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View Poll Results: You are a...
firm believer 168 28.82%
Deist 18 3.09%
Theist 23 3.95%
Agnostic 120 20.58%
Atheist 254 43.57%
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:59 PM   #31
jay73
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I was merely trying to point that throughout history there have been misguided acts by religious zealots, but also your more contemporary examples are clearly well put as well.
zealotry is just the religious version of ambition; it has nothing to do with religion but everything with human nature. Bear in mind that the first Christians were pursued, tortured and killed on a large scale themselves. Consider the sort of fun that we saw in the 20th century (national socialism, communism, ...) - nothing to do with religion ("religion is the opium of the people"). Consider the plight of many third world countries today which keep being exploited and oppressed because so many in the West are faithful capitalists.

As for Christian intolerance, there is wide agreement among historians that it had a strongly secular dimension too. The holy crusades, for example, were directly caused by poverty and the lack of available soil in the West. Read Duby or LeGoff for details. Many who enrolled were more interested in the material prospects than the well-being of their soul. The inquisition is directly related to the rise of science, reason and the modern state. To many monarchs it was simply the most expedient way of suppressing divergent opinions and securing unity among their people. Christianity didn't become intolerant until people started looking at the bible from an increasingly scientific and logical way: it's either right or wrong. That's when it started splitting up into increasingly hostile and intransigent sects.

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So by some twisted sort of ethical logic, it's OK to spread AIDS so long as you're not preventing pregnancy
No it isn't. The Church is opposed to "fooling around", which they believe to be the main
cause of the spread of AIDS. Whether that's very realistic given human nature is dubious but that's something else again.



By the way, where do gnostics fit in on the scale from believer to atheist? True believer or heretic?

Last edited by jay73; 11-19-2007 at 06:06 PM.
 
Old 11-19-2007, 06:49 PM   #32
oskar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
By the way, where do gnostics fit in on the scale from believer to atheist? True believer or heretic?
I have a hard time defining Theism as opposed to Deism... Gnostics... would be a good name for prezel sticks.

You know I feel bad for all the religion bashing this thread has caused... We should not forget all the good things religion about religion.
And let's also not forget that they do have some pretty strong arguments on their side.

Last edited by oskar; 11-19-2007 at 06:55 PM.
 
Old 11-19-2007, 06:50 PM   #33
ta0kira
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Wow, arguing about examples of religious hypocrisy vs. whatever is about as bad as people who say things like "open-source sucks/doesn't suck because...example projects...". People are independent to think what they want, even just little enough to decide if someone/something else will think for them. If one has no principles then life is mayhem. Some can't come up with their own, some can, and some use religion as all or some of their bases. I think the controversial factor is the principle which says one principle should trump another with only arbitrary or unprovable logic. Example: I think that one person shouldn't kill others if not to potentially save another. I have reasons for this which are logical, but they would take a while to put down on paper. That's an acceptable principle to force on other people. I also believe that people should be respectful toward others. That's acceptable to force on others. I also believe that I need to judge myself by very high standards. That isn't acceptable to force on others because it's arbitrary in terms of how it affects other than the holder.

I don't mind if someone religious tells me to be kind or to be generous, even if they tell me god said to do it. I do mind if anyone tells me to believe something if it can't be objectively and reasonably justified to benefit something other than them, me, or an organization that isn't out to make society or the world better.

I won't say whether or not I'm religious, but I will say that anything religion can provide is bent out of shape by a large portion of those institutions which control it. You can't say that all Iranians hate the US (just because the governments hate each other) and you can't say that everyone religious/not possess the common stereotypes of either. Religion has a definition which is only loosely tied to faith in something not scientifically provable, but if it weren't an institution which exercises control over fundamental beliefs then it wouldn't be religion.

Most sane people have psychological areas for all of the things religion fills in. They either fill them in with pieces of one or more religions or something else they find a reason to believe. There is the default placeholder which is instinct, but a lot of times that isn't acceptable for civilized living and sometimes one must resist a stronger instinct from filling it in. The control/fear of many religious institutions is necessary for some people to keep one from overtaking another. If you do or don't believe it, that's entirely up to you. I don't think that the literal truth of it matters in the end, but in most religions you must "know" that it's true in order for it to work. Some people really feel a connection to something and they aren't likely to be convinced by someone who doesn't. Others have scientific reasoning behind why they don't believe.

