haha brotherdeacon ftw
maybe i can finally get out of here now
riss, i don’t think i ever said i believe there’s no god. i said i don’t believe in organized religion. and i resent the implication that we’re all out there thieving, raping and murdering because god didn’t tell us not to. now that the other heathens have showed up i will take my leave
I didn’t know what the word anathema meant so I looked it up and saw that some definitions of it can be “a person or thing accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction.” or “any imprecation of divine punishment.” So was the use of this word meant to be somehow ironic?
I love words! In that case I meant anathema as something that is detested. It does have that other religious meanings, which I was aware of and in that sense was being playful, hoping that some would get that little joke.
So since you’ve been reading along I know you’ve probably seeing me harp on the same question over and over. ;) So the whole good and evil and how we define them and on what authority question. Can you define for me a bit more how good and evil are one and what that looks like?
They are one in that they are part of the same system—like night and day. Some things are ‘in the blackest night’ so to speak, some are at ‘noon’, and some are around dawn. All of these states are part of each other, in essence, one thing.
You and Jesus agree on this! It’s the same position he had, especially regarding the religious leaders and practitioner of his day.
Yes, but then came the organized religion, which I don’t think he would care for very much.
I hope you don’t feel like any of my discussions here fall under that description. I don’t think you do though since we seem to have a pretty good raport and understanding even though I’ve shared my feelings before.
None of my comments were directly pointed at you, Riss. I think you’re a great person. In fact, I am in severe like with you. I especially like this thread and the conversation we’re having, and I’m always up for a more detailed exploration of these ideas, or anything else.
And yes, we should have a beer sometime ;)
No, my point is that the internal reports from the religious believers are not useful in deciding whether or not that religion is fraudulent. We can see that the mormons are fraudulent, but they won’t tell us that themselves. We can see that scientology is fraudulent, but they won’t tell us either.
But my point is that if there was an external report that coroborates what is claimed internally by a religion you automatically reclassify it as an internal report. So for you there is no such thing as an external report that coroborates what a religion claims. To me it appears like a catch-22.
When people show up claiming to have seen impossible things, the obvious conclusion is that they are making it up. People are outstanding at making stuff up—story telling, right? If the impossible things cannot be made to happen again and again, and if there is no permanent evidence that doesn’t depend on what supposed eyewitness saw, then it is a very bad idea to believe such people. Sometimes they tell you to go down into the jungle in Central America and drink poisoned Koolaid.
But with Christ we aren’t talking about a situation like Muhammad or Joseph Smith where they claimed to see revelations on there own that no one else could see and we had to take their word that something miraculous happened. The story of Christ is surrounded by hundreds of people seeing him perform miracles. Hundreds of people seeing his apostles doing miracles. Many people associated with him and his life seeing their own angels and messenges from God, and they all coroborated with each other.
Yes there are many charismatic charlatans like Jim Jones who convinced a lot of people to come along and join him in his cult, and even many who obeyed him when they told them to take the Koolaid, but many tried to escape, and after that his legacy ended. It did not continue to spread because there was no more evidence beyond the man himself. Unlike Christ where hundreds and thousands of people continued to be affected by miracles and the Holy Spirit after his ascent.
Let me play devil’s advocate here
Yes, please do Brad! That’s what I’ve been doing here myself mostly, unfortunately to the frustration of poor Ruby. I’m really not trying to be a jerk to her. I appreciate her very much, but these questions about how other people believe are important I think.
and suggest a rational for morality independent of religion. How about evolutionary self interest? We are born with the instinct to survive and reproduce, thereby ensuring the survival of our species. As civililization has flourished we are have also come to expect a certain degree of security, comfort and happiness.
Murder and lesser crimes violate this instinct. Since we know that our own survival (ect.) depends on that of others, our entire moral outlook can be justified as expanded self interest. This not to say that compassion doesn’t play a role, but even that may be based upon the idea that we can only protect ourselves (and our species) by protecting others.
Yes there is a survival instinct and certainly there is desire for a sense of comfort and happiness. But humans have these interesting abilities of abstract thought and self reflection. We put this ability of abstract thought and logic above any other faculty that motivates behavior. People who we consider educated with more capacity for sound reasoning are the ones we like to put in charge. We look down on someone who does something just becuase it makes them feel good even if it is “illogical”. But ultimately if we really ask the deepest question and question every assumption we should question why it is logical or rational for the human race to continue to survive at all. Without saying there is some creator who created it for a purpose, you have to revert back to our feeling and say we like to continue to survive just because the thought makes us feel happy, even though the thought without any other assumption is “illogical” from what I can see.
