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Izzy

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Heh... The Spiritual World thread got locked, oops. Anyway, I thought the discussion was interesting, and would love to continue, maybe in the appropriate thread this time. If possible, can the mods split the old thread starting here?

My original topic title was "Atheism vs. All: Debate Style", but I figured it could be hilarious interesting to having people claim why ____ is better than _____, possibly educational as well.

Common courtesy applies in this thread. Remember to attack the arguments people post, rather than the people themselves. If you're going to tease someone, do so cleverly.

I'd like to pick up from where we left off, but anyone can feel free to start us off. NO PREACHING. No threatening with Hell because of disbelief. If I see any of that, I will ask to have your post removed.

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The essence to improving a religion is not barbaric arguments *ahem* but civil discussion about individual findings and observations. Religions do not establish themselves through violent ravings like some cult groups, but rather through reason. If you take a look at Christianity, you will find that much evidence (scientific, too, Ms. Atheism) supports it, and that many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled. If there was supposedly nothing before the infamous Big Bang, theoretically, then somone must have caused it. Divine intervention was also the reason why life first appeared on earth. Besides, what do atheists have to live for? "Who's insult is better than who's" does not prove a religion or atheism.

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It doesn't make sense when people say that humans do not have the intelligence to know whether or not got exists

It means that we know that we cannot know.... so doesn't that mean that we have an answer.. and that is that we cannot know

so it means we have to know

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... and, on the journey to find God, we establish Christianity or another belief. You sound agnostic. That shouldn't be considered an insult, right?

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Seriously, religion Topics are getting to be a bit annoying. they are insulting, not to mention unethical. plus, we have enough of them.

Religion is something chosen by an individual. and that is not something you should be arguing for or against. In my opinion, no religions are better than others. I just happen one more than the others, and that by attempting to say one religion is better, you are insulting that person.

As my teacher once said: all religions are different paths to the same place

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The essence to improving a religion is not barbaric arguments *ahem* but civil discussion about individual findings and observations. Religions do not establish themselves through violent ravings like some cult groups, but rather through reason. If you take a look at Christianity, you will find that much evidence (scientific, too, Ms. Atheism) supports it, and that many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled. If there was supposedly nothing before the infamous Big Bang, theoretically, then somone must have caused it. Divine intervention was also the reason why life first appeared on earth. Besides, what do atheists have to live for? "Who's insult is better than who's" does not prove a religion or atheism.

exactly which religions started in any way other than a small cult, either spontaneous or as an offshoot from a larger whole? I am also curious what evidence supports Christianity? Allow me to clarify by asking specifically what evidence supports the theistic sides of Christianity (i.e. miracles performed, risen christ, heaven, hell, holy trinity) and not just the historical side. What evidence is there that any one of those stories is any different than a legend based upon a historical event but given a theistic twist to make it more (interesting, powerful, controlling, memorable, pick your favorite). I also wish to contest the idea of prophecies being fulfilled namely on the premise that given a set of prophesies, I can choose a historical figure that I can prove existed and write stories about him/her that would fulfill any and all prophesies.

As for "someone must have caused it," what caused whatever caused it? What caused whatever caused whatever caused the big bang? you see where this becomes a redundant regression.

I, as an atheist believe that there is one main purpose in my life and one universal purpose in all life.

The purpose of all life?

>>>>> reproduce.

The purpose to my life?

>>>>> enjoy the time I have.

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Seriously, religion Topics are getting to be a bit annoying. they are insulting, not to mention unethical. plus, we have enough of them.

Religion is something chosen by an individual. and that is not something you should be arguing for or against. In my opinion, no religions are better than others. I just happen one more than the others, and that by attempting to say one religion is better, you are insulting that person.

As my teacher once said: all religions are different paths to the same place

Your teacher was very enlightened, or a blasphemer that would be put to death in some theocratic countries even in today's world or a heretic who would have been stoned to death in the days of yore. My point is that arguing about which religion is better is pointless. Arguing against religion in general could save countless lives.

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Christianity formed this country, and I think that said teacher was wrong. Atheists don't really understand religion, since they are usually cynical about it. Without religion, laws wouldn't be here. Knock and the door shall be opened unto thee. I know this is predictable, but God was ALWAYS here. He who believes without seeing shall be blessed. Izzy likes these threads, to cause controversy. Quite cruel, really.

