PDA

View Full Version : The Ever Present Problem of Atheism (HOF thread)



Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7

Freak
March 18th, 2003, 02:50 PM
I came upon recently a very interesting article entitled: Theism vs Atheism. Read for yourself: http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Research_Center/Debates/debate7.htm

As you can see the problems the atheist faces is present and clear.

This part was so true:

Atheism also fails to adequately explain the existence of eternal, unchanging truths, for it rejects the existence of an eternal unchanging Mind. Atheism cannot offer man any eternal significance. Temporary meaning in life is insufficient, for our accomplishments die with the death of the universe -- there is no ultimate purpose in a universe void of God.

Gerald
March 18th, 2003, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by Freak
I came upon recently a very interesting article entitled: Theism vs Atheism. Read for yourself: http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Research_Center/Debates/debate7.htm

As you can see the problems the atheist faces is present and clear.

This part was so true:

Atheism also fails to adequately explain the existence of eternal, unchanging truths, for it rejects the existence of an eternal unchanging Mind. Atheism cannot offer man any eternal significance. Temporary meaning in life is insufficient, for our accomplishments die with the death of the universe -- there is no ultimate purpose in a universe void of God.
And this is bad how?

Knight
March 18th, 2003, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Gerald

And this is bad how? Because it doesn't match what is self evident.

Zakath
March 18th, 2003, 02:56 PM
Perhaps the greatest single problem we atheists have is getting religionists to read more than a few lines at a time. :rolleyes:

The link you provide is not an "article", Jay. It is one of eight separate files that make up a debate between and atheist and a theist on that Web site.

I think that Dr. Martin's final statement sums up his points very adequately:

In his conclusion Dr. Fernandes boasts of the explanatory power of theism over atheism. However, theistic explanations of the problem of evil and of the existence of hundreds of millions of nonbelievers are problematic. Atheism has no such problems. Moreover, a theory such that is inconsistent and lacks rational support, such as theism, can hardly have great explanatory power. As I have shown, atheism is a consistent and a rationally supported position.

Unless you read the rest of the debate, the conclusions make little sense.

Perhaps you would like to tackle the "problem of evil" or the existence of hundres of millions of nonbelievers throughout human history?

Freak
March 18th, 2003, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Perhaps the greatest single problem we atheists have is getting religionists to read more than a few lines at a time. :rolleyes:

The link you provide is not an "article", Jay. It is one of eight separate files that make up a debate between and atheist and a theist on that Web site.

I think that Dr. Martin's final statement sums up his points very adequately:


Unless you read the rest of the debate, the conclusions make little sense.

Perhaps you would like to tackle the "problem of evil" or the existence of hundres of millions of nonbelievers throughout human history?

So, Zakath:

Atheism also fails to adequately explain the existence of eternal, unchanging truths, for it rejects the existence of an eternal unchanging Mind. Atheism cannot offer man any eternal significance. Temporary meaning in life is insufficient, for our accomplishments die with the death of the universe -- there is no ultimate purpose in a universe void of God.

Atheism fails miserably in providing any kind of eternal significance...Christianity provides hope after death. Zakath, a breath away you are....then what....you might simply dismiss death...but it is a reality that all humans must face...

Zakath
March 18th, 2003, 03:16 PM
Originally posted by Freak
Atheism also fails to adequately explain the existence of eternal, unchanging truths, for it rejects the existence of an eternal unchanging Mind.Provide three examples of eternal, unchanging truths and explain how you can be absolutely certain they are eternal.


Atheism cannot offer man any eternal significance.It does not seek to do so. Most atheists of my acquaintance are humanists, they do not seek "eternal significance."


Temporary meaning in life is insufficient, for our accomplishments die with the death of the universe -- there is no ultimate purpose in a universe void of God. Au contrairč Jay, since, as nearly as anyone can prove, consciousness ceases to exist after death, the meaning we extract from our lives is as permanent as meaning can be. Once we're done, we're done. A thousand years from now, all your pontification on TOL (and mine as well) will be forgotten. What we do here, we do for entertainment, not for any eternal purpose...


Christianity provides hope after death. Zakath, a breath away you are....then what....you might simply dismiss death...but it is a reality that all humans must face... Finally, we agree, even you will face and be overcome by death one day, Jay. One day you'll see that I'm right. But I can wait. Death comes for all humans, even religionists like you. Neither your deity or your faith will save you from "the long dirt nap"...

Death is a fact of existence here, Jay. You can fear it like a religionist or face it squarely like an atheist. But you cannot avoid it.

Gerald
March 18th, 2003, 03:30 PM
Originally posted by Knight
Because it doesn't match what is self evident.
And it is self-evident is that there exists an invisible, immaterial, volitional being who regularly interacts with the material world?

I'd like to see you demonstrate that. I really would.

Let me ask you what I asked Mustard Seed, to wit:

I get this very same sentiment from people who believe in psychic powers, ghosts, flying saucers, and all the other paranormal booshwah. Am I being closed-minded when I dismiss their claims? Yes or no?

And to repeat an earlier post, if I trip on the rug, is it because I wasn't watching my step, or is it because invisible, immaterial gremlins made me trip, wrinkled the rug just so I would stumble over it? Is it closed-minded for me to not give equal weight to both possibilities? Yes or no?

Evidence for gravity is ubiquitous and impossible to ignore. Do you dispute this? Yes or no? I don't need to go seeking evidence for gravity. All I need to do is...trip on the rug.

Now, if evidence for the supernatural is as ubiquitous as you appear to be claiming, why do I have to be looking to change how I live or what I am to discover it? Why must I jump through hoops for the supernatural but not for gravity?

He never answered. Care to give it a go?

Zakath
March 18th, 2003, 04:05 PM
This should be interesting to watch... Not enlightening, but interesting. ;)

Freak
March 18th, 2003, 04:14 PM
Zakath you asked: Provide three examples of eternal, unchanging truths and explain how you can be absolutely certain they are eternal.

Love, goodness, and Jesus are all three examples of "eternal, unchanging truths" that you are looking for.

*Since God is love therefore love is eternal for God is eternal.
*God is good therefore goodness is eternal since God is eternal (His attributes never change).
*Jesus is the truth and we know Jesus is God so Jesus is eternal.

How can we be absolutely sure they are eternal? The answer is because the Holy Scriptures declare it. I know you are a atheist that denies the inerrancy of Scripture. But that is your problem not mine because there is ample evidence to believe the Scriptures are divine in origin. That is why we can say these are eternal, unchanging truths....

Freak
March 18th, 2003, 04:19 PM
As the debate clearly shows the atheist could not provide any information that debunks the belief in God.

In conclusion, Dr. Martin has presented no persuasive arguments as to why one should expect absolute moral values, eternal and unchanging truths, the beginning of the universe, the universe's continuing existence, the design and order in the universe, ultimate meaning in life, the sanctity of human life, the possibility of human knowledge, and the ultimate defeat of evil in a universe without God.

He goes on:

I have shown that these aspects of human experience are predicted by the theistic hypothesis. Martin's alternatives to my arguments are highly speculative, extremely improbable, and very unconvincing. It is apparent that he is willing to entertain absurdities (such as the universe evolving into existence from nothing, an infinite number of unverifiable universes, the rejection of eternal and unchanging prescriptive moral laws, etc.) in order to escape the conclusion that the theistic God does exist. In short, Martin fails to explain why atheism is a superior hypothesis to that of theism. He is willing to attack theism, but does not even attempt to show that atheism offers a better explanation for the nine aspects of human experience I discussed in my opening statement. Martin unsuccessfully attacks the explanatory power of theism while failing to show that atheism has any explanatory power.6 My thesis remains intact. It is more reasonable to be a theist than it is to be an atheist.

shilohproject
March 18th, 2003, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by Freak

Love, goodness, and Jesus are all three examples of "eternal, unchanging truths" that you are looking for.

*Since God is love therefore love is eternal for God is eternal.
*God is good therefore goodness is eternal since God is eternal (His attributes never change).
*Jesus is the truth and we know Jesus is God so Jesus is eternal.

How can we be absolutely sure they are eternal? The answer is because the Holy Scriptures declare it. I know you are a atheist that denies the inerrancy of Scripture. But that is your problem not mine because there is ample evidence to believe the Scriptures are divine in origin. That is why we can say these are eternal, unchanging truths....

Freak,

One must be careful here to not confuse belief with proof.

I happen to agree with you on these three points (love, goodness & Jesus), but I am absolutely certain that it is a matter of faith and definition. There is no proof in these assertions, e.g. goodness and love exist outside the Christian world, too.

Freak
March 18th, 2003, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by shilohproject


Freak,

One must be careful here to not confuse belief with proof.

I happen to agree with you on these three points (love, goodness & Jesus), but I am absolutely certain that it is a matter of faith and definition. There is no proof in these assertions, e.g. goodness and love exist outside the Christian world, too.

I have reasonable faith though. Not a blind faith. Big difference that you should see I would think.

Flipper
March 18th, 2003, 06:27 PM
zakath wrote:


This should be interesting to watch... Not enlightening, but interesting.

Really? I just have a weary sense of resignation. How many times can the same things be said in not-very-different ways? How many times will, after a few months of injured silence, will exactly the same points be represented in a slightly different shade of mauve as if they were interesting new arguments? Do some Christians timeshare their memories with goldfish?

Is that what will prevent heaven from becoming boring over eternity? ("hello! Look at that! A rock! How interesting!".... (7 seconds pass)... "What's that? It looks like a rock! Wow!")

Neophyte
March 18th, 2003, 06:30 PM
[Do some Christians timeshare their memories with goldfish?

Is that what will prevent heaven from becoming boring over eternity? ("hello! Look at that! A rock! How interesting!".... (7 seconds pass)... "What's that? It looks like a rock! Wow!")

ROFL!!!!!

Jefferson
March 18th, 2003, 07:44 PM
Originally posted by Flipper
Is that what will prevent heaven from becoming boring over eternity? ("hello! Look at that! A rock! How interesting!".... (7 seconds pass)... "What's that? It looks like a rock! Wow!") If you have ever taken LSD (20 years or so ago when LSD actually existed) you can only imagine how fascinating life will be with (not just a redeemed body) but also a redeemed mind. I can't wait.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by Jefferson
If you have ever taken LSD (20 years or so ago when LSD actually existed) you can only imagine how fascinating life will be with (not just a redeemed body) but also a redeemed mind. I can't wait.

What?! Heaven is like being on LSD????? Think bigger than drug-induced mania.

shima
March 19th, 2003, 07:36 AM
>>I have shown that these aspects of human experience are predicted by the theistic hypothesis.<<

Nope, you haven't shown anyhting.

>>Martin's alternatives to my arguments are highly speculative, extremely improbable, and very unconvincing.<<

Given that Martin looks at the arguements from an atheistic perspective, he finds the arguements much more convincing than yours.

>>It is apparent that he is willing to entertain absurdities (such as the universe evolving into existence from nothing, an infinite number of unverifiable universes, the rejection of eternal and unchanging prescriptive moral laws, etc.) in order to escape the conclusion that the theistic God does exist. <<

Actually, atheists find the probability that the Universe came from "nothing" (not that there is any proof that "nothing" exists outside our universe) much higher than the probability that it was done by God as described in the bible.

>>In short, Martin fails to explain why atheism is a superior hypothesis to that of theism. <<

Well, that depends on your definition of "superior". Most christians would agree with you, while most atheists disagree. After all, if they think that the theistic hypothesis is superior, they wouldn't BE atheist.

>>He is willing to attack theism, but does not even attempt to show that atheism offers a better explanation for the nine aspects of human experience I discussed in my opening statement. <<

Human experience is EXTREMELY subjective to the beliefs of the person involved. If a human believes in God, he will most likely see the existence confirmed in almost every aspect of life. An atheist will NEVER see the existence of a God confirmed in human experience, simply because he interprets the world DIFFERENTLY.

The problem is that the theist has the burden of proof, not the atheist. Since it is impossible to prove a negative, the theist must prove that the God hypothesis is more believable than the atheistic hypothesis. This requires proof that God exists, which in 2000 years no one has been able to do without at some point relying on the bible as "The Word of God" which leads to circular arguementation.

>>Martin unsuccessfully attacks the explanatory power of theism while failing to show that atheism has any explanatory power.<<

I think its the other way around. Atheism has great explanatory power, including why christians think God exists. Theism also has explanatory power, but only when it comes to Christians. The explanation of why there are atheists in the first place fails rather apallingly.

>>My thesis remains intact. It is more reasonable to be a theist than it is to be an atheist.<<

Depending on the definition of "reason".

Zakath
March 19th, 2003, 07:45 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath you asked: Provide three examples of eternal, unchanging truths and explain how you can be absolutely certain they are eternal.

Love, goodness, and Jesus are all three examples of "eternal, unchanging truths" that you are looking for.

*Since God is love therefore love is eternal for God is eternal.
*God is good therefore goodness is eternal since God is eternal (His attributes never change).
*Jesus is the truth and we know Jesus is God so Jesus is eternal.

How can we be absolutely sure they are eternal? The answer is because the Holy Scriptures declare it. I know you are a atheist that denies the inerrancy of Scripture. But that is your problem not mine because there is ample evidence to believe the Scriptures are divine in origin. That is why we can say these are eternal, unchanging truths....

Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately, as you admit, it is useless to me since you cannot prove - the existence of your deity
- the goodness of your deity
- the eternality of your diety
- the inerrancy of the Bible
- or the continued existence of and truthfulness of Jesus of Nazareth.

But, for once, you did actually respond with information.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 07:55 AM
Originally posted by Zakath


Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately, as you admit, it is useless to me since you cannot prove - the existence of your deity
- the goodness of your deity
- the eternality of your diety
- the inerrancy of the Bible
- or the continued existence of and truthfulness of Jesus of Nazareth.

But, for once, you did actually respond with information.

Zakath, neither can *you* prove the nonexistence of God, so what is the point of this banter? Matters of spiritual belief and faith cannot be 'proved' in a scientific sense anymore than your starting premise (there is no God) can be 'proved' in a scientific sense. I fail to see how your retort strengthens your position.

shima
March 19th, 2003, 07:57 AM
>>But that is your problem not mine because there is ample evidence to believe the Scriptures are divine in origin.That is why we can say these are eternal, unchanging truths....<<

Ofcourse, what one person sees as "proof of God" someone else sees as "proof of evolution". The main problem is to prove the existence of God for someone who doesn't believe that the bible is the Word of God.

In essence, ALL "proofs" of the existence of God depend on believing that the bible is the Word of God. So, all arguements for God are circular arguements. There is no proof that does NOT depend on belief in God. After all, if there was proof all people (including those of other faiths) would already be Christians. The fact that they are NOT means that Christians cannot prove that God exists.

>>Love, goodness, and Jesus are all three examples of "eternal, unchanging truths" that you are looking for.

*Since God is love therefore love is eternal for God is eternal.
*God is good therefore goodness is eternal since God is eternal (His attributes never change).
*Jesus is the truth and we know Jesus is God so Jesus is eternal.<<

Ocourse, believing that these are eternal truths depends on belief in God. If you don't believe in God, then you don't believe these are eternal truths.

Belief is a way of coping with all the data pouring into the brain every second. Belief shapes the interpretation of those signals, and the signals shape your belief. Thus, it is a feedback-loop, much like all other signal processing-modelling activities. Ofcourse, some beliefs shape the interpretation more than others, and some beliefs shape the interpretation so strongly that contradictory information is "weeded" out of the signals such that only belief-confirming data remains. Thus, belief shapes (or rather: distords) your view of reality.

And this goes for all beliefs, even belief in Santa or the Tooth Faery. Some are just stronger than others, and some have so much "fail safe devices" that every contradictory signal can be explained in such a way that it seems to confirm that belief (ie: The Devil did it!) rather than contradict it.

However, to eliminate unwanted beliefs from shaping the interpretation, science has devised ways to do away with beliefs and biases which might distord data interpretation. This has been a very powerfull way to detect the working mechanisms of reality, although no matter what belief is still powerfull and cannot be dismissed that easily. Nevertheless, peer-review, double-blind experiments, discussion conferences and other mechanisms do well in exposing/eliminating beliefs/biases from data interpretation.

This is why religion fears science so much, since science is a way to interpret data without the influence of belief. And ALL religions rely on belief to shape the interpretation and safe-guard that belief from being destroyed by contradictory data. When you take away all those safe-guards, all those "collored glasses" and those "blindfolds", what is left is ususally less than nothing.

Ofcourse, some religions are far better at avoiding taking off those "blindfolds". These religions are the ones who survive longest because followers are very hard to convert from their chosen religion. Nevertheless, atheists and other non-religious groups are gaining numbers FAST. I just hope that those religious groups are NOT going to start a fight about it, because the LAST thing this world needs is another Holy War, resulting in the banning of science by those religions. We NEED science, because our world can no longer survive without it.

Face it, most of this world would be better off without religious influences determining peoples choises.

Freak
March 19th, 2003, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte


Zakath, neither can *you* prove the nonexistence of God, so what is the point of this banter? Matters of spiritual belief and faith cannot be 'proved' in a scientific sense anymore than your starting premise (there is no God) can be 'proved' in a scientific sense. I fail to see how your retort strengthens your position.

Exactly! Zakath is getting there.... but still fails to understand this elementary fact.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 08:09 AM
Originally posted by shima

In essence, ALL "proofs" of the existence of God depend on believing that the bible is the Word of God.

Actually, this isn't so. If you can stomach loads of chemistry and physics I highly recommend 'The Creator and the Cosmos', by Dr. Hugh Ross -- most astrophysicists these days, based on scientific evidence, are concluding that there is a Divine Creator.

This is why religion fears science so much, since science is a way to interpret data without the influence of belief.

Again, I would contend that science fears religion - (see above referenced book -- I personally don't believe the two are mutually exclusive.

I just hope that those religious groups are NOT going to start a fight about it, because the LAST thing this world needs is another Holy War, resulting in the banning of science by those religions. We NEED science, because our world can no longer survive without it.

Not all Christians are ignorant fools (any more than all atheists are ignorant fools). Do you *really* think 'religious' people will ban science? Just because people espouse a faith does not mean they will strap bombs to themselves or start burning books.

Face it, most of this world would be better off without religious influences determining peoples choises.

....hmmmm, religious influences were instrumental in founding the United States. I, for one, don't think we'd be better off w/o this great nation.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 08:12 AM
Dang it! I haven't quite mastered this 'quote' function....(hence the name 'Neophyte' on this board). Sorry folks....not all of the above 'quoted' material was from Shima. (Sorry Shima for giving the appearance I've put words in your mouth).

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 08:18 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>
Thus, belief shapes (or rather: distords) your view of reality.

And this goes for all beliefs, even belief in Santa or the Tooth Faery. Some are just stronger than others, and some have so much "fail safe devices" that every contradictory signal can be explained in such a way that it seems to confirm that belief (ie: The Devil did it!) rather than contradict it.

However, to eliminate unwanted beliefs from shaping the interpretation, science has devised ways to do away with beliefs and biases which might distord data interpretation. This has been a very powerfull way to detect the working mechanisms of reality, although no matter what belief is still powerfull and cannot be dismissed that easily. Nevertheless, peer-review, double-blind experiments, discussion conferences and other mechanisms do well in exposing/eliminating beliefs/biases from data interpretation.

This is why religion fears science so much, since science is a way to interpret data without the influence of belief.

You are joking, right? As a former scientist (and now law student) I can tell you that science is MOST DEFINITELY influenced by the bias and belief of the scientist conducting the experiment.

Indeed, science is merely a *method* for observing the world around us, not a *truth*. It is not fail safe, and it is most definitely influenced by bias --- even when attempting double-blind experiments, peer-review (which, by the way, is heavily biased), and criticizing data interpretation.

I also take exception to your contention that belief 'distorts' one's view of reality -- belief (including scientific theories) are lenses through which we view the world; 'distort' is a loaded term that suggests the particular view is wrong.

shima
March 19th, 2003, 08:38 AM
Don't worry, most people will have guessed which parts are yours and which are mine.

I personally haven't read the book, but if I were to hazard a guess: its about things like the electric charge constant, the dielectric constant and how if they would only be slighty slighty different life probably wouldn't have formed here.

I know the arguement, and it fails to hold water because of the lack of imagination on behalf of the writer. If, so goes the arguement, the ratio of the two were slightly different, no stars would be able to form, or those stars able to form would burn all their fuel in a few million years. However, suppose that no stars form at all, would that mean that there would NOT be anthing else in that universe? The basic assumption underpining his arguement is that he cannot imagine that life would look completely different. While we might not have life based on Carbon atoms, we might have life based on Nitrogen bonds, or how about life based on hydrogen cristal deposits? I can understand that if there are no stars, then life might look completely different (perhaps even unrecognizable to our eyes) but that doesn't mean that NO life is possible there.

Basically, ALL arguements involving science try to prove that life/planets/solar systems could NOT have formed by purely natural means, suggesting that the process REQUIRED a Creator. Ofcourse, as any scientists/philosopher will tell you, it is not possible to prove a negative, and thus all those arguements can be dismissed. This includes the "Intelligent Design" and the "Irreducably Complex" arguements.

And since the proof for the existence/absence of God lies firmly on the shoulder of the theist (after all try to prove the absence of this god: the All Powerfull, Invisble Pink Unicorn), we atheists are still waiting (its been about 4500 years now) for the definite proof of God.

quasi
March 19th, 2003, 08:47 AM
it's so nice to see that there are some actual intelligent people ou there.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 08:48 AM
Shima,
Point taken..although I do think the book goes into much greater detail than what you've described here.

Again, as I said earlier in response to Zakath - ultimately the crux of the atheist/theist debate comes down to belief -- on both sides of the argument - since neither side can 'prove' their starting premise!

Zakath
March 19th, 2003, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte
Zakath, neither can *you* prove the nonexistence of God, so what is the point of this banter?

From my perspective, the "point of the banter" is an attempt to get religionists (most frequently some flavor of "Christian" on this site) to think about what they believe by asking them to reasonably and logically defend those beliefs.

From the perspective of the religionists, it's basically apologetics, the branch of theology concerned with proving the truth of or defending doctrine.


Matters of spiritual belief and faith cannot be 'proved' in a scientific sense anymore than your starting premise (there is no God) can be 'proved' in a scientific sense. I fail to see how your retort strengthens your position. My position is not one needing strengthening. It's been said many times, even on this site, that "extraordinary claims require extratordinary evidence to be believable."

Christians make many extraordinary claims. I, and others like me, merely ask them for evidence. As you have correctly noted, much of what is provided is far from compelling from my point of view.

