Is religion a potentially sensitive subject here ? (in Off-topic)


Sickone October 20 2008 9:13 PM EDT

I recently noticed an interesting thread about something else entirely, but it got me thinking.
Over on EVE-Online, discussions about politics and religion are expressly forbidden... but over here, I do notice a good deal of politics threads.
So is "religion" a taboo subject in Carnage Blender or not ?

Kefeck [Demonic Serenity] October 20 2008 9:14 PM EDT

I'd say it depends on how its used and discussed.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] October 20 2008 9:16 PM EDT

Taboo as it is in the real word. Follow the same steps you take in real society and you should be fine.

Cube October 20 2008 9:17 PM EDT

I agree with AG Titan. I'm pretty sure we all know what's reasonable to say.

Sickone October 20 2008 9:18 PM EDT

Well, for starters, what's the dominant religious belief over here ?
I noticed a handfull of Christians (which was to be expected seing how it's the currently dominant religion), but in most other games I played, atheists/agnostics compose the majority of the playerbase (myself included).

Tal October 20 2008 9:18 PM EDT

I agree with Titan as well. Treat CB as a real life society and all things should be fine.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 20 2008 9:19 PM EDT

from the wiki:

"ChatOPs are trusted with maintaining community standards. If you are asked to end an offensive or endlessly annoying conversation, do so. The latter may include topics including politics and religion. Excessive rudeness or namecalling, even within the bounds of the PG rule, will not be tolerated."

it used to be more taboo, lately not so much. i used to enjoy talking about both, as i have gotten older it just seems very pointless. i do wish everyone would read more of everything ever written and come to their own conclusions, with that in mind, even discussing it may taint someone's path to enlightenment with our own.

the forums are so dead though these days that any debate is at least some thing to read in my down times. : )

DoS [Demon Forging] October 20 2008 9:20 PM EDT

"Catholic" but really agnostic.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] October 20 2008 9:21 PM EDT

Well I'm Christian, and I'm completely upfront about it. If whoever is okay with it posts their religion we could probably find out the majority if you wish.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 20 2008 9:22 PM EDT

or we could do a poll?

Cube October 20 2008 9:22 PM EDT

Agnostic/Atheist

Sickone October 20 2008 9:23 PM EDT

Well, I don't know, I'm kind of in the habit of inviting Jehova's Witnesses inside the house, serving them some complimentary food/beverages if they would like to and talking their brains out before they get a chance to excuse themselves and never return (ok, some times, the older one returns with an even older one, and I got as far as 4 such switches before only "newbie" ones ever knock on the door again).

:)

So, yeah, if somebody in society DOES bring up his religion and how I should consider joining it or about how it's better than anything or how much it helps people, I make it my objective to (at least try) to prove them wrong.

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] October 20 2008 9:23 PM EDT

A poll would be interesting. Post if your option's not there.

Could be a nice read, I think.

Roachenfuss October 20 2008 9:31 PM EDT

Nazarene Christian

Little Anthony October 20 2008 9:33 PM EDT

i am with a cult.

Tal October 20 2008 9:33 PM EDT

Southern Baptist

lotien October 20 2008 9:42 PM EDT

Church of the living God here

Yukk October 20 2008 9:49 PM EDT

Dedicated Pastafarian. May *His* noodly appendages rest lightly upon you.

Colonel Custard October 20 2008 9:55 PM EDT

Is it a potentially sensitive subject? Yes. People tend to get angry about things like religion.

I'm Christian. Just the regular kind.

Zaekyr October 20 2008 10:10 PM EDT

I don't believe in fairy tales.

Kefeck [Demonic Serenity] October 20 2008 10:16 PM EDT

Is it possible to be off topic in off topic?

FailBoat[SG] October 20 2008 10:19 PM EDT

Please check out my new team.

Obscurans October 20 2008 10:23 PM EDT

Theological noncognitivist. His Noodly Appendage is my cover for when I "need" one.

[P]Mitt October 20 2008 10:34 PM EDT

I'm agnostic. A-G-N-O-S-T-I-C, not A-T-H-I-E-S-T.

Lord Bob October 20 2008 10:36 PM EDT

Proud atheist here.

three4thsforsaken October 20 2008 10:37 PM EDT

I believe in Jon among other things...

th00p October 20 2008 10:44 PM EDT

Jon-ism is the official religion of CB.

No others will be tolerated.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 20 2008 10:56 PM EDT

"I'm Christian. Just the regular kind."

what exactly is the irregular kind or are they just unledded? ; )

Yukk October 20 2008 11:03 PM EDT

Well, there are the ones with the added snakes.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 20 2008 11:17 PM EDT

Former cult member (no I'm not kidding)
The group I was a member of was a minor offshoot of The Way International. Belief in the nine manifestations of holy spirit was expected, as was manifesting those gifts. Speaking in tongues was a daily occurrence, others less often. After an initial period of lost of happy shiny singing and fellowship things got more interesting as talking of hearing from god becomes frequent, and things turn towards the spiritual battle so much of Christian America is wrapped up in. Claims of possession, evil spirits influencing everyone and every thing around you. It quickly went from harmless to dangerous. I lost touch with my family and friends, hurt people I cared about, and almost lost myself. I'm still tempted to think of things in those terms even now almost 10 years after the first time I left. Yes, I said the first time. I returned after the head of my former fellowship sent a new protege out to bring me back. Being confused enough to believe that another human being spoke for the creator of the heavens and the earth is a strange place to be. When I finally left Maui, it took me a while to understand what I'd done for myself by getting away. I didn't even know I was leaving to escape.

The point of this useless and embarrassing disclosure is simple, discussions of religion must be kept civil, there is too much at stake not to. Some people only escape the religious boundaries they live in via fantasy and role playing games. We may be the only friends they have who aren't telling them they're evil.

Christianity by itself isn't bad, or evil or dangerous. I appreciate religion more and more for it's attempts to explain the ineffable parts of being alive. It held together society and culture when nothing else could. It gives hope to people who have nothing.

It's also been a tool used to commit the greatest evils of history, and without people honestly speaking to each other about it it could easily happen again in our lifetimes.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 20 2008 11:20 PM EDT

and here i thought escaping my southern baptist roots and becoming an atheist was a narrow escape!

thanks for sharing nov.

Tal October 20 2008 11:21 PM EDT

wow nov if you ever need to talk to anyone im here for you bro

Arthas October 20 2008 11:28 PM EDT

Baptist Christian.

three4thsforsaken October 20 2008 11:32 PM EDT

I appreciate you sharing that with us Novice...

I agree that religious talk would have to be very civil, we are going to take it on the community to respect that.

Thraklight Resonance October 20 2008 11:40 PM EDT

Word over the World tried to recruit me during my second year of college. I played with them long enough to have three females as my dates to the homecoming dance, then made a break for a more interesting cult.

BadFish October 20 2008 11:41 PM EDT

I'm a Fish worshiper.

Goodfish October 21 2008 12:36 AM EDT

...specifically, he worships me.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 21 2008 2:33 AM EDT

I paid my $30 to be ordained by Bob.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 3:47 AM EDT

The last time this was bought up I started an "Omniscience and Free Will" topic. ;)

Tal October 24 2008 4:03 AM EDT

actually i was looking through old post and saw that. its what made me ask again because it had been a while

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] October 24 2008 6:39 AM EDT

I'm an atheist although every survey I get I'm tempted to go Jedi for a laugh.

Colonel Custard October 24 2008 9:22 AM EDT

That's an interesting story, novice. I'm glad to hear you got away from that.

dude: What I meant by "the regular kind" is that I'm not Southern Baptist or Church of the Unified Christ or 7th-Day Adventist or Catholic or whatnot. My church is "non-denominational," which means like we read the Bible and pray and evangelize to those who are open to it. We don't belong to a denomination because it's not about being an establishment or an organized religion. It's based on reading the Bible, and anything that's not consistent with that isn't part of my church's doctrine.

This isn't to say that any particular denomination (or that belonging to a denomination) is way off the mark, but I think many of the details that distinguish one church's values and ideology from another tend to be distractions from the main point. I hope that makes sense, because I feel like I won't elaborate clearly, and the post will just ramble on forever.

Flamey October 24 2008 9:40 AM EDT

It's probably one of the most pointless discussions ever. How difficult is it to change someone's mind on even a trivial matter? Multiply this by how important religion is to people and you're left with senseless flaming and bashing. Same goes for politics.

QBsutekh137 October 24 2008 9:45 AM EDT

That's funny, I don't see a single flam on the thread, and we even got some nice sharing from a couple folks. Always interested to learn more about fellow CB community folks.

I'd have to say the post with the most tone on the thread is, ironically, yours, Flamey.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] October 24 2008 9:45 AM EDT

I already told you Flamey two plus two is five. Gosh you never listen to me. ;P.

Goodfish October 24 2008 12:13 PM EDT

The thing is, none of us are really stating any of our personal beliefs. We're simply stating the broadest, most acceptable aspect of our faiths (counting the lack of faith as a faith itself). None of us are saying anything beyond that, keeping it at an acceptable social level.

Not that I mind that; it keeps things respectful. However, it's despairingly shallow. :)

Colonel Custard October 24 2008 3:48 PM EDT

I'll end the despairing shallowness, if you guys would like.

My basic beliefs are that:
1. The is an Ultimate God who created the Universe. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and only defined by male personal pronouns for the sake of human communication.
2. Man is by definition not ultimate like God is.
3. God loves all human beings despite their imperfections and desires to have a relationship with them, and for them to worship him. However, human beings cannot approach him in light of their sinfulness and other shortcomings.
4. Jesus is the son of this God, who came to Earth to live a life as an ultimate-god-like human being, thus bridging the gap between the two.
5. Jesus was crucified and resurrected, taking the full wrath of God and descending into Hell in order to both symbolically and literally pay the price for humanity's sin. He has victory over evil and death.
6. Humans can freely choose to worship God and accept the gift of redemption that Jesus purchased. They can also choose not to. I am one of the former.
7. The Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Ummm... there's more, but I think I sound crazy enough at this point, and I think my post would be too long if I elaborated on every aspect of my theology.

