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BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?

Ed. 17 Apr 07 - 05:18 PM
beardedbruce 17 Apr 07 - 05:25 PM
Bill D 17 Apr 07 - 05:26 PM
wysiwyg 17 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM
Wesley S 17 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM
akenaton 17 Apr 07 - 05:32 PM
Sttaw Legend 17 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM
skipy 17 Apr 07 - 05:36 PM
Amos 17 Apr 07 - 05:38 PM
Captain Ginger 17 Apr 07 - 05:40 PM
Stringsinger 17 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM
Wesley S 17 Apr 07 - 05:52 PM
Jean(eanjay) 17 Apr 07 - 05:53 PM
Ebbie 17 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM
skipy 17 Apr 07 - 06:36 PM
Riginslinger 17 Apr 07 - 07:40 PM
Ebbie 17 Apr 07 - 07:45 PM
Peace 17 Apr 07 - 07:47 PM
Little Hawk 17 Apr 07 - 07:52 PM
Amos 17 Apr 07 - 08:08 PM
michaelr 17 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM
Little Hawk 17 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 17 Apr 07 - 10:51 PM
Mrrzy 17 Apr 07 - 11:42 PM
Peace 17 Apr 07 - 11:52 PM
Bert 18 Apr 07 - 12:07 AM
patriot1314 18 Apr 07 - 12:15 AM
Peace 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 AM
Slag 18 Apr 07 - 03:31 AM
Georgiansilver 18 Apr 07 - 03:39 AM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 07 - 03:49 AM
Slag 18 Apr 07 - 03:55 AM
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frogprince 18 Apr 07 - 02:11 PM
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Little Hawk 18 Apr 07 - 03:15 PM
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Nickhere 18 Apr 07 - 10:02 PM
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GUEST,Once Famous 19 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM
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guitar 19 Apr 07 - 06:55 PM
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John O'L 19 Apr 07 - 08:37 PM
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Joe Offer 20 Apr 07 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 20 Apr 07 - 03:23 AM
Slag 20 Apr 07 - 03:24 AM
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*daylia* 20 Apr 07 - 10:21 AM
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Amos 20 Apr 07 - 10:27 AM
Stringsinger 20 Apr 07 - 10:42 AM
Mrrzy 20 Apr 07 - 11:33 AM
nutty 20 Apr 07 - 01:18 PM
Shaneo 20 Apr 07 - 01:35 PM
Little Hawk 20 Apr 07 - 01:55 PM
Bill D 20 Apr 07 - 02:07 PM
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guitar 21 Apr 07 - 03:42 AM
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John O'L 21 Apr 07 - 05:14 AM
Bill D 21 Apr 07 - 11:56 AM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 07 - 01:54 PM
Mrrzy 21 Apr 07 - 02:34 PM
Amos 21 Apr 07 - 02:45 PM
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Slag 21 Apr 07 - 04:05 PM
akenaton 21 Apr 07 - 04:22 PM
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akenaton 21 Apr 07 - 04:43 PM
guitar 21 Apr 07 - 04:56 PM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM
Slag 21 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM
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Stringsinger 21 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 07 - 07:06 PM
Peace 21 Apr 07 - 07:22 PM
Slag 21 Apr 07 - 08:57 PM
Little Hawk 21 Apr 07 - 09:29 PM
The Hiker 21 Apr 07 - 09:32 PM
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tarheel 22 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM
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Little Hawk 23 Apr 07 - 09:40 AM
Bill D 23 Apr 07 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,God 23 Apr 07 - 12:06 PM
Bill D 23 Apr 07 - 12:08 PM
Amos 23 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM
Ebbie 23 Apr 07 - 01:17 PM
Slag 23 Apr 07 - 04:44 PM
Bill D 23 Apr 07 - 05:08 PM
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Little Hawk 23 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM
Ebbie 23 Apr 07 - 06:00 PM
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Slag 23 Apr 07 - 07:37 PM
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Bill D 23 Apr 07 - 10:26 PM
Amos 24 Apr 07 - 12:06 AM
Mrrzy 24 Apr 07 - 09:13 AM
Stringsinger 24 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM
Donuel 24 Apr 07 - 12:15 PM
Little Hawk 24 Apr 07 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Carl 24 Apr 07 - 07:05 PM
Bill D 24 Apr 07 - 08:03 PM
*daylia* 25 Apr 07 - 06:34 AM
*daylia* 25 Apr 07 - 06:55 AM
GUEST,God 25 Apr 07 - 06:59 AM
Mrrzy 25 Apr 07 - 09:23 AM
*daylia* 25 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM
*daylia* 25 Apr 07 - 09:43 AM
Amos 25 Apr 07 - 10:10 AM
Little Hawk 25 Apr 07 - 10:15 AM
Amos 25 Apr 07 - 10:21 AM
*daylia* 25 Apr 07 - 10:27 AM
Mrrzy 25 Apr 07 - 11:28 AM
Amos 25 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM
Mrrzy 25 Apr 07 - 01:18 PM
Little Hawk 25 Apr 07 - 02:09 PM
Riginslinger 25 Apr 07 - 04:29 PM
Amos 25 Apr 07 - 05:12 PM
Little Hawk 25 Apr 07 - 05:23 PM
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Nickhere 25 Apr 07 - 06:27 PM
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Ebbie 25 Apr 07 - 08:05 PM
Amos 25 Apr 07 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,carl 25 Apr 07 - 09:02 PM
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LukeKellylives (Chris) 25 Apr 07 - 09:31 PM
Bill D 25 Apr 07 - 10:16 PM
LukeKellylives (Chris) 25 Apr 07 - 10:33 PM
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Mrrzy 26 Apr 07 - 01:46 PM
Wesley S 26 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM
Nickhere 26 Apr 07 - 03:17 PM
LukeKellylives (Chris) 26 Apr 07 - 05:34 PM
Bill D 26 Apr 07 - 06:54 PM
Amos 26 Apr 07 - 08:40 PM
Ebbie 27 Apr 07 - 12:01 AM
Mrrzy 27 Apr 07 - 12:51 PM
Wesley S 27 Apr 07 - 01:14 PM
Stringsinger 27 Apr 07 - 04:38 PM
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Bill D 27 Apr 07 - 04:58 PM
Mrrzy 27 Apr 07 - 05:01 PM
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GUEST,Ricky 27 Apr 07 - 05:45 PM
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Kipp 28 Apr 07 - 10:46 AM
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GUEST,Mark Twain 30 Apr 07 - 09:59 AM
Stringsinger 30 Apr 07 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,God 30 Apr 07 - 03:07 PM
Wesley S 30 Apr 07 - 03:44 PM
Mrrzy 30 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM
Wesley S 30 Apr 07 - 06:01 PM
Mrrzy 30 Apr 07 - 06:05 PM
Amos 30 Apr 07 - 06:17 PM
Ebbie 30 Apr 07 - 07:13 PM
Amos 30 Apr 07 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Apr 07 - 08:14 PM
Mrrzy 30 Apr 07 - 09:40 PM
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Amos 30 Apr 07 - 10:32 PM
*daylia* 01 May 07 - 05:59 AM
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Bill D 01 May 07 - 11:48 AM
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M.Ted 01 May 07 - 04:02 PM
Bill D 01 May 07 - 04:39 PM
Amos 01 May 07 - 04:47 PM
M.Ted 01 May 07 - 04:59 PM
Mrrzy 01 May 07 - 05:39 PM
Liz the Squeak 01 May 07 - 05:55 PM
Amos 01 May 07 - 06:05 PM
M.Ted 01 May 07 - 08:53 PM
wysiwyg 01 May 07 - 09:57 PM
Stringsinger 02 May 07 - 04:20 PM
Riginslinger 02 May 07 - 04:26 PM
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Riginslinger 02 May 07 - 04:49 PM
Mrrzy 02 May 07 - 08:36 PM
Amos 02 May 07 - 09:32 PM
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Bee 03 May 07 - 11:00 AM
Amos 03 May 07 - 01:46 PM
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Riginslinger 03 May 07 - 02:15 PM
Mrrzy 03 May 07 - 10:12 PM
Riginslinger 04 May 07 - 10:26 AM
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M.Ted 04 May 07 - 11:59 AM
Riginslinger 04 May 07 - 02:45 PM
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*daylia* 05 May 07 - 03:46 PM
Riginslinger 05 May 07 - 07:39 PM
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Mrrzy 07 May 07 - 10:05 AM
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Amos 07 May 07 - 03:09 PM
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Ebbie 07 May 07 - 03:44 PM
Mrrzy 07 May 07 - 04:50 PM
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Stringsinger 07 May 07 - 05:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 May 07 - 05:39 PM
Amos 07 May 07 - 05:49 PM
M.Ted 07 May 07 - 06:14 PM
Ebbie 07 May 07 - 06:41 PM
Mrrzy 07 May 07 - 10:16 PM
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Bill D 08 May 07 - 11:12 AM
M.Ted 08 May 07 - 12:00 PM
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Mrrzy 10 May 07 - 10:59 AM
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Wesley S 10 May 07 - 11:14 AM
Mrrzy 10 May 07 - 12:11 PM
*daylia* 10 May 07 - 12:22 PM
Amos 10 May 07 - 12:30 PM
Stringsinger 10 May 07 - 03:53 PM
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M.Ted 10 May 07 - 04:15 PM
Ebbie 10 May 07 - 04:21 PM
Mrrzy 10 May 07 - 04:24 PM
Amos 10 May 07 - 04:45 PM
Bill D 10 May 07 - 08:04 PM
Mrrzy 11 May 07 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,NDEbeliever 12 May 07 - 04:26 AM
Bee 12 May 07 - 06:42 AM
Amos 12 May 07 - 07:42 AM
*daylia* 12 May 07 - 08:10 AM
Mrrzy 12 May 07 - 01:35 PM
Amos 12 May 07 - 01:55 PM
Stringsinger 12 May 07 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Gza 12 May 07 - 03:43 PM
Amos 12 May 07 - 05:03 PM
*daylia* 12 May 07 - 06:32 PM
*daylia* 12 May 07 - 06:46 PM
Bill D 12 May 07 - 07:41 PM
Amos 12 May 07 - 11:59 PM
Bee 13 May 07 - 09:10 AM
Riginslinger 13 May 07 - 09:51 AM
Amos 13 May 07 - 10:56 AM
Stringsinger 13 May 07 - 10:56 AM
Bill D 13 May 07 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,NDEbeliever 13 May 07 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Mrr on someone else's computer 13 May 07 - 03:07 PM
Amos 13 May 07 - 03:48 PM
*daylia* 13 May 07 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,ndeBELIEVER 14 May 07 - 01:59 AM
Mrrzy 14 May 07 - 10:18 AM
GUEST 14 May 07 - 10:31 AM
Folkiedave 14 May 07 - 11:28 AM
Wolfgang 14 May 07 - 11:31 AM
Stringsinger 14 May 07 - 12:07 PM
Bill D 14 May 07 - 12:26 PM
*daylia* 14 May 07 - 12:42 PM
Amos 14 May 07 - 01:20 PM
Folkiedave 14 May 07 - 02:19 PM
wysiwyg 14 May 07 - 02:46 PM
Amos 14 May 07 - 02:46 PM
Folkiedave 14 May 07 - 03:36 PM
Ebbie 14 May 07 - 03:41 PM
Amos 14 May 07 - 03:55 PM
Bill D 14 May 07 - 06:25 PM
Amos 14 May 07 - 06:31 PM
Mrrzy 14 May 07 - 07:54 PM
Amos 14 May 07 - 08:08 PM
Bill D 14 May 07 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,ndeBELIEVER 15 May 07 - 01:34 AM
Folkiedave 15 May 07 - 06:08 AM
Bee 15 May 07 - 06:23 AM
Amos 15 May 07 - 10:03 AM
beardedbruce 15 May 07 - 10:05 AM
Amos 15 May 07 - 10:16 AM
beardedbruce 15 May 07 - 10:25 AM
Bee 15 May 07 - 10:33 AM
Amos 15 May 07 - 10:34 AM
GUEST 15 May 07 - 03:35 PM
Bill D 15 May 07 - 05:02 PM
Wolfgang 16 May 07 - 07:41 AM
Folkiedave 16 May 07 - 05:21 PM
Bill D 16 May 07 - 05:46 PM
Big Phil 17 May 07 - 06:54 AM
Big Phil 17 May 07 - 06:55 AM
Stringsinger 17 May 07 - 05:11 PM
Ebbie 17 May 07 - 06:39 PM
Amos 18 May 07 - 09:14 AM
M.Ted 18 May 07 - 05:14 PM
Wesley S 18 May 07 - 05:51 PM
number 6 10 May 11 - 11:44 PM
Little Hawk 11 May 11 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Lighter 11 May 11 - 05:44 PM
Ed T 11 May 11 - 06:06 PM
Wesley S 11 May 11 - 06:20 PM
Don Firth 11 May 11 - 07:09 PM
Steve Shaw 11 May 11 - 07:50 PM
Ed T 11 May 11 - 09:33 PM
Bill D 11 May 11 - 09:34 PM
Joe Offer 12 May 11 - 12:39 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 May 11 - 01:40 PM
Bill D 12 May 11 - 02:02 PM
katlaughing 12 May 11 - 02:32 PM
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Subject: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ed.
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:18 PM

Without doubt, many will see the title of my thread as being provocative.

It wasn't meant to sound like that...

I would, however, be interested in anyone who can tell me why I should trust some being that isn't easily explainable by the normal laws of physics as we currently understand them.

Any takers?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:25 PM

already a thread:

thread.cfm?threadid=100409&messages=353


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:26 PM

yes....we just did that in tedious detail


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM

Ed, I believe that there are no "shoulds" in the universe-- only choices, for which we are responsible, and many of which we fail to see clearly (if at all) due to the unhealed effects of past distress experiences. Seen, or unseen, the choices are still there. (One of those choices is whether to seek healing for the barriers that limit our view.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM

"Without doubt, many will see the title of my thread as being provocative."

Naaaaa - not us Mudcatters. No way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: akenaton
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:32 PM

Quite so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Sttaw Legend
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM

Because..


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: skipy
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:36 PM

Stayed out of the last one, can't be bothered with this one!
Let everyone believe what they want to believe!
Skipy.
Oh! & respect their right to do so - unless they force it upon you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:38 PM

There's only one answer, Ed -- choose to. Or don't. It is all the flaming same to me and, I would guess, to God.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Captain Ginger
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:40 PM

Because we all like to have an imaginary friend?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM

Ed, this issue has come up a couple of times on Mudcat. There can be no definitive answer since there is no common ground semantically to discuss it.

I agree with you.

But when you talk about any kind of religious or metaphysical philosophical experience there is nothing to get a handle on. Everyone's definition is relegated to their personal experience or point of view and all objective criteria is out the window.

I believe that religion should be subjected to the rigors of scientific method but that doesn't set well with some here. Hence, no intelligent conversation can ensue.

It remains a matter of opinion.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:52 PM

I really don't care if someone decides to believe - or not believe. It's a very personal decision that everyone should make for themselves. What I do object to is that if I DO choose to believe in a higher power that that there will always be someone here who decides that I am no longer engaging in intelligent conversation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:53 PM

Everybody's idea of God is different and perhaps if you think of a Higher Being instead you may be more able to trust that being.

I have a book called "Every Day a Better Way". It gives a quote and more for each day of the year. It was written, I think, to help people cope with loved ones who have addiction problems and the idea is that you hand the care of that person to a Higher Being. It's one way of coping with it all and standing back from the situation. For many people that Higher Being will be God but for others it won't be. If you are handing the care of a loved one to a Higher Being obviously you would trust that being.

It doesn't answer your question, I know that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM

"some being that isn't easily explainable by the normal laws of physics as we currently understand them." Ed

If we could "easily explain by the normal laws of physics as we currently understand them", it wouldn't be God, now would it?

Goldfish in a bowl probably don't have a lot of insight into their human keepers either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: skipy
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 06:36 PM

There is no "God" there never has been & there never will be, but let those who want to believe there is believe so.
However, they tend to start wars, or blow up buildings, aircraft etc. etc.
More events in support of "God" to come!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:40 PM

Crooks like to believe in goD. That way they can screw you to death on Friday, roll around on the floor of the church on Sunday, and they're all ready to go out and screw somebody else by the following Monday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:45 PM

Ah. I see. You have faith that there is no god.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:47 PM

"Why should anyone believe in 'God'?"

Because one chooses to. Explanation beyond that is not necessary, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 07:52 PM

I guess it all depends on what you think they mean when they say the word "God", Ed...

But everyone's free to believe whatever they have faith in, whether it be a deity, an ideal, "luck", "instinct", intuition, a philosophy, a political theory, a scientific hypothesis (that is not yet proven), a set of social customs, or any of the other complex stuff we humans have made up over the last few thousands years in order to give our lives a sense of structure and purpose.

Some people hate other people's choices of belief for some reason, and they just can't leave them alone about it. That can be troublesome...regardless of which side of the issue you happen to be on.

I have no particular motivation to try to convince you "why you should trust some being that isn't easily explainable by the normal laws of physics as we currently understand them". For that, I suggest you look up a Jehovah's Witness, a Baptist, a Mormon, a Muslim, a Catholic or somebody else like that who thinks their duty is to convert you or "save" you. ;-) I don't feel I'm under any   obligation to do that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:08 PM

I think if you have no clear positive bent to acknowledge any such existence, you would be far better off believing in your own unlimited Selfhood, the highest and the best of yourself you have ever felt--the Self that is the center of all your perception and your truest viewpoint. Can't go wrong with that.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: michaelr
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM

Thou art God!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 08:15 PM

Sounds like a very good idea to me, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 10:51 PM

Belief in God is not a proposition to which the word "why" can legitimately be applied.

By definition, God is limitless. The very act of attempting to explain why one should believe in God treats God as something which can be defined in human terms. But anything that can be defined in human terms is not limitless and, therefore, not God.

So, the best someone who attempts to answer that question can do is tell you why you should believe in something that, while it may have some God-like attributes, isn't really God at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 11:42 PM

Maybe this thread can morph into What is God To You? I've been wondering that...

There seems to be the following main schools of thought:
1) God/Godess is a single entity
2) God/Godess is a unifying force
3) God/Godess is everything
4) There are many gods and/or godesses, depending on what you talk about (but these tend to be either entities, forces, or all-encompassing in some dimension or other)
5) There is no God AKA there are no gods

Is that a fair breakdown?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Apr 07 - 11:52 PM

Humans can't envision peace enough to make it happen. What makes anyone think we should be able to envision God?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bert
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:07 AM

"IF" there is a God He/She will be instantiated in the form of WYSIWYG and Hardiman.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: patriot1314
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:15 AM

A quote from "Viz" comic.... A woman on the news was being interviewed on the condition of her daughter after suffering terrible injuries during a tornado....."I know that God will make her better".....presumably a different God from the one that nearly killed her with the tornado!!!

Myself, I'm an athiest but it can be a lonely life.......for example there's nobody to talk to during orgasm!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 AM

Assuming there's someone else with you, why not that person?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:31 AM

"Blow up your TV
Move to the country
Try to find Jesus
All on your own!"

With sincere apologies to the late John Denver.

Hi gang! Should I? OK, not this time.
"Many are called but few are chosen."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:39 AM

I personally believe Holman Hunt captured the essence of beginning to understand Christianity in his painting 'The Light of the World' where Jesus knocks on your door...which has no handle on the outside..thus you have to let him in.... food for thought but everyone rightly has their choices to make in life.........


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:49 AM

Why should anyone believe in a God?
    Well, if you see somebody who believes, and that person's faith leads him to integrity, justice, and compassion; then perhaps it might be a good idea to explore that person's beliefs and ideals and see if they make sense.
Why should anyone NOT believe in a God?
    Well, if you see a believer whose faith leads to prejudice, violence, and domination; then perhaps it's a good idea to run the other way.
If God is goodness and justice and love, that's one thing. If God is power and judgment and condemnation, that's another.

But I don't think anybody should believe in God, or in a god. If belief makes sense, believe. If it doesn't, don't.
I do, but that's a choice I made. Make the choice that's right for you, but please allow me the freedom of making my own choice without your condemnation. Faith works for me. If it doesn't work for you, that's OK by me. Part of my faith requires me to tolerate and respect and learn from what you believe - or don't believe. Some types of faith draw people to openness and exploration. Other types of faith lead people to rigidity and self-protection.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:55 AM

Nice to see your post Joe. No time now but I may be back! Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:29 AM

LH, I've known a lot of Catholics in my life (including my own family) but I've never come across one yet who wanted to convert anyone. OR even thought about converting anyone! With a few billion Catholics on the planet today, they're not starving for company by any means. Maybe you're thinking of days gone by, when it was common to see entire populations converted and/or wiped out, with the blessings of 'Mother Church'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:39 AM

god implies instant authority.

Thats why there will always be someone who will claim that god told him who to elect, who to appoint and who to obey.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:14 PM

"God"...that supernatural force mentioned when there is a horrible tragedy, like a plane crash that kills 287, but one person miraculously emerges unharmed, saying "God was with me".

who, me? Cynical?....nawwww....


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:41 PM

Yes, I was mainly thinking of "days gone by" when it came to the Catholic in my example, Daylia.

Bill - You seem to assume that dying is "a bad thing". Maybe not. Everyone dies eventually, right? Dying in a plane crash could be just the perfect way to go if that was a person's destiny....it could be a whole lot better than slowly dying of cancer for 6 months in a hospital bed, for example. (as just as one possibility) If there is a continuance of existence as a living soul after what we call "death", and you are just 100% fine afterward, then God could be just as much with the people who died in the plane crash as with the one guy who miraculously survived. The one guy who survived could have had a life purpose which required him to survive. Thus, they ALL could legitimately say "God was with me." ;-) (Only you don't get to hear anyone say it except the one guy who survived, because YOU are still in a body, like him.)

God, by definition being limitless, HAS to be with all of them, Bill.

That's all just theory of course, but see how it all depends which theory fits your pre-supposed notion ("There is a God."..."There is no God.")? People normally posit theories that support their inherent assumptions. This is their way of being "logical". Logic can support any number of varing theories about something. The only logic that is flawless is the logic that is backed up by complete knowledge of the subject being discussed. Does any of us have complete knowledge? I think not.


Mrrzy - Your summary is a good one, I think.

As you proposed:

"There seem to be the following main schools of thought:
1) God/Godess is a single entity
2) God/Godess is a unifying force
3) God/Godess is everything
4) There are many gods and/or godesses, depending on what you talk about (but these tend to be either entities, forces, or all-encompassing in some dimension or other)
5) There is no God AKA there are no gods"

Yes. Of those, I would say I tend to believe #2 and #3 most of all. I also, in a sense, believe #1....but I think that that "single entity" comprises absolutely everything. In other words, I don't think it's an entity which is separate from any of us. I think we are all parts of it, just like cells in a body are parts of that body. I also sort of believe #4...but only in this sense: people have a way of perceiving the many, many aspects or characteristics of the entire Godhead in the form of a multitude of individual gods and goddesses. Those aspects, in themselves, are real...as far as they go...but they are not the whole story. They are facets of the diamond. You can deal with a particular aspect of the entire God if you want to...just like you can deal with one part of a University course rather that the whole course...or one part of a car rather than the whole car. In doing so, you will sense that you are dealing with a god, a goddess, or some sort of sacred power like that...and you may visualize it in some form or another.

The only possibility you put forward that I give no validity to whatsoever is #5.

Donuel - God only implies instant authority to those who think of God in that fashion. I don't. I think we have free will at all times.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:54 PM

That's just cultural superstition you are batting at, Bill D; not really the core concept at all. Mass hypnosis is an easy target. I take potshots at it all the time! D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM

To indoctrinate and inculcate religio-political extremeism in 4 to 14 year olds, send your kids to Jesus Camp.

I just viewed the film/DVD Jesus Camp.

Its a must see for those who believe that equal freedom is wrong.
Its a must see for those who believe that equal freedom is right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:04 PM

"God, by definition being limitless..." that definition is trivial. It tells you nothing, and it is a HUMAN definition.

"Bill - You seem to assume that dying is "a bad thing".
   ?? Me? I made no particular assumptions. If you were to ask the 287, though, I'd guess that they'd tell you that dying THEN, and in that way, was not a 'good' thing. And the survivor in those cases is NOT just making a metaphysical observation for the sake of Little Hawk's philosophical analysis....he is insinuating that HE was not 'ready', and that his survival was specifically because of God intervening.

One more time...(7th? 12th?)...If your definition is that broad, it loses all relevance. If God is 'everything', and everything is God, we don't really need two words. If there is an 'eternal spirit' or something, that permeates all existence, but can't be identified, talked to, measured, predicted, or pinned down, except rhetorically, it is simply language being used to sound like we have a referent.

You 'may' be correct...but it is a semantic truth which is like trying to grasp smoke.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:06 PM

Good Lord! What travesties are committed in the name of Jesus. If I was him, I'd be quite disappointed by what people were doing in my name.

What did you mean by your comments about equal freedom?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:19 PM

Bill, your definition of "God" is so narrow that it's barely worth my taking the time and trouble to even argue about. You're not even on the same playing field.

You are best off to dispute the existence of God with those whose concept of God is primitive, anthropomorphic, and narrow enough to suit your own concepts of the term...the conventionally religious, church-going, literal-minded types, that is. They, like you, seem to believe (or in your case, not believe) in a God that is separate from themselves. I don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: frogprince
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:11 PM

I heard a slight variation on that crash survivor scenerio, from a fundamentalist "thumper". If a Christian is flying on an airliner, the other passengers should be grateful. That's because God looks out for his own, so that particular plane is less apt to crash.

I'm a believer (so far), but I count that yahoo among several who have helped me to respect atheists.

                         Dean


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM

Little Hawk
It was dissapointment that required the Sermon on the mount.


Dealing with conflict required rules. As Lewis Black said "the Jews back then were 4 hairs short of being baboons, they needed rules!"

Now that we have nuclear weapons we are 3 hairs short of being baboons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:03 PM

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approach'd the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,-
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL,

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Pub. 1878 in Linton's "Poetry of America"
John Godfrey Saxe ( 1816-1887) Based on a Hindu legend.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:15 PM

Yes, I like that tale, Amos. That's why I was saying that none of us have complete knowledge.

"The only logic that is flawless is the logic that is backed up by complete knowledge of the subject being discussed. Does any of us have complete knowledge (of "God")? I think not."

It's a good idea to respect both religious people and atheists. They both have partial knowledge of the subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Jesus
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:06 PM

I have zero respect for atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:37 PM

If there is a God. He's sadistic bastard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:57 PM

Ha! You're not the real Jesus!! The real Jesus would never say that.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM

Why should anyone believe in 'God'? ...............................

Because it allows them to shed responsibility for their actions eg GOD'S WILL

It gives them power over the actions of others eg. DICTATING GOD'S WILL

It allows them to commit atrocities in his name and yet feel no guilt. eg RELIGIOUS WARS/ INTOLERENCE

It allows them to feel superior and special eg GOD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE

It allows a heirarchy to make control the masses by blackmailing them into behaving in a particular way. eg HEAVEN and HELL


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:06 PM

Little Hawk...you miss the point again. *I* have no definitions of God, narrow or broad.

All I do is question other's definitions.
I comprehend why somone would have a definition that indicates an anthromorphic old fellow who sits in 'Heaven' and answers prayers about who to support in a war... and concerns himself with swallows and saves an occasional victim in a plane crash......I doubt their vision...but it is easy to comprehend.

I also understand if someone claims there was a sentient being/spirit who clapped his hands and 'made everything', then sat back and watched. It has a certain allure, but I see no way to ever find out if it is true.