While I cannot prove that Jay Bartlett's deity doesn't exist, neither can he prove that Bhrama, Vishnu, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn don't exist. This is a crippling flaw of his apologetic since his religious beliefs require the existence of but a single deity. That's why he must people his universe with an increasingly broader panoply of disincarnate alien beings masquerading as one another and possessing or influencing humans to work their will.

What I can demonstrate, within reasonable certainty (reasonable for me, anyway), is that such entities are so unlikely to exist that, for all intents and purposes, the likelihood of their existence approaches close enough to zero for me to discard the hypothesis of their existence as useless.

Since, during the last ten years, not a single religionist of the hundreds I've questioned from a wide variety of religious backgrounds has been able to directly demonstate the existence of their deity and its alleged impact on the universe which we occupy, I remain an atheist.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 09:05 AM
Originally posted by shima

I personally haven't read the book, but if I were to hazard a guess: its about things like the electric charge constant, the dielectric constant and how if they would only be slighty slighty different life probably wouldn't have formed here.

I know the arguement, and it fails to hold water because of the lack of imagination on behalf of the writer. If, so goes the arguement, the ratio of the two were slightly different, no stars would be able to form, or those stars able to form would burn all their fuel in a few million years. However, suppose that no stars form at all, would that mean that there would NOT be anthing else in that universe? The basic assumption underpining his arguement is that he cannot imagine that life would look completely different. While we might not have life based on Carbon atoms, we might have life based on Nitrogen bonds, or how about life based on hydrogen cristal deposits? I can understand that if there are no stars, then life might look completely different (perhaps even unrecognizable to our eyes) but that doesn't mean that NO life is possible there.


Actually, the thrust of the book is the concept of a finite beginning for the Universe which is increasingly being supported by scientific evidence - the author does discuss the incredibly delicate balance - but not just of the electric charge constant and the dielectric constant - virtually every aspect of the universe seems poised to support life on this planet.

The analogy (in terms of probabilities) is something like this: Imagine a pile of dimes, the width of which is the size of North America, stacked from here to the moon. Now, multiply that pile by about 1 billion. Paint ONE dime red. Blindfold a friend. Have that friend pick out the one red dime --- the probability of him getting it on the first try is like the probability of this Earth/Universe existing as we know it today by pure chance.

What is fascinating is HOW the scientific community is responding to such findings -- even Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein could not escape the conclusion of design - but were unwilling to accept it b/c they didn't like the consequences of accepting it.

The author also addresses your last point -- ie, just because life exists as we see it now doesn't mean it couldn't have existed in some other form --- but not having the book in front of me (and having read it some time ago) I can't remember his retort.....I'll see if I can dig it up and get back with you.

Flipper
March 19th, 2003, 09:14 AM
Shima:



Face it, most of this world would be better off without religious influences determining peoples choises.



See, I disagree. I don't believe that people are wholey rational creatures. Religion is one lightning rod for this tendency but there are many others, ranging from the small superstitions that people have day-to-day, to their unwarranted faith in fad pseudoscience or in lottery tickets, or Nigerian email scams.

If it weren't religion, it would be something else. Nationalism, perhaps.

shima
March 19th, 2003, 09:14 AM
>>You are joking, right? As a former scientist (and now law student) I can tell you that science is MOST DEFINITELY influenced by the bias and belief of the scientist conducting the experiment.<<

Yes, I know that it is extremely hard to eliminate bias from experiments and interpretation. Nevertheless, science is doing a good job trying to explain reality through natural "cause and effect" means. We've come quite a long way ever since the first people gazed up at the stars and peopled it with Gods of Thunder, Fertility etc.

>>Indeed, science is merely a *method* for observing the world around us, not a *truth*. It is not fail safe, and it is most definitely influenced by bias --- even when attempting double-blind experiments, peer-review (which, by the way, is heavily biased), and criticizing data interpretation.<<

I never suggested that science is in any way "perfect", since this is not possible because science is done by PEOPLE. Yes, peer-review is done by scientists and hence is biased, but science is MUCH faster in the uptake of new ideas and the rejection of old ideas proven wrong. It only took about 20-25 years for General Relativity to replace Newton's description of gravity, and slight less for Quantum Mechanics (which is extremely counter intuitive from a laymans perspective) to replace the "billiard balls" approach to small particles.

>>I also take exception to your contention that belief 'distorts' one's view of reality -- belief (including scientific theories) are lenses through which we view the world; 'distort' is a loaded term that suggests the particular view is wrong.<<

Well, as lenzes go, "distord" is indeed a very good description since some lenzes do "distord" reality. Some do so more than others. Now, science is very good at trying to get a view of reality that does NOT involve lenzes or distortion. And this is why most religions but Christianity in particular don't like science.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by Zakath


From my perspective, the "point of the banter" is an attempt to get religionists (most frequently some flavor of "Christian" on this site) to think about what they believe by asking them to reasonably and logically defend those beliefs.

From the perspective of the religionists, it's basically apologetics, the branch of theology concerned with proving the truth of or defending doctrine.

My position is not one needing strengthening. It's been said many times, even on this site, that "extraordinary claims require extratordinary evidence to be believable."

Christians make many extraordinary claims. I, and others like me, merely ask them for evidence. As you have correctly noted, much of what is provided is far from compelling from my point of view.

While I cannot prove that Jay Bartlett's deity doesn't exist, neither can he prove that Bhrama, Vishnu, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn don't exist. This is a crippling flaw of his apologetic since his religious beliefs require the existence of but a single deity. That's why he must people his universe with an increasingly broader panoply of disincarnate alien beings masquerading as one another and possessing or influencing humans to work their will.

What I can demonstrate, within reasonable certainty (reasonable for me, anyway), is that such entities are so unlikely to exist that, for all intents and purposes, the likelihood of their existence approaches close enough to zero for me to discard the hypothesis of their existence as useless.

Since, during the last ten years, not a single religionist of the hundreds I've questioned from a wide variety of religious backgrounds has been able to directly demonstate the existence of their deity and its alleged impact on the universe which we occupy, I remain an atheist.

I respect your position - it is clearly well thought out and makes sense to you. I am willing to 'reasonably' and 'logically' defend my beliefs. But if the only 'reasonable defense', in your mind, is absolute proof of God's existence, I'm afraid the conversation would be rather dull. I cannot offer you 'proof' of God.

I can say that the likelihood of the existence of the Universe in its present form, and the life supporting characteristics of our planet within that universe, are so mathematically improbable (virtually zero) if left to chance, that I reject the hypothesis that they exist by pure chance. The overwhelming impression is one of design.

Zakath
March 19th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Flipper,

I think history bears this out by the devotion of people to their nation state in non-religious societies like China and the old USSR.

Gerald
March 19th, 2003, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte
I can say that the likelihood of the existence of the Universe in its present form, and the life supporting characteristics of our planet within that universe, are so mathematically improbable (virtually zero) if left to chance, that I reject the hypothesis that they exist by pure chance. The overwhelming impression is one of design. Why is it that religionists keep falling back to the origin of the universe? Is that the last place they can make a stand?

Even if the universe is the result of Divine Artifice, that says nothing about the Artificer. It is a very big leap to say "Divine Artificer = the God of Abraham".

Many religionists claim that there exists an invisible, immaterial, volitional being (or beings) who regularly interacts with the material world. However, they have yet to demonstrate that this is so.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 09:29 AM
Originally posted by shima
Well, as lenzes go, "distord" is indeed a very good description since some lenzes do "distord" reality. Some do so more than others. Now, science is very good at trying to get a view of reality that does NOT involve lenzes or distortion. And this is why most religions but Christianity in particular don't like science.

Agreed. And yes, I think you are right that a great many Christians fear/loathe science. I hope you'll be pleased to know that there is at least one Christian out there (namely me) who happens to love science. I have never believed that religion and science are mutually exclusive - that is of course, until the day we have 'absolute proof' (in the sense demanded by most atheists) of the existence or nonexistence of God. Since this hasn't happened in all the history of the human race I don't think we are anywhere near such a state.

What amazes me about most scientists, is that they are every bit as closed-minded and 'dogmatic' about their particular 'lense' as Christians are about theirs. But most scientists refuse to acknowledge they are wearing a lense at all. (I freely admit that most Christians also refuse to acknowledge they are wearing a lense). Many scientists tout their ability to 'correct' and 'criticize' their interpretations yet are remarkably unwilling, even in their own communities, to actually do so.

Zakath
March 19th, 2003, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte
What amazes me about most scientists, is that they are every bit as closed-minded and 'dogmatic' about their particular 'lense' as Christians are about theirs. It shouldn't be amazing, really. Humans are closed-minded, dogmatic, etc. Scientists are just human beings, afterall.


But most scientists refuse to acknowledge they are wearing a lense at all. (I freely admit that most Christians also refuse to acknowledge they are wearing a lense). Many scientists tout their ability to 'correct' and 'criticize' their interpretations yet are remarkably unwilling, even in their own communities, to actually do so. Anyone who's studied the history of science knows how resistant to change many theoretical positions have been. It's just their humanity showing.

History does point to one difference between science and religion: one normally doesn't get burned at the stake or driven out of their town for holding a differing scientific viewpoint. ;)

shima
March 19th, 2003, 09:39 AM
>>Actually, the thrust of the book is the concept of a finite beginning for the Universe which is increasingly being supported by scientific evidence - the author does discuss the incredibly delicate balance - but not just of the electric charge constant and the dielectric constant - virtually every aspect of the universe seems poised to support life on this planet. <<

Ah, but this isn't true. There is virtually NOTHING outside our own solar system that is poised to support life on THIS planet, and THIS planet ONLY. The circumstances of our Solar system are far from unique. We have already detected planets outside our solar system, making the arguement that this could be the ONLY star with planets moot.

>>The analogy (in terms of probabilities) is something like this: Imagine a pile of dimes, the width of which is the size of North America, stacked from here to the moon. Now, multiply that pile by about 1 billion. Paint ONE dime red. Blindfold a friend. Have that friend pick out the one red dime --- the probability of him getting it on the first try is like the probability of this Earth/Universe existing as we know it today by pure chance.<<

And HOW would he arrive at those numbers? The numbers could easily have been:
Paint 1/2 of them in different colors of your choise. Now, what is the chance of picking out the exact RED one? Extremely small ofcourse, but the chance of picking a COLORED one is 1/2.

Every arguement that tries to "calculate" the CHANCE of our universe existing is moot, because chance doesn't work this way. For chance to have the meaning we normally use (like: the CHANCE that a 6-sided die comes up a 6 in one throw) we need MULTIPLE events, or enough knowledge of the circumstances outside our universe. Since we have neither, any calculation is no more than speculation.

>>What is fascinating is HOW the scientific community is responding to such findings -- even Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein could not escape the conclusion of design - but were unwilling to accept it b/c they didn't like the consequences of accepting it.<<

What I find fascinating is that, even though all design arguements are extremely flawed, nevertheless people believe in those arguements as if they are really meaningfull. Einstein and Hawking and many others like them reject the Design arguements not because they don't like the conclusion, but because the arguements are flawed into the extreme and they know it. And btw, Einstein was religious.

>>The author also addresses your last point -- ie, just because life exists as we see it now doesn't mean it couldn't have existed in some other form --- but not having the book in front of me (and having read it some time ago) I can't remember his retort.....I'll see if I can dig it up and get back with you.<<

Please do. He's probably spouting things like: "its all hypothetical" but since he cannot prove that life MUST be formed from Carbon atoms his arguements are moot.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 09:41 AM
Originally posted by Gerald
Why is it that religionists keep falling back to the origin of the universe? Is that the last place they can make a stand?

Even if the universe is the result of Divine Artifice, that says nothing about the Artificer. It is a very big leap to say "Divine Artificer = the God of Abraham".


I never even came close to trying to make the leap you are suggesting here - namely, that "Divine Artificer = God of Abraham" -- the point I was trying to make was that if (and it's a BIG IF in these circles) one accepts the existence of a "Divine Artificer" one cannot continue to be an atheist.

As for why religionists 'keep falling back to the origin of the universe', its probably because atheists insist on scientific proofs for everything. If someone wants 'proof' of God, you can't just retort w/biblical passages or personal experiences -- atheists want hard science and evidence. If the evidence suggests a Divine Artificer - that's a clear indication that maybe (just maybe) there is some Prime Mover out there. And isn't that what atheists are complaining about anyway? I don't understand why someone would complain they need scientific evidence of God, then reject any evidence of God as being a 'last place to make a stand.'

Incidentally, it isn't the "last place to make a stand." I'm just trying to move in your circles since you are clearly unwilling to move in mine.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Zakath

History does point to one difference between science and religion: one normally doesn't get burned at the stake or driven out of their town for holding a differing scientific viewpoint. ;)

True 'nuff! It's just their humanity ....(wait! Their 'inhumanity') showing!

shima
March 19th, 2003, 09:50 AM
>>Incidentally, it isn't the "last place to make a stand." I'm just trying to move in your circles since you are clearly unwilling to move in mine.<<

This is correct. Other places to stand are:
- Absolute Morality
- The origins of Life
- The origins of Love
- The existence of Good and Evil
- Heaven and Hell
- The existence of a Soul

None of these places are hard, solid evidence for Gods existence (from the viewpoint of the atheist) but neither are they disproven by cold, hard science (yet).

Gerald
March 19th, 2003, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte
Incidentally, it isn't the "last place to make a stand." I'm just trying to move in your circles since you are clearly unwilling to move in mine.
And what would those "circles" be?

Regarding the question of Divine Artifice, I can only respond with a shrug and say "I dunno".

I'm much more intersted in seeing this:

There exists an invisible, immaterial, volitional being (or beings) who regularly interacts with the material world

demonstrated.

Note that "volitional being" doesn't necessarily mean "god". It could just as easily mean "ghost" or "demon" or "fairy".

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by Gerald

And what would those "circles" be?

You're right, that sounded totally snotty. My apologies. I just meant I was confining my discussion to scientific evidence since that was where the atheist arguments were coming from and that aspect of my response (proof of a divine beginner) was what you were taking exception to.


Regarding the question of Divine Artifice, I can only respond with a shrug and say "I dunno".

I'm much more intersted in seeing this:

There exists an invisible, immaterial, volitional being (or beings) who regularly interacts with the material world

demonstrated.

I too would like to see it physically demonstrated, right here before my eyes. As I'm typing this message in fact. Fortunately, I don't always get what I want. I say fortunately b/c I don't think too many of us would enjoy having our world turned upside down by such an experience - we would have to concede that 1) we don't have all the answers, and 2) we are not in total control. A hard pill to swallow.

Gerald
March 19th, 2003, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Neophyte
I say fortunately b/c I don't think too many of us would enjoy having our world turned upside down by such an experience - we would have to concede that 1) we don't have all the answers, and 2) we are not in total control. A hard pill to swallow.
I dunno, I easily concede 1 and 2; no bitter pill for me, as the truth of 1 and 2 do not address the issue of a supernatural dimension to existence.

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by Gerald

I dunno, I easily concede 1 and 2; no bitter pill for me, as the truth of 1 and 2 do not address the issue of a supernatural dimension to existence.

Yes...1 and 2 do not address the issue of a supernatural dimension to existence - I merely meant that they are potential reactions to it (by many people ... not you, perhaps) if we had a present physical demonstration of the kind you were describing.

I wasn't trying to be litigious....just pondering.

...**darn it!*** I did it again...somehow sent the post before I was done typing.....see below (obviously I've figured out the edit function but I couldn't figure out how to delete)

Neophyte
March 19th, 2003, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by Gerald

I dunno, I easily concede 1 and 2; no bitter pill for me, as the truth of 1 and 2 do not address the issue of a supernatural dimension to existence.

Yes...1 and 2 do not address the issue of a supernatural dimension to existence - I merely meant that they are potential reactions to it (by many people ... not you, perhaps) if we had a present physical demonstration of the kind you were describing.

I wasn't trying to be litigious....just pondering. Incidentally, I was using the term "we" to refer to humanity in general - I didn't mean to imply that either one of us believes we "have all the answers", etc.

Jefferson
March 19th, 2003, 07:54 PM
Originally posted by Neophyte


What?! Heaven is like being on LSD????? Think bigger than drug-induced mania. That's not what I'm saying. LSD (that is, real LSD, not the garbage today that is called LSD) increases a peson's I.Q. Back in the 60's and 70's double blind studies were conducted on LSD. Subjects were given an I.Q. test before taking LSD. After taking LSD, the subjects were given another I.Q. test and the results showed that their scores rose significantly.

But today the I.Q. scores decrease. I don't know what's in the junk today that people are claiming to be LSD but it's obviously not the real thing. Real LSD hasn't existed for at least 20 years.

My point is that, with redeemed minds in heaven, I imagine our I.Q.'s are going to be tremendous. I can't wait. This has nothing to do with halucinating (which by the way is the most boring part of real LSD).

Knight
March 19th, 2003, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by Jefferson
That's not what I'm saying. LSD (that is, real LSD, not the garbage today that is called LSD) increases a peson's I.Q. Back in the 60's and 70's double blind studies were conducted on LSD. Subjects were given an I.Q. test before taking LSD. After taking LSD, the subjects were given another I.Q. test and the results showed that their scores rose significantly.

But today the I.Q. scores decrease. I don't know what's in the junk today that people are claiming to be LSD but it's obviously not the real thing. Real LSD hasn't existed for at least 20 years.

My point is that, with redeemed minds in heaven, I imagine our I.Q.'s are going to be tremendous. I can't wait. This has nothing to do with halucinating (which by the way is the most boring part of real LSD). I get your point Jefferson but I don't think this is a great path to take in describing what Heaven will be like.

Jefferson
March 19th, 2003, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by Knight
I get your point Jefferson but I don't think this is a great path to take in describing what Heaven will be like. I agree in that our raised I.Q.'s will be a very minor thrill compared to seeing Him, knowing Him fully, and being like Him in holiness. Our glorified bodies (and minds) will be nice but that won't be what heaven is all about.

Flipper
March 20th, 2003, 12:26 AM
Jefferson and Knight wrote:



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Jefferson
That's not what I'm saying. LSD (that is, real LSD, not the garbage today that is called LSD) increases a peson's I.Q. Back in the 60's and 70's double blind studies were conducted on LSD. Subjects were given an I.Q. test before taking LSD. After taking LSD, the subjects were given another I.Q. test and the results showed that their scores rose significantly.

But today the I.Q. scores decrease. I don't know what's in the junk today that people are claiming to be LSD but it's obviously not the real thing. Real LSD hasn't existed for at least 20 years.

My point is that, with redeemed minds in heaven, I imagine our I.Q.'s are going to be tremendous. I can't wait. This has nothing to do with halucinating (which by the way is the most boring part of real LSD).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I get your point Jefferson but I don't think this is a great path to take in describing what Heaven will be like.
_________________


Probably not. But this certainly explains quite a lot.

Jefferson, do you have any evidence for this idea that LSD used to increase IQ points, or was it all suppressed by the government?

My guess is that the evidence of the IQ-extending potential of LSD in the 1960s is similar to that of a personal experience with Jesus. It's all in your head, dude.

It was also said of that acid in the 1960s that it could make you think you could fly. Apparently, it also made other people think they were clever.

I'm also fascinated to know more about the evolution from a trip-droppin' acidhead to a hardnosed conspiracy-theorist rightwinger. How did this happen? Did a blue-skinned, six-armed Nixon come to you in a dream?

shima
March 20th, 2003, 04:42 AM
>>I'm also fascinated to know more about the evolution from a trip-droppin' acidhead to a hardnosed conspiracy-theorist rightwinger. How did this happen? Did a blue-skinned, six-armed Nixon come to you in a dream?<<

Haha.

LSD does have a slight problem: it remains in the body for about 20 years. The sister of a friend of mine used it twice, and after 6 years she STILL occasionally has a "bad" flashback when the LSD starts acting up again.

LSD is not for me. However, I did have some very "nice" (in the meaning of: insightfull) trips on Magic Mushrooms.

Zakath
March 20th, 2003, 07:07 AM
The claims of a link between LSD use and raised IQ appear to be based on a case study conference presentation in the 1960's by Albert Kurland (Maryland Psychiatric Research Center - 1967) about a low IQ alcoholic patient who, after being dosed with LSD, responded to psychotherapy and underwent a religious conversion. Kurland thought this was noteworthy since psychotherapy traditionally does not work well on low IQ patients.

All the reports I found were anecdotal (i.e. single patient cases). I could not find any references to formal studies relating IQ changes to LSD use.

There does appear to be significant research indicating that LSD breaks down ego boundaries (the portion of the mental structure that seperates an individual from the rest of the perceived universe). Thus users are more likely than the non-using population to respond to religious coercion and "convert" to one religion or another. A mental health professional might question whether his "commitment to Christ" and apparent devotion to the type of religion Enyart espouses is merely another delayed manifestation of Jefferson's former drug use.

LSD use is also linked to some, shall we say, unusual changes in perception. That might shed a bit of insight on Jefferson's prediliction for insisting on using pictures of corpses and bloody body parts in his postings here and elsewhere.

Neophyte
March 20th, 2003, 09:31 AM
Thank you, Zakath...as always a well-reasoned and informed response.

I find Jefferson's reply to my question absurd. It speaks for itself. :rolleyes:

Zakath
March 20th, 2003, 12:11 PM
Thanks Neo. My pleasure.

Jefferson is..., well, he's just Jefferson!

quasi
March 22nd, 2003, 01:33 PM
I'm not going to argue for or against atheism. I'm agnostic, i truely beleive that we just don't know. There's no way to prove the argument either way so what's the point in argueing over something that no one has the answer to? Sure, many will act like they know all the answers, but what if all we thought was true is wrong? Are even asking the right questions?

"Let me be the first to say
that I don't have all the answers
I don't have a clue
ain't going to pretend like I do
Just trying to find my way
the best I know how." lifehouse


on a side note- jefferson- what is that a picture of? i'm afraid i don't want to know, are you trying to make a statement or something?

shima
March 24th, 2003, 05:06 AM
>>There's no way to prove the argument either way so what's the point in argueing over something that no one has the answer to?<<

Because argueing over your preferred oint of view brings you into contact with other peoples point of view. Thus, you might change your mind about what is the "correct" awnser because you are hearing new arguements.

>>Sure, many will act like they know all the answers, but what if all we thought was true is wrong? <<

Its very possible. Perhaps the Omnipotent Invisble Pink Unicorn IS real, and He doesn't like me making fun of him. I'd be in BIG trouble if he did exist.

