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This is why I don't like debating religion

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Bong Lover said:

Any position should be argued against, I am only trying to bring into the discussion what I feel is a more accurate understanding of religious questions. Sure, some people take the bible at face value, and they are easy to attack on that stance with verifiable scientific proof. However, the true nature of religion is not discussed in those terms. Religion comes into play when you ask yourself: If the universe is mechanical, do I really have free will? The consequences of that question are far reaching of course, and again, not verifiable by science.

If you feeel better proving that there is no giant magic man physically living in the sky behind the clouds, then sure, go ahead, disprove this all day long. It doesn't do anything to prove or disprove religion however. That is my only point. At the core of it, when someone argues that God is real, they are really arguing that morals are dictated by a universal law that we can't know and observe, and not just some arbitary combination of atoms. That some people claim to think they know that being gay is wrong or that wearing a condom is a sin is another matter all together, and I must admit, not very interesting to me personally.

A solid point......kind of gets at the prevalent use of straw-men in religious debates.



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Ok, here it is. I haven't read everyone's posts so I'm not really responding to anything in particular. I'll add my own perspective on religion/spirituality to the mix. You can take it with a grain of salt (and please do). I don't really have anything to debate, but just sharing my own POV on life and spirituality in general.

hmm..  To me, no one can prove or disprove that God exists. I feel it's futile and unnecessary for the purpose of being human. No matter what label we call ourselves, we are all in the same boat. I'm very spiritual but I don't follow a religion. If I do 'go to church', it's a non-denominational Christian and it's usually for the purpose of connecting to God. Also has to the do with the fact that my family was raised Christian, so I am in keeping with my roots. I've had 'experiences' or whatever you would call it that I feel are enough for me, but that doesn't mean I can reasonably expect anyone else to end up exactly like me. If I feel something strongly, whatever... but that doesn't mean it's so real I must share it with everyone. Which is what a lot of religious and even spiritual people like to do. I don't think that's how it works. I think you can describe how you've come to feel the way you do and people can give it some thought, but to expect them to come to the exact same conclusions you do is not possible. Religion to me sometimes is like the McDonalds of spirituality... it decides all that hard stuff for you, there's less to question and you will have no problems agreeing with everyone around you if you follow the rules. It provides a tool for a socially spiritual environment, which is good! But it doesn't always provide enough on the personal level... other than to keep putting your energy into prayer and hope for the best. Religion can be empowering, but I've seen where it can be patronizing and draining.

I do feel that we are spiritual creatures... to the extent, we ALL care about our soul's well-being when it comes to our existence and identity as human beings here on Earth. Most of us have a conscience or some sort of complex that keeps us from becoming soul-less axe murderers. Whether you believe that has a divine link to the creator or is just hard-wired into our code, is what makes the difference. I believe in both, in that I believe that we evolved to connect to something that is forever present in the universe... some people view God as an old man using a lightning rod creating earth in 7 days. I believe the science and am heavy into Astronomy and like to focus from the intellect...  I see it more that we are a very small piece of the picture trying to finitely understand that is so huge. It may not be able to be understood completely, but if he could, I would imagine that we do so more on an instinctual level and that we've evolved to adapt to it. Hence our desire and tendency towards spirituals belief more as creatures... but beyond that minor instinct, we fight our environment and struggle with our identity in every possible way trying to figure that one out.

I firmly believe if someone wants to go down a spiritual route, they will and can on their own. Sometimes our experiences make it easier, sometimes harder. I would even believe not everyone needs it. How someone else expresses spirituality is never going to be the same way as me, and that we all express and connect to God/creator/tree-monster God differently, especially with cultural differences thrown in the mix.. in order words, our core identity is involved there as well.  You could worship DNA and call a creator the Master Gene for all I care. I would understand and see it as you trying to connect to something...and I respect that the difference is personal.

The people who are pushed into religion out of fear are the ones that I feel are missing out on an important part of being human and life. I would prefer to be a person with an open mind than a person who closes their mind out of negative experience or because they are trying so hard to be right. To me, it's a waste of time not to ponder. I think living spiritually is like living more with open eyes... you don't have to necessarily believe in something, but you keep your mind open and you tend to see life with more of a liberating perspective rather than a closed one... one that doesn't have to provide all the answers and that tells you you don't know everything. I cannot believe in something that suppresses doubt, criticism, and questions... all those are important parts of being human and I think are critical to being spiritual. It's perfectly normal to have questions and to doubt. So perhaps that's the biggest difference to this versus being 'religious'... but I know a lot of people who are religious who are definitely lean more towards the open minded side and are not all about the scripture. They may not be purists, but they use religion as a tool to reach God... so I can't believe every religious person out there is a whack job either because I've seen all sides.

