causing the person in question to see a white light. This heavy release of neurotoxins could also make that very same person see something completely different (whichever he believes he will see).


Reading through this I have to come to see everybody believes, even the athe´sts, you cant discuss about believes that fiercely without believing you are right. You BELIEVE there is nothing there for the religious people to believe. I know this is a stupid argument, but even an atheist has or will one day be required to put his blind faith in something or someone.
Logged

tragic_pizza

  • Psychopath in a hockey mask
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 611
  • Board Certified Curmudgeon
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #136 on: 31 Dec 2008, 03:21 »

Define "informed."
If you mean one informed by the words in the book about Jesus, there are several.

I find it very wrong to concider the bible an informed opinion. It's a book written 100's of years after the facts it describes. There are literally 100's of different gospels at that the Christian Church filtered all but the 4 they wanted you to see. So it's by far not a realistic, unbiased opinion of what happened. I find it very sad how so many people concider the Bible to be 100% truth or total crazytalk. There is always a gray area you know. (and yes that also for you athe´st)
Fascinating. Wrong, but fascinating.

The only case in which the book was "100's of years after the facts it describes" might be in the case of Genesis, and perhaps parts of Kings, Chronicles, and the Samuels. The latest possible date for New Testament writings is, if we stretch it, 112AD, and that's only a couple of the Johannine epistles.

I really get a chuckle out of the "literally 100's of different gospels at that the Christian Church filtered all but the 4 they wanted you to see," as if there were a controlling hierarchy in place while the canon was being developed.

Dr. Pizza prescribes a little more history and a little less Dan Brown.
Logged
[21:19] andy: Mai, I am sorry, I am going to say this outright that I would doeverything in my power to try and have sweet girl love with you.

JonSnow

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #137 on: 31 Dec 2008, 03:51 »

What about:
Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Eve, Gospel of Mani, Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel), Gospel of the Twelve, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of the Seventy, Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms, Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Basilides, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Apelles, Gospel of Cerinthus, Gospel of Bardesanes, Gospel of the Encratites, Gospel of the Gnostics, Gospel of Hesychius, Gospel of Lucius, Gospel of Longinus, Gospel of Manes, Gospel of Merinthus, Gospel of Scythianus, Gospel of Simonides, Gospel of Tatian, Gospel of Thaddaeus and Gospel of Valentinus?

and I can get you more, really dont question my knowledge of the Bible and stuff that the Catholic Church excluded when it's Canon was decided. You will never find a single Gospel written by a woman that is approved by the Church. (change might be coming though)

And do you honestly believe that a story written 115years after the estimate birth of Jezus a man who lived to be in his 30's so roughly 80years after his estimate dead is realistic representation of events? Even if they were written by a person who travelled with Jezus (which they werent) you try and write down correctly what happened when you were ten years old?
A story that is told from mouth to mouth grows in each telling. Yes Jezus was a great man and he did good things, there is no denying that, he may even have performed miracles, but those miracles need not be taken so literally.

And finally I'm quite shocked you would think I draw my theories from Dan Brown. I really dont like the writer and his books just paste together loose facts and theories to shape a view that he believes is true but shows serious flaws.

I do wonder if you're one of those people that say Jezus and Mary Magdalena never had intimate relations :), Jezus was sent by God to be one of us, he was a man like every one of us, and seeing as how God stands for love, I would find it highly unlikely Jezus could not feel nor express the emotion love. One most keep an open eye on every angle to get a complete view, holding the Bible as the one and only truth severely hampers your view. Just the same as saying I dont believe in anything severly hampers your view.

« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2008, 03:55 by JonSnow »
Logged

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #138 on: 31 Dec 2008, 04:02 »

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting each other.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.

But "love" is extremely vague, whereas Christianity pretty much always includes a lot of other ideas that are often stressed more strongly.  Why is it so important to have any belief in the supernatural (Jesus himself being supernatural, God, the Holy Ghost, virgin birth, various miracles, the functions of prayer & worship rituals, etc. etc.)?  If Jesus & God were simply abstractions that meant "love" (i.e., nothing magical there), then Christians could skip the whole church thing and just have group meetings periodically to talk about how to make their communities more loving.  [Note: I know there *are* some groups who basically do this -- more power to them! -- but the tiny exception proves the rule]

Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p

Well, if you accept God, He is His own reason. The only uncaused thing in existance. As I recall, it's part of the very definition of God.

