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difference between religion and morality Options
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 1:06:25 PM

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Tunaafi, I do not doubt that your experience in education is all that you say. Are you willing to say the same about my report?
Atheists must be trusting that there is nothing after death because there is no evidence to the contrary​, is there? Just a thought.

I remember, therefore I am.
almo 1
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 1:17:56 PM
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Location: Fussa, Tokyo, Japan




You can not know about afterdeath until you die.





Hope123
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 4:08:18 PM

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Bernard Williams, (1978) says no kind of life would be one that would be desirable and attractive forever. Every life would eventually become tedious and worse, excruciatingly painful. Immortality, far from being a wonderful thing, would be a horrible thing.

Let’s hear everyone’s thoughts as you imagine, after thinking carefully through the concept, an immortal life that would be worth having. If you're trapped into the prospect of immortality, what would the best kind of immortal life be like? With details that could be possible. Let your imagination run free. No generalities such as angels and devils and sitting at the hand of God. No just projecting an earthly life into immortality.

Is it even possible for anyone to describe the best kind of immortal life? Can you think of anything you’d want to do forever?

Can the human mind even comprehend the CONCEPT of forever. Billions and trillions and trillions of years. Never ever ending.


A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Phyllis Diller
tunaafi
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 4:45:08 PM

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jacobusmaximus wrote:
Tunaafi, I do not doubt that your experience in education is all that you say. Are you willing to say the same about my report?


Without wishing in any way to be offensive, I have to say that I am not. If you tell me that you are a teacher or school governor, and have personal experience of what you claim (and I concede that much of my post was based on personal experience), then I must accept that your experience is different from mine. I may think that you are misguided (Whistle ) in your views about the existence of a deity, but I have never doubted your sincerity in your beliefs.

It seemed to me (I stress those words), that what you were claiming was based on things you had heard/seen reported rather than what you have heard/seen yourself. It would be naive of me to deny that there are some left-wing and/or atheist teachers/lecturers who abuse their position of trust by attempting to push their students into their point of view (just as there are some right-wing and/or religious teachers/lecturers who do the same).


I am a born-again socialist and atheist, but, as a teacher, I never felt the need to indoctrinate my students with my views - indeed, that would have been contrary to my beliefs in what education is. The only possible exception to this was when a student claimed, for example, that belief in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Virgin Mary, was the only path to eternal salvation. I respected their right to believe that, but, as an educationist, I would point out that that was a belief, not a fact; other people had different beliefs, and none could prove that their belief was fact


Quote:
Atheists must be trusting that there is nothing after death because there is no evidence to the contrary​, is there? Just a thought.


I don't 'trust' in that. It's simply that until someone can give me evidence of life after death (or the existence of the tooth fairy), I believe what my experience and the views of the overwhelming majority of scientists tell me - death is the end of life, and the tooth fairy does not exist.

In my more light-hearted moments, I am prepared to concede that if, when my late father wakes me up to tell me I am dead and then leads me before the Great Judge in the the Sky who will consign me to harp-plucking or tortured fire-stoking, I may regret my atheism, but it will be too late. If 'God' really wishes me save my soul, then he/she/it needs to do better than suggest that believing in the infallible truth of documents cobbled together 2,700, 1,900, 1,600, 1,400, 187 or whatever years ago is the only way to eternal salvation
almo 1
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 5:47:51 PM
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almo 1 wrote:




You can not know about afterdeath until you die.











Or maybe you are living an afterdeath.

You can not know.





will
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 10:15:30 AM
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Hope123 wrote:
Even if I don't agree with the idelogy, I still see the good that is done by religion.

Here’s the thing, Hope123, if people of mutually exclusive Faiths do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, and people of no Faith do do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that all people have the capacity for ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds and that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?

Consider this:
Sagittarians are kind and giving. Being that Sign leads to a great deal of good in the world… but people of all signs of the zodiac do good deeds, so we perhaps we should conclude that being any astrological sign leads to much good in the world.

But, then again, there are many examples of Librians doing bad deeds… let’s agree that those people aren’t truly Libra. But there are also examples of bad deeds committed by people of all signs of the zodiac. So now we must conclude all astrology leads people to do good and bad deeds… or perhaps widen our ‘not truly Libra’ to the totality of all personal astrological beliefs.

Wait. What about the countless people who don’t believe in astrology because there is absolutely no evidence to support it? Some of them do good deeds, some do bad, many do both…

at some point it becomes clear that astrology is completely inconsequential to moral standards. Think


.
will
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 10:46:42 AM
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jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is an assertion, if you like, based on my experience of being forced (I don't, as a rule, take the initiative) to defend my faith in Christ Anecdote, how could any one ‘force’ you to defend your Faith against those who are, or who claim to be, atheists. Prejudicial generalisation What I mean by that is that the more mature, or older, atheist invariably shows him or herself to be well-informed about their own beliefs and can state their case without resorting to caustic remarks about the Church, and about the Establishment in general, as does the younger generation. Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations Men and women in their teens and twenties, taught by College Lecturers in their 30s and 40s, are convinced that Christianity is at the root of all evil; Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations that before the Church had power there was no slavery, no poverty, no capital punishment and no religious or political refugees. Anecdote and assertion. Personally I’ve never meet anyone who thinks this They are taught at school or College that Man is the only species that kills Assertion of absolute nonsense. It is so patently and demonstrably not true that man is the only species that kill, that I assume you are being deliberately hyperbolic Worryingly, for me anyway, young people think they cannot find work because (according to their teachers) Britain doesn't make anything anymore and what wealth there is is all in the hands of evil, selfish Bankers. Irrelevant anecdote based on prejudicial generalisation (incidentally showing a lack of hope in the worthiness of mankind and young people in particular) In short, they have no hope in the worth of mankind, Assertion based on prejudicial generalisation no hope in Christ, Assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid and atheism, for them, is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. prejudicial generalisation, anecdote and assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid. They have no evidence for atheism, but they are trusting in it. Basic ignorance of the null hypothesis


Anecdote is rarely a compelling argument – it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law – and it’s even less so when it’s full of prejudicial generalisations and assertions based on an unsupported premiss, in this case that your personal Faith is correct and valid.

As Absinthius, Tunaafi and others have already explained, in a pleasant and non-aggressive manner, which you chose to ignore, atheist simply means absence of a belief in gods; in it’s broadest sense simply the prefix ‘a’, meaning ‘not’ or ‘without’, applied to theism, meaning a belief in the existence of a god or gods. An absence of belief in all gods – including your own personal Christian god – is no different, no more dogmatically defined and no more a religion or belief system than your absence of belief in Zeus, or Vishnu, or unicorns… or indeed your absence of belief in the personal Christian god of all those Christians you arbitrarily reject as non-believers.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
If texts appear to be outdated it is because they have done what they were written to do, but they remain to guide against backsliding. You can still find medical instructions about boring holes in peoples' heads to relieve headaches, or, in Law, about the best way to execute people by hanging, or the efficacy of throwing people into Debtors' Prison, but these are not current in this country at least.

This analogy completely contradicts your argument. Trepanning, capital punishment and debtors prisons are not current because objective empiricism – the weight and efficacy of evidence based claims -- has advanced humanity’s collective knowledge towards a more accurate description of reality. This is completely contrary to your assertion that “At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable”. Outdated medical practices, laws and moral attitudes are consigned to the history books; they do not exist with equal status alongside modern standards and knowledge for doctors and lawyers to subjectively chose what they accept as true and reliable. This is how humanity arrives at the most current, rational and equitable (evidentially supported) standards.

This is anathema to the immutability of Faith in (personal relationships with) god/s and divinely inspired texts. The good that most theists take from their Faith and personal interpretation of ancient texts sits square alongside the intolerance, dubious morality and scientific absurdities. Your own example of slavery makes this point; religion, faith and scripture both challenged and supported slavery. Fortunately reason and the efficacy of evidence based claims tipped the balance.

This conflation of unquestioning belief in the absence of evidence with confidence based on evidence is the central flaw in your position. This has been pointed out to you (and generations of theists of all creeds) multiple times in polite, humorous and, apparently, unpleasant and aggressive terms. You really need to address this point if you genuinely want to understand why people don’t find your Faith compelling.

I wrote:
At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.


jacobusmaximus wrote:
What evidence do you have for the underlined sentence, above? Which attitudes do you regard as immoral?

Slavery is an example from the recent past and gender and sexual equality are current examples of more enlightened attitudes that Christianity is reluctantly struggling to reconcile… just about every religious doctrine past and present has a history that lagged (or lags) behind advances in social, ethnic, gender equality.
Immoral religious attitudes are abundant: the Westbro’ Baptist Church, ISIS, genital mutilation, sectarianism, the wealth of the Catholic church, the guy down my local that thinks homosexuality is a sin… just to to scratch the surface.

Now, I’m aware your standard dismissal of these facts goes something like ‘those are not true believers’, but the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’ cuts both ways. Faith has no reliance on evidence; all claims without evidence can be dismissed without evidence… including yours.