But I don't even see any content in the assertion that somehow 'all existence' MEANS 'god'....if you say it with enough inflection in your voice, it can 'feel' meaningful, I suppose...and there's certainly no law agin' it.....but there's no law agin' saying "huh?" when someone 'explains' the idea, either!

   I guess I feel as compelled to question assertions as you do to make them....maybe 'God' made me do it...*grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:23 PM

Of course He did, Bill...it's His way of "finding himself"!! :D



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:26 PM

I don't suppose I'd believe in a God like that either, Hazel. But maybe belief in a God could help us believe in the possibility of lasting justice and peace and generosity and an end to poverty in a world where that sort of stuff is clearly impossible.

I suppose those who believe in power and violence and domination, have a god of power and violence and domination. I don't think that sort of god coincides with the God of the founding documents of most of the major religions, including Christianity. In The Great Transformation, Karen Armstrong says almost all major religions are founded on some form the the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I suppose all this is a circular argument. Those who believe in a dominating, destructive God rightly condemn such a God. Those who believe in a loving God rightly have a different perspective.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:50 PM

But what really does the damage Joe is the belief ... the absolute certainty that whatever their belief, they are right and others are wrong and that they are allowed to think this way because of the power that their 'God' gives them.

Yes you can argue this round in circles but that is the problem with dealing with a metaphysical being. Someone who has no substance ... whose existence can't be proved (there go those circles again).

It's because human beings have the power of thought and have the ability to rationalise that they also have this need to absolve themselves of responsibility for their own actions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:09 PM

Donuel: "god implies instant authority. Thats why there will always be someone who will claim that god told him who to elect, who to appoint and who to obey"

I'm beginning to realise (though I supppose deep down I've known it for a long time) that America is a land of extremes: fundamentalist Christians and atheists alongside each other. A lot of the postings I've seen on mudcat relating to God (i.e reasons not to believe in Him etc.,) tend to boil down to the fact that his so-called 'ambassadors' have done such a dreadful job of 'representing' him. I'm thinking here of the religious far-right, who are in some ways similar to their Islamic counterparts. Then you have telly-evangelists swaggering about conning people out of their wages and appalling leaders like Bush invoking God before setting off on destruction and mayhem more befitting of Lucifer.

No wonder people have such a terrible impression of God!! Of course they don't seem to stop and really check very often if God actually wants all of these things enacted in His name.... Someone coming along like Bush telling you God has commanded him to invade Iraq, yea, invade and put all its people to the sword... and assume this must be a bloodthirsty and awful God. Then there was that idiot US General a few years back (name eludes me) who said something along the lines of "well my God is bigger than his God" in reponse to some al-qaeda lunatic's threats. No sniggering in the back there...!

Once again, there is something in the Bible about all this. Jesus said "Many will come in my name, false prophets, claiming 'I am He'....by their fruits you will know them" and also [on judgement day] "many will come on that day saying 'but Lord, didn't we cast out spirits and perform wonders in you name?' And I will say to them 'away from me you evil doers!"

He was warning us against counterfit Christians like those above and telling us to look at their deeds rather than merely their words and not to take them as being representative of either Him or his message. Let's be fair here - God gave us a fairly sharp intellect if we care to exercise it and use it. Surely we are smart enough to distinguish between what God says He wants us to do, and what telly-evangelists and the Dubya's of this world tell us He wants us to do? If the police told me the law said I had to do this or that, the first thing I'd do is go and read the Law for myself to see if it were actually true.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:12 PM

Tunesmith: "If there is a God. He's sadistic bastard"

Why do you say that? You might like to check out what's been said on the topic already here:

Mudcat God thread


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:18 PM

But Nickhere .. how do you know what God wants you to do ??


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:43 PM

Nutty: "Because it allows them to shed responsibility for their actions eg GOD'S WILL"

This is only one of many mis-conceptions about God and those who try and follow Him and His word.

To the un-informed (and I mean this is the most well-intentioned way, and not as any kind of slur etc.) Christianity may indeed seem like a cop-out: e.g God is the 'brains'.

But this overlooks the first fact: being a Christian means having to apply your brain more than ever (at least I found it did). Before becoming a Christian, I would ask myself 'what do I want / what do I want to do?" - and in fairness, this is a no-brainer. It's not exactly rocket science most of the time to know what you want. Plus it's possible to speculate endlessly and 'harmlessly' on the 'meaning of life' while just following your instincts all the while.

On the other hand, knowing what God wanted required some real soul searching (no pun intended). I had to get to know Him, and then adjusting your life accordingly is no easy task, it makes lots of demands on you - demands that one might prefer to ignore. But it does bring a deep inner peace and contentment (maybe that's one reason to believe in God) though it's also a false notion to believe that people only have religion for 'comfort'. There are tough times, even when you're a Christian, life isn't all roses, and even if you know God is close, you still have to deal with tough times all the same and cry real tears. And it's no comfort to know that leading a bad life could leave you in danger of Hell! An atheist has no such worries. He can lead a good life or a bad life and it'll be all the same to him (or her) in the end. That could be very comforting to some...! What reasons does he have to lead a good life? Personal satisfaction maybe? Maybe there are others, if anyone wants to add some ideas?

Christians will be called to account for their actions twice - once here in the eyes of men (i.e the world) and again after death, before God.

Another mis-conception is that Christians believe they are 'superior'. They don't (at least not if they're good christians). They're happy that they've found God, no doubt about that. But they know they need God because they are sinners in the first place, imperfect people. Jesus gave the example of washing his follower's feet, and telling them 'you call me master, and yet I wash YOUR feet. If I, the master, do that, then so much more should you do it" (obviously washing feet was only an example of any act of kindness to another).

As for religion as an excuse allowing people to conduct wars etc., It's true that many wars have been carried out in the name of religion. But look at them more closely and you will find other motives: the conquistadores were not motivated by religion alone but capital and profit. The fighting in Northern Ireland is often wrongly ascribed to religion - are you a catholick or a protestant? This totally ignores the socio-economic roots of the conflict: the supression of one half of the population by the other using the convenient tag of religion, but in reality having far more to do with the cultural origins of supressor and suppressed, civil rights, have and have not, power and who has it. People have killed in the name of many 'isms' .... look at the millions killed in the name of communism in China (10s of millions between 1949 and 1970s) Cambodia (2 millions under Pol Pot) Russia (30 or more million between 1920 and 1940s - under executions, enforced collectivisations, gulags, famines caused by government policy etc.,) That's only 1 'ism' Capitalism is killing millions around the world today in the name of 'Free Trade' and a global economy. Religions have no monoploy on death and suffering.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:44 PM

Nutty: "But Nickhere .. how do you know what God wants you to do ??"

Good question! Again, I have already posted some stuff on this on the mudcat thread I pasted above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:16 PM

Well, Hazel - the dominating, destructive God doesn't seem to jive with the God of the New Testament. In Matthew 25, Jesus does speak of condemnation - of people who oppress the poor and the hungry. Those who enter heaven are those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned. Notice that it doesn't say anything about sexual orientation or conduct, or about obedience to authority. Two millenia of believers have believed that this is what God wants them to do, so at least there's some historical precedent. And yes, two millenia of others have added a lot of garbage to the requirements.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:54 PM

Let's be fair here - God gave us a fairly sharp intellect if we care to exercise it and use it.

Surely, Nick, the circularity of this expostulation is clear to you?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:58 PM

The Light of the World--mentioned above by Georgiansilver.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: John O'L
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:38 PM

"If there is a God. He's sadistic bastard."
"(He) allows them to shed responsibility for their actions"

These are themselves devices used to avoid considering that human atrocities and travesties are of human making. (Assuming there is a large-G God), why should he step in and bail us out every time we screw up? Where I come from we call that bludging. You, as an individual, learn as you grow to take responsibilty for your actions (or lack of action), and we, as humans have to learn to do the same. It's up to us, and the fact or fiction of a God has nothing to do with it.

Natural disasters are another matter, but once again He can't be expected to give us a life through which we are always wrapped safely in his omniprotection.
What would be the use of life like that? Is that really what you would expect of a benevolent God? Seems to me as if it would be pretty crappy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:02 PM

Amos: "Let's be fair here - God gave us a fairly sharp intellect if we care to exercise it and use it.

Surely, Nick, the circularity of this expostulation is clear to you?"

Err, no, not really Amos, sorry!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:32 PM

There is no fundamentalist atheist. That's religious propaganda. Non-belief is not a fundamentalist belief. You don't believe in atheism because atheism is non-belief.
There is an insidious movement to condemn atheists by calling them "fundamentalists".
This is not only a fabrication but suggests the intolerance of the religious community. There are no atheists that would call themselves "fundamentalists" but there are plenty of Christians who would apply that term to themselves. The Christians that use the term "fundamentalist" to describe atheism are enabling the Christian fundamentalists in their persecution of non-believers. After Christian homophobia comes atheophobia.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:35 PM

Straw man, straw man...you sure do love these threads. They're your natural home.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:40 PM

Just want to set the record straight and possibly head off religious intolerance.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:45 PM

IF you don't see how that proposition is circular, Nick, then I can only wish you great comfort in your religion.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:54 AM

So you have brought us full circle again Joe and the questions still continue.

Is Jesus the son of God because the Bible says he was?

Why do you believe what the bible says?

I believe the Koran lists Jesus as a disciple of Allah

Are Allah and God the same metaphysical being?

If so why are Christians and Muslims at war with each other?

Yes, there is a historical precedence for belief but again this could be explained, as I have stated previously, by the reluctance of the human psyche to stand alone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:25 AM

In some ways we are no further ahead of our ancestors who thought the world was ending because an eclipse took place. It was an omen. Todat, we have become aware through science that we actually could be wiped out either by chance (comet/meteor strike) or our own screw ups (pollution, starvation, war). We have grown in our understanding of how things work, but we have not grown at all in establishing any reason why things work at very basic levels. Eventually we get to the question of 'what causes life' or 'how can something so complex possibly exist'? And there we run into the wall. For all our sophistication, we have no answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:59 AM

Well, Hazel, Jesus is or isn't the Son of God because he is or isn't - not because some book says he is.

Do I believe what the Bible says? Yes, I believe the Bible is an accurate statement of the faith experience of believers who knew God through their faith. And yes, I am inspired by their experience and have learned from it and follow it, especially the life and teachings of Jesus.
Is it an accurate historical document? No, but it certainly has great historic value.
Is it an accurate scientific or paleontological document? Heavens, no.
Is it an accurate moral guide? Well, it can be, with a good lot of understanding and interpretation. The words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 are a very good moral guide for everybody, believers and unbelievers alike, with little need for "interpretation. " The ancient Jewish laws are a mixed bag, and Paul seems to have some moral hangups.

Are Allah and God the same metaphysical being? Yes, God has many names and many definitions - and all of those, while valid and worthwhile perspectives, are not adequate to describe a truly transcendent God who is also within us. Makes me think of When All Thy Names Are One, by Bob Zentz.

I believe the Koran lists Jesus as a disciple of Allah
I don't know that I would use that terminology because I come from a different faith tradition, but I can see truth in that. I've read parts of the Koran and found truth in it. I've read Sufi Islam poets like Hafiz and Rumi and found lots of truth in them. It's my understanding that the Koran considers Jesus to be a prophet of Allah.

If so why are Christians and Muslims at war with each other?
I think it's generally the fundamentalists who wage war because of religion. Fundamentalists, by definition, think in absolutes - and people who think in absolutes tend to be intolerant of those who think differently. If you read the Sufi mystics of Islam and the Christian mystics and the Jewish mystics and those who have found serenity in whatever religious tradition, you'll find they all say more-or-less the same thing - and peace and tolerance and justice for the oppressed are an intrinsic part of their lives.

So, Frank, you don't think atheists think like fundamentalists? Agnostics certainly don't, but atheists and fundamentalists both tend to think in absolutes, in blacks and whites with no shades of gray, believing their view correct and all others incorrect. Atheists and fundamentalists have a very similar definition of God - again, defined in absolute terms. Atheists reject that God, and fundamentalists bet the farm on Him(/Her??).

Those who are in the middle aren't quite so sure of themselves. Some have had what they consider to be experiences of God, and some haven't - but they just aren't completely certain either way. Those who believe in a God have varying levels of a foggy notion of something transcendent, something just beyond their grasp, something they are able to touch momentarily now and then - but in reaching and exploring, they find meaning in life and they find a reason to hold onto ideals and to strive for justice and peace. They express their faith in a different language, a language of song and story and poetry - not a language of logic and absolutes.

Even though their faith may be very important to them, those people in the middle aren't going to want to convert you. They'll do their best to live their lives with integrity. If their way of living is attractive to you, they'll be happy to have you join them. If not, that's OK. On the other hand, it's very hard for such people to defend their faith, because their faith isn't expressed in the language of logical defense. It's something different altogether. All they can say is that if the way they live seems to make sense to observers, then maybe their faith also makes sense - that's about as close as they can get to defending their faith.

Another thing - I think most believers on that middle path will admit to the possibility that there may be no God - that hasn't been their experience, but it's certainly possible. Vice-versa for agnostics.
Can atheists accept that there may be a God? Can fundamentalists accept that there may be NO God? No, because they see things in absolutes.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: BK Lick
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:41 AM

Slag sez:
"Blow up your TV
Move to the country
Try to find Jesus
All on your own!"

With sincere apologies to the late John Denver.

It's John Prine he oughta be apologizin' to. Prine's words:
Blow up your TV throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try and find Jesus on your own


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Hawker
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:12 AM

I'm with WYSIWYG in this one, the inportant word in your question is should, There are no shoulds, its a personal choice.
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM

Stringsinger, I call myself a fundamentalist atheist sometimes.

Little Hawk, I was dividing up the possibilities; do you mean to deny the possibility of their being no gods?

I think the nature of god question might need its own thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:12 AM

"Try and find Jesus on your own"

            A lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to find Jesus. I wonder what they finally found in the end.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:20 AM

Perhaps, Mrzzy, everyone is, fundamentally, a god. Of course "all gods" and "no gods" add up to a similar proposition. There is one source for ethics, justice, and truth, and it is within.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:23 AM

Yeppers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:46 PM

I meant, of course, of THERE being no gods, silly me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:18 PM

"Little Hawk, I was dividing up the possibilities; do you mean to deny the possibility of their being no gods?" - Mrrzy

It's not exactly that I deny the possibility, Mrrzy. It's just that I simply can't relate to it. It makes utterly no sense to me.

Keep in mind that I am not saying that because I belong to any particular religion. I don't. I'm saying it because there are two ways of looking at the Universe and life itself:

1. It all happened through an intelligent, purposeful process
2. It all happened completely by accident

I simply cannot relate to the idea that it all happened by accident. I see evidence of a powerful intelligence at work in the structure and function of things, specially living things, right down to the atomic level. I think the term "God" is one way that people have of attempting to name that indwelling intelligence. People do love to name things... ;-)

But it wouldn't matter what they called it. The indwelling intelligence that is in you...and which gives you the free will and power to decide that there IS or IS NOT any God....is God, in my opinion. (It's part of God, it's an extension of the entire functioning intelligence that is God. That same intelligence is in plants and animals and micro-organisms, I think, but to varying degrees in each case...as far as how powerfully it expresses itself.)

This "God" I speak of is totally beyond the scope or awareness of most conventionally religious people, because they have chosen to focus usually on a set of books, a prophet, a church, some body of teachings which came out of the culture around them. As such, they're focusing on a very small fragment of the whole, and it's limited to the culture they know...on the planet they know.

That's like a grain of sand in the cosmos.

I don't believe that I can define or express what God is. I don't believe anyone can. But it can be interesting trying to express it...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 01:20 PM

durn, Little Hawk...that last line shows progress! ;>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:11 PM

Stringslinger: "You don't believe in atheism because atheism is non-belief."

No-one 'believes' in 'Christianity' either. What people believe in, is a God who has a certain purpose with regards to us and who wants us to come to Him. These people are called Christians, meaning 'followers of Christ'.

Of course there isn't, as far as I am aware, a 'Christ-figure' for atheism (though Marx, Engels et al came close, it's not a kind of centralised 'belief system' - for want of a better word - in the way Christianity is). But atheists certainly do believe certain things. They believe there is no God, they believe (usually) there is no life after death, no heaven or hell. They generally take science - in all its branches - to be an explanation of not only the laws of the physical world, but also why we think and act the way we do. An extreme example of that is the Focus magazine (based in the UK, I think) that although it contains some good articles, is also replete with many articles trying to say that all our emotions and desires and human needs etc., stem simply from 'chemical imbalances' - as near a quasi-scientific religion as anyone could hope for (I don't have time to explain that remark fully at present, but will try and expand on it when I get a chance). I'm sure they believe lots of other things too, that not being an atheist, I'm not totally familiar with. If any atheist online there would like to come on to say what being an atheist means to them, it would make for an interesting discussion.

There is no 'insidious' movement within Christianity to make atheists look like fundamentalists - its clear some atheists anyway (and not necessarily those posting here, I mean in general) hold certain absolute beliefs and are not open to discussion on them any more than those tagged as being fundamentalist anything-elses. But that has already been mentioned by Joe.

Amos - mmmm. That's not really an answer is it? And I think I have already explained about religion and the much vaunted though over-rated 'comfort factor'. Any chance of a proper answer?   ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:35 PM

I guess I don't see how you can "not relate" to one of the various possibilities... either there are gods or there aren't, but you can't (I know, watch you) limit the realm of possibility to only the ones you believe in.
Besides, what is wrong with It all happened by accident? I think that makes life as we know it even more interesting and worth cherishing.
But atheists certainly do believe certain things. They believe there is no God, they believe (usually) there is no life after death, no heaven or hell. They generally take science - in all its branches - to be an explanation of not only the laws of the physical world, but also why we think and act the way we do. - We have usually CONCLUDED, rather than taking on faith, that gods are mythical. So yes, we believe it, but it's like believing in Australia when you live in the Northern Hemisphere, not like believing in leprechauns or other mythical creatues.
We do usally believe that life is all the life you get - but are open to demonstrations of the contrary, there just haven't been any yet. Also, it follows from biology.
But why O why would you think that "why we think and act the way we do" isn't part of the physical world?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:42 PM

I do think that the way we act, etc, is part of the physical world, but I also think that the whole physical world itself is part of further and greater non-physical worlds that lie beyond it...and from which it is projected, so to speak. Have you read any good books on quantum physics lately?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:47 PM

I'm not saying there's something intellectually wrong with "it all happened by accident"...other than this: it renders our lives meaningless in the greater context of things. I'm saying that I personally do not find that notion believable. Or palatable, frankly. I think it's a nihilistic idea, and it does people a disservice. It's a sad idea. It reduces life to nothing but a short survival game which ends in one's annihilation. I cannot believe in something as pointless as that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 03:45 PM

It's all the answer I have got, Nick. Your proposition to which I made reference was a completely self-fulfilling argument, a circle proving its own assumptions.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:13 PM

But our lives ARE meaningless in the greater context of things! That's why it's so WILD and WONDERFUL that we can appreciate them!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Once Famous
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM

I believe in God. I look at all things wonderful in life and see Him clearly. It's a shame the souless athiests of the world do not, but I will not try to change them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:35 PM

"It's a shame the souless athiests of the world do not, but I will not try to change them."

So you are saying that because I don't believe in God I will or will not be able to appreciate nature? Gee, that's a lttile harsh dontcha think? Wasn't it Ronald Reagan (he believed in God, at least to hear him tell it) who said--regarding California's Redwoods: "Well, if you've seen one tree you've seen them all."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:36 PM

Well, Mrrzy, if that makes you happy...fine with me. ;-) We had best each go with a philosophy that makes us happy, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:06 PM

He said that when some folks were trying to get licenses to build hotels and fast-food places in the Redwood Forest. They wanted to cut a whole bunch of trees down, likely to improve the view. That said, I'm having a hard time with your equation: Belief in God means one has a soul; no belief in God means one doesn't have a soul.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: guitar
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:55 PM

I believe in God as i am a Chritian, however if you choose not to believe in God then that is up to you.

Love and God Bless
Tom Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:06 PM

Some of the biggest-soulked folks I know are atheists. They are more compassionate, intuitive, creative and humble then many Chrostians I know. The notion that atheists are soulless is completely non-sequitur and without merit.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:26 PM

If God fits one common definition, a Creative loving force who has always interacted with creation, then both believers and unbelievers MUST interact with God. If this God calls us to be compassionate, intuitive, creative, and humble, all those who express compassion, intuition, creativity, and humility - interact with God, whether they believe in God or not. And if there is no God, the same reality exists, but without the spiritual aspect that believers perceive.

Faith is a language, a vision, a perspective, a way of viewing reality. People who don't have faith face the same reality - but from a different perspective. I hope both can tolerate and appreciate each other.

Now, I have to say that I just plain don't know how to deal with the people who think in absolutes. They speak a language that is entirely from mine.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: John O'L
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:37 PM

"But our lives ARE meaningless in the greater context of things! That's why it's so WILD and WONDERFUL that we can appreciate them!"

How bizarre.

Is it 'our lives' we can appreciate more fully through being meaningless, or 'things'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:52 PM

Yeah, I thought it was kind of bizarre too...but each to their own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:19 PM

Well, I like to think my life has meaning, in and of itself - not necessarily depending on whether there is a God or not. Same thing with the mysteries of life - love, death, peace, hate, and life itself. Do they have meaning? I see that meaning within the context of a God. Others see it other ways - but I hope that there is meaning, nonetheless.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:33 PM

You are missing her point. From the center of the galaxy or the center of the Universe, anythingn about human existence is pretty meaningless, just as, from a boardroom, the lives of the carpet dust mites are meaningless. But mirabile dictu!, these mites can celebrate their own meaningfulness with joy and solemnity.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:10 PM

If you believe that life is meaningless, then it was OK that that young man down at Virginia Tech did what he did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:31 PM

Well, Amos, I guess that's what things look like From a Distance. I think I'll just Let the Mystery Be. Both perspectives have value, however.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 10:53 PM

If you ever had a chance to eyeball King Kong face-to-face, you wouldn't have no trouble believin' in God...

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 11:25 PM

Well, chimps aside, I do have this problem dealing with people who see things in absolutes. As some of you may know, I teach a weekly class for people who want to become Catholic, from September until Easter every year. Every year, we get a few people who come in who are looking for absolute truth and absolute authority - as outsiders expect to find in the Catholic Church. Last night, I was talking to a newly-received Catholic who wants to teach apologetics, the logical defense of doctrine. He has been taking a master's program at BIOLA University (the Bible Institute of Los Angeles). They're not very happy with him becoming a Catholic - and I suppose part of his interest in apologetics comes from wanting to prove to his evangelical friends that his choice was the right one.

So, anyhow, I feel like we've created a monster. He's a good guy, very generous and caring - but his religious ideas come out like Perry Mason or some other superstar lawyer. I'm trying to lead him to a gentler, noncombative approach, but he's itching for a fight.

So, what do I do with a person like this?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 11:33 PM

"If you ever had a chance to eyeball King Kong face-to-face, you wouldn't have no trouble believin' in God..."

I don't know about THAT, but I likely wouldn't have any trouble believing in King Kong!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 11:38 PM

Joe:

You might find out what the problem is he is trying to solve. Find out when it really started.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 11:44 PM

"I'm trying to lead him to a gentler, noncombative approach, but he's itching for a fight."

Put him into tai chi chuan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 12:03 AM

Well, Amos, I've been trying to teach him that the Catholic faith has warts. Part of it is just the new-found religion syndrome. When people come into a new realization, they can get pretty obnoxious about it, trying to share with everyone their discovery that this is the one, true thing. I'm hoping he'll settle down.
He used to be my mother-in-law's physician, and he's extraordinary in the way he deals with elderly patients. Now he's working in hospice care. He'll do fine.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 03:23 AM

Joe Offer: Is the Catholic Church that you belong to the same church that I knew as a child? Is this the church that told me, as a 10 year old, that if I missed mass on a Sunday and then got knocked down and killed on Monday that I would go straight to a dreadful, painful, terrifying hell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 03:24 AM

Thank you BK Lick and my sincere apologies to John Prine. Sorry I didn't remember his song correctly. It has been a few years since I heard it.

Why should anyone believe in God? He believes in you! He loves you! He has a great and rewarding plan for your life. That's 3 reasons. I can think of a lot more if you need them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 07:12 AM

Slag: Your reasons for believing in God is meant tongue in cheek - isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:21 AM

"Try and find Jesus on your own"

            A lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to find Jesus. I wonder what they finally found in the end."

Didn't spend a lot of time - just a few seconds, in fact, at a most dangerous nad critical moment. But I did finally ask, in real desperation and with childlike humility --- and so it was given. And, although I am (hopefully) nowhere near the end, here's just the short list of what I found in that 2-minute experience:

*the most awesome and immediate and life-changing *SURPRISE*!!   

8-D

* a brand-new lease on life

*instant relief of pain - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual

*deep DEEEP understanding, affirmation and love

*JOY!!!!!

*enough truth to keep my inquiring curious mind most happily occupied for at least another dozen lifetimes!

For what its worth,

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:23 AM

(I mean, for what its worth to YOU. For me, its simply priceless)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:27 AM

Daylia:

Wow.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:42 AM

You don't have to believe in a god to find meaning in life.

There are atheists in foxholes as well.

Actually, I don't like the term atheist that much because it seems loaded with all kinds of misapprehensions by those who use it to define people who are non-believers.

I prefer the word "Freethinker" because it doesn't exclude agnostics or others who may have some interest in their brand of theology that isn't institutional.

I think this thread has degenerated into a discussion by religious people about their religion.
Ed, my initial premise is right I believe. There can be no intelligent discussion when it's predicated on metaphysical beliefs that don't allow for any other point of view.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 11:33 AM

"But our lives ARE meaningless in the greater context of things! That's why it's so WILD and WONDERFUL that we can appreciate them!"
How bizarre.
Is it 'our lives' we can appreciate more fully through being meaningless, or 'things'?
Both, our lives and the things.

But to say that if our lives are meaningless ***in the grand scheme of things*** does NOT imply that the VT killer (or anyone else that is unkind) is OK, how in the world did you get there?

(Besides, everybody is soulless in the sense of life after death, but we can still be spiritual beings.)

(In French, "il se trouve spirituel" (he think's he's spiritual) really means He thinks he's FUNNY.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 01:18 PM

I am surprised that no one has yet mentioned Humanism. Certainly a credible alternative to religion and the nearest thing yet IMHO to the philosophy that Joe Offer has been professing.

For information ...

Humanism

Humanism is the belief that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. We seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good.

What humanists believe

Humanism is an approach to life based on humanity and reason - humanists recognise that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. Our decisions are based on the available evidence and our assessment of the outcomes of our actions, not on any dogma or sacred text.

Humanism encompasses atheism and agnosticism ‑ but is an active and ethical philosophy far greater than these negative responses to religion.

Humanists believe in individual rights and freedoms ‑ but believe that individual responsibility, social cooperation and mutual respect are just as important.

Humanists believe that people can and will continue to find solutions to the world's problems ‑ so that quality of life can be improved for everyone.

Humanists are positive ‑ gaining inspiration from our lives, art and culture, and a rich natural world.

Humanists believe that we have only one life ‑ it is our responsibility to make it a good life, and to live it to the full.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Shaneo
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 01:35 PM

Perhaps the non believers would be mare at home on the other thread about monkeys.
My view is you either believe in God and are a Christian [like me] or that we evolved from along the monkey line,,make your choice


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 01:55 PM

I've been a Humanist all my life then, nutty, but I have also developed a good many spiritual beliefs as time went by. I combine them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 02:07 PM

"If you believe that life is meaningless, then it was OK that that young man down at Virginia Tech did what he did."

