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difference between religion and morality Options
eagleeyed
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 5:07:27 AM

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Can anybody please tell me the difference between 'religion' and 'morality or ethics'? If religion is a set of dogmas only why should we then believe them. Mere belief in dogmas doesn't remove evils like disease, hunger, hatred, prejudice and others that have made human life miserable. I believe than moral norms not dogmas can only make this world peaceful and worthliving. On the contrary, religion makes us callous toward the followers of other religions making this world a hell.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 11:15:27 AM

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eagleeyed wrote:
Can anybody please tell me the difference between 'religion' and 'morality or ethics'? If religion is a set of dogmas only why should we then believe them. Mere belief in dogmas doesn't remove evils like disease, hunger, hatred, prejudice and others that have made human life miserable. I believe than moral norms not dogmas can only make this world peaceful and worthliving. On the contrary, religion makes us callous toward the followers of other religions making this world a hell.


I would suggest that it is not religion that makes this world a hell. It is what people do with religion, so it is the motives of people, not religion itself. Great good has been done in the name of religion as well as great evil, but it is always the people who are responsible.

As for evil, in my opinion, evil is nothing more than selfishness. In every situation that can be described as evil, you will find some person(s) who has/have forcefully, or deceptively, put their desires above the well-being, or desires, of others. By that definition, disease can not be evil. Hunger, unless caused by humans, can not be evil, but hatred and prejudice can be evil because these are rooted in the selfish desires of humans.




A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 11:53:05 AM

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eagleeyed wrote:
If religion is a set of dogmas only why should we then believe them.


I'm not so sure that everyone accepts that as a definition of religion. As I see the history of it, human beings have been very imaginative in their use of shibboleths that separate them from us. Sometimes this involves an appeal to the supernatural, and other times it is quite literally the way different people pronounce the same idea.

When we were thin on the ground this made sense. It worked as a method for social cohesion within tribes, and as long as there were forward-thinking people who could negotiate relations among alien tribes, all was good.

It is only when the beautiful metaphors and poetry are ossified as superstition that trouble emerges.

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 12:12:58 PM

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eagleeyed wrote:
Can anybody please tell me the difference between 'religion' and 'morality or ethics'?


There's always a dictionary for reference regarding the distinctions among religion, morality, and ethics.
Think
To my mind, this is how I sort them.

Religion is a shared point of view among a congregation. It has often functioned as a rather exclusive club with recognized leaders and followers. At its best, it can impart a sense of morality, at least among its adherents. The parable of the Good Samaritan comes quickly to mind.

Morality is a looser concept that involves what a particular society considers to be good or bad behavior. One needs to be very contextually aware before one passes judgment on the morals of any particular society.
Think
Ethics is more straightforward, in my estimation. As the word is currently used, it involves a code of behavior voluntarily aspired to by a particular group.

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 12:24:53 PM

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Quote FounDit: "...Great good has been done in the name of religion as well as great evil, but it is always the people who are responsible. As for evil, in my opinion, evil is nothing more than selfishness. In every situation that can be described as evil, you will find some person(s) who has/have forcefully, or deceptively, put their desires above the well-being, or desires, of others...hatred and prejudice can be evil because these are rooted in the selfish desires of humans."

Quote LeonAzul: "It is only when the beautiful metaphors and poetry are ossified as superstition that trouble emerges."

Yes, to both ideas!

Another problem is that humans have a hard time recognizing when they themselves are being selfish and when they are being superstitious.

The definitions to them in certain situations often fit "others" but not themselves.

::::

Welcome Eagle. We have had many complicated discussions here about morality and ethics because what one culture sees as moral, another does not. Drag0nspeaker and others have made some good contributions in the definitions of morality and ethics in those threads.

However, your mention of the goals of removing or at least mitigating disease, hunger, hatred, and prejudice would seem to be fairly universal in many cultures, some more so than in others.

Edited - LeonAzul posted again with the definitons while I wrote.



The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 1:38:07 PM

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I was trying to find corroboration for an idea I had that "uncontacted" tribes in their smaller groups with simplicity and rejection of the more developed world might in fact be more moral if the listed-above four criteria were to be the goals. I found this link (and another link I didn't post about how they are being victimized by selfish outsiders and the tribes are fearful of being exploited. But that's another topic).

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2011/04/01/uncontacted-tribes-the-last-free-people-on-earth/


And I also found this discourse about morality. It is rather long but does make some good points.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/why-we-fightand-can-we-stop/309525/

It suggests that maybe the idea that we fight because we have differing views of morality, not because we are inherently selfish, may be overestimated. It might be that we have differing views of history. For instance consider the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Quote: "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at its root a conflict between two peoples who think they’re entitled to the same piece of land. When they argue about this, they don’t generally posit different ethical principles of land ownership. They posit different versions of history—different views on how many Arabs were living in Palestine before 1948, on who started the fighting that resulted in many Arabs leaving the area, on which side did which horrible things to the other side first, and so on. It’s not clear why these arguments over facts would change if both groups were godless utilitarians." End quote.



The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 2:39:49 PM

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Hope123 wrote:
I was trying to find corroboration for an idea I had that "uncontacted" tribes in their smaller groups with simplicity and rejection of the more developed world might in fact be more moral if the listed-above four criteria were to be the goals. I found this link (and another link I didn't post about how they are being victimized by selfish outsiders and the tribes are fearful of being exploited. But that's another topic).

