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Old 01-19-2008, 06:35 PM   #121
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:39 PM   #122
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Fine, an argument against those iron age axioms can be made. They mandate against freedom of thought and against freedom of speech, say nothing against slavery and place a big burden against aspiration. In terms of "whack shit" the idea that some deity handed this magical advice on from high up is silly, people who hear God these days seem to do crazy things these days are those who did the same in the past expected to be any different. Does the mere passage of time or absence of evidence somehow validate the fantastical elements of the story. One can't disprove it because of the absence of independent lines of evidence, belief can always exist in those gaps, but it doesn't make those beliefs of equal value.

It's not that people are idiots, they show exactly how rational they can be when they gun against other peoples irrationally held beliefs. Saying that they believe in irrational things to is not saying that their criticism is invalid. Guessing as to peoples motivations for holding their beliefs might be condescending but it doesn't make it wrong.

I feel unbelief is being an empty vessel, at least spiritually; my life isn't enriched by atheism, I honestly couldn't give a fuck about a spiritual side (by which I mean some sort of emotional payoff to holding an idea) - it doesn't make one a better person or give superior insight into the human condition but in the absolute absence of evidence for a deity/deities and a God based explanation for the universe being unnecessary there is no tough existential crisis triggered by doubting the inexistence of a God. It's not like imagining a universe where people have eternal life is worse place than one where your brain just rots away (then again, if that bastard was counting incidences of blasphemy just rotting would be preferable to eternal punishment - but such a fucker of a deity would deserve the criticism).

I don't think that unbelief is the mirror of belief, one affirms the existence of something in the absence of, or on the basis of flimsy, evidence and the other doesn't entertain it as a real thing because of the same reasons (in my case; other people may be more anti-theistic - because God is a bad idea that robs humanity of it's greatest achievements).

A very frequent argument made is that unbelief is a type of belief and so it must be what exactly? Equally false? Prone to the same type of fallacy as asserting that magic exists and everything was made by a omnipotent and omniscient God (could an omnipotent God perform an act that an omniscient God could not foresee?)? That because religious belief has no basis and unbelief has no basis that they must be equal is a really piss weak attack, it undermines a believers credentials when they make it, and for agnostics it shows their own indecisiveness. Better to be an equal opportunity offender against affirmations in the absence of evidence than to conduct a bold exercise in doublethink and attack other peoples belief using the very logic that simultaneously undermines your own sacred cow.

Now could somebody please send me the piece that undermines a material universe with biological evolution giving rise to a sentient primate that can invent belief systems. A view that is getting affirmed rather than getting contradicted by ever accumulating evidence (geology, palaeontology, genetics, neuroscience, archaeology, textual criticism of religious texts etc.). It seems to reach a point where the only sort of God that can be reconciled in the real world is essentially Spinoza's God, and what point is there for supposing such a God when there is no need for it, when it isn't needed to explain anything.
Excellent post.
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:41 PM   #123
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There is a difference between thought and actions; how they effect other people, saying that somebody is commiting a sin by thinking or pleasuring themselves is a very frightening position, robbing peoples lives of such distractions fills churches with sadists and paedophiles.

The other significant issue is when lusting after property or status becomes a sin, aspiration drives people to succeed; that is a very good thing for a person. Saying it is a bad thing is to supress an important part of humanity.
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:52 PM   #124
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
There is a difference between thought and actions; how they effect other people, saying that somebody is commiting a sin by thinking or pleasuring themselves is a very frightening position, robbing peoples lives of such distractions fills churches with sadists and paedophiles.
Yes, our churches are all filled with sadists and pedophiles.

Come on.

Also, I fully understand that I, as a Christian, can't expect nonChristians to see sin as I do. I'm not out to help people see that they're sinning, I'm trying to share what God has done for us and that we can have a relationship with him, where our sins are forgiven. Along the way I make it clear I'm a sinner myself.

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The other significant issue is when lusting after property or status becomes a sin, aspiration drives people to succeed; that is a very good thing for a person. Saying it is a bad thing is to supress an important part of humanity.
Aspiration isn't a sin. That's not what covet means:

dictionary.com

covet

1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.

