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Old 01-30-2009, 12:28 PM   #106
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There are many similarities, which is great, but the differences are huge.
True and Christ seems to be the focal point. For Jews, Christians and Muslims. What I embrace from the four religions is the message of love. I feel it helps me to be a better person.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #107
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True and Christ seems to be the focal point. For Jews, Christians and Muslims. What I embrace from the four religions is the message of love. I feel it helps me to be a better person.
That is a great message. Definitely one to focus on. We'd be in better shape if we did.

Christ does seem to be the focal point. It's just interesting how each faith sees him very differently — one claiming him to be the Savior. God himself.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:03 PM   #108
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A_W,

do you think there are some people who's lives have been immeasurably improved by their belief in God? do you think there are addicts of all kinds who literally owe their lives to a belief in a higher power? do you think that a higher power is often the motivator behind many altruistic endeavors, including the Bush administration's single clear success increasing funding for AIDS in Africa? if you take a look at the collective charity amassed by all the believers in the world, does this perhaps negate, atone for, or even make up for all the violence and persecution perpetrated by all the believers in the world?

is the Declaration of Independence (or, even, the Enlightenment) impossible to imagine without a belief in a Higher Power wherein the eyes of said Higher Power there's a universal equality, the right to all be treated the same, the understanding that all life has value whether it's a king or a shepherd?

how do you think other highly intellectual individuals, including several on this board, are able to easily live with their faith and see none of the contradictions that you've elucidated, or they're simply not bothered by them?
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:07 PM   #109
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A_W,

do you think there are some people who's lives have been immeasurably improved by their belief in God? do you think there are addicts of all kinds who literally owe their lives to a belief in a higher power? do you think that a higher power is often the motivator behind many altruistic endeavors, including the Bush administration's single clear success increasing funding for AIDS in Africa? if you take a look at the collective charity amassed by all the believers in the world, does this perhaps negate, atone for, or even make up for all the violence and persecution perpetrated by all the believers in the world?

is the Declaration of Independence (or, even, the Enlightenment) impossible to imagine without a belief in a Higher Power wherein the eyes of said Higher Power there's a universal equality, the right to all be treated the same, the understanding that all life has value whether it's a king or a shepherd?

how do you think other highly intellectual individuals, including several on this board, are able to easily live with their faith and see none of the contradictions that you've elucidated, or they're simply not bothered by them?
Thanks for posting this.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:56 PM   #110
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A_W,

do you think there are some people who's lives have been immeasurably improved by their belief in God? do you think there are addicts of all kinds who literally owe their lives to a belief in a higher power? do you think that a higher power is often the motivator behind many altruistic endeavors, including the Bush administration's single clear success increasing funding for AIDS in Africa? if you take a look at the collective charity amassed by all the believers in the world, does this perhaps negate, atone for, or even make up for all the violence and persecution perpetrated by all the believers in the world?

is the Declaration of Independence (or, even, the Enlightenment) impossible to imagine without a belief in a Higher Power wherein the eyes of said Higher Power there's a universal equality, the right to all be treated the same, the understanding that all life has value whether it's a king or a shepherd?

how do you think other highly intellectual individuals, including several on this board, are able to easily live with their faith and see none of the contradictions that you've elucidated, or they're simply not bothered by them?
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Old 01-30-2009, 03:15 PM   #111
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i posted it because i think it's the flip side of A_W's posts.

i find his dissection of religion very persuasive, and i'm quite sympathetic to them, and they better match my experience better than any other posts in this thread.

i just want to know what he thinks about the upside. i'm sympathetic to the argument that all the good effects of religion have nothing to do with the religion itself, and that the religion is simply an excuse to action -- good action or bad action -- but even if it is, does that matter?

i really don't know the answer. if it matters or not.
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:54 PM   #112
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I have no problem accepting other peoples right to believe



Yes you do. Daily.
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:06 PM   #113
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Yes you do. Daily.
So critiquing beliefs is denying others right to believe??
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:48 PM   #114
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A_W,

do you think there are some people who's lives have been immeasurably improved by their belief in God? do you think there are addicts of all kinds who literally owe their lives to a belief in a higher power? do you think that a higher power is often the motivator behind many altruistic endeavors, including the Bush administration's single clear success increasing funding for AIDS in Africa? if you take a look at the collective charity amassed by all the believers in the world, does this perhaps negate, atone for, or even make up for all the violence and persecution perpetrated by all the believers in the world?