What societies deem ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are judged on a higher standard than Faith.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Christians have always regarded slavery as being morally unacceptable. People who supported slavery may have been religious, but they were not Christians any more that so-called Islamic terrorists are Muslims.

There you go… no true scotsman.
By what standard are you dismissing their Faith?

Your say so is no more compelling than any other subjective opinion. However I (you, anyone and everyone) can make an evidence based argument for why slavery and terrorism are wrong without any need for appeals to the supernatural; your personal Faith, and the Faith of Christians who supported slavery, is at best redundant here.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
No one is asking you, will. You can dismiss my faith and status if you wish but as you are clearly totally uninformed about Christian beliefs and dogma it cuts no ice with me and will impress only your own kind.

How could I possibly be informed? To be informed requires an appraisal of the evidence. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ This is why Faith is such an attractive device for theists... it cannot, by definition, be challenged with evidence.

I don’t deny you have Faith. My point is that your subjective claims can be dismissed as easily as you dismiss the subjective claims of others… you’re correct, it cuts no ice. My non belief in the Christian God – and all other gods – is based on the complete lack of supporting evidence and the overwhelming evidence for alternative non-supernatural hypotheses.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong. Suicide bombers and other terrorists have no relationship with God.

Again, no true scotsman.
Do you have any evidence to support that? They have Faith that they do have a relationship with their god. The fact that they would die for that Faith suggests to me that they are actually more committed and certain of their Faith than you are. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ My argument is that Faith, all Faith, is a flawed methodology.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong again. This debate goes round and round because some people want the kind of evidence that satisfies them, rather than that in which I put my trust.

Everybody wants the kind of evidence that can objectively be shown to accurately reflect reality, that is what makes every aspect of human life possible. The fact that theists reject some aspects of objective reality to uphold beliefs without, and contrary to, evidence is at the root of the cognitive dissonance that makes religion such a taboo subject. If there were a god, it strikes me as perverse that It would design a system so reliant on blind Faith and so prone to conflict.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have said it all before - innocent people have been hanged on 'evidence'. Guilty people have walked free (and often been generously compensated) on 'evidence'. Brave, shell-shocked soldiers have been shot at dawn for cowardice on 'evidence'. Jesus was crucified on the 'evidence' of blasphemy, which it was not, but it was what religious men wanted to believe because it threatened their standing amongst their peers.

And as has been pointed out to you before, most recently by Lotje1000, here, where she said: Evidence can be checked, as you showed with your anecdote. Faith cannot. If the decision that came from on high to shoot those men was made in faith, nothing could disprove it and they would still not be pardoned.

You persist in ignoring this rebuttal.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Maybe, but the Prosecution would not, which is the situation that obtains today in a debate such as ours. You only want evidence that is admissible to you but you object to what I submit under oath. In this you have an advantage of sorts in that you are not under oath. I am.

The issue here is not he “meaning of evidence and its efficacy”, or what is admissible. The fact is you expect more than subjective opinion in a court of law, or in the science that makes your life possible, and in every other meaningful aspect of your life. You have no problem weighing the opinion that the Earth turns on it’s axis as it revolves around the Sun, against the opinion that the Sun is drawn across the sky in a chariot. The issue is that you insist upon the validity of your personal Faith, while at the same time have no problem with arbitrarily dismissing the Faith – the same methodology -- that other theists demand.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is all meaningless twaddle, will, designed to offend and beginning with your insulting misuse of the name of Christ. Of course His name means nothing to you but you might try to be civilized enough to remember that it is precious to me. You might try to understand, even if you do not accept, that Scripture is important to Christians, at least to those of the Reformed Faith, and it was against Scripture that I compared Mister Mills' erroneous statement. If Mister Mills has different standards he should take them up with me and not leave it to others who evidently know nothing about the subject.

Yet you believe it is perfectly valid to arbitrarily decide that other theists, with Faith just as strong as yours, are not Christian or are non-believers? Not talking
Never mind your ignorance of epistemology, I urge you to look back over this thread and count how many times you have dismissed out of hand the very methodology you are attempting to defend.

The fact is your personal religious Faith that you insist others simple accept as valid is practically unique to you and serves principally your own comfort.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
To conclude, will, I don't think you are an atheist but merely a rootless unbeliever. No offence meant.

No offence taken... an accurate use of the term 'conclusion', a summary of your argument.


.



Hope123
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 2:07:58 PM

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will wrote:
Hope123 wrote:
Even if I don't agree with the idelogy, I still see the good that is done by religion.

Here’s the thing, Hope123, if people of mutually exclusive Faiths do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, and people of no Faith do do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that all people have the capacity for ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds and that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?

Consider this:
Sagittarians are kind and giving. Being that Sign leads to a great deal of good in the world… but people of all signs of the zodiac do good deeds, so we perhaps we should conclude that being any astrological sign leads to much good in the world.

But, then again, there are many examples of Librians doing bad deeds… let’s agree that those people aren’t truly Libra. But there are also examples of bad deeds committed by people of all signs of the zodiac. So now we must conclude all astrology leads people to do good and bad deeds… or perhaps widen our ‘not truly Libra’ to the totality of all personal astrological beliefs.

Wait. What about the countless people who don’t believe in astrology because there is absolutely no evidence to support it? Some of them do good deeds, some do bad, many do both…

at some point it becomes clear that astrology is completely inconsequential to moral standards. Think
.


What! Librans never ever do ANYTHING bad. How dare you suggest such abhorrent fake news! Sad. Whistle Whistle Whistle Whistle Whistle

Yes, it is another way of saying what atheists have been saying all along - morality (good and bad deeds as defined by a culture) is not exclusive to the religious. But I'm not sure premises one and two lead to a valid and sound conclusion when you added the word that religion is “generally” irrelevant. Unless those religious people find a different concept to coalesce around and do their good deeds, then those particular deeds won’t be done.

Atheistic groups do their good deeds too, and all the good deeds we can get are needed and appreciated, no matter who is doing them - whether in groups or as individuals. We wouldn't say those atheistic groups are generally irrelevant either.

However, my complaint about the religious is when they become “missionaries” WHILE doing their good work.

As I said before, it is well known that the anecdotal "personal-relationship-with-God" argument is valid only for the person in that relationship and does not generalize into proof for all, but this seems to have become the usual religious discussion of who is right about the existence of a god when neither group can be absolutely 100 % sure.



A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Phyllis Diller
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 2:34:04 PM

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If some religious people do their good deeds to "get into the kingdom of god" do atheists do their good deeds for nothing?

i.e. Are Atheists good for nothing? I know I wouldn't have been bad for nothing. Whistle Whistle Whistle (Sorry - my fingers just kept typing this - I had no control. Whistle )

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Phyllis Diller
will
Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2017 3:24:09 PM
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Hope123 wrote:
What! Librans never ever do ANYTHING bad. How dare you suggest such abhorrent fake news! Sad.

Well it’s all nonsense anyway… but I would say that, typical Gemini that I am Shhh

Hope123 wrote:
Yes, it is another way of saying what atheists have been saying all along - morality (good and bad deeds as defined by a culture) is not exclusive to the religious. But I'm not sure premises one and two lead to a valid and sound conclusion when you added the word that religion is “generally” irrelevant. Unless those religious people find a different concept to coalesce around and do their good deeds, then those particular deeds won’t be done.

To be clear, I didn’t mean ‘generally irrelevant’ when I said ‘… that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?’. I meant Faith as a whole – any immovable belief without evidence – and specific examples of Faith are irrelevant. My bad, I perhaps could have been clearer.

And I’d like to quickly stress an important distinction here between ‘religion’ and ‘Faith’. I said Faith and you’ve used that interchangeably with religion; most theists do this and I believe it’s the main source of confusion in this debate.

Religion is a part of most cultures. There is no denying that religion plays a part in shaping cultural values. I have no issue at all with religion's (or any subjective opinion) place in an objective framework. Religion is a collective human construct and as such is subject to the innate human capacity for reason. Religions can be challenged. Religions are invariably (although often reluctantly) shaped by the same objectivity that shapes other aspects of societies and cultures… hence the countless sects and divisions in all religions.

Faith, however, seeks to assert divine authority over and above objectivity. Faith leads (some) people to cling to subjective personal opinions (that they attribute to god's opinion) completely against reason -- and in many cases force those subjective opinions upon others. Whether it’s that certain cultural standards are unacceptable, or that the Earth is 6 thousand years old, or that god is served by blowing yourself up in a concert hall full of young people, Faith is the enemy of reason.

Hope123 wrote:
If some religious people do their good deeds to "get into the kingdom of god" do atheists do their good deeds for nothing?

As we're using anecdote to make our points... I have been asked more than a few times 'if there is no god and no punishment for how you act in this life, what stops you from killing and raping people?'. This is the extreme, but this kind of fecked up logic filters down to a common belief that people without gods, or the wrong gods, have no morals. Brick wall

.

jacobusmaximus
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 2:36:27 AM

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tunaafi wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
Tunaafi, I do not doubt that your experience in education is all that you say. Are you willing to say the same about my report?