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2011/04/01/uncontacted-tribes-the-last-free-people-on-earth/



Quote:

“The world needs human diversity as much as it needs bio-diversity,” says Stephen Corry.



Amen.

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 9:48:39 PM

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8^)

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
eagleeyed
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2017 10:51:11 PM

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Thank you all to help me understand the difference between religion and morality. What made me ask this question was my obervation that religion spreads hatred, unhealthy competition and arrogance while on the other hand moral norms ask us to be kind to others, to help others and never to enter into any discussion that hurts other people's sentiments. I don't mean to say that religion ask us to be cruel and selfish, but its 'mechanism' is such as make people not forcibly but rather unknowingly to be hostile to others. Trinity is a part of Christian faith while Muslims vehemntly reject this idea and believe in One God. So many examples can be quoted here to prove that one's relegious beliefs disturb or annoy the followers of other beliefs. Even within Muslims there are scsores of sects that remain at daggers drawn with one another. The people of one sect declare the people of the other sects non-believers or Kafirs. They go even to the extent of brutally killing those whose ideas differ from their ideas. Morality or moral norms or practices remain the same in all religions. Both the Christians and the Muslims have never advocated dishonesty, corruption, falsehood, cruelty, adulteration and many other such evils. Look at the Daesh. What they people are doing in the name of religion. Have you ever heard of anybody killing other persons only because he threw garbage in front of his neighbour's house or preaching anyone that throwing garbage in front of one's neighbour's house is a good act. But religion does this. If you are a non-believer you must be slain. What world is facing today in the form of terrorism is the result of the centries old conflict between two sects of Islam: Sunni and Shia. Had there been no religion there would not have been so much atrocity, chaos and lawlessness.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, June 12, 2017 1:43:13 AM

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Hello Eagleeyed.
I disagree with your statement that "On the contrary, religion makes us callous toward the followers of other religions making this world a hell."
However - I do understand how you come to feel that way.
Take a look at these definitions chosen from The Free Dictionary:

religion n.
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe,
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:


Christians, Jews and Muslims have exactly the same set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe - they all use the same religious text which lays all this out (commonly known as The Old Testament, here in the west).

As FounDit says, it is what Man (or men and women) do with their religions which becomes good or evil.

In my experience, there are more religious people who actively promote peace and understanding than there are who promote death and destruction.

************
My understanding of Religion, Morals and Ethics are very similar to those of LeonAzul (not exactly the same).
One of the difficulties is that - over the centuries - the words have become 'mashed together' a little.

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.)

Morality is a looser concept that involves what a particular society considers to be good or bad behavior. One needs to be very contextually aware before one passes judgment on the morals of any particular society.
If you look at the origins of the word - it comes from the word for "a custom" - it is what a particular society customarily consider to be right.
Think
Ethics is more straightforward, in my estimation. As the word is currently used, it involves a code of behavior voluntarily chosen by a person - individually and personally.
It is what he feels is right for himself, his family and Mankind.
At its root, the word comes from the Greek word for "character".

Morals are the customs of the group.
Ethics are part of the person's character.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Monday, June 12, 2017 6:11:54 AM

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eagleeyed wrote:
Thank you all to help me understand the difference between religion and morality. What made me ask this question was my obervation that religion spreads hatred, unhealthy competition and arrogance while on the other hand moral norms ask us to be kind to others, to help others and never to enter into any discussion that hurts other people's sentiments. I don't mean to say that religion ask us to be cruel and selfish, but its 'mechanism' is such as make people not forcibly but rather unknowingly to be hostile to others. Trinity is a part of Christian faith while Muslims vehemntly reject this idea and believe in One God. So many examples can be quoted here to prove that one's relegious beliefs disturb or annoy the followers of other beliefs. Even within Muslims there are scsores of sects that remain at daggers drawn with one another. The people of one sect declare the people of the other sects non-believers or Kafirs. They go even to the extent of brutally killing those whose ideas differ from their ideas. Morality or moral norms or practices remain the same in all religions. Both the Christians and the Muslims have never advocated dishonesty, corruption, falsehood, cruelty, adulteration and many other such evils. Look at the Daesh. What they people are doing in the name of religion. Have you ever heard of anybody killing other persons only because he threw garbage in front of his neighbour's house or preaching anyone that throwing garbage in front of one's neighbour's house is a good act. But religion does this. If you are a non-believer you must be slain. What world is facing today in the form of terrorism is the result of the centries old conflict between two sects of Islam: Sunni and Shia. Had there been no religion there would not have been so much atrocity, chaos and lawlessness.


Once again I have to ask what is meant here by 'religion'. Do you mean all religions, without exception? Have you never observed, eagleeyed, a religious person - of any persuasion - who has love for mankind rather than hatred? And are you convinced that atheists, even those of high moral standards, never put a foot wrong in life?
I would ask you to consider that morality is a form of religion, developed by humankind to promote and protect the well-being of the planet and all that is in it. It is inspired by love and respect for what is regarded as beneficial life and it is a most worthwhile value and ambition. Yet the same can be said for religion. Both aspire to do good. But both are flawed by fallible human nature and the instinct for self-preservation. Atheism, in particular, lays the blame for all the world's evils at the door of religion, especially Christianity. Some outspoken Atheists do not know, or they choose to ignore, that slavery, for instance, existed amongst the Native Americans long before the white man set foot on that continent. And who can deny that Native Americans had high moral standards?
Before Christian Missionaries had any influence in some Black African countries it was standard practice to kill one of new-born twins as this was considered a bad omen. Superstition or not, it was done for the best of reasons - to protect the tribe from misfortune.
So morality and religion are not mutually exclusive, eagleeyed. Both may, or may not, believe in the God of the Bible. You apparently believe that certain religions say that if you are a non-believer you must be slain. Well I can tell that Christianity believes that if you are a non-believer you must be saved.