No one has all the awnsers, because we as human beings are very limited in knowledge and learning. We cannot at present gather all information that this Universe has to offer and we cannot make all the connections between that information that is required for a "correct" awnser to the question. Even then, the qustion:"Do we know all that there is to know?" is not awnserable by a simple "yes" or "no" even in the case that we may have a HUGE amount of information.

>>I don't have a clue ain't going to pretend like I do<<

Quite true, but people cannot live without awnsers to questions. Its BECAUSE we know that some awnsers are "true" that we can function at all. You can walk because your body "knows" how gravity works. If gravity changes, your body has a hard time addapting. You can "learn" because your brain "remembers" what the awnsers to certain questions was. If you cannot remember, you cannot learn and you will therefore always be stuck in the "baby" phase.

I've had some experience with Magic Mushrooms, and one trip involved me loosing what I was learned by society. It involved things like knowing what "1+1" was, or the capitals of Europe, etc. It also involved me not remembering how things worked, and who people were and what they were like. I also couldn't remember why I thought they were important. Friends became just as important as anything else. And I coulnd't remember the concept of "time" untill my friend explained it to me. And it was scary, because I realised that, if my memory didn't come back, I'd have lost EVERYTHING from the past 25 years. And that includes my identity.

Identity involves making choises. You might regret some of them (like me) and you want to celebrate some as the most important "correct" choise you have ever done (but won't realise it untill later). Those "choises" are YOU. Just like the subjects YOU hold to be important are a part of your identity. And ofcourse, what you want to do in life is ALSO a part of you.

Your belief is also part of your identity, and most people will not like it if that belief is disproven. Better to close your eyes to all the evidence rather than admitting you were wrong. A friend of mine converted from Christian to Atheism after two bad years. She was actually HAPPY after that, because she could accept being responsible for things herself, but she just coulcn't accept that God had it in for her.

Society has some awnsers to "What is life all about?", but they are frequently only the awnsers that will improve society and make it function. Anyone who holds different ideals will find that society doesn't really like them. Society want people to work, marry, procreate and become useless after giving 40 years of your life to a job you didn't like.

Not for me. I'll go out and find my OWN awnsers. "You are NOT a beautifull snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as the rest of the world." So, start by accepting that one day you are going to die, then start wondering what to do with the time you have remaining.

Since you cannot predict WHEN you are going to die, the FUTURE is just as important as the NOW. If you are living only for the future ("In 20 years, I'll retire and THEN I'll enjoy life") you will find that you have wasted the better part of your life looking ahead, instead of looking ahead AND at the present. Enjoying life NOW is just as important as enjoying life 5 years from now.

So, what do you want to do with your life?

Z Man
March 24th, 2003, 08:27 AM
I know I'm a little late in this thread, sorry, but I'd like to throw my 2 cents in... :D


Originally posted by Freak
Temporary meaning in life is insufficient, for our accomplishments die with the death of the universe -- there is no ultimate purpose in a universe void of God.

Then Zakath responded, saying:


Originally posted by Zakath
Au contrairč Jay, since, as nearly as anyone can prove, consciousness ceases to exist after death, the meaning we extract from our lives is as permanent as meaning can be. Once we're done, we're done. A thousand years from now, all your pontification on TOL (and mine as well) will be forgotten. What we do here, we do for entertainment, not for any eternal purpose...

Then what would our hope in this life be, Zakath? Why should people look for various ways to cure sicknesses, or implament laws to protect our lives? According to your way of thinking, the only thing we live for in this life is entertainment. That means the media is what makes us; deceides what our lives will be like. Being saturated in TV, movies, video games, clubs and bars, alcohol, drugs, sex, pleasure, and entertainment as a whole is the way Atheist's escape from the reality of their hopelessness. The very thing we like and take pleasure in is the very thing that destroy's us in the end, yet we create more of it for the next generation. It's a never ending cycle of death. There is nothing new under the sun. This hope of pleasure from the media that the Atheists worship is the very thing that masks them from the hope of being set free from it. They are tuned out from the reality of the eternal realm, like mice following the Piper...

Don't bother me with details,
Don't bore me with what's real.
Distractions all I need, all I need, all I need to
Shelter me, sweet escape.
I'm looking for a place to run to.
Shelter me, sweet escape.
I'm looking for a place to hide inside...

Shelter Me, Mercury
Truthless Heroes
Project 86

shima
March 24th, 2003, 08:40 AM
>>Why should people look for various ways to cure sicknesses, or implament laws to protect our lives? According to your way of thinking, the only thing we live for in this life is entertainment. That means the media is what makes us; deceides what our lives will be like. Being saturated in TV, movies, video games, clubs and bars, alcohol, drugs, sex, pleasure, and entertainment as a whole is the way Atheist's escape from the reality of their hopelessness. <<

Nope. Most atheists happen to set their own goals in life. Discovering a cure for cancer is one way of an almost infinite number of ways to spend your time.

Entertainment is also important. Perhaps you should read my above post.

Z Man
March 24th, 2003, 08:54 AM
Originally posted by shima
Most atheists happen to set their own goals in life. Discovering a cure for cancer is one way of an almost infinite number of ways to spend your time.

Whatever goals an Atheist may set in life, that becomes their entertainment/hope/God.

shima
March 24th, 2003, 09:06 AM
>>Whatever goals an Atheist may set in life, that becomes their entertainment/hope/God.<<

Yes? So what is the problem then? Christians choose God as their goal, atheists preferr something different. Getting a cure for cancer, a publication in Nature, going to the moon, discovering alien life.

Freak
March 27th, 2003, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by Z Man
I know I'm a little late in this thread, sorry, but I'd like to throw my 2 cents in... :D



Then Zakath responded, saying:



Then what would our hope in this life be, Zakath? Why should people look for various ways to cure sicknesses, or implament laws to protect our lives? According to your way of thinking, the only thing we live for in this life is entertainment. That means the media is what makes us; deceides what our lives will be like. Being saturated in TV, movies, video games, clubs and bars, alcohol, drugs, sex, pleasure, and entertainment as a whole is the way Atheist's escape from the reality of their hopelessness. The very thing we like and take pleasure in is the very thing that destroy's us in the end, yet we create more of it for the next generation. It's a never ending cycle of death. There is nothing new under the sun. This hope of pleasure from the media that the Atheists worship is the very thing that masks them from the hope of being set free from it. They are tuned out from the reality of the eternal realm, like mice following the Piper...

Don't bother me with details,
Don't bore me with what's real.
Distractions all I need, all I need, all I need to
Shelter me, sweet escape.
I'm looking for a place to run to.
Shelter me, sweet escape.
I'm looking for a place to hide inside...

Shelter Me, Mercury
Truthless Heroes
Project 86

Zakath's atheism fails once again to provide real answers to real issues.

Z Man
March 27th, 2003, 07:55 PM
He just dosn't want to be bothered with what's real. Zakath, you really wimped out man...

temple2006
March 27th, 2003, 08:58 PM
Zak...I did not know that we can almost, nearly prove annihilation at the time of death. But anyway if 75 years of entertainment satisfies you, who am I to say...what a waste!

shima
March 28th, 2003, 04:14 AM
>>Zakath's atheism fails once again to provide real answers to real issues.<<

This is wrong. There is a difference between a "real" awnser (which Zakaths awnser is) and a "correct" awnser.

The meaning of Life is one of the most ancient of questions. Most people struggle to provide any kind of awnser whatsoever, and most people stop asking that question very early because they didn't find the awnser and it made them uncomfortable. Most people at the END of their lives suddenly start to become very interrested in the awnser, because they want to know what the did with life, and if their life held the "meaning" which according to the "correct" awnser it should have held. The reason most people don't find an awnser is because of there is no "correct" awnser to the question.

The "meaning" of life is a question we aks because our brain is a never stopping pattern seeking device. We seek patterns everywhere, this is how people LEARN things. Babies take several months to learn what gravity does, and several more to learn how to cope with it in a upwardly mobile fashion. The pattern of "falling down, hurt your body, pain" quickly establishes that gravity is a ***** and not to be trifled with.

However, our brain is ALSO good at "imagining" a pattern where there is none. Look at the white noise of the TV screen, and most people see patterns. From the theoretical physics perspective, the white noise on your screen is random. So the patterns most people see are not really there.

So, it is quite possible that the "meaning" of life is a question that our brain asks because that is the way the brain functions. However, from a BIOLOGICAL point of view life has only one meaning: live long enough to procreate and provide your offspring with the tools they need to do well at procreating themselves. That way, your genes spread the most.

Since human beings are very spiritual in nature, this awnser doesn't satisfy many people. They seek a more "enlightened" awnser to the question, but they don't realise that there may be NO awnser from a universal point of view, or from a biological point of view, mainly because the biological question doesn't deal with "meanings" and "patterns" from a spiritual point of view. Since there as yet is very little science concerning the "spiritual world", there are no definite "correct" awnsers to that question.

So, we humans are free to come up with any awnser that satisfies the person in question. Some say that "God did it" is a satisfying awnser, and they look forward to joining those they love in heaven. Others, Hindu's perhaps, believe in reincarnation on this earth after they die. They are therefore very concerned about the chances they will have in their next life.

Some, like atheists, believe that this life is the ONLY life that any person will have. Therefore, they seek to experience certain things in this life. Some seek to experience all facets of this world and travel the globe. Others seek to experience love and seek a girlfriend. And yet others seek entertainment and will therefore go to festivals, parties and theme parks. Some aks themselves: "what do I find important in life?" and then seek to involve themselves in that important thing. However, the realisation that you have only this life (and therefore that other people do too) makes the atheist very interrested in how this life is proceeding. They therefore want to make the best of it. For those with empathy, this also means that they want OTHER people to make the best of it as well.

While christianty teaches "Love thy neighbour", very few christians actually FOLLOW that teaching, because the realisation that for them the goal is to go to heaven makes them far less concerned about this life. Hindu's are very concerned about their Karma and will help other people not out of kindness but out of concern and fear. Only atheists help people because they WANT to help people.

I am an atheists, and I help certain people because for me this life is the only one they will get. I will help them trying to overcome their fears and their flaws. Why? Because I want them to get the most out of their life as well. THAT is what is important to me.

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 06:47 AM
Originally posted by Z Man
Then what would our hope in this life be, Zakath? Why should people look for various ways to cure sicknesses, or implament laws to protect our lives? According to your way of thinking, the only thing we live for in this life is entertainment...

<snipped a bit of the paean to the entertainment industry...>

This hope of pleasure from the media that the Atheists worship is the very thing that masks them from the hope of being set free from it. They are tuned out from the reality of the eternal realm, like mice following the Piper...

ZMan,

Question: Where did I ever indicate that my life focus is entertainment?

Answer: No where. While I have stated several times on the board that the reason I post here is "for entertainment", I do not consider the occasional post on TOL "living my life".

Now if you have a gallows from which you'd like to suspend the entertainment industry, that's your privilege. Just don't hang "the Atheists" with that rope...

I think it is a measure of some people's (lack of) depth of character that they cannot possibly conceive of anything more than entertainment as a life focus if they give up religion. Attempting to tar your enemies with that which you find reprehensible is merely intellectual laziness unless you've made an effort to find out what they really think.

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by Z Man
Whatever goals an Atheist may set in life, that becomes their entertainment/hope/God.

You are a religionist and you equate "entertainment" with "God"?

What religion do you follow, the Paul Crouch, TBN version? :rolleyes:

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath's atheism fails once again to provide real answers to real issues.

No, actually Zakath didn't reply previously because had billable work to get done so he could feed his family... ;)

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by temple 2000
Zak...I did not know that we can almost, nearly prove annihilation at the time of death.

How many humans have you seen die T2K?

In every case (of a non-comatose individual) I've seen it goes like this...

10 mins before death:
Body produces heat, vital organs function to some degree, individual communicative.

10 mins after death:
Body dropping to room temperature, organs cease to function as blood and oxygen are denied, individual does not respond to any attempt to communicate.

Can you provide another conflicting observation?

Perhaps you've seen someone "raised from the dead"?


But anyway if 75 years of entertainment satisfies you, who am I to say...what a waste! See my comment to Zman above.

Z Man
March 28th, 2003, 07:23 AM
Originally posted by Zakath


ZMan,

Question: Where did I ever indicate that my life focus is entertainment?

Answer: No where. While I have stated several times on the board that the reason I post here is "for entertainment", I do not consider the occasional post on TOL "living my life".

Ok, ok, sorry for making you look like an "entertainment" junkie. Maybe you're not the one to take life as some sort of amusement park, but there is some kind of hope in your life. Everyone has hope.


I think it is a measure of some people's (lack of) depth of character that they cannot possibly conceive of anything more than entertainment as a life focus if they give up religion. Attempting to tar your enemies with that which you find reprehensible is merely intellectual laziness unless you've made an effort to find out what they really think.

And for some people, that hope is in the pleasures of this world. Some try drugs to find peace and joy, others sex. Basically, if someone does not have hope in God, then they are left with only what this world has to offer. Thats all I was trying to say.


You are a religionist and you equate "entertainment" with "God"?

What religion do you follow, the Paul Crouch, TBN version?

Haha! The Paul Crouch, TBN version; that's funny! Actually, I hate religion. Anyone who tries to live a good life to be acceptable in God's eyes, to me, is a religious individual. I realize that no one can live a good life, and that God is the only one who can make us "acceptable". But you don't want to be bothered with all these details, nor bored with what's real...

Basically Zakath, whatever an Athiest sets their goals for; whatever in life they are trying to attain or accomplish, this becomes their hope; their drive and compassion in life. The result is, after a lifetime of pursuing your goals, and loving what you have done and are pursuing to do, this drive for success becomes your God. But when your time comes (and if God is gracious enough to allow you to reach old age) and you look back on your life, you will realize and question the worth of your success. What did it really accomplish? It all amounts to nothing in the end...

shima
March 28th, 2003, 07:37 AM
>>And for some people, that hope is in the pleasures of this world. Some try drugs to find peace and joy, others sex. Basically, if someone does not have hope in God, then they are left with only what this world has to offer. Thats all I was trying to say.<<

Well, they may believe in other things than just God. Perhaps reincarnation, Karma or Allah. Others believe in "doing the right thing", or "love thy neighbour". They might even believe that there is nothing after you die. Does this make life meaningless? Not in the least. While it doesn't have the meaning Christians would attribute to it, it DOES have the meaning you YOURSELF attribute to it. So what if that meaning isn't God?

>>Basically Zakath, whatever an Athiest sets their goals for; whatever in life they are trying to attain or accomplish, this becomes their hope; their drive and compassion in life. <<

True.

>>The result is, after a lifetime of pursuing your goals, and loving what you have done and are pursuing to do, this drive for success becomes
your God. But when your time comes (and if God is gracious enough to allow you to reach old age) and you look back on your life, you will realize and
question the worth of your success. <<

Everyone asks these questions. The awnser is NOT: "did my life have any meaning?" but "Did it have the meaning I attributed to it?". People die and that is a fact. What happens to them afterwards is definitely NOT a fact. It could be that there is no God, in which case christians have wasted their life in pursuit of a delusion. Atheists however set their own goals, and a wasted life would be one in which you didn't accomplish any of them.

>>What did it really accomplish? <<

Hopefuly: that which you set out to do.

>>It all amounts to nothing in the end...<<

That depends on what you call "nothing". I woulnd't call "helping others" nothing. I wouldn't call "a cure for cancer" nothing. I wouldn't call "walking on the moon" nothing. I woulnd't call "Being a millionare" nothing. I wouldn't call "Making people happy" nothing.

Yes, in 5 billion years time our Sun will die. Everyone on earth at that time will perish. In about 100 billion years our universe will die a slow heat-death, with no usable energy left. However, IN THE MEAN TIME, life DOES have a meaning, namely the one we ourselves attribute to it.

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath's atheism fails once again to provide real answers to real issues.

Jay, try reading the thread more carefully. Your cut and paste is tagging ZMan's words as mine... :nono:

Z Man
March 28th, 2003, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by shima
People die and that is a fact. What happens to them afterwards is definitely NOT a fact. It could be that there is no God, in which case christians have wasted their life in pursuit of a delusion.

It could be that there is a God, in which case atheists have wasted their life in a pursuit of a delusion.


Atheists however set their own goals, and a wasted life would be one in which you didn't accomplish any of them.

Are you saying that Christians don't have goals in life? Everybody has certain things they would like to do in their lifetime. The difference between a Christians goals and an Atheists goals is that we try to do things to and for the glory of God; you know, things that really matter. But atheists pursue their goals for themselves, which really dosn't matter or count for anything when you're dead. Those who die with the most toys still die.


>>It all amounts to nothing in the end...<<

That depends on what you call "nothing". I woulnd't call "helping others" nothing. I wouldn't call "a cure for cancer" nothing. I wouldn't call "walking on the moon" nothing. I woulnd't call "Being a millionare" nothing. I wouldn't call "Making people happy" nothing.

What's the point? One day you could help cure a young child's sickness, and the next, that kid could get hit by a car and die. One day you could be walking on the moon, and the next, your spaceship blows up. One day you could win the $100 billion dollar jackpot lottery, the next, you could get in a fatal car crash.

Life is a dream; a drop in the ocean compared to eternal realities. We must pursue the life we were meant to live when we were created; we must try and attain that perfect morality and holiness that we were created for. We must strive to live in the image of our Heavenly Creator; because in the end, this is all that matters... :angel:

temple2006
March 28th, 2003, 08:13 AM
Zak...I have seen bodies cease to function and rigor mortis set in. Do you think I have led such a protected, sheltered life? BUT, prove to me that there is no afterlife and I will stop hoping but I will not stop 'living' as I do not DO THINGS in the hope of getting some gold stars or something. Gimme a break, man.

shima
March 28th, 2003, 08:27 AM
>>Are you saying that Christians don't have goals in life? Everybody has certain things they would like to do in their lifetime. The difference between a Christians goals and an Atheists goals is that we try to do things to and for the glory of God; you know, things that really matter. <<

And how would Atheists goals NOT really matter? You see, the problem with your persepctive is that to you all meaning MUST come from God. For an atheists, "meaning" is something we ourselves impose. There doesn't have to be a God for something to be meaningfull. As such, what is important to one person is not important to another. Which creates tremendous diversity and is basically the strength of humanity.

>>But atheists pursue their goals for themselves, which really dosn't matter or count for anything when you're dead. Those who die with the most toys still die. <<

So? If God doesn't exists, how is that different from YOUR life? "Everyone dies, not everyone really lives."

>>What's the point? One day you could help cure a young child's sickness, and the next, that kid could get hit by a car and die. One day you could be walking on the moon, and the next, your spaceship blows up. One day you could win the $100 billion dollar jackpot lottery, the next, you could get in a fatal car crash. <<

The point is that I WANT TO. I want to walk on the moon, have friends, find a cure for cancer and I want to be a millionare. I call that my "goals" in life just as sure as God is your goal in life. You don't think my goals are worthy, then so be it. However, to you all goals other than God are not worhty. And this mindset has caused great problems in this world, because all other things are NOT important. So, solving world hunger is NOT important, peace is NOT important, the environment is not important.

>>Life is a dream; a drop in the ocean compared to eternal realities. We must pursue the life we were meant to live when we were created; we must try and attain that perfect morality and holiness that we were created for. We must strive to live in the image of our Heavenly Creator; because in the end, this is all that matters...<<

That only matters to christians. And besides , one of the facets of christianty is that the "perfect" morality is unatainable because of the nature of SIN. Only one has ever achieved it, and you worship Him as a God because to you he IS God. Good luck achieving it. And besides the fact that I don't believe in "perfect" morality, I already have one with which I'm very happy.

shima
March 28th, 2003, 08:31 AM
To christians, there are people and there is God. People are insignificant compared to God,so only God is important to them. All other things are not. To atheists, all there is is people. Therefore, people are IMPORTANT. Which is a very good incentive to develop a good morale. Christians derive their morale from the bible, which is filled with hororstiories of rape, murder and torture committed by the followers of God. And that they call a "good" morality. Go figure.......

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by temple 2000
Zak...I have seen bodies cease to function and rigor mortis set in. Do you think I have led such a protected, sheltered life? ...Gimme a break, man.No offense intended, T2K. Realize that since I do not know you personally, I have no idea regarding your life experience, gender, or age. All I have to go on is a few posts and your profile. That's why I qualified the post. To my understanding, most people below middle-age in the U.S. have never actually seen another human being die.


BUT, prove to me that there is no afterlife and I will stop hoping ...How can one prove that? I doubt I could be any more successful than you could proving the non-existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or garden fairies, trolls, or honest politicians.

I cannot prove what does not exist. I base my belief on the evidence I have available. You base your belief on hope.

Therein lies a major difference between us, T2K.

Perhaps you can produce some empirical evidence supporting continued non-corporeal existence for us to consider... :confused:

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by shima
To christians, there are people and there is God. People are insignificant compared to God,so only God is important to them. All other things are not. To atheists, all there is is people. Therefore, people are IMPORTANT.

Succinctly stated, Shima. :thumb:

temple2006
March 28th, 2003, 09:45 AM
But Zak, Lack of evidence is not evidence anymore than my lack of proof positive that an afterlife exists. I suspect that atheists live happy productive lives, but so do I. I enjoy my life so much that I want it to continue and continue and continue. I sense an immense longing in myself. I do not fear death because for me dying is being born into another dimension just as emerging from my mother's womb I was born into a very different dimension, a world of light that my senses could and did experience. I use the preceeding as a metaphor. The poet, Gibran says, what is dying but standing in the wind and melting into the sun. :)

Zakath
March 28th, 2003, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by temple 2000
But Zak, Lack of evidence is not evidence anymore than my lack of proof positive that an afterlife exists. Truly said. Lack of evidence is just that - NO EVIDENCE!

Without evidence, all that's left is to either say that something doesn't exist or to fill the perceived void with comforting fantasies...


I suspect that atheists live happy productive lives, but so do I. I should hope so. Religionists continually claim that embracing their particular set of beliefs will provide happiness and productivity.


I enjoy my life so much that I want it to continue and continue and continue. I sense an immense longing in myself. "Wanting don't make it so." (See "NO EVIDENCE" above).

Z Man
March 28th, 2003, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by shima
However, to you all goals other than God are not worhty. And this mindset has caused great problems in this world, because all other things are NOT important. So, solving world hunger is NOT important, peace is NOT important, the environment is not important.

You got it backwards: To love God and put your hope in Him gives one a greater understanding of the world around them. Everything becomes important to that individual, especially the things that involve charity. But a life without God is meaningless, and hopeless. All the things you may accomplish in life amounts to nothing in the end. NOTHING!