Without wishing in any way to be offensive, I have to say that I am not. If you tell me that you are a teacher or school governor, and have personal experience of what you claim (and I concede that much of my post was based on personal experience), then I must accept that your experience is different from mine. I may think that you are misguided (Whistle ) in your views about the existence of a deity, but I have never doubted your sincerity in your beliefs.

It seemed to me (I stress those words), that what you were claiming was based on things you had heard/seen reported rather than what you have heard/seen yourself. It would be naive of me to deny that there are some left-wing and/or atheist teachers/lecturers who abuse their position of trust by attempting to push their students into their point of view (just as there are some right-wing and/or religious teachers/lecturers who do the same).


I am a born-again socialist and atheist, but, as a teacher, I never felt the need to indoctrinate my students with my views - indeed, that would have been contrary to my beliefs in what education is. The only possible exception to this was when a student claimed, for example, that belief in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Virgin Mary, was the only path to eternal salvation. I respected their right to believe that, but, as an educationist, I would point out that that was a belief, not a fact; other people had different beliefs, and none could prove that their belief was fact


Quote:
Atheists must be trusting that there is nothing after death because there is no evidence to the contrary​, is there? Just a thought.


I don't 'trust' in that. It's simply that until someone can give me evidence of life after death (or the existence of the tooth fairy), I believe what my experience and the views of the overwhelming majority of scientists tell me - death is the end of life, and the tooth fairy does not exist.

In my more light-hearted moments, I am prepared to concede that if, when my late father wakes me up to tell me I am dead and then leads me before the Great Judge in the the Sky who will consign me to harp-plucking or tortured fire-stoking, I may regret my atheism, but it will be too late. If 'God' really wishes me save my soul, then he/she/it needs to do better than suggest that believing in the infallible truth of documents cobbled together 2,700, 1,900, 1,600, 1,400, 187 or whatever years ago is the only way to eternal salvation


I would want to assure you, tunaafi, that this has been my experience through my family over a number of years of careful, and frustrating enquiry. Following your challenge on this particular angle I raised the matter indirectly with some friends and they all agreed that this had also been their experience. I don't know where you got your educational experience but I'd wager that it wasn't in any State school in Scotland, and probably nowhere north of Watford.

Just to be clear - Scripture in not the only way to salvation, but it can point you to The Way, which is Christ Jesus.


I remember, therefore I am.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 2:43:36 AM

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Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
will wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is an assertion, if you like, based on my experience of being forced (I don't, as a rule, take the initiative) to defend my faith in Christ Anecdote, how could any one ‘force’ you to defend your Faith against those who are, or who claim to be, atheists. Prejudicial generalisation What I mean by that is that the more mature, or older, atheist invariably shows him or herself to be well-informed about their own beliefs and can state their case without resorting to caustic remarks about the Church, and about the Establishment in general, as does the younger generation. Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations Men and women in their teens and twenties, taught by College Lecturers in their 30s and 40s, are convinced that Christianity is at the root of all evil; Anecdote based on prejudicial generalisations that before the Church had power there was no slavery, no poverty, no capital punishment and no religious or political refugees. Anecdote and assertion. Personally I’ve never meet anyone who thinks this They are taught at school or College that Man is the only species that kills Assertion of absolute nonsense. It is so patently and demonstrably not true that man is the only species that kill, that I assume you are being deliberately hyperbolic Worryingly, for me anyway, young people think they cannot find work because (according to their teachers) Britain doesn't make anything anymore and what wealth there is is all in the hands of evil, selfish Bankers. Irrelevant anecdote based on prejudicial generalisation (incidentally showing a lack of hope in the worthiness of mankind and young people in particular) In short, they have no hope in the worth of mankind, Assertion based on prejudicial generalisation no hope in Christ, Assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid and atheism, for them, is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. prejudicial generalisation, anecdote and assertion based on the premiss that your Faith is correct and valid. They have no evidence for atheism, but they are trusting in it. Basic ignorance of the null hypothesis


Anecdote is rarely a compelling argument – it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law – and it’s even less so when it’s full of prejudicial generalisations and assertions based on an unsupported premiss, in this case that your personal Faith is correct and valid.

As Absinthius, Tunaafi and others have already explained, in a pleasant and non-aggressive manner, which you chose to ignore, atheist simply means absence of a belief in gods; in it’s broadest sense simply the prefix ‘a’, meaning ‘not’ or ‘without’, applied to theism, meaning a belief in the existence of a god or gods. An absence of belief in all gods – including your own personal Christian god – is no different, no more dogmatically defined and no more a religion or belief system than your absence of belief in Zeus, or Vishnu, or unicorns… or indeed your absence of belief in the personal Christian god of all those Christians you arbitrarily reject as non-believers.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
If texts appear to be outdated it is because they have done what they were written to do, but they remain to guide against backsliding. You can still find medical instructions about boring holes in peoples' heads to relieve headaches, or, in Law, about the best way to execute people by hanging, or the efficacy of throwing people into Debtors' Prison, but these are not current in this country at least.

This analogy completely contradicts your argument. Trepanning, capital punishment and debtors prisons are not current because objective empiricism – the weight and efficacy of evidence based claims -- has advanced humanity’s collective knowledge towards a more accurate description of reality. This is completely contrary to your assertion that “At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable”. Outdated medical practices, laws and moral attitudes are consigned to the history books; they do not exist with equal status alongside modern standards and knowledge for doctors and lawyers to subjectively chose what they accept as true and reliable. This is how humanity arrives at the most current, rational and equitable (evidentially supported) standards.

This is anathema to the immutability of Faith in (personal relationships with) god/s and divinely inspired texts. The good that most theists take from their Faith and personal interpretation of ancient texts sits square alongside the intolerance, dubious morality and scientific absurdities. Your own example of slavery makes this point; religion, faith and scripture both challenged and supported slavery. Fortunately reason and the efficacy of evidence based claims tipped the balance.

This conflation of unquestioning belief in the absence of evidence with confidence based on evidence is the central flaw in your position. This has been pointed out to you (and generations of theists of all creeds) multiple times in polite, humorous and, apparently, unpleasant and aggressive terms. You really need to address this point if you genuinely want to understand why people don’t find your Faith compelling.

I wrote:
At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.


jacobusmaximus wrote:
What evidence do you have for the underlined sentence, above? Which attitudes do you regard as immoral?

Slavery is an example from the recent past and gender and sexual equality are current examples of more enlightened attitudes that Christianity is reluctantly struggling to reconcile… just about every religious doctrine past and present has a history that lagged (or lags) behind advances in social, ethnic, gender equality.
Immoral religious attitudes are abundant: the Westbro’ Baptist Church, ISIS, genital mutilation, sectarianism, the wealth of the Catholic church, the guy down my local that thinks homosexuality is a sin… just to to scratch the surface.

Now, I’m aware your standard dismissal of these facts goes something like ‘those are not true believers’, but the ‘no true Scotsman fallacy’ cuts both ways. Faith has no reliance on evidence; all claims without evidence can be dismissed without evidence… including yours.

What societies deem ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are judged on a higher standard than Faith.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Christians have always regarded slavery as being morally unacceptable. People who supported slavery may have been religious, but they were not Christians any more that so-called Islamic terrorists are Muslims.

There you go… no true scotsman.
By what standard are you dismissing their Faith?

Your say so is no more compelling than any other subjective opinion. However I (you, anyone and everyone) can make an evidence based argument for why slavery and terrorism are wrong without any need for appeals to the supernatural; your personal Faith, and the Faith of Christians who supported slavery, is at best redundant here.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
No one is asking you, will. You can dismiss my faith and status if you wish but as you are clearly totally uninformed about Christian beliefs and dogma it cuts no ice with me and will impress only your own kind.

How could I possibly be informed? To be informed requires an appraisal of the evidence. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ This is why Faith is such an attractive device for theists... it cannot, by definition, be challenged with evidence.

I don’t deny you have Faith. My point is that your subjective claims can be dismissed as easily as you dismiss the subjective claims of others… you’re correct, it cuts no ice. My non belief in the Christian God – and all other gods – is based on the complete lack of supporting evidence and the overwhelming evidence for alternative non-supernatural hypotheses.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong. Suicide bombers and other terrorists have no relationship with God.

Again, no true scotsman.
Do you have any evidence to support that? They have Faith that they do have a relationship with their god. The fact that they would die for that Faith suggests to me that they are actually more committed and certain of their Faith than you are. Your argument is that Faith is not reliant on evidence and ‘at the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’ My argument is that Faith, all Faith, is a flawed methodology.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Wrong again. This debate goes round and round because some people want the kind of evidence that satisfies them, rather than that in which I put my trust.