I remember, therefore I am.
Hope123
Posted: Monday, June 12, 2017 11:41:59 AM

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I consider violence to be any attack on another that has the purpose of injuring another in any way - words and threatening do emotional damage too, often browbeating people into submission. Think of all the hidden domestic abuse of women and children in ALL societies that goes on behind closed doors whether a fist is raised or not. No wonder we have an epidemic of violence-susceptible adults. Then there is the hidden abuse in our communities, institutions, police (carding), and churches of ageism, sexism, "minorityism", and racism. And now we have abuse on the internet and social media that spreads exponentially, each vicious attack against someone with opposing views attracting another, like metals with affinities for each other.

If you are limiting violence to killing, especially that of the murdering of civilians or even war, then religion is often cited as THE factor when in fact it may only be one of the factors or even just be the "drawing card" for recruiting supporters. Most religious people are not drawn to violence any more than atheists are. Atheists, by the way, are often accused of lacking morality which is not true as a general rule either.

However, psychological studies have been replicated many times that show that people are drawn from birth to those who are like them, and that it is easy to create animosity between two groups by creating "in" groups and "out" groups. Since each religion makes their own god have the exclusive rights to "godness" that very basic premise of religion becomes fighting over "who is right" and thus predisposes religion to violence by its very existence.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
FounDit
Posted: Monday, June 12, 2017 12:11:21 PM

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eagleeyed wrote:

Thank you all to help me understand the difference between religion and morality. What made me ask this question was my obervation that religion spreads hatred, unhealthy competition and arrogance while on the other hand moral norms ask us to be kind to others, to help others and never to enter into any discussion that hurts other people's sentiments. I don't mean to say that religion ask us to be cruel and selfish, but its 'mechanism' is such as make people not forcibly but rather unknowingly to be hostile to others.
This is where the selfishness I mentioned comes into play. Early groups of humans needed one another for survival, so group acceptance became extremely important. Sharing beliefs acted as social glue to that end. If an individual did not accept the ideas of the group, that individual might be rejected and pushed out, which would put them at risk of death. This sentiment would apply to other groups that held differing beliefs also. They would be rejected, and perhaps put to death. The surviving group then believes it was their faith/god that gave them the victory, so their beliefs survive with them.

The selfishness of survival can be seen as a good thing, but it is still the selfishness of putting oneself, or group, above others. This has been the history of humanity from the beginning, and is continually practiced daily as your following examples show.

Trinity is a part of Christian faith while Muslims vehemntly reject this idea and believe in One God. So many examples can be quoted here to prove that one's relegious beliefs disturb or annoy the followers of other beliefs. Even within Muslims there are scsores of sects that remain at daggers drawn with one another. The people of one sect declare the people of the other sects non-believers or Kafirs. They go even to the extent of brutally killing those whose ideas differ from their ideas. Morality or moral norms or practices remain the same in all religions. Both the Christians and the Muslims have never advocated dishonesty, corruption, falsehood, cruelty, adulteration and many other such evils. Look at the Daesh. What they people are doing in the name of religion. Have you ever heard of anybody killing other persons only because he threw garbage in front of his neighbour's house or preaching anyone that throwing garbage in front of one's neighbour's house is a good act. But religion does this. If you are a non-believer you must be slain. What world is facing today in the form of terrorism is the result of the centries old conflict between two sects of Islam: Sunni and Shia. Had there been no religion there would not have been so much atrocity, chaos and lawlessness.
We would have just found other ways to exclude others as history shows. It might be language, skin color or physical differences, or personal practices. The struggle for survival is an ongoing process. The key factor is that throughout history, those who threaten the survival of the larger, stronger group are usually eliminated. As we have evolved, many of us have learned to be more tolerant of the differences between us, but some have not made that effort. Those who don’t learn from history often become its victim. Hopefully, our modern example will find itself in that position soon.





A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Absinthius
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 6:31:06 AM

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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.)


I just wanted to correct this slight error in an otherwise very informative and interesting post.

Atheism only means the absence of believe in a god. It in no way implies how someone views the universe, it's purpose or man's role in it.

Having said that, it is true that many atheists apply a scientific mindset to topics like this. Meaning that many have a very similar view on these points. But the major and defining difference is that scientifically-inspired views are (or at least should be) subject to change. This is where it profoundly differs from religion.

I really oppose the idea that atheism is just another kind of religion, because by assiciation it either implies more credibility to religious views or diminishes the flexible nature of views based on current scientific knowledge.

The two cannot and should not be equated.

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 10:27:05 AM

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Good point, Abs.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 11:58:37 AM

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Absinthius wrote:
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.)


I just wanted to correct this slight error in an otherwise very informative and interesting post.

Atheism only means the absence of believe in a god. It in no way implies how someone views the universe, it's purpose or man's role in it.

Having said that, it is true that many atheists apply a scientific mindset to topics like this. Meaning that many have a very similar view on these points. But the major and defining difference is that scientifically-inspired views are (or at least should be) subject to change. This is where it profoundly differs from religion.

