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religious debate

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Posted · Report post

One thing that comes into play almost every day in my life is religion, mostly because I'm atheist, and people just won't tolerate it.

I just kinda wanted to start a debate where we all talk about our religions and well, show why we chose that religion, and just kind of talk about religion in general.

Anyone with me? :D

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Posted · Report post

sure :D

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Posted · Report post

all right

but once we get our first complaint from someone, then we'll stop the thread

well, I know you're atheist unreality... So we need some theists for this to work better...

Hey! you! yeah, the theists that are reading this thread!

Help us out and debate with us!

... we kinda need you to start...

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I've usually found that atheist/theist discussions are completely worthless. Usually the most productive discussions are between atheists, who discuss the reason others believe, or between theists, who discuss the nature of God.

The problem with the atheist/theist discussion is that you have no common ground with which to discuss anything. If you disagree there is a God, then how can I possibly get you to relate to my experience that tells me there is? How can you tell me there is not when I have experienced things that tell me there is? Usually the only way is for the non-believer to test the beliefs. Most are completely unwilling. It doesn't work for the believer to "unbelieve" because that is tantamount to trying to prove the non-existence of something, which is impossible in our finite existence. The only way to get any traction is for the non-believer to give a honest test to the experience of the believer - and I have NEVER found a single athiest willing to do so.

If you are, or you can think of some other frame for the discussion, I am ready and willing to discuss.

Here's my opening to you: I KNOW there is a God. I have felt his presence and have experienced personal, sacred things from outside my own psyche that tell me He IS. Those experiences have led me to explore and discover the nature of His will. The more I explored, the more I became convinced. Now as an atheist, how do you dispute my personal experience? It's not only folly, but arrogance to try to do so. How can you, without having experienced what I have, tell me that my experience was somehow fake, contrived, or willed? Where do you go from there?

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Posted · Report post

okay, I understand your point, I wasn't really out to have a discussion where we proove or disproove the existence of a god

because I knew, prior to this, that it is impossible to do.

Much like a china teapot circling around our galaxy (from The God Delusion)

Or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, who created us all after drinking heavily (The theories of pastafarianism, a parody religion)

there is realy no way to proove to someone that it is, or is not true

I KNOW there is a God.

please try not to be biased about this

I have never said that I KNOW there isn't a God,

because, like I said, you just cannot proove it.

I won't try to convince you that the things you felt were willed etc. because I know I cannot proove it

but don't try to convince me that they weren't willed etc. because you cannot proove it.

so let's just say something like "firmly believe" from now on. Deal?

but now I'm just repeating myself... let's move on

I don't believe in any gods, or follow any religions, but that doesn't mean I'm TOTALLY against religion

I do like that part of every religion is a set of moral values

and that following these values can help individuals find a bit of direction in life.

but they won't at all bring about world peace, or come close.

Because there are so many different religions, with differences in beliefs.

So a bit of self-segragation ensues, and the religions are mostly separate from each other.

(note: I'm using many terms VERY lightly, and I'm probably wrong, so I hope I do not offend anyone who knows otherwise)

and then extremists from some religions take well... extreme actions.

which adds to violence.

maybe this is a bit of ground for (maybe debate was the wrong word for me to choose) conversation.

Ya know, the usual

people proving me wrong

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Posted · Report post

Well I agree with everything Ploper just said :D

Also, Writersblock, I'm not going to dispute you saying "I know there is a god" cuz I know there isnt- or if it is, it cant be proved, EITHER WAY, but I'm not going there.

What I am asking is this:

how do you know the god you 'connected with' is the Christian God? What if its Buddha? or Zeus? Sure you felt a connection to "Him" as you said, but does that mean that it must be abraham's god? What about other gods?

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Posted · Report post

thank you

how do you know the god you 'connected with' is the Christian God? What if its Buddha? or Zeus? Sure you felt a connection to "Him" as you said, but does that mean that it must be abraham's god? What about other gods?

wow I never though about that.

that's a pretty good point.

like I said, there are many religions

so these 'connections' could be with any of their gods

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Posted · Report post

as a Christian, my first point would be to say that I do NOT have 100% faith.

Even Jesus, on the cross, questioned God; how can I say that I have more faith than Him?

Yes, I believe with all my heart that there is a God, a loving and good God that created us (via evolution, be it macro or micro-evolution, I do believe in evolution); but my brain, which is very scientific in nature, does have a seed of doubt due to the lack of any recent evidence, the ethno/male-centric and plain stupidity of the church, and the inegalitarian attitude of the elite at the top.

Anyway, all this to say this simple suggestion:

Jesus would not mind being used as insurance.

If a theist believes in God and dies, s/he can go to heaven if s/he was right, or absolutely nothing happens and s/he ceases to exist if s/he is wrong.

