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Old 07-25-2007, 06:05 PM   #141
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are you a sinner! ?


How do you define yourself ?

by what you do 99+% of the time?
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Old 07-26-2007, 02:59 PM   #142
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I've been trying to think of something constructive to say on this topic, but I'm not sure I understand well enough what kinds of issues Sean was looking to get at to oblige.

Anyway, I seldom use the word "sin," and in my experience Jews in general don't use it anywhere near as much as Christians, in general, do. I guess that's mostly because it's seen as carrying connotations of an ongoing, existential condition of guilt before and estrangement from God, neither of which are part of Jewish belief. There certainly are various Hebrew words which could be and are translated as "sin," but none which carry those connotations; they don't even necessarily refer to "immoral" acts as we would normally understand that. As far as consequences, I'm not sure how to answer that either. The ideas of "disharmony" and ripe-vs.-unripe Mia mentioned earlier actually come from Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism); they're developed in the Zohar, which was written in Aramaic, and follow from an elaborate religious cosmology that would take more time to summarize than is probably worth it. I don't take the Zohar literally any more than I take the Tanakh ("Old Testament") literally, but that's probably closer than any other formulation I can think of to how I would understand the "consequences."

I'm not sure I get what the connection between sin and economic inequality is, either...perhaps someone could elaborate on that. I understand what Irvine was saying about "the meek shall inherit the earth," but I'm not fully clear how the Christian idea of "sin" ties into that...it encourages passivity about injustice in this life because it diverts too much attention to the next through the implied focus on eternal damnation/estrangement from God, is that the idea?
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:27 PM   #143
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1 Corinthians





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Chapter 6


9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:32 PM   #144
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then you're shit out of luck.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:44 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


And that is what I don't get with religious people. The notion that they have a monopoly on morality. That they are the only ones capable of feelings, forgiveness, and so on.
Ever read Kant? He gives some answers.

I'm sure you have interacted with other non-religious people, or read some posts on here from people like me, A_Wanderer or dazzlingamy. Did you ever get the feeling that we are blood thirsty, immoral creature seeing every person as a pile of flesh and bones?

As I said, morality is not a religious term that doesn't apply to atheists or agnostics, or people from other religions.

I value other people, as I value other creatures. I reject any killing for fun.

I don't think we are so much superior of animals. But on the other hand, animals usually don't kill for pleasure. Either they are hungry, or they are defending themselves.
I'm not a cat expert to know why they play with a mouse, but I think it's insulting to say a non-religious person like me would do the same thing, only because we don't believe that there is something in Heaven or whereever controlling and steering us. I don't need God for my set of morals.

I don't know what our purpose is, but when the useless flesh of my father's died one and a half months ago there was so much more that left than just that. There left loads of purpose. When people kill each other, they don't just take the life of another person.

I really don't get how you could imply we are viewing people just like atoms without a reason for being on earth.

Other cultures had other sets of principles and morals. And mind you, the reason the Mayans sacrificed people, like other cultures did, was to please their Gods. Am I to say whether this was moral or not? Today, it would be far from moral.

But then think about what the Catholic church did to people not applying to their set of principles. The Malleus Maleficarum, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, the crusades, the support of the Nazis (also done by the Lutherian Protestants) and so on. And all in the name of God.
It took centuries to be able to say that the earth isn't flat, that there doesn't need to be a higher being, or that we might not be the middle of the universe, without getting brutally tortured and killed by those oh so moral higher people.



Please reread that again, and if need be, I will clarify.
This is a great post.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:57 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780
Again, you're completely missing my point. I don't believe only Christians have these God-instilled morals. I think everyone has a basic sense of obvious right and wrong. I never said you have to be a Christian to understand the concept.

My point is that if there is no higher power and we have no souls there is no logical reason to believe there actually is right and wrong. If you disagree I'd like to hear a reason besides "because I don't want to hurt my friend" or something similar. You're also assuming that in a Godless universe there actually is such a thing as right and wrong, which in my mind makes no sense.
Your views on this make absolutely no sense to me. Lets use you and me for a minute - I don't believe in much that I cannot see, and you are a Christian. If we both do something mean to a friend, we will both feel remorse and berate ourselves for causing hurt, we'll apologise and make a promise to ourselves not to do it again. How is my feelings on this any different to yours, and where does God fit into this? How does believing make your reaction to your mistake more meaningful? Pain and hurt on an emotional level is largely without conscious choosing. We've an instinctive and inbuilt emotion. Whether there is a God in your life relates absolutely squat to react to things and to choose things - ie, good and bad actions and good and bad reactions.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:18 PM   #147
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


And that is what I don't get with religious people. The notion that they have a monopoly on morality. That they are the only ones capable of feelings, forgiveness, and so on.
Ever read Kant? He gives some answers.