I think we sort of agree on this.  The only reason God is "the only uncaused thing in existence" is because we say he is; a long time ago, people put it in the definition of "God" and stopped there, with no logical support, just faith.  The difference is that I don't think this is reason enough to agree with the definition.

As to how to go about worshiping God, what He wants beyond a relationship with us, and how go about it... I have heard that this is the main reason God came down as Jesus. We couldn't reliably find God, so he found us, that it's through grace and the Holy Spirit that any kind of connection is made... it's kind of interesting, because that indicates that any kind of human prayer or worship is ineffective just by itself.

How do you even know He even wants a relationship with you, or wants your prayer or worship?  And next: what do you actually know about Jesus?  Where does that information come from?  Can you double-check it?  This is one of those things that seems to all unravel once you start pulling at the threads.  [Extension question: if you use the Bible is a historical document proving these supernatural relationships, would you *also* accept other equally-supported ancient documents with supernatural claims?]
Logged

JonSnow

  • Emoticontraindication
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 59
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #139 on: 31 Dec 2008, 04:24 »

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting each other.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.

But "love" is extremely vague, whereas Christianity pretty much always includes a lot of other ideas that are often stressed more strongly.  Why is it so important to have any belief in the supernatural (Jesus himself being supernatural, God, the Holy Ghost, virgin birth, various miracles, the functions of prayer & worship rituals, etc. etc.)?  If Jesus & God were simply abstractions that meant "love" (i.e., nothing magical there), then Christians could skip the whole church thing and just have group meetings periodically to talk about how to make their communities more loving.  [Note: I know there *are* some groups who basically do this -- more power to them! -- but the tiny exception proves the rule]

well that's pretty much how I grew up, I dont got to church every sunday anymore since I was 12 but I have a deep informed opinion on the matter of religion, albeit be it not a purely christian one. I've also got my set of morals that I picked up from my time when I did go to church. B

Doesnt the Bible say that God is everywhere? So why would we need to go to church to find him then? we can find him by looking for him within ourselves, church is actually more of a place to learn about god, not to act out his beliefs or talk to him
« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2008, 05:07 by JonSnow »
Logged

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #140 on: 31 Dec 2008, 05:11 »

I find it very wrong to consider the bible an informed opinion. It's a book written 100's of years after the facts it describes. There are literally 100's of different gospels at that the Christian Church filtered all but the 4 they wanted you to see. So it's by far not a realistic, unbiased opinion of what happened. I find it very sad how so many people consider the Bible to be 100% truth or total crazytalk. There is always a gray area you know. (and yes that also for you atheist)

I'd agree with the gist of that.  There are some parts of the Bible that I'd call crazy-talk, more or less, but most of it is very interesting as a historical document (a demonstration of real & imagined events as they were recorded & elaborated, not as they transpired, of course), and there are significant sections that address interesting moral questions -- and honestly, notions of morality haven't advanced in the same leaps and bounds that scientific understanding of the physical universe has in the past few thousand years, so much of it is still relevant (this is also why studying ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek, etc. texts are still interesting).

It wasnt nothing that created God, we did, we created him with our urge for knowledge, combined with our lack of patience. You're right God is the God if the gaps, but he has become so much more, he is the only solace that a lonely religious man will need. While a lonely athe´st will spend his days filandring, or drinking to find his solace. Just the fact that you believe in a greater being on itself can help you carry the heavier burdens of life.

Well, when I've been a lonely atheist (or nowadays when my wife is out of town), I seem to spend my time reading a lot, taking the dog for long walks, working on open source projects, and posting on internet forums.  Or, you know, making friends.  Thank God (can I say that?) religion and booze/sex aren't the only options available, because I think both are pretty limited in terms of actual solace.  Even if you believe Jesus is your friend, is that as good as finding an actual person to talk to, given a few months of solitude?

People should indeed start evolving moral senses again, because due to multiple reasons (I'm not goin to point them out or explain them here as it is another discussion) people are generally becoming assholes, and this in all group of society no matter what age, sex or colour you are. People no longer have old folks have their seat on the bus. The old folks hit you with their purses for waiting in line and accidentally being ahead of them. The 10y old girls want to dress up like Britney Spears and hope to have had sex by the time they're 12 and the 10y old boys are never learning what's good or bad anymore. This decay in morals, this every man for himself kind of trend well it's a very sad thing.

