This is why I don't like debating religion

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Runa216 said:
Take overpopulation as another example where Religion needs to back the hell off:

Scientists agree, we're overpopulated. we CAN support ourselves at our current population and according to some theories could easily feed up to 9.3 billion people, but the fact is we still have over one billion people starving and/or in intense poverty. Plus, getting to that number would require basically the rest of the world to be null. The more people WE have, the less of everything else there is.

most religions (and all of the major ones) say that we are above animals, and our needs and rights come before the environment. We hold dominion over them.

In addition, some religions say that homosexuality is wrong, that contraceptives are wrong, and in some extremes any act that doesn't result in offspring is wrong. This is particularly true where I live, where almost every family has 8 or more children (they believe in having huge families to please God and don't believe in contraception.)

So ask yourself this, which side would you chose? the one where we adhere to values that were relevant thousands of years ago but have since been made obsolete, or the side that gives real facts and figures and warns about real consequences for us and the world around us?

Science 1
Religion 0

True, but in the meantime people practice sex in a different way than people did when the global consciousness was lower (say just 50 years ago), and there was more modesty, at least in America. What then, the moral state of the people has degraded (the religious opinion) but their ability to survive has increaced.

All it says is that the priorities of religion are in a different place than the priorities of naturalistic thinking.

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ManUtdFan said:
Jay520 said:
No. Atheism/theism is completely different from being agnostic/gnostic. Atheism and theism deals with what a person believes. Agnosticism deals with what a person knows (or at least what s/he think he knows). 

If a person thinks he knows something, then he believes. Knowing something to be true doesn't necessitate it being fact - it depends on what a person's beliefs are.

Facts have nothing to do with anything.

ArnoldRimmer said:
Alara317 said:

o why don't I like debating religion? Well, it's because there's no winning a debate with a religious person, and it's NOT because they're right or my arguments fail (neither statement is correct.) I won't debate religion because even if I spent two weeks straight explaining why each and every detail in every bible ever was wrong, debunking myths or explaining how science has a better, more accurate answer, I will never, ever convince the devout that perhaps they need to be a bit more rational and critical of their faith.

Judging from these lines, you not debating religion doesn't seem like a big loss.

Well that was provocative on purpose, so let me explain: It is not your views, from what I've read your views on this topic seem very close to mine. It is because these lines give me the impression that you have a somewhat strange understanding of what debates (about religion, but it probably applies to other topics as well) that you take part in should be like:

You want to "win" the debate with the religious person, because you're absolutely convinced that they are wrong and your arguments are good. But no matter how great you explain to them, you're usually not going to convince these people, which of course just shows how stupid and irrational these idiots are.

In my language I would call this behaviour "oberlehrerhaft", and I think there is little point in debating with such a person, whatever the topic is. Because when you're going into a debate completely convinced that yours is the one and only truth, you consider everyone who has a different view wrong, and whatever arguments they say, you won't really listen. You are convinced that you are right, so whatever they say, you'll only try to find the logical fallacy that you know must be hidden in there.

I really think you're missing the point of a debate. You seem to consider it an easy competition that you should come out of as a "winner", while the positive effect on the inferior minded that you debated with should be his opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your enlightened mind. But as soon as you realize that it's not as easy as you thought to convince these people, it starts to annoy you.

Maybe I got a wrong impression here, but that is the impression I got from these lines.

sounds correct to me 

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Jumpin said:

The problem isn't with religious people, it's with fundamentalists. Religion is largely only a cultural approach to various philosophies and theologies.

Only, Fundamentalism isn't limited to Religion, it's pretty clear that the vast majority of Fundamentalist Internet Missionaries are of the atheist brand. Many of those atheists often demonstrate prejudice and ignorance against people of different culture.

Their chief missionary strategy is the straw-man argument, essentially they build up a straw man and say "that is what you religious people believe" and then proceed to engage in fisticuffs! against the straw man of their own construction, and then gleefully jump up and down with their atheist friends at their triumphant victory against the straw man they created. Although, they have completely failed to raise a challenge against the actual arguments.

ha ha, I like the way you put it. These guys argue against religion without even knowing any religion, lol. It truely is mindbending when you think about it. Like non-scientist trying to argue against Science lol.

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ManUtdFan said:
Rath said:
ManUtdFan said:
Jay520 said:

I reccomend you watch these two videos to understand atheim better and to understand why all atheist have no burden of proof.


I'm an agnostic and don't associate myself with atheism at all. The first video completely misrepresents what it means to be agnostic vs atheistic. 