Life is meaningless from the point of view of the universe in general...it is just a thing that happens when certain physical laws operate....but it is QUITE meaningful from the viewpoint of sentient beings - who GIVE it meaning in proportion to their degree of awareness.
   The victims at VT would have 'chosen' to avoid their sad fate...the shooter gave life meaning BECAUSE he felt that depriving others of their life meant something to him.

Moral laws are not hard to describe, defend and apply, even with no 'ultimate' meaning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:23 PM

Well said, Bill D.
Humanism is the PC term for Atheist, I find. I'm just trying to take the hoodoo off the word Atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:42 PM

Speaking of Humanists - wasn't Peter Wernick - the banjo player for Hot Rize - the past president of a large Humanist association?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 04:53 PM

"My view is you either believe in God and are a Christian [like me] or that we evolved from along the monkey line,,make your choice" Shaneo

Shaneo, do you mean to say that being a Christian naturally follows from believing in God? Many, many people believe in God but don't necessarily believe in 'Christ'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 05:23 PM

Well, my thinking is a lot closer to that of nutty and Mrrzy, than it is to a lot of "Christians." Hey, and Bill D and I could be twins, although I'd never get him to admit that (my evil twin, that is...). But Frank, I gotta say that it wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more open-minded to those of us who see a spiritual side of things. You might find we have more in common than you think. It's just that we might express and explore things within a religious context.

Yes, Tunesmith, it's the same Catholic Church that treated you so badly in your youth. I suppose I was lucky to have a positive experience of that church when I was growing up, or maybe I learned to embrace the good and reject the bad. Every organization (and every person) has a dark side, what I like to call "warts" - and the Catholic Church still has that dark side and many of us still keep fighting to keep the dark side from taking control.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:49 PM

Amos: " From the center of the galaxy or the center of the Universe, anythingn about human existence is pretty meaningless, just as, from a boardroom, the lives of the carpet dust mites are meaningless. "

What is there in the centre of the universe that's so important compared to us? Relatively speaking, the lives of dust mites are of no concern to the members of the boardroom, presumably because the boardroom members are far superior beings (though some might disagree... ha!ha!) to dust mites and are equally unaware of their existence. It's an interesting parallel though since it suggests our lives are *relatively meaningless* when compared to that of a far greater intellect out there in the universe.... not that far off an argument for the existence of a 'superior being'.

Though I would also argue that our lives are not meaningless to God. To think we are too petty to be of any concern to Him is to underestimate His omnipotence...afterall, if you are omniscient and omnipotent it is no great trouble to watch over the affairs of us little people on the third rock out from the sun, while also keeping an eye to everything else... Perhaps we think God is too much like us: easily distracted, easily fatigued, moody and changeable.

John O'L: that was very succintly put!! But I would add "how exactly does one appreciate meaninglessness?"

Mrrzy: "We do usally believe that life is all the life you get - but are open to demonstrations of the contrary, there just haven't been any yet. Also, it follows from biology"

Ok, I suppose it goes back to the old question 'what's the difference between a live dog and a dead dog?' Answer: one obviously lacks something the other has. Scientists haven't come up with any convincing explantion for what exactly this life force is. In humans, it's possible that it may survive death with the personality intact. There doesn't seem to be any scientific proof it's true (unless you take Kirlian photography as some kind of rough groping in this direction) but as we talked about on a different thread, this may be due to the shortcomings of science and our conceptual abilities. We may indeed have some form of proof in front of us and not even be able to see it. Now I do accept of course that that's not much use to you if you are an empiricist. (Of course Christians would argue Jesus as being the prime example of life after death, i.e the resurrection. But this is not a scientifically acceptable proof, as science demands an experiment can be repeated at any time by anyone).

But at least we have come to agree that atheism is based also on beliefs / conclusions rather than simply non-beliefs.

"But why O why would you think that "why we think and act the way we do" isn't part of the physical world?"

I'm not saying we do not react to external stimuli or that we do not have an effect on the physical world around us. What I am contesting here is the idea I have come across in some science-focused publications that our lives, emotions and actions are governed solely by physical and chemical laws. E.g we fall in love because of pheromones and chemicals in the brain. We do good things only because it creates 'feel good' chemicals in the brain, etc., Morality comes to have no philosophical meaning but only a chemical one. And as other posters above have pointed out, if morality is simply chemical reactions, once again there is no wrong or right and we should dry our eyes over Virginia Tech.


Little Hawk: "This "God" I speak of is totally beyond the scope or awareness of most conventionally religious people, because they have chosen to focus usually on a set of books, a prophet, a church, some body of teachings which came out of the culture around them. As such, they're focusing on a very small fragment of the whole, and it's limited to the culture they know...on the planet they know"

I think you're definitely on to something here in your main point about God's ...what's the word?.... being-beyond-our-comprehension-ness. I kinda remember some lines in the Bible about Elijah (?) getting a glimpse of God, but only via God's shadow as He passed. God had warned Elijah (who was very close to God according to the same account) not to look at Him directly as He would look 'too terrible to behold' (terrible here in the sense of 'inconceivable' 'vast' 'over-powering to the human intellect'). It seems clear from this alone that God would be quite beyond our human comprehension in His totality. This makes sense if afterall He is the Great Architect (as Blake called Him) and we His creation. We can't expect the creation to fully comprehend the creator. So I think you're probably on the ball in saying God in His totality can't be condensed down into a book.

The way I see the Bible in this context is that it provides *as much as we need to know* (especially in this life) about God and probably as much as we would be able to comprehend in any case. The Bible can guide us as to how to approach and interact with this Being, and hints at His nature and His desire for our welfare. That's its primary function as I see it - to reveal the will of God in regard to us and our lives (and from that we can also deduce something about the nature of God).

There's an interesting book by a guy called John Polkinghorne called 'Belief in God in an Age of Science" (ISBN 0-300-07294-5) which looks at the compatability of many aspects of scientific enquiry with a belief in God. Well worth a read.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:14 PM

Bill D: "Life is meaningless from the point of view of the universe in general"

Err, does the universe have a point of view? ;-)

Frank: "I think this thread has degenerated into a discussion by religious people about their religion.
Ed, my initial premise is right I believe. There can be no intelligent discussion when it's predicated on metaphysical beliefs that don't allow for any other point of view"

Frank, Frank..the thread title was 'why should anyone believe in God?' Why do you use the word 'degenerated'? Are spiritual and religious beliefs below contempt for you? We are all - atheists / humanists and christians alike - trying to answer the thread question in the best way we can. The atheists may be saying 'you shouldn't believe in something that doesn't exist' while those with some religious inclination and spiritual experience are trying to say 'you should believe in God because it's in your own interest'.

And we're all of course going to refer to the sources that make sense to us. The atheist will stick to the empirical sciences first of all, as he seeks physical evidence. The Christian will refer to the Bible, since we believe it contains the explanations of what difference belief in God will make to your life. No one is stopping you from having your point of view, but surely that does not imply I have to agree with your point of view or all your terms of reference in order for the discussion to be 'intelligent'.

Perhaps it would also be useful to once again make a distinction between institutional religious practice, and spiritual beliefs. As Joe has pointed out, the Catholic church has its problems, and there isn't uniform consent among Catholics over all the teachings etc., There is also a lot more questioning of central authority than in the past, but that has happened more in the secular world too (though this may not always be apparent in some of the media!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 12:16 AM

The way I see the Bible in this context is that it provides *as much as we need to know* (especially in this life) about God and probably as much as we would be able to comprehend in any case.

Dear Jumpin' Holy Murgatroyd. I am afraid I, for one, must vehemently disagree wtih you. I find the Bible to be ethnocentric, chauvinistic, sexist, racist, and in many ways petty-minded, and I find that it tells me hardly anything at all about God worth knowing.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 01:38 AM

Amen daylia. Guest Tunesmith, my tongue is firmly at home between the molars.

More reasons:

God will set your priorities right.
God will give you assurance of life eternal.
God will give you a peace that the world cannot have or comprehend.
God will give you understanding of His Living Word.
God will never, never leave you or forsake you.
He is the source of your physical being and the waiting Father of your spiritual life. It is He Who sustains you.
None of this can you know until you come to Him with empty arms.
All He has is a free gift (that's Grace) In Jesus Christ.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 02:02 AM

Oh, dear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 02:12 AM

Joe: The Catholic Church changes because it has to - not because it wants to! If the church could get away with treating children the way it treated me it would. But, in today's world, it can't. If, today, the church threatened a child the way it did me it would be accused of child abuse and find itself in big legal trouble. That's why it changed.
   And, this idea that you can seperate the church from the true spirit of God is silly. The church is God. People learn of the existance of god through the church. Without the church, god would not exist!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: guitar
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 03:42 AM

I agree with slag


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 03:51 AM

Well, my dog convinced me this evening that life has true meaning. He says the meaning of life is FOOD, and he wonders what all this religion garbage is all about.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: John O'L
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:14 AM

I think we are confusing 'meaningless' with 'insignificant' or 'unimportant', the first being absolute, the others relative.

In the universe we are tiny and possibly even irrelevant, but in the cosmos it is size that is irrelevant, (if not meaningless, heh heh). In the cosmos we have meaning, purpose, and worth, not just to each other, but to and within ourselves as well.
Try saying that three times really fast.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 11:56 AM

Nickhere-"Err, does the universe have a point of view? ;-)"

Nope...and that is the point ;>)

(Joe Offer- twins? TWINS?? well...ok, as long as I can be the PRIMEevil twin)


Slag.."None of this can you know until you come to Him with empty arms."

Sorry, mate...but "believing so that you may know" doesn't fit my idea of how to be confident...I prefer "KNOWING so that I may understand what to believe".
   This 'surrender' of the mind to a proposition which has no efficacy unless you decided it does literally means that you can believe ANY claim, including outright lies, and it will "be true for you".

   There are many religions, yet a set of phrases like the ones you post assert that there is only one which is correct.

I am reminded of a line from the writings of Fredrick Nietzsche (translated in various ways)

"...and one old greybeard of a god stood up and announced, "I am the Lord thy God...thou shalt have no other gods before me!"...and all of the other gods died laughing"


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 01:54 PM

My dog is in full agreement with yours, Joe. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 02:34 PM

What I am contesting here is the idea I have come across in some science-focused publications that our lives, emotions and actions are governed solely by physical and chemical laws. E.g we fall in love because of pheromones and chemicals in the brain. We do good things only because it creates 'feel good' chemicals in the brain, etc., Morality comes to have no philosophical meaning but only a chemical one. And as other posters above have pointed out, if morality is simply chemical reactions, once again there is no wrong or right and we should dry our eyes over Virginia Tech.

This is an excellent statement of an idea that I keep hearing, and am glad to have the chance to try to clarify.

Various sciences have demonstrated:

1) The lives of our cells, just like the lives of any other mammal, are, indeed, "governed solely" - in the physiological sense - "by physical and chemical laws." We are no different from a blade of grass in that sense.
(2) The *perception of* love is indeed brought from your brain (body) to your mind (spirit) through the actions pheromones and neurotransmitters, but to say that "we fall in love because of pheromones and chemicals in the brain" conveys a seriously misunderstood interpretation of that datum.

But we don't live our lives at the cellular level. What I referred to above as "spirit" is what you do with the mind you happen to have, given to you by the brain you evolved and the experiences you've had with it. Your soul in the interpersonal sense - your core, your essense, what makes you You, what brain-dead people have lost - I prefer the word Spirit to describe this because it literally means Breath.

Life is biochemistry at the fundamental level, not at the level at which we experience it. And consciousness is electro(bio)chemistry.

But through a wonderful fluke of nature, because of becoming bipedal, we got the outgoing, movement/motivation parts of our brain - the parts that run animals' bodies so they can Eat Survive Reproduce - in close physical proximity to the incoming, perceptual, monitoring part, that brings in the information needed for the brain of any animal to decide which way to move its body. That presented us, who were already environment-manipulating little animals, with a sudden connection between motion and emotion - which is usually not the case.
So we can actually *make decisions about* all kinds of things related to eating surviving reproducing that other animals just do naturally. And suddenly, we invent things like Morality, to guide *whether* we should do anything.
But morality is a human invention. Cats playing with their birds are not being cruel, and the bird is not offended. So when you say "Morality comes to have no philosophical meaning but only a chemical one" again, you are conflating biological reality (it is certainly brain chemicals which provide you with guilt feelings, or righteous indignation, or that virtuous glow you mention) with the reality of living as a human, at the spiritual level (in my sense of the term Spirit).

To us, it matters a great deal. And our intelligence tells us that that poor crazy VT guy who slaughtered all those people did a terrible thing, that it is terrible for the dead and for their survivors, that it's just as well he killed himself so we won't have to deal with having to either kill him provide food, clothing and shelter for the rest of his life.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 02:45 PM

And consciousness is electro(bio)chemistry

This is an untenable proposition, in my opinion. I see it as going to the movies and getting stuck among the characters on the screen, confused by all the drama going on around you, as distinguished from being able to enjoy the fiction with knowing suspended disbelief, while still being conscous of the machinery behind the projection and the authors, actors, producers, and directors who braiught the film into being. I recognize this is only one interpretation and somewhat of a Socartatic one.

But in any case there is, to my way of thinking, an inescapable jump in basic quality, not just quantity, in certain actions attributable to consciousness whihc are entirely inconsistent with everything we know about matter and energy and chemicals and electrons.

1. Being there (as an act of intent). This is the simpllest act of consciousness and cannot be duplicated by an electromechanical device.

2. Perceiving. This, too, is the simplest act of consciousness. Electronic and biochemical systems can react to stimuli, but perception itself is something else again.

3. Intent. Consciousness can energize matter, and arguably even bring it into being. It can generate the will that a certain change shall occur and see that it does. Matter and energy cannot do this; they are entropic, passive, and constrained to the laws of mass and condensation, generally. They do not envision r intend; they do not create new communications and send them out for review.

You could argue that physical particles cannot exist entirely in the present, also, but that is a far out proposition that I won't belabor here.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM

There must be a god. The alternative is to believe in evolution and that despite the many millenia we have been on this planet we still inflict the maximum possible pain on each other - and call it childbirth. So for that reason alone not only must god exist - but it proves conclusively that the deity is male.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:05 PM

Joe, does your dog make obeisance to you before you feed him or is he faithful to you all the time? Well, it's OK. I know you'll forgive him. He's just a dog, after all.

Open and empty arms because He has done it ALL, for you. You don't want to insult the barer of a gift by offering to pay him for it, do you?

He paid the full price in order that you may have eternal life. Just say "Thank you".

Man's insignificance ? "Oh LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy Name throughout all the earth Who has set the thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider thy heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all the sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field: the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy Name in all the earth!" (Psalms 8).

A little ancient poetry there but the theme is Man's insignificance and the question why God would even take notice of Man. We are the Bee's knees as far as God is concerned.

As stated in other threads (by yours truly and a few others), God is solely a "faith" proposition. Human logic and reason cannot prove Him. Good works, "holy deeds" will not attain Him. The secret knowledge is hidden in plain view for all to see but it is hidden, nonetheless, from the hearts of men (women too!)who will not acknowledge Him and the great thing he has done for you.

Why should anyone believe in God? To not believe is to miss completely the meaning of life, Life itself.

Believe? Not just a "head" concept or a metaphysical acknowledgment that "Yes, there is a God." but an entrusting of your life into His hands. That's belief.

Again, it's NOT an argument. It's a "take it or leave it" proposition. God won't force the issue if you opt to do things your own way. (Mt 7:13,14).


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:22 PM

Is this a real person?
Are there many of these in America?
This person has just posted in favour of all citizens owning or using firearms

Are you getting scared yet??....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:41 PM

akenaton. You kind of scare me by making assumptions based on some kind of stereotyping. 99.99% of legal gun owners are not going around killing people or robbing liquor stores. Grow up! I'm not selling anything and I am not IMPOSING my beliefs on you or anyone else. I, being a member of the set "Anyone" am expressing my opinion just as others have done. You, however, in your attempt to ridicule, make an ad hominem attack rather than a rational appeal. I'm sorry you are so easily frightened!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:43 PM

The problem is that I am not easily frightened....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: guitar
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 04:56 PM

I was brought in a very strange household, my father was an athiest and my mother was Church of Scotland, and my father taught me a wee bit about the bible, and and as a youth he went to church, and he liked God.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM

There is nothing so vain as a talking human brain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity saith the prophet! Hi LH. Chongo avoids all this. No original sin. God's stamp of approval on all he does. Ahhh, to be a chimp!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:14 PM

I don't know about original sin, Slag, but Chongo has picked up a great deal of brand new self-made sins along the way. ;-) However, he seems to be able to live with them. Occasionally he gets morose when things aren't going so well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM

"But morality is a human invention. Cats playing with their birds are not being cruel, and the bird is not offended. So when you say "Morality comes to have no philosophical meaning but only a chemical one" again, you are conflating biological reality (it is certainly brain chemicals which provide you with guilt feelings, or righteous indignation, or that virtuous glow you mention) with the reality of living as a human, at the spiritual level (in my sense of the term Spirit)."

There has been research on animal behavior to find that they do have their own brand of "morality". The term "spirit" has no scientific meaning. It's an abstract concept that is vastly confusing because it means so many different things. The human brain after years of evolution has adapted its own brand of morality in order to survive. The brain is composed of chemicals and cells that create feelings of awareness and consciousness. These are mechanisms that initiate our survival. Morality is not some foggy airy misty unknowable thing but is built in to the human consciousness. That consciousness is found in the human brain which is not abstract. It's a function of the human brain.

There is so much in science that we don't know, therefore it would be reasonable to want to apply scientific principles to the study of religion.

There is a fear of mortality that guides feelings of wanting to explain phenomenon in terms of religion and spirit and to attribute some imaginary concept to soften the blow of death.

The acceptance of death, however, is the embracing and loving of life in the now and not some imaginary hereafter.

The abstract notion of "spirit" would have to be carefully defined in scientific terms for it to maintain any semblance of reality.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 07:06 PM

Mrrzy - I have seen animals that were deeply offended about having been attacked by another animal or a person. They didn't forget about it. They carried a grudge about it. They plotted their revenge.

Animals do have a moral sense...it's just not usually nearly as complex as the moral ideas we humans come up with...because animals don't use such complex language as we do.

You're quite correct that the cat is not being consciously cruel when it plays with the bird...but the bird is offended (in my opinion). He reacts with horror and outrage, as is understandable.

The cat, like most creatures, is concerned with his own feelings, not those of the bird. If he became human, he might begin to question his own feelings...provided he was a rather advanced human. We are capable of further dimensions of moral thinking than animals, for sure.

You assume we made it all up. Fine. I don't necessarily assume that. I figure we made up some of it, allright, we're making up some of it all the time, but maybe not all of it. But I'm just theorizing. I don't know. Neither do you. Neither one of us has any way of knowing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 07:22 PM

I had a dog (German Shepherd) who would NOT pee indoors because she'd been gently led to understand that that was wrong. One time I ended up in hospital over night and was unable to get home until about 10:00 AM. She'd been inside for over 14 hours and she had peed. When I got home she was slow to come greet me and when she did her head was down. I saw the puddle and mopped it up and called her over. I gave her a hug and said stuff like, "It's OK", "Alright". She knew she'd done wrong, but stuff happens. I don't know that a moral sense necessarily involves notions of right and wrong (Bill D is better informed to speak to that), but that dog knew the difference. I have numerous examples that demonstrate it, but getting into them here is a no-go.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 08:57 PM

I believe that stringslinger may be ignoring the primacy of language, its evolution and acculturation. To read "science" back into the language in order to dispel the notions of "spirit" ('pneuvma' in the Greek, 'nephesh' in Hebrew/ Aramaic) and "soul" ('psyche' in the Greek and again 'nephesh' in the Hebrew) is a wrong headed thing to do. It corrupts our language and destroys meaning.

Scientific thought and method is a wonderful tool for understanding the physical world we live in but it is NOT the know all, end all of ALL things. Science cannot adequately explain things like beauty, love, nobility, righteousness or spirit. And it seems like the very things that make life worth living are what science is least capable of dealing.

If God be the Author of Mankind, it is certainly he who has given us the ability to reason and the ability to comprehend things beyond reason. The human brain and its logic allow us to survive and prosper in this 3 (4) dimensional world. Our hearts allow us to look beyond the creation to the Creator. To assume no Creator takes the same amount of faith to account for the being of anything. Existence is, itself a miracle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 09:29 PM

Yessir, it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: The Hiker
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 09:32 PM

Jasus lads all this is too deep for me all I can say is thank God Im an athiest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 09:43 PM

LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 09:44 PM

"Is this a real person?
Are there many of these in America?"

yes, Ake....there are quite a few of these in America.

Slag...you move back & forth from poetic musings to facts & reason, and yet you assume you have stated an obvious truth in the poetry because it sounds so...ummmm...wonderful and uplifting.

I have NO difficulty in appreciating "...things like beauty, love, nobility... " without recourse to assumptions of " righteousness or spirit" as causal forces. I have no problem with contemplating the complex majesty of the Universe without ANY assumptions as to its origin. It is not an issue that I am capable of dealing with, so I just follow what astronomy & mathematics are able to deduce about what we CAN see, and don't try to evalute what various religions try to tell us about what we CAN'T see.
   (did you ever hear the story about the lady who asserted that the world was supported on the back of a giant turtle? An astronomer asked her, "but what does the turtle stand on?" ..she replied, "hmmmppf! Don't try to fool me with THAT trick, young man! It's turtles all the way down!")
Silly story? Yeah, but people BELIEVE things like that, and the real point is that the astronomer didn't know either...he just knew that "turtles" was not a convincing theory. Saying, "I can't understand it, I guess God did it" is an understandable conclusion in historical perspective, but no stronger than "turtles" if you demand evidence. That IS why we talk about 'belief' in God...he sure doesn't pop in regularly to clarify confusing details.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 10:14 PM

Yes Bill D, folks do sometimes try to fill in the gaps with God and it's kinda like using bubblegum where a rivet is needed. If that is one's approach, their "God" is going to lose ground all day long in the face of advancing science.

Depending on how we define terms such things as righteousness and justice get codified and start looking pretty scientific but in complete analysis they are still metaphysical concepts. What makes something "right'? or "just"? Because it helps someone? Because it conforms to someone's or some people's idea of fair? Manifest Destiny seemed pretty righteous to a lot of erstwhile white Europeans; Indians be damned. We are just as sure we have the right fix on things today as those guys did almost 200 years ago. The moral dictums that stem from some religions have a timelessness and a universality that transcends our history. Of course you can argue the point but to many it is an indication that a moral code superior to anything of a given group of people may embrace, is at work.

The Apostle Paul says it this way. I paraphrase: "God has written His law upon the tablets of the hearts of men." Poetic but you get the point.

By the by, I am, among other things, an amateur astronomer and I relish the concepts of astrophysics and quantum mechanics. I find no conflict with how I perceive God. Science does nothing but discover how He did it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 10:49 PM

"Science does nothing but discover how He did it!"

Ok...that's the point I cannot argue with. It is, simply, the way you choose to approach it. You posit a god as behind it all - I do not. Neither of us can 'prove' anything either way....but it is interesting exploring either attitude and comparing notes, hmmm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 10:53 PM

There is nothing so vain as a talking human brain.

Well, I'd say that talking from one beats it. :D

If God be the Author of Mankind, it is certainly he who has given us the ability to reason and the ability to comprehend things beyond reason. The human brain and its logic allow us to survive and prosper in this 3 (4) dimensional world. Our hearts allow us to look beyond the creation to the Creator.

It is well said that we see as through a glass, darkly. But I hazard that it would be more correct to say we see as in a glass, darkly. While I have no disagreement with your assessment of the difference between material science and the immaterial things that are our highest values in existence, including the wonder of existence itself, I submit that we are reflecting ourselves, and we are our own creators (plural), an infinite array of infinite potentials, cross-connected in a mishmash of admiration, misownership, resistance and assertion , a whirlwind matricx of attention given, received, rejected, denied and enforced — riotous dance of a trillion spirits.

I don't think anywhere in this dance you will find a master builder of spirit, though.. It just doesn't reckon.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 10:59 PM

OK, let me clarify something else - when I said Morality is a human invention, I didn't mean we make it up out of whole cloth. Pain is bad, pleasure is good, being caught deceiving is bad, catching deceit is good... these are biological judgements, provided to us by nature. I guess what I meant is that only humans impose morality upon issues of eat, survive, reproduce. In particular, what religion does to sex is a crime against nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 11:58 PM

Ah...the religious authorities in the mainstream Judeo-Christian-Muslim triumvirate, you mean, Mrrzy? Agreed. ;-) They have done some awful stuff to people's awareness regarding sex. However, they are not the only religions in existence. (Thank God!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:21 AM

Awful things have always been done in the name of God. The worst things! Some were even motivated by good intentions. It's kinda like politics. Good intentions, honest people, true believers are all players who have tipped their hands. Dead money. The users will exploit them every time in anyway they can while they all shout "Trust me!" The users and abusers in religion(s) only want what they can get in the temporal world because they don't really believe in God, a god, any god or any principles of enlightenment. It's almost enough to turn anyone with a brain away from organized religion (or politics).

However! If you have tapped into the real thing, you understand this. In the Christian context this is known as the spirit of the anti-Christ and head of the corrupt world system (enumerated in Daniel and the Apocalypse). Well, I am ranging a little far of field. I think I will drop the esoterica and theology and try to stick to the topic at hand, if I post anymore to this thread.

Here's another reason to believe in God. God is a personal God, a constant companion, a real friend who will never leave you high and dry. It pays to know people in high places!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 09:06 AM

"Here's another reason to believe in God. God is a personal God, a constant companion, a real friend who will never leave you..."


             That's just the way Jimmy Stewart felt about Harvey the rabbit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 09:11 AM

Which was just what slag was saying. This is a personal belief no one can make you into a believer, or an unbeliever, even when threatening you with torture or other unmentionable things (as has happened in the past).


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

I think chimps have little tribal moral codes, judging from the way they act.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 10:12 AM

Peace, you made an interesting statement.

"Eventually we get to the question of 'what causes life' or 'how can something so complex possibly exist'? And there we run into the wall. For all our sophistication, we have no answer."

There are many answers. Suggested reading, "The Origins of Species" by Charles Darwin.

Complexity of life is explained by evolution. It didn't just happen.

Life is a series of chemical occurances that evolved from a single-celled protozoa.

It's been pretty well documented.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 11:34 AM

But where did that single-celled protazoa come from Frank??


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: tarheel
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM

I believe in God and I am a Christain,too!
I was brought up in a Southern Baptist Church where my mom and dad were very active!
I am NOT a religious person!
being religious means having an opinion!
being a Christain means believing in God!
for those in here,and it seems that there are many,who missed out on being brought up in a Christain Home Environment, you have missed one of the true blessings of life!
I shall pray for all of you here!
tarheel


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 11:39 AM

As far as the mechanics of organisms, Frank, you are spot on. One good study of The Blind Watchmaker will do wonders to clarify the thinking about the emergence of complexity and organization from apparently chaotic initial conditions.

I am tempted to write a sequel to Dawkins called "The Seeing Watch-User". There's an elephant on the living-room carpet which Dawkins most eloquently avoids. But the part that he addresses is beautifully done.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 12:38 PM

Nutty,

From the primordial slime....chemicals from the beginnings of Earth...and that came from the Big Bang....and it goes billions of years back and developed from evolutionary processes.




"But where did that single-celled protazoa come from Frank??"


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: nutty
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 12:47 PM

but how did the Big Bang come about Frank.

If it was connected with the stars - where did they come from??

Where did the primeval slime come from??