Hooray to evolving our moral sense!  Unfortunately, this is one of those things where religion actively interferes.  I personally would love to see classes in school that explored the basis for morality, how to make thoughtful moral choices, how to think through the real consequences of your actions, how to understand the *reasons* for rules (and when rules should be questioned) instead of just blindly following or not.  But this is exactly the sort of thing that would have religious parents exploding about how their children were being corrupted by "moral relativism", their religious beliefs were being violated, etc..  Can you imagine *any* useful moral curriculum that would steer clear of all religious objections (and not just Christianity)?  I don't think it'll happen.  Teaching real critical thinking also runs into many of the same roadblocks.

I believe this due to my own reasoning, every human is different, there are no two people alike. And all those different people have different views, different lives, ... so is that unlikely they will experience death differently? if you want me to present you with a scientific approach to this well there is this theory that the white light is caused by a heavy release of neurotoxins in the brain right before death. Causing the person in question to see a white light. This heavy release of neurotoxins could also make that very same person see something completely different (whichever he believes he will see).
Ah, okay -- I misunderstood.  You're talking about how people experience the moments right *before* death, not death itself.  Once your consciousness winks out, I think we agree that whatever you believed a few seconds before won't make a difference.

Reading through this I have to come to see everybody believes, even the atheists, you cant discuss about believes that fiercely without believing you are right. You BELIEVE there is nothing there for the religious people to believe. I know this is a stupid argument, but even an atheist has or will one day be required to put his blind faith in something or someone.

This is partly true, BUT in general we are closer to the truth when we assume less.  If you assume nothing, you have absolute truth (but you can't function that way -- why lift the food to your mouth if you can't assume it exists, or that your hunger exists, or your arm, or that it will help your hunger, etc....).

So we at least have to assume that the universe is consistent and exists separate from our consciousness, and the input of our senses can be trusted in a limited way, as an imperfect window on that external universe.

Beyond that, it's all questions of probability, and that's what science is based on -- probability & consistency, not "proof".  Nothing is actually ever proven, and all theories are subject to change and refinement when new data is collected.

Individually, we also make assumptions constantly -- I can't personally reproduce every scientific experiment that underlies the conclusions I've learned, for example.
But there's a huge difference between scientific conclusions -- where the source is readily available, I can access the details of the original studies and evaluate them, and I can quite probably reproduce them myself given the time and resources -- and religious conclusions, where the source is not available, there is no reliable data and no way to verify the logic, the conclusions are internally inconsistent, and there is a simple, natural explanation for these beliefs other than "they are true".

The important aspect is that faith should never be "blind" -- making an assumption should be an justified choice and open to question.
Logged

jtheory

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 213
  • overthink backscatter
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #141 on: 31 Dec 2008, 05:32 »

But "love" is extremely vague, whereas Christianity pretty much always includes a lot of other ideas that are often stressed more strongly.  Why is it so important to have any belief in the supernatural (Jesus himself being supernatural, God, the Holy Ghost, virgin birth, various miracles, the functions of prayer & worship rituals, etc. etc.)?  If Jesus & God were simply abstractions that meant "love" (i.e., nothing magical there), then Christians could skip the whole church thing and just have group meetings periodically to talk about how to make their communities more loving.  [Note: I know there *are* some groups who basically do this -- more power to them! -- but the tiny exception proves the rule]

well that's pretty much how I grew up, I dont got to church every sunday anymore since I was 12 but I have a deep informed opinion on the matter of religion, albeit be it not a purely christian one. I've also got my set of morals that I picked up from my time when I did go to church. B

Doesnt the Bible say that God is everywhere? So why would we need to go to church to find him then? we can find him by looking for him within ourselves, church is actually more of a place to learn about god, not to act out his beliefs or talk to him

Well, the Bible sometimes says God is everywhere, and other times it goes into weird contortions where God walks around in physical form and (for example) covers Moses' eyes with His hand so Moses won't see His face (though he does see God's rear end).  There's a part somewhere where God tells his followers to bury their $#it, because he walks through their camp and presumably doesn't want to step in it.  In the old testament in particular there are a lot of stories where God is angry about stuff that happened when He was off elsewhere and not paying attention (starting in the garden of Eden, for example).