Everybody wants the kind of evidence that can objectively be shown to accurately reflect reality, that is what makes every aspect of human life possible. The fact that theists reject some aspects of objective reality to uphold beliefs without, and contrary to, evidence is at the root of the cognitive dissonance that makes religion such a taboo subject. If there were a god, it strikes me as perverse that It would design a system so reliant on blind Faith and so prone to conflict.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have said it all before - innocent people have been hanged on 'evidence'. Guilty people have walked free (and often been generously compensated) on 'evidence'. Brave, shell-shocked soldiers have been shot at dawn for cowardice on 'evidence'. Jesus was crucified on the 'evidence' of blasphemy, which it was not, but it was what religious men wanted to believe because it threatened their standing amongst their peers.

And as has been pointed out to you before, most recently by Lotje1000, here, where she said: Evidence can be checked, as you showed with your anecdote. Faith cannot. If the decision that came from on high to shoot those men was made in faith, nothing could disprove it and they would still not be pardoned.

You persist in ignoring this rebuttal.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Maybe, but the Prosecution would not, which is the situation that obtains today in a debate such as ours. You only want evidence that is admissible to you but you object to what I submit under oath. In this you have an advantage of sorts in that you are not under oath. I am.

The issue here is not he “meaning of evidence and its efficacy”, or what is admissible. The fact is you expect more than subjective opinion in a court of law, or in the science that makes your life possible, and in every other meaningful aspect of your life. You have no problem weighing the opinion that the Earth turns on it’s axis as it revolves around the Sun, against the opinion that the Sun is drawn across the sky in a chariot. The issue is that you insist upon the validity of your personal Faith, while at the same time have no problem with arbitrarily dismissing the Faith – the same methodology -- that other theists demand.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
This is all meaningless twaddle, will, designed to offend and beginning with your insulting misuse of the name of Christ. Of course His name means nothing to you but you might try to be civilized enough to remember that it is precious to me. You might try to understand, even if you do not accept, that Scripture is important to Christians, at least to those of the Reformed Faith, and it was against Scripture that I compared Mister Mills' erroneous statement. If Mister Mills has different standards he should take them up with me and not leave it to others who evidently know nothing about the subject.

Yet you believe it is perfectly valid to arbitrarily decide that other theists, with Faith just as strong as yours, are not Christian or are non-believers? Not talking
Never mind your ignorance of epistemology, I urge you to look back over this thread and count how many times you have dismissed out of hand the very methodology you are attempting to defend.

The fact is your personal religious Faith that you insist others simple accept as valid is practically unique to you and serves principally your own comfort.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
To conclude, will, I don't think you are an atheist but merely a rootless unbeliever. No offence meant.

No offence taken... an accurate use of the term 'conclusion', a summary of your argument.


I have to conclude, will, that you are never going to see the wood for the trees and I guess you could say the same about me. So I am going to leave you with you opinions and get on with others things. Besides, I am fresh out of pearls.Whistle Whistle Whistle

I remember, therefore I am.
Lotje1000
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 3:25:33 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
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Neurons: 393,305
Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
will wrote:

And as has been pointed out to you before, most recently by Lotje1000, here, where she said: Evidence can be checked, as you showed with your anecdote. Faith cannot. If the decision that came from on high to shoot those men was made in faith, nothing could disprove it and they would still not be pardoned.

You persist in ignoring this rebuttal.


Thank you, will, for mentioning this! I was going to respond with the same reference until I saw your post.

jacobusmaximus, I'm sad to see you're still refusing to comment on my reply in the previous thread, Will's repetition of the reply here and now on what I consider to be a valid analysis of your posts so far:

will wrote:
The issue is that you insist upon the validity of your personal Faith, while at the same time have no problem with arbitrarily dismissing the Faith – the same methodology -- that other theists demand.


Perhaps it is difficult to respond to long, quoted pieces of conversation - I've followed a couple of those threads and they start to make my head spin. However, what I quoted above is something I've wondered as well. If you won't respond to Will, would you at least respond to me?

Both in your anecdote and when faced with people who don't believe as you do, you underline that evidence is flawed and faith is what matters. After all, 'evidence' had those shell-shocked people shot, you say. But you also said that evidence later on cleared them. That's how we know all of this in the first place. How else would you have had that situation play out? Whoever judged them needed to have faith those men were innocent? Then how does he convince others of his belief? What is the next step?

You say people have been hanged on 'evidence', but people have been hanged on faith as well. People have been hanged, stoned, killed, raped and more on faith. When someone brings up those arguments, you dismiss them by saying "those aren't true believers" but then, how do you quantify true believers? If you don't want us to use evidence to judge people, then what is the next step? Your word?

jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 5:03:36 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
will wrote:
Hope123 wrote:
Even if I don't agree with the idelogy, I still see the good that is done by religion.

Here’s the thing, Hope123, if people of mutually exclusive Faiths do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, and people of no Faith do do ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that all people have the capacity for ‘good’ (and ‘bad’) deeds and that Faith, generally and specifically, is irrelevant?

I overlooked this comment earlier. Yes, Faith is irrelevant to the doing of good works - that is solid Bible teaching. But it is not irrelevant to the life of those who have it. Nor is it irrelevant to those who have no Faith, as it seems to be a source of irritation to people who wish there was no such thing to get in the way of knowledge.




Consider this:
Sagittarians are kind and giving. Being that Sign leads to a great deal of good in the world… but people of all signs of the zodiac do good deeds, so we perhaps we should conclude that being any astrological sign leads to much good in the world.

But, then again, there are many examples of Librians doing bad deeds… let’s agree that those people aren’t truly Libra. But there are also examples of bad deeds committed by people of all signs of the zodiac. So now we must conclude all astrology leads people to do good and bad deeds… or perhaps widen our ‘not truly Libra’ to the totality of all personal astrological beliefs.

Wait. What about the countless people who don’t believe in astrology because there is absolutely no evidence to support it? Some of them do good deeds, some do bad, many do both…

at some point it becomes clear that astrology is completely inconsequential to moral standards. Think


.


I remember, therefore I am.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 5:32:57 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Lotje1000 wrote:
will wrote:

And as has been pointed out to you before, most recently by Lotje1000, here, where she said: Evidence can be checked, as you showed with your anecdote. Faith cannot. If the decision that came from on high to shoot those men was made in faith, nothing could disprove it and they would still not be pardoned.

You persist in ignoring this rebuttal.


Thank you, will, for mentioning this! I was going to respond with the same reference until I saw your post.

jacobusmaximus, I'm sad to see you're still refusing to comment on my reply in the previous thread, Will's repetition of the reply here and now on what I consider to be a valid analysis of your posts so far:

will wrote:
The issue is that you insist upon the validity of your personal Faith, while at the same time have no problem with arbitrarily dismissing the Faith – the same methodology -- that other theists demand.


Perhaps it is difficult to respond to long, quoted pieces of conversation - I've followed a couple of those threads and they start to make my head spin. However, what I quoted above is something I've wondered as well. If you won't respond to Will, would you at least respond to me?

Both in your anecdote and when faced with people who don't believe as you do, you underline that evidence is flawed and faith is what matters. After all, 'evidence' had those shell-shocked people shot, you say. But you also said that evidence later on cleared them. That's how we know all of this in the first place. How else would you have had that situation play out? Whoever judged them needed to have faith those men were innocent? Then how does he convince others of his belief? What is the next step?

You say people have been hanged on 'evidence', but people have been hanged on faith as well. People have been hanged, stoned, killed, raped and more on faith. When someone brings up those arguments, you dismiss them by saying "those aren't true believers" but then, how do you quantify true believers? If you don't want us to use evidence to judge people, then what is the next step? Your word?


Lotje, I wasn't refusing to comment on your reply. I was unsure how to as I did not quite understand your logic. I think you are saying that I am convinced that my faith is justified while all other faiths (and none) are not. At the same time you seem to be saying that all evidence is believed by faith and is routinely displaced by new evidence which must be believed by faith. Am I right? Is that what you are saying? You and one or two others also seem to be under the impression that I condemn to Hell all who do not adhere to my particular 'brand' (as some call it) of Christianity. This could not be further from the truth. Let me briefly set out what I believe: In this world there is a Company of Believers. They may be of any faith or denomination of any faith. They know who they are and God knows who they are. It is not my place to judge, even if I were able. But then there are people of No Faith (yet they might, according to my understanding of your philosophy) believe evidence by faith. Sadly, there exists between people of faith and people of no faith an unhappy animosity. Speaking for myself, I am concerned for unbelievers that they are living apart from Christ, whilst would-be atheists (as opposed to settled and fulfilled atheists) are disturbed by those who believe in God. At the bottom of this is the simple fact that if believers like me are wrong we have lost nothing. On the other hand, if atheists are wrong they have lost everything - forever. I am sure this is why would-be atheists are rude to Bible-Believing Christians like me.

