AuthorTopic: Official Off-Topic Thread  (Read 1012267 times)

Offline Helm

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #330 on: January 26, 2009, 05:53:42 pm
Helm correct me if I'm wrong but you seem to be saying you'd find the concept of God more believable if he were subject to the laws of the system he programmed.

The only comprehensive definition of a 'God' I've been offered so far (and I've asked a lot) is the one where he is infinite, created himself, is all-powerful, omnipotent, ever-present, benevolent creator watches over humanity, so forth. If you strip him of these abilities he's just a 'strong dude that made shit happen' with which I don't fundamentally have any thermodynamic differences, but he's not a divine entity, he doesn't offer answers to the primal questions (how it all starts, why it did, where do we go when we die etc). By making a 'God' entity more plausible you're just stripping it of its Godliness and therefore you're just inventing 'strong dudes' around in the universe. It's not as a big problem as inventing 'all-powerful dude #1' but it's still doesn't seem to be needed as it answers no questions. Your god that is the programmer to this operating system, who made him? Shouldn't we worship him instead if he exists? And if he does exist, is *he* all-powerful? Just an infinite regress towards... what?

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If God exists and he created the physical universe (which I am a strong proponent for) then he would have to operate within a far bigger system than the physical universe.

Just saying... looking at how the universe operates, there doesn't seem to be any call for an external system in which it rests, of which the rules are alien and unfathomable. I mean, you can make this claim but it just over complicates things. Overcomplication isn't a demerit in itself, but we have to ask, for what? Quantum Mechanics are overcomplicating an Aristotelian physical understanding of the universe but there's a reason for them. What's the reason for shattering all physical laws to create a God, though? So you have a divine shoulder to cry on? I mean at some point we have to look at the motivation behind giving birth to these all-powerful deities... your father and your mother told you of this 'God' and it helps you in some ways in your life. If you were to examine how he helps you and also what assumptions you're bringing into the physical universe by invoking an all-powerful figure... you might end up more unsettled than you started with as an agnostic! I mean sure okay God loves me and I'll go to heaven when I die... but it also means if God exists that the universe is a simulation (?) of a much bigger, unfathomable laboratory (?) where a being calls all the shots whose motivation is a psychotic desire for powerless little humans to love him (?) This shit creeps me out even more than the nothingness after death.

Examine the motivation behind your desire for a God to exist, is what I am saying.

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As for who created the creator, we all have to accept that at some point the law of cause and effect was broken, whether you believe in God or not. What created the matter that created the big bang? And what created whatever made that matter? And so on and so on.

Perhaps it's more settling emotionally to accept that you don't know right now, how these things started and that not knowing is fine also. You don't have to invent a thermodynamically obese superbeing to fill in the blanks. Not knowing is fine, letting go is fine. Words are just words, experiences are not words etc etc

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If a person is not filthy, how can he be forgiven?  There's a difference between an acknowledgment of evil, or an alignment in support of evil, and the forsaking of it.  When I damn for their actions, you may critique the decision : that has not happened.

What a choice of words though! Filthy? That just sounds sanctimonious to me. I thought forgiveness meant perhaps a bit of humbleness towards the mysteries of another human being, a bit of silence and acceptance perhaps. Not 'I DUB THEE FILTHY SO I MAY YET CLEANSE YOU'. It just rubs me so wrong. Nobody's filthy, we're just all trying to exist and fulfill our base desires.

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in my perception of reality (lol), I believe in God.  People who believe in God are Religious.  I do not murder.  I do not believe in dragons or miracles.  Therefor, if someone says that religious people murder and believe in dragons and I do not, they are mistaken, the issue of dragons does not define religion as a whole and to say so is false.  From where i stand (and it may be subjective) that looks like math.

I will put aside completely how you say you believe in God but yet not in miracles, although there's a question begged there. I'm not interested in the answer, so I'll go to the source of what you're saying: Yes it is your personal math and in your personal math book it adds up but it is not a real conversation because you're not risking anything, you're just expounding on your personal definitions of good and evil and that's really not what I'm looking for when I discuss morality. I'm looking for expression but also understanding, taking some risks putting things out there one is not certain about so they may be inspected and not just judged. In short, whereas I'm sure you spending time with yourself is a good thing in your phase (creating a personal lexicon and whatnot), it is really not what I want out of a moral or ontological conversation at my phase. So your falsehoods and truisms are overshared. I don't mean this in a bad way, I don't want to insult you. We started out discussing your reaction to a comic that was about religion at large and nonbelievers at large, not about the religion in your person where every other religion in any other person that doesn't cohere with your vision is false.