If an atheist doesnt believe in God and dies, absolutely nothing happens and s/he ceases to exist if s/he was right, or s/he can go to hell if s/he is wrong.

which one would you rather be? :o

(even if you do it simply for the insurance by confesing your sins and trying to believe in Jesus [the existance of the man Jesus is part of the history of many religions and historical writers, making a leap of faith after that is not that hard]).

just think about it. ;)

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Posted · Report post

When I assert I KNOW there is a God, I again refer to experiences I have had that I associate with something outside of "me." I am not being biased at all, I am merely telling you where I start the conversation. "Bias" would infer that we are trying to come to some understanding without using pre-existing personal knowledge. Such is dramatically not the case. If you want to run circles trying to prove or disprove God, then let's go there. It's futile, but that would be the only non biased discussion possible. Otherwise we need to talk of faith and experience which are deeply personal and sacred things. Again, as much as I know anything in life, I KNOW there is a God. You are right, it might not be the God that anyone else believes in. However, many of the things I associate with this experience are also associated by others to the Devine. In the same way, you cannot tell if you are seeing the exact same color I see when I interpret "blue" but we can associate enough of a common experience to talk about the color. Trying to talk to someone who had never seen "blue" would be tough. The only thing I could do is flounder, or tell them to go look at blue. Just don't try to tell me that I've never seen blue when you've never looked. (That sounds harsher than I mean it. So please take no offense to anything I write here. Imagine me saying it all with an honest smile of friendship.)

You assume that I am talking about the God of Abraham, but I never said such. As to the "identity" of my God and why I believe the way I do - that is a personal journey of thought, prayer, logic, and honest seeking that took me many years. I have studied many different religions and I am still on that journey, so to speak, but have come to several ideals that "feel" right to me. I am as settled in my beliefs as I believe a mortal can be, though if anything else comes along that makes more sense, I will embrace it. The core of my beliefs are thus: that all TRUTH is the stuff of Gods, regardless of where it is found. Nothing else makes sense to me.

You are 100% correct that I can never "prove" or "logically deduce" that I am right. Such is not the stuff of faith and faith is the domain of God. Not for His sake, but for ours. This is the whole gist of my original post. There is no "proof" here, but merely a discussion of personal experience and thought. Nothing else makes any sense to talk about.

If you want to follow my journey, I am happy to lead the way - just ask where I started and be respectful. Remember the nature of things sacred. If you want to go a different direction, then pose a question or something to start us down a path.

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Posted · Report post

Just a note: I am not out to get anyone to confess their sins, or say a special prayer or anything of the sort. I suggest that this is not the proper forum for such. I am here only to explore the corners of thought in search of those precious kernals of TRUTH - such as they may be found.

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Posted · Report post

I see a few spelling mistakes I made in my post. Sorry 'bout that - late night posting and all.

Another short follow-up.

and then extremists from some religions take well... extreme actions.

which adds to violence.

I might be supplying my own "therefore" to this quote, but isn't this a pretty obvious ad hominem fallacy?

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Posted · Report post

I just kinda wanted to start a debate where we all talk about our religions and well, show why we chose that religion, and just kind of talk about religion in general.

Anyone with me?

I'm an atheist because I require extraordinary evidence to believe in extraordinary claims. There is obviously none for the existence of God/gods. Does this mean there are no gods? No. It means until I'm aware of any sufficient evidence I see no reason for such fantastic beliefs. There may be flying pigs, but until someone brings forth sufficient evidence for them, I'll be without belief in them too.

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Posted · Report post

yes, Carlosn, a friend of mine is Christian for exactly those reasons

but I find it hard to just start believing something, and firmly believe it is true

If an atheist doesnt believe in God and dies, absolutely nothing happens and s/he ceases to exist if s/he was right, or s/he can go to hell if s/he is wrong.

um, correct me if I'm wrong (you know how my self-esteem is, I believe I am wrong)

but isn't there only space in heaven for 14,000 or so people?

I think that most (or probably more...? who knows) of that would be filled up by the Christian priests, and nuns etc. in the world

so what would make me good enough?

besides, me goin to hell should give you a better chance of making it to heaven

(or does it? there's a post about whether cancelling someone out increases your chances of living in another thread)

so why should you be upset?

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Posted · Report post

yes, Carlosn, a friend of mine is Christian for exactly those reasons

but I find it hard to just start believing something, and firmly believe it is true

Or maybe even impossible. I can go around saying I believe in Santa Clause just to make sure that in the slim chance he does exist I don't get a lump of coal for Christmas, but is this the same as believing? I say no. That's just one of the many problems with Carlosn27's "playing it safe" idea:

http://www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/wager.html

http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/nogod/pascal.htm

One good argument that I don't think has been addressed in either of the above links is what if God sends theists to Hell for believing in Him as a form of insurance yet rewards atheists for being true to themselves? Pascal's wager is obviously flawed in many ways.