There may be some aspiration there in the heart, but there's also some jealousy, envy and greed at work, too.
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:58 PM   #125
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Look, there's a right way to read the Bible, and there are many wrong ways. I'm not saying I'm always right, but that's why I constantly study it and continue to arrive at what it's really saying.
Spot the contradiction; you acknowledge that there can be different ways to understand a text, but undermine that by saying that there is only one right way (which is silly given how many people contributed and culled it - not to mention the language issue).

The second part looks like humility, when you say I am not saying I am always right you haven't actually said that you are ever wrong, simply that you haven't said you are always right. And that wiggle room is used to full effect when you state that because you study the bible you can arrive at it's true meaning (continue to arrive implies that you have already been consistently right).

In the other posts on the significance of the text itself you don't have a problem with doing what everybody else does and cherry pick what you feel is important to the faith and construct it in a way that can function in a free society. Now I doubt that you would quibble over questions of murder if the victim was Jew or a Gentile because when Jesus contradicts nasty things he takes the priority in your interpretation.

But those questions are very important ones, Christians through the ages have been brutal against other religions running pogroms and reqonquistas against them, violently persecuting heathens around the world; their faith in Jesus Christ didn't stop them doing it and it could very easily be augmented to justify it with just as much valididity that you feel towards your innocuous picture of Christianity (even though it allows you to be a little bigoted against other strains - it is quite doubtful that any church could be a true church in line with a first century Jewish cult leader).
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:00 PM   #126
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Scientology is no different from television evangalists.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:10 PM   #127
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Yes, our churches are all filled with sadists and pedophiles.

Come on.
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?
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Also, I fully understand that I, as a Christian, can't expect nonChristians to see sin as I do. I'm not out to help people see that they're sinning, I'm trying to share what God has done for us and that we can have a relationship with him, where our sins are forgiven. Along the way I make it clear I'm a sinner myself.
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.
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Aspiration isn't a sin. That's not what covet means:

dictionary.com

covet

1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.

There may be some aspiration there in the heart, but there's also some jealousy, envy and greed at work, too. [/B]
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.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:12 PM   #128
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Looking at porn is a victimless crime (actually quite a few people benefit along the way).
I'm not in any way advocating we get rid of porn, but I think you're smart enough to know that your statement is at best overly simplistic, and at worst, naive.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:16 PM   #129
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I'm not in any way advocating we get rid of porn, but I think you're smart enough to know that your statement is at best overly simplistic, and at worst, naive.
Wasn't talking about every step along the way or every potential victim. Mainly somebody did benefit from the transaction.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:17 PM   #130
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Spot the contradiction; you acknowledge that there can be different ways to understand a text, but undermine that by saying that there is only one right way (which is silly given how many people contributed and culled it - not to mention the language issue).
How is that a contradictory statement? There's always going to be fewer right ways than there are wrong ways to do anything. I don't see a contradiction at all.

And why do the number of people who contributed to it and the different languages make it impossible for their to be one right way to understand? That's why one has to study the original meaning of the words and know what they can about the authors, the people they were writing to and the culture of the time. Context is everything. Again, this all has to be done carefully.

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer

The second part looks like humility, when you say I am not saying I am always right you haven't actually said that you are ever wrong, simply that you haven't said you are always right. And that wiggle room is used to full effect when you state that because you study the bible you can arrive at it's true meaning (continue to arrive implies that you have already been consistently right).
There's been times I've been wrong in FYM for sure. Granted, I try to have a level of certainty before I speak about stuff in a discussion, but I've said wrong things and been corrected by other Christians here before. When I'm unsure about something, I stay away from the issue until I'm comfortable with sharing my perspective. I would think most people are like this from their perspecitve in any discussion.

Look, I have no problem whatsoever in saying I don't know everything about the Bible. There are some topics where I feel I've studied what it has to say and all the stuff I mentioned above and I've arrived at a conclusion as to what I think the Bible says, and it's agreed upon by others of the faith who's judgement I respect. If I come to the conclusion that I'm wrong on something, I'll be the first to admit it.