I'm sure you have interacted with other non-religious people, or read some posts on here from people like me, A_Wanderer or dazzlingamy. Did you ever get the feeling that we are blood thirsty, immoral creature seeing every person as a pile of flesh and bones?

As I said, morality is not a religious term that doesn't apply to atheists or agnostics, or people from other religions.

I value other people, as I value other creatures. I reject any killing for fun.

I don't think we are so much superior of animals. But on the other hand, animals usually don't kill for pleasure. Either they are hungry, or they are defending themselves.
I'm not a cat expert to know why they play with a mouse, but I think it's insulting to say a non-religious person like me would do the same thing, only because we don't believe that there is something in Heaven or whereever controlling and steering us. I don't need God for my set of morals.

I don't know what our purpose is, but when the useless flesh of my father's died one and a half months ago there was so much more that left than just that. There left loads of purpose. When people kill each other, they don't just take the life of another person.

I really don't get how you could imply we are viewing people just like atoms without a reason for being on earth.

Other cultures had other sets of principles and morals. And mind you, the reason the Mayans sacrificed people, like other cultures did, was to please their Gods. Am I to say whether this was moral or not? Today, it would be far from moral.

But then think about what the Catholic church did to people not applying to their set of principles. The Malleus Maleficarum, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, the crusades, the support of the Nazis (also done by the Lutherian Protestants) and so on. And all in the name of God.
It took centuries to be able to say that the earth isn't flat, that there doesn't need to be a higher being, or that we might not be the middle of the universe, without getting brutally tortured and killed by those oh so moral higher people.



Please reread that again, and if need be, I will clarify.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:52 PM   #148
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Ok. I don't really have time for this now. . .My wife is in a meeting that was supposed to have ended 20 minutes ago so it should be done any minute, but what the heck, I'm gonna try.

What is sin?

I first thought of this question this summer at the end of reading the book "Nickle & Dimed: On Not Getting By in America" by journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, a book in which she spends about a year attempting to live on minimum wage. At the end of the book she describes a system that is essentially set up to use the poor for the benefit of the rich and I thought to myself:

This is such a sin.

I thought of it again browsing through a book in the airport which touched on aspects of game theory including the "prisoner's dilemma" a part of which is this idea, which I lifted from Wikipedia:

"rational choice leads the two players to both play defect even though each player's individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperate. In equilibrium, each prisoner chooses to defect even though both would be better off by cooperating, hence the dilemma."

I remember thinking to myself: This is the nature of sin.

I thought of it again, reading an article yesterday in a back issue of TIME about how slavery evolved in the English colonies in the United States. This was no, "oops, they made a mistake" or "Well, they just didn't know any better" kind of mild immorality. This was in the opinion of Yale Historian Edmund Morgan, a white elite "actively promoting racism and a racially exclusive popular democracy as a way of dividing and ruling black and white workers. By glorifying whiteness and restricting the electorate to whites, a bond of racial solidarity emerged between all classes of whites predicated on the permanent exclusion of blacks." And I thought, this willful creation of racism for the sake of greed. . .

This is sinful.

At least sin the way I, as a Christian, understand it. I suppose I would call it "sin in the macro sense." I see sin in a somewhat magical, storytelling sense (or maybe I'm just feeling that more as I just finished the final installment of the Harry Potter series--something else that gave me occasion to meditate on the nature of sin); it is that inexplicably self-destructive streak that has mysteriously infected humanity, and in a sense, the planet itself. It's what we call in Christianese "the consequences of living in a sinful world."

It is this that demands an explanation--not why humans are good, why we make the moral decisions, the evolutionarily advantageous ones, but when we do the opposite. Something is seriously wrong when our species has developed the capacity to completely annihilate ourselves. When I began teaching my high school freshman Bible class the basic foundational teachings of Christianity, we began by talking not about goodness but evil as the evidence for belief. For this is where I believe all religions originate--trying to explain suffering and death. For whatever reason, humans cannot seem to accept and be at peace with the inevitability and unpredictability of human suffering and death. The Buddhists say that suffering is rooted in desire and overcoming desire and attachment will free one from suffering. Christians say that suffering comes from sin--a poison in the human system.