Life has no purpose
Unless it's Yours
Life without You has no goal
All that fulfills me
Is doing Your Will
Knowing that You're in control

All That I Am
Insyderz

shima
March 28th, 2003, 08:37 PM
>>You got it backwards: To love God and put your hope in Him gives one a greater understanding of the world around them. <<

No, it doesn't. It gives them a DIFFERENT understanding, sure, but not nessecarily a better one. Ofcourse, you think its better but that is mainly because you cannot see the difference between belief and knowledge.

>>Everything becomes important to that individual, especially the things that involve charity. <<

Really? That is certainly not the attitiude of most christians.

>>But a life without God is meaningless, and hopeless. All the things you may accomplish in life amounts to nothing in the end. NOTHING!<<

Once again: helping others isn't nothing, a cure for cancer isn't nothing, and love isn't nothing. Life isn't meaningless TO ME, and life isn't HOPELESS to me. In the end, that is all that matters.

But what about you: striving for a "perfect" morality you know you canot attain because the only person who could was God himself. Seems pretty hopeless to me.

Freak
March 28th, 2003, 11:31 PM
Originally posted by temple 2000
Zak...I have seen bodies cease to function and rigor mortis set in. Do you think I have led such a protected, sheltered life? BUT, prove to me that there is no afterlife and I will stop hoping but I will not stop 'living' as I do not DO THINGS in the hope of getting some gold stars or something. Gimme a break, man.

Zakath continues to believe he alone has experienced life in the fullest. How wrong he is.

Zakath, I have lived in war zones of third world nations. I have seen the extreme suffering & death. Until you have witnessed the extreme evil & injustice I have witnessed firsthand, it might be best to keep thy mouth shut.

Zakath
March 29th, 2003, 08:12 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath continues to believe he alone has experienced life in the fullest. How wrong he is.Hardly. I'll leave all such absolutes to you religionists...


Zakath, I have lived in war zones of third world nations. I have seen the extreme suffering & death. So what, Jay? My point was that many, many Americans, particularly the younger set, have never had first hand experience of being present at the death of a human being.

Many of us have spent time in the third world. We just don't wear it on our sleeves and brag about it. Some professionals aren't even allowed to discuss what they've seen due to the nature of their "business".

Until you have witnessed the extreme evil & injustice I have witnessed firsthand, it might be best to keep thy mouth shut. You don't know me personally, so you have no idea what I've seen or witnessed unless I post things here. Why do my little ramblings perturb you so much? Is doubt and unbelief cutting into your book profits or the bookings for your speaking engagements?

I find it amusing that someone who is allegedly backed by the ultimate power in the universe is afraid of a little competition in the marketplace of ideas. Even your religion is reliant on simple market psychology, Jay. If your ideas and teachings really are perceived of as valuable and superior by those you sell them to then they will win out. If not, they won't.

Freak
March 29th, 2003, 08:34 AM
Zakath, thanks for the sermonette. Why did you ever leave the pastorate?

You said: I find it amusing that someone who is allegedly backed by the ultimate power in the universe is afraid of a little competition in the marketplace of ideas. Even your religion is reliant on simple market psychology, Jay. If your ideas and teachings really are perceived of as valuable and superior by those you sell them to then they will win out. If not, they won't.

Yes, my ideas which are based on the Scriptures are superior to those you hold. This is a fact.

2,000 years of the growth of the Body of Christ prove my ideas are victorious.

Zakath
March 29th, 2003, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath, thanks for the sermonette. Why did you ever leave the pastorate? Because my conscience wouldn't let me continue to make money off of preaching falsehood.


Yes, my ideas which are based on the Scriptures are superior to those you hold. This is a fact. Only if you consider a "fact" to be something you believe but cannot prove. I would consider such asubjective opinion, not a fact.


2,000 years of the growth of the Body of Christ prove my ideas are victorious. Growth? Have you looked at things over the last fifty years?

Of course, depending entirely on how one defines "Christian", there are less than 1/6th of the world professing adherence to that religion. Islam has done just almost that well in about 2/3rds the time. Look at the growth statistics and get your head out of the sand. Unless something changes radically in the next 20 years, Christians are likely to be second place to the Muslims.

BTW, if you want to see interesting growth rates, look at the growth of those claiming no religious belief in Europe and the U.S. during the last twenty years... ;)

Freak
March 29th, 2003, 08:52 AM
Zakath, the truth is truth. Truth is not falsehood. You cannot prove otherwise. You cannot make 2+22=56. It is always true to state 2+22=24. Something you can change. Jesus is the truth. You cannot change it even with your dislike for Jesus (who by the way loves you).

I know this is hard for you to grasp but keep on trying.

Zakath
March 29th, 2003, 08:57 AM
Originally posted by Freak
Zakath, the truth is truth. Truth is not falsehood. But what you claim to be "truth" is based on your subjective belief, not empirial evidence, Jay. Thus it is your opinion, not verifiable truth.

It's America so everyone's entitled to express their opinion, but don't expect everyone to believe it because you or your religious book says it's so.

I know this is hard for you to grasp, but keep trying. ;)

itsjustdave1988
March 29th, 2003, 01:48 PM
Zakath,

Ever been in love? Could you prove it?

God bless,

itsjustdave1988
March 29th, 2003, 01:50 PM
Zakath,

Also, I'm wondering what led you from Christianity to atheism.

God bless,

Freak
March 29th, 2003, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by itsjustdave1988
Zakath,

Also, I'm wondering what led you from Christianity to atheism.

God bless,

Zakath has made it clear. He stated a few posts ago why he left ministry for atheism:

Because my conscience wouldn't let me continue to make money off of preaching falsehood.

itsjustdave1988
March 29th, 2003, 02:41 PM
Well, I'm sure there are many factors for rejecting Theism. I would expect the main factor would be an underlying personal experience (negative), just as often the case for accepting theism (positive). Pure rationalism rarely brings about much conviction.

I for one don't see many proofs, by the strict sense of the word, for either atheism or theism. However, I've come to accept theism, not because of proofs, but due to many converging clues.

I'm an engineer and a military member. I look at things methodically and, although I never have complete information, I'm often called upon to decide a course of action with incomplete yet trustworthy evidence. Wavering in indecision rarely allows you to advance in any endeavor. Thus, I've decided for theism. Have I taken the wrong road? I dunno. I don't think so. I believe the converging clues support the road I've chosen.

The goal of Religion, I believe, is "the attempt of man, conscious of his helplessness, to unite himself with the powers which do actually dominate." (R. B. Perry, "Religion. An Introduction"). So, given this definition, it seems far better to me to be religious rather than irreligious. Atheism seems a relatively new and novel idea of man compared to all the ideas of history. What are the odds that this new path is correct? What happens if I take a chance on theism and I'm incorrect? Do I face a different fate than the atheists in the end? On the other hand, what happens if I choose atheism and I'm incorrect? What a blunder that would be!

I like this article with regard to understanding the "heretical imperative"* of choosing either to be religious or not:

Religion. An Introduction - Lectures on the Harvard Classics (1909-1914) by R.B. Perry (http://www.bartleby.com/60/221.html)

*From the title of a book by Sociologist Peter Berger. He uses the original root meaning of the word "heretical", that is "to choose." I recommend his book to all atheists and theists, although, it's not an easy reader, as he's a sociologist, who by nature do not write simply.

God bless,

Freak
March 29th, 2003, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by itsjustdave1988
Well, I'm sure there are many factors for rejecting Theism. I would expect the main factor would be an underlying personal experience (negative), just as often the case for accepting theism (positive). Pure rationalism rarely brings about much conviction.

I for one don't see many proofs, by the strict sense of the word, for either atheism or theism. However, I've come to accept theism, not because of proofs, but due to many converging clues.

I'm an engineer and a military member. I look at things methodically and, although I never have complete information, I'm often called upon to decide a course of action with incomplete yet trustworthy evidence. Wavering in indecision rarely allows you to advance in any endeavor. Thus, I've decided for theism. Have I taken the wrong road? I dunno. I don't think so. I believe the converging clues support the road I've chosen.

The goal of Religion, I believe, is "the attempt of man, conscious of his helplessness, to unite himself with the powers which do actually dominate." (R. B. Perry, "Religion. An Introduction"). So, given this definition, I'm seems far better to me to be religious rather than irreligious. Atheism seems a relatively new and novel idea of man compared to all the ideas of history. What are the odds that this new path is correct? What happens if I take a chance on theism and I'm incorrect? Do I face a different fate than the atheists in the end? On the other hand, what happens if I choose atheism and I'm incorrect? What a blunder that would be!

I like this article with regard to understanding the "heretical imperative"* of choosing either to be religious or not:

Religion. An Introduction - Lectures on the Harvard Classics (1909-1914) by R.B. Perry (http://www.bartleby.com/60/221.html)

*From the title of a book by Sociologist Peter Berger. He uses the original root meaning of the word "heretical", that is "to choose." I recommend his book to all atheists and theists, although, it's not an easy reader, as he's a sociologist, who by nature do not write simply.

God bless,

Excellent post. Perhaps Zakath will think about it.

shima
March 29th, 2003, 08:09 PM
>>The goal of Religion, I believe, is "the attempt of man, conscious of his helplessness, to unite himself with the powers which do actually dominate." (R. B. Perry, "Religion. An Introduction"). So, given this definition, I'm seems far better to me to be religious rather than irreligious. <<

However, it means that all the gods invented by those theists are not real, but rather figments of their imagination. As we understand the "dominating" powers more clearly, we see that they do NOT posess the randomness of a human personality, but rather obey strict natural laws.

>>Atheism seems a relatively new and novel idea of man compared to all the ideas of history. What are the odds that this new path is correct? What happens if I take a chance on theism and I'm incorrect? Do I face a different fate than the atheists in the end? On the other hand, what happens if I choose atheism and I'm incorrect? What a blunder that would be! <<

So, you have a choise: be a atheist or be a theist. When you choose to be a theist, then choose your religion.

Should you choose theism and you choose the incorrect religion, then the effects are just as bad as being an atheist. However, atheists will have at least ONE life that isn't wasted, as they tend to follow their own ideals, and not some religious ideals.

As there are very many religions on this world, the chance of choosing the correct one (if there is any ofcourse) is small. The chance that one religion in particular is "correct" doesn't depend on the amount of followers. So, since we cannot predict in any way that our current choise of religion is true, why not be an atheist in the mean time? At least you get to CHOOSE this life as you see fit. In the case of theism, you stand a very good chance of having NO choise of life.

Should, for example. Hinduism with its idea about reincarnation and Karma be true, then it wouldn't particularly matter if you are an atheist or not. Rather, what WOULD matter is your choise of "morality" in life. I tend to believe atheists have a far more social choise of morality than most theists, mainly because to a atheist people are the ONLY important things. Theists tend to believe that their god/gods are more important than people and thus neglegt the importance of people.

itsjustdave1988
March 30th, 2003, 03:42 PM
Shima,


However, it means that all the gods invented by those theists are not real, but rather figments of their imagination. As we understand the "dominating" powers more clearly, we see that they do NOT posess the randomness of a human personality, but rather obey strict natural laws.

I disagree. What evidence do you have that brings you to this conclusion? On what do you base the claim that atheists see the "dominating" power more clearly?

Certainly a theist is allowed to use figurative language to describe the attributes of God without then making God a figment of the imagination. If I can describe the sun as setting and rising without scandal, then certainly I'm allowed to describing God as "Father." My choice of wording does not prove God is an imagination any more than it proves the sun is not real. My religion is not opposed to Natural Law.


Should you choose theism and you choose the incorrect religion, then the effects are just as bad as being an atheist. However, atheists will have at least ONE life that isn't wasted, as they tend to follow their own ideals, and not some religious ideals.

False dichotomy - either I choose a religious life which is a waste, or I choose atheism and my will is free. This is a false dichotomy because you haven't proven that a religious life is a waste. You also imply that religious people are not following their own free will. I am.

Also, how are the effects of choosing the wrong religion "just as bad" as being an atheist? You must be mixing me up with some other theist who believes in exclusive membership to their religious denomination as a requirement for salvation.

I have merely decided in accordance with my free will, based upon the available evidence for religion versus irreligion. I'm admitting that man is not the power than dominates, and I'm choosing to seek to unite myself to the powers which do actually dominate.

That is, I am living my own ideals as I have adopted a way of life which brings joy into my life like I never had before, whether it's the "wrong" religion or not. Like R.B. Perry concludes in the article I referenced,


Thus it is fair to conclude that religion is universal in two senses. On the one hand it springs from a universal need. On the other hand, it possesses a universal value, and cannot fail, however much of error or blindness there may be in it, to elevate and dignify life. True religion is better than false, but it is not less certain that religion is better than irreligion.

Religion is a "win, win" situation. If merely seeking to do God's will pleases God, even if I goof it up along the way, then there's hope for any theist. If the atheist is correct, I have nothing to lose. Where's the down side again?


As there are very many religions on this world, the chance of choosing the correct one (if there is any ofcourse) is small.

I've studied all the mainstream world religions and the choice seemed pretty easy for me. One stands out among the rest. However, the point is I haven't mentally closed the door to religion, and so I could continue the endeavor to seek the power that does dominate. The evidence does not suggest that the power that dominates is man.

Also, even if choose the incorrect religion, I am seeking God through reason and faith, and doing my best to do his will. I've put myself on a path toward something greater than my selfish needs. Seeking to do God's will can only please God, no matter what blunders I make along the way.


The chance that one religion in particular is "correct" doesn't depend on the amount of followers. So, since we cannot predict in any way that our current choise of religion is true, why not be an atheist in the mean time?

Let me give you an analogy. I took Quantum Physics in college. We know that we are not correct. There's something incomplete about the prevailing theory of physics. Also, we know that in our lifetime, we probably won't figure it all out. However, does that stop us from trying? I sure hope not. Because, no matter how much our theory of physics is in incorrect, however much of error or blindness there may be in it, we know that it can serve to improve our human existence. Just because it's unlikely that we have all the answers of physics, doesn't mean I should stop trying to figure out physics. Likewise, it doesn't mean that physics does not have value to humanity. And although we don't have all the certainty we wish we have, we're pretty confident that the choices we made thus far have lead us down the right path in physics. The same could be said of theology.

We know we don't have all the theological answers. However, despite not having all the facts, we choose to reject some opinion in favor of others. Do you stumble through life with that much doubt about your day to day choices? If not, why do you assume that I've made choices which I cannot say with more confidence than not that they are true?

Atheism is one among the plurality of choices that you speak of. The chance that the form of atheism that you chose is correct is no greater than form of theism I chose. A specific form of atheism is just as much a rejection of all the other choices as a specific form of theism. We have a heretical imperative. As I said before, I'm methodical and must choose, as indecision gets you nowhere in any endeavor. I took a top down approach to theology. I looked at the evidence and concluded that atheism was a dead end choice. What ever is right, I believe it's behind door #2, that is, theism.


At least you get to CHOOSE this life as you see fit. In the case of theism, you stand a very good chance of having NO choise of life.

You must have had a very bad theistic experience in your life. Because I cannot even relate to what you are saying.

I have studied atheism and theism, and practiced many theologies in my quest to learn the truth. To freely choose any one of these theistic beliefs is an improvement over atheism, in my experience. I choose this life as I see fit. I choose theism. And, when I look back at my choice, I wouldn't have had it any other way.


Should, for example. Hinduism with its idea about reincarnation and Karma be true, then it wouldn't particularly matter if you are an atheist or not.

I believe a Hindu would certainly disagree with you. When I studied Hinduism, I believe it's attempt at bringing some meaning, some sense and spirituality to the world and our relationship to it was much better, in my opinion than the "life is absurd" theory described by the atheist, Albert Camus, for example.


Rather, what WOULD matter is your choise of "morality" in life. I tend to believe atheists have a far more social choise of morality than most theists,

:rolleyes: False dichotomy, again. A theist or atheist can live a moral life. I depends upon the kind of atheism or theism chosen and upon each individual choice we make in our lives. Morality matters. However, I don't believe it is all that matters.


mainly because to a atheist people are the ONLY important things.

Yes. And in my experience, I've found this conclusion to be incorrect. People are important. But I see no evidence to suggest that people are the ONLY important things.


Theists tend to believe that their god/gods are more important than people and thus neglegt the importance of people.

I disagree. My experience is that people who think of themselves as NOT the ultimate power in the world tend to aspire toward a life of selflessness. There are no doubt exceptions to the rule in both atheism and theism. Most successful religions are "ethical" religions. For example, hospitals were not the invention of atheistic communities (have the ever really been any?), but instead were invented by Catholic monastic communities.

A question for you Shima or any atheist...

Do you believe Man is merely the most fortunate animal on the planet? It is obvious to me that man has the upper hand with regard to controlling his environment. However, do you believe that man is merely enjoying the fruits of mere random chance?

God bless,

One Eyed Jack
March 30th, 2003, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Truly said. Lack of evidence is just that - NO EVIDENCE!

Without evidence, all that's left is to either say that something doesn't exist or to fill the perceived void with comforting fantasies...

Absence of evidence isn't the same thing as evidence of absence. Surely an intelligent fellow such as yourself understands this.

Flipper
March 30th, 2003, 11:53 PM
Dave wrote:



Do you believe Man is merely the most fortunate animal on the planet? It is obvious to me that man has the upper hand with regard to controlling his environment. However, do you believe that man is merely enjoying the fruits of mere random chance?


Fortunate? I don't think that's an appropriate word. It just is, apparently as a function of self-awareness, intelligence, and language, and opposable thumbs.

Yes, many of us enjoy a life of comfort with a long (for our species) life expectancy, and the assurance of care to ease our passing when it comes. But there are far more of our kind who will live short and hard lives, in many cases rooting around in the garbage of those more fortunate than themselves. And, although we have the ability to indefinitely postpone the predictions of Malthus, I do not believe we have abrogated them.

Is having the upper hand on your environment evidence of fortune? What if you were slowly but surely squandering your fortune through overproduction? Surely existing and surviving multiple extinctions over hundreds of millions of years is a better example? I'm not, as you can tell, enamoured by this word "fortune".

Now, if by "fruits" you mean the world, its life and its resources, then that's a different question. I would say it is the outcome of chance, but not purely random chance. Nature doesn't work like that. To give a basic example; some chemical reactions have better chances than other kinds depending on the environmental conditions. That is not purely random.

One Eyed Jack
March 31st, 2003, 12:02 AM
I think, by fruits, he's speaking of man's position as the dominant life form on the planet. Do you think we just happened to be the ones to end up there?

Flipper
March 31st, 2003, 12:31 AM
One Eyed Jack:

We have not achieved dominance in the sense of numbers, or in longevity of our species. Our dominance is in the sense of the ability to change to world around us, and to learn more about it.

It didn't "just happen". Certain factors, some of which I already identified (language, opposable thumbs, etc) were required to ensure our dominance in this area. Perhaps the key random event I would identify is the extinction event that removed the dinosaurs from the equation.

This opened up new opportunities for mammalian species. But only the primates had/have the shorter term potential to develop the traits that we know contribute towards this dominance.

Did it have to be Homo Sapiens? No, not necessarily. However, it is highly likely that any other contender would have to be a primate - the other intelligent species that we know of are evolutionarily far removed from tool use. In fact, our closest competitors in terms of intelligence appears to have been a hominid known as Neanderthal Man. In the end though, it appears as though H. Sapiens (or other factors yet unknown) removed any other hominid competitors from the equation.

One Eyed Jack
March 31st, 2003, 12:51 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
One Eyed Jack:

We have not achieved dominance in the sense of numbers, or in longevity of our species. Our dominance is in the sense of the ability to change to world around us, and to learn more about it.

Yeah, but isn't that the only way that really matters?


It didn't "just happen".

Could it have been guided by some unseen intelligence then? If not, then "just happened" is pretty much your only option isn't it?


Certain factors, some of which I already identified (language, opposable thumbs, etc) were required to ensure our dominance in this area. Perhaps the key random event I would identify is the extinction event that removed the dinosaurs from the equation.

This opened up new opportunities for mammalian species. But only the primates had/have the shorter term potential to develop the traits that we know contribute towards this dominance.

Did it have to be Homo Sapiens? No, not necessarily. However, it is highly likely that any other contender would have to be a primate - the other intelligent species that we know of are evolutionarily far removed from tool use. In fact, our closest competitors in terms of intelligence appears to have been a hominid known as Neanderthal Man. In the end though, it appears as though H. Sapiens (or other factors yet unknown) removed any other hominid competitors from the equation.

So basically what you're saying is it just happened to be man. Now that might work for you, but I don't believe in evolution. I don't see how life can even come into existence in the first place without an intelligent designer, much less evolve into more complex forms.

Flipper
March 31st, 2003, 02:08 AM
One-eyed-Jack:


Yeah, but isn't that the only way that really matters?


Not if we become extinct.


"Just happened" is pretty much your only option isn't it?


It's not a very useful way at looking at things. There are, I feel, probabilities that can be attached to different events. When ice forms, does it "just happen", or is it because certain criteria were met in a specific environment?

So, in an environment of 100 degrees centigrade, the probability of ice forming is effectively zero.

Your "just happened" takes all sorts of possible configurations, reactions, and events over time and condenses them into one rather glib phrase. For example, selective pressures seem broadly directional and don't, I feel, fit comfortably within a "just happened" category.

And you do believe in evolution (I suspect). Just not the kind that leads to new taxa.

shima
March 31st, 2003, 03:37 AM
>>I disagree. What evidence do you have that brings you to this conclusion? On what do you base the claim that atheists see the "dominating" power more clearly? <<

Science, mostly. The world is dominated by disease (biology), weather (physics), earthquackes (geology). These are not random forces, but can be accurately described by science. The only other dominating force (humanity) can ALSO be described using psychology. And I did NOT say that ATHEISTS see the "dominating" power more clearly.

>>Also, how are the effects of choosing the wrong religion "just as bad" as being an atheist? You must be mixing me up with some other theist who believes in exclusive membership to their religious denomination as a requirement for salvation. <<

Suppose Islam is true. Then your belief in Jezus will not save you from hell. Neither will my atheism save me from hell.

There are two kinds of religions in this world: one which requires BELIEF in the right deity to be allowed into heaven, and one which requires a certain amount of "good" actions from a person to be allowed into heaven/reincarnation etc.

If one of the first kind is true, then it would ONLY matter to a theist if they choose the "right" religion. If they didn't, they go to the same place as the atheist. If one of the second is true, then it would NOT make one slight bit of difference if you were a theist or an atheist.