Anyway..I don't think everyone has to be attached to a religion or whatever to be spiritual and not everyone who is human has to be spiritual. There is so much more to life than just what religion you follow. I think it adds to the whole perspective and experience... but it's absolutely not necessary to be any of those things in order to have a fulfilling life or be a good person.

BTW, I used to declare myself as an athiest in my younger years. It was a lot easier to avoid the rhetoric and labels... labels are something you want to avoid when you're trying to be open minded and figure this stuff out for yourself. I didn't want anyone elses opinions coloring what I felt was too personal for someone else to decide for me.  Some people push stuff because they have to because they need to believe in it enough themselves. That's fine and dandy, but I can't see how you are getting anything but an ego boost or a chip in your shoulder out of it.


TLDR; Damn it, I need 50 posts! lol



Marucha said:

Anyway..I don't think everyone has to be attached to a religion or whatever to be spiritual and not everyone who is human has to be spiritual. There is so much more to life than just what religion you follow. I think it adds to the whole perspective and experience... but it's absolutely not necessary to be any of those things in order to have a fulfilling life or be a good person.

Nice post! I've always found religious/spiritual experiences to be fascinating. I always find it hard to not be moved when I read about them, especially when personal beliefs help people find happiness (or whatever you wish to call it). Personally, I've always felt these types of personal beliefs are the most powerful.

The part of your post I quoted reminded me of a quote from William James Varieties of Religious Experience. He's quoting an atheist or agnostic (can't remember) that feels perfectly content with his life while not believing in God. James' argument is that reliigous belief isn't for everyone, but those people who find solace in personal belief are justified in those beliefs.....I always liked William James.



GameOver22 said:
Marucha said:

Anyway..I don't think everyone has to be attached to a religion or whatever to be spiritual and not everyone who is human has to be spiritual. There is so much more to life than just what religion you follow. I think it adds to the whole perspective and experience... but it's absolutely not necessary to be any of those things in order to have a fulfilling life or be a good person.

Nice post! I've always found religious/spiritual experiences to be fascinating. I always find it hard to not be moved when I read about them, especially when personal beliefs help people find happiness (or whatever you wish to call it). Personally, I've always felt these types of personal beliefs are the most powerful.

The part of your post I quoted reminded me of a quote from William James Varieties of Religious Experience. He's quoting an atheist or agnostic (can't remember) that feels perfectly content with his life while not believing in God. James' argument is that reliigous belief isn't for everyone, but those people who find solace in personal belief are justified in those beliefs.....I always liked William James.


Thanks :) I don't know how to edit my posts or it's hard for me to word my thoughts simply, so I don't post often and I try to narrow my topics.

I've had the types of experiences that it's no wonder I am the way I am today. One can argue what is 'meant'. Sometimes I like to think of it as the answer is an entire film with the whole picture and I may get a clip of it that helps me when and where I need it, but somebody else gets a different clip...maybe the most like law of attraction if you have heard of it. There are some things that shake you to the core that you don't help but at least keep your mind open. They change how you view life entirely, are only positive experiences, and make you more compassionate... perhaps because you learn from that moment that your reality is not the only one out there. There is an entire world out there. Of course some people wonder why God leaves them alone and doesn't interact with them at all... I just think there is always a lot more going on than what meets the eye, and you can't help but say that about anything and everything these days.

What you interpretted about my quote is basically what I was saying. Peace is really hard to find for a lot of people, especially the type that results in happiness. I don't know which is harder to find. You can be happy with your life and still not be at peace. It's hard. I can't begrudge anyone that finds both, but I can see religious folk maybe using the argument that 'perhaps' that person doesn't realize they are actually 'missing' something... which I think is arrogant.



While I do not own a burden of proof. Out of sheer spite I am now going to disprove the argument for the existence of a deity. Faith is a matter of choice, and not a instinctual act. Since the only evidence for this conjecture lies in the faith of individuals, and since all human beings are capable of making errors in judgment. We must therefor assume that the evidence presented is not absolute. To argue for its absolute correctness. You must argue that you are just as absolute in your own correctness.