Well, that's some of my thoughts on the nature of sin. My wife's meeting is done so I'll post my thoughts on sin on the "micro level" later.

thanks everyone for your comments on this topic. I'm learning so much!
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:13 AM   #149
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep


I don't believe either premise


you dont believe we are all children of xenu? heathen!
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Old 07-27-2007, 08:05 PM   #150
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
[ For this is where I believe all religions originate--trying to explain suffering and death. For whatever reason, humans cannot seem to accept and be at peace with the inevitability and unpredictability of human suffering and death. The Buddhists say that suffering is rooted in desire and overcoming desire and attachment will free one from suffering. Christians say that suffering comes from sin--a poison in the human system.

[/B]
Religions seem to originate from people who claim to have seen or experienced their god, and then they attract a following. How do we know who to follow? Or maybe I can make up my own theory on suffering and death and pick up some followers myself. Hmmmm.
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:30 AM   #151
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Originally posted by Angela Harlem


Your views on this make absolutely no sense to me. Lets use you and me for a minute - I don't believe in much that I cannot see, and you are a Christian. If we both do something mean to a friend, we will both feel remorse and berate ourselves for causing hurt, we'll apologise and make a promise to ourselves not to do it again. How is my feelings on this any different to yours, and where does God fit into this? How does believing make your reaction to your mistake more meaningful? Pain and hurt on an emotional level is largely without conscious choosing. We've an instinctive and inbuilt emotion. Whether there is a God in your life relates absolutely squat to react to things and to choose things - ie, good and bad actions and good and bad reactions.
I told you, the fact that God is also pleased with my actions (not just myself) makes me feel really good. Also, when I mistreat someone I feel that God weighs down on my concious so I'll make things right again.

I also believe that God gives wisdom to those who seek his will. I know a few Christian families, and all of them have pretty good family lives. Much, much better than anyone else I know, bar none. I don't think many people can see this, because I don't think many people see TRUE Chistians. From what I've seen, most "christians" don't act like christians at all. It's a bad example, and it hurts peoples' perceptions of even true christians.

The Christians I know (only a few) are much more in tune with people's emotions, have a much easier time honestly communicating, have much better family lives, have much less instances of sickness or injury, and generally much more stable lives than ANYONE I know who is a non-believer or a hypocritical christian. That, for me is pretty good proof.
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:35 AM   #152
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
As suspected...nope, I hadn't understood well what kinds of issues you were looking to get at. I was nodding and smiling all the way through this though, wonderful post.
Quote:
At the end of the book she describes a system that is essentially set up to use the poor for the benefit of the rich and I thought to myself:

This is such a sin.

I thought of it again browsing through a book in the airport which touched on aspects of game theory including the "prisoner's dilemma" a part of which is this idea, which I lifted from Wikipedia:

"rational choice leads the two players to both play defect even though each player's individual reward would be greater if they both played cooperate. In equilibrium, each prisoner chooses to defect even though both would be better off by cooperating, hence the dilemma."

I remember thinking to myself: This is the nature of sin.
.................
At least sin the way I, as a Christian, understand it. I suppose I would call it "sin in the macro sense." I see sin in a somewhat magical, storytelling sense (or maybe I'm just feeling that more as I just finished the final installment of the Harry Potter series--something else that gave me occasion to meditate on the nature of sin); it is that inexplicably self-destructive streak that has mysteriously infected humanity, and in a sense, the planet itself. It's what we call in Christianese "the consequences of living in a sinful world."