I really oppose the idea that atheism is just another kind of religion, because by assiciation it either implies more credibility to religious views or diminishes the flexible nature of views based on current scientific knowledge.

Question (just a question)- If your conclusion that there is no God is based upon current scientific knowledge, and you are aware that that scientific knowledge is subject to change, do you not then believe only by faith - as e.g. Christians do?

The two cannot and should not be equated.


I remember, therefore I am.
Squawk Box
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 1:09:39 PM

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eagleeyed wrote:
Can anybody please tell me the difference between 'religion' and 'morality or ethics'? If religion is a set of dogmas only why should we then believe them. Mere belief in dogmas doesn't remove evils like disease, hunger, hatred, prejudice and others that have made human life miserable. I believe than moral norms not dogmas can only make this world peaceful and worthliving. On the contrary, religion makes us callous toward the followers of other religions making this world a hell.


I will use Bible quotes, since I could talk myself senseless on the subject, and still be no further ahead.

James 1:26 & 27
English Standard Version (ESV)

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James gives direction, as to what religion is, and what it isn't. Have you ever spontaneously thought to yourself, "I should visit widows and orphans." No you haven't, no one has. And no other faith has that instruction in its writings. It gives clear instruction, to be involved and to get outside of yourself.

In Matthew, Jesus is talking, and he condemns those who did nothing to help others who were in need.

45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

You can be as moral as the day is long, and not do any good with it. Goodness is an action, a doing, a giving. Morality and ethics are trash, and are dead, they don't do good works. And, where is the evil in this, Love thy neighbor as thyself, Jesus said that.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 2:05:56 PM

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MisterMills wrote:
eagleeyed wrote:
Can anybody please tell me the difference between 'religion' and 'morality or ethics'? If religion is a set of dogmas only why should we then believe them. Mere belief in dogmas doesn't remove evils like disease, hunger, hatred, prejudice and others that have made human life miserable. I believe than moral norms not dogmas can only make this world peaceful and worthliving. On the contrary, religion makes us callous toward the followers of other religions making this world a hell.


I will use Bible quotes, since I could talk myself senseless on the subject, and still be no further ahead.

James 1:26 & 27
English Standard Version (ESV)

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James gives direction, as to what religion is, and what it isn't. Have you ever spontaneously thought to yourself, "I should visit widows and orphans." No you haven't, no one has. And no other faith has that instruction in its writings. It gives clear instruction, to be involved and to get outside of yourself.

In Matthew, Jesus is talking, and he condemns those who did nothing to help others who were in need.

45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

You can be as moral as the day is long, and not do any good with it. Goodness is an action, a doing, a giving. Morality and ethics are trash, and are dead, they don't do good works. And, where is the evil in this, Love thy neighbor as thyself, Jesus said that.


Hang on there, Mister Mills. Jesus was not condemning those who did good, but those who thought that doing good earned them a place in the Kingdom of God. Such people were selective in their giving and were serving themselves, not God. God will not stand in the way of the unbeliever who does good, but neither will he welcome them into Heaven for their Good Works. They must come to Him through Christ Jesus.

I remember, therefore I am.
Absinthius
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 3:05:59 PM

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jacobusmaximus wrote:
[
Question (just a question)- If your conclusion that there is no God is based upon current scientific knowledge, and you are aware that that scientific knowledge is subject to change, do you not then believe only by faith - as e.g. Christians do?



No, faith is believe in the absence of evidence. Quite the opposite to drawing a conclusion based on all the available data.

And yes, scientific knowledge evolves. It molds itself to fit reality and become closer and closer to the actual truth. This does not, however, mean that the big picture it describes is still merely guesswork. You can count on the vast body of knowledge that the scientific method has provided over the years without having to dive into guesswork (i.e. faith) to draw your conclusions. If that were the case noone would ever get into a car or on a plane ever.

The complete and utter lack of any evidence of a supernatural deity, even though many have really tried to prove one exists, is so overwhelming that the conclusion of it's non-existence is not a stretch. Not a guess, not faith. I'm sure you would agree if we were to name this deity Zeus or Thor? Atheists reconize that your paricular deity just adds to the long list of non-existent things.



Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 4:54:02 PM

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Absinthius wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
[
Question (just a question)- If your conclusion that there is no God is based upon current scientific knowledge, and you are aware that that scientific knowledge is subject to change, do you not then believe only by faith - as e.g. Christians do?



No, faith is believe in the absence of evidence. Quite the opposite to drawing a conclusion based on all the available data.

And yes, scientific knowledge evolves. It molds itself to fit reality and become closer and closer to the actual truth. This does not, however, mean that the big picture it describes is still merely guesswork. You can count on the vast body of knowledge that the scientific method has provided over the years without having to dive into guesswork (i.e. faith) to draw your conclusions. If that were the case noone would ever get into a car or on a plane ever.

The complete and utter lack of any evidence of a supernatural deity, even though many have really tried to prove one exists, is so overwhelming that the conclusion of it's non-existence is not a stretch. Not a guess, not faith. I'm sure you would agree if we were to name this deity Zeus or Thor? Atheists reconize that your paricular deity just adds to the long list of non-existent things.



And so we go round and round on the meaning of evidence and its efficacy. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable. I, with many others, have experienced the manifestation of God in Christ. He lives in our lives. God is.

I remember, therefore I am.
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 5:52:54 PM

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Absinthius wrote:
jacobusmaximus wrote:
[
Question (just a question)- If your conclusion that there is no God is based upon current scientific knowledge, and you are aware that that scientific knowledge is subject to change, do you not then believe only by faith - as e.g. Christians do?