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Christianity formed this country, and I think that said teacher was wrong. Atheists don't really understand religion, since they are usually cynical about it. Without religion, laws wouldn't be here. Knock and the door shall be opened unto thee. I know this is predictable, but God was ALWAYS here. He who believes without seeing shall be blessed. Izzy likes these threads, to cause controversy. Quite cruel, really.

How can you possibly justify a statement like "without religion, laws wouldn't be there"? As I pointed out in the other topic we are debating in, religion includes a broad spectrum of good and bad ideas and if we followed every law from the bible we would consider ourselves barbaric. The simple fact that we are able to decide which parts of the bible are immoral or outdated proves that it is not our source of morality but more of a chronicle of the morality of those who wrote it. The same is true of every religion.

I also beg to differ that atheists don't understand religion, in fact I attest that we have a better understanding of the reality of religion that any religious person can. Faith, by definition, is the acceptance of something regardless of lack of evidence. Atheists adhere to no such folly and we are therefore able to take an objective look at religion today and see that it is sociologically speaking, no different today than it the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome nor any of the other former religions we now consider fables and myths. Yesterday's religion is tomorrow's humanities lesson.

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I've started this thread to have a permanent place for all arguments religion-related. That way they can stop popping up all over the place, and thread won't get locked for being off-topic. I have to leave for school, and will contribute more when I'm back.

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Seriously, religion Topics are getting to be a bit annoying. they are insulting, not to mention unethical. plus, we have enough of them.

Religion is something chosen by an individual. and that is not something you should be arguing for or against. In my opinion, no religions are better than others. I just happen one more than the others, and that by attempting to say one religion is better, you are insulting that person.

As my teacher once said: all religions are different paths to the same place

Well said.

exactly which religions started in any way other than a small cult, either spontaneous or as an offshoot from a larger whole? I am also curious what evidence supports Christianity? Allow me to clarify by asking specifically what evidence supports the theistic sides of Christianity (i.e. miracles performed, risen christ, heaven, hell, holy trinity) and not just the historical side.1 What evidence is there that any one of those stories is any different than a legend based upon a historical event but given a theistic twist to make it more (interesting, powerful, controlling, memorable, pick your favorite). I also wish to contest the idea of prophecies being fulfilled namely on the premise that given a set of prophesies, I can choose a historical figure that I can prove existed and write stories about him/her that would fulfill any and all prophesies.

As for "someone must have caused it," what caused whatever caused it? What caused whatever caused whatever caused the big bang?2 you see where this becomes a redundant regression.

1The whole idea behind miracles et al. is that theists believe them to be inexplicable without belief in God. Theists believe that they happened without requiring proof or evidence because the idea that a god exists is what they've concluded.. and granted, there is no hard proof. But that's the point. [Take the idea of "magic" for example: if something extraordinary happens but you prove how it works, it stops being "magic" and becomes unquestionable fact, which is why "magic" doesn't strictly exist. Religion: you can't prove any faith/atheism right with 100% accuracy.. but if you could, it would stop being religion and become hard fact. Not a great example, but about all I could come up with :P ]. But some people don't have that belief in ideas that have nothing to support them. And some do. You, personally, choose not to believe in a god or miracles and naturally I assume you would like people to respect that, but that respect has to be mutual. Which is why I don't think that religious debates are useful or kind when people try to pick apart, insult and belittle others based on their personal choices rather than try to understand each other. Why try to force what you think on other people if they aren't willing? Why this desire that I see in some people, just to post their views simply to be seen as "right" rather than to air what you think in earnest? And is anyone saying anything here that hasn't already been said in the many, many pages of previous religion debate topics?