It is this that demands an explanation--not why humans are good, why we make the moral decisions, the evolutionarily advantageous ones, but when we do the opposite. Something is seriously wrong when our species has developed the capacity to completely annihilate ourselves. When I began teaching my high school freshman Bible class the basic foundational teachings of Christianity, we began by talking not about goodness but evil as the evidence for belief. For this is where I believe all religions originate--trying to explain suffering and death. For whatever reason, humans cannot seem to accept and be at peace with the inevitability and unpredictability of human suffering and death. The Buddhists say that suffering is rooted in desire and overcoming desire and attachment will free one from suffering. Christians say that suffering comes from sin--a poison in the human system.
At this "macro"-level anyhow, your examples to me more have the connotation of 'injustice' than 'sin', at least the way English speakers normally use those terms--although the prisoner's dilemma example (which we often use in political science when discussing deterrence theory) does, I guess, form a kind of bridge between the two by inquiring into why people behave in this way. In Judaism, we sometimes talk about 'sin' and 'injustice' arising from our yetzer ha'ra, which is usually translated by the rather fatalistic-sounding phrase "Evil (ra) Inclination (yetzer)." But yetzer actually means to give form to something by applying pressure--God yetzers Adam from the dust, for example--while ra means shattering, tumult, cacophany. An old fable preserved in the Talmud talks about a man who captured the yetzer ha'ra and sealed it in a barrel, thinking he was doing the world a great favor; but the results were disastrous--farmers didn't get up and plow their fields, hens stopped laying eggs, no one and nothing got anything productive done. So it's not so much an 'Evil Inclination' as a drive to achieve, acquire, and experience...but a potentially dangerous one which can sabotage its own bearer, if not properly directed with the aid of the yetzer ha'tov, tov meaning 'good' in the fullest sense: not 'simply' righteous and just, but also properly productive; suited to grant and nurture contentment and joy (to refer to Genesis again, tov is what God is said to find everything created to be).

That may or may not be the most germane Jewish concept to cite in this context; it's just what sprang to mind first for me. I guess I see it as somewhere in between your 'Buddhist concept' (which in this case is also the Hindu concept) and 'Christian concept' of where injustice, and in a broader sense 'suffering', come from. The Hebrew word cheyt, literally 'to miss the mark,' is the most commonly used word for 'sin' in the Hebrew Bible, and the only one which can denote a 'sinful' act in itself. Its Aramaic cognate, chat, is the aforementioned word explained as 'disharmony' in Kabbalah, and that interpretation ties it in to both yetzer ha'ra and injustice or suffering in the collective (and, in Kabbalah, cosmic) sense. Again, cheyt doesn't necessarily mean 'sin' in a 'moral' way; it can also mean 'missing the mark' in terms of those religious practices we call chukkim ('fiat'), such as the kosher laws, which help cultivate a kind of spiritual discipline but aren't per se seen as 'moral' injunctions--whereas, for example, the mishpatim ('justice') or laws governing relations between people definitely are. For Jews, as for Christians and Muslims, it's those that are seen as The Biggies. (Or as Jesus' contemporary Hillel [? 70 BC-10 AD] said: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor [Lev 19:18]--that is the entire Torah; all the rest is just commentary.") On the other hand, in both Buddhism and Hinduism, the hallmark of a person who has overcome desire and attachment is a life of selfless compassion and service, and that can be understood in the collective as well; also, as a Jew, I was always fascinated by the analogies between the role yoga (cognate of English yoke, and conveying that same idea of achieving harmony of purpose by "harnessing") plays in Hinduism and Buddhism, and the role 'the observant life' plays in Judaism, especially in Kabbalist understanding.

Death and suffering in, say, the sense of grave illness or natural disasters though, I personally don't look at in the above context (although someone who took Kabbalistic scripture literally might); I take them as inevitabilities of the human condition, and am content to remain agnostic as to what, if any, their 'purpose' might be. Leviticus says that the goal of an observant life is to badal the qodesh from the chol--to draw forth the sacred from the 'pierced,' i.e., the wounded or 'profaned'--above all socially and morally, but also ritually. (And, one last Genesis reference here: badal is what God does with the light and the darkness, and the waters above and below: to separate out by making distinctions; so, it's also a creative power.) Maybe doing so also helps achieve that 'cosmically,' maybe not, but for me the rest is privilege enough, qodesh enough. We call this tikkun olam--the work of 'repairing' and 'transforming' a broken world.
Quote:
I thought of it again, reading an article yesterday in a back issue of TIME about how slavery evolved in the English colonies in the United States. This was no, "oops, they made a mistake" or "Well, they just didn't know any better" kind of mild immorality. This was in the opinion of Yale Historian Edmund Morgan, a white elite "actively promoting racism and a racially exclusive popular democracy as a way of dividing and ruling black and white workers. By glorifying whiteness and restricting the electorate to whites, a bond of racial solidarity emerged between all classes of whites predicated on the permanent exclusion of blacks." And I thought, this willful creation of racism for the sake of greed. . .
That "dividing and ruling" dimension was still very apparent where I grew up...almost invariably, the in-your-face Rebel Flag waving types were the poorest white people, and more than once I had the thought, Now why would you romanticize those days? The ruling class didn't care about your folk then, guess whose descendants still run the local government now, and they aren't doing too much about your (appalling) housing conditions and neighborhood "roads" and open sewers and all that, are they? Don't see that in their neighborhoods, do you? All for the false security of "Well at least I'm not a..." thinking. Which ironically, now makes them feel all the more justified in simply looking down on you.