But either way, now we're back to using the Bible as a source for factual information about God instead of a mixture of odd genealogies and sometimes-instructive fables.
I'd also suggest that you probably got far more of your morals from your parents, teachers, friends, and personal sense of empathy than from the Bible -- though I agree some bible-related discussions probably got you to think deeper on the subject (not a bad thing, but again not reliant on the Bible itself).
Logged

Random832

  • Bizarre cantaloupe phobia
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 234
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #142 on: 31 Dec 2008, 06:30 »

It's just as plausible that our chunk of rock in space has grown life because we're placed just right in this particular solar system (which is basically a mathematical impossibility)

You misspelled "mathematical certainty", the universe being infinite and all that (it helps to look at it as "there exists a planet that can grow life" rather than "some planet in particular grows life"; we wouldn't know the difference if it were some other chunk of rock in some other solar system)

There was a "before," but not in any terms we can quantify, because we exist within space and time. What is there when space and time don't exist? I can merely quantify it as "something," but I can not be any more specific.

Could call it "wibbly-wobbly stuff" I suppose.
Logged

ShideKnight

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #143 on: 31 Dec 2008, 10:31 »

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting each other.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.

But "love" is extremely vague, whereas Christianity pretty much always includes a lot of other ideas that are often stressed more strongly.  Why is it so important to have any belief in the supernatural (Jesus himself being supernatural, God, the Holy Ghost, virgin birth, various miracles, the functions of prayer & worship rituals, etc. etc.)?  If Jesus & God were simply abstractions that meant "love" (i.e., nothing magical there), then Christians could skip the whole church thing and just have group meetings periodically to talk about how to make their communities more loving.  [Note: I know there *are* some groups who basically do this -- more power to them! -- but the tiny exception proves the rule]

Your right actually... there's more involved; I spoke too soon.

As for supernatural, I don't believe in it... everything is natural. :p

I think there are three important things in Christian life: your relationship with God, your relationship with other people in the faith, and your relationship with people outside the faith. You are right that God is more than just love - He is the beginning and the end, after all.

Oh and who made the universe? You could say the big bang, but who made the big bang? and if something made the big bang, who made that? :p

Well, if you accept God, He is His own reason. The only uncaused thing in existance. As I recall, it's part of the very definition of God.

I think we sort of agree on this.  The only reason God is "the only uncaused thing in existence" is because we say he is; a long time ago, people put it in the definition of "God" and stopped there, with no logical support, just faith.  The difference is that I don't think this is reason enough to agree with the definition.
[/quote]

Well, the thing is any system of human thought has its foundation of assumptions that its built on. Mathematics has its axioms, science its methods, religion its God. These are all assumptions. Just one cast of something that truly contradicts a scientific theory is enough to throw most or all of it out.

Everything we do is ultimately based on an assumption. I personally believe that starting with the assumption that God is real is an excellent way to start looking at the world.

As to how to go about worshiping God, what He wants beyond a relationship with us, and how go about it... I have heard that this is the main reason God came down as Jesus. We couldn't reliably find God, so he found us, that it's through grace and the Holy Spirit that any kind of connection is made... it's kind of interesting, because that indicates that any kind of human prayer or worship is ineffective just by itself.

How do you even know He even wants a relationship with you, or wants your prayer or worship?  And next: what do you actually know about Jesus?  Where does that information come from?  Can you double-check it?  This is one of those things that seems to all unravel once you start pulling at the threads.  [Extension question: if you use the Bible is a historical document proving these supernatural relationships, would you *also* accept other equally-supported ancient documents with supernatural claims?]
[/quote]

1) Jesus, yes.

2) Ultimately, the bible.

3) What do you mean 'double-check'? There are four of them, and they agree on the important parts.

4) I don't think there are any equally-supported ancient documents.

Additions:

Well, if you accept God, He is His own reason. The only uncaused thing in existance. As I recall, it's part of the very definition of God.

Where is the evidence of this?
I can define "table" to be a thing which is un-caused. I can arbitrarily define things to be whatever I want them to be. We assign meaning to our own words, because we humans create languages.