2.To many theists, the idea behind God is that He has always been present, with no previous creator. IMO, this idea that everything must have a point of incipence or reason behind it is a human, earthly notion. But "God" isn't human or earthly, so our laws don't apply. I guess my point is that just because the idea is hard to understand in the world where we are, it doesn't automatically mean it's not possible. (Like a 3D shape to the people in a 2D universe :P ) So for religious people, no redundant regression ;)

Christianity formed this country, and I think that said teacher was wrong. Atheists don't really understand religion, since they are usually cynical about it. 1 Without religion, laws wouldn't be here. 2 Knock and the door shall be opened unto thee. I know this is predictable, but God was ALWAYS here. He who believes without seeing shall be blessed. Izzy likes these threads, to cause controversy. Quite cruel, really. 3

1Where is the need for a sweeping statement like that? I'm sure many atheists do in fact understand religion, sometimes better than religious people themselves, but many atheists have seen the information on offer and have opted not to believe in it themselves. But again, it doesn't necessarily apply to all atheists. And if some people want to be cynical about religion, it's their choice, just as if you want to be cynical about atheists, that's your choice. Don't generalise people if you wouldn't like to be labelled as something you are not necessarily yourself.

2 Granted, many ideas on laws have come from religious law, but if religion didn't exist, it's doubtful that people would live in anarchical states. Murder isn't just immoral to those who believe in God.

3 If you don't want to be part of the debate, no one's forcing you to be.

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The essence to improving a religion is not barbaric arguments *ahem* but civil discussion about individual findings and observations.

I don't remember making my desire to improve religion public? 'Improve' in my mind, in this case, has a very different definition than what would be considered on par with the current societal norm, and far from PC. Infer what you want from that, but no, my intention is not to build on religion, making it some awesome, great thing. 'Barbaric discussion' is the polar opposite of what I predict this thread becoming, mainly because I recognize intelligence, even in you, and doubt the maturity level of this thread's participants will fall so low to the point of petty insults. Clearly individual findings and observations will be included; that practically goes without saying. What else would be base our arguments on?

Religions do not establish themselves through violent ravings like some cult groups, but rather through reason.

Uh-huh. So what about the Crusades then? Or early America's belief of Manifest Destiny? The 9/11 and 7/7 bombings done in the name of Allah? Belief in gods were established because of scientific ignorance. They were theories and philosophies, that answered questions science wasn't able to at the time. Maybe not the most plausible explanations, but they held up. However, by the time science had a chance to step up and point things out, religion was such a big part of most people's lives, they weren't going to give it up. Denial of evolution is essentially the same thing as refusal of the model of a heliocentric solar system. Basically, 'My religion doesn't believe this, and it takes away from my species being special, having everything revolve around us and being placed here with a purpose. I don't like that very much, so I won't listen.'

If you take a look at Christianity, you will find that much evidence (scientific, too, Ms. Atheism) supports it, and that many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled. If there was supposedly nothing before the infamous Big Bang, theoretically, then somone must have caused it. Divine intervention was also the reason why life first appeared on earth. Besides, what do atheists have to live for? "Who's insult is better than who's" does not prove a religion or atheism.

Evidence please? Link to original prophecy and how it was supposedly fulfilled?

Why do you have to assume someone caused it? I'm not going to pretend I know all the answers for this, but here's some speculation. We began with nothing. I suppose 'nothing' can be thought of like empty space, just void or everything. Now, somehow this nothing became really dense, causing it to go kaboom. We know all the energy in the universe cancels out to 0, because of energy and anti-energy. So, somehow (we'll know this eventually) just a very tiny bit of energy formed, disturbing everything, creating the universe's first particles. Eventually, these formed into suns, planets, etc., and everything we know now falls into place. A spontaneous origination of a few particles is a lot more feasible than some overwhelmingly complex god.

I live life for life. I enjoy being here, even though I realize it's pointless. Life is beautiful, intricate, amazing. What do you live for? Oh right, you await death where you worship your god eternally. Fun stuff.

Again, not insulting. Debating. If an argument is better than another, than that must mean something. Generally speaking, if claims can constantly be disproved, from whatever party, then that proves something.

Christianity formed this country.

No, religion formed this country. With Manifest Destiny, we invaded foreign lands, slaughtered innocent natives, and did everything in our own best interest because God gave us the right to do so. I don't exactly know where you're from, but if you're in the US, remember the early colonists left England in search of religious freedom. I couldn't find a map showing the Christian areas at the time, but this should show that Christianity isn't all this country has. It never was, it never will be.

Atheists don't really understand religion, since they are usually cynical about it.