I remember, therefore I am.
Lotje1000
Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 8:36:23 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
Posts: 897
Neurons: 393,305
Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
jacobusmaximus wrote:

Lotje, I wasn't refusing to comment on your reply. I was unsure how to as I did not quite understand your logic. I think you are saying that I am convinced that my faith is justified while all other faiths (and none) are not. At the same time you seem to be saying that all evidence is believed by faith and is routinely displaced by new evidence which must be believed by faith. Am I right? Is that what you are saying? You and one or two others also seem to be under the impression that I condemn to Hell all who do not adhere to my particular 'brand' (as some call it) of Christianity. This could not be further from the truth. Let me briefly set out what I believe: In this world there is a Company of Believers. They may be of any faith or denomination of any faith. They know who they are and God knows who they are. It is not my place to judge, even if I were able. But then there are people of No Faith (yet they might, according to my understanding of your philosophy) believe evidence by faith. Sadly, there exists between people of faith and people of no faith an unhappy animosity. Speaking for myself, I am concerned for unbelievers that they are living apart from Christ, whilst would-be atheists (as opposed to settled and fulfilled atheists) are disturbed by those who believe in God. At the bottom of this is the simple fact that if believers like me are wrong we have lost nothing. On the other hand, if atheists are wrong they have lost everything - forever. I am sure this is why would-be atheists are rude to Bible-Believing Christians like me.


I'm glad you're not refusing to reply. There might indeed be some misunderstanding of one another's logic at play here. I'm trying to figure out what you mean with your anecdote about shell-shocked soldiers who were executed. You seem to use it as proof that evidence is untrustworthy. If that is the case, then I'm not sure what alternative you're offering?
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 3:10:23 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Lotje1000 wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:

Lotje, I wasn't refusing to comment on your reply. I was unsure how to as I did not quite understand your logic. I think you are saying that I am convinced that my faith is justified while all other faiths (and none) are not. At the same time you seem to be saying that all evidence is believed by faith and is routinely displaced by new evidence which must be believed by faith. Am I right? Is that what you are saying? You and one or two others also seem to be under the impression that I condemn to Hell all who do not adhere to my particular 'brand' (as some call it) of Christianity. This could not be further from the truth. Let me briefly set out what I believe: In this world there is a Company of Believers. They may be of any faith or denomination of any faith. They know who they are and God knows who they are. It is not my place to judge, even if I were able. But then there are people of No Faith (yet they might, according to my understanding of your philosophy) believe evidence by faith. Sadly, there exists between people of faith and people of no faith an unhappy animosity. Speaking for myself, I am concerned for unbelievers that they are living apart from Christ, whilst would-be atheists (as opposed to settled and fulfilled atheists) are disturbed by those who believe in God. At the bottom of this is the simple fact that if believers like me are wrong we have lost nothing. On the other hand, if atheists are wrong they have lost everything - forever. I am sure this is why would-be atheists are rude to Bible-Believing Christians like me.


I'm glad you're not refusing to reply. There might indeed be some misunderstanding of one another's logic at play here. I'm trying to figure out what you mean with your anecdote about shell-shocked soldiers who were executed. You seem to use it as proof that evidence is untrustworthy. If that is the case, then I'm not sure what alternative you're offering?


I am not offering an alternative to evidence. That wasn't my intention anyway. I am saying that evidence, seldom absolutely objective, is not infallible, as has been shown by the revelation that some, perhaps many,'deserters' and 'cowards' shot at dawn in WW1 were nothing of the kind. Yet that was the understanding at the time. Shell Shock was a barely understood phenomenon. There was no explanation for these men deserting their posts except cowardice. Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong. Yet the decision to execute these soldiers was not taken lightly. It was a decision made at the highest level by the most senior officers - educated men. Oxbridge graduates. Men who had put their own lives on the line. But they were wrong.

Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes. The sceptic may dismiss it along with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause, but eight years olds will have done that already.


I remember, therefore I am.
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 5:45:00 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
Posts: 897
Neurons: 393,305
Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
jacobusmaximus wrote:
I am not offering an alternative to evidence. That wasn't my intention anyway. I am saying that evidence, seldom absolutely objective, is not infallible, as has been shown by the revelation that some, perhaps many,'deserters' and 'cowards' shot at dawn in WW1 were nothing of the kind. Yet that was the understanding at the time. Shell Shock was a barely understood phenomenon. There was no explanation for these men deserting their posts except cowardice. Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong. Yet the decision to execute these soldiers was not taken lightly. It was a decision made at the highest level by the most senior officers - educated men. Oxbridge graduates. Men who had put their own lives on the line. But they were wrong.


I don't think anyone here believes evidence and scientific theories to be infallible. I think we believe that it is the best possible method that we have now of analysing situations and hypotheses. It is the core of the scientific approach to always be on the lookout for things that could disprove a theory and to be open to new evidence and new ways of interpreting evidence.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes. The sceptic may dismiss it along with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause, but eight years olds will have done that already.


I don't think people here are trying to disprove your faith. They might want evidence of the entity you believe in, but they're not claiming that your personal experience of your faith does not exist.


We use a measurable and repeatable analysis of the world as a way to explain things to one another. The fact that we can measure and repeat something is core to this understanding, as it means others can come to the same understanding. It is why the scientific community does not fall apart when anyone claims something is wrong. They encourage each other to find the flaws, so everyone can build better theories and give one another a better understanding of the world.

Evidence is key to this learning process.

I think the problem arises when personal experience of faith is being used as if it were evidence. But as you explained, you cannot measure your experience of God. You cannot replicate it and guarantee someone else has the same experience. Therefore personal faith cannot be used as evidence (i.e. for others, not just for you) that there is a God.

You say "At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable." I believe you are entirely correct. People came together over the centuries and found that the scientific method is a true and reliable method of understanding the world. Everyone who wants to can take the evidence, analyse it, repeat experiments and learn. While your personal experience is evidence to you of a God, it does not make it evidence to everyone else. It has a different purpose.

Science is analysing the measurable. Faith is believing the immeasurable.
At the end of an experiment, scientists do not have faith. They have an analysis and a hypothesis - maybe even a theory. Faith would mean they skipped a few steps in their analysis, which they would be called out on during peer review.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 10:19:35 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Lotje1000 wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
I am not offering an alternative to evidence. That wasn't my intention anyway. I am saying that evidence, seldom absolutely objective, is not infallible, as has been shown by the revelation that some, perhaps many,'deserters' and 'cowards' shot at dawn in WW1 were nothing of the kind. Yet that was the understanding at the time. Shell Shock was a barely understood phenomenon. There was no explanation for these men deserting their posts except cowardice. Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong. Yet the decision to execute these soldiers was not taken lightly. It was a decision made at the highest level by the most senior officers - educated men. Oxbridge graduates. Men who had put their own lives on the line. But they were wrong.


I don't think anyone here believes evidence and scientific theories to be infallible. I think we believe that it is the best possible method that we have now of analysing situations and hypotheses. It is the core of the scientific approach to always be on the lookout for things that could disprove a theory and to be open to new evidence and new ways of interpreting evidence.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes. The sceptic may dismiss it along with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause, but eight years olds will have done that already.


I don't think people here are trying to disprove your faith. They might want evidence of the entity you believe in, but they're not claiming that your personal experience of your faith does not exist.


We use a measurable and repeatable analysis of the world as a way to explain things to one another. The fact that we can measure and repeat something is core to this understanding, as it means others can come to the same understanding. It is why the scientific community does not fall apart when anyone claims something is wrong. They encourage each other to find the flaws, so everyone can build better theories and give one another a better understanding of the world.

Evidence is key to this learning process.

I think the problem arises when personal experience of faith is being used as if it were evidence. But as you explained, you cannot measure your experience of God. You cannot replicate it and guarantee someone else has the same experience. Therefore personal faith cannot be used as evidence (i.e. for others, not just for you) that there is a God.

You say "At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable." I believe you are entirely correct. People came together over the centuries and found that the scientific method is a true and reliable method of understanding the world. Everyone who wants to can take the evidence, analyse it, repeat experiments and learn. While your personal experience is evidence to you of a God, it does not make it evidence to everyone else. It has a different purpose.

Science is analysing the measurable. Faith is believing the immeasurable.
At the end of an experiment, scientists do not have faith. They have an analysis and a hypothesis - maybe even a theory. Faith would mean they skipped a few steps in their analysis, which they would be called out on during peer review.


Well, Lotje, I am so relieved that you understand where I am coming from in this little argument. You are absolutely right, my faith comes from my personal experience of God. I could not, and would not expect anyone else to accept it as evidence of the existence of God. But many who do not understand as you do would want to discredit my experience of God and they make serious efforts to prove that I am wrong, or at least shut me up. It could be that they are that way because they are insecure in their own beliefs .

I remember, therefore I am.
will
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 12:43:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/29/2009
Posts: 1,067
Neurons: 4,295
Still persevering with the ad hominem I see, jacobmaximus Shame on you
If I appear to be rude, it may be as a result of my consternation at what I assume everyone must realise is faulty logic, and assuming it to be deliberate obfuscation. For example:

jacobmaximus wrote:
Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong.

Emphasis mine. As Lotje1000 pointed out before, your anecdote proves the exact opposite of what you are arguing -- the underlined are direct contradictions. If the evidence was indisputable, than how and why is that situation not currently the case?