Who else?

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] October 24 2008 3:53 PM EDT

Crazy? Heck, no. I am not a religious man (I mean by that, I don't believe in any god.), but I'd be unable to watch myself in a mirror if I thought personal beliefs like that are ''just being crazy''.

Heck (again), I keep getting strange stares because I believe in Karma. That's just stupid. We all believe in some things that can seem illogical when faced to the rules we have conceived and proven to be ''true''.

We ALL do.

drudge October 24 2008 3:54 PM EDT

trolls

ResistanZ October 24 2008 3:57 PM EDT

I'm an atheist. I can't bring myself to believe that one doctrine is more correct than another and that all other religions except that one are wrong.

What goes through the head of a religious Christian when they ask themselves why their religion is right and all others are wrong?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 4:34 PM EDT

"I'm an atheist. I can't bring myself to believe that one doctrine is more correct than another and that all other religions except that one are wrong."

Isn't Atheism just another doctrine to believe in? ;)

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] October 24 2008 4:35 PM EDT

It is, at 100%.

Lord Bob October 24 2008 4:49 PM EDT

"Isn't Atheism just another doctrine to believe in?"

Not really. It's just a lack of belief in a deity. All these people trying to pretend it's a religion onto itself are just trying to turn it into something it's not.

QBsutekh137 October 24 2008 4:56 PM EDT

LB, I think being a true atheist has a little more bite than that, technically. From Wikipedia:

***************
Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as an absence of belief in deities, or nontheism.
***************

Your viewpoint sounds more nontheistic, or even agnostic (the "don't really care" of viewpoints, in my summation).

A hard-core atheist would, by definition, have to tell a theistic person that they are, in fact, wrong. In a sense, atheism can be as intolerant as any other fundamentalist viewpoint.

Then again, ANY viewpoint can be made "fundamental". I guess that is a whole additional layer, so tolerance probably doesn't even have anything to do with it (directly).

In light of that, I guess I would realistically call myself a "tolerant agnostic" with the caveat that I have ZERO tolerance for "intolerant fundamentalists". And as idealistic as I strive to be, I have found that fundamentalism tends to lead to intolerance by definition. Things get really sticky really quickly.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 24 2008 5:20 PM EDT

"7. The Bible is the inspired Word of God."

written, as well as modified many times over, by man.

the ten commandments were directly given to moses and i could understand the above statement in reference to them. if the bible is truly what you refer to it as, why did god change his delivery method, as well as his verbosity, so drastically?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 24 2008 5:22 PM EDT

"A hard-core atheist would, by definition, have to tell a theistic person that they are, in fact, wrong."

why, we have no ultimatum to proselytize, convert or save anyone from not burning in hell? a simple disagreement about the existence of a god does not require me to prove myself right. i only do that on cb forums!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 5:28 PM EDT

"Not really. It's just a lack of belief in a deity."

Well all deities. ;)

Which is in itself exactly the same as total belief in the non existance of all deities.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 24 2008 5:32 PM EDT

that is about like saying that a belief that there is a lack of pies in my house is the same as a belief in all pies being in my house or the same as there being a pie in my house? yes, all of those are beliefs, but it doesn't really make pies magically appear in my pieless house. i guess some could believe that i have an apple pie, while others think it is pumpkin. i would still have to stick by the fact that i have no pie in my house. i guess i see your point! ; )

Lord Bob October 24 2008 5:32 PM EDT

No, I was right, though as usual my wording could have been clearer.

"Lack of belief in a deity" by itself is what has been called implicit atheism. it's close to agnosticism, but leans more toward "no" than "I don't know."

What you're describing is explicit atheism, which I subscribe to. This atheist's answer to the god question is "absolutely not, no way, heck no, I'm positive there is no god."

So it's like three answers to the same question here.
"Do you believe a god exists?"
Agnostic: "I don't know."
Implicit Atheist: "Not really."
Explicit Atheist: "Absolutely not."

What atheism certainly is NOT is a religion itself. It is simply and solely a lack of belief in god, or as you will, a belief there is no god. That's all.

Lord Bob October 24 2008 5:35 PM EDT

That was in reference to Sut, by the way.

Colonel Allen October 24 2008 5:47 PM EDT

Well I guess I can't add much to this discussion. I go to church every Wednesday night but really I do it just to do it im not all Jesus-y but I have some good morals.

Lord Bob October 24 2008 6:02 PM EDT

You can have some great morals without being "all Jesus-y." Religion does not dictate morality, and Christianity certainly doesn't.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 24 2008 6:05 PM EDT

I'm a budding individualist who can't let go of his collectivist upbringing and a anarco-communist radical who believes that there might be a biological requirement for failure... in summary, I'm confused.

I think that the symbolism and eastern writings in the bible and other documents have great use if you care to understand them in context.
I believe that language fails to effectively communicate the entirety of the human condition so badly we need to find other methods to express ourselves; religion, art, violence, drugs, sex, greed, suicide, homicide, and genocide are manifestations of that inability...

We are the personification of evolution, we control our own path and our responsible down to a man for where life goes next.

QBsutekh137 October 24 2008 6:30 PM EDT

LB, well said, and I understand.

Custard writes:
"5. Jesus was crucified and resurrected, taking the full wrath of God and descending into Hell in order to both symbolically and literally pay the price for humanity's sin. He has victory over evil and death. "

This is a point I have genuine, non-snarky questions about that no one has ever been able to answer fully (for me, anyway).

To me, there are some things required to symbolically (and literally) pay a price. That requires sacrifice. That requires _knowing_ you are going to come out behind, except perhaps growth for being a better person from the character-enhancing action.

That was not the case with Jesus' death. He was God on Earth. He knew what he was doing, knew what was going to happen, and didn't really pay any price. Pain is not a price. Some folks go through all sorts of pain (far worse than Jesus' as a matter of fact) with nothing to "show" for it. Death itself, for example, doesn't actually "hurt", so dying is not a big deal when you know you are coming right back. Even if crazy things went on down in Hell, it's nothing Jesus can't handle -- He made Satan (or at least his Dad did). I can't imagine that was all that tough a fight. All of this is based on the information God has given me. If more happened, that's fine. He can call me any time he wants and give me more info if it helps.

In other words, where was the "honor" and "valor" in Christ's death and subsequent return to life?

As I said, I have never fully received an answer. The answers I do get are variations of two themes: That I cannot understand God's plan, and/or, I need to have faith. Those are both actually the same thing, but people talk to me as if they are different. Also, they aren't really answers. On one hand, God wants me to worship and love him, and I am told I was made in his image, but on the other hand I am not given answers as...some sort of test, I guess. I admit that I simply do not understand.

Any insight to offer, ColonelCustard?

Goodfish October 24 2008 7:08 PM EDT

Sut, I've asked the same of my Christian friends and for them it ultimately comes back to the Bible. Either you believe it's some divinely inspired text, or you don't.

I for one don't, mostly because of the atrocities that have been, and still are, committed in the name of God. I adhere to no religion, but here are a few points of what I _do_ believe:

1. There is a "God", whether that God be the one defined by Christian theology, if Christianity is in fact correct; the infinite Brahma; or science. Suffice to say, I believe in something greater than myself.
2. I believe the universe was created with purpose.
3. I believe in science, and therefore believe in evolution.
4. I reject the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, but think he was a totally kick-butt guy, and was a genius (if the Bible interprets him at all accurately).
5. I believe there is not an afterlife, and we are supposed to make the best of the world we live in now, however ephemeral. Love your neighbor as yourself, do good works, exhibit moral and sensual temperance. Do that and you've lived a good life.
6. If I am wrong and there _is_ an afterlife (based off the Christian faith), I don't believe God will send me to Hell for not believing Jesus was the son of God. God's supposed to be all-loving, and if I did a good job on Earth, I think that's ultimately what matters.
7. The Old Testament should be disregarded by every Christian on the planet, since it has no effect on contemporary Christian-based faith systems whatsoever and is just dogma used to perpetuate archaic stereotypes and backwards ways of thinking (persecution of women, condemnation of prophylactics and masturbation, male dominion over the household, ability to own slaves, et cetera).
8. Even if I am wrong, I deserve to hold my own opinions on the subject and absolutely _hate_ when people try to tell me I am incorrect. I am very accepting of other persons' beliefs, so long as they are truly the beliefs _of that person_. I refuse to talk to somebody who believes in something simply because they "grew up on it" or "it's what they've always done". That is a pathetic reason to have a faith system. However, if you've done your own soul searching and have reached a conclusion for yourself, I commend you, and will respect your opinion.

Sheesh, that wound up being a bit longer than I intended.

I certainly hope there are people in the same boat as myself. :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 7:09 PM EDT

"What atheism certainly is NOT is a religion itself. It is simply and solely a lack of belief in god, or as you will, a belief there is no god. That's all."

Atheism is actually a Religion. Implict or explicit. ;)

It's a set belief concerning the cause of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency. It's also a set belief agreed upon by a number of individuals.

It doesn't have to have devotional or ritual observacies, nor a moral code to qualify as a religion.

What makes Agnostism different is that it isn't a belief system (or Religion). There's no set belief on the cause of the universe. ;)

It's all open, until the Agnostic themself has a personal experience that will change them to either thiest or athiest in belief. ;)

Goodfish October 24 2008 7:10 PM EDT

And I'm glad my sort of "anti-reply" sparked a true, temperate discussion. :D

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 7:13 PM EDT

"it's nothing Jesus can't handle -- He made Satan (or at least his Dad did)"

That's a sticky subject for Christianity (along with Limbo, Bats and Translations, among other things...).

Free Wil was Gods greatest gift to man. Of all his creation, only Man was given Free Will.

