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Egbert
November 9th, 2008, 02:06 AM
Religious and political indoctrination routinely downplay the complexities of their respective issues. In everyday life I am often surrounded by oversimplified viewpoints; here I hope to have some richer discussions and appreciate the diversity of the arguments.

The basics: I am an 18-year-old guy from the midwest. Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian with some unconventional views, a classic liberal and a fiscal conservative. During the past year, I have developed my religious and political views a lot, though I have raised more questions than I have answered. I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.

bucksplasher
November 9th, 2008, 06:41 AM
This could be the place for you. Give us a try. tWINs

Stripe
November 9th, 2008, 08:54 AM
Hiya, Egbert :)

Jefferson
November 9th, 2008, 08:58 AM
Welcome to TOL. :wave:

chrysostom
November 9th, 2008, 10:15 AM
How will you recognize the truth?

keypurr
November 9th, 2008, 10:34 AM
Religious and political indoctrination routinely downplay the complexities of their respective issues. In everyday life I am often surrounded by oversimplified viewpoints; here I hope to have some richer discussions and appreciate the diversity of the arguments.

The basics: I am an 18-year-old guy from the midwest. Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian with some unconventional views, a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. During the past year, I have developed my religious and political views a lot, though I have raised more questions than I have answered. I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.
Welcome friend, I was like you at that age. Here on TOL you will find a lot of views on religion. You must seek for yourself and find what you consider a reasonable view to accept. Truth can be very elusive, but it is there for the finding. Keep your mind open and learn.
God Bless

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 12:10 PM
How will you recognize the truth?

I don't know; that's the hard part. I can usually get by just mulling over the things I read/hear. If they seem to make sense (and in some cases, fit the statistics), I tend to accept them.


Welcome friend, I was like you at that age. Here on TOL you will find a lot of views on religion. You must seek for yourself and find what you consider a reasonable view to accept. Truth can be very elusive, but it is there for the finding. Keep your mind open and learn.
God Bless

Thanks for the welcome. I intend to do just that.

Aimiel
November 10th, 2008, 01:00 PM
Welcome, indeed. Hope you'll stick around, even if it gets kinda' crazy in here once in a while. I pray that the more you find out about God that you'll continually discover that there is so much about Him that you don't know, that your eternal curiosity will be awakened by His perpetual game. He just loves to play hide-n-seek. Will you seek Him enough to actually find Him?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Town Heretic
November 10th, 2008, 02:47 PM
Religious and political indoctrination routinely downplay the complexities of their respective issues. In everyday life I am often surrounded by oversimplified viewpoints;
That's bad. :Plain:

here I hope to have some richer discussions and appreciate the diversity of the arguments.
Ah, an optimist.

The basics: I am an 18-year-old guy from the midwest. Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian
Skeptical in the treatment of various claims regarding particular theological truth within the Body OR are you just into giving yourself a hard time? :think:

with some unconventional views, a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.
So you believe in helping people as long as someone else pays for it? :idunno:

During the past year, I have developed my religious and political views a lot, though I have raised more questions than I have answered.
Then you're probably asking the right sort of questions...

I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.
A noble enough goal. You're ahead of my curve at your age. At eighteen theology seemed to me a house of mirrors constructed by a series of drunken carpenters to distract attention from an even less comprehendible neighborhood.

Welcome. :e4e:

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 03:50 PM
Ah, an optimist.

More of a realist, actually (often called a pessimist by optimists). I read this forum a bit before joining, and I think my chances are pretty good.



Skeptical in the treatment of various claims regarding particular theological truth within the Body OR are you just into giving yourself a hard time? :think:


The former, though in some other areas I practice the latter as well.



So you believe in helping people as long as someone else pays for it? :idunno:


Oh, my mistake. I should have said classic liberal, since "social liberal" has a definition beyond a distinction from the "fiscal" arena.



At eighteen theology seemed to me a house of mirrors constructed by a series of drunken carpenters to distract attention from an even less comprehendible neighborhood.


And how does it seem to you now?

SaulToPaul
November 10th, 2008, 03:52 PM
Were you a part of Siskel & Egbert?

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 03:55 PM
More of a realist, actually (often called a pessimist by optimists). I read this forum a bit before joining, and I think my chances are pretty good.



The former, though in some other areas I practice the latter as well.



Oh, my mistake. I should have said classic liberal, since "social liberal" has a definition beyond a distinction from the "fiscal" arena.



And how does it seem to you now?
and I think many await the answer. tWINs

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Were you a part of Siskel & Egbert?

My name is far older than that. ;)

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 03:58 PM
and I think many await the answer. tWINs

To that last question, you mean?

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 04:02 PM
To that last question, you mean?

's answer is what I'm waiting for. I'm sure it's been posted in various places but a nice concise summation of his beliefs would be helpful to me and maybe others. tWINs

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 04:08 PM
's answer is what I'm waiting for. I'm sure it's been posted in various places but a nice concise summation of his beliefs would be helpful to me and maybe others. tWINs

Hmm, I see.
A place for such a summation in the profile page might be handy. As it is I can see how things can get convoluted in this sprawling forum.
(Maybe it's not a big place compared to the average, but it's about the three times the size of any forum I have joined previously.)

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Hmm, I see.
A place for such a summation in the profile page might be handy. As it is I can see how things can get convoluted in this sprawling forum.
(Maybe it's not a big place compared to the average, but it's about the three times the size of any forum I have joined previously.)

I think you can go back to the beginning and all posts are here.

We keep recycling old arguments on new threads but maybe that's the way of the world. Out with the old in with the new. tWINs

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 04:22 PM
We keep recycling old arguments on new threads but maybe that's the way of the world.