Concerning the idea that "most of the stuff that's happening is nigh to impossible without some form of god or higher power" - we're trying to effectively reverse engineer what nature spent billions of years doing. How long have we had what we'd consider to be "good" science? A few centuries maybe? Some of the sciences are even younger than that. How long have general and special relativity been known about? When was the electron discovered? When were bacteria discovered to be one of the causes of illness? Things once attributed to "gods" are now within our ability to observe and explain, constantly pushing these deities back into the roles they've always held: Gods of the gaps.

If we don't know how something works, God did it. Once we find out how it works, and see that it's not God, oh well, God never did it.

And again, if you think this Universe is orderly or friendly to life (which really, it's downright hostile to life), then a creator entity would need to be even more complex and orderly, perhaps requiring an even more complex creator. Then from there, it's turtles all the way down.

* I've heard that said that the Universe is "tuned perfectly" for life. 99.99999......% of the Universe will kill us. The Sun is capable of generating massive coronal ejections which would pound Earth's magnetic field and strip away the upper atmosphere, allowing us to enjoy a lovely cleansing and sterilizing bath of unfiltered ultraviolet radiation. That aside, even the majority of our own "perfect" planet's volume is fatal to us. We only inhabit a very thin layer on the surface, and even some portions of that are deadly. Too much water, too little water, too hot, too cold, too toxic - take your pick. And there are organisms all around us which are constantly battling our own defense systems. Yes, we need an active defense system just to keep the planet from killing us.
Beyond this planet, there are other fun things like quasars, emitting immense amounts of radiation. Also out there are these gamma ray bursts. If one happened sufficiently close to Earth (I think something like <1000 light years away), a good portion of the atmosphere would get puffed away, and we might enjoy a healthy dose of gamma radiation poisoning.

Perfect for life? I want my money back.

You can define a table as being uncaused, yes, but whats the point of doing that?

My intuition tells me that God is uncaused. I take it as an axiom... why should God have a cause, anyways? God is different from other ideas and thoughts that we have. Just put aside the whole is God real or not thing for a moment, and try to think of another human idea or thought which has the same kind of weight as the idea of God, the same kind of intuition that if God is real, God must be uncaused.

What I have read about the beginning of the universe reveals God, I think. Orderly does not necessarily mean friendly, and anything that science can uncover and fit into a basic framework is by definition orderly, I think.

And anyways, the parts we do live in are good for us.

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting eachother.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.
As I see it this is by far not the mainstream Christian view, Jezus was the personification of God yes, but most Christians still want to depict God as the wise old man with the beard sitting in the clouds watching over us. and I would make the pope faint if I told him Jezus was a woman or even a black man. I dont think a religion that would hold love as the most important characteristic from their God, could have such non loving point of views.

Jesus was from the middle east, so He probably looked like people from the middle east do. (Yay, obvious comments)

And... putting an image on God? I know this probably sounds hypocritical - I thought about it a lot myself - Jesus is the one that God came down as; trying to give God any other image or symbol is just... bad. He's not an old guy with a beard in the clouds.

The way that Christianity is carried out these days, the way it has been for years, shows that the church as a whole has degenerated some, I think. I'm not too surprised, because the prophets in the old testament are always talking about how the Israelites are not doing what God asked them to.

Same thing for us, I guess. As with any other group of people who believe something, you get those who are just hanging on. Not to mention that I have heard from plenty of people at my church that it takes a lifetime to even start to get it right.

Regarding those non-loving points of view? If you read the bible and asked questions, I think you'd be able to understand at least some of them better. Really id chalk most of it up to people only half understanding themselves, or being distracted, or not caring to understand, which, as I pointed out last night, is a big problem that was acknowledged  way back by Paul, witting Romans.

What about:
Gospel of Judas, Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Mary, Gospel of Philip, Gospel of Eve, Gospel of Mani, Gospel of the Saviour (also known as the Unknown Berlin gospel), Gospel of the Twelve, Gospel of Bartholomew, Gospel of the Seventy, Gospel of the Four Heavenly Realms, Gospel of Perfection, Gospel of Marcion, Gospel of Basilides, Gospel of Andrew, Gospel of Apelles, Gospel of Cerinthus, Gospel of Bardesanes, Gospel of the Encratites, Gospel of the Gnostics, Gospel of Hesychius, Gospel of Lucius, Gospel of Longinus, Gospel of Manes, Gospel of Merinthus, Gospel of Scythianus, Gospel of Simonides, Gospel of Tatian, Gospel of Thaddaeus and Gospel of Valentinus?

and I can get you more, really dont question my knowledge of the Bible and stuff that the Catholic Church excluded when it's Canon was decided. You will never find a single Gospel written by a woman that is approved by the Church. (change might be coming though)

As I recall, the books included in the cannon were the ones that the early church used. From the Case for Christ, there were tree criteria. The book had to of been written by an apostle or a follower of an apostle. Second, it had to agree with what was in practice. Finally, the book had to of been in used by the church for some time.