>>you have to revert back to our feeling and say we like to continue to survive just because the thought makes us feel happy<<
It’s more than just feelings though. In scientific terms, survival seems to be an ingrained instinct, not just a preference. We share this instnct with animals, but becuase we are more fully evolved, it manifests itself with more complex variety.
The story of Christ is surrounded by hundreds of people seeing him perform miracles
See these sorts of statements are sweeping and without evidence, nothing was written about this until loooong after the event, whether the writers were divinely inspired to relate things that actually happened two hundred years earler or whether one guy homed in on a legend he heard and decided to create something around it (with others following on…) is not provable, it’s like does one believe Mozart was taking dictation from a divine source, was Dr Bach given information from source about healing essences and so on, it’s no different. A Course in Miracles was written by a psychologist who claims to suddenly have started hearing the word of god, the same with the series of books Conversations with God. I guess you either have the capacity to accept this stuff as an unshakable truth or not.
I am currently reading Ask and it is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks have built a huge following and made a lot of money around the idea that some entitly called Abraham appeared to Esther and has imparted to her divine knowledge about how to attract good things good feelings and wealth into your life. The fundamentals in that book are simple, they are based on processes designed to make you feel motivated and active and connected to something beyond the self. If you do the processes in that book, you will feel better! And so people extrapolate that out to believing Abraham has indeed appeared to Esther. Similarly if you follow a religious code, it can make you feel better, it can give you a confessor which gives you relief from guilt, it can take you from the edge of the terror of nothingness void, it can help you feel less alone and comforted.
But does that mean Abraham really appeared to Esther or….do human beings just talk themselves into whatever they take a shine to because it helps them get through “the night” of this really quite outrageous situation we find ourselves in.
Well just cause I hate something doesn’t mean I think it’s “wrong!”
However, I will say that I think a good, broad definition of what’s wrong is to hurt other people. And I guess something that is good is to help and be nice to other people. And I think demonizing people is not nice.
Heh, I’m talking to so many people here I’m starting to forget which people believe what. Didn’t you say that you didn’t know what was rigth and wrong or if they even existed earlier?
That’s a place where I get kind of confused with really religious people. If that’s the whole meaning of the world, why do you do things that don’t directly glorify him? For example, running the director’s cup? Or would you say that exposing people to cinema glorifies God? (Cause that’s something I could definitely get behind hahaha!)
Well one reason Christians don’t alwayd do what glorifies God is because they are just as silly and messed up as everyone else. Maybe more so because they realize how much they need God to get them out of their mess. We are still living sinful lives and getting tempted and some still get trapped in to worship things other than God from time to time. I’ve felt like I’ve made a god of movie watching sometimes. It has consumed me more than it should. I’ve invested more into God’s creation than God himself.
But I do feel like films can glorify God for sure. God made this world for us to explore and appreciate. Films show us so much about it including the perspectives of other people.
But I still don’t understand what you mean by “meaning.” From what you’re saying, it sounds like “purpose” might be a better word. Do you view the two as synonymous?
Yeah I’ve been bad about clarifying my words very well. In fact part of this discussion I started was for me to kind of work out better what I believe. I’m not sure exactly what they mean or the difference, but I see them very strongly related if not meaning the same thing.
I would rather just think that the “purpose” of life is to simply be alive.
I’m not saying that doesn’t sound like a bad purpose, but the word purpose to me sounds like something that must be concrete and definitive, and just saying you’d like that to be the purpose because it sounds nice or it’s easy seems kind of arbitrary.
well yes, i don’t have a problem with religious people. as long as they aren’t shoving it down other’s throats. like declaring this a ‘christian nation’ and trying to institute biblical laws. and there is a pretty large movement afoot in this country to do just that, in case u haven’t noticed
Ruby, are you from the USA? I see this happening too I agree it is very bad. The constitution of the United States prohibits any laws that either promote or hinder any kind of religious practice. It’s pretty scary and something needs to be done about it or else we are all going to wake up one day and say “what happened?” Please don’t think I’m one of those people who thinks explicitly legislating religion is a good idea.
but i think it’s a relic and in future it will gradually decline. in times of fear it gets stronger and that’s what’s happening now. how many crimes are committed in the name of god? innumerable. hopefully at some point we can leave all that in the past
It’s what a lot of people were already hoping for several decades ago, but it hasn’t happened. In fact Christianity and just continued to grow. I don’t see it stopping. And the more people try to stamp it out the more it flourishes.