Are you able to search the forum to see if certain topics were already brought up? It doesn't look like I can (I would prefer to before starting a thread on something), but I was wondering if that is just a privilege that is granted after some number of posts or days as a member.

Mysterion
November 10th, 2008, 04:23 PM
Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian with some unconventional views . . . I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.

I can answer just about anything you'd like to know about Judeo-Christian origins from a non-theist perspective. Most of my work deals with syncretistic developments that molded the religion over time--including key influences from various cultures, traditions, religions, philosophies, mythologies, etc., spanning from Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt on up through to the Hellenistic Age.

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 04:26 PM
I can answer just about anything you'd like to know about Judeo-Christian origins from a non-theist perspective. Most of my work deals with syncretistic developments that molded the religion over time--including key influences from various cultures, traditions, religions, philosophies, mythologies, etc., spanning from Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt on up through to the Hellenistic Age.

Excellent! Thanks. Do you know any of the original languages (Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin)?

Town Heretic
November 10th, 2008, 04:26 PM
More of a realist, actually (often called a pessimist by optimists). I read this forum a bit before joining, and I think my chances are pretty good.
Well, it all depends on how one defines the miraculous, I suppose. :eek: I'm only having a bit of fun with you, as per my simple "That's bad" response to your complaint on point.

Re: Egbert is hard on whom...

The former, though in some other areas I practice the latter as well.
That sounds healthy enough.

Oh, my mistake. I should have said classic liberal, since "social liberal" has a definition beyond a distinction from the "fiscal" arena.
Ah, that's understandable then. It's not as funny, mind you, but it's understandable.

And how does it [theology] seem to you now?
Familiar.

:think: I find myself more concerned with working out my obligation to others than I am in spending time arguing the non-salvific, except as an exercise in intellectual curiosity.

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 04:29 PM
Are you able to search the forum to see if certain topics were already brought up? It doesn't look like I can (I would prefer to before starting a thread on something), but I was wondering if that is just a privilege that is granted after some number of posts or days as a member.


I understand that after so many posts you get some info and privileges or if you become a dues paying member you also get benefits. You are moving up the ladder already.

Don't worry about past posts for after they die hardly anyone thinks to resurrect them again. tWINs

Mysterion
November 10th, 2008, 04:33 PM
Excellent! Thanks. Do you know any of the original languages (Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin)?

Ha! I wish!

No, not a specialist in languages per se, but just about as resourceful as one can possibly be without that particular skill. Something I should look into, nevertheless. :) Anyway, this should be fun.

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 04:36 PM
Well, it all depends on how one defines the miraculous, I suppose. :eek:
I gather your experience has been disappointing. Yet...you stayed.

:chuckle:


I'm only having a bit of fun with you, as per my simple "That's bad" response to your complaint on point.
Nothing wrong with that; perpetual solemness is a drag.


:think: I find myself more concerned with working out my obligation to others than I am in spending time arguing the non-salvific, except as an exercise in intellectual curiosity.
...Hence more than 4,000 posts...?

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 04:37 PM
Well, it all depends on how one defines the miraculous, I suppose. :eek: I'm only having a bit of fun with you, as per my simple "That's bad" response to your complaint on point.

Re: Egbert is hard on whom...

That sounds healthy enough.

Ah, that's understandable then. It's not as funny, mind you, but it's understandable.

Familiar.

:think: I find myself more concerned with working out my obligation to others than I am in spending time arguing the non-salvific, except as an exercise in intellectual curiosity.

You are indeed the Champion. I'll have to continue piecing together the pattern of your beliefs I see. tWINs

PS I can see where an actual statement brings unnecessary attacks and thus wasted time defending them but a general statement might not be too difficult.

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 04:43 PM
I understand that after so many posts you get some info and privileges or if you become a dues paying member you also get benefits. You are moving up the ladder already.

Okay, thanks for the info. How about you, though? At your position, do you have a search button at the top of the page?


Don't worry about past posts for after they die hardly anyone thinks to resurrect them again. tWINs

But presumably the veterans are aware that the subforums are filled with redundant threads, right?


Ha! I wish!

No, not a specialist in languages per se, but just about as resourceful as one can possibly be without that particular skill. Something I should look into, nevertheless. :) Anyway, this should be fun.

Indeed; I'm sure I'll have questions in the future.
I intend to learn ancient Greek someday, but many other subjects are also attractive. :juggle:

Gurucam
November 10th, 2008, 04:49 PM
Religious and political indoctrination routinely downplay the complexities of their respective issues. In everyday life I am often surrounded by oversimplified viewpoints; here I hope to have some richer discussions and appreciate the diversity of the arguments.

The basics: I am an 18-year-old guy from the midwest. Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian with some unconventional views, a classic liberal and a fiscal conservative. During the past year, I have developed my religious and political views a lot, though I have raised more questions than I have answered. I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.

You hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought?

If these are 'conclusion' of Truth, then it is is not likely that you will find them through that pathway. You will find Truth by searching you heart.

PyramidHead
November 10th, 2008, 04:54 PM
i like good music, hit me up if you need any

bucksplasher
November 10th, 2008, 05:04 PM
Okay, thanks for the info. How about you, though? At your position, do you have a search button at the top of the page?



But presumably the veterans are aware that the subforums are filled with redundant threads, right?



Indeed; I'm sure I'll have questions in the future.
I intend to learn ancient Greek someday, but many other subjects are also attractive. :juggle:

we live for redundancy and I have a search button. It takes effort to find old threads new threads are easier. tWINs

Egbert
November 10th, 2008, 05:37 PM
You hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought?