I mean to say perhaps: you should study the philosophical field of Epistemology to some degree, it will help you see the burdens inherent in theories of knowledge and perhaps nudge you on a different path to what the point of a conversation might be and what promises one makes when one enters one and how best to fulfill them without just going on repeating how 'in my world, that is true and that is false'. I say this because I went through the exact same thing.

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The issue at hand for me was never the idea that select Religious people worship dragons and say no to science, but the idea that we all do, and that it is central to a belief in God for all who feel themselves to be have such.

I'm sorry to say I can't understand these statements. 'but the idea that we all do' what? Worship dragons and say no to science? 'for all who feel themselves to be have such' what?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 05:57:19 pm by Helm »

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #331 on: January 26, 2009, 06:23:40 pm
Just saying... looking at how the universe operates, there doesn't seem to be any call for an external system in which it rests, of which the rules are alien and unfathomable.

There are certain questions that science is afraid of, such as the question of why physics even exist. Most atheists seem overly comfortable accepting that our universe is bound to unbreakable laws without ever questioning where those laws came from and what enforces them. Who decided 1+1= 2? I think this is an important question because science is built on it. If the universe is not rational then we can't hope to rationally dissect it. But if the universe IS rational, that raises all sorts of questions.

I mean, you can make this claim but it just over complicates things. Overcomplication isn't a demerit in itself, but we have to ask, for what? Quantum Mechanics are overcomplicating an Aristotelian physical understanding of the universe but there's a reason for them. What's the reason for shattering all physical laws to create a God, though? So you have a divine shoulder to cry on? I mean at some point we have to look at the motivation behind giving birth to these all-powerful deities... your father and your mother told you of this 'God' and it helps you in some ways in your life. If you were to examine how he helps you and also what assumptions you're bringing into the physical universe by invoking an all-powerful figure... you might end up more unsettled than you started with as an agnostic! I mean sure okay God loves me and I'll go to heaven when I die... but it also means if God exists that the universe is a simulation (?) of a much bigger, unfathomable laboratory (?) where a being calls all the shots whose motivation is a psychotic desire for powerless little humans to love him (?) This shit creeps me out even more than the nothingness after death.

Examine the motivation behind your desire for a God to exist, is what I am saying.

On the contrary you seem to have an emotional bias *against* the possibility of God's existence. I mean if I die and it turns out God wasn't real, then what? I tried my hardest to live selflessly and to treat other humans with love and dignity as though they were created in His image and and never got rewarded for it. Not a huge injustice from a cosmic perspective. And it's not like I'll be around to regret it. But it seems you feel you have much more to lose if God IS real.

To further dissect this I'd have to go more into my personal theology, which I'm okay with but I suspect it's not what most people came to this forum to hear.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 07:44:33 pm by Ben2theEdge »
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Offline Helm

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #332 on: January 26, 2009, 07:27:08 pm
I do not take 1+1=2 as a binding proposition. I don't take any statement as a binding proposition. I take a few as applicable and useful. Not 'true' because nothing is 'true'. Again, I urge towards a study of Epistemology, it's not a word I'm making up, it's a philosophical field that deals exactly with the theory of knowledge, what is testable, what is binding, what is in effect, what skepticism is in essence.

I furthermore do not think that understanding the world on paper is the same as experiencing the things you're trying to understand. The implication is that the world is complex and holistic and we do not stand to *experience* it all, and people trying to appeal to our intellect by giving us applicable models of it can only get so far in that way. You can sit there and explain to me how a bat (the animal) works how it's skeleton keeps it light how the sonar works etc etc and I can sit here and try to take all that information in but that doesn't mean I understand the bat, the experience of the bat itself is inherently unknowable for me as a human. It is similar in matter of theory of science and knowledge. Information is not the same as knowledge. Information helps build a testable hypothesis of the effects of properties that are fundamentally unexperiencable for the human being. On the existential level we should be looking with awe at a simple house cat and how futile it is to try to feel what it must feel, and yet we have the gall to summon bloated Gods out of the aether and decree them creators and benevolent fathers that watch upon us. More humility! There's more to find by pondering a wall than thinking about Jesus Christ as the lord and savior.