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Posted · Report post

but isn't there only space in heaven for 14,000 or so people?

I don't understand this. Where does this concept come from?

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I'm an atheist because I require extraordinary evidence to believe in extraordinary claims.

But Martini, have you ever honestly explored the possbility with an open mind so that you might actually find extraordinary evidence? Most atheists are "passivists" in my experience, just kind of resting on some notion that if the evidence was there that "science" would find it. Do you take that attitude, or have you ever genuinely tried to explore spirituality? I am not harping on your personal ways at all, just asking in a truly curious attitude.

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but isn't there only space in heaven for 14,000 or so people?

I don't understand this. Where does this concept come from?

umm. that's what the guy handing out Jesus pamphlets at a cancer walk I went to told me.

And I've heard it mentioned in other forums

maybe it's not 14,000. but it's something like that

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oh wait, now I know

the 14,000 people make to heaven is a jehova's witness thing

and it's 144,000.

So I withdraw the previous statements regarding this

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I don't understand this. Where does this concept come from?

He's talking about this.

My advice to Ploper is to not bother debating any possible problems with the Bible. Apologists will ALWAYS find a way to wiggle out of contradictions, inconsistencies, etc.

But Martini, have you ever honestly explored the possbility with an open mind so that you might actually find extraordinary evidence?

Can you be more specific? What sort of exploring might lead me to evidence of an intelligent being that is responsible for creating everything, punishes and rewards, has no limits, knows all, etc.?

Most atheists are "passivists" in my experience, just kind of resting on some notion that if the evidence was there that "science" would find it.

You say that as if believing in a god is the default position and by requiring evidence for things and not "exploring" this god idea, one is being lazy or just too accepting of "science".

You're assuming that most atheists haven't explored the possibility of God/gods or that most weren't brought up with religion and left it because belief in fanciful ideas without evidence didn't make much sense to them. Have you explored every incredible idea that has come your way? I bet you haven't explored if carrying a rabbit's foot around will really bring you luck or if walking under a ladder is a bad idea. Why not?

It sounds like you're basically saying that atheists are too lazy to think for themselves and just believe what scientists tell them to. You couldn't be more wrong. Most atheists I know have spent a lot of time reading about other religions, learning the psychology behind why people believe weird things, etc. I would say much more so than your average religious person that just accepts what their parents told them about the nature of their god as being correct.

Do you take that attitude, or have you ever genuinely tried to explore spirituality? I am not harping on your personal ways at all, just asking in a truly curious attitude.

I don't know what you mean by "explore spirituality". I was brought up with religion like most Americans and I've learned about many. I'm into the martial arts and have met many Buddhists and have even learned to meditate. I've never seen any evidence for spirits, souls or anything most generally would consider supernatural.

Speaking of Buddhism, I find the following very enlightening:

http://www.buddhanet.net/ans73.htm

You wouldn't consider Buddhists with this outlook to lack belief in God/gods because they're pacifistic in regards to science finding their beliefs or non-beliefs, would you? This outlook is the same as mine and every atheist I've ever met. Our non-belief is not because of any pacification on our part.

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He's talking about this.
Ah. Moronic. Too much surrounding religion is fallacy heaped upon misunderstanding. This is such.

Apologists will ALWAYS find a way to wiggle out of contradictions, inconsistencies, etc.
True, just as critics will create them when they don't really exist.

You're assuming that most atheists haven't explored the possibility of God/gods or that most weren't brought up with religion and left it because belief in fanciful ideas without evidence didn't make much sense to them.
I'm not assuming anything. I never said all athiests do this. I am merely stating what I have encountered. Admittedly I only know about 4 staunch athiests, none of whom have ever even so much as read a single sacred text. I know many others who call themselves such becuase they just don't have any formed beleif structure, but when you get down to it, they are not true athiests.

I was brought up with religion like most Americans and I've learned about many. I'm into the martial arts and have met many Buddhists and have even learned to meditate. I've never seen any evidence for spirits, souls or anything most generally would consider supernatural.
I would say you have, then, explored religion. Again, it was nothing to poke at you, but a serious inquiry.

