Author Topic: Faith-Based Topic  (Read 3590 times)

Lord J Esq

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Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2006, 02:19:13 am »
The problem being that you can prove to a person that the sky is not purple and the moon is not made of cheese, but it is difficult to prove with any absoluteness that there is or isn't a God, seeing as religion hinges on faith than any actual physical proof, first and foremost (although some people are convinced by what "physical proof" does exist, reaffirming their beliefs).

I think you weren’t here when we had a grand topic where I repudiated faith at length. It’s the Richard Dawkins thread, and my first specific post on the matter is here/ (It’s too long for me to post.) Read that post, and really give the entire thread a few minutes your time. Nothing needs to be said here that hasn’t already been said there.

So then, would it be one's job, working to do what is just, to convince someone of faith that they are wrong and that God, or any other deity for that matter, does not exist?
For Socrates, I suppose it would be right to question them on such matters to get them to think more deeply on their faith instead of taking things as they are told, but I'm not entirely too sure he would advocate "correcting" a person's faith.

It isn’t enough to simply encourage people “to think more deeply on their faith.” Folks like Daniel Krispin have done precisely that, and are very intelligent and articulate about it. But they’re no closer to the truth than your common church urchin. In fact, by building up an entire intellectual framework around a faulty premise, they may even be further away from it. Their intelligence, when coupled with any charisma at all, makes them dangerous people who are capable of influencing others to follow a dead-end road.

Working to do what is just never means respecting people’s right to the delusions of faith. In this case, it means teaching all people that faith is the cheater’s path to truth. We can respect somebody’s intelligence without endorsing their irrational wrongdoings. Therefore, instead of inviting people to think on their faith more deeply, we should invite them to question their faith, think more critically about it, and ultimately move beyond it.

It’s easy to prove that people are wrong. What’s hard is convincing them.

I don't think she said specifically that she does not believe in a religion, simply that organized religion seems to be the source of many conflicts, and then went on to express her beliefs of what people do do in the name of God that she does not think God ever intended.

Ah, I think you misunderstood the connotations I associate with the concept of “religion.” To me, any religion is inherently organized, because a religion implies the existence of social structures such as rituals and customs, codified rules of conduct, community interaction, and so forth. “Organized religion” is repetitive, and I only use it to refer to the major religions such as Christianity and Islam, which are organized in the additional sense that they have significant political influence.

Now, perhaps those major religions are what Lena Andreia was referring to—and I could have made myself clearer. But it seemed to me as though she was talking about religion itself, not simply the major religions that have militaries and governments to back them up.

In any case, I would still very much like to hear her answer to my question about why she believes in God without the benefit of a religion.


It is your opinion then, that it is impossible to be a person of faith (the type of the faith in question is irrelevant), and also a man of science?  Can an individual live in accordance with the tenets/practices of their particular religion, and yet still deal with reality?  And if so, what is the harm in allowing them to do so?

You ask a loaded question. Of course it is possible to be a person of faith and a person of science at the same time. There are many scientists who believe in a god, and many devout who know a thing or two about the way the world works.

Most religious people can live a devout life and yet still function here in the real world. They will visit the hospital when they break their leg, rather than their church. They will go to the grocery store for food, rather than pray for manna. They can believe Jesus is coming back any day now, and yet still buy homeowner’s insurance. The devout are in the majority in this world, and even though it can be a pretty fucked up world sometimes, it still works. Humanity is still here, and still progressing.

So, what is the harm in allowing people of faith to lead religious lives?

The harm is that faith doesn’t work. Religious faith in particular is like the opposite of King Midas: Everything it touches turns to shit.

Religious faith is inherently unreasonable. It discourages critical thinking and reinforces an arbitrary Authority that exists beyond the realm of fact. It drives a wedge between people, innately, because their competing faiths are contradictory and often exclusive—with no faith having the protection of physical truth—and therefore people’s lifestyles come into conflict. Faith is adversarial. That is why religion precludes a lasting peace. Religions cannot live side by side—at least not under their own power.

People today can go to the grocery store and visit the hospital. That’s because our society is no longer religious. Granted, the people may still be religious, but the actual institutions of our society have long since become mostly secular. But there was a time when religious power was absolute, and would you really be bold enough to claim that you would have preferred that era to this one?

You too should read that link I gave to Rat:

http://www.chronocompendium.com/Forums/index.php?topic=2733.msg49283#msg49283

Religion begets dysfunction. When contained by a strong and healthy secular society, it isn’t much of a threat. But when religion worms its way into the echelons of power once more, society inevitably decays. We see that happening in the United States right now, with the other developed nations leaving us behind in health, science, and education—to say nothing of our image abroad.