is the Declaration of Independence (or, even, the Enlightenment) impossible to imagine without a belief in a Higher Power wherein the eyes of said Higher Power there's a universal equality, the right to all be treated the same, the understanding that all life has value whether it's a king or a shepherd?

how do you think other highly intellectual individuals, including several on this board, are able to easily live with their faith and see none of the contradictions that you've elucidated, or they're simply not bothered by them?
How enriching a belief system is to a person has nothing to do with the veracity of the claims, the evidence that in dominantly religious countries such as America where most community activity (which makes people lead happier lives) demands religious engagement does not make the claims at all true.

Facts matter to me, but beyond that the idea of religion being the driving force for humanitarianism is somewhat open. While there is a decent history of religious charity has there ever been a time when secular groups have had the capacity to deliver the same sort of help? I would argue that individual humanists come out very well on the score of helping other people without religious motivation, that we can get a personal reward from helping other people that is not coming from God, and speculate that at least some religious charity shares a common basis with secular humanitarianism.

I also doubt that nonbelievers as a social group have ever had the organisational capacity to deliver as much aid in as organised a fashion as religious groups. This is not to say it would be impossible, only that in most countries secular people are not as engaged with the community and are not getting involved in the same numbers as religious people.

On the plus side you will be hard pressed to find nonbelievers pushing abstinence only programs in the third world, sticking people in hospices when they could get medical treatment, and refusing to use painkillers for doctrinal reasons.

If we are to take religious belief as a great equalizer then it will be a selective vision. Most Christians emphasise the role that Wilberforce had for abolition (overlooking more humanistic abolitionists), without acknowledging the biblical justification for slavery at the time this retrospective view is terribly skewed. I would not be surprised if in 50 years time mainstream evangelical groups claim that they were at the forefront of the gay rights movement, and that they have a long history of tolerance.

Most competing religious beliefs offer a label for people which might do more harm than good, it is a human tendency to group that isn't restricted to religions, I don't think this grouping of people along religious lines is a consequence of religion, it is a consequence of human brains.

It takes a mature sort of faith to practice genuine religious toleration, but at the point somebody forfeits the exclusive claims of their belief system to accommodate others do they become less religious, in some respects? The OP asked where the FYM Christians are, perhaps the utter lack of proselytizing and the humble attitude towards the claims in the bible (beyond Jesus meek and mild, the golden rule, and social justice) does make them a different sort of Christian; less married to the Christian identity.

I know very few highly intellectual people who arrive at faith in adulthood, I do know of very smart people who abandoned belief early but return later in life, but those who were never raised in a religious environment don't seem to be a part of it. I am well placed to understand that position, I don't have to react against any religious abuses, I have no personal animosity against any churches, I have no nagging existential problems which I feel religion could answer for me. I can genuinely say that I never had any time for theology, I have faced the usual slew of personal challenges which people do and I have never found myself looking to a higher power. As somebody who can act in a moral way without God I do find attacks on secular societies by the faith based annoying, and I am more than willing to defend my position.

Everybody else is allowed to justify positions with faith and it gets a free pass (as a Muslim I believe that women benefit from modest, as a Christian I love and accept homosexuals as sinners, as a Scientologist I believe that psychology is bunk). When an atheist or agnostic asserts their position they are usually denying the religious premise, this is unacceptable and is instantly labelled militant or fundamentalist.

The OP can tag the "rebel from Jerusalem" and he's just a Christian, I can state that "there is no evidence for God" and I am a militant. Either atheists are quiet on how their philosophy treats social and moral issues, or they are hateful fundamentalists that are out to destroy other peoples faith. I am glad that people can get offended by my posts, if it means they stop and think about where an atheist is coming from, about their implicit biases and how weak religious arguments are in any secular context.

If I were to speculate about how smart people can believe, I think the answer sits in the universality of the spiritual / religious experience and the cultural norms which they are raised with or must adapt to. It would be worth looking at the types of beliefs which people get to when reconciling what they know with scripture, literalism is out the door and reading good moral precepts into religious texts is on the agenda for a lot of people.