i don’t think you’re one of those people, riss. i sometimes struggle to articulate my ideas but meg has made my point quite eloquently above. we tell ourselves stories because we are frightened of the universe
and see, i don’t think those people have paid much attention to what jesus actually taught. or they’ve rationalized it away somehow. cuz he certainly never taught intolerance and hate. and if there’s any doubt the mssg has been corrupted, just look at the catholic church, aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of children for years. it just makes me very angry. and this kind of stuff is my problem with organized religion
Like I said before the people in the church are still all fallen people and just because someone goes to church does not even really make them a Christian. But again how amazing it is that God loves a group of people that still continually rebel against him and twist his teachings for their own purposes.
One of the things that I always used to hang on as proof of a creator is the idea of the ‘Original Mover’. Simply put—a pool ball doesn’t move on its own, something has to move it. So you can’t have people and planets and stars and galaxies and gases and elements and The Big Bang without there being something to put it into motion. Hence, a creator.
I’m also fascinated by quantum mechanics. For decades physicists have been trying to explain how all things in nature behave. We have great theories that explain how very big things behave (planets and such), but when we look at very small things (protons and such) we find that they don’t behave that way at all. In fact, they’re very weird. Quantum particles can suddenly pop into existence, or disappear suddenly and reappear somewhere else. Normal physics can’t explain that, which is why physicists are working so hard to come up with a plausible theory that explains how all things work together (since all very big things are made of these odd very small things).
Stephen Hawking recently theorized that he could explain away a creator because of quantum mechanics. If quantum particles can appear from nothing, why couldn’t the universe? Furthermore, he states, since spacetime was created during the Big Bang, it didn’t exist prior to that event, so there was nowhere for a creator to be to create the universe. So everything in the universe was spawned by a spontaneous event that occurs because that’s the way nature works.
I’m not saying I agree with Hawking (though he’s a pretty smart guy), but it’s an interesting idea. Another possibility is that there are many, many universes, and quantum theory has speculated that a Big Bang occurs when they collide. Ultimately I’m stuck at the idea of the Original Mover, even though he would have had to come from somewhere, too, right?
Risselada—You seem to think that in order for there to be meaning or moral values, these things must be pegged onto an inscrutable supernatural entity. But my question is, why do you think that is satisfactory? The opinions of something inconceivably different from humans should matter to us?
God as a whole may be inconceivable but certain aspects of him can be made known to us. The idea that he created me and thus knows more than me is not inconceivable. I have this urge to know the reason for things. I feel like intrinsically most people I have met and who have ever lived have had this urge to question and know the reason for things. But the only result of our own search is the fact that we cannot discover a reason for things on our own. So the alternatives are to either live with this strong urge wanting to know the reasons for things and understanding it’s a funadmental party of who we are but realizing that we are fundamentally defective because we cannot ever achieve. Or you can take the existence of anything including our own urge to know the reason for things at all as evidence that there is a reason for things and it must have been endowed by a creator who put that urge into us because there is a reason for things.
You might try this. Here’s a simple moral claim all of us here agree with: the men in Afghanistan who punish and kill women for being rape victims are horribly wrong. Why are they wrong? Well, we can imagine ways to step back. One I like comes from John Rawls and his idea of a veil of ignorance. If that Afghan man had to help build a society from scratch, but he didn’t know whether he would be a man or a woman in it, he wouldn’t agree to those brutal anti-women practices.
How could someone create a society from scratch? How could someone not know if they were a man or a woman? There’s too many hyotheticals detatched from my own reality and experience to even understand how that would work.
in fear and wonder. i believe they began as a way to explain things we didn’t understand. sacrifices were made to appease angry gods so they wouldn’t destroy us with floods or fire. now science has explained some of those things so there is a conflict with the literal interpretation. of course fear of death is a constant. the power to defeat death is a huge attraction of religion. and we’re hard wired for rituals
What about for the Jews where several millions of people saw the results of things like supernatural plagues, parting of seas, cities crumbling under the sound of horns, food miraculously appearing on the ground regularly. How does science explain that as something that would happen normally?
Also why do you think it is that we’re hard wired for rituals?
and since i was raised in southern baptist church i have a hard time relating to less extreme churches? are there churches that accept evolution?