------------------------

Anyways, I look forward to reading the rest of your thoughts on the subject. (Just so long as it doesn't mean you'll be hunched bleary-eyed in some Starbucks for hours, feverishly typing away, when you could be out strolling around Waikiki...if that's not "disharmony" I don't know what is!)
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:40 AM   #153
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Originally posted by BonosSaint


Good or not, it is. And we make use of it. I'd say beneficial more than good. But if we are using good and bad only in the context of human experience. I'd say good. I don't go beyond humanity or the material world for my definitions. I think we have created the concept of good and bad and it does not have a separate existence from us.
I'll try to go back to a few old posts, since I was gone for a few days.

This still does't answer my question. Why does everyone act like our perceptions of things, which in a Godless universe would be completely irrational, somehow matter? "It matters to us" isn't a legit response. In a Godless universe we don't matter. There is no reason to believe we would. "Because we feel like we do" doesn't mean a thing.We are a part of this universe, and we have no choice but to follow the laws of the universe. If the laws of the universe only pertain to physics then why are we any different? We're not.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:08 AM   #154
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Originally posted by Vincent Vega



Explaining you how I feel or see the world, without needing a God entirely, might be as hard as to explain a blind person the color blue. No offense meant here.

Your misconception starts with the implication, that atheists see the whole world, or the universe, only as material, or atoms and molecules. While the whole universe really is just that, it doesn't mean that our lifes and the lifes of other people, or other creatures, are just atoms moving around.
We are capable of feelings, interaction and to develop complex relationships that go way beyond chemicals interchanging to cause reactions in the other persons brain.

You seem to need the concept of God to have "meaningful feelings or lives". Otherwise I don't get why you ask for the logic behind an atheist developing such feelings. I don't need this at all, still have a similar set of values.



What do you mean by that?

I have been asking myself what we are supposed to do, or why we do all this, when from one second to the other everything ends just like that. But I don't see the need for creating some belief that there will be another level after my life has ended. I don't see the need for creating a belief in some higher being only to feel better about myself. I enjoy being around, and I enjoy interacting with other people and doing stuff I like.

You say morals are ingrained to us by God. That's your belief. I say morals get learned through observation and how our parents and all the people around us teach us morals. That's how I see it. For you a world without God doesn't function, so you'll hardly understand why for me this is all logical without God.

As I told you before, answers may be found by Immanuel Kant.

I don't care why we have meaningful feelings, but I know that we have them. Because I feel them. I think, survival is a good reason. If we didn't feel anything, we would not enjoy our lives. And we would eventually die.

So, by using your logic, hurting your friend is bad because God wouldn't like it and it goes against your belief. Later you say that when you interact with people you don't think about your religion, and of course we just misunderstand you. Yet you are saying that an atheist isn't using logic, as he ust doesn't want to hurt another person's feelings just because he doesn't want to.
I am feeling pain, and as it doesn't feel good, it's bad. Just as french fries are bad for me, as I don't like them, or rap is bad for me as I don't like it.

So, just tell me, why do you think hurting another one's feelings is bad? Why do you think chaos is bad?

I don't want to be a bad person, because it goes against my set or morals. I don't want to hurt other people because I don't see value in it. And I also don't want to get hurt myself. I wouldn't enjoy making people feel bad about themselves, except they try to do the same with me. But even then I'm generally too kind to get mean.