When one person balances a religious faith with life in the real world, there isn’t much difficulty. But when everybody does it? History has the answer for that. So does the Middle East. If a devout Christian can also build rocket ships and play in the symphony, as well as go to the grocery store and visit the hospital, then what is the harm in allowing her to live her life religiously? Because the strength of her intellect and the tumor of her faith are two different things, and mistaking her ability to live with a disease for proof that the disease is not harmful, and then concluding that everybody should be free to have their own, personal tumor…what do you think will come of that?

Religion is benign only so long as we can contain it. Yet it yields so little good…so little value. It offers nothing that the real world does not already offer in far richer detail. You tell me which is more amazing: The thought that some omnipotent deity created a goofy little planet with the snap of a finger, or the thought that all the life, diversity, art, and technology this world has ever known was able to arise from a single cell, ages ago, long before the continents and oceans of today even existed?

Secular society doesn’t hold a grudge. Religious freedom was guaranteed in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and today most of the developed world is historically tolerant of people’s religious beliefs. But religion will never, ever make that same deal with us. It is only the luxury of superior power that allows secularism to tolerate religion. And look how tenuous that superior power really is: Look at all the Christians in this country—Christianity being the historical and majority religion—who want to persecute anyone who is not like them, and would gladly do so were it not against the law. Look at those who see the law and ignore it, and persecute others anyway. Look at all those people who want to change the law entirely, and make this country into a Christian state.

That is the harm in being tolerant. Faith is a disease of the mind. Religion is a pox on society. A devout person can still function, and a religious society can still endure, but why would we encourage these things to ever flourish again, having finally escaped them? I tell you what, Silvercry: We created God. We were the means of our own oppression for tens of thousands of years. It took a lot of suffering and sacrifice to escape from our own, self-made prison. Why would we ever want to go through that again? Just because many people have forgotten the lesson of the past—or never learned it in the first place—does not give the rest of us the opportunity to ignore the threat of religious resurgence.

Tolerance of evil is a sordid game. If we play, we can only lose. Let people have their faith, their religion…but it has no place in public, let alone in the government. And when the opportunity arises to tolerate a person’s faith, as a show of goodwill, or of respect, or even of gratitude…we must always resist. Faith really is no different than a disease of the mind. We must never encourage it.


Does faith in oneself apply? I have faith (bound by limits of common sense and reason) that I can accomplish something if I devote every ounce of my being and love to it. It may be irrational in some cases, and some tasks may be summarily impossible. But it draws on my philosophy of 200%. In certain areas, the mind is conditioned to believe that performing under maximum capacity is actually doing one's best. As a result, I believe the concept of going "beyond 100%" can actually help, though it is impossible mathematically.

This kind of faith, ZeaLitY, is not religious in nature. No faith is exempt from the intrinsic flaw of circumventing the truth, but your ardor, inasmuch as it can be called faith at all, is less virulent than religious faith. I think you would benefit from a restructuring of your phraseology and its philosophical framework, because nothing you have said needs to rely upon faith at all. You need to realize that for yourself. You’re very close already:

The philosophy of 200% is maintaining optimism and belief in oneself to the point that one tries to break perceived limitations. Motivation can come from anywhere -- imagine someone will shoot you if you don't reach a mile, or that you will fail a class if you do not do a paper a month before it is due. It is not total self-deception, but it helps reach that overall concept of reaching as far as possible.

I say your next epiphany awaits!


Geez, Lord J. You act like you're donating your job to the new blood, and yet you type out a veritable encyclopedia. I'll be in a corner wallowing in insecurity and brain-envy now…

Don’t do that. Like Mark Twain once said, the better a writer you are, the less you have to write to make your point.

--that, and hiding from Rock Lee, who seems to enjoy pointing me out lately. (I expect the showering of flowers, expensive jewelry and marriage proposals to commence any time now, Lee. I am not a cheap date. :d)

This would be fun to watch.


Ironic, though, that Lord J wants a better world, without hatred and discrimination, and yet to achieve these ways you insult Christians, and think it would be a better world without them.

You’re getting stuffier in your old age, Zeppy. “Hatred” isn’t the right word for how I feel about the religious devout. Disgust would be closer to it. My discrimination against these people’s faith-based zeal is not based in prejudice, but in judgment itself. The impact of religious doctrine on society is well-documented. The proof is there for all to see. No other judgment is reasonable. Religious faith is a mental illness.

So, if in your world, one that you controlled, people were to become Christian again, what would you do? Get rid of them, and be no different from the "evil" rulers before you?