No, faith is believe in the absence of evidence.


Allow me to first state that my current atheism is the result of a lack of evidence for the supernatural in any shape or form. It comes not as a result of ignorance of religion, but rather from a close familiarity with religion. In fact, I would assert that my religious upbringing is precisely what led me to atheism.

As Saint Paul said it:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became [an adult], I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

Yet that is not the same thing as denying the influence of faith on human behavior. Our human brains work by "faithing", which is quite different from arithmetic.

Blind faith without reason is just plain crazy. Yet if you aim for the stars, you just might hit the moon. It is possible to train our brains to behave more rationally.

At least I hope so.
Dancing

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 8:17:17 PM

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JCB, of all the arguments about proof of God, the one you just posited as a "personal relationship with God, so I know that he is" is an anecdotal subjective opinion and as such cannot be disproved - because there are no facts to dispute.

I do not wish to take that evidence away from you but it does not make the concept become factual evidence to anyone except you. Believing in something does not make it true.

I have mentioned several times before that psychological studies show that the human brain is set up to see patterns or schemas to help us deal with new situations by using past information. We are very, very good at it and it is usually beneficial to us. We often even use this ability to supply proof of the cause of what is happening in the present.

Life is unpredictable and in order to make it more predictable and thus more secure, humans try to take the randomness out by noticing patterns and tying them to causality.

In fact we are so good at it that people often see a pattern or purpose in things that are actually random. Using this mechanism we can make random or unrelated events seem like the presence of God, especially if we want those beliefs to be true. We tend to read into things what we want. And each time our confirmation bias is confirmed, the belief becomes strengthened.

Someone who does not believe in God may interpret the same event in a secular way.

It is not a really good example but it is all I can think of at the moment - for some reason we miss a flight which crashes and all die. The believer in God sees this as divine proof of God intervening and looking out for him, ignoring all the times that people missed flights and the plane did not crash. And we always assume that the event was for the good - not knowing what the future holds. Maybe a couple of days after we will wish we HAD died.

Like Leon and others, my atheism is not connected to any scientific proof. It is connected to the lack of any proof, scientific or not and a logic from seeing how the laws of nature always work but in random patterns - no matter the beliefs of anyone, or any praying. If a person is randomly standing on a street corner at the precise moment a vehicle strikes you head on the laws of physics always take over.

As for the OP topic of morality versus religion, I don't think there really is any "versus". There is morality in both the religious and the non religious and there is lack of morality in both the religious and non religious.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:40:19 AM

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Hope, I always admire your wisdom and your gentle philosophical argument but in this matter I must take issue with you on your statement:
"It is not a really good example but it is all I can think of at the moment - for some reason we miss a flight which crashes and all die. The believer in God sees this as divine proof of God intervening and looking out for him, ignoring all the times that people missed flights and the plane did not crash. And we always assume that the event was for the good - not knowing what the future holds. Maybe a couple of days after we will wish we HAD died."

You are right, Hope - it is not a really good example. No Believer I know - and I know many - would even think for a minute that God had intervened in such a catastrophe for their sake. I have met a few - a very few - people who profess belief in God who talk like that, but they tend to be a bit eccentric and soon reveal themselves to be self-centred rather than God-centred. In short, they are not Believers.

Such eccentricities are not confined to those who dabble in matters spiritual, but affect people from all walks of life, including academe, and so we need to be careful of what we accept as indisputable evidence.



I remember, therefore I am.
Hope123
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 10:08:56 AM

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jacobusmaximus wrote:
Hope, I always admire your wisdom and your gentle philosophical argument but in this matter I must take issue with you on your statement:
"It is not a really good example but it is all I can think of at the moment - for some reason we miss a flight which crashes and all die. The believer in God sees this as divine proof of God intervening and looking out for him, ignoring all the times that people missed flights and the plane did not crash. And we always assume that the event was for the good - not knowing what the future holds. Maybe a couple of days after we will wish we HAD died."

You are right, Hope - it is not a really good example. No Believer I know - and I know many - would even think for a minute that God had intervened in such a catastrophe for their sake. I have met a few - a very few - people who profess belief in God who talk like that, but they tend to be a bit eccentric and soon reveal themselves to be self-centred rather than God-centred. In short, they are not Believers.

Such eccentricities are not confined to those who dabble in matters spiritual, but affect people from all walks of life, including academe, and so we need to be careful of what we accept as indisputable evidence.



Hi Jcb. As I said, it was a bad example, but I have heard many many religious people make such statements in the news. They even pray to win sports games. The politicians in the US can't finish a speech without asking God to bless their country. (Doesn't seem like he's listening right now.:)) Many talk about miracles and even see the pattern of a Virgin Mary in a pastry. Catholics create saints from signs they discern. I could go on about how patterns are seen to be signs as proof of God.

As for the airplane and other examples of God intervening in private lives, maybe I am thinking more of the news from the US and you are in Scotland. However, doesn't the Bible teach every person is like a flower or grain of sand (can't remember) that God pays attention to every single person? Are you saying that people don't ask for help when they pray? People do pray asking that their cancer go into remission and they thank god if it does - no mention of him if it doesn't. Or maybe they scream at him but are told God always knows what he is doing and to just accept his judgment as God just said, "No".