Just curious – what do you think science has explained that directly contradicts religion? In my mind, science and religion are never contradictory. They’re similar things (people seeking explanations), but working in different areas with different tools.
Right. The way I usually see it is that science answers “how” questions and religion answers “why” questions.
i thought the catholics were sticking with the adam and eve story. and if they’re not then why are they still subjugating women? are we not responsible for original sin anymore?
OH WOW! I’ve never heard that one before. You’ve heard people use that as a reason for subjugating women?
everyone here should look into Baha’i. Especially Ruby, from the points she was making on page 4.
Also Ruby, that passage you quoted from Psalm 137 were the last lines of the psalm (which is one of my personal favorites, it’s an amazing poem) and taken somewhat out of context. Also, the book of Psalms is credited to David for authorship, and most of them were hymns, lyrics, or poems he wrote to honor God, not speak God’s work. At the time that Psalm 137 was written at a time when the tribes of Judea were taken from their home, raped, tortured, and enslaved by Babylon (Roman Empire), so the animosity is not to be seen as pro-genocide, but it is indeed pro-vengeance (which the God of the Old Testament was). (The KJV Book of Psalms is one of my favorite books of poetry).
Earlier there was a debate about the God of the OT vs the God of the NT; it is the same God in both, however the NT focuses on Jesus (god as flesh; god as mercy [empathy parables etc.]). Jesus was radically changing the philosophies held by the Jewish Temple, that’s why the Gods seem so different. They aren’t though. God is still a vengeful and jealous essence; Jesus was not.
Also, i agree with the idea that there is no anthropomorphic God, he is instead the essence of all things. However, the book of Genesis (the first book of Moses) does state that man was made in God’s image, so that kind of already shoves an anthropomorphic deity into the realm of Abrahamic traditions—they can take “many different forms” though. This is likewise with Buddhism, but there are different realms instead of a Heaven, Hell, Earth, Purgatory, etc. The many Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in Buddhism—post-enlightenment—can take many forms, but are still described as anthropomorphic in their higher or lower realms (on the opposite end with the Ghosts and Demons and stuff—I forget what they’re called but Jigoku has a great portrayal of Buddhism’s “hell” realm).
Also did anyone get a chance to read any of those non-canonical gospels/books i posted the text links to on page 3? if so, why do you think these books were discarded at the Council of Nicaea?
@Riss religious constructs, was referring to
meaning making, getting out of bed in the morning – I’m on the rampage against battery chicken egg production at the moment
also, doofu, i think science has explained the causes of weather phenomena and the movement of planets as well as many diseases and conditions that were thought to be scourges from god or demon possession. these were all causes of fear in the ancient world so man sought a way to control his environment through prayer, fasting and sacrifice
The thing about prayer, fasting, and sacrifice from the perspective of Christianity is that none of those things will control God. A lot of people feel like religion is a way to control God. As if by doing certain things you can some how get God on your good side and he’ll do what you want that benefits you. God will do whatever he wants. Prayer, fasting, and sacrifice are gifts from God because they are a way of knowing God. And God himself is the ultimate gift to us.
See these sorts of statements are sweeping and without evidence, nothing was written about this until loooong after the event,
The miracles perhaps, but there are plenty of secular, and non-religious accounts and manuscripts from that time period that account for a radical religious and political zealot known as Jesus of Nazareth, as well as documented accounts of his crucifixion. The fact that he was an actual person is undeniable, the miracles on the other hand…that’s where faith comes in. It is rumored that there exists secular documents attributing Jesus to healing the extremely sick, but i have not seen them personally, or come across them.
if you want the texts of these go find them yourselves, i’m not longer this thread’s errand boy. it’s really not to difficult to find religious documents or academia.
we really know edit: nothing of what Jesus thought about anything, he never left a written word and what he was supposed to have thought about things was written a couple of hundred years later as I understand it and has been rejigged many times since.
There was a bit of a discussion earlier about this in the topic. I’m still doing my own research on it, but my understanding is that it was “a couple of hundred years” later but shortly after by people who had been with Jesus or people who knew people who had been with Jesus.
But ultimately if we really ask the deepest question and question every assumption we should question why it is logical or rational for the human race to continue to survive at all. Without saying there is some creator who created it for a purpose, you have to revert back to our feeling and say we like to continue to survive just because the thought makes us feel happy, even though the thought without any other assumption is “illogical” from what I can see.