No, I don’t think I would “get rid” of anybody. You’re thinking from inside the box of your own religious limitations. The punitive and vengeful characteristics of faith-based retribution are as outdated as prayer shawls. I’m not interested in hurting or punishing people for being ignorant. To the contrary, education is what I would “do” to them. Perhaps some parts of the world really would benefit from a “kill anybody over the age of two” policy, but I don’t know of any such places myself, and I would be very reluctant to ever choose destruction over rehabilitation. A good public propaganda campaign, some legislation that defangs religion’s power to acquire money, and an intense campaign to teach our children that wisdom which their parents never learned, ought to be the only medicine we need.

Burning Zeppelin

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Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2006, 02:54:04 am »
You’re getting stuffier in your old age, Zeppy.
Sorry, but all the colours in the air distract my train of thought these days.

The problem with your argument is that you believe that faith can only result in evil. No, it can't result in compassion. No, it can't result in love. No, it can't result in mercy. Of course, Christianity and Islam, the two "organized religions" don't teach any of these things, they only teach bloodshed and evil. Your thought seems to be a sweeping generalization. Religion is not a mental illness, well, not always.

I also think your idea of the Christian and Islamic States being the pinnacle of evil is also untrue. Both have resulted in atrocities, and most informed Muslims and Christians would probably agree with that too. But you blame it only on the religious doctrine, rather than other factors, such as the human want for power.

Oh, and when I said "get rid of" I meant more of telling 'em to get out, rather than *bang bang bang*.

Rat

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« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2006, 03:07:18 am »
I find it a bit amusing that you're saying that one must go out and spread atheism because it is the only true path and right way of thinking, and all other ways are wrong and flawed and should not be tolerated because they are evil. We must enlighten the people! We need atheist missionaries! Wait, is it right to call them missionaries anymore!? Informers! Yeah, that works! We need informants for the people, to spread truth!

Lord J Esq

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« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2006, 03:23:05 am »
The problem with your argument is that you believe that faith can only result in evil. No, it can't result in compassion. No, it can't result in love. No, it can't result in mercy. Of course, Christianity and Islam, the two "organized religions" don't teach any of these things, they only teach bloodshed and evil. Your thought seems to be a sweeping generalization. Religion is not a mental illness, well, not always.

All of these things you mention--compassion, love, mercy--can and do occur without the context of a religious motive. You see, many evils arise because of religion, evils that would not otherwise take hold in the land, but the converse is not true: All of the good things that arise from religion still arise in a land of no religion. Religion has so much original evil to offer us, but absolutely no original good.

I also think your idea of the Christian and Islamic States being the pinnacle of evil is also untrue. Both have resulted in atrocities, and most informed Muslims and Christians would probably agree with that too. But you blame it only on the religious doctrine, rather than other factors, such as the human want for power.

Religious doctrine gives justification to power grabs, domination, oppression, and murder...when no other means of justifying these things is available. That is a lesson of our history.


I find it a bit amusing that you're saying that one must go out and spread atheism because it is the only true path and right way of thinking, and all other ways are wrong and flawed and should not be tolerated because they are evil. We must enlighten the people! We need atheist missionaries! Wait, is it right to call them missionaries anymore!? Informers! Yeah, that works! We need informants for the people, to spread truth!

Rat, the opposite of faith is not atheism. The opposite of faith is "no faith." I'm not saying we should spread anything; I'm not even an atheist. Nonreligion is a condition that exists by default when no religion prevails. All I am saying is that faith is a bad thing, and we should do away with it--or at least discourage it.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 03:24:44 am by Lord J esq »

Rat

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2006, 03:58:37 am »

Rat, the opposite of faith is not atheism. The opposite of faith is "no faith." I'm not saying we should spread anything; I'm not even an atheist. Nonreligion is a condition that exists by default when no religion prevails. All I am saying is that faith is a bad thing, and we should do away with it--or at least discourage it.

Hmm. Then could you please define what it means to have no faith to me? Because I am having difficulty understanding it as you mean it from how you are writing of things. Because to me it seems to be one of a few possibilities:

Agnosticism, but an agnostic believes that the existence of God/gods cannot be proven or disproven, and so for the most part an agnostic would be tolerant of other religions and faiths because they do not know if something exists or not. They would not be the first to discourage faith, or to call it evil. You are suggesting that people should not be tolerant at all, and take the chance to discourage faith (in other words, to attempt correcting people in what they think/believe, which to me suggests that they are wrong and need someone to lead them into the truth) if they should ever have the chance, or at least that seems to be how I'm reading it, so I doubt it would agnosticism.

Atheism is the belief that there are no God/gods at all, so my mind relates it more to what you are saying, and you might have to forgive me for that. If faith is evil and should be done away with, then it goes to say that one might not believe in a God/gods in that case to so easily write off faith, and then would be atheist. Also, if faith is believing in something, then I would think that no faith is believing in nothing, in which case wouldn't that be atheism?