There will always be a gap between scientifically known and unknown causes of events. An argument I've heard before is that scientific laws are just tools with no reason to actually do anything and that god "makes stuff do things" using those rules. That may or may not be true, and "god" in that context could even be defined as the reason things actually happen. No one knows the fundamental reason for things happening, so some say "it's out there and I call it science yet to be discovered," others say "it's out there and I call it god," and others say "sh*t happens." It really doesn't matter which you choose except for how it shapes the principles of your life and how those benefit you and others.
ta0kira

EDIT: And the whole "after death" thing lies with whether or not consciousness actually exists and if it's a true result of biology. I'm afraid we'll never know the answer to that because it's beyond our own comprehension. I am the only conscious person, after all. The fear of hell is contingent upon being aware of being there, but we'll never be able to prove if awareness extends past death or even the body. That's just how it is.

Last edited by ta0kira; 11-19-2007 at 07:01 PM.
 
Old 11-19-2007, 07:12 PM   #34
jay73
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deleted ----

Last edited by jay73; 11-19-2007 at 07:17 PM.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 01:09 AM   #35
amosf
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Couldn't figure which one to tick.

I'm a realist.

If it's real, I believe in it.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 07:18 AM   #36
oskar
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That applies to everyone, doesn't it. That has nothing to do with religion. God is not real in a conventional definition of the word, it's a matter of belief. If you believe that the world around you can only be explained by introducing a creator, you can call yourself a Deist. If you think there is a reasonable possibility that there is a creator, but you don't think there necessarily has to be or have been one, you are an Agnostic.
I think that the argument that the world could not have possibly come to be by chance and evolution, and therefore there has to have been a creator - shoots itself in the foot. Because it doesn't explain where the creator came from.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 09:08 AM   #37
alred
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only very advance people can think until like that ... ^_^


//btw , how about those who enjoy god/s as life is getting better and better nowadays for certain people .... how do you define them ...


.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 09:34 AM   #38
Dragineez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeebizz View Post
Didin't Bush come up with that term?
Oddly enough, no.
Quote:
...the term "Islamo-Fascism" was "initially coined by Algerian people struggling for democracy, against armed fundamentalist forces decimating people in our country, then later operating in Europe, where a number of us had taken refuge."
Leading to an even more interesting definition.
Quote:
Islamophobe (is-slahm-o-fohb) - A non-Muslim who knows too much about Islam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeebizz View Post
Thats something I cannot find, though there is no proof either that the Catholic church did anything to prevent or at least set some ground rules on how natives should be treated, then again, it wouldn't have mattered if they did anyways.
You've never seen or read Shogun? Historically accurate when they discuss the Pope assigning Asian territories to various Spanish and Portuguese rulers and religious orders. There is, for instance, the Papal Bull establishing Portuguese sovereignty over Macao. There are countless other examples of Rome dividing up the newly discovered and even the undiscovered world. Weren't Cortez' Conquistadors "religious" troops? Aggregious as this was, it did occur several hundred years ago.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 12:40 PM   #39
jay73
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I think that the argument that the world could not have possibly come to be by chance and evolution, and therefore there has to have been a creator - shoots itself in the foot. Because it doesn't explain where the creator came from.
That's an old argument and maybe I'm just plain stupid but it has never made any sense to me. I'm far from being a creationist, I just don't get the logic. Whatever has an origin (a point of creation) is limited; most religions say that God is infinite; conclusion: God does not have an origin. Or again: God is timeless; being created implies time; conclusion: the concept of being created does not apply to God. What you are doing here is what a lot of atheists are doing: they are measuring God on a materialistic scale but nowhere do they prove that materialism is the only possible measure. Of course, it is to the materialist but how can they prove that it really is? Materialism is only a tool, not an explanation. Take something like gravity. Its effect can be measured so it can be reduced to a set of laws; but do these laws explain why gravity exists at all - in a deeply fundamental way - or can they assure us that gravity will still be active two minutes from now?
 