The Angels didn't have free will, so therefore there was no way for the Devil (origianlly the Greatest of Gods Angels) to 'rebel'. The Devil didn't Rebel, it was all a role and set of actions God had determined Lucifer should play.

God created the Devil, on Purpose.

What all loving creator would do that, punish the Devil for all eternity and then unleash that creation on the Human populace?

Goodfish October 24 2008 7:15 PM EDT

I am of the conviction that any intelligent person who scrutinizes the idea of Hell and Satan will inevitably come to the conclusion that it simply doesn't exist, for the reasons you outlined. If God doesn't exist, then Hell can't exist. But if God does exist, then he is all-loving, and Hell can't exist. This is more of that antiquated Christian dogma I talked about. It's a real shame, in my opinion, but if somebody truly believes in it, then so be it, as it will guide their morals and actions and hopefully they'll do something good for the world.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 24 2008 7:19 PM EDT

I think the conundrum you're in is caused by the deification of the man called Jesus. If instead of being a member of the triumvirate godhead Jesus was instead simply a man who chose of his own will to be the lamb whose blood cleaned the slate you lose the silliness of it. The word used for hell in the verses talking about Jesus descending into hell could also be translated earth, or ground. Meaning he died. By Jewish law you were not dead until you had been entombed for at least three days. Forgive me if I'm a bit rusty on this stuff, it's been a long time.

The book of Hebrews (if my heretical mind remembers correctly) was always the clearest description to me of the role of Jesus as the intercessor for mankind. He replaced the priesthood entirely, becoming the church itself and offering everyone a place where they personally could find god.

The scourging he took was certainly on par with most of the torture methods I've heard of, even if it was short term. His physical suffering while not by any means ultimate was sufficient to symbolize
the sacrifice that he was making by dying for our sins. The lines around all of this get fuzzy for me since I'm not likely to start going around declaring "he is risen" any time soon.

The bottom line really is that people, even those that study the bible themselves aren't going to be able to answer the big questions.
They don't know if we'd all be wearing machine guns if Jesus was killed with an M4A1, it's hard to answer the questions about which one of Eve's sons she slept with, and no one wants to explain about the angels who having saw the nekkidness of man did things that will get you put in jail for lewd acts...
If you really want a quality answer you'll have to find a Jesuit or a Jehovah's Witness to ask, they ALWAYS have an answer.

Goodfish October 24 2008 7:22 PM EDT

But novice, if Jesus was "just" a man, then the Bible is worthless... right? Even if he did have to carry a pretty significant weight on his shoulders (literally and figuratively) during his last few days. The Bible expresses Jesus _as divinity_, not as a regular guy. Sure, there's that junk about him being "all man and all God", but that's logically impossible (and even God must abide by logical truths!).

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 7:23 PM EDT

I worked with a Witness for a number of years. She was very insightful. ;)

The Witnesses don't belive in heaven and hell. Everyone who has died currently waits in limbo until the second coming and judgement day.

Those failtful chosen will then be brought back to life to live on earth again with Jesus, in a new Eden.

As far as I remember. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 24 2008 7:29 PM EDT

Borgin, a question about he Bible, perfection and interpretations.

The Bible, I've been told, shouldn't be taken literally. It's a guide for you to form your own interpretations from.

But, it's the perfect word of God. While Man isn't perfect (the original sin saw to that) and only God is, as the Bible was writen by man, it can't be the Perfect Word of God. This has been explained away by God wriing the Bible through the human writers, so it remains the pefect word of God. Ignoring Translations (like the funny 'Wicked' bible of england, where the 'Not' was ommited form the commandment "Thou shall not commit adultery"), we have the perfect word of god, in written form.

If we are then to interpret this work, we are applying our flawed, unperfect human reasoning, to the perfect word of God. The result can only be an unperfect interpretation.

In order to follow the Perfect word of God, you would need to follow the written Bible literally, and not ever apply flawed human understanding to it.

Goodfish October 24 2008 7:58 PM EDT

I believe that, from a logical standpoint, the Bible can not be the perfect word of God. There are plenty of reasons for this, but first and foremost to me is simply that God did not write it. "God" is not listed as the author. And as far as I am concerned, there is no objective evidence claiming he even inspired it (besides the very words within its pages). It's a circular argument- either you believe in the Bible, in which case you can prove it using the Bible, or you don't, in which case the Bible is worthless in proving its own validity.

Regardless, I would hope people are forming their own opinions outside of what the Bible literally says.

Lord Bob October 24 2008 9:50 PM EDT

"Atheism is actually a Religion. Implict or explicit."

Incorrect. In order to be a religion, an idea has to have a few things to go along with it, mainly traditions, a place to practice, holidays, and "an agent with special powers" as my religion professor once put it. There are other things, but it's been a while since I've reviewed my notes on the subject. But without these things, it's not a religion.

Atheism as it is truly defined has none of these things. All it is - ALL it is - is a rejection of the idea that there are beings known as gods. That's it. NONE of the things that define religion are included in the definition of Atheism. None of them.

"It's a set belief concerning the cause of the universe,"

No, it's a rejection of another particular belief. That's all. It does not try to explain anything by itself, other than the fact that there is no god.

You could argue that the rejection is a set belief, and yeah, that's true. But it's only one simple belief, not an entire system of beliefs which are required to form a religion.

"It's also a set belief agreed upon by a number of individuals."

So is the belief that the Detroit Lions suck. It doesn't make that fact a religion.

Sickone October 24 2008 10:02 PM EDT

Atheism could be eventually labeled as a religion if you twist the definition enough... afterall, it is the BELIEF that God does not exist (a God, any God or any certain number of Gods do not exist).

However, Agnosticism certainly can't be labeled as a religion. Atheism is simply stating "there is not enough evidence to support any kind of conclusions about the existance of any gods".

Or, to put it in simpler terms, an Atheist is an Agnostic who says "the probability that any God exists is so small as to be negligible for all practical intents and purposes".

lotien October 24 2008 10:40 PM EDT

there is no remission of sin with out blood. we needed a sinless sacrifice to take away our sins. so Jesus paid the price in full. he paid the price because we couldnt. u ask where is the valor or the honor? howabout saving millions upon millions of people from eternal damnation. and u know just as christ was god he was also man so he could be and was tempted. if u want answers to ur questions i know this book lol

BadFish October 24 2008 10:54 PM EDT

Oh, God.... XD

SimplyNic October 25 2008 2:50 AM EDT

In the perspective of the Nic religion is a very sensitive and potentionally offensive subject. I guess some people have had issues with religion that has either led them to really crappy conditions, or there are some people that are just religious and don't like having to deal with other's opinions. (Lol least that's how it is where I live).

As goes for me it tends to annoy me. I'm forced to go to church every Sunday, listen to a bunch of mess that I don't believe, try not to laugh at some of the things the priest says (seriously... I bite my tongue and a bunch of other mess to keep myself from laughing. One time it was so bad I had to pretend like I was coughing. Epic fail right there) and a bunch of other mess.

But yea that's just me :D

SimplyNic October 25 2008 2:53 AM EDT

Lol and to post a quote from one of my most favorite of songs which just so happens to kind of go along with my perspectives (note the kind of)

"Face down, arms out
Nailed to the cross of doubt.
Blood runs, like rain,
Drowning for this world in vein.
Crown of black thorns,
Human skin, ripped and torn.
Crown of black thorns,
Human skin, ripped and torn.
Where's your savior now?"

kevlar October 25 2008 2:58 AM EDT

anything that you hold true as a virtue will be sensitive. Does it mean it is wrong to talk about it? Man... I'll tell you what, freedom of speech in these forums/chats is very questionable. A majority of people are very touchy/stubborn with certain things/issues, where just trying to say your view/opinion elicits an equivocal response.

In God We Trust.

Colonel Custard October 25 2008 4:20 AM EDT

Wow... so "don't step away from the forums for 12 hours after starting this discussion" is the moral of this story, huh?

I think the best place to begin is by saying that I don't fully (nor near-fully) understand all the implications of my faith, nor all the aspects and characteristics of my God. I attribute this to the fact that the God I believe in is, by definition, way beyond the highest potential of human comprehension. But I am making a continual effort, and I have put enough thought into some matters in order to answer or kindof-answer some questions/points that have been brought up, and there are also many points brought up here that I admit I don't really know how to answer now. I will offer what insight I can into questions that were actually asked of me, and give other input in areas I feel I have something to say.

sutekh:
"In other words, where was the "honor" and "valor" in Christ's death and subsequent return to life?"
Your implication is (correct me if I'm wrong) that there has to be something ultimate and unretrievable about a sacrifice in order for it to have value, correct? I see where you are coming from with that. However, my view is that salvation for humanity is a gift offered to us. For a gift to have value, would you agree that no significant sacrifice is necessary? I mean, if Warren Buffett bought you a Lamborghini, it's still pretty freakin' sweet for you, regardless of the fact that he could afford to buy 100 of them a day for the rest of his life.
An omnipotent God, by definition, has infinite resources, so it can be said that nothing is really a big deal for him to accomplish. However, you don't have infinite resources (especially not in a cosmic sense). If he gives you the opportunity for redemption, salvation, and eternal life in heaven (which is otherwise unattainable to you), who cares how much it "costs" him? It's still nice of him, isn't it?

Furthermore, Jesus' sacrifice was not nearly as trivial as you make it sound, though I see how you could view it that way, following the pattern of thought you laid out. The physical suffering was terrible, yes, but that is, in my mind, more of the symbollic part of redemption. The literal spiritually redemptive portion is the fact that Jesus took the full wrath of the Father upon himself. His punishment (or our punishment, given to him) was not his physical torture, unjust condemnation, etc., but the fact that God the Father sent Jesus to Hell. That doesn't sound as significant as it is. The horrible part of Hell isn't the fact that you're in a lake of fire and whatnot; it's the fact that it is complete, total, and irreversible separation from the creator of the universe. This is the worst possible thing that could ever happen, and I mean that in the most absolute of absolute senses. And God condemned himself (or part of himself) to that. That's the sacrifice involved. The fact that it wasn't eternal sacrifice doesn't mean that it wasn't a sacrifice at all.