If these are 'conclusion' of Truth, then it is is not likely that you will find them through that pathway. You will find Truth by searching you heart.

That sort of truth is probably not the kind I am looking for. Truth that you can only find in yourself is subjective, and is normally not applicable to other people or theories.

Town Heretic
November 11th, 2008, 01:44 AM
I gather your experience has been disappointing.
What on earth would make you think that? :idunno:

Yet...you stayed.

:chuckle:
For any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fellowship of likened and antithetical minds, yes. I dabble in apologetics, odd bits of something very much like humor, enjoy a little politics (though mostly as a centrist moderator) and making the occasional odd observation.

Re: humor as metaphor...

Nothing wrong with that; perpetual solemness is a drag.
Careful there or you'll needlessly offend friend Persephone66. :squint:

Re: 101 Damnations...or, It Saves Me/It Saves Me Not.

...Hence more than 4,000 posts...?
And nary or hardly a one disputing the right of a brother to drink wine or refrain from dancing in the aisles. If you're going to insist on coming to conclusions before you have all the facts...:think:...you're going to fit in nicely on either side of things around here.

That said, there are any number of serious, studious and thoughtful people at TOL to give you wider and more fully realized perspective on faith...and on that which stands in opposition to it, for that matter.

Gurucam
November 11th, 2008, 07:16 AM
That sort of truth is probably not the kind I am looking for. Truth that you can only find in yourself is subjective, and is normally not applicable to other people or theories.


Sorry see next post:

Gurucam
November 11th, 2008, 07:24 AM
That sort of truth is probably not the kind I am looking for. Truth that you can only find in yourself is subjective, and is normally not applicable to other people or theories.




First of all welcome to the forum.

And indeed I would like to take your inquiry, appropriately and therefore very seriously. To that end I would ask:

What do you mean by 'that sort of truth' and 'the kind of truth'?
I know truth to be knowledge which is total, accurate and clear. The same every where and any where.

Are you suggesting that there are different kinds of truth?

The mysteries of the kingdom of God is essentially the knowledge which one must have in order do everything correctly on earth so as to live a heavenly life on earth. This knowledge is described as Truth in the N.T.

When Jesus walked on earth, He delivered Truth only to His disciples because only they had the intuitive actualization to know, discern and/or appreciate Truth. Everyone else was only intellectually actualized and this did not qualify them to know discern or appreciate Truth or to get confirmation of same from Jesus. Why indeed, is Truth such a big deal?

Fact is that if your actions are informed by knowledge which is 'total, accurate and clear' (i.e. Truth) it never fails to bring forth the exactly desired results bountifully, at the most appropriate time, in the most harmonious and appropriate manner.

In fact such actions deliver you into Heaven on earth. And indeed you would find that such actions would not result in the destruction of the God designed life sustaining integrity of God's creation. (i.e. like the destruction of the Ozone layer)

Indeed you must be aware that it is because our actions which includes our daily activities are not informed by knowledge which is total, accurate and clear, that we are undermining and destroying our physical and spirit bodies and our environment whiles precipitating natural disasters with increasing frequency and intensity and so ending the world as we know it in parts.

Indeed it is the most routine activities of our modern civilized lifestyle which are destroying the God designed life sustaining integrity of God's creation and also leading to increases in intensity and frequency of natural disasters.

I ask you who has informed our modern civilized lifestyle. Certainly not intuits. It is indeed those who used the path ways of debate, study and thought. They are our 'intellectuals' who included our modern scientists. They seem far from the final frontier of Truth. Indeed their wisdom seems to be, at best, half baked theories.

Now I can ask you more accurately: With respect to your statement, 'that sort of truth is probably not the kind I am looking for. Truth that you can only find in yourself is subjective, and is normally not applicable to other people or theories.'

Are you suggesting that if Truth is obtained through an externally oriented search of debate, study and thought it would be different from Truth which is obtained intuitively through one's heart from the source of all knowledge?

Didn't everyone including Einstein and Jesus who brought (new) knowledge to earth, obtain their 'Truth' from a source which they connected to within their heart and not from any debate, study and thought which essentially taps on sources without?

The question arises therefore: What is Truth? That is: what is the definition of Truth which when used as a word it will convey the same meaning to everyone?

With out that we will be using lots of words and descriptions at every event that we seek to use the word. And indeed how will one truly know what you seek?

Then also another question may be: Is Truth different from truth?
If so, how?

These ideas are indeed the most fundamental starting points for any seeker of Truth and indeed most appropriate for you, based on your opening statement.

With kindest regards.

Egbert
February 2nd, 2009, 06:11 PM
...and now an agnostic atheist (or whatever you want to call a person who believes in no specific God, but is open to the idea of mysterious spiritual presences of human or other origin). My inquiry into Christianity as a possibly true religion is over, though I remain interested in studying its scriptures and origins in a historical context.

Town Heretic
February 2nd, 2009, 07:53 PM
...and now an agnostic atheist (or whatever you want to call a person who believes in no specific God, but is open to the idea of mysterious spiritual presences of human or other origin). My inquiry into Christianity as a possibly true religion is over, though I remain interested in studying its scriptures and origins in a historical context.
No offense, but you're 18...your judgment centers haven't finished developing yet and you're in a poor position to make decisions of this magnitude. Secondarily, I could have saved you a great deal of time (well the time you spent, at any rate) by telling you at the outset that love in reserve isn't love and won't garner you anything. Similarly, a skeptical approach of the cross is a doomed one.