>>True religion is better than false, but it is not less certain that religion is better than irreligion. <<

In what way is theism BETTER than atheism?

>>Religion is a "win, win" situation. If merely seeking to do God's will pleases God, even if I goof it up along the way, then there's hope for any theist. If the atheist is correct, I have nothing to lose. Where's the down side again? <<

Nope, religion is NOT a win/win situation. As I said before, you presume that either christianity is true or it is not. If christianity is NOT true but Islam IS true, then are you STILL in a winning situation? Nope, I didn't think so either. Or, what if Hinduism is true? Would I be in a losing situation? Nope, didn't think so either.

Besides, what will God think of that rather calculating reason to believe in Jezus? Why not be an atheist for your entire life and convert 5 minutes before you are about to die? THAT would be a win/win situation.

>>I've studied all the mainstream world religions and the choice seemed pretty easy for me. <<

Its somehow always easy for every believer. Its just that other people come to different conclusions than you. Are they blind, or are you? Since most religions are orthagonal to all others, its pretty clear that they cannot ALL be true. And thus this raises the question: how do you KNOW that your religion is "correct" while all others are not?

>>One stands out among the rest. However, the point is I haven't mentally closed the door to religion, and so I could continue the endeavor to seek the power that does dominate. The evidence does not suggest that the power that dominates is man. <<

They ALL stand out. Yes, some things are unique to christianity, like there are unique things to Hinduism and Islam as well.

>>Also, even if choose the incorrect religion, I am seeking God through reason and faith, and doing my best to do his will. I've put myself on a path toward something greater than my selfish needs. Seeking to do God's will can only please God, no matter what blunders I make along the way.<<

Yes, but it will mightily DISPLEASE Allah for seeking such an obviously "false" God.

>>The same could be said of theology.<<

Nope. Science works by measuring real data. Thus, while we know that certain parts are incomplete, we nevertheless know that some parts ARE a very good description of reality. This does NOT apply to theology, mainly because there is no way to verify which parts are "true" and which are not. Therefore, while science works towards a complete description, theology merely works towards a different one. But the problem is that it is impossible to verify if the different one is more "true" than the others.

>>We know we don't have all the theological answers. However, despite not having all the facts, we choose to reject some opinion in favor of others. <<

In theology there are no facts, merely assertions and belief.

>>Do you stumble through life with that much doubt about your day to day choices? <<

Sometimes yes, mostly no.

>>If not, why do you assume that I've made choices which I cannot say with more confidence than not that they are true?<<

However, day-to-day choises involve things like crossing the road. I've established as a pattern that it takes a certain time for a car to cover the distance between its place NOW and my place NOW.

The effect of christianity can only be seen when you are dead. The so-called effects that are there when you are ALIVE are not unique to christianity.

>>You must have had a very bad theistic experience in your life. Because I cannot even relate to what you are saying.<<

My negative experience with christianity can be seen all over the TV at this point. Somehow, most christians just ASSUME that their opinion is somehow "God inspired" and thus "true" while all other opinions are not true. I've seen someone who was able to free herself from christianity, and it was THE most important step in her life. Christianity has some very dubious moral values, and this world would be better off without it.

>>The chance that the form of atheism that you chose is correct is no greater than form of theism I chose. A specific form of atheism is just as much a rejection of all the other choices as a specific form of theism.<<

'xcuse me, but how many forms of atheism do you think there are?

>>I believe a Hindu would certainly disagree with you. When I studied Hinduism, I believe it's attempt at bringing some meaning, some sense and spirituality to the world and our relationship to it was much better, in my opinion than the "life is absurd" theory described by the atheist, Albert Camus, for example. <<

In what way will my reincarnation be influenced by being an atheist rather than a christian? I don't think life is absurd, but I don't think life is all about God either. You have some strange ideas about atheism my friend.

>>Yes. And in my experience, I've found this conclusion to be incorrect. People are important. But I see no evidence to suggest that people are the ONLY important things.<<

Yes. You would add "God" to that list.

>>I disagree. My experience is that people who think of themselves as NOT the ultimate power in the world tend to aspire toward a life of selflessness. There are no doubt exceptions to the rule in both atheism and theism. Most successful religions are "ethical" religions. For example, hospitals were not the invention of atheistic communities (have the ever really been any?), but instead were invented by Catholic monastic communities. <<

I tend to think that, since there IS an ultimate power in the world, christians do not really care about this world.

And the "ethics" of Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus is "better" than that of atheists?

There is a REASON why christianity has so much influence: POWER. The church was THE most powerfull group around the middle ages, and USED that power to spread its influence and make war (in one form or another) on all other religions. Therefore, being an atheist was NOT a survival trait in western europe at that time. There were no atheist communities for one reason: the church would slaughter them like dogs, all the while screaming that THEY have they have the ONLY "true" religion and that everyone should be converted by pain of death. Pretty easy to see why christianity would establish the first hospital.

>>Do you believe Man is merely the most fortunate animal on the planet?<<

Yes. We have evolved into contiousness.

>>It is obvious to me that man has the upper hand with regard to controlling his environment. However, do you believe that man is merely enjoying the fruits of mere random chance? <<

Yes. Some evolutionary elements added to our survival. One being that SOCIAL groups tend to live longer. Also, because there are social groups we could evolve our intelligence.

shima
March 31st, 2003, 09:14 AM
>>So basically what you're saying is it just happened to be man. Now that might work for you, but I don't believe in evolution. I don't see how life can even come into existence in the first place without an intelligent designer, much less evolve into more complex forms.<<

Well, that you don't BELIEVE in evolution doesn't mean its not true. Evolution has a tremendous amount of evidence speaking for it, which is more than can be said for most religious "creation" myths.

Science as yet doesn't understand how life can come about. Science is making progress, sure, but we are a long way from producing life ourselves. And even if we did, it wouldn't be PROOF that life on earth actually began that way, because it may be just one of many possibilities. It WOULD disprove the notion that life REQUIRES intelligent design.

Evolution has a lot of evidence for them, and again and again the mechanism of "mutation" and "natural selection" DO produce what some have described as "specified complexity" or "information". That this has certain religious implications, especially for christianity, is the main reason that the theory is opposed by some people. Strangely, these people do NOT oppose science itself, nor most of the other knowledge that science has gathered, but only those that prove that their literal interpretation of the bible cannot be correct.

itsjustdave1988
March 31st, 2003, 09:46 AM
Probability conditioned upon prior events is still probability. If man came to have the upper hand based purely upon the laws of probability, without any outside intervention, they why is man an outlier, statistically speaking?

For example, if man is in first place with regard to the ability to dominate this planet (either positively or negatively), then where's the second place species? Man, it seems is such an outlier statistically speaking that it brings Darwin's theory of evolution by random processes into doubt. I believe there's plenty of evidence to suggest we have evolved to where we are now. However, I don't admit that random processes can account for the statistical outlier called "man."

We have been to the moon. I would think the second place species would have at least discovered how to harness and exploit fire by now.

I love science. I've been a missile systems engineer and spacecraft engineer for much of my military career. I launch things into space. It's a blast :)

It is my study of math and science which confirms in my mind that there is a God, a universal first cause, an intelligent designer. The mathematical improbability that the outlier called "man" came to be an outlier without some other influence is as of yet unsatisfactorily explained by science. Opposable thumbs fails to convince.

Probability, even event conditioned, doesn't support the gap between first place (man) and a second place species.

God bless,

itsjustdave1988
March 31st, 2003, 09:49 AM
Shima, I'm still reading your stuff. However, my office insists that I do some work now and then.

God bless,

shima
March 31st, 2003, 10:11 AM
>>Probability conditioned upon prior events is still probability. If man came to have the upper hand based purely upon the laws of probability, without any outside intervention, they why is man an outlier, statistically speaking? <<

Because, given enough events, there are ALWAYS outliers. Yes, it could have been the dolfins, in which case we were NOT here talking about it.

>>For example, if man is in first place with regard to the ability to dominate this planet (either positively or negatively), then where's the second place species?<<

There is NO second place species at this point. It would be an amazing coincidence if TWO contious species would emerge at any given moment in time. The dominant species quickly alters the environment to ensure that the second one doesn't arise, if they take just that little bit longer. Given that we are talking about 8 million years of evolution, and a dominant position for less than 10,000 years, the chance that TWO species emerge at exactly the same time in opposite ends of this earth is remote to say the least.

>>We have been to the moon. I would think the second place species would have at least discovered how to harness and exploit fire by now.<<

No. It requires a great amount of evolution in the right direction to ensure this. Apes and monkeys lack the stimulating environment to do so, unless we put them in cages and mess around with their environment.

>>It is my study of math and science which confirms in my mind that there is a God, a universal first cause, an intelligent designer. The mathematical improbability that the outlier called "man" came to be an outlier without some other influence is as of yet unsatisfactorily explained by science. <<

Ofcourse, but these calculations assume that this EXACT organism must evolve into something contious. What you do NOT calculate is the chance that SOME organism can become dominant and contious. Its the same as the difference between calculating the chance of exactly ONE throw of 4D6 rolling 24 (1/1296) and the chance of rolling 24 at least ONCE given 10,000 dice rolls (99.96%). So, taking exactly ONE organism is the wrong approach, but taking the ENTIRE organic population and THEN calculating the odds of ONE outlier produces entirely different results.

>>Probability, even event conditioned, doesn't support the gap between first place (man) and a second place species.<<

The rise of the FIRST species rather spoils things for the second one. You are assuming that the arise of one dominant species will NOT alter the rise of a SECOND one. However, odds are that mankind has rather spoilt things for most other organisms because of our influence of the environment.

Besides, our own history is about 10,00 years old and only for the last few 100 years have we really been exploring this world. What are the odds of TWO species emerging at EXACTLY the same time (200 years or so) and EXACTLY the same evolutionary "depth" AND at opposite sides of the globe (so we would not have met them before they become dominant too). Given that our evolution took about 6-8 million years, these odds are rather small.

As you are well aware, one event is very little evidence either for or against a theory given that the arguement being used is CHANCE. We need MORE events (like life on other planets) to assertain what the chances of life evolving and intelligent life evolving may be.

itsjustdave1988
March 31st, 2003, 12:01 PM
Shima,


Because, given enough events, there are ALWAYS outliers. Yes, it could have been the dolfins, in which case we were NOT here talking about it.

Given enough events, the distribution fits the process. Pure random processes may have a normal distribution, for example. Extreme outliers, from my study of prob and stats, always have to have a cause. Random processes do not result in extreme outliers like the one called 'man'. Therefore, man's status as first place is no mere result of random variation, otherwise I would expect a distribution with the second place species as an outlier, but less than that of man. Where is the second place species? How come we can go to the moon and the second place species have not yet navigated its way across the Atlantic, or in the case of Dolphins, found its way toward exploring the land masses?


There is NO second place species at this point. It would be an amazing coincidence if TWO contious species would emerge at any given moment in time.

What do you suppose the statistical distribution is? Normal curve? Poisson curve? In all distributions that I am aware of, there should be a close second, unless there was some extreme outlier which has some other external influence that was not affecting the others. I believe man is an extreme outlier. All the evidence suggests this. Therefore, I conclude that there's some external influence which is the cause, which is not affecting the rest of the pack.

As I said, I'm trying to approach this methodically, given the tools of math and science which I've come to believe. Darwin's theory is based upon random variation. It should then match the laws of probability. Why the extreme outlier? I read "Beginnings" by my favority atheist, Isaac Asimov. He does a great job explaining evolution. However, his explanation lacks an answer as to why man is the quintessential extreme outlier when compared to all other animals on this planet.

Life finds away to adapt and overcome. Your theory that "man" as the first place species is keeping the chimpanzee at a distant second, for example, and not allowing the random variations to work its way forward is unconvincing. Compare man's dominance to the status of all species before man. Before man, was there an extreme outlier? Sure there was a dominant species, however, it doesn't seem that they were so dominant that they were clearly an extreme outlier. This is not the case with man. We're not like the best dinasour. We are much better equipped, more advanced, etc.

In short, there is no biological precedent compared to man in pre-human existence. Random variation would not have resulted in such an extreme outlier. Check all known probability density curves where random variation is the supposed influencing process. The gap between first and second is never great. An extreme outlier always indicates some other influence. Always. If I'm going to stick to what I learned in probability and stats, I must admit this conclusion.

God bless,

shima
March 31st, 2003, 02:25 PM
>>Given enough events, the distribution fits the process. Pure random processes may have a normal distribution, for example. Extreme outliers, from my study of prob and stats, always have to have a cause. Random processes do not result in extreme outliers like the one called 'man'.<<

Even the normal distribution has outliers. The chance of some extremely LARGE number is NEVER zero and you know it.

>>In all distributions that I am aware of, there should be a close second, unless there was some extreme outlier which has some other external influence that was not affecting the others. <<

I have given some arguements why there doesn't have to be one. You are assuming a one-time target event for your distribution.

Now i'll give some MORE arguements:
But evolution works different. The evolutions NEVER stop. Intelligence for example is a self-propelling and self-evolving mechanism. The difference between us and apes is very small, but the most likely "big" difference is our SOCIAL STRUCTURE. Yes, apes have a social structure. But they DON'T have the sophisticated language we have. As such, we have developed the process of "learning from OTHER peoples experiences", something an ape cannot do because they don't have the nessecary TOOLS for it.

Thus, our "giant leap" towards number two is not ONLY because of evolution, but also of "social evolution" (for want of a better word). The main difference is SOCIETY, not biology. We have developed fire, the wheel, the pully, the crowbar etc because we have a system to STORE knowledge beyond the memory of a single individual. Therefore, discoveries by single people can be SHARED with others, and they can share it back.

Thus, it is most likely that there are very MANY seconds and thirds, but we are far ahead because of our social structure. Biologically, we are not that much ahead, given that monkeys have opposing thums as well. Dolphins are also not far behind, but they lack ARMS with which to make tools to CHALLENGE the environment.

You do not see those seconds and thirds as such, because they haven't build cities. They probably never will now, because they are at least 500,000 years away and we will most likely KILL them if they even showed so much as a hint in that direction.

Flipper
March 31st, 2003, 02:57 PM
Dave:

Remember the neanderthals? They would probably be the closest we had to your second tier species. They're extinct now.



I would think the second place species would have at least discovered how to harness and exploit fire by now.

Forgive my facetiousness, but if dolphins are the second tier species, I can think of at least two very good reasons why they haven't discovered how to harness and exploit fire ;)

itsjustdave1988
March 31st, 2003, 09:02 PM
Yeah. Fire wouldn't be all that valuable to dolphins. Except for perhaps burning themselves free from our tuna netting.

itsjustdave1988
March 31st, 2003, 09:43 PM
Even the normal distribution has outliers. The chance of some extremely LARGE number is NEVER zero and you know it.

Man is no mere Gaussian curve outlier. He represents an extreme outlier. Gaussian distributions are continous distributions. That is, the probability density gradually declines to virtually impossible probabilities (virtually zero) in any given finite population. Man seems well beyond the range of impossible probabilities in the Gaussian distribution of all species if mere random variation is behind it all.

The #1 species in a Gaussian model, or any other continuous distribution that I am aware of should have a close second--another outlier but less so than man, but pretty darn close to man, both falling within the bell curve. Any Guassian outlier should be within predictable distributions. In the normal curve of biological species, man seems way outside the bell curve. Man's an off-the-chart, extreme outlier when compared to any species now, but even more telling, when compared to any species which has been known to exists. Can you give me evidence to the contrary? Is there some other clever animal out there than I'm not giving enough credit to? There have been many different dinasour species who have ruled the earth for much longer than man. But not one stood out like man has. Some had developed better survival mechanisms (like big sharp teeth and claws). Some also developed better societal mechanism (like hunting in packs). Yet they didn't pull ahead of the pack. Random variation would not allow such a thing, even when influenced by better societal mechanisms (also caused by random variation and so, also must have random distributions).

The evidence of pre-human existence seems to indicate there was always a close second. Until man.

God bless,

shima
April 1st, 2003, 12:20 AM
>>In the normal curve of biological species, man seems way outside the bell curve. Man's an off-the-chart, extreme outlier when compared to any species now, but even more telling, when compared to any species which has been known to exists. <<

Could you give me an arguement WHY you think that man is an "off-the-chart" biological outlier? There is BIOLOGICALLY very little difference, except speech and intelligence. The combination of the two gives us our flourishing civilisation, but drop any one person in a jungle and he'd be hard pressed to survive.

itsjustdave1988
April 1st, 2003, 08:42 AM
Do you suppose our societal advantages are not as a result of our biological advantage? If all biological advantages can be attributed to merely random variation, than it should fit a Guassian curve, skewed or othewise.

Man is not the only animal who benefits from his society. Other animals work together as well for the benefit of the pack. However, how well these societal influences work are also caused by the benefit of random biological advantages. Therefore, these societal influences should also be characterized by a Guassian curve.

Drop any one of us in a jungle and we don't have a population large enough to study statistically. But the earth is a "jungle," with a bunch of animals on it. We have a large population of animals to help us understand the dynamics of the processes which dominate. Random variation is no doubt one of those processes. However, if it were the only process to influence biology and by cause-and-effect, society, then man would not be an extreme outlier. We have pre-human existence to compare to. There's no evidence from pre-human existence of an extreme outlier which even compares to the precedent of 'man.'

Why is man off the chart? I think our visit to the moon was a great example. If there's very little difference biologically betweem man and the #2 species, then why hasn't the #2 species build such societal advantages as to begin to have the upper hand on its environment comparable to man? Do you understand that societal processes and biological processes are not mutually exclusive processes. The random variation theory includes the theory that it, and it alone, is the cause of man's societal advantages. This seems unsupported by the laws of probability, however.

God bless,

shima
April 1st, 2003, 11:10 AM
>>Do you suppose our societal advantages are not as a result of our biological advantage? <<

They are only partly caused by biological factors. You seem to forget that THIS society wasn't always that complex. The "cave-man" was also a society but much simpler. Its only because we developed language that our society was able to evolve.

>>If all biological advantages can be attributed to merely random variation, than it should fit a Guassian curve, skewed or othewise.<<

It probably WAS a gaussian curve, almost 100,000 years ago. But for the last 10,000 years, the environment made it possible to develop a society and that society evolved into THIS society. Most of our "outlier" advantages are because of what society has made possible, NOT because of what biology has made possible.

>>Man is not the only animal who benefits from his society. Other animals work together as well for the benefit of the pack. However, how well these societal influences work are also caused by the benefit of random biological advantages.<<

Man's society is the ONLY one to store knowledge and increase that store. This is because of language and the sharing of experience such that newborns are able to LEARN from the experience of their elders.

>>Therefore, these societal influences should also be characterized by a Guassian curve. <<

No. Our society is very different because of ONE biological advantage. We have a language, monkeys don't.

>>However, if it were the only process to influence biology and by cause-and-effect, society, then man would not be an extreme outlier. We have pre-human existence to compare to. There's no evidence from pre-human existence of an extreme outlier which even compares to the precedent of 'man.' <<

The difference, once again, is LANGUAGE. Our society is BASED on language, and because of that we are able to change our society based on lessons from the past. Language itself is a biological quality, but its the ONLY one that makes us really different.

>>If there's very little difference biologically betweem man and the #2 species, then why hasn't the #2 species build such societal advantages as to begin to have the upper hand on its environment comparable to man?<<

Because they haven't developed the nessecary language to do so. Language makes it possible to store knowledge and to pass experience from one person to another. It makes it possible to store knowledge outside of any one persons memory, and THAT makes all the difference, because a soietal memory can ADD to existing knowledge all those new experiences.

itsjustdave1988
April 1st, 2003, 12:34 PM
Shima,


They are only partly caused by biological factors. You seem to forget that THIS society wasn't always that complex. The "cave-man" was also a society but much simpler. Its only because we developed language that our society was able to evolve.

Our ability to develop language was the result of BIOLOGICAL FACTORS. So how could our societal advantage only be partly cause by biological factors?

Is it not the Darwin assertion that the reason man's society became so "lucky" was due to biological superiority? Isn't that biological superiority supposedly based solely upon random variation? If that's the case then it doesn't matter what the complexity of our societal advantages are, both biology and society have there source in random variation. Therefore, the prevailing process is random and so a Guassian distribution is still expected. What other factors are there that do not have random variation as their ultimate source, in the Darwin theory?


It probably WAS a gaussian curve, almost 100,000 years ago. But for the last 10,000 years, the environment made it possible to develop a society and that society evolved into THIS society. Most of our "outlier" advantages are because of what society has made possible, NOT because of what biology has made possible.

Is it your theory that our society is not a product or our biological advantages? Random + Random = Random. The combined Guassian curve which encompasses both the effect of our biology and the society with is the product of our biology must also be Guassian, no? If not, please explain why. Offer another probability distribution for "Society" with regard to all the animals on the planet and explain why this curve is not also Guassian if the societal advantages of all animals depend upon their biological capabilities.


Man's society is the ONLY one to store knowledge and increase that store. This is because of language and the sharing of experience such that newborns are able to LEARN from the experience of their elders.

I know. But tell me how this capability is not a result of random variation. If Darwin is correct, the only reason we can store information is due to random variation. Our societal advantage is #1. Where's #2? Why is there a distinct gap between #2 and #1 if the source of our advantage is random variation. A Guassian continuous distribution is expected and yet it seems to exist only with regard to all animals except man. We have man as the single extreme outlier with the rest way behind. This can only be due to an external influence which has helped man and no other animal. Our natural abilities are said to be as a result of no more than random variation, which fails to account for an extreme outlier. Society is not external force, as it is merely the result of advantageous biology, caused by random variation.


No. Our society is very different because of ONE biological advantage. We have a language, monkeys don't.

That one biological advantage is a single random variable. No matter how advantageous it is, it is still a result of random variation. When you combine one or more random variables, the sum is a random variable. The distribution of the combined affects of all these random variables must still be a Guassian distribution.

Let me take it methodically...
1) Random Variable #1 - All animals (including man), have biological traits which are more or less advantageous, as a result of random variation.

2) Random Variable #2 - All animals (including man) have developed societal mechanisms (e.g. hunt in packs), which are more or less advantageous, and which are a direct result of their biological capabilities, which have their source in random variation.

When you combine the above random variables, the sum is a random variable. The curve must still be Guassian. Why do all animals fall into the Guassian distribution except man? Why is man the extreme outlier? Why does pre-human evidence show that there was no extreme outlier like man? Conclusion: There must be another influence other than random variation which affects man only.