You must claim that you are flawless in your thinking, but to claim that you would also most certainly be the deity that is being put forth as being real. Which means the only argument you could make for the existence of said deity is that you are in fact said deity. Tongue and cheek aside who here claims to be absolutely perfect. It is one thing to say that you choose to believe in something. It is another thing entirely to say you cannot possibly be wrong. If you have made mistakes in your life. You cannot possibly argue that you cannot possibly be wrong about the faith you chose.

This logic cannot even be applied to scientists or skeptics. Their evidence isn't derived from a singular source, or one as flawed as the human mind. Their evidence is derived from a body of work. That they actively work to both confirm and disprove. In other words they automatically reject flawless human reasoning. It doesn't matter to them, because their evidence isn't dependent upon that. However for the faithful that is all the evidence they can ever have.



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Dodece said:
While I do not own a burden of proof. Out of sheer spite I am now going to disprove the argument for the existence of a deity. Faith is a matter of choice, and not a instinctual act. Since the only evidence for this conjecture lies in the faith of individuals, and since all human beings are capable of making errors in judgment. We must therefor assume that the evidence presented is not absolute. To argue for its absolute correctness. You must argue that you are just as absolute in your own correctness.

You must claim that you are flawless in your thinking, but to claim that you would also most certainly be the deity that is being put forth as being real. Which means the only argument you could make for the existence of said deity is that you are in fact said deity. Tongue and cheek aside who here claims to be absolutely perfect. It is one thing to say that you choose to believe in something. It is another thing entirely to say you cannot possibly be wrong. If you have made mistakes in your life. You cannot possibly argue that you cannot possibly be wrong about the faith you chose.

This logic cannot even be applied to scientists or skeptics. Their evidence isn't derived from a singular source, or one as flawed as the human mind. Their evidence is derived from a body of work. That they actively work to both confirm and disprove. In other words they automatically reject flawless human reasoning. It doesn't matter to them, because their evidence isn't dependent upon that. However for the faithful that is all the evidence they can ever have.

The "tongue in cheek" comment has me confused. Which part is tongue and cheek? I mean....people don't have to claim they know for certain that God exists. Actually, the only deductive argument for God's existence is the ontological argument. All the rest are indcutive. Furthermore, the claim that faith is a matter of choice is highly debatable.....just look at the kids who unquestionably accept the view of their parents. There's a big questions as to whether they're really choosing faith.



Marucha said:


Thanks :) I don't know how to edit my posts or it's hard for me to word my thoughts simply, so I don't post often and I try to narrow my topics.

I've had the types of experiences that it's no wonder I am the way I am today. One can argue what is 'meant'. Sometimes I like to think of it as the answer is an entire film with the whole picture and I may get a clip of it that helps me when and where I need it, but somebody else gets a different clip...maybe the most like law of attraction if you have heard of it. There are some things that shake you to the core that you don't help but at least keep your mind open. They change how you view life entirely, are only positive experiences, and make you more compassionate... perhaps because you learn from that moment that your reality is not the only one out there. There is an entire world out there. Of course some people wonder why God leaves them alone and doesn't interact with them at all... I just think there is always a lot more going on than what meets the eye, and you can't help but say that about anything and everything these days.

What you interpretted about my quote is basically what I was saying. Peace is really hard to find for a lot of people, especially the type that results in happiness. I don't know which is harder to find. You can be happy with your life and still not be at peace. It's hard. I can't begrudge anyone that finds both, but I can see religious folk maybe using the argument that 'perhaps' that person doesn't realize they are actually 'missing' something... which I think is arrogant.

Yeah. Interpreting the meaning is difficult. People usually have a difficult time even explaining what happened. While I'm not particularly relgious or spiritual, I had that type of experience once, and I can't really explain it.....one of the strangest things I ever experienced, but it kind of just dissipated, and I never thought much about it.



Majora said:
DaRev 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.

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.

I don't think you understand what exactly it is that you are posing. Alexander the Great is an historical figure who apart from leaving behind many buildings has also left archaeologists with a wealth of artifacts as evidence to his existence.

The knowledge of the existence of Alexander the Great is different to the written "proof" of God in that (lack of archaeological evidence aside) Alexander the Great is now presented as an omnipotent being who's word is law over all men. The existence of Alexander the Great does not require you to suspend belief for it to appear perfectly reasonable that he did exist.

Another point you are missing in this debate is that whether God exists or not is really not important. As there is no evidence or any logical reason to believe he exists, why worry about whether he exists or not? Using your logic, there is no proof that unicorns, fairies and other pantheons of Gods and Goddesses do not exist, however the difference there is that most people these days aren't worrying, stressing or fighting over their potential existence. If they exist, that's wonderful but as they are not present or tangible it really isn't important. It is important however that we acknowledge what is real and what does exist.