Another option would probably believe in a deity of some sort, but does not think that showing an absolute faith or following religious doctrine is right, probably for reasons more similar along the lines of deism, or that whatever there is might have set things in motion, but does not care for anything that actually happens (I forget the name of the theory) - in which case, exhibiting a strong faith and allowing it to rule every aspect of your life is just as futile as it is to atheists.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2006, 04:13:05 am »
Hmm. Then could you please define what it means to have no faith to me? Because I am having difficulty understanding it as you mean it from how you are writing of things. Because to me it seems to be one of a few possibilities:

Agnosticism, but an agnostic believes that the existence of God/gods cannot be proven or disproven, and so for the most part an agnostic would be tolerant of other religions and faiths because they do not know if something exists or not. They would not be the first to discourage faith, or to call it evil. You are suggesting that people should not be tolerant at all, and take the chance to discourage faith (in other words, to attempt correcting people in what they think/believe, which to me suggests that they are wrong and need someone to lead them into the truth) if they should ever have the chance, or at least that seems to be how I'm reading it, so I doubt it would agnosticism.

Atheism is the belief that there are no God/gods at all, so my mind relates it more to what you are saying, and you might have to forgive me for that. If faith is evil and should be done away with, then it goes to say that one might not believe in a God/gods in that case to so easily write off faith, and then would be atheist. Also, if faith is believing in something, then I would think that no faith is believing in nothing, in which case wouldn't that be atheism?

Another option would probably believe in a deity of some sort, but does not think that showing an absolute faith or following religious doctrine is right, probably for reasons more similar along the lines of deism, or that whatever there is might have set things in motion, but does not care for anything that actually happens (I forget the name of the theory) - in which case, exhibiting a strong faith and allowing it to rule every aspect of your life is just as futile as it is to atheists.

I'd be glad to answer your very intelligent query, as best I am able. It seems to me as though your trouble is reconciling my agnosticism with my intolerance for religious faith. Let's talk for a bit first about agnosticism and atheism. Please note that, herein, by “God” I refer to “G(g)od[dess](es),” which pertains to all hypothetical deities and spiritual forces.

Agnostics believe that a belief on the subject of God is unproven. Different agnostics have this belief for different reasons:

1. Some agnostics believe that the neither the existence nor the nonexistence of God can ever be proven at all.
2. Some agnostics believe that neither the existence nor the nonexistence of God can be proven at the present time, but remain additionally agnostic as to whether that insolvability itself will remain true in the future. (Incidentally, this is me.)
3. Some agnostics do not want to make an opinion, because they are unconvinced by all theistic/deistic/atheistic arguments.
4. Some agnostics do not want to make an opinion, because they do not respect the subject matter.
5. Finally, anyone who is not a theist, deist, or atheist by default, is an agnostic, because these types of agnostics have never even thought of God, and therefore have never formed any opinion of any sort on the matter.

I should note that some agnostics want very strongly for there to be a God, while others want very strongly for there not to be, while others still do not want to think about it at all. But in all cases, they will not assert that God exists, and they will not assert that God does not exist.

Atheists believe that God does not exist. Different atheists too have different reasons for this belief:

1. Some atheists believe that the lack of scientifically verifiable evidence in support of God is sufficient to conclude that there is no God.
2. Some atheists believe that there is sufficient proof of the function and nature of the universe so that there is no room for God to exist without disrupting physical law.
3. Some atheists try to establish that God is a real entity whose nonexistence is therefore provable. (In other words, “God” itself may be its own contradiction, just like a married bachelor. These arguments tackle specific theistic and deistic models of God, one at a time.)
4. Some atheists have faith that God does not exist, similar to the theistic and deistic faiths that God really does exist, based on life experiences and personal interpretations of the world.

Please note that “there is no God” is different from “God does not exist.” The former holds that God cannot exist because the idea itself is nonsense. The latter holds that God can exist but, for whatever reasons, does not.

Taking into account this expatiation upon agnosticism versus atheism, I might then add that one can be agnostic about God in the general case, yet atheistic toward the God proposed by the religion of your choice, from Christianity to Islam. I am agnostic in the general case because I do not know any better, and atheistic in these specific cases because I do know better.

Now, having clarified all of that, I hope we can put it aside as extraneous. In other words, my agnosticism has nothing to do with my intolerance of religious faith. It has only to do with my perceptions of the existence of God. My disrespect for religious faith is the function of a double understanding that, first, faith is inherently absurd (in the academic sense of that word), and, second, the fruits of this particular absurdity are consistently rotten. Like poisonous berries that make you go mad and oppress people, I try to avoid faith myself, and I try to discourage other people from making the same mistake.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2006, 04:59:35 am »
Woah woah and woah. I can understand why you are intolerant to Islam and Christianity (seeing as how both believe arrogance to be a sin) but what makes you so sure that the God in which they believe in is not the true god, or not even exist?