Thirdly, the question of the Trinity is very complicated and I've had no real formal education as to the details of it. However, the most basic part of the idea is that the three branches of God are just as separate as they are unified. God is too ultimate of a being to exist as simply one set of virtues or abilities. As far as our understanding goes, the three facets of God can almost be considered opposites of each other... but that is not due to God being inconsistent; it is simply due to our incomplete understanding of how characteristics line up with one another. Being just and being merciful as we perceive them are mutually exclusive in some cases, but God is both. Being loving and being wrathfilled are opposites in our understanding, but that doesn't mean that God is bipolar. Personally, I think this is a fun concept to comtemplate.
Anyway, what I'm trying to get at with that is that, while God the Father is omnipotent, omniscient, and not bound by time, and can therefore "see the future," that does not necessarily apply that Jesus(nor the Holy Spirit) is omnipotent or omniscient. Jesus' experience of life as a human being was bound by time in a very real sense. Because I believe God's foreknowledge of future events is resultant of the fact that he is external to time and therefore there is no "future" to him, I find it to be perfectly plausible that the human Jesus, a manifestation of God bound by time, would not know exactly how everything was going to turn out, because there was a future relative to him. If this is the case, then that brings both nobility and valor back into what he did. Beyond even nobility and valor, though, he exhibited complete confidence in the will of God the Father when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane and asked God that the Father's will, and not his own, be fulfilled. Two more supposedly conflicting attributes of God: the ultimate authority of the Father, and the complete submission of the Son.

While I'm on the subject, my contemplations on the Trinity, as well as what I have read in the Bible, have led me to believe that Christians are meant to act as Jesus acted, and only as he acted (i.e. not to act as either other branch of the Trinity). Jesus was the human manifestation of God, and we are human. Jesus was submissive to God's will, and we are commanded to be as well. Jesus showed love to everyone he met, and we are commanded to as well. Jesus was merciful, and we are to be merciful as well. By contrast, God the Father is the righteous judge- but we are told not to judge others. God the Father pours out his wrath- but we are not to speak to one another in anger, nor to kill one another. God the Father is worthy of worship, and demands it- but we are not to be prideful and boastful and demanding of praise.
1st John 4:8 says that "God is love," but I think that the word "God" in this context refers to Jesus, not to the Father. Because what better word is there to sum up the totality of Jesus' actions and character than the word "love"?
First Corinthians 13:4-8 says "Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" If you substitute "Jesus" for "love," none of those are false statements.

That may have been more insight than you wanted. I've been thinking about writing my thoughts on this out to try to sort through them for almost a year now, because that's when I first had this crazy idea about the Trinity, and I thank you for finally giving me a place to throw it all down.

As for the rest... I'll get to it tomorrow, I guess. It's 3:19 a.m. here, and I need to sleep.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] October 25 2008 4:51 AM EDT

Way to try and bring logic to a concept that doesn't exactly lend itself to the process CC. You've done a good job of playing apologist.

Xiaz on Hiatus October 25 2008 5:43 AM EDT

Religion can be a sensitive issue, because for anyone who believes they share a relationship with a higher being/s, it is very personal.

That's not to say it shouldn't be discussed, but if the discussion breaks down into a a debate over definitions and logic, it's best avoided.

Obscurans October 25 2008 8:59 AM EDT

"A religion is a set of tenets and practices, often centered upon specific supernatural and moral claims about reality, the cosmos, and human nature, and often codified as prayer, ritual, or religious law. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction."

The very-modified-by-pretty-much-every-side-there-is first paragraph from wikipedia. Seems like it's a matter of definition. Atheism fails both having specific supernatural and moral claims - negation of a supernatural claim doesn't make another one, it becomes a naturalistic claim.

My view is not succinctly summed up by "there is no god period", more like "enough people have put up their claims about what god/something supernatural is, none of them survive the merest modicum of scientific scrutiny; plus we've already explained enough previously "divine" things without resort to the supernatural, thus there is no reason to use that default again when talking about the yet-unexplained of today".

IMO the only thing that separates the two statements is the lack of dogma: you can pretty much say the sayer of the first sentence may well hold on to it with an actual god staring in his face. I would hypothetically acknowledge god if he came to me and I show that I wasn't on LSD/crack/hunger/etc.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 9:33 AM EDT

"Atheism is actually a Religion. Implicit or explicit. ;) "

So can I write off my saturday drinking binges on my tax forms as celebration of my faith in lack of faith? Because seriously if christians insist on saying a lack of religion is a formal religion I want some tax benefits. With a strict christian upbringing I hear this one over and over and over. If thats the way folks want it then seriously I want tax benefits and a tiny nation where our illustrious leader the invisible man lives and gives candy on weekends.

I'm SICK of people who cant stand the thought of the world being an entirely physical place forcing this crap down my throat. I'm fine with whatever you want to believe but you know what? Insisting on placing labels on someone's choices they don't want doesn't make those labels any more true.

Unless you fly by the "Majority creates truth" theory which I suppose is a type of social evolution, but I guess that wouldn't exist either then eh.

Obscurans October 25 2008 9:37 AM EDT

A majority creates truth world is easy: no single religion ever has 50% of the world as adherents, so EVERY religion is wrong. Done.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 9:41 AM EDT

On a completely different but yet the same note! I can see Russia from my house!

Lord Bob October 25 2008 10:15 AM EDT

"Atheism could be eventually labeled as a religion if you twist the definition enough..."

Key words here are "IF you twist the definition enough." But by its actual definition, no, atheism is not a religion.

A million points to Flatcap for his previous post on the issue.

QBsutekh137 October 25 2008 10:40 AM EDT

CC, I will get through the rest of your post as soon as I can, but I had one immediate comment involving the Warren Buffett analogy...

Yes, I would take a nice car as a gift, provided Warren didn't ask me to worship him forever and ever.

That's the difference. A gift ceases to be a "gift" when there are strings attached.

Now, if there is a heaven, and if simply living a good life can get me there, that's all fine. But I have been told more than once (not sure your comprehensive stance on it) that faith/belief is absolutely required for admission into heavenly realms. Some even say that FAITH ALONE is enough. I disagree with that, and that is where I have been told I just "Need to get that faith", or even, "Well, why not believe?"

Neither sit too well with me. I'm, not going to believe as some sort of hedge (not saying you are), especially when the demands for my belief sound inconsistent and pushy.

It comes down to this: If another person, even a stranger, knowingly took a bullet for me and literally gave their life for me, that would be more meaningful (in my eyes) than Superman taking the bullet and deflecting it to save me. Even if that hurt him, well, he's Superman -- he's going to be fine. Even better, after saving me, Superman wouldn't ask for a thing. He would humbly fly off, doing good deeds without necessary thanks. In fact, that is something the New Testament preaches over and over again... Doing things because it is right, doing things for no-thanks, not wearing sacrifice around you like a shroud, etc. etc. There is absolutely no "Look at me!" sentiment in the New Testament.

In summary, God doesn't practice what He preaches (IMO). At least not the way He has been presented to me in my life, and certainly not in what I see some other religious folks (again, I am not singling anyone out nor am I saying you are "that way") doing in His name.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 11:14 AM EDT

There's no twisting necessary. LB you don't need traditions, a place to practice, holidays, or "an agent with special powers" to qualify.

All you need is a set belief, that is practiced by more than one person (for some reaosn you can't have a personal Religion). The others are just trappings, and organisation.

Christianity *shouldn't* have a place of worship, if you follow the teachings of Jesus, and not the Church, for example.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 11:18 AM EDT

"No, it's a rejection of another particular belief."

Missed this from my post above. It's a rejection of lots of other beliefs, as part and parcel of this specific belief.

You *cannot* be an atheist without whole heartidly beliving that not only the Christian God doesn't exists, but *no* God can.

If all you want to do is refuse to believe in the Chrstian God, you can do that without being Athiest. Muslims don't belive in the Christian God, but aren't Athiest. ;)



AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 11:21 AM EDT

"However, Agnosticism certainly can't be labeled as a religion. Atheism is simply stating "there is not enough evidence to support any kind of conclusions about the existance of any gods".

Or, to put it in simpler terms, an Atheist is an Agnostic who says "the probability that any God exists is so small as to be negligible for all practical intents and purposes"."

Not true Sick. Athiesm, is the refusal to bleive in any Gods, regardless of the amount of, or lack of, evidence.

If you're open to the posibility, no matter how small 9And even if you discount that size to be negligable), that God/Gods can exist, then you're Agnostic.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 25 2008 11:22 AM EDT

by that definition, people across the globe who believe in a yeti like creature comprise a religion?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 11:24 AM EDT

"but the fact that God the Father sent Jesus to Hell"

Where is that mentioned in the Bible? I don't recall ever hearing of God sending himself (or a the part of himself that is his son) to Hell.

Where I suppose Jesus would remain untli the second coming and Judgement day.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 11:24 AM EDT

"by that definition, people across the globe who believe in a yeti like creature comprise a religion?"

If they think they Yeti created the world/universe, then yes.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 25 2008 11:30 AM EDT

i guess this is going to be easier if you just define your definition of religion rather than us getting it piecemeal gl. you say it is a shared belief, then you add that it is a shared belief that an entity created the universe. what are the other facets of your definition of a religion?

atheism, as a belief that the universe just happened, would not meet your own requirement btw as it is not a belief that any entity created the universe. ; )

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 11:36 AM EDT

"but the fact that God the Father sent Jesus to Hell" http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/jesus-in-hell-faq.htm In Support of the ever knowledgeable GentlemanLoser

Arthas October 25 2008 12:10 PM EDT

That's a widely disputed theological claim, which is also why I, personally, don't adhere to it.