FYI - I am not suggesting that Jesus didn't exist - I think it entirely reasonable to believe that he did. I just know that if he did exist, he was potentially mentally unstable as he claimed to be the son of an invisible deity. If I suggested to you that I was the son of god and truly believed it, would I be worthy of your time and adoration or would you dismiss me as crazy or mistaken? There is so much evidence to suggest that a god is not only unlikely but entirely unncessary that I don't see how anyone who believes in such a being isn't entirely ignorant to the world around them.

First paragraph, ha what AtheG left behind pales in comparison to what Jesus (God in flesh) left behind, ie so much TEACHINGS, PRINCIPLES, IDEOLOGY (not just a bunch of rocks) have transformed the known world. You got rocks to prove AtheG lived well, I have teachings that transformed the whole world that proves God through Jesus existed. Oh and Historically, we know where Jesus lived, was born, died, his geneology and where he taught, so History has no problem proving Jesus or AtheG.

Second paragraph, the existance God doesn't require you to suspend anything, but only that you open your mind. For it is only logical to believe that only miraculous events, i.e. God on Earth, could have transformed the world into what we know it today. For all the great men that ever were great in this world, all their exploits pale in comparison to what Jesus did, so much so that you are here stuck in a debate about him. Let's debate AtheG and see if anyone cares.

Third paragraph, its is important because one day, you will die, as set by God, and on that day you will have to answer the question whether you knew God or not - not whether you knew unicorns or faries. Again, Jesus came here to prove Gods existance by performing signs and miracles and teaching, no fairy or unicorn ever did that for you or you would be here debating unicorns not Jesus.

Final paragraph, well joing the club, for people in Jesus' day didn't believve him either, so they killed him for saying he was the son of God (hopefully you're not that extreme). But the difference between you and Jesus would be in your teaching. Meaning can you, or anyone else, that might also claim to be the son God, put forward teaching that will transform the world? If you can I will gladly follow you to   For example, give me your world change teaching on Marriage, if that is too difficult, try teaching us How the best way to treat other People, if you still find any of those a bit challenging, try teaching on Humility.

By the way the bible does say we all can be sons of God, in the same way Jesus is, but that I suspect might be a bit too deep for you

 



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GameOver22 said:
Rath said:

You simply lack knowledge of the meaning of the word.

According to the Oxford dictionary online.

 

Definition of agnostic

noun

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

adjective

  • 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.

Anybody who has ever thought seriously about this stuff should realize that pulling a definition out a dictionary doesn't really get you anywhere because.....in all honesty....they tend to be flat-out wrong when looking at complex topics. For example, look at the definition of science:

"the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

Not that it isn't a good start, but I think anybody who has done any reading knows that a proper definition of science requires a much more nuanced definition that takes into account verification, falsification, scientifc progress, scientific relevancy, quality of work, etc.

Another example, democracy,

"a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."

Once again, it overlooking some important compenents of democracy, particularly contested elections, among many others. I could keep posting examples, but the main point is that these definitions actually end up resulting in many things that are not science or democracy being classified as such. Same thing with that definition of agnostic. Truth is, there are huge literatures on these subjects, however, the people truly grappling with these issues are not writing dictionaries.


Then I suggest you look up academic works and find what definition they use. You will find it is the same as the definition in the Oxford dictionary. As I said, I'm not going to debate on this issue as there aren't any shades of grey - you've simply got the wrong definition of the word.



Rath said:


Then I suggest you look up academic works and find what definition they use. You will find it is the same as the definition in the Oxford dictionary. As I said, I'm not going to debate on this issue as there aren't any shades of grey - you've simply got the wrong definition of the word.

Actually, it isn't. Granted, I'm not an expert. I've read two books. Atheism and Theism and The God Dialogues, and both define agnosticism as a lack of belief and atheism as the belief that God does not exist. You can also just peruse The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and you'll find the same thing.

Edit: For example:"Atheism I take to be the denial of theism and of deism. It also of course includes the denial of the existence of the ancient Roman and Greek gods and the like."

http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/9780631232582/Smart_001.pdf

Within the academic literature, its actually a pretty standard definiton from what I've read. Actually, looking at the definitions you provided, I think the academic literature just uses agnosticism in terms of the second definition you provided.....a non-committal attitude.....just utilize it as a noun instead of a verb.