But if we are going to use a model for reality (and we must if we want anything else than to live in a cave), it being testable and applicable is the point of it. Not being 'true' on the metaphysical level. An all-powerful ever-present God doesn't enter into tests or applications in any respect, therefore its usage is bound to be problematic. Science is not to put ones blind faith into a testable model. It is to be very curious about it and constantly tweak it to better apply to the discernible effect. These are very basic things.

I do not have any emotional bias against a god existing and I feel that huge chunk of text of mine you quoted, you didn't properly address its implication. If God exists, it's more unsettling than if he doesn't. He creates more questions than he answers. I strongly urge you to address this issue instead of turning it around.

If I die and god exists I've also tried my hardest to be a good man and to satisfy myself through life, to have no shame for my existence and I will sit in front of him and tell him I never believed in him (and still do not, but rather consider him a fading hallucination of the dying brain) and I am unrepentant. UNREPENTANT! My life was my own, my death also. If he is a just God and he understands completely his creation he will know that I did exactly what he made me do. I have nothing to lose in that respect.

And ultimately, most importantly, it is not a matter of haggling, it really shouldn't be. I do not define my ontology based on the gambling odds of there being a hellfire and eternal damnation in which I might be designated later on. So be it! There's still no real reason to go from examining this universe to inferring there is a God around in it besides people screaming about him being around. So if I have to suffer eternal damnation for not being stupid enough to trust other beings that are essentially as clueless as I am on matters of abstract metaphysics, then so be it! Punish me, just and everpresent lord, punish me by letting me be what you need me to be!

Again the most important thing I'm talking about is this: examine the motivation of 'faith' on the human animal. The uncertainty of the universe is mind-boggling. We invented anthropomorphic faces for the natural powers around us to understand them, to symbolise them and contain them, to not go insane by thinking what this thunder is that falls randomly out of the sky and splits the old tree in half. The sentient animal needs faith because otherwise they'd go insane trying to run a fault simulation in their mind in which there are no dangers around them. As long as inexplicable things happen, the animal thinks it's in danger! It must make its surroundings safe and it must make the internal world safe by establishing symbols, words and stories that are causal and make sense. Where did we come from? Goddidit. Where are we going? God knows. What should we do? God tells. Try to take a few steps outside the box in which you're trying to rationalize the existence of the most huge overspill of thermodynamic energy in the universe and think of WHY you are doing it.

Offline JJ Naas

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #333 on: January 26, 2009, 07:56:58 pm
If I die and god exists I've also tried my hardest to be a good man and to satisfy myself through life, to have no shame for my existence and I will sit in front of him and tell him I never believed in him (and still do not, but rather consider him a fading hallucination of the dying brain) and I am unrepentant. UNREPENTANT! My life was my own, my death also. If he is a just God and he understands completely his creation he will know that I did exactly what he made me do. I have nothing to lose in that respect.

Well put. That reminds me of what Marcus Aurelius said:

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

Offline Emtch

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #334 on: January 26, 2009, 08:58:22 pm
If a god created everything, then he/she also created sin, sinful people, demons and everything that opposes him/her. Doesn't make any sense at all.
Religious people cling to their weird beliefs even though they have nothing to back up their theory that there is a higher might. When people prove them wrong, they refuse to understand.
The holy writings (bible, quran etc) have been edited over the years and the religions are nothing like they originally were.
Religious people break their rules at least as much as regular people, through crusades/jihads, holocausts, missionaries etc. It doesn't say anywhere in the holy writings that you are allowed to kill people just because of their religion.

The bible says that homosexuality is wrong, it says that interracial relationships is wrong.
Christianity is about denying truth, they see Lucifer as the enemy when he is the bringer of light and wisdom. When the snake gave wisdom to the couple in the garden of eden god banished them.

Religious leaders don't want people to think on their own and want everybody to be the same.

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #335 on: January 26, 2009, 09:05:01 pm
If a god created everything, then he/she also created sin, sinful people, demons and everything that opposes him/her. Doesn't make any sense at all.
Religious people cling to their weird beliefs even though they have nothing to back up their theory that there is a higher might. When people prove them wrong, they refuse to understand.
The holy writings (bible, quran etc) have been edited over the years and the religions are nothing like they originally were.
Religious people break their rules at least as much as regular people, through crusades/jihads, holocausts, missionaries etc. It doesn't say anywhere in the holy writings that you are allowed to kill people just because of their religion.

The bible says that homosexuality is wrong, it says that interracial relationships is wrong.
Christianity is about denying truth, they see Lucifer as the enemy when he is the bringer of light and wisdom. When the snake gave wisdom to the couple in the garden of eden god banished them.