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer

In the other posts on the significance of the text itself you don't have a problem with doing what everybody else does and cherry pick what you feel is important to the faith and construct it in a way that can function in a free society. Now I doubt that you would quibble over questions of murder if the victim was Jew or a Gentile because when Jesus contradicts nasty things he takes the priority in your interpretation.
Yes, I bring up certain topics I find interesting. So what? Do you expect me to talk about the entire Bible every time I speak about it?


Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer

But those questions are very important ones, Christians through the ages have been brutal against other religions running pogroms and reqonquistas against them, violently persecuting heathens around the world; their faith in Jesus Christ didn't stop them doing it and it could very easily be augmented to justify it with just as much valididity that you feel towards your innocuous picture of Christianity (even though it allows you to be a little bigoted against other strains - it is quite doubtful that any church could be a true church in line with a first century Jewish cult leader).
The crap that "christians" have done in the past isn't what Jesus taught though. Their faith in Jesus didn't stop them because they were doing this stuff out of their own agenda, not that of Christ.

And no, there is no one church that's right. I've never said that. That's a mormon/catholic belief.

I'm off to a movie. I'd love to continue the discussion later though.

Have a great night.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:20 PM   #131
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Wasn't talking about every step along the way or every potential victim.
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.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:21 PM   #132
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What proportion of suicide bombers do you think are virgins?
I don't know. What's the answer?
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:22 PM   #133
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And no, there is no one church that's right. I've never said that. That's a mormon/catholic belief.

What a delightfully contradictory statement.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:24 PM   #134
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A very frequent argument made is that unbelief is a type of belief and so it must be what exactly? Equally false? Prone to the same type of fallacy as asserting that magic exists and everything was made by a omnipotent and omniscient God (could an omnipotent God perform an act that an omniscient God could not foresee?)? That because religious belief has no basis and unbelief has no basis that they must be equal is a really piss weak attack, it undermines a believers credentials when they make it, and for agnostics it shows their own indecisiveness. Better to be an equal opportunity offender against affirmations in the absence of evidence than to conduct a bold exercise in doublethink and attack other peoples belief using the very logic that simultaneously undermines your own sacred cow.
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. 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. 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.
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and, yes, i'm sorry but the whole, "well you believe some wack shit too" is perfectly valid. it might get tiresome, but so does the constant harping on, say, Mormons as illegitimate Christians, or Scientologists themselves as all being crazy. it has nothing to do with the hatred of Christianity. i don' t hate Christianity. but there's some wack shit in it. and if we are to take a look at exactly what the Baptists try to do to gay teenagers, you'd be hard pressed to find worse abusive practices within Scientology.

i wrote earlier about the lack of humility that leads to "craziness" in all religions. i see much of that in the more chauvinistic expressions of fundamentalist Protestantism, and more than a little condescention in here as well, dressed up in paternalistic, wiser-than-thou contentions about what Jesus "really thought" and that if something is weird, then it's the fault of the people involved who are obviously "not Biblical." as if the source text is never wrong, the source text is, of course, inerrant.
You won't get any arguments from me about the abusiveness of sexual "reorientation" camps or the wearisomeness of hearing about how theologically dishonest Mormons are, much less the strains of being a minority in a "chauvinistic" environment where reaming on you and yours is fair game but for you to respond in kind would be social dynamite--been there, done that. That wasn't my point. Like I said, personally I couldn't be less interested in reflecting on Scientology and Scientologists one way or the other, I know nothing about it nor am I curious to learn, but I also think one should pick and choose one's perception-challenging battles sensibly then go about them in a way that's actually got a shot at effecting that result, and I'm just not seeing that here.
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Old 01-19-2008, 08:04 PM   #135
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How is that a contradictory statement? There's always going to be fewer right ways than there are wrong ways to do anything. I don't see a contradiction at all.
It isn't like putting together Ikea furniture it is interpreting a text and that gets very subjective. People argue about books and plays that only have one author and come up with different interpretations that are each valid spins on it, they demonstrate the different meanings that people could walk away from a text with; wouldn't having a greater number of authors each with their own motivations would increase the magnitude of subjectivity? Wouldn't having a group of other people culling the stories to make a canon make that subjectivity greater still?