Lord Bob October 25 2008 12:42 PM EDT

Ugh, this shouldn't be that hard.

"LB you don't need traditions, a place to practice, holidays, or "an agent with special powers" to qualify."

Yes you do. They're kind of some of the requirements for calling a system of beliefs a religion. There are many things that go into it, not simply a single, stand alone belief. If you define a religion as a sole, singular belief, you're doing it wrong.

"All you need is a set belief, that is practiced by more than one person"

Again, by that logic any single opinion held by two or more people is now a religion. This has absolutely no basis in reality.

"Christianity *shouldn't* have a place of worship,"

But it does. And you're forgetting that there is nothing to worship as an atheist anyway, so that's yet another reason to discount atheism as a religion.

"It's a rejection of lots of other beliefs, as part and parcel of this specific belief."

Different wording, same thing. It's the rejection of the single idea that gods exist, - or - it's the rejection of a lot of other beliefs in different gods. To us it's all the same thing.

"You *cannot* be an atheist without whole heartedly believing that not only the Christian God doesn't exists, but *no* God can. If all you want to do is refuse to believe in the Christian God, you can do that without being Atheist."

Once again, you're really splitting hairs here. To us it's all the same thing, and we reject it all. Our belief is that no gods exist. Trying to split that into a million separate issues is just unnecessary. It's one belief: gods don't exist. Simple as that.

"Or, to put it in simpler terms, an Atheist is an Agnostic who says "the probability that any God exists is so small as to be negligible for all practical intents and purposes"."

This is closer to the truth than what you write in your next paragraph. Even Richard Dawkins said he was only 90% sure god doesn't exist. Why? Because no one, no matter how strong your faith in anything is, can ever claim 100% on anything we cannot prove ourselves.

But I certainly don't agree that we're just "agnostic++." I've spoken with many Christians who have doubted the existence of their god, and by your logic, they can no longer be Christians because they aren't 100% sure on the god question. That's incorrect.

"If they think they Yeti created the world/universe, then yes."

But atheism doesn't say that [x] created the universe, and doesn't try to explain anything about the nature or origin of the cosmos. It just says your guy didn't do it. That's not even really a theory, just a rejection of another one on grounds of lack of evidence.

Lord Bob October 25 2008 12:43 PM EDT

"i guess this is going to be easier if you just define your definition of religion rather than us getting it piecemeal gl."

Yeah, that would help.

Little Anthony October 25 2008 12:43 PM EDT

i want to admit my guilty of making this thread last 100 posts long.

Tal October 25 2008 1:14 PM EDT

sorry for bringing this up i didnt realize the can of worms i was opening when i asked about naming my minion J.C.
oops

Obscurans October 25 2008 1:14 PM EDT

"You *cannot* be an atheist without whole heartidly beliving that not only the Christian God doesn't exists, but *no* God can."

Nope, I don't believe that no god *can* exist, I only say all currently proposed gods don't exist. And the gaps where said god-being can fit shrink by the day.

Universal negation IS a belief since it claims something about the supernatural (no god-objects there), while negating the truth of the finite set of already-been-flogged gods is simply "these supernatural things aren't", a naturalistic statement.

Lord Bob October 25 2008 1:26 PM EDT

"Universal negation IS a belief.."

Agreed. But that does not make it a religion.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 1:55 PM EDT

Because C&Ping Dictionary.com is so much easier than scanning the COED. ;)

"1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice."

So the Yeti discussion isn't a Religion unless the Yeti is part of the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.

Usually and Often leave room for a Religion that has none.

SimplyNic October 25 2008 1:58 PM EDT

Having read some posts of heaven and hell, I always had this (somewhat messed up) thought, but how do we know for sure hell is as bad as the bible says it is?

Since some people are sent to hell (which is Satan's realm, yes?), why would he (he being satan) punish us for turning away from the god he left behind? Yes its a common misconception, Satan was not actually banished from heaven, instead he left it of his own free will. Sorry I'm a bit ADD at the moment, but anyways. When you think about it, why would someone be punished by another being (assuming there is one) for turning away towards one and more so to the other?

That's kind of like a business type thing. Lets say you work for a company and you're trying to get a new client, but you learn that this client is already with a different company. The way its most often seen is that this client is with the wrong company and should be with yours, assuming that yours offers better deals and such that is. So you convince him to turn away from the other company and sign up for yours. Good job. Now that you got him to turn away from the other company, would you suddenly switch up the terms and make the deals you offered worse so he's paying more or having to do more for your company? Or would you give him a pat on the back and keep things the way you made the deal with?

Same concept.

;P Unless you'd much rather believe what you hear (more so read) in a book then logical (or fairly illogical) thinking, then you'll probably (or most likely) just wave off what I said and stick to your book.

Whichever one you do is fine by me, just figure that I'd throw in some of my perspectives.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 1:58 PM EDT

"Nope, I don't believe that no god *can* exist, I only say all currently proposed gods don't exist. And the gaps where said god-being can fit shrink by the day."

Then you're Agnostic. ;)

"Universal negation IS a belief since it claims something about the supernatural (no god-objects there), while negating the truth of the finite set of already-been-flogged gods is simply "these supernatural things aren't", a naturalistic statement."

Athiesm is universal negation. There's no wiggle room in it. Athiests belive in the non existance of any supreme/God like beings.

"1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings."

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 2:02 PM EDT

Thanks Flatcap. ;)

"We are not given all of the details about where Jesus was during the time between His burial and resurrection morning, but we can say that Jesus did not descend into hell, which is the final abode of the lost."

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 2:05 PM EDT

LB;

"Why? Because no one, no matter how strong your faith in anything is, can ever claim 100% on anything we cannot prove ourselves."

Religious folk can. They belive 100% that thier specific God/s exists, even if they can't prove it.

That's the basis of belief and Religion.

If you feel 100% that no Gods can exists, you're an athiest. IF not, you aren't.

Again, you dan't have to be an athiest to refuse the existance of a specific (or even all current and past gods).

Only to support, 100% that they can never, never have, and will never, ever exist.

Then you're an athiest.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 25 2008 2:07 PM EDT

"Satan was not actually banished from heaven, instead he left it of his own free will"

Satan can't have free will. Only Humans were gifted with free will.

Colonel Custard October 25 2008 2:16 PM EDT

sut: "Yes, I would take a nice car as a gift, provided Warren didn't ask me to worship him forever and ever.

That's the difference. A gift ceases to be a "gift" when there are strings attached."
I see your point. I guess I made the comparison too hastily without thinking through it properly. However, I don't think there are "strings attached" as much as you may think. I mean, if you believe in an ultimate being, you should worship him regardless, correct? In this way, having to worship God is unrelated to what Jesus has done, and is simply resultant of the very nature of God.

Now, I suspect that people will take issue with this idea that an ultimate being deserves to be worshipped, even if he "behaves poorly" as far as one can judge. What I'm trying to get at is that God the Father has ultimate authority over everything. He's the boss. Even if you think your boss is a jerk, or you don't like how he operates, he's still your boss, until you quit. But if you quit, you don't get to come to the company picnic.

If I understand anything of Islam (and I may not), their idea of their deity is that he is deserving of the highest respect regardless, and he may take you to paradise at his discretion. In other words, there is no concrete guarantee of salvation (except I think there's something about martyrdom), and yet they still follow strict religious practices in his honor. I think that the creator of the universe does deserve that kind of respect, even if you don't like him all that much.

"I'm an atheist. I can't bring myself to believe that one doctrine is more correct than another and that all other religions except that one are wrong."
Well, by definition, they can't all be right, can they? Excluding the option that all are right, could a couple of them simultaneously be right? I don't think so. So could one be right? It's as likely as none of them being right. Right?

"You can have some great morals without being "all Jesus-y." Religion does not dictate morality, and Christianity certainly doesn't."
Yes to the first sentence, but I'm a little iffy on the second. I think it is basically correct, except that it feels to me like the idea behind it is a little off (from what I believe, I mean). I think I brought up the distinction between "more" and "ethos" in another thread, but let's review it: an ethos (from which we get ethics) is a cultural or social code of conduct that dictates what is proper behavior. A more (from which we get morals) is an objective code of conduct based on truth that does not vary between cultures or socio-economic backgrounds. By this definition, a moral system would have, as a pre-requisite, an ultimate truth or authority to dictate what is right and wrong. Now, you can adhere to these morals without believing in such an entity, but you would have to acknowledge the authority by which it is backed in order for it to be anything more than a personal code of ethics.
Now that we're over the word-specifying, I would say that Christianity does dictate a moral code, though no one follows it perfectly (and some much less perfectly than others). Belief in a religion isn't required for a "good" set of morals/ethics to live by, but that is not logically equivalent to the statement that "morals/ethics are not promoted nor backed by religious thought or ideology."

Borgin:
"Even if I am wrong, I deserve to hold my own opinions on the subject and absolutely _hate_ when people try to tell me I am incorrect." I will tread very carefully, then. Know that I am trying to discuss, and not to disprove you or change your beliefs.

"3. I believe in science, and therefore believe in evolution."
I believe that the scientific method is a brilliant way to examine evidence and facts, conduct experiments, and draw conclusions. However, I'm not convinced that evolutionary theory has airtight validity. I don't mean to get into a huge debate about it (because you know how those go), but those two things are neither synonymous nor requisitely paired up in my mind.

"4. I reject the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, but think he was a totally kick-butt guy, and was a genius (if the Bible interprets him at all accurately)."
If the Bible interprets him at all accurately, he himself alluded to his divinity. A great theologian has made the argument that Jesus had to have been one of three things:
1. A liar
2. A lunatic
3. The Lord
In other words, if he wasn't who he said he was, he was either deluded or flat-out lying. Personally, I don't view that as being characteristics of someone who is totally kick-butt and a genius. Again, if it sounds like I'm just trying to tear up that whole sentence, I mean this as something to consider, not as "obviously you have no clue what's up."