For me, there are real consequences, believe it or not. I view life is much more than just a material being without reason. Even if times are sometimes tough, like they have been recently and continue to be for quite a while.
The misconception is yours, because you think that I actually believe that you see the universe that way. I'm trying to find flaws in your point of view by using your logic. If you don't believe in God or the supernatural, the alternative is science. Now, if you want to use science you better start backing up your beliefes with some sort of proof. There can never be any sort of scientific proof that our feelings mean one bit. In a completely scientific universe our feelings mean nothing. Our lives mean nothing. Planet Earth means nothing. I don't care if it means something in our heads, because in a Godless universe our feelings don't matter, and no one has told me any REAL reason why they should. Why would the big bang matter? Why is a universe more meaningful than empty space? Why is life evolving on one insignificant planet meaningful? Why are the feelings of the insignificant people on the insignificant planet in an insignificant universe meaningful? Why is everyone acting like they are?

The only reason an insignificant, soulless being would tell themself they matter is because they want to mater. They want to believe they mean something? Why do you mean anything if you don't even have a soul? Everything would be action and reaction. Nothing more. It's all about living organisms with meaningless feelings colliding and thinking it means something. Just because we do feel doesn't mean our feelings are worth a thing. Why are you assuming they do?

Here's my main point. You don't believe in any sort of creator, higher power or that we have souls. You believe that the universe is run by logic and that everything that happens is dictated by physics. If there's no god what alternative is there. Then you say all of a sudden we sprouted up, grew meaningful feelings and started mattering. It makes no sense.

I believe that my ultimae purpose on this planet is to serve God, and to show others through example that they need God as well. It saddens me to see the people I love, knowing full well that they don't have a relationship with God. I don't look down on them or feel lesser of them. I usually think "wow, that person is really cool. I wish they could see how great it is to have what I have". In my opinion, the only reason we are here is to get to know God so we can be with him, and to try and bring others to be with him too. I know a lot of people view that as condescending, and it makes me feel pretty bad, because it's not at all. It has nothing to do with the quality of the person, just whether or not they choose to have a relationship with God.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:09 AM   #155
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Originally posted by Irvine511
sin is a concept that people in positions of power use to increase their power over the relatively powerless, and the reason why sin works so well is that an ultimate, unquestionable authority is invoked -- God -- and an ultimate, unquestionable rule book is sourced -- the Bible -- and dissenters are easily dismissed.
How do you know?
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:12 AM   #156
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No it doesn't, not to me. And I've had lots of self-destructive friends. Sure, they may be "in hell" but I'm talking about the idea of the biblical hell as a literal fiery place that God apparently "allows" people to go to if they don't follow his direction. Equally absurd to me is the notion that someone can commit heinous crimes all their life and on their deathbed say "I'm sorry, please forgive me" and all is well.

It's a debate I'm not particularly interested in engaging in, having left the Christian church a long time ago never to return, but that's just my opinion.
The idea of Hell has been one of the biggest questions I've had about God. In all honesty I can't understand why he'd send someone there for eternity either. It kind of seems unfair to me.

I pray about it a lot though. Maybe someday I'll understand. I hope so.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:15 AM   #157
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you wish it were accurate?

seems to me that the wishful thinking is for those who want Jesus to personally pat them on the back at the pearly gates.
How is it wishful thinking if you see evidence in your life when you decide to put your faith in it? That sounds more like faith with results to me.
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Old 07-28-2007, 03:20 AM   #158
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sinner?
We're all sinners. Each one of us is also born with certain weaknesses, and with some people it's food. God tells us not to be sluggards, which she most likely is. Of course the question of health issues could be brought up (hypothyroid for example), but I think a lot of people find food a huge temptation, and way too many people give in to it.

The same could be said for a lot of things, though. Sex, pride, greed and a bunch of others.
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:58 AM   #159
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This still does't answer my question. Why does everyone act like our perceptions of things, which in a Godless universe would be completely irrational, somehow matter? "It matters to us" isn't a legit response. In a Godless universe we don't matter. There is no reason to believe we would. "Because we feel like we do" doesn't mean a thing.We are a part of this universe, and we have no choice but to follow the laws of the universe. If the laws of the universe only pertain to physics then why are we any different? We're not.
I do not believe that we matter outside of our species. We have chosen to matter within our species for a variety of reasons, ego being part of it. And you would have to explain to me why God would be necessary for an intellectually complex, emotionally complex, creatively complex species to come up with a philosophy that says we matter among ourselves (or even beyond ourselves). So, are you questioning the ability of a Godless existence to create such a philosophy? You haven't explained to me why such a member of a self-aware species would not be capable of behaving as if he matters and extending that behavior toward others like him.