As to the nature of your inquiry, I'd bet my bottom dollar you barely scratched the surface of what was there to be considered, your approach notwithstanding... Fortunately, and not to beat a dead horse, you're young. There's time.

Egbert
February 2nd, 2009, 10:04 PM
No offense, but you're 18...your judgment centers haven't finished developing yet and you're in a poor position to make decisions of this magnitude.

If I am mature enough to accept Christ, or to be condemned to Hell for failing to do so, then I am mature enough to reach a conclusion regarding the probability of the existence of God. Would you be offering the same advice if I had announced that I became a born-again Christian? If you believe God would hold me accountable, then I do not think I should purposefully delay my conclusions.


Secondarily, I could have saved you a great deal of time (well the time you spent, at any rate) by telling you at the outset that love in reserve isn't love and won't garner you anything. Similarly, a skeptical approach of the cross is a doomed one.

And the skeptical approach is "doomed" because Christian dogma cannot hold up under proper scrutiny. That is not a virtue of faith, either; it simply puts it in the same category with other religions that almost all of us consider ridiculous.


As to the nature of your inquiry, I'd bet my bottom dollar you barely scratched the surface of what was there to be considered, your approach notwithstanding... Fortunately, and not to beat a dead horse, you're young. There's time.

Obviously I have studied only a small fraction of the total information available on the subject ó but then the same is true for you or any other person. I am confident of my conclusion because I have looked at the relevant arguments and thought about the big picture. When you consider the religion as a whole, there really isn't very much to argue about. Either there is evidence for the Judeo-Christian God's existence, or there isn't. The Bible also can be quickly assessed simply by highlighting a few major inconsistencies or nonsensical pieces of doctrine. Christianity is highly dependent on the Bible to be an infallible source, which it isn't.

Town Heretic
February 2nd, 2009, 11:55 PM
If I am mature enough to accept Christ, or to be condemned to Hell for failing to do so, then I am mature enough to reach a conclusion regarding the probability of the existence of God.
I didnít say anything about your maturity. I merely noted that you are biologically less capable at this point in your development. Youíre much more likely to make poor decisions without recognizing it. It wasnít offered as an insult, only an observation of biological fact.

Would you be offering the same advice if I had announced that I became a born-again Christian?
Of course not, but that doesnít make your implied point. To illustrate, say you come to me and tell me that youíve decided to attend college, but secretly your reason for this is that you want to hang out and socialize, meet girls and enjoy that scene. Youíll go to class and do well enough to remain, but your intent isnít to receive an education. Youíve made a wise choice for the wrong reasons. My approval wouldnít have anything to do with your judgment.

If you believe God would hold me accountable, then I do not think I should purposefully delay my conclusions.
I didnít say you should, but given your conclusion, your mistake in method, your all too brief consideration and the consequences Iíd rather you take a bit more time.

And the skeptical approach is "doomed" because Christian dogma cannot hold up under proper scrutiny.
Thatís a powerful declaration. It would, however, be a tad more convincing if coupled with a powerful examination. Itís doomed because you canít love in reserve, canít issue an invitation with the doors bolted and will never have a meaningful relationship based on suspicionÖI realize that most emotional entanglements at your age are little more than that but as an approach to God it is woefully insufficient.

That is not a virtue of faith, either; it simply puts it in the same category with other religions that almost all of us consider ridiculous.
Then those people, your peers and that general company, whom you have decided to side with, are under the same obligation to answer the challenge I make to you.

Obviously I have studied only a small fraction of the total information available on the subject ó but then the same is true for you or any other person.
It isnít necessary to read every tome by every Christian with an exegesisÖbut you should be familiar with the central understandings of any faith youíre considering. It isnít your fault that Iíve had more years of serious study than youíve lived, but that doesnít mean a day is the same as a week is the same as a month, year, decade, and so on. Perhaps by the time you reach my age you will have greatly surpassed my understanding and accomplishment. I hope that is the case and would be happy to learn of it, but at present you know little and from that want make decisions of real importance and Iím counseling you not to hurry.

I am confident of my conclusion because I have looked at the relevant arguments and thought about the big picture.
Your confidence isnít at issue. Your judgment, exposure and the limited development of your reasoning at this juncture are more to the point. Nothing to hang your head over, but it is something to be aware of and to take into account when making anything like a judgment of this magnitude.

When you consider the religion as a whole, there really isn't very much to argue about. Either there is evidence for the Judeo-Christian God's existence, or there isn't.
I agree. And there is as much for Him as there ever will be against Him or for any other proposition. Now then, what constitutes evidence? What is sufficient as a threshold? Do you understand that any position you take in relation to what is can be viewed as a statement of faith? And have you fully considered the matter with the requisite information at hand to make an informed and meaningful choice?


The Bible also can be quickly assessed simply by highlighting a few major inconsistencies or nonsensical pieces of doctrine.
Rather, if you could do so you would at best make an argument that Galileo was right and that the Bible is a book of faith, not science; but, first youíd have to actually do that, wouldnít you?

Christianity is highly dependent on the Bible to be an infallible source, which it isn't.

If you mean the credibility of Christianity rests on the Bible, Iíd say thatís true in part, though how you mean that is important.

annabenedetti
February 3rd, 2009, 12:27 AM
Religious and political indoctrination routinely downplay the complexities of their respective issues. In everyday life I am often surrounded by oversimplified viewpoints; here I hope to have some richer discussions and appreciate the diversity of the arguments.

The basics: I am an 18-year-old guy from the midwest. Currently I am a somewhat skeptical Christian with some unconventional views, a classic liberal and a fiscal conservative. During the past year, I have developed my religious and political views a lot, though I have raised more questions than I have answered. I hope to reach more conclusions throughout debate, study and thought.