This again? The majority of atheists were raised religious. We dismiss one more god than you do, because we can get over childhood indoctrination and think rationally. I don't need to understand every aspect of religion (though I have read the Bible) to realize it isn't worthwhile. Learn to enjoy life for what it is, not for how you'll be welcomed in the after life. Religion wastes lives dude.

Without religion, laws wouldn't be here. Knock and the door shall be opened unto thee. I know this is predictable, but God was ALWAYS here. He who believes without seeing shall be blessed.

Are you serious? Are you actually serious? You think the Bible is the basis of all our morals? Humans behave themselves, for the most part, because we're social creatures that have evolved with a conscience. Laws would be here whether we were religious or not. Killing would still be illegal, not because you'd be banished to Hell, but because it just isn't right.

"If you believe in my pet flying unicorn, even though you can't sense him in anyway and he won't show himself, he'll give you good luck. But he might not, if he doesn't it's just part of his divine plan."

Izzy likes these threads, to cause controversy. Quite cruel, really.

Only one third true. I do like these threads. I like to see people think and I enjoy debating. Learning and knowledge aren't cruel, they're just not something the church likes. ;)

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I was raised semi-religious, loosely. I was baptized at a young age, probably at the request of my grandparents through my mom. My dad is more of an independent freethinker and isn't very religious. So my upbringing wasn't very extreme either way. From an earlier age, though, I realized that I thought most of religion was bullsh*t. I didn't know why I thought that, I just had a lingering sensation that everything we were told in church was a bunch of BS. My dad dressed up and went to church too of course but it wasn't until much more recently that I figured he must've had an impact early in my life allowing me to think rationally, which in due time led me to casting off religion's net over every aspect of our lives.

In the past 3-4ish years or so (I am 16, nearly 17), my own knowledge about the world and philosophy in general has increased exponentially, and for me, one of the biggest aspects in my realization that the majority of religion is bull, is in comparison with other religions. This is embodied in a few distinct points:

(1) sociogeographical location - where you are born and what family you are born into (not suggesting that "you" exists externally to that, since "you" is the person born to that family no matter what, but you know what I mean) determines your religion. If you were born in Indonesia, chances are you'd be a Muslim, and "know" that this is correct. More weighty, if you were born in Greece a few thousand years ago, you would sacrifice a sheep every year for Zeus

(2) difference in religions - what are the actual differences in religions? The answer is, not much. Why is a specific religion better than any other? Most of it is unfounded myths, metaphorical morals, and other stories, questionable ethics, dated lessons, fear-inducing passages and memetic engineering - stuff that you can only take on faith AFTER you're already indoctrinated to the religion. If you haven't been persuaded into the religion by other means yet, the stories are quite clearly BS. And they're all the same, all religions, at the core. So which one is correct? Combined with (1), this is a staggering point... sure you were born into one religion maybe, but what makes it externally better than the others? Do you feel strongly about it?.... just like you would feel strongly about that "other" religion you might have been alternately born into! The truth of the matter is, you don't join a religion because of the stories in its holy book, or any other similar reason. You join because you were indoctrinated as a young child or in your search of meaning you hastily concluded religion, and probably went for the nearest or most popular one. So, again, how can one religion be better than another?

(3) temporal difference - in Humanities, our class has a good time laughing at Greek mythology. Hahaha, all the funny stories and ridiculous myths! The kinds of things that they believed in back then!!! Hahahaa!!! I'm laughing most of all, but for a different reason... they'll be laughing at Christianity a few thousand years from now, assuming we're still around by then ;D

So the above may have sounded confrontational to the religious reader, but these 3 combined were my main, original reason for discarding religion once and for all. Sure, since then I have found other reasons (many reasons, actually) to continue along the path of freethinking, rationality and openness (not necessarily always leading to atheism, I am a floater in mind, and recently a sort of "agnosticism" has been more of my thoughts) and denounce the truth value of religion. So, again, this is no argument against "You", rather the "you" in the above 3 was me, since this is just a recounting of a personal journey, a personal story about why I am no longer dragged down by the chains of religious indoctrination (not that they were ever very strong in the first place... I think my dad is to thank for that but I'm not sure, I was young).