Obviously their religion is alright, it is hands off for scientific questions and most of the ethical concerns have theological justification twinned by secular reasons. These are religious positions that are so good that I usually agree with most of the content

I am not in a position to justify why people believe, or tell somebody that the reason that they have certain positions is X, Y, and Z. I am in a position to say that I don't believe in God, that there is absolutely no dilemma between my science and my atheism, that I feel the atheistic position makes me a better scientist (that is not to say that it makes me better than other scientists, only that I am more open minded than my evil twin who believes in the doctrine of the trinity regardless of the facts).
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Old 01-30-2009, 05:56 PM   #115
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Yes you do. Daily.
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So critiquing beliefs is denying others right to believe??
Obviously some people have difficulty with honesty, it makes them uncomfortable.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:24 PM   #116
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Obviously some people have difficulty with honesty, it makes them uncomfortable.

No, I have difficulty with hostility and self-righteousness masquerading as honesty.

If you're so very respectful of believers, then what the point of your Science/Religion incompatibility thread?
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:52 PM   #117
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is the Declaration of Independence (or, even, the Enlightenment) impossible to imagine without a belief in a Higher Power wherein the eyes of said Higher Power there's a universal equality, the right to all be treated the same, the understanding that all life has value whether it's a king or a shepherd?
Personally I don't think so, but it is impossible to accept the notion that we possess 'inalienable human rights' without abandoning the thinking that every idea we accept must be empirically verifiable. Of course we can (retrospectively?) argue that thinking 'As If' it were true has benefits which can be appreciated rationally (which puts it in a different category from 'belief'), but that still doesn't make it empirically true; and furthermore, I would question whether anyone who claims to accept it only insofar as it's a rationally useful 'As If' is in truth representing their own thought process accurately. It may 'feel' or 'seem' "self-evident," but in reality there isn't any evidence for it.
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True and Christ seems to be the focal point. For Jews, Christians and Muslims.
I wouldn't put it this way exactly. Comparing answers to the question "Was Jesus divine?" can objectively speaking be one convenient, if Christian-centric, means of distinguishing doctrinally between the three. But calling that a "focal point" makes it sound as if ideas about Jesus specifically are internally significant to each religion's theology, when at least in Judaism's case they aren't: it's not that Jesus is discussed and 'rejected' in classic rabbinic Jewish theology, rather he simply isn't discussed at all; he doesn't figure in the Talmud (nor do 'Christians'), and not until medieval times when Jews lived as a diaspora minority in Christian- or Muslim-controlled lands do we finally see explicit rejections of Jesus' status *as defined by Christianity or Islam* being formally articulated *with reference to Jewish doctrine*. Whereas, as late as the era when the Talmud underwent final redaction (late 4th cen. AD for the Jerusalem edition, late 5th-early 7th cen. AD for the Babylonian edition), this simply doesn't seem to have been considered a theologically significant matter by rabbinic authorities. The case of Islam is rather different, because the Koran and hadith taken together furnish quite a bit of theological doctrine proper concerning Jesus, who's clearly accorded considerable significance, albeit not considered divine, nor as important a prophet as Muhammad.
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:38 AM   #118
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Hi Yolland,

I was simply making a blanket statement. Where as Muslims, Jews and Christians believe in a "Messiah" son of God, concept. I don't study theology, though I do enjoy reading history books on Ireland and the U.K. I thank you for the additional information. BTW, Your writing is excellent.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:24 AM   #119
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Each human being is born with natural rights. It's the society that one is born in that suppresses the rights. IMO, religion helps bring out the morals we forget that we have.
The energy we put into being angry or hateful can be flipped--- putting all of our energy to be forgiving, loving, and compassionate.
Instead of constantly thinking and questioning religion, why can't we be accepting and understanding of all the differences we have?

I'm also a hardcore believer than personal experiences make a HUGE impact on one's spiritual journey. I'm just tossing that out as a reminder to everyone who thinks religion is something manifested by society.

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No, I have difficulty with hostility and self-righteousness masquerading as honesty.

If you're so very respectful of believers, then what the point of your Science/Religion incompatibility thread?


Everyone here has some awesome points from both points of view. The only thing that makes me weary is the possibility that we're "attacking" each other, whether we mean it or not.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:40 AM   #120
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Experiences generated in a physical organ, the human brain, should be treated cautiously.
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