Lord J Esq

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2006, 05:03:30 am »
Woah woah and woah. I can understand why you are intolerant to Islam and Christianity (seeing as how both believe arrogance to be a sin) but what makes you so sure that the God in which they believe in is not the true god, or not even exist?

Hehehe!!

Quite honestly, Zeppy, either the answer is above you, or you are above the answer. In either case, if you have to ask, ask yourself.

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2006, 05:11:18 am »
Woah woah and woah. I can understand why you are intolerant to Islam and Christianity (seeing as how both believe arrogance to be a sin) but what makes you so sure that the God in which they believe in is not the true god, or not even exist?

That's an easy one. If he believed that the god of Christianity was the one true god, he'd be a Christian. If he believed that the God of Islam was the one true god, he'd be a Muslim. But, as an agnostic, he cannot say with certainty that either of those dieties exists, and therefore, cannot assert either to be the "true" god.

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2006, 05:24:03 am »
Hm, let me rephrase my question. How can he be absolutely sure that the Islamic god or the Christian god does not exist?

Oh, and Lord J, remember that evil and other things exist largely outside the religious population, or outside that of religious context. Not all evil dictators were Muslim or Christian. Some were even Atheist. I'm sure many opressors weren't Muslim, because, well, oppression is one of the major sins. Now, if a Muslim dictator does oppress? Well then, how can you be sure that that is direct result of religious interference?

EDITZOR: Another thing. You say faith, or more specifically religion, is the reason why so many atrocities occur. However, many atrocities occur just out of non religious influenced behavious, as this is possible as said before, and they use religion to justify their actions. Now you can say that the decimation of religion would make such justifications null, but faith in anything can before justification. Faith in yourself, telling you that you are right. Faith in society, telling you that what you are doing is good. Faith in anything.

Now, to get rid of that, you could always go about destroying faith in anything other than what you believe in. But that is wrong! People have tried doing that before, and we all know that they have been universally declared "the bad guy".

Faith can be a disease, as you say, but faith is also a motivator. Even you have faith. Faith in the Democrats doing a better job than those dastardly old fools called the Republicans. Faith in your own reasoning, telling you that you are right, telling you that, no, there is no Jesus or Allah, and that you won't go to that Hell. Faith in calling other people ignorant or wrong.

And even though I may be the "victim" of your faith, I still recognize it, and I don't think it should be taken away from you. Of course, if I was killed due to that faith...then I guess we're both the bad guys!

Geez, my train of thought was so much better when I was eating that cake. I should go eat some more.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 05:51:33 am by Burning Zeppelin »

Magus068

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2006, 08:31:45 am »
EDITZOR: Another thing. You say faith, or more specifically religion, is the reason why so many atrocities occur. However, many atrocities occur just out of non religious influenced behavious, as this is possible as said before, and they use religion to justify their actions.

How quite true!  Most people who makes war gain resources & power.  In other words, greed & power hunger is the motivator to most wars.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2006, 09:54:33 am »
Hm, let me rephrase my question. How can he be absolutely sure that the Islamic god or the Christian god does not exist?

That kind of certitude is beyond the purview of reason. Nobody, including yourself, can be “absolutely sure” about matters for which there is no cognizable gauge. Nevertheless, in every way that matters, there is an overwhelming abundance of evidence that neither of those gods exist, as well as an unqualified void of evidence that might support their existence. Both empirically and analytically, ‘doze gods be frauds.

Oh, and Lord J, remember that evil and other things exist largely outside the religious population, or outside that of religious context. Not all evil dictators were Muslim or Christian. Some were even Atheist. I'm sure many opressors weren't Muslim, because, well, oppression is one of the major sins. Now, if a Muslim dictator does oppress? Well then, how can you be sure that that is direct result of religious interference?

We’ve had this discussion before. You are still unable or unwilling to conceive that religion itself is not only a means by which people justify their atrocities, but in fact one of the major sources of atrocity. When people convince themselves that their actions are in the service of an unquestionable authority, they place themselves beyond worldly accountability…and the inevitable consequence is suffering and oppression. Religion is corruptive; it is a circumvention of the truth and an excuse to commit all sorts of crimes that would otherwise defy explanation. And that is the end of the story. You don’t have to like it, but it is the truth.

Even you have faith. Faith in the Democrats doing a better job than those dastardly old fools called the Republicans. Faith in your own reasoning, telling you that you are right, telling you that, no, there is no Jesus or Allah, and that you won't go to that Hell. Faith in calling other people ignorant or wrong.