The first video describes agnosticism extremely well actually. It's a common misconception that it means neither a theist or an atheist - it really does mean Iin this context) the belief that knowledge of God is unknowable. As such you can be agnostic and theist, atheist or neither.

All three terms - atheistic, theistic, agnostic are mutually exclusive. If the video claims it's possible to be both agnostic/theistic, or agnostic/atheistic to the same degree, then it's fudging the issue of belief and non-belief with oxymoronic statements.

To summarize the terms' real meanings...

Atheistic - certain non-belief in a divine creator, supreme being(s), god or gods.

Theistic - certain belief in any of the above (encompasses polytheistic as well as monotheistic faiths)

Agnostic - belief related to anything divine/supernatural is unprovable and unfactual, and therefore limited to subjective experience.

A good case in point. Richard Dawkins when asked in an interview how convinced he was that there isn't a god (any god for that matter), on a scale of 1 to 10, replied with '9'. Therefore it could be said he is 90% atheist, 10% agnostic. The three terms atheist, theist, agnostic can be considered on a sliding scale or pendulum, rather than an on-off switch. They are interchangeable, but not in the way the video described.    

You simply lack knowledge of the meaning of the word.

According to the Oxford dictionary online.

Definition of agnostic


  • a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.


  • relating to agnostics or agnosticism.
  • (in a non-religious context) having a doubtful or non-committal attitude towards something:until now I’ve been fairly agnostic about electoral reform
  • [usually in combination] Computing denoting or relating to hardware or software that is compatible with many types of platform or operating system: many common file formats (JPEG, MP3, etc.) are platform-agnostic


As you can see - in a religious context the video was entirely right and that while theism and atheism have to do with belief agnosticism has to do with knowledge.This isn't something we can really debate about, you simply have the definition of the word wrong.

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Majora said:
It's a sign of how powerful religion is and how warped peoples minds are in the religion that they feel quoting bible passages is the proof that they talk about that god exists.

And also, whether it's Christianity or Islam, what difference does it make? They are both elaborate myths so really whichever you want to 'debate' is fruitless. The 'enlightened' will tell us God said this, Allah said that. Did he now? How perfectly charming! It's all tosh.

What other form of PROOF other than quoting historical texts (like the Bible) can you provide to provide that something is true or not? For example, prove to me that Alexander the Great ever existed.

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GameOver22 said:

1. Where are you pulling this from? I'm just talking about what it means in a religious debate. Its actually pretty standard stuff if you pick up a philosophy of religion textbook or any academic book dealing with the subject.

2. It really just seems to me that with these definitions, someone is trying to swell the ranks of atheists. I mean people who do not believe in a God are now atheists? That's a standard statement for an agnostic....not an atheists. The agnostic says, "I do not believe God exists, but I also don't believe God does not exists." It seems like your defining atheism way too broadly, and the definitions themselves are very misleading. For example,

"Agnostic Atheist - A person who does not believe in the existance of a deity, OR --more specifically-- believes in the inexistance of a deity, but accepts that they cannot know for certain."

3. The two bolded sections are two completely different claims that are being used to define the same term......which should not be done with any definition. The first claim is compatible with someone also saying, "I do not believe in the nonexistence of a deity." For someone making the second claim, they could not then say "I believe in the existence of a deity" without contradicting themselves.In fact, all these definition are doing is using agnosticism as a synonym for skepticism, which is unneeded given that we already have the word skepticism.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/-a quick read on the subject. I will admit that the definitions are kind of arbitrary, but they are there for a reason....primarily to make discussion easier. The definitions you provided really just serve to complicate things for no reason at all.

1.You've already agreed that you searched and found some conflicting definitions so I don't think I need to search for anymore.

2. Yes, atheism is broad. It's simply a lack of belief. When you focus on atheists who believe God doesn't exist, then you're focusing on a specific group within athiesm. This group is called explicit atheists. Either way, you must recognize that they are a specific group, not all atheists. You can read it here:


3. Yes, they are different. As stated above, there are exclicit atheists to define the latter, while there are implicit atheists to define the former. Here, if you want I'll break it down even further.


  • Gnostic Theist - A person who thinks there is enough information to know that at least one deity exists.
  • Agnostic Theist - A person who believes that at least one deity exists, but accepts that thre isn't enough information to know.
  • Agnostic Atheist - A person who does not believe in a deity, but accepts that there isn't enough information to know.
  • Explicit Atheist - A person who believes in the inexistance of a deity, but accepts that there isn't enough information to know.
  • Gnostic Atheist - A person who thinks there is enough information to know that no deity exists (This group is composed solely of explicit atheists). 
Also the two are not two different claims. The latter category falls into a more specific category than the former. 