The answer is that the evidence was disputable, like all good objective evidence. Humanity did dispute the evidence. Humanity looked objectively at all the (most current) available evidence and came to a better understanding of reality, i.e. shell shock is a genuine physiological trauma, and the death penalty is not only not justified, it is horrendously wrong.

jacobmaximus wrote:
Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes.

This is about as perfect a definition of indisputable as any you’ll find. If the decision to execute deserters was made on Faith there would be nothing, as you say, that one could read or study that would help determine whether that decision is authentic or otherwise.

And, if Faith in God is a personal experience and cannot be understood by those who do not have it, as you say, then I’m still keen to know by what measure you arbitrarily dismiss the Faith of others and judge them to be non-believers... but I’ll come back to that, along with the ad hominem, when Lotje1000 has wrapped up.


Edited to correct numerous typos Shhh

.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 3:13:05 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
will wrote:
Still persevering with the ad hominem I see, jacobmaximus Shame on you
If I appear to be rude, it may be as a result of my consternation at what I assume everyone must realise is faulty logic, and assuming it to be deliberate obfuscation. For example:

jacobmaximus wrote:
Cowardice in the face of the enemy was punishable by death. Everybody knew that. Even the poor shell-shocked sods would have believed they were cowards. There was no other explanation. The evidence was indisputable. But in the light of a better understanding today it was horrendously wrong.

Emphasis mine. As Lotje1000 pointed out before, your anecdote proves the exact opposite of what you are arguing -- the underlined are direct contradictions. If the evidence was indisputable, than how and why is that situation not currently the case?

The answer is that the evidence was disputable, like all good objective evidence. Humanity did dispute the evidence. Humanity looked objectively at all the (most current) available evidence and came to a better understanding of reality, i.e. shell shock is a genuine physiological trauma, and the death penalty is not only not justified, it is horrendously wrong.

jacobmaximus wrote:
Faith in God, on the other hand is a personal experience. It cannot be understood by those who do not have it. There is nothing you can read or study that will help you determine whether a person's experience of God is authentic or otherwise. Therefore, if you believe that a person's faith in God is mistaken, you can only believe it by faith. But that does not change anything for the one who believes.

This is about as perfect a definition of indisputable as any you’ll find. If the decision to execute deserters was made on Faith there would be nothing, as you say, that one could read or study that would help determine whether that decision is authentic or otherwise.

And, if Faith in God is a personal experience and cannot be understood by those who do not have it, as you say, then I’m still keen to know by what measure you arbitrarily dismiss the Faith of others and judge them to be non-believers... but I’ll come back to that, along with the ad hominem, when Lotje1000 has wrapped up.


Edited to correct numerous typos Shhh

.


Will, you have some kind of persecution complex. I don't understand you and will have no further discussion with you. Jacob out.

I remember, therefore I am.
Lotje1000
Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2017 2:48:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
Posts: 897
Neurons: 393,305
Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
will wrote:
And, if Faith in God is a personal experience and cannot be understood by those who do not have it, as you say, then I’m still keen to know by what measure you arbitrarily dismiss the Faith of others and judge them to be non-believers... but I’ll come back to that, along with the ad hominem, when Lotje1000 has wrapped up.


I have wrapped up. I wanted to go back to what was at the core of this whole debate and I think I pinpointed it to the difference between the personal experience of faith vs evidence and how they should be used/valued in different domains. I'm glad to see Jacobusmaximus seems to agree with that. I'm also glad I've managed to convince him I am not trying to attack his personal experience of faith. Jacobusmaximus also did not seem to object to my explanation of the value of evidence and science, so I think he and I are on the same page there.

I think his continuation "Faith in God, on the other hand..." was not meant to offer an alternative to the shell-shocked soldiers scenario. I think it was meant to contrast the general difference between evidence and personal faith. He does not seem to propose that those soldiers should have been judged in the light of personal faith, which is an important question I had. As he said, he offers no alternative so I am assuming the value of scientific evidence stands.

I think the conclusion to it all is that our scientific evidence holds no value in his domain of his personal experience of faith. Similarly, his personal experience of faith is no evidence to be used in science.

If that all is the case, then I believe that is a useful common ground to continue the debate from.

I think it is still important to ask about the judgment of other people of faith. I am assuming that their personal experience of faith does not match up to Jacobusmaximus' personal experience of faith. However, he already said that authenticity of faith could not be proven (shared, re-tested, measured) so I feel like I can conclude that comparing personal experiences of faith is not enough to condemn certain people's behaviour within a societal context. There, I think, we should look at courts of law, science and so on.

That shouldn't stop Jacobusmaximus of having personal opinions within the light of his experience of faith.

We're working in two domains, Will, and I think mixing those two is muddling the conversation and also causing frustration - which does the whole debate no good.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2017 11:47:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/2009
Posts: 10,987
Neurons: 349,551
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Lotje1000 wrote:
will wrote:
And, if Faith in God is a personal experience and cannot be understood by those who do not have it, as you say, then I’m still keen to know by what measure you arbitrarily dismiss the Faith of others and judge them to be non-believers... but I’ll come back to that, along with the ad hominem, when Lotje1000 has wrapped up.


I have wrapped up. I wanted to go back to what was at the core of this whole debate and I think I pinpointed it to the difference between the personal experience of faith vs evidence and how they should be used/valued in different domains. I'm glad to see Jacobusmaximus seems to agree with that. I'm also glad I've managed to convince him I am not trying to attack his personal experience of faith. Jacobusmaximus also did not seem to object to my explanation of the value of evidence and science, so I think he and I are on the same page there.

I think his continuation "Faith in God, on the other hand..." was not meant to offer an alternative to the shell-shocked soldiers scenario. I think it was meant to contrast the general difference between evidence and personal faith. He does not seem to propose that those soldiers should have been judged in the light of personal faith, which is an important question I had. As he said, he offers no alternative so I am assuming the value of scientific evidence stands.

I think the conclusion to it all is that our scientific evidence holds no value in his domain of his personal experience of faith. Similarly, his personal experience of faith is no evidence to be used in science.

If that all is the case, then I believe that is a useful common ground to continue the debate from.

This is all good and it does bring us to a cleared site that we can work on - if we don't jump to conclusions.

I think it is still important to ask about the judgment of other people of faith. I am assuming that their personal experience of faith does not match up to Jacobusmaximus' personal experience of faith. However, he already said that authenticity of faith could not be proven (shared, re-tested, measured) so I feel like I can conclude that comparing personal experiences of faith is not enough to condemn certain people's behaviour within a societal context. There, I think, we should look at courts of law, science and so on.

The next thing we must get out of the way is what is meant by 'judgement', in judging others (of any or no faith). As I understand it judgement in this context means calling people to account for their 'mistaken' beliefs or misdemeanours, or stirring up animosity against their faith or culture in an attempt to belittle them or their religious beliefs. No Christian should do that. Anyone who does that is not a Christian because by so doing they are rejecting the teaching of Christ Jesus. However, we have opinions which we will keep to ourselves unless we are asked. And if you ask me I will tell you that Christians are right and everyone else is wrong. What else would you expect? And it cannot be said that no one is asking me, because people do, and when they do I express my opinion. But that is all it is. I fully expect that they will think I am wrong, but that is life in this world.

That shouldn't stop Jacobusmaximus of having personal opinions within the light of his experience of faith.

Exactly so. My spiritual experience is a made-to-measure garment provided by God. It won't fit anyone else. The faith that it gives me is mine alone. It is of no use to anyone else. I do not expect anyone to trust in God because of what I believe. Evidence should, I submit, be treated in the same way. It is not an uncommon circumstance where a Judge, having heard all the evidence, thinks to himself 'I know this blighter is as guilty as Hell but all the evidence says he is innocent'. And a criminal walks free. The evidence is accepted as true by those who must be believed because no one can prove otherwise. It happens. Please don't tell me you have never heard of such a scenario.

We're working in two domains, Will, and I think mixing those two is muddling the conversation and also causing frustration - which does the whole debate no good.


I would like to think we have reached an understanding of our different beliefs, so I thank you, Lotje, for your helpful submissions here.



I remember, therefore I am.
will
Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 10:59:57 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/29/2009
Posts: 1,067
Neurons: 4,295
Lotje1000 wrote:
I have wrapped up. I wanted to go back to what was at the core of this whole debate and I think I pinpointed it to the difference between the personal experience of faith vs evidence and how they should be used/valued in different domains. I'm glad to see Jacobusmaximus seems to agree with that. I'm also glad I've managed to convince him I am not trying to attack his personal experience of faith. Jacobusmaximus also did not seem to object to my explanation of the value of evidence and science, so I think he and I are on the same page there.

I think that’s very generous of you… and so polite that jacobmaximus must surely now anoint ‘True Atheist’ status upon you.
I will have to work on my manner, if I’m ever to be promoted from ‘would-be atheists’; it’s most un-fulfilling down here with the College Lecturers and the young people who have no hope in the worth of mankind, no hope in Christ, and whose insecurity in their beliefs is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card… what ever that means. Eh?