I am not one of these so-called people of faith. None of what you described suggests faith.

On the Democrats: The Democrats have an agenda, and the Republicans have theirs, and there is no doubt as to who stands for what. The voting records of our politicians are there to see; the policies of our elected officials are evident in their communications and in their initiatives. I know them, by their words and their deeds I know them all. It isn’t a matter of faith for me to recognize which party I more closely identify with. It is a matter of critical judgment.

On reason: When I reason, I begin with a premise and then account for the facts. Inasmuch as I can build sound premises and assemble comprehensive facts, I don’t need to have faith in my reasoning…and I don’t. My reasoning speaks for itself; you can check anything I say against the sum of human knowledge, and if you pursue such an audit with an open mind, you will often find me to be right. Sometimes I make mistakes in my reasoning—usually because of a faulty premise; sometimes becomes of faulty or incomplete facts—and if I am corrected in a verifiable way, I issue a mea culpa and move on. In comparison, faith-based reasoning is almost a contradiction in terms. When the straightforwardness of logical consistency becomes subject to the whim’s of one’s imagination, and when unsupportable biases prevent an objective review of the facts, the result is a prejudiced and non-thinking kind of thinking. As Stephen Colbert puts it, faith-based thinking is akin to feeling the truth in your gut. Reality isn’t a part of that equation, and that isn’t reasonable. Your grasp of epistemology leaves much to be desired, Zeppy.

On being right: I never write anything on this Compendium that I have not already run through my own bullshit-o-meter. That doesn’t always catch everything, and it does not guarantee the veracity of what I write, but most of what I write, if you remove the florid language, the ego, and the fluff, boils down to passionate criticisms of other people’s unreasonableness…and you probably know for yourself just how much easier it is to point out flaws in other people’s thinking than to generate your own, original thoughts. The “being right” part of my job really isn’t very hard at all, and the facts speak for themselves: I have a very reliable reputation for identifying bullshit, not only in my own reasoning but in other people’s as well. All of what I do is accountable to the physical truth. Indeed, it is alien to my way of thinking to begin with a premise, argue it, and then accept as a matter of faith that, because of who I am and what I have said, I am right. Having faith that you are right is your specialty, Zeppy—not mine.

On tribal god images and the afterlife: I don’t have faith that your god does not exist. I have evidence of it. Oh, not the sort of evidence you would be interested in—the completeness of science in explaining phenomena, the lack of credibility of ancient texts to monopolize cosmic wisdom, the neuroses and duplicitousness and contradictory claims made by those who do claim to believe in one god or another—but the sort of evidence, all the same, that decides cases in the court of reason. But more than that, Zeppy…The existence of a god is not my burden to prove. It is yours. Likewise the idea of an afterlife. You asked me once how I would react if I died and found out your god was real. I dutifully fired up my imagination and tried to give a plausible answer. But you…you would be incapable of that simple exercise in reverse—wherein I ask you to describe how you would be reasonably dissuaded of your religion—because you cannot escape the bias of your religious beliefs. Your faith has muddled your mind. That’s why you always argue with me in these religious topics, and yet always lose: You are tied to a hopeless point of view that prevents you from using physical facts but also prevents you from accepting defeat.

In a way, I appreciate the opportunities you give me, to make my case time and again at your expense, handing you defeat after defeat without you ever even realizing it. But I gather you enjoy it, and for a long while I did too. All the same, it comes time to say “enough.” You have the tendency to lose an argument, then slowly forget about it and come back a few weeks or months later and make the same challenge all over again. I think the fun of arguing with you is wearing out. You’re good company, Zeppy, and your presence makes the forums a more interesting place. But you yourself…I don’t want to ask too much of you, and yet at the same time I’m not interested in asking the same old debates anymore. Looking back over the past two pages, I haven’t said anything new. Nobody who reads this is likely to benefit from it, and that includes you and me. Did I just waste these past forty minutes? Maybe so.

That gives me pause.

Lena Andreia

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2006, 05:56:03 pm »
Quote
In any case, I would still very much like to hear her answer to my question about why she believes in God without the benefit of a religion.

 Want to know why? For one, you may have misunderstood what I said. It's understandable--I was at work, and when I'm there it has this wonderful ability to cloud all of my thoughts. I'll rephrase.

 
Quote
Personally, I do think the world would be more peaceful without "organized" religion. Sure, I do believe in God, but I don't believe He would want His people blowing each other up over stupid disagreements. Our world has lost a lot of valuable cultures in the name of "religion"--hell--practically all of civilization in the western hemisphere was wiped out over the last millennium thanks to it. That doesn't mean I don't think that people should have faith, but I just think that it should be more of a private affair. And it definitely has no place in government issues. It still burns my buns that our politicians use it as a bargaining chip.