God bless,

Gerald
April 1st, 2003, 12:47 PM
Ever notice how creationists can talk a blue streak when it comes to origins and probability and such, but when faced with something closer to the here and now (e.g. "Demonstrate that there exist volitional beings beyond human perception or instrumentation, who interact in a measureable way with the material world."), and they can't stop bobbing and weaving...

shima
April 1st, 2003, 03:35 PM
>>Our ability to develop language was the result of BIOLOGICAL FACTORS. So how could our societal advantage only be partly cause by biological factors? <<

That is because our social advantage is expanding exponentially BY ITS OWN CAUSE. It is a positive feed-back loop towards itself, making its growth exponential.

>>Therefore, the prevailing process is random and so a Guassian distribution is still expected. <<

It IS expected, 500,00 years ago. If you compare our civilisation of 500,000 years ago with todays monkeys, you will notive very little superiority. However, our language has reinforced our society and from that moment on, the growth of society was exponential and its own cause.

Even if you look at civilisations between now and 10,000 years ago, you can see the exponential growth occuring in the advancement and complexity of our society. This growth isn't caused by "randomness" but by the application of language. Because our society was able to remember mistakes and successes, it was far easier to discover NEW things to add to the already existing knowledge. As more knowledge is gained, the rate of growth in knowledge increases. Today we gather much more knowledge and information than 10,000 years ago. There is NOTHING random about the growth of our society, other than that it needs language to do so.

>>Is it your theory that our society is not a product or our biological advantages? <<

It is not ONLY the result of randomness. Add a normal distribution to exponential growth, and you get exponential growth.

>>Why is there a distinct gap between #2 and #1 if the source of our advantage is random variation. <<

Because the source isn't random and the gap is NOT the result of randomness but exponential growth. The gap WAS random almost 500,000 years ago. But it is no longer.

>>1) Random Variable #1 - All animals (including man), have biological traits which are more or less advantageous, as a result of random variation.<<

True. We are BIOLOGICALLY speaking not that far "ahead" of the number 2.

>>2) Random Variable #2 - All animals (including man) have developed societal mechanisms (e.g. hunt in packs), which are more or less advantageous, and which are a direct result of their biological capabilities, which have their source in random variation. <<

Its not a random variable, but exponential growth due to the ability to remember OLD knowledge and the sharing of NEW knowledge.

When I combine the above two elements, the result is a HUGE gap due to the exponential growth of the complexity and knowledge of our society.

Conclusion: there is NOTHING to make it nessecary for an Intelligent Designer to exist, based on these arguements.

PureX
April 1st, 2003, 05:19 PM
Shima,

That's a far too insightful response for the terrain. Cut it out! *wink*

shima
April 2nd, 2003, 09:02 AM
>>That's a far too insightful response for the terrain. Cut it out! *wink*<<

If he can't accept that he is wrong, then perhaps he should look at himself in the mirror first.

One Eyed Jack
April 2nd, 2003, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by Flipper
One-eyed-Jack:



Not if we become extinct.

But we're not extinct now, are we?


It's not a very useful way at looking at things. There are, I feel, probabilities that can be attached to different events. When ice forms, does it "just happen", or is it because certain criteria were met in a specific environment?

So, in an environment of 100 degrees centigrade, the probability of ice forming is effectively zero.

Your "just happened" takes all sorts of possible configurations, reactions, and events over time and condenses them into one rather glib phrase. For example, selective pressures seem broadly directional and don't, I feel, fit comfortably within a "just happened" category.

I'm just looking at the end result, not the factors that may or may not have went into it, since these factors aren't repeatable and can't be verified for sure.


And you do believe in evolution (I suspect). Just not the kind that leads to new taxa.

I believe in adaptation, which is nothing more than an expression of genetic material that's been there all along (barring mutations, but survival of the fittest tends to weed those out). Animals adapt, but they don't get brand new genes to do it with -- which is what you'd need for evolution to be true. In any case, I'm well aware of the fact that every example of evolution in action has been nothing more than a case of adaptation.

One Eyed Jack
April 2nd, 2003, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by shima
>>So basically what you're saying is it just happened to be man. Now that might work for you, but I don't believe in evolution. I don't see how life can even come into existence in the first place without an intelligent designer, much less evolve into more complex forms.<<

Well, that you don't BELIEVE in evolution doesn't mean its not true.

And the fact that you do, doesn't mean that it is.


Evolution has a tremendous amount of evidence speaking for it, which is more than can be said for most religious "creation" myths.

It depends on how you look at the evidence. Take the fossil record for example... I see evidence of the great flood described in Genesis, and you see evidence of evolution (I suppose). But consider this -- the great majority of organisms found in the fossil record (clams, sponges, and the like) are still alive today, while extinct organisms only make up a very small fraction of it. The only thing the fossil record really proves is that a lot of things died and got covered with sediment.

Also, don't forget that the evidence can be misinterpreted. I can take a ferret, a civet cat, and a panther (based on their morphology) and show you how one evolved into the other, even though that's clearly not the case. Now if all these animals were extinct, such an assertion would be difficult to argue against.


Science as yet doesn't understand how life can come about. Science is making progress, sure, but we are a long way from producing life ourselves. And even if we did, it wouldn't be PROOF that life on earth actually began that way, because it may be just one of many possibilities. It WOULD disprove the notion that life REQUIRES intelligent design.

Really? Then what would that make man -- a force of nature? You can't have a scientist create something, and then turn around and say that proves intellligent design wasn't required. That's just ridiculous.


Evolution has a lot of evidence for them, and again and again the mechanism of "mutation" and "natural selection" DO produce what some have described as "specified complexity" or "information".

If you're so sure about that, then I'm sure you can come up with a few examples for our consideration.


That this has certain religious implications, especially for christianity, is the main reason that the theory is opposed by some people.

Or maybe it's just a stupid theory.


Strangely, these people do NOT oppose science itself, nor most of the other knowledge that science has gathered, but only those that prove that their literal interpretation of the bible cannot be correct.

Why should anyone oppose science? Truth isn't going to contradict itself. But at least you admit that evolution isn't science.

shima
April 3rd, 2003, 09:07 AM
>>And the fact that you do, doesn't mean that it is.<<

Quite true, this is why scientists rely on EVIDENCE rather than belief.

>>But consider this -- the great majority of organisms found in the fossil record (clams, sponges, and the like) are still alive today, while extinct organisms only make up a very small fraction of it.<<

Aux Contraire, mon ami. Almost 99.9% of all the species to ever walk the globe is extict today.

>>Also, don't forget that the evidence can be misinterpreted. I can take a ferret, a civet cat, and a panther (based on their morphology) and show you how one evolved into the other, even though that's clearly not the case. Now if all these animals were extinct, such an assertion would be difficult to argue against.<<

However, DNA evidence would clearly prove you wrong, since the diversity in DNA is way too great to account for it.

>>Really? Then what would that make man -- a force of nature? You can't have a scientist create something, and then turn around and say that proves intellligent design wasn't required. That's just ridiculous.<<

That is because, despite all the tinkering, the scientists still use NATURAL forces to do their job. Throwing together a mix of chemicals, having the right acidity, some electron sparks etc. These are forces of nature, and as such CAN and DO occur in nature. Therefore, while the exact circumstances can never be recovered, we do know what circumstances will produce life. And these circumstances can occur in nature.

>>If you're so sure about that, then I'm sure you can come up with a few examples for our consideration.<<

Genetic Algorithms, Langstons Ant, to name a few. Also, the bacterial evidence speaks highly of natural selection at work.

>>Or maybe it's just a stupid theory.<<

Which is no reason to presume its wrong, especially considdering the evidence.

>>Why should anyone oppose science? Truth isn't going to contradict itself. <<

Correct.

>>But at least you admit that evolution isn't science.<<

I'm sorry, but you must have misread my words. I never said evolution isn't science. Evolution IS science. Creationism however, is NOT science.

Zakath
April 3rd, 2003, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by Freak

<snipped a tired retread of Pascal's wager>

Excellent post. Perhaps Zakath will think about it.

Already did that, years ago, Jay. Pascal's wager doesn't make any more logical sense now than it did when I first read and rejected it...

One Eyed Jack
April 3rd, 2003, 09:41 PM
Originally posted by shima
>>And the fact that you do, doesn't mean that it is.<<

Quite true, this is why scientists rely on EVIDENCE rather than belief.

>>But consider this -- the great majority of organisms found in the fossil record (clams, sponges, and the like) are still alive today, while extinct organisms only make up a very small fraction of it.<<

Aux Contraire, mon ami. Almost 99.9% of all the species to ever walk the globe is extict today.

Wrong. If this were true, you would no doubt be able to name 1000 extinct species for every living one, but I'm fairly certain you won't be able to do this. However, you're welcome to try if you'd like. I'm sure I'd find it such an exercise amusing. :)


>>Also, don't forget that the evidence can be misinterpreted. I can take a ferret, a civet cat, and a panther (based on their morphology) and show you how one evolved into the other, even though that's clearly not the case. Now if all these animals were extinct, such an assertion would be difficult to argue against.<<

However, DNA evidence would clearly prove you wrong, since the diversity in DNA is way too great to account for it.

Hard to get DNA evidence from a fossil, since the organic material is pretty much gone. Sorry. Better luck next time.


>>Really? Then what would that make man -- a force of nature? You can't have a scientist create something, and then turn around and say that proves intellligent design wasn't required. That's just ridiculous.<<

That is because, despite all the tinkering, the scientists still use NATURAL forces to do their job.

Face it -- you made a dumb statement, and you got called on it. You're not going to smooth-talk your way out of it either.


Throwing together a mix of chemicals, having the right acidity, some electron sparks etc. These are forces of nature, and as such CAN and DO occur in nature. Therefore, while the exact circumstances can never be recovered, we do know what circumstances will produce life.

No we don't, or we would have done it by now.


And these circumstances can occur in nature.

A lab isn't nature. Ask any scientist.


>>If you're so sure about that, then I'm sure you can come up with a few examples for our consideration.<<

Genetic Algorithms, Langstons Ant, to name a few.

Uh... I'm talking about something biological -- not some oversimplified computer simulation. Come back when you've got some real evidence.


Also, the bacterial evidence speaks highly of natural selection at work.

Really? Show us how then.


>>Or maybe it's just a stupid theory.<<

Which is no reason to presume its wrong, especially considdering the evidence.

What evidence?


>>Why should anyone oppose science? Truth isn't going to contradict itself. <<

Correct.

>>But at least you admit that evolution isn't science.<<

I'm sorry, but you must have misread my words.

I don't think so.


I never said evolution isn't science.

You said creationists didn't dispute 'science itself' -- and you were right, we don't. What we dispute is evolution, which is nothing more than an unworkable theory.


Evolution IS science.

Science fiction is more like it.


Creationism however, is NOT science.

I never said it was. That doesn't mean it's not true.

shima
April 4th, 2003, 03:22 AM
>>Wrong. If this were true, you would no doubt be able to name 1000 extinct species for every living one, but I'm fairly certain you won't be able to do this. However, you're welcome to try if you'd like. I'm sure I'd find it such an exercise amusing.<<

Well, all dinosaurs are dead. There were quite a few around.

>>Hard to get DNA evidence from a fossil, since the organic material is pretty much gone. Sorry. Better luck next time.<<



Trat is true. However, we weren't talking about biological history but rather the Theory of Evolution. DNA evidence supports evolution.

>>Face it -- you made a dumb statement, and you got called on it. You're not going to smooth-talk your way out of it either.<<

Alright. Lets take an example: suppose the scientists were able to throw a few enzimes into a solution, zap the thing with a few 1000's volts while heating it at 45 degrees Celcius, and added some small grains of sand and clay to the mix. After several years, a very primitive lifeform is distilled from the mix.

Now, do you suppose that these circumstances can NEVER occur in nature? Then you are quite mistaken. The scientists only design is in the right circumstances. Circumstances that can easily occur in nature.

>>No we don't, or we would have done it by now.<<

I was talking about the hypothetical case where scientists DID produce life from non-living elements in the lab. We haven't so far, but that is mostly due to the enormuos amount of possibilities and the long time it would probably require.

>>A lab isn't nature. Ask any scientist.<<

A scientists works with natural forces. Ask any scientist.

>>Uh... I'm talking about something biological -- not some oversimplified computer simulation. Come back when you've got some real evidence.<<

Ah, you are talking about the bacterial resistance to peniciline?

>>You said creationists didn't dispute 'science itself' -- and you were right, we don't. What we dispute is evolution, which is nothing more than an unworkable theory.<<

Why? Evolution makes predictions about the behavior and genetic make-up of populations, and of the connection of several datasets like the DNA and fossils based on evolutionary descent. What "predictions" does creationism make?

>>I never said it was. That doesn't mean it's not true.<<

When the evidence contradicts Creationism, then creationism is wrong. And the evidence DOES contradict it. After all, creationism posits that the earth is 6000 years old, while science has established that it is much older.

Zakath
April 4th, 2003, 07:11 AM
Trying to get caught up after a trip out of town...
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack


Absence of evidence isn't the same thing as evidence of absence. Surely an intelligent fellow such as yourself understands this.

Read again, what I wrote, Jack. I never claimed that absence of evidence is the same as evidence of absence.

What I claim is that I have not seen any empirical evidence for the existience of any of the myriad of deities that get tagged with the title "God" by religionists. Thus the term 'absence of evidence."

When some makes the claim that an entity with the characteristics of a deity exists, it should be relatively simple to demonstrate the existence of such a being empirically...

One Eyed Jack
April 5th, 2003, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by Zakath
Trying to get caught up after a trip out of town...

Read again, what I wrote, Jack.

Ok.


I never claimed that absence of evidence is the same as evidence of absence.

Really?


Without evidence, all that's left is to either say that something doesn't exist or to fill the perceived void with comforting fantasies...

Sounds pretty much like it to me. Even after reading it again.


What I claim is that I have not seen any empirical evidence for the existience of any of the myriad of deities that get tagged with the title "God" by religionists. Thus the term 'absence of evidence."

When some makes the claim that an entity with the characteristics of a deity exists, it should be relatively simple to demonstrate the existence of such a being empirically...

Creation itself testifies of the Creator. If you can't see that, it's probably because you're not looking.

itsjustdave1988
April 5th, 2003, 10:22 AM
What I claim is that I have not seen any empirical evidence for the existience of any of the myriad of deities that get tagged with the title "God" by religionists. Thus the term 'absence of evidence."

When some makes the claim that an entity with the characteristics of a deity exists, it should be relatively simple to demonstrate the existence of such a being empirically...

The extreme outlier called 'man' is empirical enough for me. If our communicative skills are merely a random biological advantage, then there should be a continuous Guassian distribution of the animal population that have similar advantages and therefore, similar advances with respect to having the upper hand on the environment. However, no continuous distribution exists. Man is an extreme outlier which cannot be explained by mere random variation. It seems an external influence is at work in man's advancement, which has no biological precedent.

It's difficult to be convinced empirically that man is just another lucky animal, when the evidence of history indicates the "luck" which man enjoys isn't within the probibalistic realm of random variation.

God bless,

temple2006
April 5th, 2003, 10:29 AM
When some makes the claim that an entity with the characteristics of a deity exists, it should be relatively simple to demonstrate the existence of such a being empirically...

Zak....Why would it be relatively simple? Relative to what?

itsjustdave1988
April 5th, 2003, 10:36 AM
True science is not opposed to true Theism. As Einstein once said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." (The World as I see it, 1934)

God bless,

itsjustdave1988
April 5th, 2003, 11:16 AM
Zakath,

Theist: I have no proof that God does not exist. Therefore, I believe He does exists.

Atheist: I have no proof that God does exist. Therefore, I believe He does not exists.

Agnostic: I have no proofs for or against God's existence. Therefore, I don't know if God exists or not.

Seems like the lack of evidence on either side makes Pascal's wager, as well as other pragmatic arguments for theism something to consider.

Can you tell me why you've rejected Pascal's wager?

For me, pragmatic arguments as well as the fine-tunedness and complexity of the universe points to the existence of an Intelligent Designer, not random chance. It's no proof, but one of many converging clues which takes me beyond pure agnosticism toward theism.

God bless,

One Eyed Jack
April 5th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>Wrong. If this were true, you would no doubt be able to name 1000 extinct species for every living one, but I'm fairly certain you won't be able to do this. However, you're welcome to try if you'd like. I'm sure I'd find it such an exercise amusing.<<

Well, all dinosaurs are dead. There were quite a few around.

How many were there? And how many species are around today?


>>Hard to get DNA evidence from a fossil, since the organic material is pretty much gone. Sorry. Better luck next time.<<



Trat is true. However, we weren't talking about biological history but rather the Theory of Evolution. DNA evidence supports evolution.

Hardly. But you're welcome to show us how, if you really believe it does.


>>Face it -- you made a dumb statement, and you got called on it. You're not going to smooth-talk your way out of it either.<<

Alright. Lets take an example: suppose the scientists were able to throw a few enzimes into a solution, zap the thing with a few 1000's volts while heating it at 45 degrees Celcius, and added some small grains of sand and clay to the mix. After several years, a very primitive lifeform is distilled from the mix.

Now, do you suppose that these circumstances can NEVER occur in nature?

I know they can't.


Then you are quite mistaken.

I'm afraid not. I think you need to study some more science. I mean real science.


The scientists only design is in the right circumstances. Circumstances that can easily occur in nature.

Prove it then. Until you do, it's nothing more than a bunch of hot air.


>>No we don't, or we would have done it by now.<<

I was talking about the hypothetical case where scientists DID produce life from non-living elements in the lab. We haven't so far, but that is mostly due to the enormuos amount of possibilities and the long time it would probably require.

Or it could just be the fact that such a thing isn't possible...


>>A lab isn't nature. Ask any scientist.<<

A scientists works with natural forces. Ask any scientist.

Under controlled conditions -- which are anything but natural.


>>Uh... I'm talking about something biological -- not some oversimplified computer simulation. Come back when you've got some real evidence.<<

Ah, you are talking about the bacterial resistance to peniciline?

I don't think so, unless you can show us how mutation and natural selection have produced some more 'specified complexity or information,' as you put it.


>>You said creationists didn't dispute 'science itself' -- and you were right, we don't. What we dispute is evolution, which is nothing more than an unworkable theory.<<

Why? Evolution makes predictions about the behavior and genetic make-up of populations, and of the connection of several datasets like the DNA and fossils based on evolutionary descent.

Like the birds being descended from dinosaurs? But wait, the first true birds existed alongside the dinosaurs -- tens of millions of years before these new fossils that have been found in China (the supposed half-bird, half-dinosaur fossils). That poses a bit of a problem, doesn't it?


What "predictions" does creationism make?

Who cares? I never claimed creationism was science. It's not up to me to support any claims that it is.


>>I never said it was. That doesn't mean it's not true.<<

When the evidence contradicts Creationism, then creationism is wrong. And the evidence DOES contradict it. After all, creationism posits that the earth is 6000 years old, while science has established that it is much older.

That hasn't been established conclusively. Radiometric-dating is unreliable because the principle operates on too many unverifiable assumptions.

Zakath
April 5th, 2003, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
Creation itself testifies of the Creator. If you can't see that, it's probably because you're not looking.
The universe is what it is.

What it isn't is some entity's "creation".

Since (I'm assuming) you're human, I would submit that the "testimony" you perceive is merely an artifact of your brain function. Humans try to derive patterns from even random events. Couple that brain function with a desire to see a specific pattern and, voila, there's your "evidence."

That also explains why non-believers do not see the universe as evidence for a creator.

temple2006
April 5th, 2003, 10:40 PM
Zak....A human being IS an immense longing. And there is never to be any satisfaction for that longing, at least in some cases? Is that all there is?

One Eyed Jack
April 5th, 2003, 11:22 PM
Originally posted by Zakath

The universe is what it is.

What it isn't is some entity's "creation".

Since (I'm assuming) you're human, I would submit that the "testimony" you perceive is merely an artifact of your brain function. Humans try to derive patterns from even random events. Couple that brain function with a desire to see a specific pattern and, voila, there's your "evidence."

That also explains why non-believers do not see the universe as evidence for a creator.

Because they don't want to?

Z Man
April 5th, 2003, 11:41 PM
Originally posted by Zakath

The universe is what it is.

Name one object, person, animal, or idea that a) wasn't created, and b) dosn't serve some kind of purpose? Exactly. There is none. Everything is/was/and will be created for some kind of purpose. Your watch didn't just come out of no where; it was created to tell time. Grass dosn't grow out of thin air; it's created to feed living things, supply oxygen, etc. Babies don't come out of thin air; we create them to love. Ideas don't just come from nothing; we create them to serve our purposes. Even our waste that goes into the toilet serves a purpose.

I'll say it again; Everything was/is/ and will be created for some kind of purpose. We just don't "exist"; nothing does, nor has, nor will. If everything we create serves a purpose, what makes you think that we weren't created for one?

Flipper
April 5th, 2003, 11:46 PM
Unsupported assertionarama.

You can assign as many purposes as you like to things. You might as well argue that the purpose of Io is to orbit Jupiter, or that the purpose of Cygnus X is to emit high-energy jets.

Does it then necessarily follow that there is a creator? No. You have failed to establish any such link, but you have managed to anthropomorphize everything in nature.

One Eyed Jack
April 6th, 2003, 12:01 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
Unsupported assertionarama.

You can assign as many purposes as you like to things. You might as well argue that the purpose of Io is to orbit Jupiter, or that the purpose of Cygnus X is to emit high-energy jets.

Does it then necessarily follow that there is a creator? No. You have failed to establish any such link, but you have managed to anthropomorphize everything in nature.

The link has been established -- you just fail to recognize it. According to Zakath, this is largely because of your desires. I would have to agree with that part of his assessment.

Flipper
April 6th, 2003, 12:28 AM
One_eyed Jack:


The link has been established -- you just fail to recognize it.

By whom? Perhaps you can refer me to a paper on the subject that is generally considered authoritative (hint: not the bible).

One Eyed Jack
April 6th, 2003, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
One_eyed Jack:



By whom? Perhaps you can refer me to a paper on the subject that is generally considered authoritative (hint: not the bible).

I thought you wanted authoritative?

Flipper
April 6th, 2003, 12:40 AM
Authoritative, not authoritarian ;P

One Eyed Jack
April 6th, 2003, 12:57 AM
You want an authoritative text or not? If you do, there's the Bible. If you don't, why ask for one?

Flipper
April 6th, 2003, 01:10 AM
If I thought that the bible was authoritative, I would be a Christian. Duh.