Lotje1000 wrote:
I think his continuation "Faith in God, on the other hand..." was not meant to offer an alternative to the shell-shocked soldiers scenario.

In this thread – where we were discussing the evidentially supported case for evolutionary theory over the plethora of Faith based creation myths – he used exactly the same scenario as an example and concluded with:
jacobmaximus wrote:
You may depend upon your evidence, but I will trust my faith.

I assumed this was presented as an alternative, and I’ve seen nothing to suggest he’s retracted that position.

Lotje1000 wrote:
I think it was meant to contrast the general difference between evidence and personal faith. He does not seem to propose that those soldiers should have been judged in the light of personal faith, which is an important question I had. As he said, he offers no alternative so I am assuming the value of scientific evidence stands.

Well, the contrast was never in doubt, at least to me... Whistle
If you are correct and he’s not questioning the superiority of objective evidence, and he’s not offering Faith as a morally superior alternative, then I fail to see why he raised the subject at all. Surely it's a contradictory point of no practical value to simply say ‘my personal Faith based opinions (which can’t be challenged, or defended, objectively) are valid because they happen to be in accord with opinion based on a superior objective standard’.

You and I both made the point that if the decision to execute deserters was made on Faith then the practice would not have changed – or at least would have resisted change until objective reasoning prevailed. Hence decisions, that the majority can objectively agree are wrong, still persist; decisions made or supported by Faith such as genital mutilation, gender and sexual inequality, sectarian violence, indoctrination of children, prejudice and intolerance, and blowing yourself up in a concert hall full of young people etc.

Lotje1000 wrote:
I think the conclusion to it all is that our scientific evidence holds no value in his domain of his personal experience of faith. Similarly, his personal experience of faith is no evidence to be used in science.

Agreed. We’ve basically made the same argument, with a different response from jacobmaximus depending on our tone and approach. Typical of a woman to get what she wants by careful wording and wily subterfuge. That’s why God instructs us that women should not speak in church. Fact. According to my Faith. Those that disagree are not true Christians. Whistle

Lotje1000 wrote:
If that all is the case, then I believe that is a useful common ground to continue the debate from.

I think it is still important to ask about the judgment of other people of faith. I am assuming that their personal experience of faith does not match up to Jacobusmaximus' personal experience of faith. However, he already said that authenticity of faith could not be proven (shared, re-tested, measured) so I feel like I can conclude that comparing personal experiences of faith is not enough to condemn certain people's behaviour within a societal context.

Exactly. Here’s the meat of it.
It’s all very innocent to claim that Faith is a personal experience with god and god alone, and does not require evidence and cannot be challenged by others. In reality – where we all actually exist – every aspect of our being impacts to varying degrees upon the lives of others.

People indoctrinate children with their Faith (with implicit and explicit threats). They use Faith to excuse their own prejudices. Faith props up absurd levels of scientific ignorance. People use their Faith to elect leaders who share their Faith, who in turn act for the benefit of those who share their Faith, rather than for the benefit of the common good. Faith can make blowing oneself up in a concert hall of young people seem not only valid but virtuous.

Yes, all these things can be done by anyone, but only Faith claims the (divine) right to circumvent the balancing effects of logic and reason by making the ultimate (fallacious) appeal to authority.

When people claim ‘my Faith says...’, or ‘God wants...’, or ‘scripture instructs...’, what they are actually asserting is ‘I say...’, ‘I want...’, ‘I instruct...’ and my personal experience with something that cannot be challenged negates me from having to take responsibility for that position.

If I had a penny for every time I've heard platitudes -- I think jacobmaximus has done it on this thread somewhere -- along the lines of 'I'm not judging, only God can judge you' from theists defending their personal prejudices, then I'd could work less and spend more time arguing with the pious online. Anxious

I urge anyone who is still interested to look back at jacobmaximus’ first post in this thread. It contained several prejudicial generalisation about morality, particularly about who atheists are, what they believe and why they believe. Several people challenged this, including me, and from there it went down hill. Later he began to exclude other Christians from their Faith, and Muslims from theirs, and he even generalised young people as having no hope in the worth of mankind (or Christ)… in fact just about anyone who does not share his ‘personal experience with God’ is denied their evidence or their Faith.

This is fine on the face of it. We are all entitled to our personal opinions.
However I strongly reject to the notion that it is valid to defer responsibility for personal beliefs and opinions to supernatural forces that are beyond challenge. Apart from anything else the argument that ‘God exists because my Faith (in God) tells me he does’ is circular reasoning which could be used to (fallaciously) make a case for the existence of absolutely anything and everything

Lotje1000 wrote:
That shouldn't stop Jacobusmaximus of having personal opinions within the light of his experience of faith.

Agreed. And if he, or anyone, voices personal opinions on a discussion forum, they should at least expect to be asked to defend them personally. Doesn't that seem reasonable?

Lotje1000 wrote:
We're working in two domains, Will, and I think mixing those two is muddling the conversation and also causing frustration - which does the whole debate no good.

Hmm. I’m working in one domain, the one that gives us a practical understanding of reality, just like everyone else does in every practical area of their life (give or take theism and a few other irrational beliefs).

*
.
Lotje1000
Posted: Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:36:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
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Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
will wrote:
I think that’s very generous of you… and so polite that jacobmaximus must surely now anoint ‘True Atheist’ status upon you.
I will have to work on my manner, if I’m ever to be promoted from ‘would-be atheists’; it’s most un-fulfilling down here with the College Lecturers and the young people who have no hope in the worth of mankind, no hope in Christ, and whose insecurity in their beliefs is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card… what ever that means. Eh?

That's interesting. I had no idea I was an atheist, let alone a True one.

will wrote:
jacobmaximus wrote:
You may depend upon your evidence, but I will trust my faith.

I assumed this was presented as an alternative, and I’ve seen nothing to suggest he’s retracted that position.

It's fair. I considered adding that and things from other threads, but it only complicated my point. I thought it was worth going to the basics of what was said on this thread first, before continuing the debate on things that were said in other threads.
And at first, I had also assumed this was presented as an alternative, which is why I asked about it in this thread. In answer, Jacobusmaximus stated explicitly that he has no alternative to evidence.

will wrote:
If you are correct and he’s not questioning the superiority of objective evidence, and he’s not offering Faith as a morally superior alternative, then I fail to see why he raised the subject at all. Surely it's a contradictory point of no practical value to simply say ‘my personal Faith based opinions (which can’t be challenged, or defended, objectively) are valid because they happen to be in accord with opinion based on a superior objective standard’.

His faith-based opinions are superior for him. It might not have the same practical value to you or I, but it has value to him. But as I was trying to make clear in my posts, they don't translate to other people. They don't help others understand like evidence can and don't carry the same weight of proof. And I expect he spoke that way because he was feeling attacked.

will wrote:
Agreed. We’ve basically made the same argument, with a different response from jacobmaximus depending on our tone and approach. Typical of a woman to get what she wants by careful wording and wily subterfuge. That’s why God instructs us that women should not speak in church.


Damn, I thought it was because I tried to see things from his point of view.

will wrote:
It’s all very innocent to claim that Faith is a personal experience with god and god alone, and does not require evidence and cannot be challenged by others. In reality – where we all actually exist – every aspect of our being impacts to varying degrees upon the lives of others.

I agree.

will wrote:
People indoctrinate children with their Faith (with implicit and explicit threats). They use Faith to excuse their own prejudices. [...]
Yes, all these things can be done by anyone, but only Faith claims the (divine) right to circumvent the balancing effects of logic and reason by making the ultimate (fallacious) appeal to authority.

I agree. My purpose in untangling personal faith and evidence was so it would be clear that we can only successfully apply evidence when teaching others on how our existence impacts upon the lives of others. That's measurable, so evidence and science take priority.

will wrote:
When people claim ‘my Faith says...’, or ‘God wants...’, or ‘scripture instructs...’, what they are actually asserting is ‘I say...’, ‘I want...’, ‘I instruct...’ and my personal experience with something that cannot be challenged negates me from having to take responsibility for that position.

I agree. It's a dangerous slope from "I believe in this because of my personal experience" (affecting just the speaker) to "I think everyone should agree because I believe from personal experience" (affecting those around the speaker). It's why I wanted to make clear that evidence is appropriate for trying to explain the world to others, because it can be tested and repeated. Jacobusmaximus did not seem to disagree with that.

will wrote:
If I had a penny for every time I've heard platitudes -- I think jacobmaximus has done it on this thread somewhere -- along the lines of 'I'm not judging, only God can judge you' from theists defending their personal prejudices, then I'd could work less and spend more time arguing with the pious online. Anxious

I don't like the phrase. It implies lack of involvement, of taking responsibility for a position and of wanting to work through a problem. It makes me question why the person is in the debate in the first place.

will wrote:
...in fact just about anyone who does not share his ‘personal experience with God’ is denied their evidence or their Faith.