You can keep on asking such questions ad infinitum but it still brings you back to the start .... you either believe in God or you don't


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:12 PM

Nutty, the classic argument (Cosmological) to your question is where did god come from?
I maintain he came from the mind of mankind.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:16 PM

Bingo!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:41 PM

If you actually read ...& watch TV programs such as the series last night on Public TV about "The History of the Universe", you can go as deep as you care to into the details about how complex atoms are formed inside stars, and how certain atoms can...and MUST... combine under certain conditions to form the basic compounds necessary for life.

If you choose to say "there must have been some omnipotent force before the beginning to start all that chain, why, I can't stop you.....but IF you can make statements like that, I can legitimately ask "Why was there any 'force' at all before there was anything else?"
   All you are doing when you demand an answer to "What came first?" is forcing yourself to invent a term like 'god' so that you don't have to contemplate an 'infinite regress'. We simply don't KNOW what came first, and our minds really can't encompass the idea of "before the beginning"...it is a verbal construct, not one in physics that tells us much..(mathematicians may argue that THEY can, but they can only manipulate symbols and can't give an answer that helps anyone but other mathematicans.)

   Theologians offer an answer that 'feels good' to most people..."all you have to do is 'believe', and you'll see." And obviously, that is quite enough for most people....it allows them to stop asking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Philosophy is asking question for which there is no answer. Religion is having answers which cannot be questioned."


I do philosophy, and am satisfied to just keep asking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:47 PM

So am I. I would be satisfied if other people kept asking too, instead of dogmatically declaring that "this is the way it is".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Carl
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 02:50 PM

We will never know for sure.
Faith seems to be a major factor.
Man has often used belief for his\her advantage.
But, is there any advantage of totally ruling it out?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:09 PM

The notion of always seeking a prior cause point is circular; where you end up is with yourself, th eviewpoint asking the question. The framework of the question is the serial causality that we are habituated to in the ordinary life of matter in time.

One possibility is that consideration that space is there in order to have some energy and objects within it, is the ultimate origin of space. This is pretty unorthodox, but it makes a certain sense.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:10 PM

Why should anyone believe in "God".

a) Because they've been told to by their parents, church, school, state etc.
b) Because their ego won't let them believe that when they die
   they cease to be - in any form.
c) Because- to them -life would have no meaning without an after life
d)
e)

I'll leave it to someone else to fill in d and e!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 03:44 PM

I feel like I should revive my old thread, "God's Dicey Cup". There's some good discussion in it about Cosmology vs Creation and Evolution vs Adaptation. The straight Darwinian theory is pretty much on life support. The old theory of catastrophism would go much farther to explain the gaps or "missing links" that exist between species than a gradual change due to survival of the fittest. But again, that ranges far from the topic of THIS thread. My Mudcat New Year's Resolution (see) was to try to stay on topic and prevent thread drift.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 04:40 PM

Tarheel!

Ebbie!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 07:36 PM

Well, I guess if I were speaking with honesty instead of caution, I'd say that I believe because God gave me the gift of faith, not because I chose to believe. Believing doesn't necessarily make me better or worse than anybody else - I just see things from the perspective of Catholic Christian faith. I fully realize that answer isn't satisfactory to anybody who doesn't believe, and I'm sure they're at least partly right in thinking that I believe because I was brought up that way. But then I could say that my being brought up that way was a gift, and the circle could go on and on.

Whatever the case, my faith is part of what I am. Discussing the merits or problems of my having faith or the merits or problems of another person NOT having faith, strikes me as problematic from a number of perspectives - and it does make me nervous. There's no way I can discuss faith with either atheists or fundamentalists, because they and I speak a totally different language. They're all black and white, and right and wrong - I'm more grey in my chosen hue. The only things I see as truly wrong are hatred and intolerance.

My faith is not right or wrong, but it does mean a lot to me - it is a sacred part of my life. Another's lack of faith is not right or wrong, either. It's who we are - take us or leave us. I suppose that belief is one of the many aspects of the human condition that test our tolerance. I hope our tolerance wins in the end, and that we can all gain by learning to respect and learn from each other's perspectives.


-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 09:20 PM

Mine (faith) is a similarly essential and sacred part of me, Joe, even though I may give it a different name, and think about it a bit differently.

I suppose our tolerance and benevolence is the primary soiurce of well-being in the long run, too.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 11:41 PM

Why do you think we can never know for sure?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 01:05 AM

Joe, we all have a modicum of faith and you and I would most likely attribute the source of that as from the Almighty. Every human alive with an intellect above slime mold has faith that the sun will rise and that gravity will hold her to the planet. It becomes a question of where and in whom we put our faith. Scripture says "Accursed is he who places his trust in man." The Author of our being wants us to place our trust in Him. If one has even casually read through the Bible he is struck by the number of absolute claims, promises and warnings from God. You either believe it or you don't. The Word also says "The fool has said in his heart 'There is no God'." and elsewhere "There is a way that seems right unto man but the ends thereof are the way of death."

If you believe in God, is it the God of the Bible in Whom you believe or an edited version of your own thinking which is less demanding and more suitable to your own likes? God is God or He is not. You either believe the Bible IS the word of God ( I Thess. 2:13) or you don't. The claim from the Bible itself is that it is the Word of God and as such it has supremacy over all other writings and institutions of Man. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." A bold statement. A fundamental statement one might say.

Most people hold some core beliefs whatever those may be. Otherwise we derive no meaning from life and we might as well be, uh, what? slime mold?! A good picture has both black and white absolutes plus the shades of gray. The absolutes provide a scale and contrast to the other elements of the photo. Christians may argue some finer points of theology, biblical interpretation and so on but there are core beliefs which are fundamental to the Christian faith. So call me a Fundamentalist but please don't use that as a category to categorically dismiss the things that I write.

God is knowable. It's as simple as John 3:16 and even a small child can come to that faith, be born again and know God through Jesus Christ and yet it is so deep that it is an inexhaustible well of knowledge and wisdom. Christ is not pushy about it. He did what He did. He sent His people out into the world to proclaim His good news for Mankind but He leaves the decision in your hand, take it or leave it. For me, it wasn't until I came to the end of myself that I turned to Him and He radically changed my life. He took away my destructive habits and turned me about 180 degrees (facing Him) and gave me REAL life.

Mrrzy, You CAN know for sure, if you are willing to make the commitment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 02:25 AM

Unless you yourself actually have a given experience (whatever it may be) you can never know for sure, Mrrzy. That is what I mean. Only the one who has the experience knows for sure. Other people have opinions about it...and their opinions usually derive from the authority figures they trust the most. Those authority figures may be their parents, the mass media, their teachers, the church, their best friend, their doctor, or the science community (all of whom are wrong about things from time to time...).

Nothing will ever equal firsthand experience of something. Then you don't give a toot about people's opinions any more regarding that particular experience...but they may annoy you with them anyway, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:22 AM

Every human alive with an intellect above slime mold has faith that the sun will rise and that gravity will hold her to the planet.

Nonsense. There is no faith involved in the knowledge that gravity exists and that our planet spins on its axis.

That is part of the problem with discussing faith with believers. They tend to confuse knowledge with faith.

And Little Hawk - believers may claim to have "evidence" but what you yourself have demonstrated is that they don't. All they have is wishful thinking and, possibly, some subjective certainty (e.g. - faith). As long as they admit that, I'm fine with it all. What I argue against is the misconception that there is just as much rational reasoning behind today's faith as there is behind today's knowledge.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:39 AM

Hell, 45% or thereabouts of Americans don't even believe int he evolution of species -- especially when their own is concerned.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:40 AM

Please PM me. I will not talk with you further about this on an open thread. You are not understanding me at all. I do not confuse knowledge with faith. I have never confused knowledge with faith. I've been a frikkin' outright goddamn WORSHIPPER of knowledge all my life, for heaven's sake, ever since I was a little kid!!!! We are talking completely at cross purposes most of the time on this thread, and I will not suffer through it any further.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 11:49 AM

Slag...you have ceased discussing and begun preaching. I do not know whether you can see the difference between what you just said and what Joe Offer just said, but it is important.


" It's as simple as John 3:16 and even a small child can come to that faith, be born again and know God through Jesus Christ and yet it is so deep that it is an inexhaustible well of knowledge and wisdom. Christ is not pushy about it. He did what He did. He sent His people out into the world to proclaim His good news for Mankind but He leaves the decision in your hand, take it or leave it. "

that is PREACHING. And within it are implicit statements that Muslims and atheists and Hindus and all others who do not 'accept Jesus' are in deep trouble......and THAT is why we who are not religious are concerned. Many of those who believe as you do are trying to impose this set of beliefs on others.

I, and many others, are willing to quietly coexist with believers, but we are not willing to have laws and behavior controlled by believers......and this IS a continued, ongoing issue, whether you personally, are guilty or not.


That's how it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,God
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 12:06 PM

(Sigh)...Don't make me come down there...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 12:08 PM

oh...PLEASE do come down. I have questions. We could have SUCH an interesting chat.

(ummm....I will need ID of course)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM

Jaysus, Mary an' Joseph, Slag, you certainly got up on a soapbox.


I find such uncritical assertions and their implied absolute adherence to only particular myths to the detriment of others difficult to read and impossible to speak to.

See ya 'round,pal.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 01:17 PM

Thanks, Bill and Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 04:44 PM

Mea culpa ! I did get a little preachy there didn't I? I had hope that it would be seen in the context of my personal experience. At least I didn't pass the collection plate! Still in all it was in keeping with the original question which includes the word "should". "Should" implies "ought" and the ability to effect the same.

Mrrzy. You don't recognize your own faith: faith in science, faith in human reasoning. Recognize too, that reason's ultimate appeal is unto reason itself which you should see as the ultimate tautology.

Religious exclusion is so much the source of hatred and bloodshed in this world. There is that aspect of the Christian message. It is called the "offense of the Gospel" and has been known ever sense Christ. One could even argue that the Israelite and hence the Jew, as God's Chosen People and therefore a "peculiar people" would also seem offensive to those outside. The Apostle Paul addresses this question in his letters to the Christians at Corinth. God, being a fair and just God will judge all according to the light they have. If Christ said I am the Truth then those who have sought after the truth and justice their whole live, have sought after Christ though they never knew His name.

Christianity excludes no one. Whoever, Jew or Gentile, American Indian pre 1492 or South Seas Islander who turns to God, who seeks the truth and righteousness, God will in no way cast out. However, if, having heard the true story on Jesus and you reject Him, you've rejected the Truth and the Author of your existence. What is left? Still, a true Christian, reflecting God's universal love, doesn't hate anyone, isn't pushy about it, doesn't go to war over it or start lopping off people's heads. This attitude was reflected in the Christian origins of the US. TOLERANCE! Freedom of religion. Freedom of conscience! The right to not believe! And I concur! Just don't take away my right to the same considerations.

Lastly, If you read some of my other posting, I can get pretty preachy about patriotism and American ideals. It, too, kinda goes with the turf. I enjoy the debates, as long as they stay on course. Things can get pretty lively and heated and we all should do our best to leave animosity and personalities out of the question.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 05:08 PM

"If Christ said I am the Truth then those who have sought after the truth and justice their whole live, have sought after Christ though they never knew His name."

...*sigh*...and I suppose you have no idea why that sentence is a prime example of fallacious reasoning.

*IF* some real person actually said that, then the ONLY thing to say about it is that he might be right...and he might be wrong. Your statement assumes 1) the he did say it and 2) that there is metaphysical Truth involved. THEN you toss in the fallacy of equivocation by equating one type of 'seeking' with another.

....and buried in all of this is the assumption that the Christian bible IS absolute truth and must not be questioned.
You were on pretty sound footing by just claiming that there MUST be a first cause of some spiritual sort. That is just your personal view of the ultimate beginnings....but you can't use that opinon to prove points unless your opponents also agree to it.

I am convinced that you are a thoughtful, committed Christian who tries to live a good life and takes his faith seriously as he moves thru life...but there are thoughtful, committed agnostics and atheists who do the same. We need to just shrug and judge folks by what they do...and not what banner they fly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 05:26 PM

Well, ok then. I won't bombard you with my seventy-'leven proofs of Harvey the Rabbit as the actual manifestation of all Creation.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM

"We need to just shrug and judge folks by what they do...and not what banner they fly."

Yeah, Bill. I couldn't agree more with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 06:00 PM

"However, if, having heard the true story on Jesus and you reject Him, you've rejected the Truth and the Author of your existence. What is left? " slag

Glad to see that you're not preaching anymore. :)

The one thing that is off-putting to me is the tone of I-know-the-facts-and-you-do-not. I'm much more comfortable with a little humility.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 06:19 PM

I am afraid your assertions demand a substitution of labels for realities, in the first place, which I think is a serious cognitive trap.

Further, your assertions seem to call for an erosion of individual ability and empowerment, in preference to the power of an external entity of uncertain attributes, which I consider to be a treacherous slope indeed.

Finally, your assertions require the abandonment or adulteration of individual responsibility for creation, which is a certain path to the corruption of the individual spirit.

Therefore, I reject them.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Slag
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 07:37 PM

I guess that's what I get for trying to put something in a nutshell that doesn't belong in a nutshell! Then again, maybe it's my lack of verbal skill? What I was trying to say is that someone with an easy conscience, a soul that strives to do the right thing does not live in fear.

Yes, I make assumptions, for myself in the framework and context of the text, the Bible. I accept its assertions. This, however, does not limit my ability to see aspects of what I believe to be God's truth in the writing and lives of other people. Man, I love the writings of Voltaire though I know a lot of Christians have quite the opposite opinion of him. T.S. Eliot, brilliant! Albert Einstein sought mathematical truth but he was also philosophically, if not religiously, a believer in God. Charles Schulz demonstrated Christian truths all through his Peanuts comic strip. He preached without being preachy and was eloquent. Can't you read of the life of Jesus see that He went about doing good and confronting evil and lies? They are many kinds of "truth" and it is not an equivocation to say that each in its own way points to the God who made them or better, the God whose nature they reflect. That's the way I see it. A humanist may acknowledge the same truths and yet attribute them to the human intellect. I can't argue with that except on a faith basis which is what I am trying to convey. Why should anyone believe in "God"? I reiterate, the choice is yours.

We've been around this bush a time or two. When arguments are coming out of a closed system with its own vocabulary, very little may be accomplished. It comes down to defining terms. Broad subjects, broad strokes on a limited page in the blog-o-sphere.

Ebbie, I am truly sorry if you are off-put. If you began to tell me about someone with whom you knew intimately and I began to argue with you and claimed that you didn't really know this person, couldn't really know this person, I might be off-put but you would think of me as ignorant and maybe much worse. I will not apologize for knowing the person of whom I speak and if that offends you, I truly am sorry. It is your assumption and that of others in this thread that God is unknowable, that God does not exist, that God is the same God in all religions, that God is unnecessary, etc. I have stated my case and have given some, hopefully, compelling reasons why anyone should believe in God. I can say with Paul "for I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed (my soul) unto Him against that day.", that day being the day of judgment ( II Tim 1:12b). What more can I say?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: John O'L
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 07:49 PM

When Jesus (reportedly) said "I am the truth, the way and the light", it was within the context of his opposition to the way the temple was being used as a self-perpetuating instrument of power in Jerusalem at that time. He was, at that time, the only one telling them the truth, showing them the way they could relate to their god individualy, and being open and transparent about the whole thing.

I don't think for a moment he believed himself to be some kind of portal, as he has been presented ever since by those who would use the temple as a
self-perpetuating...etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 08:01 PM

know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed (my soul) unto Him against that day.", that day being the day of judgment ( II Tim 1:12b). What more can I say?

Hell, that's a hard act to follow -- so maybe nothing.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:55 PM

how about, Click your heels three times and you're home?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 09:59 PM

That only workls with the "No place like home" prayer repeated three times very fast without stumbling.

Plus, you have to be from Kansas.

And you have to have the right kind of little dog, too, or the results are unprdeictable.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM

talk about timing...thiswas in todays comics here.

(If that doesn't work, go here and go to April 23.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:09 PM

..and before Leadfingers shows up...200!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:16 PM

Another masterful encapsulation of unreason rampant...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Apr 07 - 10:26 PM

*grin*....I wish we still got Kudzu...I miss him, and forget to look it up online.

But we DO have Tom, the Dancing Bug

(look at other days, Amos...he does lots of Bush material..)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 12:06 AM

What a treat, Bill! Thanks!! He's on my reg'l'ar list now.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 09:13 AM

I love Tom The Dancing Bug. Especially his Godman... and BillD, we got that one a few days ago, but I laughed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM

"Albert Einstein sought mathematical truth but he was also philosophically, if not religiously, a believer in God."

Slag, Einstein did not believe in the god you are talking about. He said that he believed in Spinoza's god which was more pantheistic than monotheistic. Also, he said, quite pointedly, that he did not believe in a personal god and that to do so was naive.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 12:15 PM

Einstein much like Beethoven, Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Geothe, Sir Issak Newton and many other enlightened individuals had no use for organized religion or a god defined by doctrine. They believed in a god which was not only nature but the spirit of creation within themselves. Their work and art is a celebration of the god within themselves to be celebrated by all.

There is no argument that the god business is lucrative. With money comes power. When that power mandates a hate of a certain segment of society (non believers, queers, scientists etc) things get ugly.

It seems the great stides by a secular United States are on the decline as fundamentalism celebrates conformist hate, mediocracy and war.

Some would say things have improved since the Inquisition but "fundamentaly" the fundamentalists are the same, even on my street. Only our weapons have "improved".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 01:06 PM

"They believed in a god which was not only nature but the spirit of creation within themselves. Their work and art is a celebration of the god within themselves to be celebrated by all."

Sounds like a very good approach to me...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Carl
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 07:05 PM

Is Christ God?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Apr 07 - 08:03 PM

When he 'comes back', you can ask him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:34 AM

I thought he already answered that one ie "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life".

(Not to be confused with "I am God, unlike all you poor suckers")


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:55 AM

He also taught that everything he did we can do also, and even greater things yet. And that the Kingdom of God is internal, not external.

Gotta LOVE simple, eh?    :-)    And also the human need to analyse, chastise, baptise, criticize, politicize, philosophize, hypothesize, intellectualize, hypnotize, sensationalize, astrologize    ;-)    in short, to make everything just as complicated (and twisted!) as possible.

We are quite the piece of Work, we are!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,God
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:59 AM

Why all the fuss? I'm God. I can do what I want. So there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:23 AM

Picking nits here - of course Christ is god, because that is what Christ means. Now, if you're asking if jesus was christ, that is another question... and there isn't even good historical evidence of the existence of jesus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM

It would be easier to have it all historically cut and dried, I suppose, but no one needs historical evidence to know Jesus. Hmmmm .... how does that old church song go ... oh yeah ...

Seek and you shall find,
Knock and the door will be opened
Ask and it shall be given,
and the Love comes a'tricklin' down....

(from the Beatitudes. Except the Love tricklin down bit)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:43 AM

And seeing as we're into picking nits here, may I respectfully point out that "Christ" does not mean "God". The word "Christ" is from the Old Testament, and it means "the Messiah" or "the Anointed One", as foretold by the prophets of Hebrew scripture.

Definition here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:10 AM

It is interesting to me that the most important bits of Christ's doctrine -- that "heaven" (whatever that was in the orgiinal Aramaic concept) is within you, and that the individual is capable of miraculous acts -- are the bits most left out of establishment indoctrination, least emphasized; while the doctrines of sin and contrition and fear of the Almighty are much more popular.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:15 AM

Everyone can do what they want. We're all godlike in that respect. Mind you, we have to deal with the consequences too.

For instance, I could go out and rob a bank right now...

But I don't think I will. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:21 AM

Go ahead, LH. I'll forgive you, and give you dispensation. For a cut.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:27 AM

Hey LH, make it the World Bank and I'll be in for a cut too!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 11:28 AM

Right - whereas Jesus is just a name, Christ is a TITLE. The argument amongst the monotheists isn't whether Jesus existed, it's whether Jesus was Christ. Christians say yes, others say no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM

For some reason this strikes me as akin to arguing whether or not Harvey is really the Easter Bunny or just similar to him in certain ways.

Don't get me wrong -- I strongly support the free play of imagination and creative thought.

It's when it gets pushed down others' craws as substantive fact that I draw the line.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 01:18 PM

Bingo!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 02:09 PM

Mrrzy, the Bahai's say that there have been many Christs. Among them: Buddha, Baha'Ullah, Jesus of Nazareth, Zoroaster, and Krishna, as well as others.

You are right that "Christ" is a title, and Jesus is a name.

Are you at all acquainted with Bahai philosophy?

Another thought...have you ever studied Taoism? It's a very interesting spiritual philosophy which does not talk about any God or any Christ or any supernatural beings, but merely about a harmonious way of living that is in accord with Nature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 04:29 PM

What's happened to Zoroaster lately? You don't hear much about him anymore.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 05:12 PM

I doubt anything has happened to him lately. Zoroastrianism is a religion that was the national religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sasanian dynastic empires of anciant Persia; it is predominantly practiced today by the Iranian Zoroastrian community and Parsi community of India.

Prophet Zoroaster is generally accepted as an authentic historical figure, circa 1200 BC, making him possibly the founder of the earliest religion based on revealed scripture. Others place him anywhere between the 18th and the 6th centuries BCE.


In any case, not what I would call a happening dude.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 05:23 PM

Ah, but there are still a lot of Parsees. I've met some. Good people. So Zoroaster is very much a relevant prophet as far as they are concerned.

Some of the more recent "successful" religions are the Jehovah's Witness version of Christianity, Mormonism (another offshoot of Christianity), and the Bahai Faith (an offshoot from the Muslim culture, but Bahais place all the holy books of the world in their temples, revere them all, and revere all the prophets from the other major religions. They seem them all as Christs or prophets of the same God....or Divine Principle). I like the Bahai approach very much.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 05:57 PM

I've read a lot of Tao, actually, but I take my moderation in moderation...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:27 PM

Donuel: "Some would say things have improved since the Inquisition but "fundamentaly" the fundamentalists are the same, even on my street. Only our weapons have "improved".


We have other inquisitions today..... are you a communist / terorrist / do you have ideas that differ from those of the President and others like him? / do you want to be quizzed about all this in our facility at Guantanamo? Ve have vays.....

Human 'moral progress' hasn't been linear, it's been circular since time immemorial.

Mrrrzy: "there isn't even good historical evidence of the existence of Jesus"

I think this might be taking rejection of the Bible a tad too far. OK, if you don't believe it is the word of God, no problem (for me, anyway). If you don't believe Jesus said and did all those things... well, some of the acts might seem incredible I suppose.

But there's 'no historical evidence'??

Why couldn't you accept at least that Jesus was a historical person, even if you decide not to accept he was the Son of God? At least four different writers thought this man remarkable enough to write a kind of biography of his short but remarkable life. They each tell a similiar story in the main points while adding other details that complement this story. Couldn't it be that the details of such a remarkable life might be well enough known to the whole community for the four writers to be familiar with them?

Amos accepts the existence of Zoroaster as a historical person quite freely and without any problems ("Prophet Zoroaster is generally accepted as an authentic historical figure, circa 1200 BC" - though I love that use of the passive voice: 'generally accepted....' yes, but by whom?) . Why is there such a problem accepting Jesus was a historical person? And that's before we get into other historical evidence such as the Roman Census etc., There are indeed good reasons to believe Jesus was a real person whether or not you accept he was God.

Could there be some bias here? Why do we even believe Julius Ceaser ever existed? Afterall we only have references to him in a few tatty ancient books (could have been a fictional character in a novel!), a few coins (could have been of an imaginary person!) and a book apparently written by him about an imaginary place called Gaul (but could have been written by anyone who decided then to use the name Julius Cesaer). The whole thing could have been an elaborate hoax for reasons that are lost to us today....and the plot thickens!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:40 PM

And I forgot to add the Acts of the Apostles (the so-called Apocrypha) which are basically a collection of letters written by various Apostles (such as Peter and Paul) to the fledgling christian communities scattered round the meditterannean. Jesus is regularly mentioned in these real letters as a matter of fact real person, just as you or I would mention someone in our family when writing to an acquaintance.

People have posted here about religion and power an money. As far as the early Christian church was concerned, nothing could have been farther from the case. Christians were in the main poor, persecuted and on the run. In Rome they left a legacy of hundreds if not thousands of kilometres of tunnels called catacombs where they met, prayed and buried their dead, ever fearful of becoming gruesome entertainment for the Roman mob. New ones are still being discovered all the time, and I have visited them myself and can attest to their reality.

One of the earliest parts of the Acts even tells how they were gathered in a house after Jesus had died and ressurected, 'fearful of an angry Jewish mob' (these would probably have been the Pharisees and others who had Christ put to death and viciously opposed the Apostles). So, life was no bed of roses for them.

And try being a Christian in a country like China, where until recently it would have probably meant a lengthy jail term at minimum. People seem to forget that the Christian church exists in different circumstances all over the world. And those who talk about the Church and hatred and oppression of the poor have obviously never heard of the Liberation Theology prevalent in Latin America, where it is a voice for the oppressed against the liberal economics of the neo-cons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 06:51 PM

I think the evidentiary base for Caesar is much firmer than that for the existence of Jesus. I am quite certain there WAS a Jesus of Galilee and Nazareth, just as I am sure ther e is a Joe in Oshkosh AND in Walla Walla. It's a statistical probability. But as to the acts and deeds attributed to him by those invested in forwarding his name, I take those with a grain of salt, just as I do the proselytizations of the Hare Krishnas and the Moonies at the airport.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:05 PM

Nickhere, since when is Acts part of the Apocrypha?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 08:18 PM

Human 'moral progress' hasn't been linear, it's been circular since time immemorial.

With all due respect, I would argue it is on an evolutionary spiral.

There are scores of extreme forms of barbarism which were once wide-spread, and are now not, not counting the Middle East and the United States. :D

To be honest, I do actually believe in some sort of forward evolution of civilization; I think lately though, we have been in a retrogression.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,carl
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:02 PM

It is easy to understand God as long as you don't try to explain him.
Joseph Joubert

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation and is but a reflection of human frailty.
Albert Einstein


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:11 PM

Amos: "With all due respect, I would argue it is on an evolutionary spiral"

Downwards ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:18 PM

Ebbie - you're quite right. My apologies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: LukeKellylives (Chris)
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 09:31 PM

Before I say anything, I must make sure you realize I have only read the first post of this thread. Sorry if I say something already in here.

Now, to my answer:

I, personally, think that some people just need some consolation. Most people only believe out of fear of eternal damnation in case they DO stop believing in God.

All logic points to God not existing. However, faith and logic never intertwine. I, personally, believe in God. Not to the extent that I would go and preach it to people and try to be a converter (I hate people who throw their religion into other peoples' faces), but I just think he exists.

Logic was spawned from humans, not from an almighty being. For all we know, two plus two could equal "fish" to God. It's our logic, which means that we might be using our minds the wrong way when we point to why there couldn't be a God.

Think about it. God gave us the power of free will. He knew this would lead to non-believers due to the human train of thought and logic. Not his logic.

This isn't to say that people who don't believe in God don't make good points.

For example.

If God is all-knowing, but at the same time, we have free will, wouldn't he know what we were going to do? This means that he sends people into a life of damnation knowingly.

But maybe that theory is wrong.

And another controversial topic is sins.

We don't know what the real sins are. The people who rewrote the Bible took out everything they thought of as blasphemy. This means that they also added things. No one has actually seen all of the true Bible (although they DO know it stated that Jesus had human urges--this was considered blasphemy by the church).

God is something that no one can prove exists or doesn't exist. It's something we have to decide individually.

Why should anyone believe in God?

If nothing else...

For hope.

Without a God, there would be no afterlife. Just nothingness. No conscious thought, no memories, no dreams...Just nothingness.