This is a great blog by someone who used to be an atheist and was quite vocal about it on her blog. Her conversion story can be found in the links just under her profile on the upper left of her blog. She's a terrific writer, and reading her blog is both fun and profitable. Give it a try.

Conversion Diary - The Diary of a Former Atheist (http://www.conversiondiary.com/)

Revelation
February 3rd, 2009, 01:07 AM
[COLOR="Indigo"]I didnít say anything about your maturity. I merely noted that you are biologically less capable at this point in your development. Youíre much more likely to make poor decisions without recognizing it. It wasnít offered as an insult, only an observation of biological fact.[/COLOR}

Wow, watch the ad hominems fly in this thread! Are you so threatened by the 18 year old's arguments that you have to resort to those kind of tactics?

Town Heretic
February 3rd, 2009, 02:55 AM
Wow, watch the ad hominems fly in this thread! Are you so threatened by the 18 year old's arguments that you have to resort to those kind of tactics?

Find anything in the quote that preceded the declaration above that was, in fact, an ad hominem. I noted the biological impairment to judgment that accompanies people of this age, arguably into their early twenties. That is simply a fact and one relevant to the discussion, especially in light of subsequent declarations on his part regarding the nature of his rejection and the estimation of its reasonableness.

I could hardly address his argument, given he made none, declaring the matter closed after some degree of unexposed examination. I challenged him on particulars or the need for them and, where there was a general underlying principle, sought to address it even absent that called for and particular posit. Lastly, I set out that my observations were not offered as personal criticism, but in the hope that he might slow his consideration or reverse it until such time as he could make a more informed decision.

You know what they call a mistaken revelation, don't you?

Egbert
February 3rd, 2009, 12:21 PM
I didnít say anything about your maturity. I merely noted that you are biologically less capable at this point in your development.

Um ... what is the difference?

Keep in mind that my stage in mental development only indicates my abilities compared to what they eventually will be, not compared to what they are now for other people. Though I have not yet reached my full potential, I might have already surpassed some of those who have reached theirs. It isn't reasonable to assume that you are better equipped to judge a religion's validity just because you are older.




Of course not, but that doesnít make your implied point. To illustrate, say you come to me and tell me that youíve decided to attend college, but secretly your reason for this is that you want to hang out and socialize, meet girls and enjoy that scene. Youíll go to class and do well enough to remain, but your intent isnít to receive an education. Youíve made a wise choice for the wrong reasons. My approval wouldnít have anything to do with your judgment.


So you are saying that you would approve of my decision to become a Christian, while disapproving of my decision to seek to make a decision in the first place?


I didnít say you should, but given your conclusion, your mistake in method, your all too brief consideration and the consequences Iíd rather you take a bit more time.

Is this really a matter of time? Consider the following:
86% of Christians convert before age 15. The older you are, the less likely you are to become a Christian.
The highest rates of theism are found, not surprisingly, in 65+ age group. But the lowest rates are found in the 30-49 age group (with the 18-29 group practically tied). The peak of mental performance is somewhere between 20 and 30 years of age, and combined with experience and time to study, shouldn't this cause the 30-49 age group to have one of the higher rates?
Finally, the higher your IQ, and the more education you have, the less likely you are to believe in God.

These facts indicate to me that waiting would only make me less likely to be a Christian.




Thatís a powerful declaration. It would, however, be a tad more convincing if coupled with a powerful examination. Itís doomed because you canít love in reserve, canít issue an invitation with the doors bolted and will never have a meaningful relationship based on suspicionÖI realize that most emotional entanglements at your age are little more than that but as an approach to God it is woefully insufficient.


I would prefer to have meaningful relationships with those I can see, hear, touch, or otherwise have mutual communications with. I don't get anything out having a "relationship" with something or someone whose very existence is highly questionable.



Then those people, your peers and that general company, whom you have decided to side with, are under the same obligation to answer the challenge I make to you.


I don't quite follow this. What is the challenge?



It isnít necessary to read every tome by every Christian with an exegesisÖbut you should be familiar with the central understandings of any faith youíre considering. It isnít your fault that Iíve had more years of serious study than youíve lived, but that doesnít mean a day is the same as a week is the same as a month, year, decade, and so on. Perhaps by the time you reach my age you will have greatly surpassed my understanding and accomplishment. I hope that is the case and would be happy to learn of it, but at present you know little and from that want make decisions of real importance and Iím counseling you not to hurry.


I prefer quality over quantity in my research. Since I'm already familiar with the "central understandings" (and not all that impressed by them), I don't see a point in studying very much about smaller doctrinal disagreements between congregations and such. If don't have reason to believe that a man named Noah ever built an ark, then I'm not interested in debating over what kind of wood he used.



Your confidence isnít at issue. Your judgment, exposure and the limited development of your reasoning at this juncture are more to the point. Nothing to hang your head over, but it is something to be aware of and to take into account when making anything like a judgment of this magnitude.


I wonder what more there is. I've read and listened to some of the most highly regarded theologians, debaters and apologists, and I don't find what they have to offer convincing. Is there something else that I should be looking at? If that is all, then I don't see for what I should be reserving my judgement.


I agree. And there is as much for Him as there ever will be against Him or for any other proposition.

Then please present it. (I remember a certain thread about this that didn't produce much of value.)


Now then, what constitutes evidence? What is sufficient as a threshold?