Old 11-20-2007, 02:09 PM   #40
oskar
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I might have missed an important step there. I only mentioned that, because I was trying to explain why I think a realist in the philosophical sense cannot be a religious person - Because for something to be considered real it has to be either measurable, or it needs to have a measurable effect on something. This is where some people argue that the universe itself could not exist, or look the way it does if there was no creator - that's where the part you quoted should have started.
To me the more sound explanation is the Anthropic Principle.
Of course you can speculate that god has no origin, but that's again just a religious idea, that doesn't really explain anything.
Quote:
Take something like gravity. Its effect can be measured so it can be reduced to a set of laws; but do these laws explain why gravity exists at all - in a deeply fundamental way - or can they assure us that gravity will still be active two minutes from now?
- The laws of gravity don't explain anything by themselve, the theory of relativity does however.
So that was a bad pick by you, but you're right - of course there is still much that science cannot explain. But jumping in and saying "God did it!" isn't very satisfying either - to me at least.
Science is moving forward at an astonishing rate. A couple of hundred years ago we attributed all kinds of things to one or more gods. But now we know that lightnings are just electrical discharge, the tides are caused by the moon, the earth rotates around the sun creating days and seasons, rain is water vaporizing and coming down again. And lately we have found that creation and reproduction of life does not require any mystical force behind it, so religion is retreating further into things that we cannot, and might as well never be able to explain like consciousness and the origin of the Universe itself. And I don't think it is doing itself or the world any good claiming to have the answers on these things rather than just providing their shaky moral teachings.

---
God cannot be disproved, but you can't claim that everything that cannot be disproved exists.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 06:19 PM   #41
jay73
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The laws of gravity don't explain anything by themselve, the theory of relativity does however.
No, it doesn't. Same question: why does relativity exist (if it exists at all - it's just a hypothesis) and who can guarantee that it will still exist in two minutes from now? The point is: science can't be absolute. Its theories are only valid until they are superseded or refuted.
On top of that, it hasn't got any moral value. Can your prove in a scientific way that it would be wrong for me to go out and shoot my neighbour when he's having another of his noisy parties? That doesn't imply that anything is wrong with science, it just shows that religion and science are fundamentally different. Religion explains (or at least tries to) explain why things exist and how they are meaningful, science explains how they work. Believers who think they can refute science by pointing to a passage in their holy book should think again; but so should scientists who think they have anything sensible to say about God.

Anyway, the whole issue is rather irrelevant to me, possibly because the role of religion in a country like mine is a modest one on the whole. It might be different if I were surrounded by a bunch of fanatics.

Last edited by jay73; 11-20-2007 at 07:16 PM.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 07:21 PM   #42
oskar
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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
No, it doesn't.
Does so!
hehe...
That's pretty pointless... we both aren't scientists.

Quote:
Same question: why does relativity exist (if it exists at all - it's just a hypothesis)
I don't know exactly what you mean by that, but you can take the theory of relativity and make extremely exact predictions... You use whatever works at any given time, but again - that's beside the point.

Quote:
and who can guarantee that it will still exist in two minutes from now? The point is: science can't be absolute. Its theories are only valid until they are superseded or refuted.
Exactly. But Religion claims to be absolute, while nothing can be. Morality is always subject to the current zeitgeist. There are some rules that are timeless, like the old - everything you do should be ok if everybody did it, but that's Kant, not Jesus. Or: "The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few"... but that's Spock from Vulkan... again - not Jesus. Or: if they slap you once... present them the other cheek. I'm not so sure about that one... chances are you'll get slapped again.