Is that really something that you want for the afterlife? Granted, it is better than eternal torture in Hell...But I'd rather have a chance at a peaceful afterlife among the angels than to have nothing but an eternity of nothingness.






Another religious debate from your resident Mudkitten (seriously...I'm the only one under twenty here!).


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:16 PM

"Without a God, there would be no afterlife. Just nothingness. No conscious thought, no memories, no dreams...Just nothingness."

ummmmm...yep, that sounds about right.

"Is that really something that you want for the afterlife?"

Well, if that was correct, there would be no afterlife to 'want' anything for.

And you'll pardon me perhaps if I don't see the logic of believing something just because it sounds like a good idea. The other problem is that the descriptions OF the presumed afterlfe touted by the major religious sects don't seem particularly appetizing to me. Frankly, I would not care to live an eternity in a place run the way I'm told it will be run.

So...lacking good evidence that there will BE and afterlife, and not liking submitted descriptions of it, I choose not to fret about it.

Am I 'risking eternal damnation' or even some sort of Limbo for souls who were good guys, but misguided? Could be...but I like the odds.
   No, I didn't always think this way...but I studied 'thinking', and serious thought led me to skepticism. Lots of steps and questions along the way, but here I am...well over 3/4 thru my likely span, and I see no better ideas.

The only thing I regret is that *IF* I'm right, I don't get to say "I told you so."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: LukeKellylives (Chris)
Date: 25 Apr 07 - 10:33 PM

Haha. Well put, Bill.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 01:12 AM

Logic was spawned from humans, not from an almighty being.

So was God.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 01:15 AM

Without a God, there would be no afterlife. Just nothingness. No conscious thought, no memories, no dreams...Just nothingness."

What absolute codswallop. You, all by yourself, are quite big enough to fill all kinds of spaces with conscious thought with or without a body, and I have little doubt you will be doing so quite vehemently as soon as you recover from the shock of loss, when your current body drops out from under you.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:39 AM

oooo boy .... you just keep going exactly the way you're going, Chris. Don't let anybody suck that vital, refreshing wind out of your sails!

The responses to your 1st post here remind me of this old song, from my wild and woolly youth ....

"So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts? ....

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl,
year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears."

(Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here")


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 09:43 AM

And you are also quite capable of generating all the hope in the world without any help. Try it. Stand off a few feet behind your body and decide to feel a whole lot of it. It's faster, easier, more authentic and better-quality sensation than you will ever get filtering it through an invisible playmate.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:03 AM

Amos, were it not for the help and reasons for hope freely given, just for the asking, by one of my "invisible playmates" (not!) -- I doubt I'd still be around today.

I simply cannot do it all for myself, all the time. I do need help, on occasion. And, being human, I think that just goes with the territory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 10:18 AM

Well and good, Daylia. I was speaking about your capabilities, not your practices. Perhaps you have more power than you give yourself credit for? It is not unusual.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 11:00 AM

Quite so, Amos!   :-)

Consider the French army in Joan of Arc's day, though. They had given up all hope of ever driving the English from their homeland after a Hundred Years of defeat. They were sitting ducks, just waiting for the final death blow, like an exhausted animal lying back and exposing it's throat to the wolves.

Without her most *extraordinary* help and encouragement, lighting the fires of confidence, pride and patriotism under their butts nad personally leading them into battle, the nation of France would be nothing but memory today.

And oh wow --- what WOULD we ever have done without La Belle Province keepin us forever on our toes!   

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 01:46 PM

We are a social species. You shouldn't have to do anything alone you'd rather have help with - but you'll get much more help from people than from imaginary friends!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM

What if the people you get help from have been inspired by imaginary friends? Does that count? Should the assistance be refused if it's not coming from the "right" place?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Nickhere
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 03:17 PM

Amos: "Try it. Stand off a few feet behind your body and decide to feel a whole lot of it. It's faster, easier, more authentic and better-quality sensation than you will ever get filtering it through an invisible playmate"

As for an 'invisible playmate' I'd watch the one that's behind your shoulder right now....


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: LukeKellylives (Chris)
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 05:34 PM

Amos, the mind cannot produce conscious thought after it dies. It's not possible. Yes, you could produce conscious thought NOW if there isn't a God, but not after you die.

Either you misunderstood my point, or you mean something entirely different than what I perceived.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 06:54 PM

I believe Amos has some interesting ideas about conciousness and mind and where they ultimately reside. I have debated with him, just as I debate with you. *smile*...

I'm kind of a 'equal opportunity' skeptic


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Apr 07 - 08:40 PM

Luke:

If you believe of yourself that you are no more than a bag of electrolytes and meat, then your statement would make sense.

Most individuals consist of a body, a mind with a whole array of components in it, and the basic spiritual being who is the individual himself.

Identifying with the machine is the first error.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 12:01 AM

By the way, Amso, this is an elegant sentence: I was speaking about your capabilities, not your practices.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 12:51 PM

Wes - the thing is, one can get help from people no matter who inspires them. If they believe they were inspired by something supernatural, that doesn't make it true... maybe they are just nice people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 01:14 PM

But I'm curious how far some athiests / nonthiests carry their viewpoint. Would you for instance refuse a Christmas present because it was associated with a Christian holiday? Thanksgiving can be thought to be a Christian holiday too as it's observed in this country. Why have a Thanksgiving dinner if there's no one to thank? And Easter is out of the question. And if the roof is torn off of your house by a storm - why accept assistance from the Baptist Mens relief group or Methodist assistance if they are wrongly motivated? Wouldn't it be better to wait for an unaffiliated group - like FEMA? I'm serious about my questions by the way. I have no interest in converting you or anyone else for that matter. I'm just wondering how far you carry out your beliefs/nonbeliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 04:38 PM

Hi Wesley,

I think if you are sincere your question deserves a response. I'm not sure Christmas is necessarilly a Christian holiday since there are many Pagan aspects to it. Santa Claus is not found in the bible. The yule log is not associated with religion. It stems from the holiday of the Winter Soltice.

Thanksgiving is a peculiar holiday in that it seems centered around stuffing your stomach. I'm not sure it was celebrating Native Americans that much.

Easter is not originally a Christian holiday. Astarte or Ishtar were Pagan gods from which the name Easter derives. No bunnies or eggs in the bible either. Easter, like Christmas, was appropriated from Pagan holidays such as the Winter Soltice. BTW it has never been established in the myth of Jesus that he really was born on 25 Dec. However, Mithras, the Egytian sun god was supposedly born on that day of a virgin birth.

As for accepting help from other humans regardless of what religious institution they belong to, this is fine as long as there are no strings attached as what is done to poor people in the Salivation Army.

Relying on FEMA is more like relying on Bush's Christianity.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 04:47 PM

But if you celibrate the pagan aspects of a holiday isn't that in conflict with the fact that you don't believe in any sort of higher power? I would think a true athiest/non-believer would treat those days like any other day. Is someone really firm in their beliefs if they accept Christmas presents?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 04:58 PM

Wesley...I give & receive presents during Christmas season...it can be a celebration of friendship & good will, as well as a religious holiday. I try not to be involved with any 'direct' ceremonies of a primarily religious nature, but if it were awkward to avoid, I'd just be quiet and respectful of THEIR practices.

I go to Easter with my wife's relatives. I stand quietly while someone says grace. Since I KNOW I am attending someone else's specifically religious tradition, I honor it and make no comment.

But I also attend occasional meetings of an organization whose purpose is related to woodworking and collecting. They 'happen' to have some devout Christians in the hierarchy. It DOES bother me to have meals & business meetings begun with calls for Jesus blessing. They do this despite Jewish and atheist and, sometimes, Hindu and Native American members present. They 'could' simply ask for a moment of silence for everyone to contemplate or pray as they wish, but they insist on their 'right' to appease the majority. THIS attitude is far too common and arrogant.


See the difference?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:01 PM

Wesley, I enjoy our talks, you know that. Voici answers:
Would you for instance refuse a Christmas present because it was associated with a Christian holiday? No, but my children and I celebrate the solstice - it's a real phenomenon. We have kind of developed a human midwinter celebration of light - what we celebrate is that humans are probably the only animals here that know when the shortest day of the year is, and also know that spring will come again. We celebrate this with kith and kin (I've re-written a great carol for the season) ON Christmas because that is when everybody has off. We don't say Merry Christmas, we say Merry Midwinter. And the funny thing is that while my rabid radical jewish nephew still lived at home, this was supported by our extended family. Now that there is nobody RELIGIOUS to support, my mom especially, die-hard atheist that SHE is, refuses to go along with it any more.
Thanksgiving can be thought to be a Christian holiday too as it's observed in this country. Why have a Thanksgiving dinner if there's no one to thank? - but there are loads of PEOPLE to thank!
And Easter is out of the question. Again, not so - we celebrate the vernal equinox with chocolate, but nothing about the resurrection. All mythologies developed in temperate zones, since they evolved to explain natural phenomena, have a rebirth in the spring celebration. Tropical religions, for instance, don't.
And if the roof is torn off of your house by a storm - why accept assistance from the Baptist Mens relief group or Methodist assistance if they are wrongly motivated? Wouldn't it be better to wait for an unaffiliated group - like FEMA? - well, once when I was really broke I went to the City for assistance with my electricity and it wasn't till I went to get the check that I found out that what the City does in those situations is call around to various churches until someone is willing to pay the bill... I felt really, really bad about taking the money then. Really, I almost couldn't. But my kids had no heat, blah blah, sold out, I know, but it was the only way to get public assistance through the City. So I am rationalizing it... and I work against the notion that you have to have religion to have morals. It would never have occurred to me to go to a church myself for help, although I am sure they would have been helpful.
And boy, Stringsinger is bang on with his riposte against the FEMA idea!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:12 PM

Words to that carol I mentioned:

THE MAGNON (based on The Magi as sung by Peter, Paul & Mary on the Holiday cd)

New lyrics by Mrrzy, Winter 2002

Ancient humans came from darkness and they spread across the planet
They saw the sky above them, and they learned to find their way
Out of ignorance and shadow to the hope of human kindness
They were strengthened by the knowledge that they gathered every day
And all wise folk speak of peace on earth, of harmony and struggle
Yet another cycle's gone, and a new one will begin
On the darkest day of winter, when we remember Spring will come again
On the darkest day of winter, we cherish light with green and kith and kin...
Well now, each of us must travel, yes we all must make a journey
It seems that time is telling us to use all we can know
To help lift up the fallen we must sow the seeds of goodness
The torch has passed among us now to light the way to go
For our hearts are as a chalice, and our dreams are of the sunlight
They burn away the darkness as we kiss 'neath mistletoe
Unlike eagles, flying higher, unlike rivers down their canyons
When diamond stars shine down on us, we know whereof they glow...
And the wise still speak of peace on earth, of harmony and struggle
Yet another cycle's gone, and a new one will begin
On the darkest day of winter, when we recall that the Spring will come again
On the darkest day of winter, we cherish light with green and kith and kin...
On the darkest day of winter, when we recall that the Spring will come again
On the darkest day of winter, we cherish light with green and kith and kin...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:24 PM

I would think it would be very difficult to sit by during the Christmas season and not say something while everyone is wishing you a Merry Christmas. Sort of like being silent while a room of people say - Hey - that George W Bush - isn't he the best darn president we've ever had?

I admit - there are a lot of believers that talk the talk and don't walk the walk. But I see the same thing happening with non-believers too. It's part of the human condition regardless of which side of the fence you're on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM

The Mass of the Christ- doesn't sound at all religious to me. *g*

One of my brothers and his family never observed Christmas either, although my sister in law made a point each December of bringing home little gifts for her three kids, so that they could brag about them to their friends.

Now that they're grown, every one of them celebrates Christmas.

I don't know. I'm not big on Christmas either, although I love the steamy warmth in a snug house as family gathers 'round, especially when they (we) make music. As far as gifts are concerned I am far more in favor of spur of the moment gifts all year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:37 PM

Wesley,

If you accept a Christmas present, this doesn't mean that you think that the holiday of Christmas has anything to do with a higher power. I treat Christmas like any other day pretty much. If someone says to me, "god bless you" I don't respond with anger but recognize where they are at in their belief system without condemning them for it.
But I don't believe in being discourteous to those that like the Christmas holiday.
Again, I recognize Christmas as more of a cultural event then having any religious significance. I see that the idea of giving at Christmas has become so commercialized as to negate it's intent by those that celebrate it.

I celebrate Halloween but I am not a devil-worshipper.

To recognize a cultural event such as a holiday is not to give to it any religious meaning whatever.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM

Wesley,

I have been in a room of people that like Bush and have said pretty much the same thing in the example you pointed out. I see no need to try to be beligerent and force my ideas on them. This would be an exercise in futility.

"Walking the walk" doesn't mean that you have to incurr violence on the part of others who would be deeply offended it you didn't agree with them. You forget that many atheists have been severely attacked for their views and that most parents would rather their sons and daughters to marry a homosexual or a lesbian than an atheist.

The only true "walking the walk" is to deal with reason rather than superstition, logic rather than violence, science in the face of religious ignorance and to respect those who may have different views as long as they don't harm others.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Ricky
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:45 PM

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack frost nipping at your nose... That's what Christmas is all about - burnt nuts and frostbite."
                The late, great Rikki Fulton.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 27 Apr 07 - 05:51 PM

Wesley, I continue this discussion because I believe you are sincere.

Whenever people want to help each other, this in my view has little to do with religious "morality" but more basic human kindness. I can't expect everyone to agree with me but I will never criticize those who help others who are in need provided there is no coercive religious agenda attached to it.

My view is that people can believe in unicorns or teapots in the sky but as long as they behave ethically toward others, they have my support.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

Actually, what with all the PC stuff running around, I usually get Happy Holidays anyway.
And that is why I've invented a real holiday with real celebration - why should the believers have all the parties? It's akin to the movement I've seen lately of having something like b'nai mitzvahs for non-jewish teenagers. I like to call it a Not Mitzvah.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 10:22 AM

lol Frank, and all the more Power to the Great Teapot in the Sky!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM

wow! speak o'the ...

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Kipp
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 10:46 AM

Just because a person does not believe it not to be so that there is no God Does not not make it some just as well as there is no way to prove that ther is no God it just the same to say No one can not prove that there is no god. But I would rather put my lot with those that believe there is rather than those that say there is not. if only for the benifits that I recieve. And one for me is that there is some greater than mankind that is in controll of the universe and that order is the norm not some scientific princeipals that man in his limited perspective has come up with that wil not be in fashion fifty years from now


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 05:26 PM

No one can not prove there is not no god? I think you meant only one of those negatives.
No one can prove there is no flying spaghetti monster, either. It's not a sensible statement from an empirical point of view.
The benefits of belief to the individual believer are far outweighed by the drawbacks to the community of *blind* belief.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 09:43 AM

"The benefits of belief to the individual believer are far outweighed by the drawbacks to the community of *blind* belief."


            Great goD almighty! Amen to that, brother.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Des Pair
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 07:41 AM

VANITY VANITY VANITY.   Slag, you hit the nail on the head. I am HUMAN. I am SUPERIOR(to all other living species). MY SUPERIOR BRAIN must exist for all eternity. Therefore, GOD must exist in order to provide HEAVEN for ME.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM

How bout - I must exist in order to provide a human expression of God?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Mark Twain
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:59 AM

I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey. I believe that whenever a human being, of even the highest intelligence and culture, delivers, an opinion upon a matter apart from his particular and especial line of interest, training and experience, it will always be an opinion so foolish and so valueless a sort that it can be depended upon to suggest to our Heavenly Father that the human being is another disappointment and that he is no considerable improvement upon the monkey.

- Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorn Clements)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 02:53 PM

Hi Daylia,

The Great Teapot in the Sky was posited by the late Bertrand Russell who said that if there were a teapot orbiting around the earth somewhere in the sky, you couldn't disprove that it wasn't there. Dawkins said the same for The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Little children still believe in Santa Claus although they probably envision him as drawn from the famous Coca-cola ads. He looks a little like Michelangelo's pointing-finger god.

The argument for god comes from I think Acquinas who said that if you can't disprove in a god, he must be there. The rebuttal is always if you can't disprove that he isn't there, he must not be there.

I do believe that the star cluster known as Sagitarius is there, however. I trust astronomers over theologians.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,God
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 03:07 PM

My son went into a hotel a couple of weekends ago. He walked up to the desk, put three nails on the counter and said 'Can you put me up for Easter?'


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 03:44 PM

Frank – If I remember correctly on a recent thread you made a comment along the lines of "intelligent conversation" with people who have religious beliefs was impossible. You've also called religion superstition and ignorance. Yet you have also made comments that would lead me to believe that you think of yourself as a tolerant person. And that you would want and expect tolerance from people who do believe in some sort of higher power. Do you see any conflict in this?

One thing that concerns me about the religious intolerance here at the Mudcat is that people are being lumped together in groups that just don't fit. Not all people of religious faith think alike. I'm as different from Pat Robertson as night and day. FYI – It's been years since I burned an atheist at the stake. And I had no part in the Spanish Inquisition.

I could be wrong – but it seems like a lot of the folksingers of the Mudcat are extremely tolerant of everything – except Christianity. I hope I'm mistaken.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM

Wesley, it isn't just Christianity, and it isn't just the Mudcat. There are people who think, and I am among them, that the we no longer have the luxury of tolerating views that mythology and superstition are facts in reality. The actual harm done by some who insist their mythology be treated as fact outweighs the possible benefit to other believers by so much, it has gone beyond the tolerable.
Recap:
*Faith in this context is defined as belief in the absence of empirical evidence. We aren't talking about having faith in yourself or other usages.
*Belief in the supernatural takes faith; there are no empirical data supporting supernatural explanations of phenomena.
*Supernatural individual causation of natural phenomena would have had to have been invented by the developing human mind as our intelligence evolved.
*In the absence of information, once our intelligence did evolve, we would have developed a mythology explaining how our supernatural creation(s) accomplished all observable phenomena.
*Now, there *is* information, and there are empirical data, and these have natural expla nations that contradict, or make unnecessary, supernatural explanations.
*Nonetheless, believers in certain mythologies insist that they are not superstitious but have rational reasons to believe what they do. (They are mistaken.)
*Until now, politeness has dictated that such insistence be tolerated.
*Now, it's too expensive to tolerate such insistence, especially in the Middle East and Southern USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 05:33 PM

Bloody well said, Mrrzy


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 05:44 PM

Uh oh. I don't agree at all, Mrrzy. If an attitude like that came into power can you imagine what would happen? You would have people hiding in the catacombs, people in fear of their lives and freedom, people whose churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are burnt or turned into theatres. That is NOT a world I want to live in.

Why on earth do you persist in insisting that everyone believe as you do? A little humility is in order.

Keep in mind that even though it is a fact that we don't have all the answers, neither do you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 06:01 PM

Mrrzy - How do you plan to accomplish your goals? What action do you plan to take? Because it sounds like you've crossed over from " I should be allowed to believe what I want" to a more strident "I don't like what you believe and you shouldn't be allowed to think that way". If I'm wrong please clarify.

I'm not sure of the exact number but somewhere over 70% of the worlds population believe in a higher power of some sort. So if you want to eliminate religion you've got your work cut out for you. I won't force you to go to church this Sunday. All I expect is that no one will try to stop me if I go.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 06:05 PM

Ebbie, you are going into something I didn't say. Where is what I'm saying advicating the violent overthrow of religion? All I'm saying is, you can believe in fairy tales if you want, but you have to accept the reality that they ARE fairy tales. You don't get to teach them as science in the schools. You don't get to have people who think it's silly afraid to laugh because it might be disrespectful.
I don't claim to have all the answers. But the real world, as explored through science, is actually the real world, and mythology, no matter how venerated the source, is not history, nor does it provide a reasonable explanation of natural phenomena.
And again, the harm actually done by some believers far outweighs the possible benefits of faith to other believers. If it weren't for the harm, the need to stop tolerating this silliness would not be so great. But the need is there.
Doesn't mean you get to be violent. But you can laugh, and it should be OK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 06:17 PM

I concur there should be no harm or foul in disbeliving any proposition that you canot find evidence for. Whether you laugh at such or not is a matter of manners, not law. But it has always been aprimary rule of law in these parts, whether honored or not, that any individual within these shores has complete freedom to choose the "imaginary universe" that suits im or her best. That principle should never be abandoned, even if hard-core material science cannot find a good reason for it.

If the matter of gods, spirits and other things of a religious ilk cannot be left entirely out of the hustings, then there will be a serious problem. Hardcore anti-evolutionists and similar extremists in the US have already drawn up battle lines and strategems in some quarters, preferring to fall on the baricades of necessary than to allow any flexibility or tolerance in their religious views. The debacle of the Scopes trial and its sappy re-run in Dover, PA are examples.

Science and law must be preserved as territories where religion has no voice except in the neutrality thereto.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 07:13 PM

"There are people who think, and I am among them, that the we no longer have the luxury of tolerating views that mythology and superstition are facts in reality."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 07:33 PM

I suspect, Ebb and Mrzzy, that this is a far slipperier slope than it seems to be at first glance. The reason is that just as there are those who go overboard in assertions of spiritualism, so there are those who go toa materialistic extreme.

I, too, find these mocked-up cosmologies annoying when they are injected uninvited into the commons of ordinary physical transactions. But asserting that we cannot afford the luxury of tolerating imagination about the universe is inviting an awful darkness, no matter how well-intended. It is not a luxury, but a compelling necessity, that individuals in society be free to dream and imagine unconstrained. All of our greatest voices drew from that well, and the fact that some idiots also do does not serve as reason to fill it in with dirt.

What we should never abide is the notion that any crime can be justified on religious grounds. Or, for that matter, any civic tort such as burning chickens in your driveway.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 08:14 PM

AKA Clockwork

Read St. Thomas Aquinas

Even the primitives were/are aware - for in the skys His majesty they see.

Draw a diagram...or set a light in a room and walk around with another soul.

Pretend one is the earth, one is the sun, and one is the MOON

Answer the question: Why in 7000 years do we ALWAYS see the same face? Common chaos would dictate that its revolution would alter, just a mite....a farthing of faggot's fart wind, say yearly a 10th of a ONE degree in a 360 circle (1/3,600) and there would have been two recordable revolutions in mankind's history.

Why should you exist? A single minor chemical (of several thousand) imbalances and you are no more.

He IS there - ask, seek, ye shall find.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:40 PM

Mrrzy - How do you plan to accomplish your goals? - what do you see my goals as being, Wesley? All I want is for atheism to be as viable an alternative as any faith. I think it's the only reasonable view of the natural world, and it's certainly the only empirically demonstrable view of the natural world. So why should it have to show, let alone feel, respect for otherwise rational, educated people who discount real data to continue to believe in their mythology?
What action do you plan to take? What I do is keep my atheism roughly as visible as others' religion. People wear crosses, yarmulkes, headscarves; I wear a Freedom From Religion pin and, sometimes, a Friendly Neighborhood Atheist t-shirt. I also lobby my school board to get the god songs out of my kids' music classes and to stop using mythological dates as historical. When my kids reach high school age I fully expect to have to battle the creationists.
...it sounds like you've crossed over from " I should be allowed to believe what I want" to a more strident "I don't like what you believe and you shouldn't be allowed to think that way". If I'm wrong please clarify. Well, I do think people should think their faith, or lack thereof, through. I have had, and am still having, long conversations, some spread out of years of friendship, with a few reasonable, educated, intelligent people who described themselves as having faith (as defined in this conversation). What we talk about is their reasons for believing in the supernatural, and my reasons for believing that the natural world in which we live is enough, that there is no need to posit anything else from a reason-based point of view.
They have always come to see that their faith is faith-based, not reason-based. That is fine with me. What I will argue against is the notion supernatural explanations are reasonable when natural explanations are simpler, or that there are rational reasons to believe in any mythology or the supernatural. I won't fight it, I'm still a pacifist ;).

I do believe in freedom of religion. I don't believe in freedom of ignorance.

Note that I agree with whoever it was who said there shouldn't even BE a word "atheist" (what is the word for people who don't believe in unicorns, he asked?)...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 10:06 PM

Oh, and the Christians taken together are the only faith to outnumber the atheists/agnostics/people of no religion
- so there is hope!
(Numbers gotten off the Internet - lots of places)
FaithPercentage
Christians33.5
None20.5
Moslem19.0
Hindu13.0
Folk Religions8.0
Buddhist5.0
Other Religions0.5
Sikh0.3
Jewish0.2
Table by Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 10:32 PM

LOL!! An "a-uni-cornist", I guess! Great line.

I applaud your desire to combat the freedom of ignorance, at every turn. My Gawd, what the hell are we trying to do as a species if not overcome ignorance and acheive knowledge and ways to turn it to the good?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 01 May 07 - 05:59 AM

I do believe that the star cluster known as Sagitarius is there, however. I trust astronomers over theologians.

Frank, I know that the constellation known as Sagitarrius is up there too, along with Aries, Taurus, Orion etc etc. And I don't need to trust astromers, theologians or anyone else about it.

All I have to do is look up.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 01 May 07 - 06:28 AM

Y'know, maybe one of us could actually spell it right.

S-a-g-i-t-t-a-r-i-u-s.

There.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 May 07 - 11:48 AM

I was looking for a page on logic to illustrate various forms of fallacious reasoning for another topic...I found this one.
   It just happened to be part of a site where atheisim is explained.

It is interesting because they formulate most of their explanations of logic using the most common issues that come up when debating religion. No one disproves religion there, but they do show clearly why one cannot prove religion, either. Most common arguments for belief in a god are discussed, along with the reasons many people reject those beliefs.

It may not change your mind...but it may help you understand why you get some 'sharp' responses to religious claims.

(It includes one of my personal 'hot buttons'....the claim that atheism is "just another belief".)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 07 - 12:18 PM

I am particularly fond of this form of illogic:

"A sweeping generalization occurs when a general rule is applied to a particular situation, but the features of that particular situation mean the rule is inapplicable. It's the error made when you go from the general to the specific. For example:

"Christians generally dislike atheists. You are a Christian, so you must dislike atheists."

This fallacy is often committed by people who try to decide moral and legal questions by mechanically applying general rules."

(From Bill's link above).

For an interesting study in how this kind of "reaosning by blind association" can work to the detriment of a society, I recommend the recent book Monkey Girl by Edward Humes, a close study of collisions between evolution theory and "intelligent design"/creationist beliefs in regional politics.

A

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 07 - 03:07 PM

Excerpts from Christopher Hitchens' new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything can be found here in Slate.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:02 PM

The are a lot of tedious and unimaginative persons in the world, and they seem bent on crushing the sense of wonder out of everyone that shows a glimmer of creativity.

The religious ones can rot in Hell. The atheist ones can just rot in the ground.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:39 PM

You wouldn't have a specific example in mind, would you, M.Ted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:47 PM

Suppression of creativity is a common denominator to those who themselves are beaten down into the edges of insanity, who spend their lives in anger, fear, terror, sorrow, and rampant apathy. Such people cannot manage ordinary communication lines well (cf. our history of them here) and feel terribly threatened when some live spark of creativity shows up in front of them. They react to suppress the creative, artistic, or forward looking because of this fear, Isuppose.

This is not meant to describe a generalized negativity -- it is a set of symptoms that include covert or open hostility to free thought and communication. Knowing it occurs is helpful, so it doesn't just boggle your mind when you encounter it, because it seems (and is)profoundly irrational. That's my observation, FWIW.

A
A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 07 - 04:59 PM

My list is too long to post---but it includes a lot of ordained and self-ordained authority figures--

We are each on a journey, and we each must find our own way--anybody that tries force their way instead, well--you get the thought--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 01 May 07 - 05:39 PM

I know when I'm not being talked about - I'm all for creativity! It's willful ignorance and/or stupidity *I'm* against ;D!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 01 May 07 - 05:55 PM

300!!