I think those are pretty good rules.

Quote
And do you honestly believe that a story written 115years after the estimate birth of Jezus a man who lived to be in his 30's so roughly 80years after his estimate dead is realistic representation of events? Even if they were written by a person who travelled with Jezus (which they werent) you try and write down correctly what happened when you were ten years old?
A story that is told from mouth to mouth grows in each telling. Yes Jezus was a great man and he did good things, there is no denying that, he may even have performed miracles, but those miracles need not be taken so literally.

If I remember right, Jesus was crucified around 33 A.D., and the books started to be recorded around 70 A.D.? That's not enough time for legends to develop... people who actually saw the miracles happen would of still been around to counter any legendary growth.

Quote
And finally I'm quite shocked you would think I draw my theories from Dan Brown. I really dont like the writer and his books just paste together loose facts and theories to shape a view that he believes is true but shows serious flaws.

I do wonder if you're one of those people that say Jezus and Mary Magdalena never had intimate relations :), Jezus was sent by God to be one of us, he was a man like every one of us, and seeing as how God stands for love, I would find it highly unlikely Jezus could not feel nor express the emotion love. One most keep an open eye on every angle to get a complete view, holding the Bible as the one and only truth severely hampers your view. Just the same as saying I dont believe in anything severly hampers your view.

Well Jesus was much more driven by the spirit than we are... love is not lust, remember.

God only knows what being fully divine and fully human did to Him.

God is love, the thing that brings to people together and makes them stay together for a lifetime supporting each other.

That's pretty much what we Christians think of Jesus... and of God in general, really.

But "love" is extremely vague, whereas Christianity pretty much always includes a lot of other ideas that are often stressed more strongly.  Why is it so important to have any belief in the supernatural (Jesus himself being supernatural, God, the Holy Ghost, virgin birth, various miracles, the functions of prayer & worship rituals, etc. etc.)?  If Jesus & God were simply abstractions that meant "love" (i.e., nothing magical there), then Christians could skip the whole church thing and just have group meetings periodically to talk about how to make their communities more loving.  [Note: I know there *are* some groups who basically do this -- more power to them! -- but the tiny exception proves the rule]

well that's pretty much how I grew up, I dont got to church every sunday anymore since I was 12 but I have a deep informed opinion on the matter of religion, albeit be it not a purely christian one. I've also got my set of morals that I picked up from my time when I did go to church. B

Doesnt the Bible say that God is everywhere? So why would we need to go to church to find him then? we can find him by looking for him within ourselves, church is actually more of a place to learn about god, not to act out his beliefs or talk to him

You don't need to go to church. I think the big thing is to stay in contact with the community of believers around you, with church and church groups being the best way to do that. Community with the people around you and with God are the most important things, I think.

After all, if your trying to live a moral life, its much easier to do that when your not alone in trying to live that moral life.

Edit: Eep, wall of text *crush*
« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2008, 11:40 by ShideKnight »
Logged

Surgoshan

  • Duck attack survivor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,801
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #144 on: 31 Dec 2008, 12:51 »

As to causeless causation... that's an example of an argument from infinite regression.  All of those arguments are, basically, rather flawed.

They are all of the form:

1) Nothing moves without having been moved by something (or is caused without having been caused by something, or is perfectly good).
2)  Something must have been the first thing to move something (or cause something, or be perfectly good).
3)  We call this thing God.

Flaw the first: Assumption 2 eats itself.  (1) says nothing is without cause.  (2) assumes rather arbitrarily that, in contradiction of (1), that there is something that had no prior cause.  It was placed there because Christians believed in a universe with a definite beginning, as opposed to an Aristotelian infinitely prolonged universe (these arguments for God as a terminus for infinite regression were all first laid down by St. Thomas Aquinas).  Not only does (2) contradict (1), but it is totally baseless.  As is always the case, theologians don't prove god's existence, they assume it and work from there. 