As you can see from doing a few quick searches, there are many conflicting definitions of what atheism is. Some say it's only people who reject a deity. Others say that those people are a specific kind of atheists (explicit atheists), and the general term atheists covers anyone who lacks a belief in a deity. Which definitions is more valid than the other? I'm not sure I can change your mind on that, but at least you recognize that your definition isn't unanimous.

I may not change what you think atheism is, but at least you now know that all people who consider themselves atheists DO NOT believe God doesn't exist. At least now you know that person who says "I'm an atheist" doesn't necessarily believed what you once though s/he believed.

Branko2166 said:
Majora said:
It's a sign of how powerful religion is and how warped peoples minds are in the religion that they feel quoting bible passages is the proof that they talk about that god exists.

And also, whether it's Christianity or Islam, what difference does it make? They are both elaborate myths so really whichever you want to 'debate' is fruitless. The 'enlightened' will tell us God said this, Allah said that. Did he now? How perfectly charming! It's all tosh.

As human beings we are wired generally speaking to be followers of something. This could be religion or it may be a political system, and it could even be a person of great charisma. We are all gifted with our own private thought domain which is our conciousness and we make the conscious choice to follow or not follow something. I have no issues with anyone believing anything they want to believe in as long as they do not attempt to force their convictions onto me. And yes this includes both religious extremists and hardcore atheists.

The issue I see is that there are extremists on both sides who are convinced that they are in the right and are trying to prove it which is the ultimate example of engaging in futility . I have had many debates with friends but while we have a lively and interesting debate in the end we generally reach a stalemate and switch topics. It is an interesting debate to have for sure but it's when people start getting emotional or express disrespect that the debate becomes pointless. And this has been fairly well demonstrated in this thread.



Christians aren't suppose to go about convincing anyone about anything, because Christianity it self says it is impossible, because it it God via the Holy spirit that Calls and people answer - but that's a long trek into Bible philosophy for me to say any more. But to support this, I will quote what Jesus said when he sent his deciples to to preach:

Matthew 10:14

"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet." Jesus never said convince anyone or beat them over the head with Christianity.

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GameOver22 said:

1. Yeah, I'm just not buying these definitions. They seem lazy and poorly constructed. The problem is that if someone knows something, they have a belief, however, if they do not know something, this does not mean they don't have a belief. Someone can actually belief something without knowing it to be true...something the video actually got right.  : )

2. I just think it would be easier to use agnosticism for belief and skepticism for knowledge.

3. The problem with definitions is that they are always simplifications of reality. There are so many different "dimensions" to words, but you have to simplify them so you can actually communicate.....kind of the problem with creating your own definitions.....nobody knows what you're talking about.  : )

1. Exactly, which is why there are two different terms used to describe beliefs and knowledge.

2. It may be easier, but it doesn't make it true. Also, why should agnosticism define belief? We already have terms that define beliefs/lack of beliefs (theism/atheism). 

3. True, no simple word is going to be enough to completely describe anyone. That's why we have general terms, with more specific terms as a subset within those general terms. Atheism is a general term (those who lack belief). It can be broken down into two subsets - implicit atheism and explicit atheism. But really, they are still just 2-3 letter terms. The point is: it's best to not assume to much of a person just because of a term. If a person admits that he's an atheist, do not assume too much about him other than he lacks a belief in God. You could be mislabeling a lot of people that consider themselves atheists.

Runa216 said:
DaRev said:

Really what point is that? That non-religious people always make claims about religion that they themselves ultimately can't support?

As for putting my money where my mouth is I wouldn't waste my time, seriously. Because you claim on one hand that religious people should quit but now you want me to convince you? Lol - Go read my many other posts on this religion if you want proof, it was already discussed.

how is it a waste of time?  you're just unable to support your theory, so like all religious people you're backing down to the "I have my rights" argument.  Which is true, you do, but I did read your posts and nothing was in any way conclusive or even all that compelling.  

so, when are you bringing the real points to the table? 

It's a waste of time because the Bible (according to Christianity) is God's revelation to man that he exists. Therefore I, DaREv, need to do nothing in the way of providing any proof, as its all in the Bible. So go read the source, and come back and tell me what part of the proof/eveidence of God that the Bible puts forward that you have a rebuttal against

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