It's hard to define what is evidence, since there are so many different kinds. But here are a few things that are not evidence:

"Evidence" for the need for a creator
All evidence of this kind that I have encountered has been either scientifically wrong or philosophically wrong (according to the Anthropic Principle). But more importantly, even if you prove that there must be an intelligent designer, you haven't proven anything about that designer's nature besides its abilities of design. It proves nothing about the Judeo-Christian God.

Prophecies from the Bible that were fulfilled according to the Bible
Unless there is evidence from outside the Bible to verify the claim, it doesn't count. It's easy to write an account to fit what you think were prophecies from earlier parts othe Bible, but hard to make that fit with an objective historical record.

Standard near-death experiences
The standard vision of a light at the end of a tunnel, accompanied by euphoria and visions of loved ones has been explained by neuroscience. It's an expected side effect of the brain's "dying gasp" as its blood supply dwindles. Unless you can find a documented case of a person having an out-of-body experience that provides otherwise impossible information, you have proven nothing about the soul, and even if you prove there is a soul, you have yet to prove that it relates to the Judeo-Christian God.


Do you understand that any position you take in relation to what is can be viewed as a statement of faith? And have you fully considered the matter with the requisite information at hand to make an informed and meaningful choice?

I believe that I have made an informed choice, based on (the lack of) requisite information. I lack reason to believe that any of the denominations of Christianity or any other religions are true. By default, I am an atheist (or non-theist, to differentiate from strong atheism). That is not a statement of faith; it is a lack thereof.



Rather, if you could do so you would at best make an argument that Galileo was right and that the Bible is a book of faith, not science; but, first youíd have to actually do that, wouldnít you?


The Bible's problems are more than scientific inaccuracies. The core concepts of God's supposed grace and Jesus's sacrifice are deeply flawed.


If you mean the credibility of Christianity rests on the Bible, Iíd say thatís true in part, though how you mean that is important.

That is what I mean.


This is a great blog by someone who used to be an atheist and was quite vocal about it on her blog. Her conversion story can be found in the links just under her profile on the upper left of her blog. She's a terrific writer, and reading her blog is both fun and profitable. Give it a try.

Conversion Diary - The Diary of a Former Atheist (http://www.conversiondiary.com/)

Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read, though ultimately unconvincing due to a number of flawed lines of reasoning.

annabenedetti
February 3rd, 2009, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read, though ultimately unconvincing due to a number of flawed lines of reasoning.

As an aside, atheism confounds me. Nevertheless, IMO some come to God through faith, and some come to God through reason; but ultimately faith will confirm reason, and reason will inform faith.

One more link for you (Don't worry, I don't have a whole trunkful of links which address atheism). I hope you'll read it thoughtfully.

FIDES ET RATIO (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html)

ENCYCLICAL LETTER FIDES ET RATIO OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF JOHN PAUL II TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FAITH AND REASON
My Venerable Brother Bishops, Health and the Apostolic Blessing!

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truthóin a word, to know himselfóso that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).

The rest follows at the link above.

Town Heretic
February 4th, 2009, 02:21 AM
In the interest of preventing eye strain, Part I.

Originally Posted by Town Heretic
I didnít say anything about your maturity. I merely noted that you are biologically less capable at this point in your development.


Um ... what is the difference?
The intent to offer insultÖI meant that being biologically impaired doesnít make one immature except in that sense. Typically we use words like that to denote an emotional instability and it is as often as not an intentional slight, which wasnít the case here.


It isn't reasonable to assume that you are better equipped to judge a religion's validity just because you are older.
Of course not and you have every right to wonder at my qualifications. :think: But Iím not comfortable with public crowing on that part. I did it once before, in irritation, and it has bothered me sinceÖIf youíre interested I would be happy to tell you about my educational background and other relevant facts relating to my judgment by PM. That said, even were you a peer in terms of native ability, you still would be in a deficit for the other reasons Iíve mentioned (course of study, the perspective provided by time and your biological schedule of development).

So you are saying that you would approve of my decision to become a Christian, while disapproving of my decision to seek to make a decision in the first place?
No, I was responding to your suggestion/inference that my celebration of your making what I consider a wise choice would be, somehow, hypocritical given my concerns regarding your judgment/limitations at present. My example was meant to demonstrate that I would celebrate the right choice, even while understanding your reasons (in the example, motivation) were not those I would prefer.

I didnít say you should, but given your conclusion, your mistake in method, your all too brief consideration and the consequences Iíd rather you take a bit more time.


Is this really a matter of time? Consider the following:
86% of Christians convert before age 15. The older you are, the less likely you are to become a Christian.
Interesting. Where did you find this statistic? I came to the faith just short of my thirtieth year and was an Atheist before that, but Iím familiar with the general fact that many (perhaps most) Christians come up in and accept the faith of their tradition. Iím sure the same is true for most religions.

The highest rates of theism are found, not surprisingly, in 65+ age group.
Why doesnít that surprise you?

But the lowest rates are found in the 30-49 age group (with the 18-29 group practically tied). The peak of mental performance is somewhere between 20 and 30 years of age, and combined with experience and time to study, shouldn't this cause the 30-49 age group to have one of the higher rates?
Youíre mistaken with regard to mental performance, unless youíre speaking of process speed and given that up to half of that 20-30 range is taken up with that frontal lobe difficulty, itís a fairly meaningless statistic. Certain types of creativity typically peak in certain ranges, but it varies. Iíd say, even accepting your premise for argumentís sake, that the 30-49 range would be where serious reflection and consideration would begin to coalesce.

Iíd also speculate that your observation might have something to do with the fact that those currently within that range were mostly reared by anti establishment children of the 60ís. That is, Iíd bet the correlation, assuming it is correct, could differ markedly in the 40ís or 50ís, though I Ďd suppose the roaring 20's probably skewed the 30ís and early 40ís in much the same way.