"6. If I am wrong and there _is_ an afterlife (based off the Christian faith), I don't believe God will send me to Hell for not believing Jesus was the son of God. God's supposed to be all-loving, and if I did a good job on Earth, I think that's ultimately what matters."
In my really long post about the different facets of God up above, I think I mentioned that, in my understanding, Jesus is all-loving, and not God the Father. Based off of the Christian faith (or at least what I understand of it), while I'd like for this belief to be true, I am sorry to say that I don't think this is the case.

"7. The Old Testament should be disregarded by every Christian on the planet, since it has no effect on contemporary Christian-based faith systems whatsoever and is just dogma used to perpetuate archaic stereotypes and backwards ways of thinking (persecution of women, condemnation of prophylactics and masturbation, male dominion over the household, ability to own slaves, et cetera)."
I agree with your sentiment here. However, I wholeheartedly do not believe that the Old Testament should be disregarded. Scholarly examination of it gives much insight into the nature and characteristics of God the Father before the rest of the Trinity manifests itself in ways that are explicitly expressed.

"I am very accepting of other persons' beliefs, so long as they are truly the beliefs _of that person_. I refuse to talk to somebody who believes in something simply because they "grew up on it" or "it's what they've always done". That is a pathetic reason to have a faith system. However, if you've done your own soul searching and have reached a conclusion for yourself, I commend you, and will respect your opinion."
I'm totally with you on this.

"Sure, there's that junk about him being "all man and all God", but that's logically impossible (and even God must abide by logical truths!)."
See my previous post for my thoughts on this.
"Logical truths" are a system of observational and deductive principles devised by man based on our understanding of the things of this world, and are meant only to define things of this world. Logic is bound both by human comprehension and cognition and by the confines of our reality within the physical realm. Because God the Father is 1. not bound by the physical realm and 2. not entirely reducible to something within humans' potential to comprehend and examine, "logical truths" have no bearing on him. In the same way, we each manifest ourselves in game by the characters we create, the equipment we buy, and our forum postings... but each of us exists as a physical person far beyond the confines of this game. I can learn both Archery and Unarmed Combat if I'd like, even though no minion in this game can.

"Free Wil was Gods greatest gift to man. Of all his creation, only Man was given Free Will.

The Angels didn't have free will, so therefore there was no way for the Devil (origianlly the Greatest of Gods Angels) to 'rebel'. The Devil didn't Rebel, it was all a role and set of actions God had determined Lucifer should play.

God created the Devil, on Purpose.

What all loving creator would do that, punish the Devil for all eternity and then unleash that creation on the Human populace?"

I'll admit I don't know how to address this question at the moment. I think there is an answer, but I don't know where you made the mistake requisite for an answer to be possible. Or, possibly, a flaw in your argument is not necessarily required, and I'm just looking at it too narrowly.

"The book of Hebrews (if my heretical mind remembers correctly) was always the clearest description to me of the role of Jesus as the intercessor for mankind. He replaced the priesthood entirely, becoming the church itself and offering everyone a place where they personally could find god." Yes.

"The bottom line really is that people, even those that study the bible themselves aren't going to be able to answer the big questions." Yes. There are questions that are bigger than humanity.

"If you really want a quality answer you'll have to find a Jesuit or a Jehovah's Witness to ask, they ALWAYS have an answer." ROFL

"ナwe have the perfect word of god, in written form.

If we are then to interpret this work, we are applying our flawed, unperfect human reasoning, to the perfect word of God. The result can only be an unperfect interpretation.

In order to follow the Perfect word of God, you would need to follow the written Bible literally, and not ever apply flawed human understanding to it."
Not exactly. It was given to humans for them to understand; refusing to attempt to comprehend it is in direct defiance of the purpose of its existence in written form. The important distinction to make is that something can be limited without automatically being wrong. Human understanding is limited all the time, but is not flawed all the time. We can fail to see the whole picture, but that doesn't mean the part of the picture that we do see is not the way it looks to us.
That said, the other side of the coin is that without context, an armpit can look like a buttcrack from a certain angle. Human understanding and interpretation does need to be applied very carefully to something that is so important in many people's lives. That is why the context has to be examined and the scriptures have to be cross-referenced in order to understand what is going on. I think my pastor said something the other day that was like "The text outside of context is a pretext," which basically refers to the fact that people can "justify" all sorts of things that go completely against God's commands if all they do is take the words from a verse or two and don't check what they actually mean.

"Atheism is actually a Religion. Implict or explicit."
I wouldn't say so. I would say, though, that it is an assertion that functions as a foundational assumption about the nature of existence. I think that, if you wholeheartedly believe that there really is no way any sort of deity can exist, that probably has as much bearing on your conduct as a belief in any particular deity. I would define it more as a foundational ideological assumption than a religion, though.

Kevlar, I agree.

"Way to try and bring logic to a concept that doesn't exactly lend itself to the process CC. You've done a good job of playing apologist."
Thanks, nov.

I'll be right back after these messages.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 25 2008 2:17 PM EDT

gl, usually if i do not agree with you, i can at least understand where you are coming from. on this one though, i have to say that you are stating an opinion as fact. as you read that definition you then interpret it to include atheism.

i read it differently though and my opinion is that atheism is not a religion. in effect, christianity and satanism would be two sides of the same coin and both religions. saying that neither exists does not make that a religion as well though.

could there be a church of Atheism where they do have a belief structure and adhere to rituals or practices then that would be a religion, and there may even be somesuch place. that does not make all people who believe in no supreme beings and that the universe came into existence through wholly natural means part of any religion organized, disorganized or imagined.

SimplyNic October 25 2008 2:22 PM EDT

"could there be a church of Atheism where they do have a belief structure and adhere to rituals or practices then that would be a religion"

Lol I'm sorry I couldn't read that without laughing xD. Not sure if its just me, but I thought it was kind of funny.

Obscurans October 25 2008 2:29 PM EDT

http://www.strongatheism.net/library/atheology/argument_from_noncognitivism/ http://www.strongatheism.net/library/atheology/process_based_noncognitivism/ I'm not that agnostic. I am atheist because I don't think a meaningful description can be attached to the word "god" and therefore said word is meaningless (and no objects can be referred to by it). But I don't reject the possibility that something may well break the laws of physics (that's claiming their universality, which is metaphysical).

Lord Bob October 25 2008 2:31 PM EDT

"Religious folk can. They belive 100% that thier specific God/s exists, even if they can't prove it. That's the basis of belief and Religion."

So any Christian who has ever doubted their faith even for a moment can no longer call themselves a Christian, period. Right, got it.

"If you feel 100% that no Gods can exists, you're an athiest. ... IF not, you aren't. Only to support, 100% that they can never, never have, and will never, ever exist. Then you're an athiest."

I don't think pure stubbornness, hardheadedness, and an absolute refusal to even entertain the possibility that one might be wrong without absolute proof is part of the definition of atheism, nor any actual religion for that matter.

Obscurans October 25 2008 2:33 PM EDT

Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas, Greek δόγμα, plural δόγματα) is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from. While in the context of religion the term is largely descriptive, outside of religion its current usage tends to carry a pejorative connotationラreferring to concepts as being "established" only according to a particular point of view, and thus one of doubtful foundation. This pejorative connotation is even stronger with the term dogmatic, used to describe a person of rigid beliefs who is not open to rational argument.

Wikipedia begs to differ.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 4:41 PM EDT

"I don't think pure stubbornness, hardheadedness, and an absolute refusal to even entertain the possibility that one might be wrong without absolute proof is part of the definition of atheism, nor any actual religion for that matter."

Most fancy pants religions call that "Faith"

"If the Bible interprets him at all accurately, he himself alluded to his divinity. A great theologian has made the argument that Jesus had to have been one of three things:
1. A liar
2. A lunatic
3. The Lord "

See the wikipedia article on Emperor Norton

"In my really long post about the different facets of God up above, I think I mentioned that, in my understanding, Jesus is all-loving, and not God the Father. Based off of the Christian faith (or at least what I understand of it), while I'd like for this belief to be true, I am sorry to say that I don't think this is the case. "

It's funny Jebus was supposed to be all loving, Modern christianity fishes for converts, to be all loving you would also have to be live and let live.

"I agree with your sentiment here. However, I wholeheartedly do not believe that the Old Testament should be disregarded. Scholarly examination of it gives much insight into the nature and characteristics of God the Father before the rest of the Trinity manifests itself in ways that are explicitly expressed."

the old testament is an adaptation of the hebrew faith. Until rabbi Judaism the only people allowed to talk to god were the priests at the temple of Solomon. Later christianity adapted that into Catholicism. Hence the pointy hats and long ceremonies. In the middle ages the kinds and warlords found that it was the perfect way to keep order in society. A king says god said it's his job to rule the people, the people are scared to death of hell, and they are more than happy to ferret out dissidents under the guise of heresy.

QBsutekh137 October 25 2008 5:00 PM EDT

CC, I think we still need to work on your analogies. *smile*

If God is "the boss", and I need to follow his words "at work", you are calling religion a job. Is that really how you want people to perceive their spirituality? Work?

Also, I never said I didn't "respect" God. If He is up there, and He can do all that, I would have to respect Him. Just like I would respect Superman, like I said before. But I don't WORSHIP Superman, that's the difference. The answer to the question: "should an all-powerful force be worshiped?" is most definitely not "yes" by default, at least not in my view. The force of a nuclear explosion needs to be respected, but I am pretty sure you don't think we need to worship it.

One good aspect about your viewpoint, though, is that it is a fine place to agree to disagree. As long as you don't use your viewpoints to judge me or try to force me to change, we're all good. That's why I brought up the issue of tolerance in a previous post on this thread.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 25 2008 5:22 PM EDT

the worship idea was always a deal-killer for me. from my experience, any entity worthy of my worship would never require it and conversely any entity requiring my worship to get the prize would never be worthy of it. we reprimand our children for acting that way and frown on ultimatums as a way of obtaining our desires.