Unfortunately, the bible would need much better supporting evidence for me to rethink this position. Such evidence is not there. In fact, there is little evidence other than the circumstantial to support a supernaturalist position.

Z-man's argument just seems to be a variant of the causeless cause argument. I don't find this to be satisfactory argument because we don't know all the variables or conditions present at the beginning of the universe. Even if the universe had a designer, how would you know it was the God of the bible?

One Eyed Jack
April 6th, 2003, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
If I thought that the bible was authoritative, I would be a Christian. Duh.

Well I am a Christian, and as such, that's the only authoritative text I have. I can't offer you anything else, as nothing else qualifies. In refusing to look at it, you only prove my point -- that you don't want to see it.


Unfortunately, the bible would need much better supporting evidence for me to rethink this position. Such evidence is not there. In fact, there is little evidence other than the circumstantial to support a supernaturalist position.

What sort of evidence would you find acceptable?


Z-man's argument just seems to be a variant of the causeless cause argument. I don't find this to be satisfactory argument because we don't know all the variables or conditions present at the beginning of the universe. Even if the universe had a designer, how would you know it was the God of the bible?

For starters, you can check and see how the Bible's claims bear out in reality. In every test it's been put to so far, it's been proven right. They don't call it the anvil that's worn out many hammers for nothing. But if you've never studied it, how would you know?

Zakath
April 6th, 2003, 06:43 AM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
Well I am a Christian, and as such, that's the only authoritative text I have. I can't offer you anything else, as nothing else qualifies. So you're asserting that the all-knowing god of the universe is limited to proving his existence by the copies of a group of documents, written about fantastic events that no longer occur, in a language you cannot read, canonized by men long dead?

Pretty weak argument, from where I sit.


For starters, you can check and see how the Bible's claims bear out in reality. In every test it's been put to so far, it's been proven right. I've got several it will fail, including internal consistency, if your "faith" can handle a bit of truth...


They don't call it the anvil that's worn out many hammers for nothing.Merely poetic license.


But if you've never studied it, how would you know? Trust me, I have studied it, and the thousands of different Christian sects, each making conflicting claims that they alone have the true interpretation of the book, for decades. It's all a game...

Flipper
April 6th, 2003, 03:23 PM
One Eyed Jack wrote:


For starters, you can check and see how the Bible's claims bear out in reality.

Awww, gee, can I? This "studying" sure sounds swell!

I think what you're trying to say, if I can get it through my fool atheistic head, is that I can independently examine the truth of something by studying it carefully from a variety of different perspectives and resources? But it all seems so simple, when you say it like that. Wouldn't I need books and stuff? Maybe one of these new-fangled computers?


In every test it's been put to so far, it's been proven right.

*cough* Riiiiight. Global Deluge Studies are on the curriculums of geology departments around the world. If I called the book of Genesis allegorical, I would be being generous. Mythological is more appropriate, don't you think?

What "tests" are we talking about here? There is supporting archaelogical evidence, I will grant you that. And, heavens to betsy, a couple of ancient authors independently verified the existence of a sect called the Christians. Sorry, I need more than that to help me in my unbelief. I guess my standards for evidence are higher than yours.


But if you've never studied it, how would you know?

Is conclusion-jumping an olympic sport? You should try out for the team if it is, you're very good at it. I generally try to avoid spouting off on things I know nothing about. I admit that I don't know Koine greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. I will further admit that I am a rank amateur in theology and archaeology, not to mention most of the sciences. However, I would venture to suggest that I am probably better aware of apologetic arguments, theological issues, and maybe even the bible generally than a lot of the Christians I meet.

I have, for example, read the bible (yes, I did skip all the "begats"). I had "religious studies" twice a week for five years at my Christian school. I took courses in metaphysics and theology at university many moons ago. I have continued to read a variety of literature ranging from the academic to the populist that represents a wide variety of Christian and non-Christian perspectives.

Frankly, my final conclusion is this. Your best argument for the existence of God is the fine tuning of certain universal constants, and the alarming re-occurence of Pi in a number of formulae where circles aren't present. Interesting, but inconclusive. All other arguments are aridly logical, rich in resupposition, and presented without supporting evidence (Anselm, Transcendence, etc) or are based on very circumstantial evidence.

Actually, the fruit of all this is that I think I'm about done with studying Christianity and conventional theology for now, and it's time to turn my mind to other things. I can now safely say (Pascal be blowed) that there are other things I can spend my time on more profitably, like learning Photoshop or how to do Fast Fourier Transforms until such time as a spectacular new argument is presented, or some compelling new evidence is found in favor of Christianity. I think it unlikely that such a thing will happen. If it does, I will still strive to keep abreast of new developments in science, archaeology, and philosophy (not so many new developments there these days, come to think of it), and I'll re-review my position.

Otherwise, I'm about done here. Mind you, I say that now but I'm sure I'll be back before too long. TOL is fairly addictive. Therefore, this isn't a "goodbye" post. More a notice of hiatus.

itsjustdave1988
April 6th, 2003, 06:47 PM
Yes, but there are so many others who have investigated atheism, only to conclude that the conclusiveness of atheism is lacking. It seems a greater leap of faith than theism, from my perspective.

For example, a certain spider, called the Argyronteta Aquatica, builds its home underwater. It spins an oval-shaped web beneath the surface of the water, leaving an opening at the bottom for entrance and exit. Its hind legs are specially designed to carry an air bubble down into the water underneath the web, which resembles a diving bell. When the bubble is released it rises and displaces an equal amount of water. The spider continues this process until the web is filled with air. Eggs are then laid in the upper part of this airtight and watertight bell and food is gathered and stored for the mother and her soon-to-be-hatched children.

This, to me, is an amazing process. So amazing, so intricate, so well-planned that it doesn't point to random variation, but instead speaks of intelligent design. The spider is merely reacting to instinct which was encoded in its DNA at the very instant the spider's life began. Random variation? Unlikely. More likely the result of an Intelligent "Encoder" rather than lucky mutation.

I've read atheist Albert Camus' writings where he concludes life is absurd. I've also read G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy." I agree with Chesterton.

"Show me a watch without a watchmaker, then I'll take a universe without a Universe-maker" -- G.K. Chesterton

God bless,

Z Man
April 7th, 2003, 12:03 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
You can assign as many purposes as you like to things. You might as well argue that the purpose of Io is to orbit Jupiter, or that the purpose of Cygnus X is to emit high-energy jets.

Those purposes are insignificant. Atheists seem to do things backwards. You can take something so irrelevant, such as Io orbiting Jupiter, and make it out to be the "discovery of the century". Who cares? What you guys should really be researching is who created us and what for? That's the most important question of all time that Atheists seem to ignore. And I know why; because they are prideful and control freaks. The thought of another greater being than yourself who is in control of your destiny scares you. And, to realize that you can do nothing good enough to save yourself from your sins/wrongdoings/mistakes in life makes you feel weak and nausated. You can't stand the thought of being weak, not in control, and under a supreme beings authority. You reject the idea of being a sheep in God's pasture. But what you fail to realize, and what the world has blinded you from is that, if you're not a sheep in God's pasture, then you're a sheep in the worlds...


Originally posted by Zakath
Trust me, I have studied it, and the thousands of different Christian sects, each making conflicting claims that they alone have the true interpretation of the book, for decades. It's all a game...

Maybe you should have stopped believing in different denominations, churches, and religion, and believe in God. Man will always let you down; we're not perfect.

Zakath and Flipper,
How would you test to see if a chair was sturdy or not? You would sit in it, over and over. What does it take to sit in it, believing it will hold you up? Faith.

If you want to see if God is real or not, to test Him persay, then you will have to use faith.

shima
April 7th, 2003, 03:49 AM
>>Or it could just be the fact that such a thing isn't possible...<<

Well, in this case there is only ONE fact: so far, scientists have been unable to produce life from non-life organic chemicals.

That life cannot arise from non-life has NEVER been established as a fact, nor could it EVER be established as a fact because you cannot prove a negative, only a positive.

>>Those purposes are insignificant. Atheists seem to do things backwards. You can take something so irrelevant, such as Io orbiting Jupiter, and make it out to be the "discovery of the century". Who cares? What you guys should really be researching is who created us and what for? That's the most important question of all time that Atheists seem to ignore. <<

We DO ask ourselves that very same question: what is the purpose of life, and where did we come from? Now, science has a pretty convincing awnser to the second question, but has no awnser to the first. The "purpose" or "meaning" of life has been the most important question around and a lot of people have asked that question throughout the ages. The awnser is: we simply do not know. We do have awnsers to that question, but whether they are CORRECT (if there is indeed a correct awnser to the question, which I believe there isn't) is something else entirely.

Thus far, most philosophers have attempted to "prove" that their awnser was correct, and so far ALL of them have failed to "prove" it. This goes for atheists as well, as we haven't proven our awnsers as "correct" either.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 04:01 AM
Originally posted by Zakath
So you're asserting that the all-knowing god of the universe is limited to proving his existence by the copies of a group of documents, written about fantastic events that no longer occur, in a language you cannot read, canonized by men long dead?

No, that's not what I'm asserting. I said that's a place to start.


Pretty weak argument, from where I sit.

That's okay -- that wasn't my argument.


I've got several it will fail, including internal consistency, if your "faith" can handle a bit of truth...

Let's see what you got.


Merely poetic license.

More like an apt metaphor.


Trust me, I have studied it, and the thousands of different Christian sects, each making conflicting claims that they alone have the true interpretation of the book, for decades. It's all a game...

The problem is you're focusing on what the sects are saying, but you need to pay attention to what the text is saying.

shima
April 7th, 2003, 04:13 AM
>>The problem is you're focusing on what the sects are saying, but you need to pay attention to what the text is saying.<<

The problem is that the text does NOT allow for a uniform, consistent and completely unambiguous interpretation. If it did, we would not have all these sects and different denominations.

The authors/Author therefore either doesn't understand the concept of "interpretation" or the Author means to have the book be viewed according to the needs of the time when it is read by people. Therefore, you will notice that the "standard" interpretation of the Bible (and quite a few other religious books) chanches through time as the "needs" of that time "shape" the interpretation.

Now, it is possible that the bible is written by God, but it could just as easily be written by people who didn't anticipate the changing interpretation of their work.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 04:16 AM
Originally posted by Flipper
One Eyed Jack wrote:



Awww, gee, can I? This "studying" sure sounds swell!

I think what you're trying to say, if I can get it through my fool atheistic head, is that I can independently examine the truth of something by studying it carefully from a variety of different perspectives and resources? But it all seems so simple, when you say it like that.

It's not that hard, but it will take some investment of time.


Wouldn't I need books and stuff? Maybe one of these new-fangled computers?

Use whatever tools you feel are necessary.


*cough* Riiiiight. Global Deluge Studies are on the curriculums of geology departments around the world.

Did I say this was something that had been tested? No I didn't, but since you brought it up, there is evidence all over the world that a worldwide flood occured. You might know it as the fossil record. How'd all those critters and stuff get in the rocks?


If I called the book of Genesis allegorical, I would be being generous. Mythological is more appropriate, don't you think?

No. I think Historical would be proper.


What "tests" are we talking about here? There is supporting archaelogical evidence, I will grant you that. And, heavens to betsy, a couple of ancient authors independently verified the existence of a sect called the Christians. Sorry, I need more than that to help me in my unbelief. I guess my standards for evidence are higher than yours.

Well, what would suffice then? You've already admitted the substantial evidence thus far isn't enough, so what will do for you?


Is conclusion-jumping an olympic sport? You should try out for the team if it is, you're very good at it.

Who says I've drawn any conclusions?


I generally try to avoid spouting off on things I know nothing about.

A good idea.


I admit that I don't know Koine greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. I will further admit that I am a rank amateur in theology and archaeology, not to mention most of the sciences. However, I would venture to suggest that I am probably better aware of apologetic arguments, theological issues, and maybe even the bible generally than a lot of the Christians I meet.

How well do you know any Christians? I just find it hard to believe you can find out everything a person knows about the Bible (and thus determine that you know more) simply by meeting them. Perhaps you could tell me how this is possible?


I have, for example, read the bible (yes, I did skip all the "begats"). I had "religious studies" twice a week for five years at my Christian school. I took courses in metaphysics and theology at university many moons ago. I have continued to read a variety of literature ranging from the academic to the populist that represents a wide variety of Christian and non-Christian perspectives.

Frankly, my final conclusion is this. Your best argument for the existence of God is the fine tuning of certain universal constants, and the alarming re-occurence of Pi in a number of formulae where circles aren't present. Interesting, but inconclusive. All other arguments are aridly logical, rich in resupposition, and presented without supporting evidence (Anselm, Transcendence, etc) or are based on very circumstantial evidence.

Actually, the fruit of all this is that I think I'm about done with studying Christianity and conventional theology for now, and it's time to turn my mind to other things. I can now safely say (Pascal be blowed) that there are other things I can spend my time on more profitably, like learning Photoshop or how to do Fast Fourier Transforms until such time as a spectacular new argument is presented, or some compelling new evidence is found in favor of Christianity. I think it unlikely that such a thing will happen. If it does, I will still strive to keep abreast of new developments in science, archaeology, and philosophy (not so many new developments there these days, come to think of it), and I'll re-review my position.

Otherwise, I'm about done here. Mind you, I say that now but I'm sure I'll be back before too long. TOL is fairly addictive. Therefore, this isn't a "goodbye" post. More a notice of hiatus.

Well, I hope you come around someday. In the meantime, take it easy.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 04:19 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>Or it could just be the fact that such a thing isn't possible...<<

Well, in this case there is only ONE fact: so far, scientists have been unable to produce life from non-life organic chemicals.

My prediction is they never will.


That life cannot arise from non-life has NEVER been established as a fact, nor could it EVER be established as a fact because you cannot prove a negative, only a positive.

Life only arises from life -- proven over and over again in scientific experiments. You got anything else you wanna argue?

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 04:31 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>The problem is you're focusing on what the sects are saying, but you need to pay attention to what the text is saying.<<

The problem is that the text does NOT allow for a uniform, consistent and completely unambiguous interpretation.

Sure it does, if you just read what it says.


If it did, we would not have all these sects and different denominations.

That's a problem with people's understanding, not a problem with the Bible itself. It doesn't just happen in Christianity either.


The authors/Author therefore either doesn't understand the concept of "interpretation" or the Author means to have the book be viewed according to the needs of the time when it is read by people. Therefore, you will notice that the "standard" interpretation of the Bible (and quite a few other religious books) chanches through time as the "needs" of that time "shape" the interpretation.

I've noticed no such thing.


Now, it is possible that the bible is written by God, but it could just as easily be written by people who didn't anticipate the changing interpretation of their work.

Why wouldn't they aniticpate such a thing? The pharisees were pretty famous for doing this, and the Bible mentions how Jesus called them on it time and time again.

shima
April 7th, 2003, 04:48 AM
>>Sure it does, if you just read what it says.<<

So, is Genesis a literal account of the earth's history (in face of the evidence for a 4.5 billion years old earth) or is it not meant to be taken literally? If not, then what is the CORRECT interpretation (because that is what happens if you DON'T take what it says literally)?

>>That's a problem with people's understanding, not a problem with the Bible itself. It doesn't just happen in Christianity either.<<

There is no difference. If God wrote the bible, then he would have known about people and how they work and view reality. Since the bible was written to be read by people, there is no difference between the misunderstanding because of people and misunderstanding because of the bible. In that case, either it is NOT possible to write a bible that is completely unambiguous, or he wrote the bible this way ON PURPOSE.

>>It doesn't just happen in Christianity either.<<

I never claimed otherwise.

>>I've noticed no such thing.<<

Really? Perhaps you should read up on early/late Dark Ages European history and notice how the church was suppressing WITH FORCE all other interpretations of the bible as "wrong" in minor cases or "heretical" in major cases. Protestantism is still around because the church was unsuccessfull in its attempt to wipe it out. The prevailing countries where it flourished were visited by war, but they (Holland, Germany, England) prevailed and protestantism survived to this day.

The other interpretations have always been about and continue wo always be there because of the nature of humanity.

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 06:58 AM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
Let's see what you got.
Come on over to Reliability of Scripture thread (http://www.theologyonline.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6573) and join in...


The problem is you're focusing on what the sects are saying, but you need to pay attention to what the text is saying.But the sects, and individuals like you, all claim to be reading the same deity-inspired book but are frequently deriving radically conflicting ideas from the same basic textual content. That's why I try to look at both...

Z Man
April 7th, 2003, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by shima
If God wrote the bible, then he would have known about people and how they work and view reality. Since the bible was written to be read by people, there is no difference between the misunderstanding because of people and misunderstanding because of the bible. In that case, either it is NOT possible to write a bible that is completely unambiguous, or he wrote the bible this way ON PURPOSE.

Possibly...

1Pe 2:8
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>Sure it does, if you just read what it says.<<

So, is Genesis a literal account of the earth's history (in face of the evidence for a 4.5 billion years old earth)

What evidence? I've asked this several times on this board, and have yet to get an answer.


or is it not meant to be taken literally? If not, then what is the CORRECT interpretation (because that is what happens if you DON'T take what it says literally)?

Genesis is written as a history (the genealogies being a dead giveaway), so that's how it's meant to be taken.


>>That's a problem with people's understanding, not a problem with the Bible itself. It doesn't just happen in Christianity either.<<

There is no difference. If God wrote the bible, then he would have known about people and how they work and view reality.

Oh, He does. The Bible makes this pretty clear. But God didn't so much write the Bible, as He inspired men to write it. I just thought I'd clear that up for you.


Since the bible was written to be read by people, there is no difference between the misunderstanding because of people and misunderstanding because of the bible.

But there is. Sometimes people will read something and refuse to get it. That's not the fault of the Bible -- it's the fault of the reader.


In that case, either it is NOT possible to write a bible that is completely unambiguous, or he wrote the bible this way ON PURPOSE.

I'm sure He knew some people would purposely misinterpret it, but that's their problem isn't it?


>>It doesn't just happen in Christianity either.<<

I never claimed otherwise.

>>I've noticed no such thing.<<

Really?

Yeah, really.


Perhaps you should read up on early/late Dark Ages European history and notice how the church was suppressing WITH FORCE all other interpretations of the bible as "wrong" in minor cases or "heretical" in major cases.

All other interpretations? Did they go house to house just to make sure everyone had the same interpretation?


Protestantism is still around because the church was unsuccessfull in its attempt to wipe it out. The prevailing countries where it flourished were visited by war, but they (Holland, Germany, England) prevailed and protestantism survived to this day.

The Roman Catholic Church is not the only Christian Church, nor has it ever been (contrary to popular belief).


The other interpretations have always been about and continue wo always be there because of the nature of humanity.

What exactly do you mean by 'other interpretations?' Do you mean translations, or do you mean what individual people get from the Bible, as far as meaning goes? It's difficult to address your comment when I'm not sure which you're talking about.

itsjustdave1988
April 7th, 2003, 11:05 AM
But the sects, and individuals like you, all claim to be reading the same deity-inspired book but are frequently deriving radically conflicting ideas from the same basic textual content.

Which is why sola scriptura is a mistake that ought to be rejected.

However, just because theists differ with regard to their theology, doesn't make theism invalid. That would be similar to saying that since Democrats do not agree with Republicans, the U.S. Constitution ought to be rejected.

God bless,

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by Zakath

Come on over to Reliability of Scripture thread (http://www.theologyonline.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6573) and join in...

You'll have to give me some time to catch up, but I'll check it out.


But the sects, and individuals like you, all claim to be reading the same deity-inspired book but are frequently deriving radically conflicting ideas from the same basic textual content. That's why I try to look at both...

I don't think radically conflicting ideas come from reading the same textual content. I think it's more likely because people tend to read some of it, while they ignore other parts.

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
You'll have to give me some time to catch up, but I'll check it out.No problem, wander over when you have a chance...


I don't think radically conflicting ideas come from reading the same textual content. I think it's more likely because people tend to read some of it, while they ignore other parts. ... and how long have you been engaging in theological discussions on the Internet??? ;)

Religion appears to frequently involve individuals holding internally contradictory ideas on a single topic simultaneously. I can't get any ten Christians on a site like this to completely agree on any major tenet of their allegedly common faith.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 11:15 AM
Originally posted by Zakath
No problem, wander over when you have a chance...

... and how long have you been engaging in theological discussions on the Internet??? ;)

About a year or two -- on the internet.


Religion appears to frequently involve individuals holding internally contradictory ideas on a single topic simultaneously. I can't get any ten Christians on a site like this to completely agree on any major tenet of their allegedly common faith.

Well, not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is.

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 11:44 AM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
About a year or two -- on the internet.Oh, that explains things... You'll learn :D


Well, not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is. Ever heard of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy? ;)

It is unfortunately a common practice for people arguing for a particular position to claim non-membership for those whose views disagree with their own, as you just did above.

There are others on this board, for instance, that claim that anyone who does not follow their particular flavor of Christianity cannot be Christian. There appears to be no single universal view of just what is required to make one a Christian or to maintain membership in good standing in the group.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Oh, that explains things... You'll learn :D

I might just teach you a thing or two. ;)


Ever heard of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy? ;)

It is unfortunately a common practice for people arguing for a particular position to claim non-membership for those whose views disagree with their own, as you just did above.

I haven't claimed that anyone wasn't a Christian based on their disagreement with my position, nor have I even given my particular position. I'll thank you to retract that accusation.


There are others on this board, for instance, that claim that anyone who does not follow their particular flavor of Christianity cannot be Christian.

I've met people like that.


There appears to be no single universal view of just what is required to make one a Christian or to maintain membership in good standing in the group.

A Christian is someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and is born again.

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
I might just teach you a thing or two. Perhaps, we'll see.


I haven't claimed that anyone wasn't a Christian based on their disagreement with my position, nor have I even given my particular position. I'll thank you to retract that accusation.Help me understand what you really meant to communicate...I stated "I can't get any ten Christians on a site like this to completely agree on any major tenet of their allegedly common faith."

You replied: "Well, not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is."

I commented that you were applying the "No True Scotsman" fallacy...

Are you telling me you were not implying that one or more of the hypothetical ten Christians wasn't Christian?

If not, how should I have taken your remark when you placed it after a direct quotation?



A Christian is someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and is born again. Since I have no knowledge of your religious background, it would facilitate communication if you would explain what that means to you.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Perhaps, we'll see.

So we shall.


Help me understand what you really meant to communicate...I stated "I can't get any ten Christians on a site like this to completely agree on any major tenet of their allegedly common faith."

You replied: "Well, not everyone who calls himself a Christian really is."