You wouldn't consider Buddhists with this outlook to lack belief in God/gods because they're pacifistic in regards to science finding their beliefs or non-beliefs, would you?
No, I wouldn't. I have read the teachings of Buddha in my own exploration. I think they have a lot right. I don't agree that a Buddhist must necessarly disbelieve in a God, but I see your point and generally agree.

outlook is the same as mine and every atheist I've ever met
Then you and I have drastically different interactions with those who profess "atheism." Most who I have met surround themselves with science and philosophy and then point to spirituality as if they understand it. They are three different things, all of which (in my opinion) seek the same end; but which require different approaches to discovery. You cannot, for example, pholosophise yourself into a scientific law. Nor can you use the scientific method to explore the nature of abstract concepts best dealt with using philosophy. Religion takes yet another approach. I find it startling when people say they have never, ever had a spiritual experience - yet this must be the case with many.

You say that as if believing in a god is the default position and by requiring evidence for things and not "exploring" this god idea, one is being lazy or just too accepting of "science".
I would offer that for most of man's existence belief in the myth of God is the default. I don't mean that requiring evidence is laziness at all. What I am getting at is the notion that most people, regardless of what they believe, are generally lazy about it. They adhere to either the "genetic fallacy" or "consequences of belief" fallacy and call it an informed, reasoned position. For the athiest it's usually just a reverse lazyness. They see all that mankind has learned and therefore automatically dismiss God based upon 18th century reasoning that was in essence an ad hominem attack on the Catholic Church. This sounds like it's not your case at all, so I am definatly NOT lumping you into this group.

Part of the problem with this whole discussion is the so called "enlightenment" theories on religion. As a consequence, religion has become polarized - especially in the United States. Theists have divorced science and common sense from their religion, and atheists have embraced (almost as a religion) the ever changing and fallable theories of science to the exclusion of all else. As I said in my first post, there is no common ground with which to have any kind of meaningful discussion.

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True, just as critics will create them when they don't really exist.

Are you saying the Bible is without contradictions and inconsistencies? It isn't. Critics don't need to go making any up. There are enough real problems with the Bible where we don't need to go making any up. Of course there are some that have a misunderstanding of what the Bible (or some other religious text says), but on the whole most Biblical critics don't go around making things up to criticize. Scientists, historians and reputable scholars in every field start with evidence and work from that to conclusions. If subsequent evidence doesn’t fit, they adjust their conclusions accordingly. Defenders of the accuracy of the bible, however, start with their conclusions (the Bible is inerrant) and invent whatever evidence seems necessary to support them.

I'm not assuming anything. I never said all athiests do this. I am merely stating what I have encountered. Admittedly I only know about 4 staunch athiests, none of whom have ever even so much as read a single sacred text.

I doubt you're correct. I bet your four staunch atheist friends are plenty familiar with the beliefs of a few religions. But even if they aren't, this makes them "pacifist atheists" that are "just kind of resting on some notion that if the evidence was there that "science" would find it"?

I know many others who call themselves such becuase they just don't have any formed beleif structure, but when you get down to it, they are not true athiests.

They're not true atheists? If they are without belief in God/gods, they're TRUE atheists.

I don't agree that a Buddhist must necessarly disbelieve in a God, but I see your point and generally agree.

I never implied they did. That's one of the things that separate Buddhism from religions. Buddhism is more accurately described as a philosophy as their are no rigid set of tenets or necessary belief in a deity that must be adhered to.

and atheists have embraced (almost as a religion) the ever changing and fallable theories of science to the exclusion of all else.

No, not "almost as a religion". Belief in science has zero in common with belief in religion. I embrace science because it works and is the best system of finding truth mankind has yet to find.

As I said in my first post, there is no common ground with which to have any kind of meaningful discussion.

Yes, there is. A search for truth is common ground enough. We don't have to have common ground to debate ideas. We shouldn't have common ground to debate ideas.

You never answered this question:

Can you be more specific? What sort of exploring might lead me to evidence of an intelligent being that is responsible for creating everything, punishes and rewards, has no limits, knows all, etc.?
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I asked a girl who happened to sit across from me at lunch today what her views of religion were

I do this to almost everyone I know, I'm trying to take in as much second-hand information as my environment allows.

but I actually heard something that interested me a bit

she said she doesn't know anything about god, or which religion, if any, a god that exists belongs to.

but that she is almost certain that there has to be a god

she said that something cannot create itself, all the atoms that make up our world had do have been brought about by something.

I asked her if there had to be a god to create god

she said she didn't know, but god was probably always there

I said that maybe the atoms were always there too.

this isn't something that I was really sure of,

so I wanted someone here to help me understand what I meant with my own words...

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Posted · Report post

I'm practicing guitar so I didn't really have time to read all of it.

But I'm picking up things from it that help answer my question

can't say definately for sure

I'll read em tomorrow

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Hey! you! yeah, the theists that are reading this thread!

Help us out and debate with us!

... we kinda need you to start...

...said the universe to God...

but isn't there only space in heaven for 14,000 or so people?

Great example of why many religious people refuse to discuss or debate with antireligionists of any stripe.

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