Because the meaning that somebody takes away from the book is partly the authors intent and partly what baggage that a reader carry with them there is no objectively correct answer. I would like to just clarify that literalist creationist assertions are disproven by independent evidence such as geochronology (dating rocks) and human population genetics. It wasn't the bible that proved them wrong, and it is interesting that the understanding of geological time demanded that previous assumptions held in the society (even those without biblical basis) were augmented or overturned by the facts. Some core beliefs about God's place in the world were changed by new understandings; but that doesn't make those earlier religious beliefs any more or less disengenous than current religious beliefs.

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And why do the number of people who contributed to it and the different languages make it impossible for their to be one right way to understand? That's why one has to study the original meaning of the words and know what they can about the authors, the people they were writing to and the culture of the time. Context is everything. Again, this all has to be done carefully.
Language is very important, the ideas and baggage that we attach to different words are changed or lost in translation (ever so slightly, or severely). That we don't have a full and accurate picture of life back then is important. All of those details however mild or severe do introduce error in interpretation - and if they are there then claims of absolute revealed truth look shakey. I don't think that anybody can claim to know the minds of the authors any more than one can claim to know the mind of Shakespeare.
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There's been times I've been wrong in FYM for sure. Granted, I try to have a level of certainty before I speak about stuff in a discussion, but I've said wrong things and been corrected by other Christians here before. When I'm unsure about something, I stay away from the issue until I'm comfortable with sharing my perspective. I would think most people are like this from their perspecitve in any discussion.
And everybody is biased, and stubborn and wrong on most things; my point wasn't that you are wrong. It was that making a claim of having the one right idea about a subjective thing like a religious text (a view that doesn't gain more currency because you look up to people you agree with) is undercut by the nature of what you are looking at. There is no objectively correct way of reading a book, the universe doesn't seem to give a tick of approval to one view over another.
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Look, I have no problem whatsoever in saying I don't know everything about the Bible. There are some topics where I feel I've studied what it has to say and all the stuff I mentioned above and I've arrived at a conclusion as to what I think the Bible says, and it's agreed upon by others of the faith who's judgement I respect. If I come to the conclusion that I'm wrong on something, I'll be the first to admit it.
It isn't that you could be wrong on some fronts that I have an issue with, it is that you believe that the core principles of your faith are right because you know a truth revealed by God and that truth is mutually exclusive to other faiths like Mormonism. I have what one may call a core principle that I use to make a judgement about other beliefs; but it isn't based on a revealed truth, it is based on the absence of knowledge, of understanding; that there is no cause to entertain any religious belief.
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Yes, I bring up certain topics I find interesting. So what? Do you expect me to talk about the entire Bible every time I speak about it?
No I don't; but by the same token you (like everybody else) cherry pick your beliefs, thats one more layer of subjectivity. Just because you hold an idea doesn't make it inherently better or worse than another persons.
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The crap that "christians" have done in the past isn't what Jesus taught though. Their faith in Jesus didn't stop them because they were doing this stuff out of their own agenda, not that of Christ.
This really strikes at the core of what I was saying, human beings all have their own agenda and are all righteous to themselves; you can't draw a circle and put good Christians on the inside and say they represent the true intent of a dead man (if he existed) and leave all the murdering rapists outside. That isn't a representative sample; I might as well pick out wealthy middle to upper class secular humanists who wouldn't hurt a fly as representative samples of atheists and make the case that atheism is the most humane mode of thinking. In both cases that would be bullshit; one can reconcile their convictions to violence because that is a human thing to do - a Christian could do it slaying an infidel and an atheist could do it burning down a church. And if bad deeds can be excused as a negative part of our humanity then good deeds must be rightfully claimed as a positive part. Making a dichotomy where bad = people with agendas and good = doing God's work is an anti-human sentiment that robs good people of credit for doing good things and reinforces the fallacy that we need God to be good.
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And no, there is no one church that's right. I've never said that. That's a mormon/catholic belief.
But you say that Mormonism is wrong, that it is a sham religion founded by a scam artist, you put your brand of faith as more grounded than it, as more valid and rational than it.
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I'm off to a movie. I'd love to continue the discussion later though.

Have a great night.
Enjoy the film.
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