Quote:
On top of that, it hasn't got any moral value. Can your prove in a scientific way that it would be wrong for me to go out and shoot my neighbour when he's having another of his noisy parties? That doesn't imply that anything is wrong with science, it just shows that religion and science are fundamentally different.
So you would go out and shoot your neighbour, if it wasn't for a holy book. I don't think so. The bible itself is full of horrible moral lessons, and I'm sure everyone knows the prominent examples, so I'm not going to bore you. You use your own morality to pick and choose your moral lessons from the teachings. If you lived by what the bible says exactly you could not function in todays society.

Quote:
Religion explains (or at least tries to) explain why things exist and how they are meaningful, science explains how they work. Believers who think they can refute science by pointing to a passage in their holy book are idiots; but so are scientists who think they have anything sensible to say about God (à la Richard Dawkins).
I have the deepest respect for Dawkins, because I was very interested in Evolution some time ago, and if you look for books about evolution, you are bound to run into Dawkins. If you ever get a chance, look at them... I only know the german titles... so I can't tell you exactly - Everything that doesn't have "God" in the title should be fine
I ran into him again when The God Delusion came out. I didn't read it, but the aftermath was considerable. He is definitely on the radical side, but while he does attack religion as a whole, he is definitely focusing on the radically religious people. I remember him saying, that if your faith helps you to overcome grief or if it makes you feel better about yourself, he has no objection. It is when you start indoctrinating your children, or if you try to impose laws on grounds of your religious belief - that is where he attacks. And he does it with very little empathy, I must admit.
For one of his better lectures, look for him on www.ted.com
---edit
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/98
This one. I've just seen the top result is "A scientist calls to arms"... watching now

Last edited by oskar; 11-20-2007 at 07:33 PM.
 
Old 11-20-2007, 09:24 PM   #43
jay73
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So you would go out and shoot your neighbour, if it wasn't for a holy book
Hey, don't push me, you! No, seriously, the point I was making is that there aren't any scientific criteria for deciding what is good or evil. You should read Wittgenstein's papers on ethics to get an idea what I mean. Or his later philosophy in general. As for the holy books, I tend to perceive them as "unendliche Annäherung" as the German Romantics put it so well. Not the Truth but an attempt to get closer to it. I tend to think that the greatest disaster of the last 1500 years is that we haven't seen any new prophets who would produce a more contemporary holy book (the ones who tried were all of them lunatics...). Or maybe we are all of us our own prophet today?

And yes, I am familiar with Dawkins (The Selfish Gene). He's a great scientist but just as much an ideologist (which is not so great for a scientist - scientists should be skeptics). If you are interested in my views on Dawkins et alii, there is Mary Midgley for a contemporary voice:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Midgley
Or you can go straight to Hume, Wittgenstein, Popper, Lakatos, Goodman, Quine, Toulmin... If you're a firm believer in science, expect to come out disillusioned. You'll learn that people like Dawkins will tell a you good deal more than they can actually know.

Anyway, I'll end my part in this discussion now. I just think this topic looks quite out of place on a Linux board. In fact, I'm surprised that none of the moderators have stepped in yet to put and end to it. Or is it because we're such well-behaved chaps?

Last edited by jay73; 11-20-2007 at 09:34 PM.
 
Old 11-21-2007, 05:28 AM   #44
XavierP
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Originally Posted by jay73 View Post
In fact, I'm surprised that none of the moderators have stepped in yet to put and end to it. Or is it because we're such well-behaved chaps?
Yep. So far, so good. Keep the thread to the current level of polite discourse and I see good things in it's future.
 
Old 11-21-2007, 07:10 AM   #45
oskar
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Alright then... excuse me while I read the works of Wittgenstein to continue a discussion about religion with a confused Mandriva user on a linux forum.
An "unendliche Annäherung" is just a hopelessly romantic idea - if you excuse the pun. How is the bible an approximation to "The Truth"... what truth... about what?

And I won't get disillusioned by the Philosophers you suggested, because I have no idea what they're saying. My sister hands me those books on a regular basis... but I don't get it. Not my territory. However I think you can challenge religious ideas on a rational level. You don't have to play by their rules. If you say you use the bible for moral lessons - I can point you to passages that you sure won't use for moral guidance. Of course there are good passages too, but they are everywhere. Even Star Trek has good moral lessons.
 
  


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