You are one of the faithful Believers who practises what he preaches and I high five you for that. You see things from that perspective. I like your description of self-centred rather than god-centered. In my view there is a difference between being self-centered and having the human characteristic of being selfish in order to survive.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
will
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 5:37:50 PM
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jacobusmaximus wrote:
Atheism, in particular, lays the blame for all the world's evils at the door of religion, especially Christianity.

Do you have anything to back that up? Or is this just an assertion based on your own prejudice? If ‘Atheism’ collectively lays blame for the world’s evils anywhere – which it doesn’t – I’d say Islam is especially bearing the brunt. I reckon most atheists consider Christians to be mainly harmlessly… but I could be wrong, I can’t, and don’t claim to, speak on behalf of other people with a non-belief in things for which there is no evidence.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Some outspoken Atheists do not know, or they choose to ignore, that slavery, for instance, existed amongst the Native Americans long before the white man set foot on that continent. And who can deny that Native Americans had high moral standards?

Native Americans likely had a wide range of moral standards, as defined by a wide range of cultures at particular points in time. And moral equivalence is not a compelling defence for continuing to hold outdated texts in high regard today.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Before Christian Missionaries had any influence in some Black African countries it was standard practice to kill one of new-born twins as this was considered a bad omen. Superstition or not, it was done for the best of reasons - to protect the tribe from misfortune.

“Black African countries”? Eh?

The argument most commonly made against the concept of ‘religious morality’ is that morality is a fluid human construct and that religion, unquestioning faith and ancient texts are at best a unreliable guides and very poor arbiters. At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.

The bible was written at a time when slavery was morally acceptable and this morality is obviously reflected therein, in the same way that Scientology is of it's time. During the struggle for abolition religion was used to both support and challenge slavery. Now the majority of religious folk (and the rest of us, without any reference to the supernatural) see slavery as being morally unacceptable.

Both your examples above demonstrate that it’s the moral standards of the time – fluid human constructs that differ over time and location – that shape religions, and not the other way around, as an endless parade of religions have asserted since homo sapiens first attempted to make sense of nature.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Hang on there, Mister Mills. Jesus was not condemning those who did good…


Hang on there jacobusmaximus. So says you. To which Mister Mills could, quite rightly and justifiably by your standard, dismiss your personal relationship with God and assert ‘and so we go round and round on the meaning of evidence and its efficacy. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’
In short, by your own standard, your Faith and status as a Believer can simply be dismissed. Not the most fulfilling state of affairs if you ask me Think

Also as I’ve stated before, your standard is likewise just as ‘valid’ to a person whose faith (dismissing weight of evidence, logic or reason) in their personal relationship with god leads them to blow themselves up in a concert hall full of young people. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable, right?

Wrong. This debate only goes round and round because you continue to defend your personal faith in a particular version of a particular god by conflating it with the objective empiricism that makes every other aspect of your daily life possible.

One standard to measure the ‘meaning and efficacy of evidence’ would be to ask whether you would truthfully be content to have it used against you in a court of law. If your liberty relied on nothing more than the prosecution asserting that they very strongly believed in your guilt, despite a complete lack of evidence. I guarantee you would demand a higher standard.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have met a few - a very few - people who profess belief in God who talk like that, but they tend to be a bit eccentric and soon reveal themselves to be self-centred rather than God-centred. In short, they are not Believers.

Christ on a bike! Can you not see the irony here?
In this thread alone you’ve dismissed epistemology out of hand, while expecting everyone else to simply yield to the validity of your own personal belief in your own personal salvation. And you’ve arbitrarily removed ‘Believer’ status from countless Christians, and corrected Mister Mills on his personal faith, for no other reason than the fact that their personal belief without evidence does not agree with your personal belief without evidence.
And all this in defence of your personal belief that the entire history of the universe has culminated in you being born into the correct culture, at the correct time, with the an almost unique insight into the correct divine revelation, thus affording you a seat at God’s right hand while billions of other individuals, with countless individual relationships with god/s, perish in whatever hellish fantasy you subscribe to… and you don’t think that is self centred? Pray



.
will
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 5:40:51 PM
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Hope123 wrote:
Hi Jcb. As I said, it was a bad example…

I disagree. It was a perfectly good example. That human instinct towards ‘thank god that didn’t happen to me’, that fear of death or random personal misfortune, is at the root of just about every religion and sub sect that has ever existed. Affiliation to an interventionist god, the personal beggary of prayer, the concept of sin and punishment of sinners (usually limited to things to which an individual or group personally disapproves) and eternal paradise for the chosen are all examples of the same selfish fear that makes religion such an effective and pernicious tool.

DragOnspeaker 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.)

In the same way as crystal healing and antibiotics are both medicine, basically. Or how speaking to the dead and cold reading are both clairvoyance, basically. Or how believing in unicorns and not believing in unicorns are equally valid positions to take, basically… etc. etc. etc.



.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 11:59:52 AM

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will, I wonder why you need to defend your values in such an unpleasant way. I guess you must feel offended by statements that challenge your belief system, but it doesn't help your cause by expressing yourself in an aggressive manner.

Edited (to remove an aggressive reply).

I remember, therefore I am.
tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 2:15:29 PM

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jacobusmaximus wrote:
will, I wonder why you need to defend your values in such an unpleasant way.

Considering what he is up against, will is generally far less unpleasant in tone than I can be at times.