We can always ask an infinite regress of question. You, Risselada, insert this inscrutable entity (that is slightly scrutable around the edges you say) and then announce that because of this entity, you are all done with the why questions. But you haven’t come up with any final answers, you just quit the questions. Even if I were to grant that we were created by some sort of god, you haven’t provided any reason to think that the god’s purposes are the same as our purposes. That’s why I offered the joke about being created for food. If that was the god’s purpose, then my purposes and its purposes are clearly at odds.
A far better strategy than chasing after this ever receding “ultimate purpose” is to realize that meanings and purposes are limited and have contingencies including particular places and times. There is no reason for the rest of the universe to care if humans survive or not. But we do. If we can give our descendants a healthy planet and healthy society, they will be glad we cared, don’t you think?
really? just stating, I was referring to religious constructs before to provide rationale for human purpose ….and that one thing that gives my life meaning is working to reduce animal suffering
Yes. Amusing parody of a lot of the cryptic imagery in some of these apocalyptic literatures. I particularly like seeing the word bifurcate. Just for the record, I know “ftw” is just a common internet thing. But I’m not trying to actually “win” anything. I don’t think these are discussions to be “won”. Just trying to share some perspectives.
If anything I ever said implied to you that I felt like people who don’t believe in organize religion are perpetrating all of these acts and that religion people aren’t then what I said did not come across correctly. Like I said before I actually think that Christians at least are generally worse people than non-Christians. That’s why the recognize that they need Christ to restore them.
I am currently reading Ask and it is Given, Esther and Jerry Hicks have built a huge following and made a lot of money around the idea that some entitly called Abraham appeared to Esther and has imparted to her divine knowledge about how to attract good things good feelings and wealth into your life.
I thought you were talking about the Biblical Esther at first. I googled the book. These people sounds like loons making money by manipulating the masses, much like televangelists.
The Biblical Esther is a badass.
I listen to theologians in their self imporant measured phoney-respectful-towards-each-other because we are good men, men of god tones sometimes on the radio arguing some inane point of reference in the Bible with their ultra terrestial human ego projection righteous mindlessness and it is highly entertaining to me
not all (in fact most) theologians and religious scholars are religious. most are atheist in fact. Also, it may seem inane to argue specific points of the bible, but deities and miracles aside, most religious texts from around the world provide great historical information from their regions. If anything, it helps with an anthropological aspect of learning about our own species and ancient civilizations.
seriously, Jesus is a manmade creation, the bare bones of what we know about Jesus with any kind of supportable evidence is so slender, it is astounding all that has been attributed to him, and all the slaughter etc that has been carried out in his name
those theologians I hear as I referred to on the radio, you can hear their little voices quivering when they think they’re losing the argument, might lose face, might have to lose some of what gives their lives meaning, or what they have built their identity around…no different to the fighting of wars about religion, we must be right, we must! and this is just the holy arguing amongst themselves about the minutae of the Book
Meg, the historical evidence proving the existence on this planet of a man named Jesus of Nazareth living around 20-30 C.E. is pretty convincing, and there is enough of it to prove he was real. He was a real person. the supportable evidence is not slender, whatsoever. That is absolute fact. Go use your science and databases to find it.
How could someone create a society from scratch? How could someone not know if they were a man or a woman? There’s too many hyotheticals detatched from my own reality and experience to even understand how that would work.
Well, I thought you might be interested in why we don’t need gods to figure out what constitutes a just society. There are several ways to do so, John Rawls happens to offer one that is pretty easy to understand once you start looking at it a bit. But if you want the tl;dr conclusion, it’s this: to answer questions like what is a just arrangement for society, you need to abstract away from people’s particular invested interests and find a way to look at the issue as an impartial outsider.
those theologians I hear as I referred to on the radio, you can hear their little voices quivering when they think they’re losing the argument, might lose face, might have to lose some of what gives their lives meaning, or what they have built their identity around…no different to the fighting of wars about religion, we must be right, we must!
are you listening to theologians, or evangelists? what radio broadcasts are you listening to? who are these ‘theologians’? are you sure they are even scholars of religion, or are they just practitioners of it? what are their names/credibility/etc?
Oh Lordy, Lordy. I think this link needs to be trimmed down with an actual focus.
correct me if i’m mistake, but the OP encouraged the discussion of ALL things religion/theological/etc. why focus on one when you can bathe in the (somewhat) organized chaos of it all.
ps. entertaining little blerb of eschatological prose you spouted there at the end, brotherdeacon. now please, join in the discussion! :)