I am not encouraging anyone to follow the above line of thinking, but rather I'm presenting my own personal viewpoint on some issues. Hopefully someone will learn from it. The questions are more or less rhetorical, but feel free to get all defensive and answer them explaining why your religion is better. I don't care and I won't check this topic anymore probably - my intent is not to debate. Oh I've done lots of debating, and after recent careful deliberation about the act of debate itself, I've included that the path to truth, openmindedness, etc... the path to conversion and rethinking of thoughts... is not through debate. Unfortunately the route is slower and more winded... silly of us to think that something so simple as heated debate would do the trick :lol:

Anyway, this IS leading somewhere. I just want to say: no matter how you were raised, question your own philosophical beliefs. It's not a bad thing, it's not a weakness... it's surprising to see how little an overall philosophical standpoint affects your actual day-to-day life (until certain large decision points and things, involving churches, colleges, whatever), so it's not a bad thing to change your mindset a little and cast off previously held assumptions. I do it all the time and learn something from it every time, it's very refreshing. Try to think of the REAL reasons why you think the way you do, not just bs arguments you're coming up with. Go to the source

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Greek mythology, unlike Christianity, has no morals. I might also add that Christianity (well, at least Judaism, its Old Testament) was around at rhe time of the Greeks. The Crusades were the work of selfish people, not the religion itself. The first colonies were formed to escape persecution from Catholicism, and the colonists themselves were Puritan Christians. And yes, I do question my own beliefs, but they have always been justified.

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Since Bran and Izzy were alluding to this, I hope it's not off topic.

Regarding the origin of the universe, I'd always been taught the second law of thermodynamics as a probabilistic concept. There is no fundamental "force" driving entropy to increase, it only increases because a system will be most likely to adopt a state with maximum degeneracy.

To bring that slightly closer to English, if you have a bunch of gas particles bouncing around in a room, there isn't a "force" keeping them evenly distributed. They only end up being evenly distributed because the probability of having all the gas particles move to one side of the room at the same time is infinitesimally small. The same concept applies to chemical reactions. Any reaction at the molecular level can theoretically go either in the forward or reverse direction. It's just that one direction often ends up being favored because of the resultant energetic and entropic change.

There is a point to all of this physics rambling. If the second law of thermodynamics is based entirely on probabilities and the assumption that you will never realistically see any highly improbable reactions taking place in your lifetime (such as matter spontaneously being created in a reaction that is the reverse of annihilation) then would the second law not really apply in an empty universe where you quite literally have all of eternity to sit around and wait for a big bang to spontaneously happen?

I don't mean to mislead anyone into thinking that this is a generally accepted scientific explanation for the beginning of the universe. It just seemed reasonable to me. I'm just posting to try to find out if anyone who really knows a thing or two about physics has ever heard of an argument along those lines and could tell me if it's even theoretically credible. That at least would provide a possible scientific explanation for the origin of the universe that doesn't involve a god.

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If you take a look at Christianity, you will find that much evidence (scientific, too, Ms. Atheism) supports it, and that many of the prophecies have already been fulfilled.

Seen it. Not convincing.

If you make enough predictions, especially if they're the sort that is so vague that nobody realizes what it "meant" until after the events it was supposed to predict, eventually something will happen that's sort of close, in a metaphoric way, to one of the things you prophesied. Or, at least it will be close enough for people desperately hoping to see prophesy, and willing to believe just about any interpretation of events. And it doesn't even need to be close enough that the hopeful are universally convinced. Christians can't agree among themselves which prophesies have and have not been fulfilled. And let's not even get into the whole Judaism/Christianity/Islam schism, which can basically be boiled down to which prophesy you believe...

If there was supposedly nothing before the infamous Big Bang, theoretically, then somone must have caused it. Divine intervention was also the reason why life first appeared on earth.

Please explain why "someone" must have caused the Big Bang (if that is indeed how it all went down), and why life on Earth needs divine intervention. Just because you cannot conceive of another reason does not mean your hypothesis is correct. You cannot argue that everything must have a creator, because then so too must God. Or, is it "turtles all the way down"?

Besides, what do atheists have to live for?

Um... LIFE!!

Duh... what the &@%* did you think?