Finally, the higher your IQ, and the more education you have, the less likely you are to believe in God.
Historically just the opposite is true. Once again, your lack of perspective blinkers you. You are only looking at the data that supports your bias. It should have been an easy matter for you to have caught another inference from that 65+ group differing so markedly with its next kin, so to speak.


These facts indicate to me that waiting would only make me less likely to be a Christian.
Again, this sort of narrow analysis underscores my contention that you lack the perspective and rounded judgment to find the greater context that opens your analysis to other conclusions and alternate considerations.

tbc...

Town Heretic
February 4th, 2009, 02:23 AM
In the interest of preventing eye strain, Part II.

I would prefer to have meaningful relationships with those I can see, hear, touch, or otherwise have mutual communications with.
The former qualifications have little to do with the latter, but to discover this takes a commitment you have yet to muster, taking your account as you set it out.

I don't get anything out having a "relationship" with something or someone whose very existence is highly questionable.
But it isnít highly questionable. It either is or it isnít. He either exists or He doesnít. And thereís no objective methodology to settle the matter. Highly is just a word you throw in that illustrates your prejudice, not the truth or lack of it.

I don't quite follow this. What is the challenge?
To understand what it is you reject fully and to be equally certain of what it is you embrace.

I prefer quality over quantity in my research.
They arenít mutually exclusive, you knowÖand one could argue that the absence of sufficient quantity goes directly to the quality of any examination. In fact, I think I just did.

Since I'm already familiar with the "central understandings" (and not all that impressed by them),
Then I think you are either not as widely or well read as you imagine or your standards are a little high.

ÖI don't see for what I should be reserving my judgment.
I just set out a few things that should give you pause, even had you read every writing of significance regarding the existence of God and the relation and obligations of man. It doesnít matter how many exquisite numbers you have to be added if the machine you rely on for the sum is errant. An equation is worth nothing absent an operation. You are impaired, both biologically and in terms of life perspective. Only time will cure that deficiency. And time is what Iím arguing for...

And there is as much for Him as there ever will be against Him or for any other proposition.

Then please present it. (I remember a certain thread about this that didn't produce much of value.)
The world around you is as much an argument for God as it is an argument from chance. The distinction between the two is nothing more or less than preference and intent, absent personal, subjective experience. That is, no perspective on being and existence is objectively demonstrably true (this being good news to any number of publishing houses). Now the experience of God is an altering thing, but even without it a declaration of hope toward purpose is as rational as any other posit and, Iíd argue, more so than the embrace of relativism and futility.

Now then, what constitutes evidence? What is sufficient as a threshold?

It's hard to define what is evidence, since there are so many different kinds. But here are a few things that are not evidence:

"Evidence" for the need for a creator
The uncaused cause is a defensible position, but youíre right in asserting that this is, at best, an argument for deism and no particular friend of Christianity.

Prophecies from the Bible that were fulfilled according to the Bible
Actually, since the books of the Bible were written independently, youíre penalizing the combination of them for no apparent reason. Also, itís interesting that you seem to think inconsistencies are worth noting but consistent claims are invalidÖ


Standard near-death experiences
Actually, we donít really know that (your explanation) to be true and many people fail to experience anything like the often reported near death experience. Iíd agree it doesnít conclusively tell us anything though.

I believe that I have made an informed choice, based on (the lack of) requisite information. I lack reason to believe that any of the denominations of Christianity or any other religions are true. By default, I am an atheist (or non-theist, to differentiate from strong atheism). That is not a statement of faith; it is a lack thereof.
There is no neutral position. Even the declaration of being, I am, is a statement of faith, as you cannot demonstrate it save through the use of reason, which cannot prove itself except by itself (a logical fallacy) and so is, as all things are at their core, an article of faith.

The Bible's problems are more than scientific inaccuracies.
Well, I havenít conceded those any more than youíve illustrated them, butÖ

The core concepts of God's supposed grace and Jesus's sacrifice are deeply flawed.
Again, so you say. And declaration is an easy thing. Proof is quite another thing.

If you mean the credibility of Christianity rests on the Bible, Iíd say thatís true in part, though how you mean that is important.

That is what I mean.
No, thatís someone elseís thought followed by your declaration regarding it. I am, however, interested in your actual reasoning through the matter. :e4e:

Egbert
February 4th, 2009, 09:56 PM
Wow, that grew fast. I would prefer not to carry on a conversation in which the posts exponentially increase in size to no end, so I'll try to pare this down again.


The conversion statistic was found here (http://home.snu.edu/~HCULBERT/ages.htm).
Statistics for the relationship between theism and age are found here (http://www.gallup.com/poll/109108/Belief-God-Far-Lower-Western-US.aspx). (That page also contains statistics for theism and education level, but not for IQ. Statistics for IQ are here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence#Studies_comparing_rel igious_belief_and_I.Q.).)

I find the statistics for the 65+ age group unsurprising because they were brought up in a time of greater religiosity, and few people ever end up changing their minds about the religious beliefs they hold by the time they are in their teens.