Religious leaders don't want people to think on their own and want everybody to be the same.

Should we just take your word for all of that, then?
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Offline Helm

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #336 on: January 26, 2009, 09:07:46 pm
Ben2theEdge, why not address my concerns instead of easier targets?

Offline Ben2theEdge

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #337 on: January 26, 2009, 09:10:17 pm
I will when I'm not at work, Helm. There's a lot there and I want to take my time with it. Don't worry I'm not avoiding it.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 09:12:01 pm by Ben2theEdge »
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Offline Gil

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #338 on: January 26, 2009, 09:45:29 pm
JJ Naas raises the most interesting point in the debate to me in terms of looking at your judgement day.

I, as a person, am always looking to answer these basic questions of faith and spirituality, as most people do I guess. Here's what I have come up with:

1. I am only certain of the existance of my own mind
2. I perceive a world, which stimulates my mind
3. Stimulating that mind is the only thing I can do as a being
4. If I refuse to be part of this perceived world, because I can not prove its existance, I become futile, thus I have live in it and accept its rules

These are the only principles I can believe in, as they are the only things that come forth out of my elementary existance. As I'm forced to stimulate this mind, I am forced to deal with this world. Having a strong sense of morality (one of the things that probably stimulates my mind the most), I try to live a just live, though I am failing right now. When one day I am forced to look unto my life, either through self-reflection or by meeting my creator, I hope to stand proud and say "I did all I could". I am quite sure that it will be enough to any benevolent god, though it might not seem enough to my own unforgiving mind.

I'll post more later once I get some more stuff in my head sorted out. Sometimes it's hard to explain thought processes in text.

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Official Off-Topic Thread

Reply #339 on: January 27, 2009, 12:44:26 am
Helm : just reread what I write perhaps.  I would respond to what you told me, but i just have no idea who you are talking to.  It's clear that you've been hurt by someone, or a group of people, or otherwise have a huge and important argument with them, but I personally am not sure who these people are and I'm frankly confused.  I never said i intend to cleanse someone and I certainly am not preaching here, nor do i pretend to live any sort of higher or more virtuous life.  If there are people you know who have condemned, who have passed judgment, who attempt to evangelize and to cleanse you, I apologize for how you feel about that but i want you to know that this is not me.  As for filthy, I apologize if that rubs you the wrong way - it's a very common word where I come from and i meant none of the things you've assigned to it.

I never said that other views of Religion is wrong, and I have stayed far away from defining my personal views of religion - I personally continue to feel that my definition of Religion is as objective as it can be :

n.

   1.
         1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
         2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
   2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
   3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
   4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Religion is defined first as a belief in a creator and governor of the universe.  This is the absolute core of it.  Everything else is secondary to that, with the exception of definition number four which I would consider a colloquialism.  Religion is not defined here by turning water into wine or david slaying a dragon (that actually is how it used to go, it got stricken for being TOO out there).  Different Religions may be further categorized by their specific beliefs and practices, but what makes a religion a religion is not those, but belief, as it says, in a creator and governor of the universe.

Beyond that, there's nothing I can say here.


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I'm sorry to say I can't understand these statements. 'but the idea that we all do' what? Worship dragons and say no to science? 'for all who feel themselves to be have such' what?

sorry, that's a problem that stems from attempting to type while eating lamb and reading Tolstoy.  To your first question, yes, you got it, to the second - take off "to be" (so to have such - to have a faith in god).

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(creating a personal lexicon and whatnot)

I have not done this, so I don't know how to respond.  I also have not brought a particular definition of good and evil other than to say that murder is evil.  That's technically subjective, but do you really want to be the one to fight it?

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We started out discussing your reaction to a comic that was about religion at large and nonbelievers at large, not about the religion in your person where every other religion in any other person that doesn't cohere with your vision is false.

Religion at large includes all religions, including and I am speaking for many people I know here.  And I never said that other religions are false, only that God is what defines a religion, not whether it believes in dragons.

You have a way of always misinterpreting everything I say in extremely negative ways, and I just don't know how to avoid this.  I don't actually like explaining myself a dozen times hat I felt was clear the first.  If you weren't responding to what I said, and in particular getting it completely wrong when you respond, I would be pretty quiet.  But I see that you find yourself to be at a higher phase and that I talk too much, so in the future I will not take your questions and definitions as an invitation to discourse.
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