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Old 01-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #136
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Originally posted by anitram


Well you wouldn't get someone "looking" at porn without the process so it's a bit nonsensical to me to speak in such general terms.
Hentai would be an exception, cartoon pornography doesn't involve real people (only animators), so I will amend that statement with that, watching animated pornography is a victimless crime, or at least as victimless as watching a cartoon (because it isn't as conditional on the conditions in which other types of porn are produced - cure these infernal stipulations ).
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:31 PM   #137
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Who said unbelief is a type of belief? Why are you even bringing that up? I wasn't attempting a philosophical argument. I'm well aware that you see all religions as intellect-rotting hogwash, but the fact is that's not going to convince anyone who follows one of them but finds another weird, scary, or particularly kooky that their perceptions of the latter have no merit.
Just not to overstate I don't think that people get stupid because of religion, I think that a good many intelligent people embrace it because it fufils a need in their lives whatever that may be or that they have an affection towards something they are raised with (as previously mentioned that judgement I just made may be condacending but not neccessarily wrong); the overwhelming majority of FYM is religious and I am pretty sure that this self selecting sample is intelligent and well informed.

As for the actual belief = unbelief argument it has been the most frequent criticism in regards to not believing and I finally had an answer.


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That's not how people's minds get changed. If you were to advance (for example) a blanket imputation that Indian culture is despicable based on what I considered overdrawn and distorted perceptions of how the caste system works, I'm not going to leave it at "Well look how Aborigines are treated in your country, huh" or "All civilizations practice racism and discrimination, including ours" by way of response. Or if you were to suggest that Islam is a "gutter religion" and all Muslims by definition must be held suspect of bloodthirsty designs based on some decontextualized cut-and-paste quotes from the Quran, I'm not going to leave it at "Well what about the Crusades" or "But the Bible has some pretty hair-raising stuff too." Again, yes, those tactics have their place in (hopefully) effecting a quick perspective-check, but if I overplay them and don't directly challenge any of your actual points, then pretty quickly it's going to start looking like I'm saying "You know, secretly I agree with you, but I'll be damned if I'm going to give you a moment's satisfaction," and that's sure not going to help convince anyone.
I don't have any intention to change peoples minds, I just need the distraction. And your exactly right that a quick check call of hypocricy is barely a step above an ad hominem argument; I would much prefer to see the post documenting L. Ron's tax fraud, campaigns against critics, the actual state of the Church today (thanks to the internet people are learning more about it) rather than calling scientologists stupid. In terms of being a cult the fashion that they isolate people from ideas is really terribly cool.

The teachings of scientology can have an impact in peoples lives, help them be more effective in their job etc. People are not joining a UFO Cult; the more baffling elements of the religion are only put out there when somebody is deep inside the church, and by that stage many don't have anything outside it.
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People are always more prepared to see the frightening, the repulsive, the ridiculous (or for that matter the sublime) in the unfamiliar than in the familiar--that's just the way it is, and if you consider the resulting perceptions dangerous, offensive or wrongheaded enough to demand a response (and if not, why even bother?), then you're going to need a more multifaceted approach than that.
I bother because I have to think and I can get better at it, I think that people here are mature enough to engage or disengage if they want to. Changing minds is overrated, I much prefer to be able to dominate a discussion in the real world and get the fringe benefits of being a smart alpha; my arrogance far outweighs my humility anyway
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:45 PM   #138
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Originally posted by yolland

Who said unbelief is a type of belief? Why are you even bringing that up? I wasn't attempting a philosophical argument.
It might not have been brought up in this specific thread, but the claim that atheism is just another belief structure - another form of religion as it were - is a very, very common though erroneous claim made by quite a few theists.

Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
I'm well aware that you see all religions as intellect-rotting hogwash, but the fact is that's not going to convince anyone who follows one of them but finds another weird, scary, or particularly kooky that their perceptions of the latter have no merit. That's not how people's minds get changed.
Scanning atheist discussion forums, I have come across personal testimonies from former theists who record that the "when you look at it rationally, what your religion believes is just as whacked out as the Scientologists'/the Muslims'/the Hindus' [delete as applicable] beliefs you criticize" argument is one of the reasons why they intellectually rejected their former religion.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:49 PM   #139
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Originally posted by financeguy

Scanning atheist discussion forums, I have come across personal testimonies from former theists who record that the "when you look at it rationally, what your religion believes is just as whacked out as the Scientologists'/the Muslims'/the Hindus' [delete as applicable] beliefs you criticize" argument is one of the reasons why they intellectually rejected their former religion.
But what I find odd is that anyone ever intellectually thought their religion was rational. I'm sorry, I've never really met anyone who academically thought that the virgin birth made sense or whatever other religious myth you want to substitute in its place.

Religious belief isn't rational, and generally even the most ardent believers don't argue that point.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:57 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


But what I find odd is that anyone ever intellectually thought their religion was rational. I'm sorry, I've never really met anyone who academically thought that the virgin birth made sense or whatever other religious myth you want to substitute in its place.

Religious belief isn't rational, and generally even the most ardent believers don't argue that point.
You didn't go to my college, apparently. Luckily for you, I might add.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:58 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


But what I find odd is that anyone ever intellectually thought their religion was rational. I'm sorry, I've never really met anyone who academically thought that the virgin birth made sense or whatever other religious myth you want to substitute in its place.