When I speak of mental performance, I do mean processing speed. Development of risk assessment is usually completed at about 25, peaking later than raw mental power used for things like math problems. An important point is that teenagers are more prone to faulty reasoning than adults when in stressful situations, while their reasoning skills are approximately equal when calm. I don't think my incomplete development is a significant hindrance when it comes to assessing evidence and logical inconsistencies.
By the way, processing speed starts to slow down at about age 40. (http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/myelin_and_middle_age_brainwise_we_all_start_slowi ng_down_at_40)


The books of the Bible were written independently? Not really. The origins of the Old Testament books aren't all clear, but we know that the books in the New Testament were written with the Old Testament in mind. It doesn't work to claim that the books verify each other. The sources were by no means unbiased.
Regarding the problems with the Bible: you probably have already heard most of what I would say, and obviously you have not found the arguments convincing. I don't want to start debating all that in this thread. It's already been done so many times elsewhere.

Town Heretic
February 5th, 2009, 12:21 AM
Wow, that grew fast. I would prefer not to carry on a conversation in which the posts exponentially increase in size to no end, so I'll try to pare this down again.
That was my thought as well. The only thing I could think to do and still respond fully was to break the response into segments.

The conversion statistic was found here (http://home.snu.edu/~HCULBERT/ages.htm).
Statistics for the relationship between theism and age are found here (http://www.gallup.com/poll/109108/Belief-God-Far-Lower-Western-US.aspx). (That page also contains statistics for theism and education level, but not for IQ. Statistics for IQ are here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence#Studies_comparing_rel igious_belief_and_I.Q.).)

Interesting, if within the context I provided not really indicative of anything other than the prevailing cultural bias. The variance between some college education and those possessing postgrad. degrees, like yours truly, was a whopping 2%. :rolleyes: And the IQ correlation is a fine example of how to make statistics appear to say something they don't. Most people believe in God. Most people's IQs are found in the average range. And here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2008/dec/19/religion-iq-atheism) is a link to an article referencing a study that found Atheist intellectual superiority usurped by Jews and Anglicans (with the faith of my father and my family tradition coming out on top). So what does that tell us? How to use research to mislead people and little more.

Re: Mental gymnastics...

When I speak of mental performance, I do mean processing speed.
Which shouldn't be confused with mental performance, being only a portion of that consideration and one where some among the elder set, perhaps by virtue of an earlier significant deviation in that regard, could function with equal or greater speed than their much younger counterparts even so. To put it differently, if Einstein reduced his intellect through steady drinking and age, he'd still likely be smarter than most people at any age. And if one's mental processes are significantly ahead of the mean, a diminution of them might leave one simply a lessened distance ahead of those with a less degraded biological constitution.

Development of risk assessment is usually completed at about 25, peaking later than raw mental power used for things like math problems.
Rather, you're confusing a particular trend for a particular sort of creative process with a very impressive, if technically meaningless phrase, mental power. And this completion you mention corresponds with the outside figure for the full development of those areas of the brain responsible for judgment.

An important point is that teenagers are more prone to faulty reasoning than adults when in stressful situations, while their reasoning skills are approximately equal when calm.
That isn't supported by the data I've seen, but the placing of stress into the equation, which in most meaningful decisions is an inherent factor, makes the point a bit moot, I suppose.

I don't think my incomplete development is a significant hindrance when it comes to assessing evidence and logical inconsistencies.
Well if it does you'd be likely not to know it. And I'd say that underscores my point, as your failure to consider a differing contextual interpretation of the data you referenced earlier was an illustration of part of what comes only or mostly with experience, further education and wider perspective.

By the way, processing speed starts to slow down at about age 40. (http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_releases/myelin_and_middle_age_brainwise_we_all_start_slowi ng_down_at_40)
:chuckle: The key being the slow down, mostly related to speed and not the integrity of process, is gradual. And, again, where you start is of some importance.

The books of the Bible were written independently? Not really.
Yes, really. Your scholarship in this regard is deficient if you believe otherwise. I can point you to better resources if you're interested, but given much of what you find objectionable isn't actually my argument I'll move on absent your expressed curiosity and deal with your remaining points.

The origins of the Old Testament books aren't all clear, but we know that the books in the New Testament were written with the Old Testament in mind.
Aren't clear in what manner and to whom? And the second part of your declaration on point is little more than spin. You could as readily (and I think more honestly) say that the authors of the NT referred to the understandings of Judaism that were also part of their tradition. That is, if I wrote a book of U.S. history of the 20th century and incorporated references to earlier events that paralleled or were the foundation of later events I meant to chronicle you could make the same vague allegations with no more real support.

It doesn't work to claim that the books verify each other. The sources were by no means unbiased.
Unlike your examination of them? Then imagine my relief that I didn't suggest they weren't biased (the authors believed what they related to be true) or argue that they were self authenticating. I merely reminded you that they were collected and came from disparate sources over a not inconsiderable period of time.

Regarding the problems with the Bible: you probably have already heard most of what I would say, and obviously you have not found the arguments convincing. I don't want to start debating all that in this thread. It's already been done so many times elsewhere.
Fair enough, but I'd argue that if you aren't prepared to defend them you should abstain from raising them, no? And I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't respond to my posit regarding the faith based nature of your own conclusion/posture...but, it was pleasant making your acquaintance in any event and I wish you the best both in your time here and in the fuller context of your life. :e4e:

Perhaps we'll do something like this again.

Ktoyou
February 5th, 2009, 01:47 AM
Go Anglicans!

O' not Helmuth Nyborg!

Rushton is a bit of a nut
The late Herrnstein and A. Jensen are mainly concerned with this field and the replication of their results.
Charles Murray seems to have written most of the Bell Curve, it is his interest to crusade against welfare, fist he said choosing welfare was a good choice(Losing Ground), later, (BC) he says it is low IQ that is the common factor in all underdog groups.
Flynn effect seems to have been more relevant than it continues to be in first world nations.

zon3d
March 7th, 2009, 11:11 PM
I do hope you find the truth while you are here.