Or is that 200??

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 07 - 06:05 PM

Liz:

I think it was three, but we could start a holy war on whether three-in-one is the same as two-in-one or one-in-three, and cut each other all up over it. Been known to happen.

Mrrzy, I never thought of you at all when writing that!! :D You are someone who communicates in a lively and interested fashion. That puts you on the side of the angels (and other imaginary playmates of the very best sort) in my book!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 May 07 - 08:53 PM

I would guess that you're talking about the "Don't know nothin', don't wanna know nothin" types, Mrzzy--there are a few in every crowd (present company excepted)--

One of the continuing difficulties that we have with our Great American Social Experiment is that the "Know Nothings" have the same say as the folks who go to great pains to understand things--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 May 07 - 09:57 PM

The religious ones can rot in Hell. The atheist ones can just rot in the ground.

I always knew there was a reson I liked M.Ted! Please send me that on a t-shirt!

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:20 PM

Jonathon Miller has an interesting point. He says, "I'm almost embarrassed to use the word atheist applied to me. After all there is no word for one who doesn't believe in witchcraft."

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:26 PM

"'...there is no word for one who doesn't believe in witchcraft.'"


                  There should be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:42 PM

Labels are used as weapons. The word "atheist" is a lightning rod for religious pundits.
The only people who make a big deal out of this are those who have an evangelical agenda.

The reason you hear from Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris and others is that the Religious Right has grown so obnoxious and strong that they feel it is necessary to push back.

IE: The prejudiced Catholic majority on the Supreme Court who are trying to roll back Roe V. Wade by their new ruling on so-called "partial birth abortions" which are not common and if done it is only to protect the health of the mother or to terminate a life that is fraught with incurable and unbearable physical conditions.

So whether you believe in a god or not, it should not be of concern to anyone.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 02 May 07 - 04:49 PM

I'm finishing a book by Dennett now. I agree with most of what he says, but I'd suggest he work on plot development.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 02 May 07 - 08:36 PM

I can't read the man. i like everything he says but he's unreadable, to me, unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 07 - 09:32 PM

Strongly recommend the battle-tale called "Monkey Girl", currently available on Amazon, for a blow-by-blow of the last sally of Incredulous Design against the Evils of Western Science Brainwashed by Darwinist Commies...



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 07 - 09:05 AM

"I can't read the man. i like everything he says but he's unreadable, to me, unfortunately."


                Yeah, I wouldn't call it entertainment. He has a lot of interesting things to say, but style is not his strong suit. If a guy's going to get through it, he really has to keep his mind on his business.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 May 07 - 10:45 AM

Isn't that Credulous Design?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 03 May 07 - 11:00 AM

Cannot 'atheism' be applied to nonbelievers of Wicca? My knowledge of Wicca is slight, but goddess and god (of nature or not, still a deity) have been associated with it in my limited experience (attended a wedding, once). Must I label myself an abhuddist, an ataoist as well? (Apologies to Bhuddists of non-god including sects: I have had some exasperating encounters over the years with a few of the local Tibetan flavour shrine builders).


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:46 PM

Hear, hear, Bee. The loud significance of "atheism" only comes into play against the backdrop of assumed theism, which is a tacit invasion by cultural bias of the free and private ownership of one's own sanity.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 May 07 - 02:06 PM

It is exactly that backdrop of assumed theism, which I agree is an invasion by cultural bias of sanity, which is causing so many atheists to "come out" (see other thread on Are atheists the new gays). Very parallel, I think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 03 May 07 - 02:15 PM

It's a cultural bias against sanity, if you ask me, and it's gotten worse over the last 20 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 May 07 - 10:12 PM

Ringinslinger, where do you live? It's certainly worse where I am - I've lived in Central VA for just about 20 years. It wasn't anywhere near this obnoxious before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 May 07 - 10:26 AM

Oregon, one of the most progressive states in the union, but the right-wing-crazies are making their presence felt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 04 May 07 - 10:49 AM

If you don't believe in GOD - you believe in nothing.

I have heard people say this. They say they can't get there head around the idea of a person who does not believe in something.

It is a leap of predjudiced faith for a religious bigot to say an athiest believes in nothing, yet to take the conversation farther than that is forbidden by the faithful.





btw
Cristopher Hitchins new book: GOD IS NOT GREAT !

He takes the view that a person of faith is to be disrespected by reasoned minds rather than exalted, since anti rational and anti fact based opinions border more on mental illness than enlightenment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 May 07 - 11:59 AM

I have said this before, and I will say it again--this is not about religion. It is about power. The religious crazies aren't crazy, they are bullies--they push people around who are easy to push around because it makes them look strong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 04 May 07 - 02:45 PM

I think there are two types of relgious crazies. The ones who truly believe, and others who pretend to believe in order to use the true believers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 May 07 - 08:52 PM

Well, I'm waiting for the day when superstitions get added to the list of other delusions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 05 May 07 - 06:03 AM

Asked my son, a philosophy major, if he'd like to make a contribution to this thread. He glanced at the title and laughed. "Nah", he said "not worth it. The way that question is phrased, it's not really a question. It's just an attack on anyone who believes in God."

In other words, it's standard Mudcat entertainment. Drivel on, folks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 05 May 07 - 06:39 AM

Really, Daylia, is it necessary to accuse people who think differently than you do of 'driveling'? To be sure, not every post in these kinds of discussions is fair or correct, but most of us come by our stand on religion, for or against, through earnest and difficult searching, of ourselves and our environment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 05 May 07 - 07:31 AM

OK Bee, please pardon that bit of negativity. Let's just say that attacks on 'God' and believers in God are just par for the course here on Mudcat. Just as they are in the world at large. And this has nothing to do with 'God', and everything to do with the ever-growing threat, tumult and confusion of today's social/political environment, and the power-mongering - veiled as religion - that supports it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 05 May 07 - 07:40 AM

On second thought, don't bother pardoning that bit of negativity at all, Bee. I'll let it stand, as it harmonizes quite nicely with the rest of the drivel on this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 05 May 07 - 10:36 AM

Daylia - well put!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 05 May 07 - 12:53 PM

Well, then, a pox on all your houses. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 05 May 07 - 01:35 PM

Daylia:

Perhaps your son should have read the actual thread, rather than judging it by its sophomoric title.

As for "drivel", that's an easy retreat, and a logical fallacy, but not really a contribution to the dialogue, I would say. One might even go so far as to consider it intolerant.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 05 May 07 - 03:46 PM

One might, Amos.

And what's your take on, for just one example -- I think there are two types of relgious crazies. The ones who truly believe, and others who pretend to believe in order to use the true believers.   

My son's right.

Best just to drivel on by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 05 May 07 - 07:39 PM

"Best just to drivel on by."

                Yes, if he doesn't want to deal with reality!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 May 07 - 09:02 PM

I disagree mightily with a declaration of atheism. I understand being agnostic but I don't understand how anyone can say and believe that they are atheists.

I fully believe in evolution. It is a well-demonstrated fact. We absolutely know that things start out with something, in the course of time are faced with something else and adapt and evolve to take advantage of the new development. That is easily and repeatedly shown.

* But as long as human beings do not know how things begin, how life is created, we cannot know that there was not an instigating force, a creator that can be called a god.

* As long as human beings can not explain simple cases of thought transference, cannot explain prediction and prognostication, cannot explain glimpses of the "other side", cannot explain altruism, cannot, for heaven's sake, even explain love, there is a whole hell of a lot that they don't know.

A personal god, on the other hand, is extremely problematic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 06 May 07 - 09:48 AM

Here's an interesting study of how Woodrow Wilson's personal belief in his Divine appointment led indirectly to the skewering of Germany at the end of WW 1, and thence was a causative vector in the development of WW 2. Sigmund Freud provides commentary.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 06 May 07 - 09:51 AM

* As long as human beings can not explain simple cases of thought transference, cannot explain prediction and prognostication, cannot explain glimpses of the "other side", cannot explain altruism, cannot, for heaven's sake, even explain love, there is a whole hell of a lot that they don't know.

Hear hear, Ebbie!   :-)
   

I feel more civil
bout all this drivel.
No need to snivel --
you make it shrivel!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 06 May 07 - 10:01 AM

That's an interesting article, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 May 07 - 06:59 PM

There are no empirical data supporting thought transference, prognostication, anything relating to any other sides whether glimpsed or imagined; on the other hand, altruism is (evolutionarily) adaptive. Love is an emotion, and most emotions are pretty well mapped in the brain. No, we don't know the exact details of which molecule and which neuron, but we do know that it is molecules and neurons. So what? Not knowing everything is certainly not evidence for deities.
If you are sure that the entire natural world can be explained by natural law, you can be sure there are no deities involved. You can then be an atheist, not an agnostic.
Who was it said he wasn't agnostic or an atheist, he's acrostic? It's all a puzzle to him!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 May 07 - 08:39 PM

I stand by what I said. Unless - and until - you personally experience what I'm talking about, you probably will not understand. However, the day you do experience it- and imo you will - I'm not at all certain that you will recognize it. There can come a point when one's energies are vested in maintaining the status quo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 06 May 07 - 09:00 PM

Ebbie, what *are* you talking about?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 May 07 - 12:33 AM

hahah I was being subtle. Mostly because I like you and the way your mind works but still want to get across that I think you are way off base.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 07 May 07 - 07:44 AM

"* But as long as human beings do not know how things begin, how life is created, we cannot know that there was not an instigating force, a creator that can be called a god.

* As long as human beings can not explain simple cases of thought transference, cannot explain prediction and prognostication, cannot explain glimpses of the "other side", cannot explain altruism, cannot, for heaven's sake, even explain love, there is a whole hell of a lot that they don't know.

A personal god, on the other hand, is extremely problematic."
- Ebbie

There are lots of things we can't explain, but then, not so many years ago we couldn't explain the wasting disease eventually recognised as diabetes, or why we have Northern Lights, or how the ozone layer works.

Some of the prediction, prognostication, ESP, etc., experiences, when not outright fraudulent, can be explained by the way the human brain processes information.

Deja vu, that spooky sensation almost everyone's experienced, has been explained as a memory processing glitch, where an immediate experience is recognised by the brain as a long term memory instead of a just-now-happened memory.

Prediction involves many possible factors.

Example: you dream of an airplane crash, and soon after, an airplane crashes. But airplanes do crash, you may have been worried about someone flying, or are fearful of flying yourself, and it is not an uncommon thing to dream of your fears.

Example: someone makes a spoken prediction that someone will die. I have an aunt who does this, and is embarrassed by it, and is chillingly accurate. But I know my aunt is a very empathetic person, and a keen observer, and has spent a great deal of her free time helping people who are seniors or disabled. I think she unwittingly recognises symptoms of illness that are very subtle, ones she has remembered appeared before other deaths. I think this is a remarkable, if un-nerving, ability, but I seriously doubt that it is 'psychic'.

However, I remain, ever hopeful, an agnostic. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 May 07 - 08:49 AM

Ah, yes, subtlety. I've heard of it, I think...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 May 07 - 08:54 AM

lambs of mercy sakes, when God tells people what to do its our job to get out of the way or get in line and do the lords will.

Critisizing the lords messenger is as bad as questioning your faith.
We don't have Nixon to kick around anymore.
Now for those who bash Bush, my dear, how can we judge lest we be judge ourselves. And if you were to be judged it is clear you will be cast into the lake of fire. You will have plenty of company like members of the World Court.

Oh my goodness gracious our lord and leader doesn't have a quit bone in his body. He is a straight shooter like his vice president and will not quit until God's work is done.

Who wants our lord to quit? oh I don't know, could it be SATAN?

Raise my rent and sack my museum, I don't for the life of me how anyone can condemn our President.
Do you have a long lens of history?
I didn't thnk so.

If we knew what we didn't know now but knew what we didn't know that we were going to know tommorrow we could count our blessings that God has told aourstrong leader who knows what to do and tell us what our opinion should be.

So cheer up neighborlydidoo, There is no need to make things more complicated than they are...

Its simply God's will

and he has plans for you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 May 07 - 10:05 AM

Donuel - you are a riot!

And Ebbie - aren't my energies directed to *changing* the status quo?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 07 May 07 - 02:30 PM

The thing is, especially with Jesus, folks keep changing the stroy to fit various agenda they may have, and often end up not telling the story as it really happened, leaving out important elements.

According to The Onion, he is not happy with this situation at all, and is oplanning to do something about it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:05 PM

Is there such a thing as a good Atheist song?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:09 PM

Well, just off the top of my head, "Study War no More" and "Last Night I Dreamed the Strangest Dream" are both inspirational but perfectly suitable to atheism. Most ballads of adventure are, as well. Atheism not being a creed per se, it makes sense there would be no songs asserting it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:13 PM

Thiests get the better end of the deal IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:16 PM

From the DT lyrics:

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside,
I'll study war no more.

Cho: I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more,
I ain't gonna study war no more.

Gonna join hands with ev'ryone,
Gonna put on my long white robe,
Gonna put on my starry crown,
Gonna put on my golden shoes,
Gonna walk with the Prince of Peace,

@religion @gospel
filename[ WARNOMOR
JY


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:36 PM

Dang, Wesley, caught me out on that!! LOL I was thinking about the first verse when I wrote. But there are scads of secular songs. I have never heard a song asserting atheism. There's a great parody on "Old Time Religion" which celebrates pantheism, though, naming everyone from Astarte to Zarathustra.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:40 PM

Mrzzy,

You really don't have a lot of insight into what other people think, and, on top of that, a lot of what you think that science proves, hasn't really been proven. So your crusade to change the status quo is really more of an excercise against windmills--I think that's why Ebbie likes you--and feels a "biochemical" need to protect you--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:44 PM

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 May 07 - 04:50 PM

Wesley - I posted one earlier on this thread. Don't know if it's Good...
The FFRF, or maybe it's Americans United, sings Die Gedanken Sind Frei as their atheist anthem...

M.Ted - science cannot prove anything. But it sure can disprove! And so far, all myths have been disproven. So why continue to believe in them?

I actually do have a lot of insight into what people think. Not only did I grow up immersed in animism, Islam and Christianity, I have a PhD in cognitive psychology (grinnjing and ducking for cover)!

And perish the thought that I would undertake a Crusade, LOL!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 07 May 07 - 05:22 PM

"The FFRF, or maybe it's Americans United, sings Die Gedanken Sind Frei as their atheist anthem..."

With a title like that how do you know what you're singing? It could be a German translation of "Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so". Ya better be careful.......


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 May 07 - 05:31 PM

Daylia, you write,

* As long as human beings can not explain simple cases of thought transference, cannot explain prediction and prognostication, cannot explain glimpses of the "other side", cannot explain altruism, cannot, for heaven's sake, even explain love, there is a whole hell of a lot that they don't know."

Ah but the trouble is that so many religious folks claim to know a helluva lot about a lot of things and have nothing to prove their assertions. It's not true that altrusim can't be explained. It has been many times. It's a societal protection for the species. Love can be explained also. There are different kinds of "love" and being in love is kind of a delusional behavioral pattern. Thought transference is easilly explained. Two people can think of the same idea at the same time by reacting similarly to their environment. Prognostication for the most part is a sham. Even the term "prophet" has been bowlderized from its original meaning which was that of an "artist", "poet" and "musician". The religious prophecy can't be proven at all by scientific means. Therefore, I think it doesn't really exist. Glimpses of "the other side" are merely conditioning by years of religious indoctrination. The so-called "return from the dead experiences" have never been authenticated by any scientist that I know of.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 May 07 - 05:39 PM

This thread is too long to read through right now, so very likely someone has already said this - but the answer to the question that seems to settle it for me is that all the evidence is that human beings are geared to be that way, and that people who follow some kind of religion are liable to live longer and be happier.

So asking "Why should anyone believe in God?" is a bit like asking "Why should anyone go to sleep at night?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 07 May 07 - 05:49 PM

A lot of research, however, has been done into non-religious spiritual experiences such as Near Death experiences, Out-of-Body experiences, and various kinds of extrasensory perceptions. The problem, as I have mentioned before, is that the inherent plasticity of the subject matter makes observation and repeatability much more awkward and hard to codify than it is when normal physical events and their statistics can be used.

Despite these hurdles, a routinely greater-than-chance set of observations has been the general rule.

There are some really important differences, though. As far as can be seen, electrons don't give a hoot what anyone thinks about them. But people do. If you are studying the modalities of thought transferral over distance in "sensitive " people and do it in a hostile way, the chances of results (I suggest) are going to be diminished by the very framework of the examination.

This is just the tip of an iceberg, of which (for example) the strange impacts of the placebo effect on provien physical conditions is another tip.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 May 07 - 06:14 PM

Who disproved the myth of Sisyphus? By your account, Homer has been disproven. and forget Dante, because there is no proof of Heaven or Hell. I suppose next you will refute Shakespeare.
Myths are allegories and metaphors. You can't disprove literature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 07 May 07 - 06:41 PM

Frank, I must correct you- it was I who wrote that paragraph. Daylia was only quoting me.

I find it bemusing that people stay on course in their assertions, not to mention their adamant beliefs, even when someone else has asserted an experience of their own. I suppose it is politeness that keeps the first person from yelling You lie! - but I would kind of prefer a response of that sort to not getting one at all.

Up above I recounted an experience I had in Oregon- an experience that was replicated or amplified by someone else, someone I didn't even know.

So my question is: Was that experience, in your opinion, one of the above:

"Ah but the trouble is that so many religious folks claim to know a helluva lot about a lot of things and have nothing to prove their assertions. It's not true that altrusim can't be explained. It has been many times. It's a societal protection for the species. Love can be explained also. There are different kinds of "love" and being in love is kind of a delusional behavioral pattern. Thought transference is easilly explained. Two people can think of the same idea at the same time by reacting similarly to their environment. Prognostication for the most part is a sham. Even the term "prophet" has been bowlderized from its original meaning which was that of an "artist", "poet" and "musician". The religious prophecy can't be proven at all by scientific means. Therefore, I think it doesn't really exist. Glimpses of "the other side" are merely conditioning by years of religious indoctrination. The so-called "return from the dead experiences" have never been authenticated by any scientist that I know of." Stringsinger


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 May 07 - 10:16 PM

"The river runs red because of the blood of Appolo" - no, it's iron ore.
Remind me what Sisyphus (?) did to have to roll the rock up the hill?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 07 May 07 - 11:21 PM

A coupple of more polished minds than ours, if no smarter, have been debating this very issue in the national eye, according to this report in the New York Times. Interesting -- we are on the leading edge, eh?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:37 AM

Apollo's blood, like ours, was red from the iron in it. At any rate, the phrase is a metaphor. As in this example from Bat Wing, by the celebrated pulp novelist, Sax Rohmer:

"As I passed along the terrace I paused to admire the spectacle afforded
by the setting sun. The horizon was on fire from north to south and the
countryside was stained with that mystic radiance which is sometimes
called the Blood of Apollo."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 07 - 08:43 AM

No fair calling Metaphor when a myth gets disproved!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 07 - 09:14 AM

FANTASY

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought,
I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy
has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge."

                                  Albert Einstein


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 May 07 - 11:12 AM

re: The NYT article on Sharpton/Hitchens....It's interesting to see a avowed believer...like Sharpton... holding his own against a literate atheist. Sharpton carefully points out the weaknesses in Hitchens' attacks on religion.....but then proceeds to make some of the usual mistakes in defending belief in God...(i.e..."When you raise the issue of morality, if there is no supervisory being, what do we base morality on?"..)

Hitchens spends far too much time dwelling on the 'bad things done in the name of religion'...that is not really a refutation of anything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:00 PM

Myth is metaphor, dearie. Always has been. Did you miss class the day they explained that day?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:11 PM

...and in all fairness, the fact that a small population of extremists is too intellectually challenged to recognize the difference between a metaphor and its universe of application, should not be used to tar all those who enjoy its use with an idiot-brush.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stu
Date: 08 May 07 - 12:48 PM

"I fully believe in evolution. It is a well-demonstrated fact. We absolutely know that things start out with something, in the course of time are faced with something else and adapt and evolve to take advantage of the new development. That is easily and repeatedly shown."

Er, I think evolution is still a theory, albeit one which the all the available evidence points toward. As for being easily shown, the fossil record is way too full of gaps to suggest that is the case. We know birds are a type of theropod dinosaur, but we still have no idea when they first emerged, their exact affiliations within the dinosauria, or even which animals are birds and which aren't. I doubt if anyone could provide one single example of the evolutionary development of a single extant species.

Evolutionary theory ain't perfect, but is still better than the poisionous nonsense which creationists seem intent on masquerading as scientific fact when it is at best superstition, at worst an insidious attempt to mislead our children and throw the clock back hundreds of years - it's a control mechanism for making sure the flock truly don't start to think for themselves - and that is dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:02 PM

My issue is with those who take their myths as fact, not as metaphor. Those are the ones that have been disproven.

Of course evolution is a theeory. So is gravity. So is plate tectonics. Doesn't make them any less factual - theory means "working model" not "something we aren't sure about" - in jargon, that is. In English, none of those are still theoretical, all are certainties. Doesn't mean we know everything about how it works, or that there is nothing else to discover. It just means we know that they exist/happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:17 PM

The literal-minded will be the death of us all, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stu
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:53 PM

"So is plate tectonics"

Ah, don't get me started on plate tectonics. The unifying theory of Geology. Wonderful, facinating stuff. Heck, who needs a God when something as incredible as plate tectonics exists?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:04 PM

"...if there is no supervisory being, what do we base morality on?".

What you are saying _ I suspect - is that without a God we have no way of judging standards of how to be good and bad.

That does not make the existence of such a God more likely - simply more desirable.

What evidence we have does not support the view that religiousness = morality.

Are you suggesting it does?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 07 - 02:52 PM

How about basing it on our own intelligence? Pain = bad; comfort = good. Getting caught lying = bad; catching a liar = good. The other animals can teach us that much, and how much more does one need?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 03:13 PM

Mrzzy,

Humans are intelligent? If anything is an arguable point, that is--

As to the rest, you are off the mark again--Pain isn't bad--it is good--it tells you that you are being hurt. As to lying, it is necessary to human survival--as predators, we couldn't survive without snaring and trapping our prey. Even in agriculture, we "fool" plants into growing the way that is most useful to us--So far, you've given us a big fat zip;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 07 - 07:31 PM

LOL, M.Ted!

Yes, pain serves a good purpose, but feeling it still feels bad. If it didn't, it wouldn't work, now, would it?

So, I amend to feeling pain feels bad, feeling comfortable feels good. And the same for lying: it evolved because *getting away with it* is advantageous - which is why detection of deceit evolved right along with it. That is why I didn't say Lying is bad - I said getting caught is bad. Ever watch a social species catch a member, say, hiding food, or otherwise deceiving? They'll whale the tar out of'm! And we're back to feeling pain=bad.

I don't consider that the bird's deceitful color is a lie to me who may prey upon them. I guess you could consider the duck blind a lie btu again, getting away with it is good, getting caught is bad - if the ducks see through your blind, your family won't eat. So you are actually in complete agreement with me.

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. As my DDD (dead dead dad) used to say.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 09:06 PM

I heard what you said--so if what I heard is not what you meant, then what you said is not what you meant. That would make what you said ironic. I I knew what you meant when you said what you didn't mean, and you didn't know what you said wasn't what you meant, that would be ironic, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 07 - 10:04 PM

No to your first point, because what you heard was not what I said, while what I meant *was* what I said. Thus you did not hear what I meant.

And you know that I know that you know you're not addressing the actual content, too! Or is that "either?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 May 07 - 10:50 PM

I don't know that you have any actual content. At least not if you are trying to create a foundation for an individual moral and ethical system. I don't accept the idea that you can reduce motivation to the preference of comfort over pain. Some quick reasons:

A) A lot of moral choices don't break down to a pain/comfort dichotomy
B) The pain or comfort that people experience often results from things beyond their control.
C) Pain and comfort can be managed without making external choices, and without making moral choices.
D)People frequently make choices that they know will cause them pain, and forgo options that are comfortable.

And that's without getting into anything related to the concept of "lying" or the validity of basing choices on our interpretation of the motives of animals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 08 May 07 - 11:18 PM

The sphere of individual judgement and experience extends beyond the body proper; watching one's loved ones suffer causes pain; so does watching one's town collapse, or one's ball team lose, or one's flag go down in battle. There are many kinds of pain and of joy. For example, while "getting away with lying" may bring an advantage, it is much less joyful and pleasant than acheiving the same goals openly and with honesty.

So the spectrum of "better survival" versus "worse survival" includes self, family, all sorts of groups one identifies with, and even one's species andlife in general.

If you take a whole-spectrum view it is clear that human beings do generate their own morality, or sense of ethics, or they succumb to confusion and shut their sense of right action down to some sort of reaction scheme, as soldiers are trained to do. There are whole cults and cultures that actually try to engender reaction-based morality, but they are not "native code", so to speak.

There is no need for an external source to dictate right and wrong except when individuals have betrayed themselves first and gone on to llive in madness.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it...


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stu
Date: 09 May 07 - 08:49 AM

The generation of a moral code without recourse to some omnipotent deity raises lots of very interesting questions, but I think Carl Sagan came closest to a solution in my opinion (not that I've read them all of course).

Sagan stated (and I am paraphrasing freely here) that human beings are the universe made conscious - we are the cosmos able to contemplate and analyse itself, to divine it's own true nature and we are driven to understand the motion and actuality of matter and energy, of time and space. Far from removing the sense of wonder from our perceptions of the world around us, science reveals the true

Here is the basis of a moral code: every being is precious, capable of incredible insight and creativity. Every being is born with an equal right to exist alongside all others - the very fact you have been born at all means you are a unique, special and deserving of you place in the scheme of things, to realise your own potential.

So by killing or inflicting suffering on another human being (leaving out everything else for the sake of simplicity), you are in effect committing a crime against the very universe itself. You take away the real potential of another human being and deprive the cosmos itself of another piece of it's own consciousness, of it's own ability to reason and discover and abstract.

If you agree with this concept then constructing a moral code becomes a dialectic matter and very possible (most of the work has been done after all) - and the moral vacuum all the religious types seems to think would engulf us itself becomes less of a threat.

See? Don't need a God after all. Plenty of space for wonder and spirituality, compassion and empathy - and you take the responsibility yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 09:14 AM

Right- although I would not agree that every being has the same rights. I don't think grass has the right to choose whether to be cut, for instance. (Grass evolved to be cut by hooves, and hooves evolved to cut grass.) And I prefer to think of crimes against humanity as, well, crimes against humanity, not against the universe.

But M.Ted, I wasn't (or didn't mean to be) reducing morality to pain v. comfort, I was giving an example of how we could evolve, say, the golden rule, without needing to refer to some outside point of reference. We can figure it out with our very real senses. And our intelligence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 May 07 - 09:32 AM

Glimpses of "the other side" are merely conditioning by years of religious indoctrination. The so-called "return from the dead experiences" have never been authenticated by any scientist that I know of." (Stringsinger)

I respectfully disagree with every single word of this. PLenty of scientists and lay folk have had near-death experiences that changed them deeply and totally.

Here's one example.

But not all scientists are skeptics when it comes to explaining near-death phenomena, and researchers have debated such issues for years.

Joyce Hawkes, a cell biologist with a PhD, had an accident that forever changed her life — and her view of science. She suffered a concussion from a falling window.

"I think that part of me — that my spirit, my soul — left my body and went to another reality," she said. She was surprised at the experience.

"It just was not part of the paradigm in which I lived as a scientist," Hawkes recalled. "Iit was a big surprise to me to have this sense of something different than the body — a consciousness different than the body — and to be in this wonderfully healing, peaceful, nurturing place."