The problem that I have as an atheist when trying to discuss religion with believers is the complete absence of common ground. In talks with muslims, roman catholics, baptists, mormons, scientologists and others, I have always hit a brick wall at some stage. Each has insisted that their 'sacred text'. and their interpretation of that version, is the one indisputably infallible version of the truth. Even if I were to concede (which I don't) that one of them is indeed the truth, hell's bells, there are, depending on your source, between forty and forty thousand different sects/denominations of Christianity alone.

If someone tells me, without testable evidence, that their sacred text and their interpretation of it (backed up by personal experience of the deity for which they can produce no evidence)is 'true', then I will treat such claims with the disrespect they merit. If that someone considers my refusal to accept their belief as 'unpleasant', then so be it. Untold numbers of children find it unpleasant to learn that Santa Claus and the tooth fairy don't really exist unpleasant. They get over it.
will
Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 3:03:04 PM
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jacobusmaximus I’m sorry you find me unpleasant and aggressive. However your perception of my emotional state has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the points made. I don’t wonder why you choose to resort to ad hominem rather than address the argument, it’s quite clear why.

And so we go round and round, eh?

While it’s my main intention to make a solid argument in favour of critical thinking, I’d be lying if I said I don’t get some satisfaction out of seeing the pious publicly implode in fits of indignation when challenged. People who believe with all their being that they are privy to the ultimate answer to life and the universe, an answer that elevates them above the mortality and suffering that will be cast upon the unbeliever, do tend to be prone to delicate sensibilities. Think

tunaafi, don't get me started on the subject of the religious indoctrination of children... then you will see how unpleasant I can be. Speak to the hand


.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 4:01:56 AM

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will, tunaafi, let's leave it while we're on a high, eh?Boo hoo!

I remember, therefore I am.
Absinthius
Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 4:11:49 AM

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Which conveniently avoids addressing the challenges to your argument.

Perhaps we should leave this digression for what it is. I would, however, appreciate it if you could reply to the contents (not the perceived tone) of the post Will made on June 14th.

Would you be willing to Jacobus?

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 11:20:26 AM

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Absinthius wrote:
Which conveniently avoids addressing the challenges to your argument.

Perhaps we should leave this digression for what it is. I would, however, appreciate it if you could reply to the contents (not the perceived tone) of the post Will made on June 14th.

Would you be willing to Jacobus?




Short answer - yes. Long answer to follow.

I remember, therefore I am.
Hope123
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 12:08:24 AM

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Even if I don't agree with the idelogy, I still see the good that is done by religion. Canada would be a lot poorer without the Salvation Army - affectionately called the Sally Ann. There are lots of Christian outreach programs as every church usually puts aside money for outreach. I saw a lot of Christian outreach to Muslim refugees in Canada on links online as well - in fact a lot of the refugees let into Canada were sponsored by churches. We gave some older furniture to a church for a refugee family they were setting up in an apartment. There are Muslim groups that help the poor as well. This is all volunteer work.

Volunteers helping the refugees had to come and check out that the furniture was suitable and then come back with a truck, get enough supplies to set up an apartment for a family of five, book and pay for the apartment etc.

http://www.knoxwaterdown.ca/about/missions-outreach

https://www.muslimaid.org/what-we-do/

But there are lots of charities that are run by secular groups to help people as well. In fact there is a group of knitters, condo owners, who meet every Tuesday night here in our condo who contribute their efforts to the needy at Christmas. Our social committee collects food and toys and new clothes three times a year, and some sewers make hats for cancer patients who have lost their hair through chemo. None of this is charity sponsored - just people of all faiths (and me) being neighborly to those less fortunate. Other than if someone says they are going to church or to mass we never ask or talk about what religion people are or even discuss religious topics.

Religion, money, and politics are topics one does not discuss. Well, now, we do discuss one American politician. 😀

Neither group has a strangle hold on morality/ethics or on doing good for others. I believe in laissez-faire for others in all areas of life including beliefs of religion unless they are harming other humans or animals and their habitats.


The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
jacobusmaximus
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 4:31:34 AM

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Absinthius wrote:
Which conveniently avoids addressing the challenges to your argument.

Perhaps we should leave this digression for what it is. I would, however, appreciate it if you could reply to the contents (not the perceived tone) of the post Will made on June 14th.

Would you be willing to Jacobus?


Long answer (will writes in blue).


jacobusmaximus wrote:
Atheism, in particular, lays the blame for all the world's evils at the door of religion, especially Christianity.

Do you have anything to back that up? Or is this just an assertion based on your own prejudice? If ‘Atheism’ collectively lays blame for the world’s evils anywhere – which it doesn’t – I’d say Islam is especially bearing the brunt. I reckon most atheists consider Christians to be mainly harmlessly… but I could be wrong, I can’t, and don’t claim to, speak on behalf of other people with a non-belief in things for which there is no evidence.


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 against those who are, or who claim to be, atheists. 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. 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; that before the Church had power there was no slavery, no poverty, no capital punishment and no religious or political refugees. They are taught at school or College that Man is the only species that kills. 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. In short, they have no hope in the worth of mankind, no hope in Christ, and atheism, for them, is no more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. They have no evidence for atheism, but they are trusting in it.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Some outspoken Atheists do not know, or they choose to ignore, that slavery, for instance, existed amongst the Native Americans long before the white man set foot on that continent. And who can deny that Native Americans had high moral standards?

Native Americans likely had a wide range of moral standards, as defined by a wide range of cultures at particular points in time.


So we are agreed on that.

And moral equivalence is not a compelling defence for continuing to hold outdated texts in high regard today.