Religious belief isn't rational, and generally even the most ardent believers don't argue that point.

A Christian theologian (Kierkegaard possibly, though I can't remmber) once argued that precisely BECAUSE some of Christianity's beliefs SEEM irrational, that is why they should be believed in. Never quite got that particular argument.

Douglas Adams satirised this in the Hitchhiker's Guide series with his 'Electric Monk' character - a robot programmed to believe anything his owner told him to, thus taking the hassle of believing irrational things away from the owner.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:59 PM   #142
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Originally posted by No spoken words


You didn't go to my college, apparently. Luckily for you, I might add.


I went to Catholic school most of my life but nobody there was really religious.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:59 PM   #143
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For me it isn't that emotional, but there are definitely people out for whom unbelief has been a terrible sacrifice, in some ways freethinkers supporting eachother, providing that sort of community can be a good thing.
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:00 PM   #144
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Originally posted by anitram




I went to Catholic school most of my life but nobody there was really religious.
I went to St. John's University in NYC. Just a scared little Jewish kid from The Bronx, surrounded by nuns and priests.

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Old 01-19-2008, 09:03 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


But what I find odd is that anyone ever intellectually thought their religion was rational. I'm sorry, I've never really met anyone who academically thought that the virgin birth made sense or whatever other religious myth you want to substitute in its place.

Religious belief isn't rational, and generally even the most ardent believers don't argue that point.
I have had people explain that the reason it is important for them to believe is because of the concequences of doubting; for them accepting the seemingly impossible is easier than the alternative (which for them is all or nothing).

Additionally we live in post-Christian countries (Canada and Australia) where the mainstream faiths have had to adapt, people are free to believe what they want to and naturally they can reconcile a faith in God and a broad teaching with doubting some miraculous claims.

Look at Tom Cruise though, is his life worse than ours because of scientology? I doubt anybody here can rightly claim to judge him because of what filters through the press (except for his anti-psychiatry and statements about post-partum depression).
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:07 PM   #146
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Incidently The Way to Happiness
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Take care of yourself.
Be temperate.
Don't be promiscuous.
Love and help children.
Honour and help your parents.
Set a good example.
Seek to live with the truth.
Do not murder.
Don't do anything illegal.
Support a government designed and run for all the people.
Do not harm a person of good will.
Safeguard and improve your environment.
Do not steal.
Be worthy of trust.
Fulfil your obligations.
Be industrious.
Be competent.
Respect the religious beliefs of others.
Try not to do things to others that you would not want them to do to you.
Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.
Flourish and prosper.
Is more appealing to me than the 10 commandments.
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Old 01-19-2008, 10:41 PM   #147
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^ Isn't this the way any human being is supposed act?
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Old 01-19-2008, 10:46 PM   #148
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Says who? we should act in a civilised fashion if we expect to fit in with society but thats it. If we lived in some state of dystopic anarchy then survival could rely on being the most brutal and violent one out there.

Just to quibble a bit temperance and lack of promiscuity may not be for everyone.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:04 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
You tell people that they are hurting God, their dear leader that they really love, when they do normal human things like lust after another person and you do that for their whole life it's going to have an impact. What proportion of suicide bombers do you think are virgins?Again your being very humble about it but that faith entails quite a degree of social control. Looking at porn is a victimless crime (actually quite a few people benefit along the way). Lusting is also a victimless crime (unless you actually take action without consent). Our sex drive is biological, it is conditioned by environmental (read social) pressures, the more puritanical conservative values seem intent on controling it; probably because that perpetuates a social order of nuclear families under God that can keep a faith going forever.Wanting what they have for all those reasons is fine. If you kill your neighbour and steal his land that is wrong. But wanting it better because they have it better is fine, it's normal, I think that is a type of aspiration. All those bits of Christianity that are downright socialist are either embraced or glossed over depending on the person and their situation.
I don't believe we can "hurt God" as you say.

I don't see looking at porn a victimless crime though. First off, in a sense you're contributing to the porn industry (if money is paid or sites are visited), which isn't the greatest thing. Nobody hopes their daughter grows up to be in porn films. Also, if you're married, it takes the focus off your wife and now your heart is focused on another woman. It's cheating. Again, a matter of the heart we're talking about.

I think the point where we're not seeing eye-to-eye (maybe ONE of them ) is that you just don't see there being a spiritual part to everything. I do. I see everything as spiritual. So yeah, to you, looking at porn has no victim, but to me, if the standard is purity or holiness, having my heart filled with lust after another woman is just another form of greed. It also takes away from my relationship with my wife, because I'm focusing solely on my needs, not her's. Relationships are about putting others first. Porn does the opposite.

And as far as this all being oppressive, I find it to be the opposite. If you're playing a game of football, it's better for everyone if there's rules and a ref. The game is fair that way for everyone, and therefore more enjoyable. The boundaries allow for aspiration, but not greed so much. To me, it's the same with aspects of life, and from the spiritual perspective, there are rules that help you live life more to the fullest. It's when I don't follow these rules that I feel most oppressed and I find myself in situations where the consequences take a bite out of my freedom to live life to its fullest.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:08 AM   #150
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


What a delightfully contradictory statement.
How so? Yes, both the Mormons and Catholics claim to be the only church that's right. I've belonged to three denominations and see them as all true. The bits they disagree on don't aren't major in the grand scheme of things. And they've never claimed to be the one true church.
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