Or are you saying that said self-aware creature doesn't have the right to behave "as if". And if not, who determined that right? I believe that humanity can create the rules and varying philosophies under which it functions. And it really doesn't matter if we really matter. You've called such an intraspecies philosphy illogical but have not explained to me why it is illogical when it only relates between species members. I've already allowed that I don't think we matter outside of the species. Whether we matter in some kind of philosphical/again cosmic/outside of species way is a matter of indifference to me, although I don't expect it to be a matter of indifference to everyone.

If there is a God, then he chose that we matter to him for no logical reason. Why would it be beyond us to claim the same prerogative? We do not need God to choose to matter among ourselves.

A quote of yours to Vincent Vega: "The only reason an insignificant, soulless being would tell themself they matter is because they want to mater. They want to believe they mean something? Why do you mean anything if you don't even have a soul? Everything would be action and reaction. Nothing more. It's all about living organisms with meaningless feelings colliding and thinking it means something."

I think you missed a few human capabilities in your analysis.
Human beings, in addition to being subject to action and reaction, are capable of reflection, awareness of consequences,
creation, destruction, forethought, etc. I do believe that the prime reason for believing one matters is because one wants to matter. No argument there.

-----"It's all about living organisms with meaningless feelings colliding and thinking it means something." Maybe. Ultimately.

To you, things only make sense if there is a God. To me, it makes no difference if there is a God or not. I allow for the existence of god. You do not allow for no existence of god. I think your premise is a little shaky. If god exists, my world doesn't come crashing down. The way I look at things allows me to adjust. Oops. Wrong there. How does this fit in now? If god doesn't exist, your worldview may crumble. Both of us are choosing to believe in something we cannot prove--I choose to believe we matter or should behave as if we do whether or not god exists and you choose to believe in god. Objective logic doesn't come in to play for either of them, really. Perhaps we are depending on subjective logic. Perhaps we are both relying on faith. I'm not saying you're wrong about the existence of God. How the hell should I know?

I am a humanist. I see humanity as the holy grail. Not in its perfection (I'm not an idiot) but because of its complexity and ability and potential and its glimmerings of brilliance. I also see it as primal, selfish, nonthinking, cruel and immensely capable of every degradation under the sun. Humanity is not a single organism but an aggregate of the organisms and the influence they have had for better or worse. It is not monolithic. Therefore, the individual has influence, even if small, on the course humanity takes. The individual (or individuals) creates a tool, creates a language, creates a base philosophy, makes a discovery. The dynamic of the species is that it will feed off these elements and humanity changes based on the influences/experiences it is exposed to. The individual can also degrade humanity through the same tools. Individuals created the Constitution and works that have influenced thought (and they were influenced by previous thought). Even if one does not believe in physical evolution, I would assume one would believe in the evolution of thought and culture. I believe that is a fully human construct and I've yet to be given any satisfactory evidence contrary to that.

I recognize the limits of philosophy and science and even logic when based on a faulty or unclear premise. I know scientists are often wrong but scientific process understands that. But you are asking me to take on faith something you cannot begin to prove and to accept its logic. You cannot tell me that believing we matter is illogical and leave it at that. To me, it is no more illogical than believing we matter because God believes we matter (and probably no less illogical, but man -- even agnostic/atheist man does not live by logic alone). But I can see and taste and hear and feel and smell and perceive the influence we as a species have had even if only within the species and on the planet in which we exist. You can tell me you perceive the same with god. But I know humanity exists and I can perceive its dynamic. You have faith to believe god exists. I do not need faith to believe humanity exists and I am willing to work within its limitations.

I'm not trying to convince you there is no God. I am merely saying that we are capable of constructing thought and moral philosophy and even the concept that we matter without the concept of god because we have found it to be beneficial and we have the intellectual capability to do so. I'm not trying to prove we matter. You are trying to convince me that things do not make sense without god. Burden's on you. And you're not there yet.
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:34 AM   #160
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We're all sinners. Each one of us is also born with certain weaknesses, and with some people it's food. God tells us not to be sluggards, which she most likely is. Of course the question of health issues could be brought up (hypothyroid for example), but I think a lot of people find food a huge temptation, and way too many people give in to it.

The same could be said for a lot of things, though. Sex, pride, greed and a bunch of others.
I wish you could read this through my eyes.
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