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.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
Before Christian Missionaries had any influence in some Black African countries it was standard practice to kill one of new-born twins as this was considered a bad omen. Superstition or not, it was done for the best of reasons - to protect the tribe from misfortune.

“Black African countries”?


What is the nature of your query here, please, will?

The argument most commonly made against the concept of ‘religious morality’ is that morality is a fluid human construct and that religion, unquestioning faith and ancient texts are at best a unreliable guides and very poor arbiters. At worst religion actively promotes outdated immoral attitudes and holds back progress towards more enlightened attitudes.


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

The bible was written at a time when slavery was morally acceptable and this morality is obviously reflected therein, in the same way that Scientology is of it's time.

When the Bible was written is irrelevant here. God's word was given to man long before it was written down. Slavery was not a part of God's plan for humankind. Rather, it followed the Fall of man and was never morally acceptable to God or to the enslaved. I agree with you that slavery did seem to be a part of the currency of religious people, but then it was religious people who crucified Christ, so what do you expect? My point here is that slavery was not the invention of white Christian people as many modern thinkers allege. On the contrary, it was Christians who brought about the end of slavery, in Britain and its Empire at least. Reference William Wilberforce. You should understand that there is a difference between Christians and those who call themselves Christians but are not. In the same was there is a difference between Atheists and those who call themselves Atheists but are not. In my experience an Atheist can politely explain to you why he or she is settled in their belief (or unbelief if you like) without causing offence. Whereas many who call themselves Atheists are fundamentally uninformed about the matter and are just running scared, shooting from the hip, like terrorists (No offence meant).

During the struggle for abolition religion was used to both support and challenge slavery. Now the majority of religious folk (and the rest of us, without any reference to the supernatural) see slavery as being morally unacceptable.

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.

Both your examples above demonstrate that it’s the moral standards of the time – fluid human constructs that differ over time and location – that shape religions, and not the other way around, as an endless parade of religions have asserted since homo sapiens first attempted to make sense of nature.
jacobusmaximus wrote:
Hang on there, Mister Mills. Jesus was not condemning those who did good…


Hang on there jacobusmaximus. So says you. To which Mister Mills could, quite rightly and justifiably by your standard, dismiss your personal relationship with God and assert ‘and so we go round and round on the meaning of evidence and its efficacy. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable.’
In short, by your own standard, your Faith and status as a Believer can simply be dismissed. Not the most fulfilling state of affairs if you ask me.


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.

Also as I’ve stated before, your standard is likewise just as ‘valid’ to a person whose faith (dismissing weight of evidence, logic or reason) in their personal relationship with god leads them to blow themselves up in a concert hall full of young people. At the end of the day it comes down to what different people accept as true and reliable, right?

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

Wrong. This debate only goes round and round because you continue to defend your personal faith in a particular version of a particular god by conflating it with the objective empiricism that makes every other aspect of your daily life possible.

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. 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.

One standard to measure the ‘meaning and efficacy of evidence’ would be to ask whether you would truthfully be content to have it used against you in a court of law. If your liberty relied on nothing more than the prosecution asserting that they very strongly believed in your guilt, despite a complete lack of evidence. I guarantee you would demand a higher standard.

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.

jacobusmaximus wrote:
I have met a few - a very few - people who profess belief in God who talk like that, but they tend to be a bit eccentric and soon reveal themselves to be self-centred rather than God-centred. In short, they are not Believers.

Christ on a bike! Can you not see the irony here?
In this thread alone you’ve dismissed epistemology out of hand, while expecting everyone else to simply yield to the validity of your own personal belief in your own personal salvation. And you’ve arbitrarily removed ‘Believer’ status from countless Christians, and corrected Mister Mills on his personal faith, for no other reason than the fact that their personal belief without evidence does not agree with your personal belief without evidence.
And all this in defence of your personal belief that the entire history of the universe has culminated in you being born into the correct culture, at the correct time, with the an almost unique insight into the correct divine revelation, thus affording you a seat at God’s right hand while billions of other individuals, with countless individual relationships with god/s, perish in whatever hellish fantasy you subscribe to… and you don’t think that is self centred?


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.

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


I remember, therefore I am.
tunaafi
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2017 11:41:53 AM

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Will will doubtless respond, and more eloquently and knowledgeably than I, but I'd just like to make a couple of points.

jacobusmaximus wrote:

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.


So the assertion that "Atheism, in particular, lays the blame for all the world's evils at the door of religion, especially Christianity" is a distortion of the truth.

Quote:
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; that before the Church had power there was no slavery, no poverty, no capital punishment and no religious or political refugees. They are taught at school or College that Man is the only species that kills.

I taught in the British state system from 1967 until 1998, and my offspring attended British state schools and universities between 1980 and 2002, and we saw almost no sign of this. Nothing I have heard from colleagues still teaching/lecturing leads me to believe this has changed in the last fifteen years,

We did encounter a small handful of people who tried to force these views on the students entrusted to them. We saw many who tried to force their religious views on their students,


Quote:
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.

The majority of teachers my offspring and I met do not put over such views.

Quote:
They have no evidence for atheism, but they are trusting in it.

Most atheists do not 'trust in atheism'. They are atheists because no satisfactory evidence for a deity has ever been produced. We don't need evidence for something that isn't there. The onus is on those who believe in Yahweh, Zeus, Odin, Moroni, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy etc, to produce evidence to support the existence of such beings.

I'll leave it at that for the moment.
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