Hawkes now works as a spiritual healer.

"I think what I learned was that there truly is no death, that there is a change in state from a physical form to a spirit form, and that there's nothing to fear about that passage," she said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 May 07 - 11:32 AM

With due respect, Stigweard--you don't need a God, you've already constructed one of your own--What with tying it all in to Carl Sagan, you could probably recruit a lot of scientists and such types who have stayed away from religion, but feel left out on Sundays--

And Mrzzy--when you create a "Golden Rule", you are creating an external reference--an article of faith, a doctrine, all that stuff that you don't like--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 11:49 AM

M. Ted:

General principles are not the problem or the source of harm.

Blind obedience to dogma is the source of harm.

There is a big difference in use.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stu
Date: 09 May 07 - 11:51 AM

Carl Sagan isn't a god, but Martin O'Neill will be if he gets the Villa into Europe next season.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 12:05 PM

I'm not creating a Golden Rule. I'm noticing that being nice is better all around than being mean. And I don't need a supernatural being to delineate what is better, I can observe it for myself. And again, if you infer something from empirical evidence, it isn't an article of faith, it's a conclusion. So I am either unclear on what you mean, or you're mistaken.
Speaking of empirical evidence, Daylia, the plural of anecdote is not data. For example, there is a sound physiological reason why people losing their functions "see" a "tunnel" with a "bright light" - it's the way our visual system works when it's failing (or fails to work when it's failing, if you prefer). The brain loses peripheral before foveal vision, leading to the tunnel, and as neurons stop firing the mind sees light, because our visual neurons are actually dark detectors (less firing = brighter). And what people make of such experiences is, of course, personal, and will obviously be filtered through their religious background (as well as through their non-religious background). Yet there are scores if not hundreds of reports of this kind of phenomenon being thought of as "evidence" for life after death. It isn't. It's evidence of how death works.

The fact that a scientist can have a near-death experience is not at all the same thing as claiming that near-death experiences have been scientifically validated. There are no *documented* cases of, say, somebody having an out-of-body experience actually learning something that they couldn't already have known through their own intelligence. Those are evidence that one's brain is smarter than one'd mind, just like the unintentional pun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 May 07 - 12:12 PM

"PLenty of scientists and lay folk have had near-death experiences that changed them deeply and totally."

Indeed they have...but but that is far from 'authentication'. There are, simply, other ways to explain near-death and out-of-body experiences. They aren't nearly as poetic or fascinating, but they require fewer assumptions and unprovable premises.
   We are learning more & more about brain function everyday, and it IS fascinating to discover just what complexity there is in those billions of cells. Inventing metaphysical explanations for strange phenomena may be understandable, given the power of some of the imagery, but ignoring scientific evidence which counters metaphysics is regrettable. The 'authorities' tried it with Copernicus, but he was vindicated.

It is fine to question, but beware answers that seem too easy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 May 07 - 01:20 PM

Daylia, the scientists that claim they have proof of "near death experiences" are charlatans.
The source you gave from ABC News in tabloid journalism and in no way can be taken seriously. It is "hearsay" information and does not constitute any scientific proof whatever.

The Medical Editor of a magazine is not necessarilly a valid authority on this subject. Who knows if he really is a doctor and if he were an MD I would not hesitate to avoid him were I in need.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 May 07 - 01:20 PM

You misunderstand me-I am not arguing in favor of external supernatural authority--my point is simply that your assertions weak --

The idea about being a nice person, for instance--there are some who argue that being "nice' is a manipulative strategy, intended to conceal real intent by masking an authentic reaction with a contrived one. In that case, it is the sort of "lying" that you object to--

Beyond that, the idea that *you*are nice is your own--others may not validate it, particularly those who have read some of the things you've said here. "Nice" is a rather trite concept, so maybe you haven't lost much--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 01:50 PM

There are no *documented* cases of, say, somebody having an out-of-body experience actually learning something that they couldn't already have known through their own intelligence. Those are evidence that one's brain is smarter than one'd mind, just like the unintentional pun.

I beg to differ. There are numerous documented cases of patients noticing things from an OOB condition, during which the body was anethetized and/or unconscious, undergoing surgery. I suspect that perhaps you have not trawled the extant literature. It would be understandable if not, since the very notion of OOB existence rattles the purely physical paradigm and opens up all kinds of questions that could be uncomfortable for some.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 02:03 PM

Amos, you are actually supporting my statement. During surgery the brain has access to all sensory info; if it tells it to the mind as if it were an OOB, it's still info that the senses had access to. Nobody has ever been documented, I reiterate, to learn something they couldn't have known, during an OOB experience. All you have is the hearing system working while the person is unconscious, the same way people who aren't awakened by a tree falling over will have had a disaster dream. It isn't paranormal, it's just normal brain functioning.

And M.Ted, what assertion is weak? All I am asserting is that we can figure out right from wrong with our own intelligence, by observation and thought, without having recourse to any supernatural authority. There is no need to posit god-based morality, we have evolved our own, in a natural way. If you want to pick on some detail of how I said that, you may, but you are not demonstrating any weaknesses in what *I* said, only in your own counter-arguments.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 02:26 PM

Well, Mrrz, I kinda think you're peering through the wrong end of the telephone here. The stories and conversations that come out of the phone don't come from the wiring. But let it go, as I don't have the time or references at hand to present a rebuttal. However, I do think a through search of the literature would being up a good many "white crows", in which your assertion would not hold.

I will try and dig some up for you, just 'cuz your a nice person, and I really agree with your point about self-generated ethics, etc.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 02:32 PM

Do, please, Amos. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 02:42 PM

On a quick search I found this interesting discussion which recounts several instances of exactly what you describe -- information that was not available through sensory means being correctly identified and relayed.

The author discusses these instances with healthy skepticism, and the evidence is anecdotal. But it is typically anecdotal.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 03:00 PM

Here's some sort of an overview, a mixed bag of various degrees of rigor.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 03:06 PM

A more rigorous report.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 09 May 07 - 03:08 PM

An interesting one:

"Dr. Kenneth Ring: In a paper published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies concerning veridical NDE evidence, Dr. Ken Ring included perhaps the most famous case of veridical observation in NDE research at that time. Kimberly Clark Sharp first documented the NDE of a woman named Maria in her book, After The Light. Maria was a migrant worker who, while visiting friends in Seattle, had a severe heart attack. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later, she had a cardiac arrest and an unusual out-of-body experience. At one point in this experience, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a single tennis shoe on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. Maria not only was able to indicate the whereabouts of this oddly situated object, but was able to provide precise details concerning its appearance, such as that its little toe area was worn and one of its laces was stuck underneath its heel. Upon hearing Maria's story, Clark, with some considerable degree of skepticism and metaphysical misgiving, went to the location described to see whether any such shoe could be found. Indeed it was, just where and precisely as Maria had described it, except that from the window through which Clark was able to see it, the details of its appearance that Maria had specified could not be discerned. Clark concluded:



The only way she could have had such a perspective was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me. (Clark, 1984, p. 243)."

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research11.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 03:27 PM

Hmmm - people also recall details under hypnosis that are way too detailed for the usual mind - again, though, the brain gets all the info, and only passes a very little along.
If the woman couldn't have glimpsed the shoe on her way in - sounds like a datum to me. Thanks, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 May 07 - 07:09 PM

Mrzzy--so you're right because you say you're right?   Just like the lady that claims that the Virgin Mary visits here every Thursday--


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 May 07 - 09:27 PM

Wait - what? What in the world did I say that prompted that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 May 07 - 10:56 PM

When pushed for specifics, you insult, rather than answer. This is often an indication that there are no specifics.

You made some very inflamatory statements above--the effect being that we should no longer tolerate beliefs, faith, and anything not based on "empirical evidence".Disturbing stuff--because it is a message of profound intolerance.

I've been questioning you, hoping that you could present some basic ideas about how ethics and morality can be based in reason, rather than faith. As an with academic with an interest in these matters, one assumes you've studied, and can discuss the various views on this. Instead, your ideas seem unformed and off-the-cuff--

In contrast, your disadain for people of faith, and the anger that you have toward them, is very clear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 May 07 - 11:05 PM

"...how ethics and morality can be based in reason,..."

Immanuel Kant.."Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals"


and 400


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 May 07 - 11:08 PM

a brief synopsis of Kant's system


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 07 - 12:52 AM

Kant really couldn't; his principles of maxims and unversizability are awkward at best and unworkable at worst.

But that does not mean that the core assumpiton that individual human reason can provide a sense of ethics and right action is wrong.

Like anything else people come in an infinite gradient of degrees of self-realization and free ability. My observation has been that the freer they are in their exercise of ability, reason and emotion, the more natively and naturally they tend to seek optimum ethical solutions.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 May 07 - 09:33 AM

When pushed for specifics, you insult, rather than answer. This is often an indication that there are no specifics. - please give me an example of this. I have been rereading my posts and do not see anything insulting, nor do I see any requests for specifics that went unanswered.

You made some very inflamatory statements above--the effect being that we should no longer tolerate beliefs, faith, and anything not based on "empirical evidence". Disturbing stuff--because it is a message of profound intolerance. What I think should no longer be tolerated is the insistence that if empirical data contradict someone's faith, then those empirical data should not be used because it would be disrespectful to that faith. I think it too dangerous in today's world, I think it harmful to humanity and to the biosphere, and I do not agree that if what you are not respectful of is faith-based then you ought not voice your disrespect. I have, and I have repeatedly said that I have, no argument with faith qua faith - what I object to is the argument that faith is reasonable and based on data. If there were data supporting people's mythologies then we wouldn't need faith, we could draw intelligent conclusions. So I guess I wouldn't consider it "profound" intolerance - it is intolerance of one specific thing, which is placing dogma ahead of intelligent thought. I think intelligence is more worthy of respect than blind adherence to authority in the absence of evidence, and even more so in the presence of counter-evidence.

I've been questioning you, hoping that you could present some basic ideas about how ethics and morality can be based in reason, rather than faith. As an academic with an interest in these matters, one assumes you've studied, and can discuss the various views on this. Instead, your ideas seem unformed and off-the-cuff. I have answered your actual questions. I have not responded to silly statements with question marks after them. Please go back thorugh the posts and find an example of a question you have asked that I didn't answer with data-based reasoning.

In contrast, your disadain for people of faith, and the anger that you have toward them, is very clear. Again, my disdain is with people who deny reality to protect their beliefs. I don't have problems with those who accept that their faith is faith-based and has no rational basis (which is, after all, the definition of faith). And I am not ashamed of my opinion that continued adherence to old god stories when discoveries of the natural world contradict them is bad for the human race, is anti-intelligence, and should no longer be tolerated. We can't afford the luxury anymore. We must deal with reality as it is, rather than as we wish it were.

Which is not to say that people shouldn't try to change the world to make it a better place. As a matter of fact, that is what I am trying to do - move the world in the direction of where I wish it were. But what I am *not* doing is holding to an illusion that the world *already is* the way I wish it were, despite empirical evidence to the contrary.

And I find that those who feel insulted by this point of view are those who *do* hold to their old god stories, and who think that their beliefs should still be respected despite the demonstrated wrongness of those beliefs. However, I do not think I have insulted them by stating that I don't respect their views. I do not feel insulted by your not respecting mine - but I do object to your mischaracterization of my arguments. If you want more details, ask a specific follow-up question, please, and I will be more than happy to provide some.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 07 - 10:33 AM

A scrappy young lady named Mrrzy
Would rebut and refute, vicey-versey.
The thrust of each letter
Was to make the world better.
Or at least, keep it from growing Wrrzy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 May 07 - 10:35 AM

"Kant really couldn't; his principles of maxims and unversizability are awkward at best and unworkable at worst."

Well, then...we will just apply C.S. Peirce and Will James...... Pragmatism ....to any of Kant's maxims which seem confusing!

I'm easy to get along with!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 May 07 - 10:59 AM

Nice, Amos!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 May 07 - 11:11 AM

I've read what you've said, and while it isn't clear what you think about, say, Kant's ideas about transcendental realism, and the limits that they place on your "empirical evidence"--your opinions about people of faith are very clear, and still disturbing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 May 07 - 11:14 AM

Agreed. It's the lack of tolerance that bothers me. Some of these clear thinking people may as well be Southern Baptists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 May 07 - 12:11 PM

In other words, M.Ted, you can't counter my arguments, so you're talking about me instead. Not surprising, but disappointing.

I would probably have more tolerance were I better tolerated... but then again, maybe not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 07 - 12:22 PM

Daylia, the scientists that claim they have proof of "near death experiences" are charlatans.

Well, I doubt any bona-fide scientist would be dumb enough present a personal experience as any sort of scientific proof, but you never know I guess.   If that were the case, I agree with you somewhat. And Bill's right -- the article I posted is only an anecdote and the mainstream media is certainly no fountain of wisdom or truth -- let alone fact.

But I do think 'charlatan' is too harsh a judgement. I give em a break, because like so many many other people on this planet - from scientists to ditchdiggers, theologians to folk musicians    :-) I know what it's like to have unexplainable (to date), awesome life-changing spiritual experiences and the ecstatic fervour that can take hold afterwards -- the burning desire to tell the whole world what one has just most joyfully discovered.

At least, that's usually what happens to the uninitiated. And believe me, I also know its a long long way down, and how much satisfaction some people derive from instigating and witnessing the tragic -- and oh-so-predictable - tumble   

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 07 - 12:30 PM

M. Ted:

While I appreciate that, as a man of faith, you find Mrzzy's views discomfiting, I think it is nevertheless important that you clearly identify truthfully what it is in her statements which discomfits.

I believe her emphasis throughout has been on desiring to curtail proselytization, not individual conviction. The issue she raises is stated well here: "My issue is with those who take their myths as fact, not as metaphor. Those are the ones that have been disproven."

The common denominator is the abandoment of responsible ratiocination. It doesn't matter whether this occurs in the grip of the Disney Channel or the Church of Rome, it lowers the ability of the individual.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 May 07 - 03:53 PM

I understand your position, Daylia but here's the problem. It's the religious camel's nose under the tent, Afterlife and what people do to accomodate it. I think you will see more opposition by non-believers in the coming years because of the insistence of the religious radical right on this issue.

Some of the non-belief language may seem harsh but for years society has restricted any decent discussion of the role of religion by saying "hands off". It is not allowed to be questioned and this goes for the Afterlife postulate.

Until we have a decent scientific verification of the "near death experience", we only have hearsay to confirm it. Now the fundamentalist preacher will pound the pulpit and storm exhorting the congregants to fear as he claims to know what lies beyond "this mortal coil".
Here, we have a big problem.

There are "scientists" of every religious stripe who claim to have proof about evolution, ("the earth is only 10,000 years old", the bible, and the Afterlife. There are a lot of charlatans out there.

That said, there is no argument to dispute what you have experienced because it starts and stops with you and there is no way to scientifically verify it.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:06 PM

That said, there is no argument to dispute what you have experienced because it starts and stops with you and there is no way to scientifically verify it.



Frank:

Individual spiritual experience -- or even "spiritualoid" experience -- is not religion. It has no nose to stick into the tent in the way you mean. If individual spiritual experience were ONLY that, instead of being developed into a body of data, practice, and dogma called "religion", we'd be far better off. I guess it is a semantic distinction, but mayhap an important one.

If five per cent of a population are certain of OOB adentures of one kind or another, it would give me pause -- I would not throw the data out because 95% did not report it. Because there is no scientific principle that says individuals in a population will have uniform experiences.

One easy explanation would be that it was a function of emotional state or some such variable.

While the data being anecdotal IS grounds for skepticism and a demand for some sor tof more rigorous pursuit, providing anecdotal data does not, by any means, make someone a charlatan even if you disagree with the information. OR its implications.

That my two bits, anyway.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:15 PM

Mrrzy expresses disdain, contempt, and intolerance for people based on what they believe--that's bigotry. That's what "discomfits", Amos.   Nothing else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:21 PM

I agree with Amos. (surprise!) Religion, to my mind, is a catchall term. (Kind of like 'ghost', when it comes to that. My notion is that there are a number of very different beings which, for convenience or out of ignorance, we call ghost.)

But leave religion out of it. I know NOTHING of religion. I do know something of the 'other side'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:24 PM

No, no, and no. I do not have disdain for people based on what they believe. I have an opposition to people *not* thinking. Please actually read my posts; you are putting ideas out there as mine, and they aren't.

It isn't bigotry till I have disdain BEFORE finding out whether people are thinking or not. As I have repeatedly said but obviously must repeat, I have no argument with faith. My argument is with the mistaken idea that faith is the same thing as rational belief. My argument is with people who refuse to accept reality when it conflicts with their dogma, rather than adjusting their views to include what is demonstrably reality. And I have a serious objection to the theocratic insertion of mythology into the teachings, outside of philosophy classes, as if it were fact, in public schools in this country.

Please take one -any one- of my *actual* postings and demonstrate how it shows contempt for people based on what they believe. If you can't, then who is it who's using insults instead of actually arguing their case? Not I, said the little fat pig.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 10 May 07 - 04:45 PM

Mrrzy:

You aren't fat, are you? Nor, I am sure, a pig.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 May 07 - 08:04 PM

"My argument is with people who refuse to accept reality when it conflicts with their dogma, rather than adjusting their views to include what is demonstrably reality."


"It is difficult to tell the difference between people who can't think, and those who won't think."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 May 07 - 09:15 AM

It's a quote, Amos!

Right - and my argument is with those who won't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,NDEbeliever
Date: 12 May 07 - 04:26 AM

Dr. Kenneth Ring's NDE Research of the Blind

Vicki Umipeg, a forty-five year old blind woman, was just one of the more than thirty persons that Dr. Ken Ring and Sharon Cooper interviewed at length during a two-year study just completed concerning near-death experiences of the blind. The results of their study appear in their newest book Mindsight. Vicki was born blind, her optic nerve having been completely destroyed at birth because of an excess of oxygen she received in the incubator. Yet, she appears to have been able to see during her NDE. Her story is a particularly clear instance of how NDEs of the congenitally blind can unfold in precisely the same way as do those of sighted persons. As you will see, apart from the fact that Vicki was not able to discern color during her experience, the account of her NDE is absolutely indistinguishable from those with intact visual systems. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Ring's latest book reprinted by permission.

Vicki told Dr. Ring she found herself floating above her body in the emergency room of a hospital following an automobile accident. She was aware of being up near the ceiling watching a male doctor and a female nurse working on her body, which she viewed from her elevated position. Vicki has a clear recollection of how she came to the realization that this was her own body below her. The following is her experience.

I knew it was me ... I was pretty thin then. I was quite tall and thin at that point. And I recognized at first that it was a body, but I didn't even know that it was mine initially.


Then I perceived that I was up on the ceiling, and I thought, "Well, that's kind of weird. What am I doing up here?"


I thought, "Well, this must be me. Am I dead? ..."

I just briefly saw this body, and ... I knew that it was mine because I wasn't in mine.


In addition, she was able to note certain further identifying features indicating that the body she was observing was certainly her own.

I think I was wearing the plain gold band on my right ring finger and my father's wedding ring next to it. But my wedding ring I definitely saw ... That was the one I noticed the most because it's most unusual. It has orange blossoms on the corners of it.


There is something extremely remarkable and provocative about Vicki's recollection of these visual impressions, as a subsequent comment of hers implied.

"This was," she said, "the only time I could ever relate to seeing and to what light was, because I experienced it."


She then told them that following her out-of-body episode, which was very fast and fleeting, she found herself going up through the ceilings of the hospital until she was above the roof of the building itself, during which time she had a brief panoramic view of her surroundings. She felt very exhilarated during this ascension and enjoyed tremendously the freedom of movement she was experiencing. She also began to hear sublimely beautiful and exquisitely harmonious music akin to the sound of wind chimes.

With scarcely a noticeable transition, she then discovered she had been sucked head first into a tube and felt that she was being pulled up into it. The enclosure itself was dark, Vicki said, yet she was aware that she was moving toward light. As she reached the opening of the tube, the music that she had heard earlier seemed to be transformed into hymns and she then "rolled out" to find herself lying on grass.

She was surrounded by trees and flowers and a vast number of people. She was in a place of tremendous light, and the light, Vicki said, was something you could feel as well as see. Even the people she saw were bright.

Everybody there was made of light. And I was made of light. What the light conveyed was love. There was love everywhere. It was like love came from the grass, love came from the birds, love came from the trees.


Vicki then becomes aware of specific persons she knew in life who are welcoming her to this place. There are five of them. Debby and Diane were Vicki's blind schoolmates, who had died years before, at ages 11 and 6, respectively.

In life, they had both been profoundly retarded as well as blind, but here they appeared bright and beautiful, healthy and vitally alive.

And no longer children, but, as Vicki phrased it, "in their prime."

In addition, Vicki reports seeing two of her childhood caretakers, a couple named Mr. and Mrs. Zilk, both of whom had also previously died. Finally, there was Vicki's grandmother - who had essentially raised Vicki and who had died just two years before this incident. In these encounters, no actual words were exchanged, Vicki says, but only feelings - feelings of love and welcome.

In the midst of this rapture, Vicki is suddenly overcome with a sense of total knowledge.

I had a feeling like I knew everything ... and like everything made sense. I just knew that this was where ... this place was where I would find the answers to all the questions about life, and about the planets, and about God, and about everything ... It's like the place was the knowing.


As these revelations are unfolding, Vicki notices that now next to her is a figure whose radiance is far greater than the illumination of any of the persons she has so far encountered. Immediately, she recognizes this being to be Jesus. He greets her tenderly, while she conveys her excitement to him about her newfound omniscience and her joy at being there with him.

Telepathically, he communicates to her.

"Isn't it wonderful? Everything is beautiful here, and it fits together. And you'll find that. But you can't stay here now. It's not your time to be here yet and you have to go back."


Vicki reacts, understandably enough, with extreme disappointment and protests vehemently.

"No, I want to stay with you."

But the being reassures her that she will come back, but for now, she "has to go back and learn and teach more about loving and forgiving."

Still resistant, however, Vicki then learns that she also needs to go back to have her children. With that, Vicki, who was then childless but who "desperately wanted" to have children (and who has since given birth to three) becomes almost eager to return and finally consents.

However, before Vicki can leave, the being says to her, in these exact words, "But first, watch this."

And what Vicki then sees is "everything from my birth" in a complete panoramic review of her life, and as she watches, the being gently comments to help her understand the significance of her actions and their repercussions.

The last thing Vicki remembers, once the life review has been completed, are the words, "You have to leave now."

Then she experiences "a sickening thud" like a roller-coaster going backwards, and finds herself back in her body.

Such reports, replete with visual imagery, were the rule, not the exception, among Ring and Cooper's blind respondents. Altogether, 80% of their entire sample claimed some visual perception during their near-death or out-of-body encounters. Although Vicki's was unusual with respect to the degree of detail, it was hardly unique in their sample.

Sometimes the initial onset of visual perception of the physical world is disorienting and even disturbing to the blind. This was true for Vicki, for example, who said:

I had a hard time relating to it (i.e., seeing). I had a real difficult time relating to it because I've never experienced it. And it was something very foreign to me ... Let's see, how can I put it into words? It was like hearing words and not being able to understand them, but knowing that they were words. And before you'd never heard anything. But it was something new, something you'd not been able to previously attach any meaning to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 12 May 07 - 06:42 AM

To give Mrrzy a little backup here:

I don't care what most people believe - they have the right to believe any damfool thing they care to, and I can usually be polite even if someone describes to me the little spirits that look after their garden (true incident).

But there aren't a huge number of garden fairy believers. The belief is harmless to others. The big religions - Islam, Christianity, Hinduism - are far from harmless, and can and do impact people who don't believe in them, through such things as the oppression of women and minorities (all three undervalue women, Hindi caste system), the suppression of science (particularly medical science: opposition to birth control, opposition to HPV vaccine, also evolution), and restriction of freedom (especially sexual freedom: see treatment of gays in Islam).

Why should I hold my tongue and pretend to respect a belief that says some kinds of people have less value than others? Why should I hold my tongue and pretend to respect a belief that tries to hinder science? Why should I hold my tongue and respect a belief that threatens me with death if I don't conform to the rules of that belief?

Why shouldn't I vigorously oppose such beliefs and call them wrongheaded, nonsensical, mediaeval?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 12 May 07 - 07:42 AM

Bee:

I can't think of a any reason except manners. Depends on the circumstances. I wouldn't choose a kasbah as a site for my soapbox.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 12 May 07 - 08:10 AM

Bee, some wise person whose name eludes me right now taught that our greatest gold lies hidden, at the bottom of our deepest wounds. I've found that this holds true, for religiously-inflicted wounds as well as any other variety.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 May 07 - 01:35 PM

Thanks, Bee. XXXX ((())) and well put.
Nice NDE story, too. My grandmother was in a coma as a young woman when grandfather rolled the car with my dad and uncle still little boys in the backseat, no seatbelts. In her coma she experienced coming down a high mountain and seeing her father-in-law, the only man who had ever been kind to her (her words) coming down teh facing mountain towards her. They met in the valley and she wanted to go with him to his mountain, but he wouldn't let her. He told her it wasn't time yet, that she had to go back. She was very upset but then came out of her coma.
She told this story in her Russian accent, turning from the waist because her neck didn't turn (kind of like an owl) since the accident. It was very real to her, but not being a theist, she thought of it as a very real dream. Yes, my great-grandfather was dead by then, but since she didn't believe in life after death, and although she experienced him as real during her coma, once she came to she didn't speak of it as meeting him in the afterlife, only of meeting him in her mind during her coma. Her story also has that wonderful wanting to stay feeling, and almost every element of your story. Just a different interpretation.
Ever done exstasy, MDA, MMDA, or any other good serotonin boost? You wouldn't want to come back either.
Of the two interpretations - dream versus life-after-death - which is more realistic, given the state of today's knowledge about the brain? I'm not saying it couldn't be a supernatural experience. I'm just saying it isn't as reasonable to go with that interpretation than to go with the more likely one. Now, what we need to do is stick these poor nearly-dying people in an actual tube - an fMRI tube - and see if their serotonin-producing neurons work overtime during such an episode... Not ethical without consent, so we'd need to add the possibility into, say, a DNR order... I don't know that I would actually volunteer for such a study myself, though!
And while the gold may be under the gore, that does not justify the inflicting of the wound in the first place. What gives another the right to mine gold in *my* person, even if the gold is for me? Sure, we can learn really good lessons from the damage inflicted by the institutionalization of faith - doesn't make said institutionalization a good thing. I'd rather not have the damage in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 12 May 07 - 01:55 PM

just saying it isn't as reasonable to go with that interpretation than to go with the more likely one.

There are two reasons.

One is that the large collection of anecdotal evidence indicative of a spiritual beingness which transcends material form is often persuasive even if not scientific enough for a medical journal, and often includes knowing of past or remote things that are difficult to explain, and constitute anomalies against the standard brain-is-self model.

The second is that the limitation of selfhood to the body provides no explanation for certain normal phenomena of cognitive life, including, in the final analysis, understanding and communication in its better forms. Abilities of perception cannot be fully explained by chains of molecular and electrical interactions. The physical life-sciences approach this conundrum by (generally speaking) arguing that the complexity of the system enables this apparent qualitative gap, and that when enough of the transactions andf simultaneous chemical and electrical interactions of the complex brain are identified, all will become clear.