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Seriously, religion Topics are getting to be a bit annoying. they are insulting, not to mention unethical. plus, we have enough of them.

Unethical? O.o

Anyway, there is a simple solution to your ennui: don't read them.

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Christianity formed this country [...]

Uh. Wow. People formed this country.

Atheists don't really understand religion, since they are usually cynical about it.

With good reason... :P

Without religion, laws wouldn't be here.

Prove it.

Just because many/most/all codes of laws have religious beginnings does not mean there would be no laws had there never been religion. Society needs laws. It does not need religion.

Edited by d3k3

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Greek mythology, unlike Christianity, has no morals. I might also add that Christianity (well, at least Judaism, its Old Testament) was around at rhe time of the Greeks. The Crusades were the work of selfish people, not the religion itself. The first colonies were formed to escape persecution from Catholicism, and the colonists themselves were Puritan Christians. And yes, I do question my own beliefs, but they have always been justified.

Bran's obviously done his research..

1.Greek mythology has no morals? What?

Midas : don't be greedy.

Daedalus and Icarus : don't be guilty of pride and forget you are a mortal man. You are no god, even if you can fly. Icarus forgot, causing him to fly close to the sun, have the wax melted, and die.

Prometheus : again, a moral man dared to aspire to the power of the gods, and suffered the consequences.

Anyway, I could go on, there are many more, but those should be alright for now.

2.Christianity started about 2000 years ago. According to this essay, the Greek religion developed about 1200 years before that. They did NOT occur around the same time anymore than what's happening now should be relative to what happened in the year 1000 c.e.

3. Their religion has obviously taught those people how to behave so well. Among others. See 0:36 - 0:46 in

video. Christianity teaches morals, right?

4. Meh, whatever. The US still wasn't founded on Christianity. Have you even read the Constitution? Declaration of Independence? Any of our primary governing documents? I was going to post my own argument, but this guy explains it better. I really don't want to write another post that takes me like an hour to have it not responded to. ;P

5. ...And these justifications are?

*edit* URL tags.

Edited by Izzy

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There is a point to all of this physics rambling. If the second law of thermodynamics is based entirely on probabilities and the assumption that you will never realistically see any highly improbable reactions taking place in your lifetime (such as matter spontaneously being created in a reaction that is the reverse of annihilation) then would the second law not really apply in an empty universe where you quite literally have all of eternity to sit around and wait for a big bang to spontaneously happen?

I don't mean to mislead anyone into thinking that this is a generally accepted scientific explanation for the beginning of the universe. It just seemed reasonable to me. I'm just posting to try to find out if anyone who really knows a thing or two about physics has ever heard of an argument along those lines and could tell me if it's even theoretically credible. That at least would provide a possible scientific explanation for the origin of the universe that doesn't involve a god.

Please explain how these concepts apply to a universe that doesn't exist. What is time, if there is nothing to observe it? What is space, if there is nothing to fill it? Entropy? Thermodynamics? Of what?

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Bran's obviously done his research..

2.Christianity started about 2000 years ago. According to this essay, the Greek religion developed about 1200 years before that. They did NOT occur around the same time anymore than what's happening now should be relative to what happened in the year 1000 c.e.

I think Bran said the Old Testament. I don't know its exact age, but Judaism certainly was around at that time...

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I think Bran said the Old Testament. I don't know its exact age, but Judaism certainly was around at that time...

Oh, alright. We all know how lovely the God of the OT is anyway. :P (I own that t-shirt people, be jealous.)

Bran, so Judaism was around the time of the Greeks, what's your point?

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Seriously, religion Topics are getting to be a bit annoying. they are insulting, not to mention unethical. plus, we have enough of them.

Religion is something chosen by an individual. and that is not something you should be arguing for or against. In my opinion, no religions are better than others. I just happen one more than the others, and that by attempting to say one religion is better, you are insulting that person.

As my teacher once said: all religions are different paths to the same place

You're right, it is annoying!! *hint, hint*

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Oh, alright. We all know how lovely the God of the OT is anyway. :P (I own that t-shirt people, be jealous.)

Bran, so Judaism was around the time of the Greeks, what's your point?

My brother likes to argue, but don't be mean to him, or you will pay!!!!

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