Flaw the second: Wherefore is there a justification for assuming a terminus to the infinite regression proposed by (1)?  Don't point to the big bang; when these arguments were first put forth, the big bang was unknown; additionally, we've no experience of the moment of the big bang nor what came before, so we can put forth no evidence or argument regarding its causation.  The justification of (1) comes from experience; we can observe that every action has a cause.  A rock falls because it was dropped, or because it was pushed and fell.  It dropped because I let go; I was impelled to do so by my desire to move it; etc.  (2) has no such justification.  Being uncomfortable with infinities, most people simply assume it is true and can provide no true justification.

I'm tempted to state that these proofs from infinite regression are in fact negative proofs of the form reductio ad absurdum.  They make two assumptions, one justified and one not, and then take those to their logical conclusion.  The conclusion is absurd and so one of our assumptions must be false.



There have been other arguments for gods existence.  They all, in the end, tend to fall apart.  And when I say "tend to" I mean "do in fact, all the time, seriously, dude,".  The ontological argument is the worst, not least because it always gets trotted out.
Logged

ShideKnight

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #145 on: 31 Dec 2008, 13:24 »

I don't see why if I wanted to, I couldn't use the big bang as evidence? It seems to me that your argument to not use it is a logical fallacy.
Logged

Surgoshan

  • Duck attack survivor
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,801
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #146 on: 31 Dec 2008, 15:52 »

Because the big bang is not evidence of a causeless phenomenon (particularly if you say that god caused it).  Though we don't know the cause, or even if there was one, the complete lack of evidence for anything prior to the big bang doesn't give one license to make any assumptions about what's in it.

It's as if a stranger were to hand you a box and ask you to guess what's in it.  You could make certain assumptions based on the size of the box and what little you know of the stranger. You could perhaps shake the box, and smell it.  You could, in fact, rule out a great many things and narrow down the list of possibilities; perhaps you could eliminate enough uncertainty to make a plausible guess.

You can't do that with the "before the big bang" box because we don't know the size of the box, nor is there a stranger handing it to us.  We can't shake the box, nor smell it, nor even see it.  It is the largest unknown currently available to us.  It is, in fact, entirely impossible to make assumptions about "before the big bang".  Our knowledge about that time adds up to a fundamental naught.

And when you build your arguments on nothing...
Logged

ShideKnight

  • Guest
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #147 on: 31 Dec 2008, 16:31 »

I think I see what your saying... that whole "God is His own cause" idea, right?

Causality, as I recall, relies on the laws of physics to operate. At least, aside from mental ideas and logic. I have heard many times that physicists can't see back past the big bang because the laws of physics break down as you get closer and closer to the big bang. I believe that implies that cause and effect itself breaks down at some point.

I guess the question is what kind of 'cause and effect' could be cause and effect, but not how we know it now?

I wouldn't expect the big bang to prove anything, but after we think that cause and effect breaks down, you kind of have to wonder what other kind of systems there could be. Logically, I want to say two, just because 'cause and effect' is a kind of on/off thing. But who knows really.. God is infinite, after all. I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.
Logged

Alex C

  • comeback tour!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 5,915
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #148 on: 31 Dec 2008, 17:44 »

Oversimplifications ahoy!


Seriously though, let's not bring modern physics into this, shall we? Because the stuff is hellaciously counterintuitive and does little but point out that likely none of us here really have any idea what we're talking about. Relativity of simultaneity and frames of reference alone would grind the conversation to a halt. I guess, what I'm saying here, is that if you think of god as the sum total of existence, something we as of yet still know very little about, then, yeah, sure, there's a god, I guess. But I really wish people who believe such would quit using the term god then, since the connotations of the word just create far too much inertia to actually have a decent conversation.
Logged
the ship has Dr. Pepper but not Mr. Pibb; it's an absolute goddamned travesty

pwhodges

  • Admin emeritus
  • Awakened
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17,241
  • I'll only say this once...
    • My home page
Re: Atheist Penelope
« Reply #149 on: 31 Dec 2008, 18:03 »

I think having some kind of mind boggling problem like that, totally comprehensible to our minds is one of the strong pieces of evidence for God that there is.

Er, why? 

That is a complete non-sequitur, but it keeps getting trotted out...
Logged
"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 9   Go Up