But this is a long stretch, and in my view is so long a stretch as to verge on the improbable.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 May 07 - 03:33 PM

I think that if one questions another's "faith" it shouldn't be taken as an insult or an attack. If their "faith" is as deep as they say it is, then nothing anyone could say could change it.
But to take it personally as if they had been inflicted with a wound because someone questioned it makes me think that their "faith" is precariously shallow.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Gza
Date: 12 May 07 - 03:43 PM

Just one little thought here: To believe in life after death or in "the soul"...or for that matter, in ghosts or other such paranormal or spiritual phenomena...does not necessarily make one a theist.

One could be an atheist (someone who doesn't believe in a "supreme being" or a "God" who is in charge of everything), and still believe that everyone has a soul which survives physical death, and perhaps returns again in other physical lifetimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 12 May 07 - 05:03 PM

Douglas Hofstadter -- a very smart man, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Godel, Escher and Bach-- talks about the problem of understanding the nature of an "I" in this recent interview, which I recommend highly.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 12 May 07 - 06:32 PM

Amos, thats a fascinating article. Thanks!

What gives another the right to mine gold in *my* person, even if the gold is for me?

Mrzzy, no one can mine* your greatest gold but yourself, unless you allow otherwise.

We're not just talking regular ole gold here -- you know, the kind that makes any ole rules. We're talking the Gold that makes YOU *Rule*, and the only person with any real interest in that is yourself.

I think that if one questions another's "faith" it shouldn't be taken as an insult or an attack.

Using words like "crazies", "charlatans" on anyone who believes, behaves, thinks, or knows differently than yourself is an insult and an attack, no matter how you slice it Frank. And a sweeping generalization as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 12 May 07 - 06:46 PM

Oops, it was Riginslinger who used the word "crazies". I think. I ain't searching through hundreds of posts to make sure, though!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 07 - 07:41 PM

" ...the limitation of selfhood to the body provides no explanation for certain normal phenomena of cognitive life, including, in the final analysis, understanding and communication in its better forms. Abilities of perception cannot be fully explained by chains of molecular and electrical interactions."

These statements are half-truths, Amos. There are indeed experiences and abilities that have not been adequately explained yet, but it is far from clear that they cannot be explained by molecules and electrons and chemistry. It seems to me that the number & types of assumptions that need to be made in order to explain them without physical phenomena gets faily large & subjective.....and finally becomes rhetorical/linguistic. People have experiences that 'seem' to be non-physical, so they (naturally) create language to refer to them - then they act as if the naming confers some sort of 'truth'. (You will probably agree this happens in religious claims...it is just hard to bite the bullet and admit it 'might' happen in your own experiences.)

   Let me be clear...I am not **claiming** that this is always the case, only that it IS possible to describe theoretical causes for such experiences in ways other than metaphysical, subjective language.
   I am the eternal skeptic in these matter, but being a LONG term Sci-Fi reader, I would love to have my doubts overridden with some sort of proof...or at least evidence that *I* can't imagine other possible explanations for. I would jump for joy if ESP and OOB & Clairvoiance and Past Lives and Spirits/Souls etc..could be verified and explained!

It is a fine line I walk insisting on skeptical analyses and offering other 'theories', while not absolutely denying some possibilities. I think this is sorta what Science is/does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 12 May 07 - 11:59 PM

Indeed it is, Bill. But it is only a single postulate that is required, rather than the long weave of complexity required by the biochemical postulate. Viz, that a human being is a spiritual being operating a physical body, not a physical body dreaming in some unknown way about being a spiritual being when it isn't. Viewed from this perspective, the rule of simplicity and elegance is on the side of the additional postulate, because defining ordinary cognitive experience otherwise is so unwieldy, as well as riddled with anomalies.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 13 May 07 - 09:10 AM

"I can't think of a any reason except manners. Depends on the circumstances. I wouldn't choose a kasbah as a site for my soapbox.
" - Amos

Neither would I. It is quite possible to engage followers of Islam (and I have) in Canada, The US, or the UK, without subjecting myself to the worst aspects of that faith. (It is also possible to be polite in stating one's objections to religion, but it seems often just stating the objection is considered insulting to the believer.) I assume you are implying that Christianity (I may be wrong) is a far kinder and less dangerous set of beliefs, and I should be grateful to be 'allowed' to get up on my soapbox in consequence. That speaks volumes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 13 May 07 - 09:51 AM

"Why should anyone believe in 'God'?"


             I can't imagine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 07 - 10:56 AM

Bee:

I chose a kasbah on the spur of the moment. I wouldn't put up my soapbox in a farmer's market in Indiana, either. I am sure some large and burly tractor repairman would feel it his divine duty to lift me off it by my collar, and perhaps thrash me to teach me Grace. :)

That said, though, I believe in its present state that Islam is more prone to solve the problem of non-belief with ciolence than most other religions.

I recommend three excellent current books around these themes:

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Monkey Girl by Edward Humes

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett

Regards,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 May 07 - 10:56 AM

Daylia you say:

"I think that if one questions another's "faith" it shouldn't be taken as an insult or an attack.

Using words like "crazies", "charlatans" on anyone who believes, behaves, thinks, or knows differently than yourself is an insult and an attack, no matter how you slice it Frank. And a sweeping generalization as well."

Nonsense, Daylia. Charlatan applies only to scientists who claim scientific verification of their data, not an attack on religion.

"Crazies" are people like Pat Robertson or Falwell. I didn't impute that to all religious people. You are being inaccurate and unfair.

If you take any of my criticisms personally I suggest you look into the depth of your own convictions.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 May 07 - 11:02 AM

"...But it is only a single postulate that is required, rather than the long weave of complexity required by the biochemical postulate. "

ummmm...now there is where I suggest you are hiding true complexity by rhetorical means. ..... You freely grant that the biochemical thesis is complex, but try to present the spiritual/conciousness model as 'simple' because you phrased it in one sentence. What I assert is, that in order to make that claim, there are many assumptions embedded logically in the statement, whether listed individually or not. You must assume things about the nature of 'spirit', from WHETHER it exists to how causation works with it, how it CAN operate a body, why it 'exists' at all, how 'different' conciousnesses are defined (that is, how mine can be different from yours)[which is easy to do with physical frameworks]), ...etc...

   You see, positing a 'spirit' to 'operate' a body is really little different than positing a 'God' to operate everything, and a "Son of God" to relieve us of our sins...once you decide it exists, YOU are in control of the characteristics, and ambiguities and contradictions are just handled by linguistic altering of the explanations. You just state "that's how it works", and it is impossible to prove you wrong. (As in, 'you can't prove a negative')

It's a funny set of ideas....I can see why it is tempting as an explanation for experiences that are intense, but hard to explain...yet it's also the sort of explanation that has no real boundries or rules to know whether you are close to 'right'.

Occam's Razor has to be used carefully, or it will cut you in awkward patterns!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,NDEbeliever
Date: 13 May 07 - 02:58 PM

Praying for somebody who is ill can make them better, research suggests.

A study carried out by the University of Maryland in the US has found prayer and spiritual healing may reduce pain and speed up the recovery of patients.




To continue to haul the notion that there is nothing to these interventions is not really tenable




Dr John Astin, University of Maryland

Researchers analysed the results of 23 clinical studies which examined the effect of prayer, spiritual healing and other unconventional treatments on patients' health.


More than half of these studies - 57% - found a positive impact on patients.

The highest number of positive results was found in studies which examined spiritual healing, in particular a technique where the "energy field" around a person's body is treated.

As part of this therapy, a practitioner moves their hands over a patient's body to promote healing.

Dr John Astin, who carried out the study and describes himself as an "open-minded sceptic", described the results as "intriguing".

Of the 23 studies he analysed, 11 examined therapeutic touch, five the effectiveness of prayer, and seven tested a variety of other unconventional treatments.

Dr Astin, an assistant professor on the university's complementary medicine programme, said all the studies included placebo controls and were chosen for the scientific quality of the research.

In one study of nearly 1,000 heart patients, those who were being prayed for without their knowledge suffered 10% fewer complications.

'Conservative interpretation'

"The results are very intriguing. In some respects the findings are surprising in that we attempted to look at the strongest studies and came away with the conservative interpretation that the findings suggest there may be benefits."

He said the effect of prayer and spiritual healing could not be dismissed.

"To continue to haul the notion that there is nothing to these interventions is not really, in my mind, tenable. I think more work needs to be done in this area."

But he said the results were not conclusive and should be interpreted with caution.

A spokesman for the UK's National Federation of Spiritual Healers welcomed the findings.

"We welcome any sort of research like this. We know that spiritual healing works because of clinical evidence like this and also because of its results.

"Spiritual healing is increasing in popularity all the time because people are hearing about evidence like this."

The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Mrr on someone else's computer
Date: 13 May 07 - 03:07 PM

Anything the patient knows about - hope, prayer, dancing and drumming - helps recovery. Prayer does not work if the patient doesn't know about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 07 - 03:48 PM

Actually there have been documented instances where it did. They are described in Dr Larry Dossey's books on the subject. But this is not an argument in support of God, but an argument in support of the impact and the non-local nature of live attention. I've known some dogs who had healing powers just by looking at you with their sad eyes.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 13 May 07 - 07:30 PM

Frank, it is possible to disagree with or fail to comprehend another person's ideas, behaviours and experiences without resorting to name-calling and/or sweeping generalizations.

And what benefit do you gain from questioning the depth of someone else's perceptions? A distraction from examining the depth and validity of your own, perhaps?

In any case, the depth of my perceptions is for me to know and you to find out. IF you care to, and if I allow it, that is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,ndeBELIEVER
Date: 14 May 07 - 01:59 AM

CLICKY


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 May 07 - 10:18 AM

57% of 23 is chance level - 13/23 is about what you'd expect if you tossed a fair coin. Not impressive, in other words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 07 - 10:31 AM

It's an exercise in futility to try to impress anyone who is determined not to be impressed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 May 07 - 11:28 AM

By far the largest experiment (as far as I know) conducted on a double blind basis to prove the power of prayer (or otherwise) was $2.4 million spent by the Templeton Foundation. 'Study of the therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients'.American Heart Journal 151:4, 2006 934 - 942

There were three groups: Group 1 received prayers and didn't know it; Group 2 received no prayers and didn't know it; Group three received prayers and did know it.

Prayers were delivered by three congregations distant from the hospitals.

The results were clear cut. There was no difference between those prayed for and those not. There was a difference between those who knew they were being prayed for and those who did not know one way of the other, but it went in the wrong direction. Those who knew they had been the beneficiaries of prayer suffered significantly more complications than those who did not.

The experimenters suggested they were stressed out because of "performance anxiety".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 14 May 07 - 11:31 AM

Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer

That's the newest and largest study with a failry good (though not perfect) design.

the researchers found no differences between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not...a significantly higher number of the patients who knew that they were being prayed for — 59 percent — suffered complications, compared with 51 percent of those who were uncertain.

The study has not been performed by skeptic out for a negative finding:
The study cost $2.4 million, and most of the money came from the John Templeton Foundation, which supports research into spirituality.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 14 May 07 - 12:07 PM

Daylia, it is impossible to carry on any legitimate conversation with you if you continue to accuse me of name-calling or generalizing.

You haven't substantiated your points with factual scientific data but simply opinions.

You will believe what you believe regardless but apparently will continue to be offended if someone challenges you on your logic. This is the case with so many "religious" types. They expect their ideas to be considered and accepted and if not, they have their feelings hurt. Why should ideas that have no basis in reality be accepted as being truthful?

I haven't called you crazy. I haven't called you any names. I only referred to the scientific data produced by unscientific methods which is done by pseudo-scientific charlatans. I see no reason to give their ideas any credence.

Nonetheless, I respect you as a person. I see no correlation to a person's religious beliefs and their ability to function as a moral person. No gods or spirits can make a person better or worse. They are who they are.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 May 07 - 12:26 PM

just to be clear..Frank suggested:

"....I suggest you look into the depth of your own convictions."

not perceptions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: *daylia*
Date: 14 May 07 - 12:42 PM

Thanks for pointing that out, Bill. I do make it a point to avoid conviction       :-)    while enjoying as many perceptions as possible.

Daylia, the scientists that claim they have proof of "near death experiences" are charlatans.

Frank, that statement is an insult, an attack, and a sweeping generalization. I am not a scientist. I do not take it personally.

WHy do you make assumptions about other people's feelings, by the way?

OF course I have provided no scientific facts here. That's because I have yet to make a scientific claim on this thread. I've posted a personal anecdote or two, expressed my points of view, and defended what I perceive as the 'underdog' on this thread (ie God and believers in God).

And that's all I intend to do on this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 14 May 07 - 01:20 PM

Those numbers are most interesting, and appear to rebut the cases I referred to from Dossey; but I would have to dig them back out again and I don't have the book available.

However, they ALSO raise another interesting question. If the individual can increase his probability of healing by being told he is being prayed for, whether he is or not, then what does that power of healing-by-postulated-information say about the biomechanical limits of the organism? Seems to me it leaves a wee door into other universes open in the back.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 May 07 - 02:19 PM

If the individual can increase his probability of healing by being told he is being prayed for, whether he is or not,

My understanding of the study was not that at all - but those who knew they were being prayed for GOT WORSE!!

And as I posted earlier it was thought this might be the result of stress.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 May 07 - 02:46 PM

Heard at a local ER:

"Father, should I pull the plug on dear old Edna? What's the right thing to do?"

"Oh dear-- they took morality away from the Church just last week; did you not look up secular humanist in the yellow pages to come visit you to discuss that?"

Imagine that one if you will.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 14 May 07 - 02:46 PM

Folkiedave, thanks for the clarification.

But, to put the question in another perspective -- if being told one is being prayed for can make an individual develop complications, my impression is the same back door is being opened. In other words, individual cognitive states can govern the healing experience of the organism, simply by changing the data the individual holds on to.

This is not news -- the literature on psychosomatic conditions is rich with examples, not to mention studies of placebo effects. Why should mere data held or not held by a point of view be so able to influence the biochemistry of the body?

That's the core question. That, plus the more fundamental question of "who" holds information, and what a "who" is, anyway.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 May 07 - 03:36 PM

I cannot agree about the back door. If people (remember this is America so the chances are they were christians anyway) were being told they were being prayed for, then they could easily develop the stress that they did - after feeling pressure to get well- knowing they were being prayed for.

The question then is - would atheists feel the same pressure? I would suspect finding a control group would be hard!!

But the question seems well answered to me - the so-called power of prayer was subject to a scientific test (funded let us not forget by an avowedly Christian organisation) and it failed.

I bet if it had passed the test the story would have been shouted about!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 May 07 - 03:41 PM

I grew up with Christians. Christians are taught to always pray: But let thy will, not mine, be done.

So imo people who react badly to knowing they are being prayed for are not in full understanding of the process.

I think the Wiccans have the right idea: Let it be for the highest good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 14 May 07 - 03:55 PM

IF it had been entirely inefficacious, FD, the control group would have had NO statistically meaningful variation. But they did. A change of mental information correlated with worsening or complications. How do you figure that information brought about a biochemical change? There was no physical difference, acording to the purely mechanical model of life science. You attribute this to stress, but that's an easy answer. Where did the stress come from? How was it generated just by a change in abstract information about a mental process?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 May 07 - 06:25 PM

Any serious reader will realize that mental state can affect physical change. Bio-feedback and placebos are documented. Exactly how and under what conditions will take a LOT more study. It's best not to assume TOO much while studies are ongoing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 14 May 07 - 06:31 PM

It is also best not to assume too little.

You can get paralyzed bvy an unwillingness to conclude based on data easily available, for fear you might have to change your mind later.

I prefer to draw the best conclusion I can with the data I have, reserving the right to contradict myself with complete certainty in the face of new information.

The fact that information alone, with no physical input to the system, can precipitate healing OR decline, is extremely central to the questions in this thread -- if knowing can reform matter, then it would appear in some way to be senior to it.

Awful thought, really. Make your hair fall out....

:D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 May 07 - 07:54 PM

Oh, WYSIWYG, I would hope for such a day! hee hee


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 14 May 07 - 08:08 PM

It would certainly make the decision clearer and simpler. And, I suspect, more truthful.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 May 07 - 10:34 PM

"...with no physical input to the system..."

Jiminy, Amos...you take in information all day long that is not exactly 'physical'. Hearing a siren, or seeing a TV show, of reading the paper is not like getting an injection or swallowing a pill...but they can [make] you sad or raise your blood pressure, ot even soothe you if you read the right things. :>) ....why shouldn't knowing of someone's concern (whether thru prayer or not) be just another form of 'information' which can affect your well-being?....without attributing metaphysical properties to it? Adrenaline and various other hormones are triggered by **the brain's** reaction to various stimuli.

"You can get paralyzed by an unwillingness to conclude based on data easily available, for fear you might have to change your mind later."

You can...but doing so is usually an indication of a psychological problem.


"I prefer to draw the best conclusion I can with the data I have, reserving the right to contradict myself with complete certainty in the face of new information."

Hmmm...ok, that explains a lot.
I prefer to work out a system of determining what kind of data justify drawing any conclusion! Sometimes there is just no way to decide, so I don't! I guess this is what pushes me into skepticism. **DOUBT** is easier for me than continuous re-contradicting myself. I do NOT consider myself close-minded and unwilling to accept evidence...I just have a narrow view of what qualifies as evidence

   Differ'nt strokes fer differn't blokes, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,ndeBELIEVER
Date: 15 May 07 - 01:34 AM

man is god?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 May 07 - 06:08 AM

How was it generated just by a change in abstract information about a mental process?

Abstract information? They were told they were being prayed for (and I suspect as christians) they were expecting this top have an effect - otherwise even as christians they would be expected not to believe in the power of prayer.

The important control group of this experiment were the two others

Group 1 received prayers and didn't know it; Group 2 received no prayers and didn't know it; there was no difference between the two - so prayer did not help.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 15 May 07 - 06:23 AM

Okay, that airy evocation of Cayce reminds me of a joke told me by a Cree man regarding the suggestive correlation between the dwindling of buffalo and the influx of White men: "All those buffalo souls had to go somewhere."


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:03 AM

Fair enough, Bill. But whether a common event or not, I think the fact that information alone can initiate a positive or negative condition of health is a really telling fact. I suppose you could and would argue that the brain has receptor sites for information, with concomitant biochemical sequelae, and so on. But it's a pretty far stretch, to my way of thinking.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:05 AM

"the brain has receptor sites for information"

Obviously- all those nerves providing information ( about the environment and what is happening outside the brain) do go to the brain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:16 AM

Well, of course, Bruce. I was talking about information that comes in not as sensation (aside from the sound waves or light stimuli), but only as meaning. Physically, the impact of someone saying "You are being prayed for" and someone saying "We're having green jello for dinner" are comparable. The learned habit of deriving meaning from such inputs is where all the difference occurs.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:25 AM

"information that comes in not as sensation (aside from the sound waves or light stimuli), but only as meaning"

ALL information ( except perhaps telepathy) comes IN as sensation- the brain then interpretes the sensory information ( sound, for example) into meaningful words.

Dream and thought might be considered to be meaning, but they have both been shown to involve chewmical activity within the brain: They appear to be memories ( real or false) that are being recalled at random ( or in the case of thought, semi-random)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bee
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:33 AM

"Fair enough, Bill. But whether a common event or not, I think the fact that information alone can initiate a positive or negative condition of health is a really telling fact. I suppose you could and would argue that the brain has receptor sites for information, with concomitant biochemical sequelae, and so on. But it's a pretty far stretch, to my way of thinking.
" - Amos

Why is it a stretch? As Bill notes:

"Jiminy, Amos...you take in information all day long that is not exactly 'physical'. Hearing a siren, or seeing a TV show, of reading the paper is not like getting an injection or swallowing a pill...but they can [make] you sad or raise your blood pressure, ot even soothe you if you read the right things. :>) ....why shouldn't knowing of someone's concern (whether thru prayer or not) be just another form of 'information' which can affect your well-being?....without attributing metaphysical properties to it? Adrenaline and various other hormones are triggered by **the brain's** reaction to various stimuli." - Bill D

Anything that affects us on any emotional level, which amounts to a great deal of the non-physical information we receive, will affect our physical bodies because of the interaction of hormones with our brain, blood, heart, etc.

The concept of prayer is one of my personal bugaboos about religion. It's offered as a kind of spiritual multi-tool, good for talking to God, healing, safety, prevention of illness and accidents, good luck for your sports team, etc. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that prayer works for any of these things. Its only proven use, in fact, is as a personal meditative device much like any other method of meditation, in which one essentially takes control of one's emotions in a positive way. Even then, it has to be a particular approach to prayer, as I imagine your standard passionate 'shouting out to the Lord' type of prayer most likely gets adrenaline flowing rather than slowing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:34 AM

Interesting responses. Thanks, alla youse. :)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:35 PM

why should we believe in god? We should believe in God becaus with out him the only thing to base our rules and morality is ourselves and that automatically leads to naturalism.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 May 07 - 05:02 PM

guest..you risk having your posts deleted if you don't sign them in this area....but I will briefly respond...again...to this overused and poorly understood idea.

leaving aside for a moment worrying why 'Naturalism' is automatically a problem, it is perfectly easy to create and recognize rules & moral principles based simply on common sense. That is how 'most' laws in the world are written. It makes sense to have a rule against killing others, or stealing their property, or coveting their wives...we don't NEED a god to explain these things to us.....and if you have noticed, the 'gods' of various religions don't always agree on the details about what is moral & right.

   The fact is, most of the supposed religious rules are seldom followed exactly as written, but are interpreted freely by religious leaders to fit their notion of what is 'good & right'.

We really need, as a species, to get beyond the idea that we can't operate without looking up in some ancient text the 'rules' about how to live.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 May 07 - 07:41 AM

Folkiedave has it right in the study I have mentioned. Those who knew they had been prayed for had a statistically significant worse outcome than the other two groups (mind: with large numbers involved a statistically significant effect can be fairly small). This is not the first result of this kind (another is mentioned in the link below).

This could be a nocebo effect ("My God, they assign me to the group who is prayed for: Is it really so bad"). The authors of the study report it but treat it as a statistical fluke.

I do not think the effect of prayer could or should be studied for several reasons:
(1) If there is a God, why should he be forced to interfere by prayer that is randomly assigned in a study?
(2) "Study prayer" comes only in addition to genuine prayer by friends and relations. A real no-prayer control group ("please tell all your friend and relations not to pray for your recovery, because you are in the no-prayer at all control group") will never be run for obvious reasons.
(3) The causal relation I-pray-and-therefore-I-get is not really a Christian idea (Ebbie has said that I think). To pray for something/someone with all your heart with no good result (missing child found dead) is never treated in Christian teaching as a proof for the absence of a God.

The article below mentions some of the problems with prayer studies. My opinion is found among the arguments against such studies. But I know that there is a subgroup fo Christians (in particular in the USA) who list seeing positive effects of prayer as a proof of God. For such a simple-minded thinking it is worthwhile listing methodological problems and pointing to other studies.

When my daughter was 7 years old, she came to me and told me she could prove there was no God. How, I did ask. She said she'd pray for X (her most hated classmate) to break a leg and if he would not break a leg that would be the proof of there being no God. I sighed, praised her for the methodological thinking but told her that if there was a God he'd surely not listen to prayers praying for bad luck of others.

She hates going to religious instruction in school but her parents (both atheists) think she has to be somewhat older before deciding on her own that she does not want to hear about God and religion (it is optional).

In summary, I find prayer studies pointless, but I like to list methodological problems and other finding for those who believe in such studies.

Can Prayers Heal? Critics Say Studies Go Past Science's Reach

Studies about placebo effects, that's something different. If only these effects were not so weak as they are and if they would show not only in subjective outcome variables...

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 May 07 - 05:21 PM

We should believe in God because with out him the only thing to base our rules and morality is ourselves and that automatically leads to naturalism.

Which bit of god's word as written in the bible do we set our morals by then?

Believe in the Ten Commandments and you clearly have some faith in the Old Testament. All of it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 16 May 07 - 05:46 PM

I guess I need to re-evaluate, I receive this in the mail:

The power of prayer

(I didn't scan it, I just took a quick snapshot...but maybe you can get an idea.)

Do they do this in Germany, Wolfgang?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Big Phil
Date: 17 May 07 - 06:54 AM

May your God be with when you need him,.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Big Phil
Date: 17 May 07 - 06:55 AM

Or, May your God be with you when you need him.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 May 07 - 05:11 PM

Or may your god, he be with you if you need her. or may she be with you if you need him.
Or may it be with her and him if you need 'em.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 May 07 - 06:39 PM

And may you be with your god when s/he/it needs you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Amos
Date: 18 May 07 - 09:14 AM

BELIEFS

"As long as people believe in absurdities
they will continue to commit atrocities."

                            Voltaire


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: M.Ted
Date: 18 May 07 - 05:14 PM

Depending, of course, on what you mean by "absurdities".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 May 07 - 05:51 PM

Yes - absurd is in the eye of the beholder.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: number 6
Date: 10 May 11 - 11:44 PM

do you believe that ?

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 May 11 - 04:36 PM

Kazooba, kazooba. Wabnigot frachet. Ding, dang, dong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 11 May 11 - 05:44 PM

I don't get it.

He says that "all belief is a coverup for insecurity."

The guy's question implies that if Deepak believes what he believes, he's covering up his insecurity.

"Covering up insecurity" apparently means "pretending you're not afraid."

OK, so Deepak's belief, like everybody else's, helps him pretend he's not afraid.

But that doesn't mean his belief (or somebody else's) isn't true - only that it lets them pretend they're not afraid.

The point is that if you weren't afraid, and trying to hide it, you wouldn't bother to believe anything. It doesn't say anything about the truth or falsehood or other value of your belief.

Also, it seems clear enough that when Deepak was talking about "belief," he meant the dogmatic acceptance of spiritual or religious doctrines. (That's the sort of thing he talks about.)

When the questioner asked, "Do you believe that?" he was referring to the non-dogmatic kind of belief that's based on personal experience in the world. Like, "I believe I'd better take an umbrella because it looks like rain," *not* "I believe in Zeus and Hera."

So there's no contradiction. And that's why Deepak looks puzzled: the audience is laughing and applauding over a mistaken play on words.
By the way, I read Deepak's first book and thought it was kind of silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ed T
Date: 11 May 11 - 06:06 PM

It's the scourge of the God threads:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Wesley S
Date: 11 May 11 - 06:20 PM

Is there a "Mother of all God Threads"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 May 11 - 07:09 PM

Does God have a belly button? If so, then what might be the implications of that?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 May 11 - 07:50 PM

Does God have a belly button? If so, then what might be the implications of that?

Jack the Sailor should be able to tell you. He sounds like a navel man.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Ed T
Date: 11 May 11 - 09:33 PM

"Is there a "Mother of all God Threads"? ""

There may be a motherfu***r of all threads"
:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 May 11 - 09:34 PM

No one needs to post more...just re-read THIS thread. I can't think of any serious positions on either side that have not been laid out.

(of course, pay special attention to MY gems... **grin**)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 May 11 - 12:39 AM

Yeah, I think people said what they thought here, in a fairly peaceable manner. So, that being the case, I'd just like to say, "ditto." And, like my evil twin Bill D, I am very impressed with the messages I posted above....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 May 11 - 01:40 PM

That link posted by number 6 - it's a beautifully timed trap by the questioner!! And clearly appreciated as such by most of the people on the platform. It's funny, lighter - lighten up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 11 - 02:02 PM

( Joe... I'm the 'handsome' twin...right?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 May 11 - 02:32 PM

Don Firth re' God's belly button...just proves there is a Goddess who gave birth to Him!**bg**


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 May 11 - 02:39 PM

Yes, Bill,

I asked Mom, and she said that you were indeed the handsome, evil twin....I didn't dare ask what she thought of me.

-Joebro-


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Subject: RE: BS: Why should anyone believe in 'God'?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 May 11 - 05:14 PM

Oh good! I always thought I was primeevil!


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