 Actually--reading this, I don't see where I said I don't *believe* in organized religion. However, I'll delve deeper.

 What I do believe is that humans are on the whole, pretty stupid. We're a species of followers. People will worship anything, really--stars, sports teams, television shows, hell, even video games. These people will follow blindly at times, either for a sense of "belonging", or for a sort of "high" granted by thinking themselves closer to the object of their worship. Online, you get groups of fanboys running around flaming and spamming. In real life, these obsessors will become groupies, found fanclubs, and obsessively collect anything pertaining to the object of their obsession.

 If the object of affection is attacked, or, is thought to be the "opposing" force to another group's object of affection (IE--Team X versus Team Y), very bad things can happen. Websites might be hacked. A gathering of groupies can become a riot. People can die. This is human nature, however--if it wasn't religion, it would be territory, race, sexual orientation, hair color, eye color, what kind of car you drive--heck, even whether you shop at Wal-Mart or not.

 "Organized" religion (and yes, I was largely referring to Christianity, Islam, and the Catholic Church), is just fandom on a massive scale. I have the misfortune of working with a "devout" Christian, and yes--whenever she tries to talk to me about Christianity, I roll my eyes. God is a central theme on her desk. She can't dislodge her life from her obsession. She votes because of religious issues only--never mind what happens to the country. All of her faults she blames on God. All of her successes, she attributes to God. She believes she's nothing but a pawn in some sort of cosmic chess match--it's disturbing. But it's hard to peg where the belief ends, and the fandom begins. It's people like her that end up taking it too far. They're the types that leaders can turn into soldiers of faith. Do I think the Islamic extremists are evil? No. I think they're fools, puppets, blindly following their faith. It's a tragedy. It makes me sick when we use religion, which is suppose to bring hope, as a tool to conquer and invade. As a means to cover what our real agenda is. So what I meant, is that humanity is too stupid for organized religion to work without people having to die, and thus, if it didn't exist, perhaps there would be fewer wars. But now that I've thought about it, I'm wrong. Even without religion, it'd just be something else. But do I correct her? No, because I know she would just shoot me down, and my life at work would become a neverending argument with this woman. I do, however, ask her constantly what her basis for supporting certain politicians is, and have managed to sway her away from damn Jebulya and his little cronies by explaining to her the HELL he's unleashed on our educational system here in Florida. Her stance on abortion remains uneffected.

 About how I can believe...

 I was raised Christian, and so yes--I tend to capitalize "God" out of habit. At church, people were very nasty, talking behind each others backs. I didn't like it. People seemed to think that your passage into heaven would be determined by how many bars you sell at the bake sale. A lot of them mentioned "ranks" in heaven--like, as long as you believe you'll get in, but unless you're a "VIP", you'll be on the lowest rung of heaven. This made me feel angry--what the hell did going to church functions have to do with heaven? So I started to study. When I found out that lots of books had been deemed not to be part of the "bible canon", I started to wonder about it. It was up to humans to decide what deserved to be in the bible, and what wasn't? And the translation left me wondering too. They were saying that the "Red Sea" was a mistranslation in the Moses myth--it was actually supposed to be the "Sea of Reeds". If that was a mistake, then surely, there could be others?

 I think the bible is merely a very well written record of historical events, myths, and fables mixed together. I do believe there was a massive flood in the region (perhaps a tsunami on the Mediterranean coast?) because it shows up in other myths as well (Epic of Gilgamesh), and so must have been collectively passed down by the different civilizations of the time. I believe there was an exodus of the Jews from Egypt, though it probably didn't involve Moses calling down the plagues (though that would have been awesome--it's my favorite bible myth). I saw a documentary some time ago that pointed out that those plagues may have been a series of disasters that befell Egypt over the course of several years, which would make sense--if the Jews used that chance to flee, of course they would attribute their freedom to a benevolent god. And yeah, I believe that Jesus was a man who was wrongly executed and his memory has endured all these years because of the impact he made on the world at the time. Heck, even the Garden of Eden could be a metaphor of man eventually moving out of Africa.

 But do I believe that God was going around turning people into pillars of salt, nuking towns, and flooding the entire world? About as much as I believe that the Gods up on Mt. Olympus were having sexy adventures throughout the classical Greek era.