In light of the difference between evidence and personal faith and the fact that personal faith can't claim the status of evidence, how much value does that denial really have? It's a personal opinion, not backed by anything. He's said it himself: you can't authenticate someone's faith, so he can't deny other people their faith. So I guess we then move on to those people who do have measurable evidence to continue the debate.

will wrote:
Agreed. And if he, or anyone, voices personal opinions on a discussion forum, they should at least expect to be asked to defend them personally. Doesn't that seem reasonable?

I agree. The problem is that he has defended them personally, but what is "evidence" to him isn't what is evidence to us. And from our discussion earlier, he seems to agree with that. Hence why I say we're working in two domains.

I personally think it's a moot point to argue faith and religion. They're not measurable so whoever wants to can just change the parameters of the discussion. We've seen it enough times in other threads, with responses like "Yes, but the bible says..." and "You're interpreting it wrong, what it -actually- says is..."
So all we can do is discuss those things that are measurable: how much someone is impacting the lives of others.
Hope123
Posted: Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:11:02 PM

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Quote Will - "Typical of a woman to get what she wants by careful wording and wily subterfuge. Whistle "


Women are so smart! Whistle

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. Phyllis Diller
will
Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:29:17 AM
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Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up...

Jacobmaximus, apologies if I caused you to be offended, that was not my intention. As I alluded to before, I find the idea of immovable, purely subjective beliefs (and attempts to defend them especially) so utterly bewildering that I tend to assume the other person is being deliberately obtuse. I'm prepared to accept that was not the case.

And sorry for carrying on this conversation using you in the third person...

I’d like to stress again – in the hope that it’s clear I’m not a complete dick – that I don’t actually have a real problem with religion, at least insofar as a shared cultural identity. It’s true that I would like to see a more rational world, and that I don’t believe theism, or many religious practices, would survive such rationality, but I’m actually a great supporter of cultural diversity and religion is undeniably part of that. My issue is not the gathering together as communities, the traditions, celebrations or even worship… if it takes a church group to organise a soup kitchen for the homeless, that’s fine with me, I don’t care what irrational belief motivates people, the point is that it's the deed that speaks for itself.

So far this year – along with daily interactions with people of varying creeds – I’ve been to a Muslim funeral, two Christian weddings, one Christening, an Easter egg hunt (not sure if that counts) and still have Diwali and Christmas to look forward to. All these religious events contributed information, evidence if you like, to my personal experience; information that could be measured against my own prejudices (subjective and objective and everything in between), shaping the way I view morality.

As it happens the Muslim funeral – for a friend’s son who took his own life – left me sickened by the way Faith based dogma takes priority over the pain, dignity and feelings of the family (the grieving mother in particular), apparently with their consent. I have no comprehension as to why anyone would chose to be part of such medieval thinking... but there you go. Brick wall

I believe that being reliant on objectivity forces oneself to acknowledge and consider the rights of all humanity equally. The best moral standard needs to take into account the needs of everyone, based on the best collective version of reality. And, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, this collective moral standard must be based on this life and this plane of reality only. If not, irrational beliefs are prone to negatively effect others, self serving irrational beliefs and ideologies are rarely good for the majority.

I really seemed to cause offence when I said that jacobmaximus’ Faith was motivated by a self-centred version of reality that culminates in his personal salvation. He denied that was the case but then repeated the sentiment later:
Quote:
At the bottom of this is the simple fact that if believers like me are wrong we have lost nothing. On the other hand, if atheists are wrong they have lost everything - forever.

For me this just doesn’t stand up. Apart from the fact that Pascals wager was roundly discredited during the 18th century and has never really recovered, it doesn’t take into account the fact that most Faiths are dogmatically clear that salvation is restricted to those who are Faithful to a specific God/s. This precludes the overwhelming majority (if not everyone to ever exist in the universe). Basing beliefs and, in relation to this thread, morality on a pot luck guess of the correct way to personal salvation (in an afterlife for which there is no evidence) is categorically not the way to serve the common good of humanity.

jacobmaximus, suggested that I was ‘insecure in my beliefs’ and I suppose in a way he’s right; everything I believe is subject to change. If the evidence points to a different conclusion, then I have no choice but to alter my belief. However, this insecurity is nothing I fear, it doesn’t cause me anxiety, and it doesn’t cause me to lash out or reject the existence of supernatural beings.

It can at times be temporarily disappointing when the evidence doesn’t match my personal wishes, but constantly adjusting ones understanding of reality as it actually is, rather than how I want it to be, is fantastically fulfilling... almost spiritual. Shhh


.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Monday, June 26, 2017 3:31:22 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

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Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
will, I am happy to accept your apology and willing to believe it was not your intention to offend. No hard feelings then?

I remember, therefore I am.
TMe
Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 12:03:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 495
Neurons: 3,144
Broadly, morality is your experience, religion is other's experience explained in writings and books.

Morality, if understood in real sense and practiced honestly is far, far superior to religion.

As 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai sat on a bus in the grounds of her school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, a gunman shot her in the head. After proudly claiming responsibility, the Taliban told the world that the teenage education activist's work represented "a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter". The "obscenity" was the education of girls.
The Taliban felt no shame. They know that what they have done is right because their god tells them so. Gods have been used to justify almost any cruelty, from burning heretics and stoning adulterers to crucifying Jesus himself.

On the other side of the world, Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 Norwegians. Breivik seems to have seen his murderous spree as a way of getting rid of Muslims, yet his 1,500-page manifesto revealed, at best, a weak attachment to religious belief. To Breivik, Christianity seems important mainly because he sees it as white. Breivik, like the devoutly religious Taliban, also appears to feel no shame.

The men who flew planes into buildings on 9/11, the Pakistanis who went on a murderous rampage in Mumbai and the Bali bombers, all killed as many people as they could in the name of their religion. Breivik did it in the name of his race. Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people and wounded 800, hated the government. All saw their mass murder as a political act of protest and all felt justified.

Atheists like Mao or Pol Pot have murdered millions in the name of political totalitarianism. Hitler used a quasi-mystical racist philosophy to exploit the ancient hatred of the Jews by Christians. I heard somewhere (I've never been able to discover where) that terrorism occurs when you combine a sense of military and economic inferiority with a sense of moral superiority. Religion is very good at conferring a sense of moral superiority on its followers.



Indeed, while the religious have murdered throughout history in the name of their god, I've been unable to find any evidence of atheists killing anyone in the name of atheism. Atheists are no more or less capable of evil than anyone else, but it seems that murder, particularly mass murder and war, is a sin of commission. In other words, human beings are generally only prepared to fight and kill in the name of something. It can be a god, but it can also be a political philosophy – like nazism or communism. Many fight for patriotism: for country, tribe or race. Some kill because they're psychologically disturbed, but none – so far – in the name of atheism.

So, while I don't agree that only religion causes conflict, I'd argue that all mass murder and war are fought in the name of a bigger-than-self philosophy or idea. Atheism, simply lack of belief in a god, has not yet proved compelling enough to motivate murder. So far no one has gone into a crowded public space and blown themselves up while shouting, "No god is great!". Jane Caro


(Culled from net, not mine)

I am a layman.
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017 10:59:00 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,129
Neurons: 25,822
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Drag0nspeaker wrote:

Religion your beliefs about the beginnings of the universe, its purpose, man's role in it and so on.
(This even makes atheism a religion basically.)


This is where I respectfully disagree. Historically, and even in the present times, there are a number of "congregations" that are bound together not so much by a common credo, theology, dogma, or even institutional hierarchy, but are rather formed around traditional rites and rituals which express communal religiosity. There is a folkloric tradition as well that touches on creation stories and eschatology, yet these are mostly considered "true" in the sense that they incarnate principles based on observable natural phenomena and human behavior. To be sure, there are the superstitious who take these things literally, but the well-informed understand them correctly and take them to heart as guidance, not literal law.

An historical example is Buddhism. The original teachings attributed to Siddhārtha Gautama say nothing at all of theology, and in fact would be mostly described as naturalistic. To be sure, there are many references to techniques that facilitate escape (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth (samsara). As summed up in the catchphrase, "Be here now", this has little to do with the supernatural, but rather a great deal to do with the common human feeling of a need to continually re-invent oneself, a metaphorical renaissance. It was Siddhārtha Gautama's insight that setting a course for continuous improvement based on real exigencies and needs would free a person from that feeling. Yet as with so many other great initiatives, it didn't take long for various sects to arise among his disciples that included specific rituals and creeds.

Yet another example would be the so-called animist religions in the world today. The sum of their theology is largely similar to the deistic point of view, a distant and unknowable Creator who set the universe in motion but is no longer involved in it, and a world of forces that are personified as "gods" (loa, djinn, devi and deva, angels, etc.) that are not so much worshipped as they are propitiated and respected. Interestingly, I am not aware of any of these that hold a particular story or text as canon, but rather consider them as inspirational rather than The Inspred Inerrant Word of The Eternal.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
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