QBsutekh137 October 25 2008 5:28 PM EDT

dude, you just crystallized my feeling on the matter perfectly.

BadFish October 25 2008 6:04 PM EDT

I think, if there IS a God, it's smiling up wherever it is and wondering why we go to church every Sunday, or Wednesday, or why we fast during Ramadan or celebrate Yom Kippur.

God doesn't give a crap about worship. If it exists, and is perfect, then it loves all no matter what. Literally, no exceptions, 100%, perfect unconditional love. I think worship was basically man's way of imposing a schedule on love.

Obscurans October 25 2008 6:11 PM EDT

Love your priest/rabbi/imam/whatever, love the establishment (and tithe. never forget the tithe).

{Wookie}-Jir.Vr- October 25 2008 6:48 PM EDT

Sheep.

Colonel Custard October 25 2008 7:53 PM EDT

sut and dude: "There is absolutely no "Look at me!" sentiment in the New Testament.

In summary, God doesn't practice what He preaches"

"the worship idea was always a deal-killer for me. from my experience, any entity worthy of my worship would never require it and conversely any entity requiring my worship to get the prize would never be worthy of it. we reprimand our children for acting that way and frown on ultimatums as a way of obtaining our desires."

I know what you're saying. The main difference, here (and I'll stop after this; I just want to see if you think this makes sense) is that God is ultimate, and nothing else is. Superman isn't ultimate. Our children aren't ultimate. The reason that pride is to be avoided is because pride is thinking too much of oneself. If God is ultimate, it is impossible for him to think too much of himself, because all that can be thought of him (and more) is just what he is. In that sense, it is not arrogance. Certainly not comparable to any human arrogance, at least.

As for Jesus descending into Hell... Actually, I think GL was correct to challenge me on that, and Flatcap's information is correct. I guess I mixed mostly scripturally-based things with a little bit of "something I heard" without properly checking. Thanks for calling me out on that.

The point about experiencing the full wrath of God the Father on the cross still stands, though. The spiritual portion of the crucifixion was much more excruciating than the physical portion, because God was essentially cutting him off from himself, and allowing Jesus to experience the full consequences of the sin of the world. I mistakenly mixed this idea with the incorrect notion that Jesus actually descended to Hell in my previous post, but I think the point I was trying to get at was not lost when I was shown to be wrong in that aspect.

"Since some people are sent to hell (which is Satan's realm, yes?), why would he (he being satan) punish us for turning away from the god he left behind? Yes its a common misconception, Satan was not actually banished from heaven, instead he left it of his own free will."
The even more common misconception is that Hell is the realm of Satan. It is not. Satan actually currently roams throughout the earth, and has been given dominion over it (to the limits of his powers, so not in terms of causing hurricanes or anything). Most of his power on earth consists in the power of misinformation, deception, and clever trickery. Manipulation of information has only become a more powerful tool as information has started circulating more rapidly.
Hell, on the other hand, is currently empty. It is not the place that every "bad person" automatically goes when they die, but rather the place reserved for all those who have rejected God's sovereignty and, more importantly, the salvation offered to them by Jesus. This includes Satan himself, his entire demon army, and a whole bunch of humans who have died throughout history. Satan, in Hell, will be suffering the same sort of punishment as every human soul that ends up there.
In the simplest terms, Satan is not an anti-God and Hell is not an anti-Heaven in the way that most people think. Satan is not nearly as powerful as God (though much more powerful than humans). There's no contest. It's not like you either go chill at God's house or at Satan's house after you die, and Satan may very well have the bigger TV. It's that you either are accepted or rejected by God at the end of your life, and depending on which it is, you will either be in the same place as Satan ends up or not.

I understand your analogy about the competing businesses, Nic, but it's not a parallel situation. Satan's only goal as far as we are concerned is to turn us away from seeking and finding the truth about God. That, by definition, is hurtful to us. However, Satan doesn't intend to personally hurt us after he wins us over; that is simply what the end result would be (because turning away from God is bad policy in every way).
I guess, following your analogy, hard financial times hit and Satan's company gets bought out by God, and he drops you as a client because you first abandoned him.

I also am not sure if GL is onto something or not with the question of Satan having free will. That's interesting. Do you have any Biblical references I could look up to find stuff relating to that, or was the "common misconception" comment just based on something you'd heard?

"See the wikipedia article on Emperor Norton"
Cool story. I'll take that as a statement that you simply believe that Jesus was a loony, because I donメt see how it addresses the logic I proposed.

"It's funny Jebus was supposed to be all loving, Modern christianity fishes for converts, to be all loving you would also have to be live and let live."

While I won't deny that some "fish for converts" (Jehovah's Witnesses come to mind), that is not what we are commanded to do. I can believe all this stuff as hard as I want and it won't make you believe it. I can give my life for it, and it won't make you believe it. I could come back to this thread and post a hundred posts and it won't make you believe it. I can't make you believe it. My goal isn't to make you believe it. My goal isn't to make you do anything. And if it were, I couldn't.
Christianity isn't about forcing a belief on anyone. Christianity is about emulating Christ, and leading others who wish to towards doing the same. That's all.

Furthermore, I wouldn't say that "live and let live" is an accurate description of what love is, though there are cases where it can manifest itself that way. "Live and let live" is more of a way to never offend anyone. And loving someone doesn't automatically imply never offending them (after all, it's really up to them whether or not they take offense to something).

"the old testament is an adaptation of the hebrew faith. Until rabbi Judaism the only people allowed to talk to god were the priests at the temple of Solomon. Later christianity adapted that into Catholicism. Hence the pointy hats and long ceremonies. In the middle ages the kinds and warlords found that it was the perfect way to keep order in society. A king says god said it's his job to rule the people, the people are scared to death of hell, and they are more than happy to ferret out dissidents under the guise of heresy."
I am aware that stupid things have taken place throughout history. Does this invalidate the Old Testament?

"The answer to the question: "should an all-powerful force be worshiped?" is most definitely not "yes" by default, at least not in my view."
In my view, if a being is all-knowing, all-powerful, and the definition of ultimate good, then he should be not only respected but obeyed, at the very least. I would still say worshiped, too. I think part of the difference between you and me is that you keep making the comparison back to Superman, whereas Superman is neither all-knowing nor without moral qualms to deal with (nor really all that interesting of a superhero, to me). I mean, if that's the most accurate representation you have of your view of what God would be like, I understand that, and what you're saying all completely falls in line with that. But for me, personally, I think Superman is too small and limited to accurately represent a parallel for an ultimate being. If Superman were a polygon, I wouldn't represent God with the same polygon five or eight or twenty-five million times his size. I would represent God as the integral function of a 5-dimensional vector field, or something.

"As long as you don't use your viewpoints to judge me or try to force me to change, we're all good. That's why I brought up the issue of tolerance in a previous post on this thread."
Yeah, dude. We're cool.

"God doesn't give a crap about worship. If it exists, and is perfect, then it loves all no matter what. Literally, no exceptions, 100%, perfect unconditional love. I think worship was basically man's way of imposing a schedule on love."
I can see this point of view. However, I don't see at all how you can say that if a God exists at all, he automatically must be this way. That's like saying that you don't think I have a brother, but if I do, then he must be 5 feet tall and have brown hair. You get what I'm saying?

"love the establishment"
No

"Christianity *shouldn't* have a place of worship, if you follow the teachings of Jesus, and not the Church, for example."
It shouldn't be *confined* to a place of worship, no. How are you going to have fellowship and pray for each other and discuss Biblical interpretation etc. etc. etc. if you have no meeting place, though?

Obscurans October 25 2008 8:01 PM EDT

CC, you said he was omnibenevolent (and omnipotent and omniscient and other blurbs).

FailBoat[SG] October 25 2008 8:10 PM EDT

To answer the original question, yes.

*Goes back to munching on popcorn and reading the thread.*

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 8:25 PM EDT

"I am aware that stupid things have taken place throughout history. Does this invalidate the Old Testament? "

Actually it does in the christian faith. The hypocrisy between the old and new testaments ala wrathful god/happy love god really invalidates one of the two, but you can really take your pick. Most folks ignore the new testament for the purposes of moral superiority. But when they want to show how much better christianity is than Judaism or whatnot they quote from the new testament.

I really don't want you to get the feeling I'm getting down on your faith man. I don't care what anyone believes. I grew up with both sides of the coin. Missionaries determined to force this down my throat and part timers who wanted to save my immortal soul. But I took a different path. Now I don't believe in any of it, doesn't matter if it's Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age, or just that I'm spiritual cop out. It's all the same to me, people can believe in a shiny rock or that Jesus appeared in a skidmark in their whitey tighties, but I will never be convinced I need anything other than myself or that an immortal beer fart created the universe and is determined to make me pay homage to it's shining flatulence.

Colonel Custard October 25 2008 8:40 PM EDT

"CC, you said he was omnibenevolent (and omnipotent and omniscient and other blurbs)."

...Yes?
Are you saying I contradicted myself somewhere? Or are you just restating what I said? Or... I dunno, I just am not sure what you're pointing out to me, aside from the fact that I didn't actually employ the word "omnibenevolent," and that I should because it fits better with the other words I was using.

"Actually it does in the christian faith. The hypocrisy between the old and new testaments ala wrathful god/happy love god really invalidates one of the two, but you can really take your pick. Most folks ignore the new testament for the purposes of moral superiority. But when they want to show how much better christianity is than Judaism or whatnot they quote from the new testament."

Nowhere in the Bible does it say "Oh, and ignore all that stuff that happened before Jesus came." The Old Testament may be invalidated in the view of some Christians, but there is no scriptural basis for ignoring it.
As for the "inconsistency" you mention, I think that that fits in exactly perfectly with the duality (actually triality) of the way God is manifested in our plane of existence that I explained in a post further up. Admittedly, though, I came up with that idea myself, so there may be a bunch of holes in it. I'll keep you in the loop.