Anyway, to wrap this up ( as I really want to get to actually working on Crisis today--I've been distracted by the net since I got up. ^^;; ) I believe that there is something out there, and since I'm limited by language, the only name I can assign to it is "God". But I like to keep my faith to myself, because I don't want to blindly follow the fandom. I have an open mind about the sciences--I believe in evolution, and I definitely don't believe that some deity snapped its cosmic fingers and "poof" Earth was born. I believe that there are many more worlds like ours with people wondering these same things, having these same arguments. Maybe the "God" I believe in is more of a force than a singular deity... But then, I'm not sure. I feel something is there, but I'm not sure what. It's a great mystery that I sort of can't wait to solve when I die. ^^

 And yes, I like to believe that there's something beyond this life. I don't think I could live with the simple fact that one day, I'll just be worm food. It was a comfort when I was dying as a child, so yes--maybe it's a residual effect of my disease. I like to dream about another life--about what's next. I'm a romantic and a writer, so that might be why I have such a crazy view of the world. Again, maybe it's just part of the disease. But it's what I believe. And I respect your beliefs too, Lord J--just like I would anyone's. I find your to-the-point view of the world a little sad (again, I hate the thought of just fading away), but then, it doesn't make you sad, so that's OK. And, if someone ever did, without a doubt, scientifically prove me wrong, I would believe them. I would be devastated, but I would believe them, and put my dreams to rest.

That's all I meant. And I do like to respect the beliefs of others. A lot of people aren't very open-minded, and thus, no amount of evidence will convince them they're wrong. It goes back and forth like a game of ping-pong. I might not be the best person for doing it, as yes, I'm not "spreading the word" for either side, but I think that a person will believe what they want to believe, no matter what you tell them. Getting the word out is important, and those who are open minded will might be swayed. But it's very hard to get a truly obsessed person to sway their beliefs (as I'm sure Zeality has seen with the anti-Cross fanboys XD). Plus, it's hard to deny your upbringing, usually. And since it's a fight that really can't be won, I usually just try to calm the situation, and then vanish. I don't like fights, and religion causes some nasty ones.

 OK, I'm done. Need to go do something artistic now.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 06:01:46 pm by Lena Andreia »

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2006, 04:49:31 am »
Let me waste another twelve minutes of your time. Nothing you said destroyed the chance of there being God. You seem to think that religion and science are two distinct opposites, something that is present in the minds of some of your worst enemy's, CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS. DOO DOO DOOOOO. You think that where there is absolute science, religion has no chance of existing. Personally I don't think of religion to be something born out of ignorance, and many parts of religion seem to be born out of the opposite.

I'll say something I have said before, but on more intimate terms: you accuse religions of not coexisting peacefully with other religions/ideas yet you yourself publicly state that you are disgusted by religion, and would want it destroyed. I can't see much different of that and people that think having the world rid of certain races, sexual preferences or body characteristics good. Even on a personal level - of someone not minding anyone elses business and just going day by day following their own religion - you find strange and laughable.

Sorry if I'm sounding like a broken record, just saying what I want to say.

Oh, one bad thing that can come out of both religion and the absence of religion, as displayed so greatly in many threads, is belittling your opponent. Way to prove a point.

EDIT: Something Lena said reminded me of what one of my older friends said. He is a very wise guy, who even though is sorta mentally retarded, is very political and, well, smart. "The world is too corrupt for an Islamic Empire to exist."
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 04:53:29 am by Burning Zeppelin »

grey_the_angel

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Re: Faith-Based Topic
« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2006, 07:15:15 pm »
Let me waste another twelve minutes of your time. Nothing you said destroyed the chance of there being God. You seem to think that religion and science are two distinct opposites, something that is present in the minds of some of your worst enemy's, CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS. DOO DOO DOOOOO. You think that where there is absolute science, religion has no chance of existing. Personally I don't think of religion to be something born out of ignorance, and many parts of religion seem to be born out of the opposite.

I'll say something I have said before, but on more intimate terms: you accuse religions of not coexisting peacefully with other religions/ideas yet you yourself publicly state that you are disgusted by religion, and would want it destroyed. I can't see much different of that and people that think having the world rid of certain races, sexual preferences or body characteristics good. Even on a personal level - of someone not minding anyone elses business and just going day by day following their own religion - you find strange and laughable.

Sorry if I'm sounding like a broken record, just saying what I want to say.

Oh, one bad thing that can come out of both religion and the absence of religion, as displayed so greatly in many threads, is belittling your opponent. Way to prove a point.

EDIT: Something Lena said reminded me of what one of my older friends said. He is a very wise guy, who even though is sorta mentally retarded, is very political and, well, smart. "The world is too corrupt for an Islamic Empire to exist."

I told you he would, didn't I? its the inablity suspend disbelief all atheist have. they all do it, and it pisses them off that other's can, so the will point out and belittle whenever they can the folly of other religions.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 08:49:41 pm by grey_the_angel »