"I really don't want you to get the feeling I'm getting down on your faith man."
I guess I reacted a little more sarcastically to your points than to the others. Sorry. I enjoy the discussion.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] October 25 2008 8:53 PM EDT

"In the simplest terms, Satan is not an anti-God"

isn't it ironic then that in judaism's history, first there were many gods. monotheism slowly won out, but then people had a really hard time worshiping god and singing his praises while also blaming him for all the bad stuff. satan, the cosmic scapegoat, pretty much came about so that people could feel better about god when it all goes well and blame someone else when it doesn't.

when christianity came about, it also used this good-cop, bad-cop approach rather than the previous two sides of the same coin.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] October 25 2008 9:09 PM EDT

"isn't it ironic then that in judaism's history, first there were many gods. monotheism slowly won out, but then people had a really hard time worshiping god and singing his praises while also blaming him for all the bad stuff. satan, the cosmic scapegoat, pretty much came about so that people could feel better about god when it all goes well and blame someone else when it doesn't."

Not as ironic as all that. It's the fables passed down through the generations. Every fable needs a moral, a good and a bad. So you borrow some bits here and some bits there. Theres a good history of satan/the devil/etc etc. Many borrowed from pagan tradition as well as some of the earlier civilizations like Egypt.

Also monotheism didn't really gradually win out. Empires were responsible for the spread. For the christians it was the Romans, the Hebrews didn't have much of a choice, after the temple of Salomon was torched traditional Judaism was no longer possible, and it evolved into several versions, the most popular becoming the Rabbi. I would really have to look up the empire that began the spread of islam because I can't remember it offhand.

Xiaz on Hiatus October 25 2008 9:10 PM EDT

I can see this thread's not going to come to any conclusion ever. So I might as well give my own opinions.

In terms of reading and understanding religious texts, it's essential to take note of the context it was written in, because they are not literal texts - they are not textbooks about or from God, but inspired by God.

Science and religion are two different and independent constructs. They don't cross over, nor can either be used to disprove/validate the other. A man of science CAN be a man of God. Science is looks to set laws to observation of the universe; it does not explain the purpose behind it.

I believe in the existence of God. Why? Being a creative person, I am fascinated by the ingenuity of humans and the shear complexity of the universe. An example I bring up often is to consider a tree, we understand the how it grows and to an extent why, but what defines the path each branch takes? Is it all down to chance? That said, even chance has a pattern over a large enough sample size - proof of an omnipotent being? :)

As a species, we have a distinct appreciation for beauty, and to replicate/create it - I believe this a reflection of the Creator upon us. To be able to use our imagination to create art or music is astounding; no other species has such a great degree of this ability.

If the sole purpose of life is to merely survive - then existence is mundane and pointless. I don't believe emotions are just a by-product of our survival mechanism, are love and hope mere chemical reactions within our bodies? I believe there is something beyond the physical - I don't understand nor know what or whom God is, I have great doubts against anyone who purports to have such knowledge. Conatus exists for a reason and must have a source.

God is not a tool to be used to control the masses - because for anyone who truly has faith and belief in God/s - there is a relationship that is beyond anything else in life. There needs to be a clear distinction between religion and God, religion is a human construct - God is not.

In the end, these are my opinions - it's best to never assume anything about another's belief or lack thereof. Because nothing is ever set in stone and, knowing firsthand, one's beliefs and faith can change with time.

Obscurans October 25 2008 9:42 PM EDT

"God doesn't give a crap about worship. If it exists, and is perfect, then it loves all no matter what. Literally, no exceptions, 100%, perfect unconditional love. I think worship was basically man's way of imposing a schedule on love."
I can see this point of view. However, I don't see at all how you can say that if a God exists at all, he automatically must be this way. That's like saying that you don't think I have a brother, but if I do, then he must be 5 feet tall and have brown hair. You get what I'm saying?<BR><BR>

<nospellcheck>@CC</nospellcheck>: you said god loves all, and so now if I have a 5f brown haired brother, then my brother is 5 feet and has brown hair :P<BR><BR>

NOMA is a complete cop-out. Experience, I'm calling you out on arguing god from complexity - the same bull creationists use. Science DOES intersect religion on that age-old battleground: when reality is involved. Religion makes statements about reality. Science does. Whack.<BR><BR>

Until religion will say that all this god loves you and worship thingmagigs have no relevance to the physical world, then they shall clash. You conveniently forget that after all this "explaining the purpose behind the universe", they say that there are actual EFFECTS. This whole carrot-heaven and stick-hell thing. Otherwise, frankly who gives a hoot?<BR><BR>

Look into mathematical chaos. It takes very simple (read: easy to write down) numbers and deadly easy equations to generate chaotic behaviour. Look again into what physics is (a simple coupled system of PDEs) and that complexity is astounding no more.<BR><BR>

"To be able to use our imagination to create art or music is astounding" - you are simply too unimaginative to be able to appreciate the art of other species. Anthrocentric.<BR><BR>

"If the sole purpose of life is to merely survive - then existence is mundane and pointless." - yep, so in the drastic bid to escape the mundane and pointless you shall wish up some purpose? Wishful thinking.<BR><BR>

<a href="http://biopsychiatry.com/emoevo.html">http://biopsychiatry.com/emoevo.html</a> - a link to a simple paper fully ten years ago in the Journal of Medical Psychology. Read abstract:<BR><BR>Understanding emotional disorders requires understanding the evolutionary origins and functions of normal emotions. They are special states, shaped by natural selection to adjust various aspects of the organism in ways that have tended to give a selective advantage in the face of the adaptive challenges characteristic of a particular kind of situation. They are designed to maximize reproductive success, not happiness. Negative emotions such as anxiety and low mood are not disorders, but, like the capacity for pain, evolved defences. Excessive anxiety or low mood is abnormal, but we will not have confidence about what is excessive until we understand their functions better than we do. Emotional disorders arise often from social emotions because of the conflicts inherent in social life, and because of the strategic advantages of demonstrating commitments to follow through on threats and promises. An evolutionary understanding of individuals in terms of their relationship strategies and the social emotions offers great promise for psychotherapists. <BR><BR>In short, exactly what you feared - emotions evolved EXACTLY to help us survive and no more. Please, saying "I don't like A therefore not A" is really not the way to go. Especially when you let A be things like "I failed a test"

Obscurans October 25 2008 9:42 PM EDT

Absolutely ignore the above, it's HTML...

"God doesn't give a crap about worship. If it exists, and is perfect, then it loves all no matter what. Literally, no exceptions, 100%, perfect unconditional love. I think worship was basically man's way of imposing a schedule on love." I can see this point of view. However, I don't see at all how you can say that if a God exists at all, he automatically must be this way. That's like saying that you don't think I have a brother, but if I do, then he must be 5 feet tall and have brown hair. You get what I'm saying?

@CC: you said god loves all, and so now if I have a 5f brown haired brother, then my brother is 5 feet and has brown hair :P

NOMA is a complete cop-out. Experience, I'm calling you out on arguing god from complexity - the same bull creationists use. Science DOES intersect religion on that age-old battleground: when reality is involved. Religion makes statements about reality. Science does. Whack.

Until religion will say that all this god loves you and worship thingmagigs have no relevance to the physical world, then they shall clash. You conveniently forget that after all this "explaining the purpose behind the universe", they say that there are actual EFFECTS. This whole carrot-heaven and stick-hell thing. Otherwise, frankly who gives a hoot?

Look into mathematical chaos. It takes very simple (read: easy to write down) numbers and deadly easy equations to generate chaotic behaviour. Look again into what physics is (a simple coupled system of PDEs) and that complexity is astounding no more.

"To be able to use our imagination to create art or music is astounding" - you are simply too unimaginative to be able to appreciate the art of other species. Anthrocentric.

"If the sole purpose of life is to merely survive - then existence is mundane and pointless." - yep, so in the drastic bid to escape the mundane and pointless you shall wish up some purpose? Wishful thinking.

http://biopsychiatry.com/emoevo.html - a link to a simple paper fully ten years ago in the Journal of Medical Psychology. Read abstract:

Understanding emotional disorders requires understanding the evolutionary origins and functions of normal emotions. They are special states, shaped by natural selection to adjust various aspects of the organism in ways that have tended to give a selective advantage in the face of the adaptive challenges characteristic of a particular kind of situation. They are designed to maximize reproductive success, not happiness. Negative emotions such as anxiety and low mood are not disorders, but, like the capacity for pain, evolved defences. Excessive anxiety or low mood is abnormal, but we will not have confidence about what is excessive until we understand their functions better than we do. Emotional disorders arise often from social emotions because of the conflicts inherent in social life, and because of the strategic advantages of demonstrating commitments to follow through on threats and promises. An evolutionary understanding of individuals in terms of their relationship strategies and the social emotions offers great promise for psychotherapists.

In short, exactly what you feared - emotions evolved EXACTLY to help us survive and no more. Please, saying "I don't like A therefore not A" is really not the way to go. Especially when you let A be things like "I failed a test"

Godpanda October 26 2008 12:57 AM EDT

Tacobell.

QBsutekh137 October 26 2008 2:19 AM EDT

Pride is not thinking too much of oneself. That is patently ridiculous.

Pride, and being proud of others, is a form of self-respect and respect, respectively.

Goodness, if God made us all just to be amazing enough so that we can worship and love Him and yet not be proud of ourselves (as we were made in his image), then He can literally go jump off a cliff. Not that it would hurt him, but just so that he would go away a while.

CC, it doesn't seem to matter what anyone says, even if they say to agree to disagree. Such a person is answered with platitudes at best. I don't get it, and you aren't offering anything to really help me get it. By the way, referring to the Bible for support is the epitome of "begging the question"....using something that I don't believe in to tell me I should believe in it is hardly good discussion.
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