I commented that you were applying the "No True Scotsman" fallacy...

Are you telling me you were not implying that one or more of the hypothetical ten Christians wasn't Christian?

I was implying they may not have been. It depends on whether or not their positions line up with what the Bible says.


If not, how should I have taken your remark when you placed it after a direct quotation?

You said I claimed someone wasn't a Christian if they disagreed with my views, but I've done no such thing.


Since I have no knowledge of your religious background, it would facilitate communication if you would explain what that means to you.

It would also facilitate communication if you'd retract your accusation as I have asked, especially now that I've had to explain to you why I didn't deserve it. I'm not going to carry on a conversation with someone if I have to defend myself from their accusations at every turn. I trust you can understand my reluctance to walk into such a trap.

But to answer your question, basically being born again means acknowledging that you're a sinner, asking for forgiveness, and repenting from your sins.

itsjustdave1988
April 7th, 2003, 12:29 PM
Zakath,


I can't get any ten Christians on a site like this to completely agree on any major tenet of their allegedly common faith.

The major tenets of Catholic faith can be found here ...

Catechism of the Catholic Church
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

Challenge your hypothesis. Try asking a question on this forum to ten Catholic Christians and see if you get the same general answer with regard to the major tenets of their belief.

If it's complete agreement you seek, do you find that in atheism? Do you find that in science, or any human endeavor?

"In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity" -- Pope John XXIII

God bless,

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
I was implying they may not have been. It depends on whether or not their positions line up with what the Bible says.That's quite a large qualifier to leave out of your previous statements...


You said I claimed someone wasn't a Christian if they disagreed with my views, but I've done no such thing.So, for the preceding statement to be true, you are now claiming to have correct understanding of what the Bible says?

This gets better and better... :rolleyes:


It would also facilitate communication if you'd retract your accusation as I have asked, especially now that I've had to explain to you why I didn't deserve it. No retraction because you're merely substituting your opinion of what the Bible says for the Scotsman's judgement of what makes a true Scotsman. It's still either a logical fallacy, or quite a case of hubris.


I'm not going to carry on a conversation with someone if I have to defend myself from their accusations at every turn. I trust you can understand my reluctance to walk into such a trap. I understand, but this is a discussion board and you posted on a thread discussing atheism. Don't get offended when an atheist pops up and challenges you. If you don't like swimming with the atheists on this thread, surf over to another thread. :)


But to answer your question, basically being born again means acknowledging that you're a sinner, asking for forgiveness, and repenting from your sins. That's interesting. I'd bet good ole' Dave (see post above) would claim to do that kind of thing every time he goes to confession with his priest or deacon (I think deacons can hear confession nowadays). So, following your defintion, is someone like Dave "born again" everytime he participates in the sacrament of reconciliation?

:confused:

Z Man
April 7th, 2003, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Christian is someone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and is born again.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Since I have no knowledge of your religious background, it would facilitate communication if you would explain what that means to you.

I know, it's really simple. So simple, it's hard for you to understand it some times. But, a Christian is just that;

1. Any person who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior.

Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

2. Any person that continues in the faith.

Mt 24:13
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

It's not about singing hymns, going to church, wearing fancy clothes, believing in religion, following laws or moral codes, giving money in the offering plate, memorizing bible verses, joining a certain denomination, watching TBN, etc., etc. But simply believing in Christ as your savior is all it takes to be saved.

You guys think you're so wise in all your scientific reasons that God has made you fools out of your wisdom through the simplicity of the gospel...

1Co 1:21
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

One Eyed Jack
April 7th, 2003, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
That's quite a large qualifier to leave out of your previous statements...

Which statements would those be?


So, for the preceding statement to be true, you are now claiming to have correct understanding of what the Bible says?

This gets better and better... :rolleyes:

I've never claimed that my understanding was 100% correct.


No retraction<snip>

Well then, our conversation is over.

Zakath
April 7th, 2003, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by itsjustdave1988
Zakath,
The major tenets of Catholic faith can be found here ...
Catechism of the Catholic Church
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htmThanks for the reference. I prefer www.newadvent.org. I find it's more hardline conservative; and I was a former 3rd degree Knight. ;)


Challenge your hypothesis. Try asking a question on this forum to ten Catholic Christians and see if you get the same general answer with regard to the major tenets of their belief. Do you mean here on TOL? Do you actually think there's ten Catholic Christians reading TOL?


If it's complete agreement you seek, do you find that in atheism? Do you find that in science, or any human endeavor?No, but I do not expect it, either. No atheists of my acquaintance lay claim to having "The Truth". That seems to be reserved for certain religionists and some narrowl-minded scientists.

Christians frequently claim to possess the "mind of Christ" and to be "led by the Holy Spirit", etc. Perhaps I'm misunderstading but all these seem to be claims indicating singleness of thought and purpose, at least with regard to the things regarding faith and morals.

shima
April 8th, 2003, 03:41 AM
One Eyed Jack:
>>What evidence? I've asked this several times on this board, and have yet to get an answer.<<

Radiometric dating again and again points towards a 4.5 billion year old earth. Energy readings from the sun indicate a 5 billion year old sun.

>>The Bible makes this pretty clear. But God didn't so much write the Bible, as He inspired men to write it. I just thought I'd clear that up for you.<<

So basically, the Bible is Gods inspired Will AS INTERPRETED BY THE WRITERS? How do you KNOW that that interpretation is even accurate?

No seriously, if the Bible was actualy written down word for word by PEOPLE, then their INTERPRETATION of the events is ground into the very fabric the what the bible is. Since humans are fallible, there is no hint left of the bible being absolutely "true".

>>Sometimes people will read something and refuse to get it. That's not the fault of the Bible -- it's the fault of the reader.<<

No, its the fault of the person who wrote down that part of the bible. Since that person has an interpretation of his own, the bible is therefore based on that interpretation. Its not Gods Word, but rather some persons personal INTERPRETATION of that Word. The ones reading it are applying their interpretation on the writers interpretation of the Word.

>>All other interpretations? Did they go house to house just to make sure everyone had the same interpretation?<<

No, what they did was to write down the bible in LATIN that ordinary people couldn't read. So ordinary people had NO interpretation of the bible other than the one given in church. Those monastic orders who DID read the bible and had a DIFFERENT interpretation were massacred by the thousands. Untill the advent of Luther, very few normal people actually questioned the church's interpretation. But with Luther, this ended as he nailed down his "list of objections" to the door of the local church.

>>The Roman Catholic Church is not the only Christian Church, nor has it ever been (contrary to popular belief).<<

Which is precisely my point. There are NO "correct" interpretations of the Bible. There are only "interpretations". How does ANYONE know that their personal interpretation of the bible is correct? Everyone claims to have the "one and only" interpretation, but you will only KNOW if you are correct after you die. I have read the bible, and I'm pretty sure that my interpretation is somewhat different than yours, me being an atheist and all.

>>What exactly do you mean by 'other interpretations?' Do you mean translations, or do you mean what individual people get from the Bible, as far as meaning goes?<<

Do you know the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism? Mormons? Jehova's Witnesses? There are many, many, many different denominations, all of which have different views of the bible. The meaning they get from the bible is different, the "literal" interpretation vs the "allegorical" interpretation. All these are different ways to look at the bible, yet all claim that they are the "one and only" correct interpretation. Now, of all these thousands different interpretations, you are willing to claim that YOUR interpretation is correct while all others are not?

One Eyed Jack
April 8th, 2003, 04:43 AM
Originally posted by shima
One Eyed Jack:
>>What evidence? I've asked this several times on this board, and have yet to get an answer.<<

Radiometric dating again and again points towards a 4.5 billion year old earth.

Radiometric dating isn't very reliable, as you have to assume there was no radioactive daughter-element present in the sample when it formed. Obviously, lava can harden into a rock containing both uranium-238 and lead-206, and such a rock will give inaccurate dates if tested by the uranium-lead method. Furthermore, the only 4.5 billion year old rocks I know of weren't found on Earth, but the moon.


Energy readings from the sun indicate a 5 billion year old sun.

Do you mean spectrographic analysis?


>>The Bible makes this pretty clear. But God didn't so much write the Bible, as He inspired men to write it. I just thought I'd clear that up for you.<<

So basically, the Bible is Gods inspired Will AS INTERPRETED BY THE WRITERS?

No -- the Bible is God's word as revealed by the Holy Spirit.


How do you KNOW that that interpretation is even accurate?

See above.


No seriously, if the Bible was actualy written down word for word by PEOPLE, then their INTERPRETATION of the events is ground into the very fabric the what the bible is.

What if they're simply telling events like they were?


Since humans are fallible, there is no hint left of the bible being absolutely "true".

If you understood anything about God, perhaps you wouldn't find it so hard to believe.


>>Sometimes people will read something and refuse to get it. That's not the fault of the Bible -- it's the fault of the reader.<<

No, its the fault of the person who wrote down that part of the bible.

No, it's the fault of the person refusing to understand what he's read. You're a prime example of this.


Since that person has an interpretation of his own, the bible is therefore based on that interpretation. Its not Gods Word, but rather some persons personal INTERPRETATION of that Word. The ones reading it are applying their interpretation on the writers interpretation of the Word.

I don't accept this 'everybody has their own truth' idea, so I can't really relate to what you're trying to say here.


>>All other interpretations? Did they go house to house just to make sure everyone had the same interpretation?<<

No, what they did was to write down the bible in LATIN that ordinary people couldn't read. So ordinary people had NO interpretation of the bible other than the one given in church. Those monastic orders who DID read the bible and had a DIFFERENT interpretation were massacred by the thousands. Untill the advent of Luther, very few normal people actually questioned the church's interpretation. But with Luther, this ended as he nailed down his "list of objections" to the door of the local church.

What about the people that had access to copies of the original Greek and Hebrew writings?


>>The Roman Catholic Church is not the only Christian Church, nor has it ever been (contrary to popular belief).<<

Which is precisely my point. There are NO "correct" interpretations of the Bible. There are only "interpretations". How does ANYONE know that their personal interpretation of the bible is correct?

That's why it's not a good idea to make personal interpretations.


Everyone claims to have the "one and only" interpretation, but you will only KNOW if you are correct after you die. I have read the bible, and I'm pretty sure that my interpretation is somewhat different than yours, me being an atheist and all.

I'm sure it is.


>>What exactly do you mean by 'other interpretations?' Do you mean translations, or do you mean what individual people get from the Bible, as far as meaning goes?<<

Do you know the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism? Mormons? Jehova's Witnesses? There are many, many, many different denominations, all of which have different views of the bible. The meaning they get from the bible is different, the "literal" interpretation vs the "allegorical" interpretation. All these are different ways to look at the bible, yet all claim that they are the "one and only" correct interpretation. Now, of all these thousands different interpretations, you are willing to claim that YOUR interpretation is correct while all others are not?

Not really. They can all be right about something or other, but obviously not everything, especially when certain doctrines contradict one another. That's why I don't have much use for denominations, even though technically I'm a Baptist.

shima
April 8th, 2003, 07:13 AM
One Eyed Jack:
>>Radiometric dating isn't very reliable, as you have to assume there was no radioactive daughter-element present in the sample when it formed. Obviously, lava can harden into a rock containing both uranium-238 and lead-206, and such a rock will give inaccurate dates if tested by the uranium-lead method. Furthermore, the only 4.5 billion year old rocks I know of weren't found on Earth, but the moon.<<

Radiometric dating does haev some problems yes. The problems with different isotopes is well known and the samples with contaminating isotopes are usually not dating using this method. Also, rocks dating 4.5 billion years old were found on earth as well, indicating that the moon rock is about the same age as the earth rocks.

>>No -- the Bible is God's word as revealed by the Holy Spirit.<<

Revealed to WHOM exactly? The persons to whom it was revealed most liekly used their own INTERPRETATION of the Word, not the Word itself. They were after all human, and humans cannot interact with the world without using interpretation.

>>What if they're simply telling events like they were?<<

Which is quite impossible, since the person who wrote down Genesis wasn't there himself to witness it. All these authors used their own interpretation of the events and wrote that down.

>>If you understood anything about God, perhaps you wouldn't find it so hard to believe.<<

If you understood anything about people, perhaps you would find it hard to believe.

>>No, it's the fault of the person refusing to understand what he's read. You're a prime example of this.<<

As I explained before, the bible can be interpreted in multiple ways from different angles. When I read it, I was trying to keep an open mind about it. However, I very soon realised that the stories were to me UNBELIEVABLE. I therefore questioned the existence of God, and as such quickly discovered that the stories were very different when viewed from that angle. They became political in orientation, justifying the attrocities committed in the name of God. Only with the coming of Jezus did the bible change its nature, and became a story about morals rather than conquest and war.

>>I don't accept this 'everybody has their own truth' idea, so I can't really relate to what you're trying to say here.<<

Ofcourse you don't. Everyone has their own interpretation of this world, and these interpretations are often quite different from person to person. Your interpretation if this world is that God exists and that absolute truth exists. Mine is that God doesn't exists and that absolute truth doesn't exists either. My viewpoint has a lot of science to back it up, yours has just a book.

>>What about the people that had access to copies of the original Greek and Hebrew writings?<<

The original Greek and Hebrew writings are ALSO written by people, and thus they write down their INTERPRETATION of the events. If that interpretation includes belief in a God then they naturally interpret the world through that means. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't any other interpretations or that their interpretation corresponds to reality.

>>That's why it's not a good idea to make personal interpretations. <<

What interpretation do you expect to use then? The interpretation of the church? The interpretation given to you by your best friend?

>>I'm sure it is.<<

So, which of us has the correct interpretation, if there even is such a thing?

>>That's why I don't have much use for denominations, even though technically I'm a Baptist.<<

However, they all claim to have the "correct" interpretation of the Word of God. I claim that they don't. Even if God exists, then I'm sure that his mind and will are way to great and complicated to comprehend by humans. Therefore, to claim that you KNOW the word of God would be the highest form of arrogance on this planet for any christian.

PureX
April 8th, 2003, 08:13 AM
Shima,

It's very hard, maybe impossible, for some people to let go of the illusion of their own understanding of reality being the one and only true reality. For them to let go of this illusion would mean they could not be sure anymore of what's going on around them, or of how they "should" respond to it. For people who have lived with this absolutist structure all their lives, it's like having the solid ground beneath their feet suddenly begin to shift, and become liquid. It's very frightening for them.

I have had friends who lived in this illusion of the "absolute truth" and have seen the panic on their faces as the reality of relativism began to dawn on them. And I have seen them recoil in fear, and hurry back the solid ground of their imagined absolutes again. That's just how it is for them.

Revelations can be frightening. In fact I suspect that they often are, and some folks just won't accept them. They just won't. Maybe they can't. I don't know. Some levels of awareness take courage to obtain. Not everyone wants to attain them.

Gerald
April 8th, 2003, 08:29 AM
Riddle me this, One-Eyed Jack: is the following statement true or false?

"There exist volitional entities, undetectable by human senses or instrumentation, who, interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion."

If your answer is yes, then please show irrefutable contemporary documentation demonstrating that such entities exist.

shima
April 8th, 2003, 08:41 AM
PureX: I know that people who believe in their absolute "true" image have trouble letting go. However, a friend of mine did just that about 2.5 years ago. She stopped believing, and while it was definitely scary for her in the beginning, she was discovering each day that she was right in doing so. And then she stopped looking back and started living again.

One of the best days of my life was that.

shima
April 8th, 2003, 08:50 AM
So, One Eyed Jack, take the chance at be a Born-Again Atheist (tm).

One Eyed Jack
April 8th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Originally posted by shima
One Eyed Jack:
>>Radiometric dating isn't very reliable, as you have to assume there was no radioactive daughter-element present in the sample when it formed. Obviously, lava can harden into a rock containing both uranium-238 and lead-206, and such a rock will give inaccurate dates if tested by the uranium-lead method. Furthermore, the only 4.5 billion year old rocks I know of weren't found on Earth, but the moon.<<

Radiometric dating does haev some problems yes. The problems with different isotopes is well known and the samples with contaminating isotopes are usually not dating using this method. Also, rocks dating 4.5 billion years old were found on earth as well, indicating that the moon rock is about the same age as the earth rocks.

I'm not aware of any Earth-rocks dating that old. Well -- they did find some crystals that dated at around 6 billion years, but they discarded those dates as erroneous since it was older than the Earth was supposed to be.


>>No -- the Bible is God's word as revealed by the Holy Spirit.<<

Revealed to WHOM exactly?

The people who wrote the books in the Bible, as well as the people that read them.


The persons to whom it was revealed most liekly used their own INTERPRETATION of the Word, not the Word itself. They were after all human, and humans cannot interact with the world without using interpretation.

Does a secretary use interpretation when taking dictation?


>>What if they're simply telling events like they were?<<

Which is quite impossible, since the person who wrote down Genesis wasn't there himself to witness it.

God was there to witness it, and He told it to Moses who either wrote or compiled Genesis.


All these authors used their own interpretation of the events and wrote that down.

I think you're a little too hung up on interpretation. If all the Bible authors relied totally on their own interpretations, I'm sure they'd have cast themselves in a better light. The fact that they record the good and the bad leads me to believe they're giving a true account.


>>If you understood anything about God, perhaps you wouldn't find it so hard to believe.<<

If you understood anything about people, perhaps you would find it hard to believe.

I do understand people, and I still don't find it that hard to believe. It's not as if people can't possibly get anything right.


>>No, it's the fault of the person refusing to understand what he's read. You're a prime example of this.<<

As I explained before, the bible can be interpreted in multiple ways from different angles. When I read it, I was trying to keep an open mind about it. However, I very soon realised that the stories were to me UNBELIEVABLE. I therefore questioned the existence of God, and as such quickly discovered that the stories were very different when viewed from that angle. They became political in orientation, justifying the attrocities committed in the name of God. Only with the coming of Jezus did the bible change its nature, and became a story about morals rather than conquest and war.

Like I said -- you're a prime example of someone who reads something and comes away with a totally different understanding than the one it intended to convey.


>>I don't accept this 'everybody has their own truth' idea, so I can't really relate to what you're trying to say here.<<

Ofcourse you don't. Everyone has their own interpretation of this world, and these interpretations are often quite different from person to person. Your interpretation if this world is that God exists and that absolute truth exists. Mine is that God doesn't exists and that absolute truth doesn't exists either. My viewpoint has a lot of science to back it up, yours has just a book.

Tell me some of the scientific disciplines that back up your viewpoint.


>>What about the people that had access to copies of the original Greek and Hebrew writings?<<

The original Greek and Hebrew writings are ALSO written by people, and thus they write down their INTERPRETATION of the events. If that interpretation includes belief in a God then they naturally interpret the world through that means. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't any other interpretations or that their interpretation corresponds to reality.

That doesn't answer my question, but I'm getting used to that from you.


>>That's why it's not a good idea to make personal interpretations. <<

What interpretation do you expect to use then? The interpretation of the church? The interpretation given to you by your best friend?

I don't use anybody's interpretation. I just read it.


>>I'm sure it is.<<

So, which of us has the correct interpretation, if there even is such a thing?

Obviously, if I thought you were right, I wouldn't believe in God.


>>That's why I don't have much use for denominations, even though technically I'm a Baptist.<<

However, they all claim to have the "correct" interpretation of the Word of God.

Have you ever considered that a lot of them use the same interpretation?


I claim that they don't. Even if God exists, then I'm sure that his mind and will are way to great and complicated to comprehend by humans. Therefore, to claim that you KNOW the word of God would be the highest form of arrogance on this planet for any christian.

I'm not aware of anybody that's claiming to completely understand the mind of God.

One Eyed Jack
April 8th, 2003, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by Gerald
Riddle me this, One-Eyed Jack: is the following statement true or false?

"There exist volitional entities, undetectable by human senses or instrumentation, who, interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion."

If your answer is yes, then please show irrefutable contemporary documentation demonstrating that such entities exist.

How can they interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion if they're undetectable by human senses or instrumentation?

Gerald
April 8th, 2003, 12:00 PM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
How can they interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion if they're undetectable by human senses or instrumentation?
Spoken like a true sceptic!

Angels, demons, spirits, etc. are alleged to do this all the time. Just ask Freak...

This is the primary speed bump that the supernaturalist is faced with.

shima
April 8th, 2003, 01:34 PM
One Eyed Jack
>>Does a secretary use interpretation when taking dictation?<<

Yes.

>>God was there to witness it, and He told it to Moses who either wrote or compiled Genesis.<<

So, how accurate is Mozes account of Genesis? Since he hasn't seen it himself, he most likely filled in any blanks himself.

>>I think you're a little too hung up on interpretation. If all the Bible authors relied totally on their own interpretations, I'm sure they'd have cast themselves in a better light. The fact that they record the good and the bad leads me to believe they're giving a true account.<<

Wow, same facts, different conclusion. Yes, they did record both the good and the bad, but only from their viewpoint. You may have noticed that their political enemies are always described in the "evil" light. This is a very old political trick, and was only recently used by Bush to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

>>It's not as if people can't possibly get anything right.<<

Well, they may get something right, but usually not without errors. Considdering the length and size of the book its UNBELIEVABLE that all these people would NOT have made a single mistake. You don't really believe that they were flawless in their work do you?

>>Like I said -- you're a prime example of someone who reads something and comes away with a totally different understanding than the one it intended to convey.<<

And exactly HOW would you know what meaning it was INTENDED to convey? Can you read Gods mind? Are YOU God? If not, and if you are indeed human and capable of error, then you can you KNOW that your understanding (ie interpretation whihc is the same thing) is the one that was "intended" instead of the billions of possible "misunderstandings"?

>>Tell me some of the scientific disciplines that back up your viewpoint. <<

Alright, I got carried away. There's no science to back up either claim of viewpoint. Sorry, you are correct in questioning that.

>>That doesn't answer my question, but I'm getting used to that from you.<<

Then what precisely was your question? "What about the people that had access to copies of the original Greek and Hebrew writing?" In exactly what kind of direction were you interrested? Be a little more specific.

>>I don't use anybody's interpretation. I just read it.<<

So you use your own interpretation. Just like everyone else, your interpretation of this world and everything in it is your own.

>>Obviously, if I thought you were right, I wouldn't believe in God.<<

Obviously. However, you have nothing more than FAITH that your interpretation is correct.

>>Have you ever considered that a lot of them use the same interpretation?<<

That isn't true, because for example Catholicism and Protestantism differ fundamentally in their interpretation of the bible such as the nature of "sin".

>>I'm not aware of anybody that's claiming to completely understand the mind of God.<<

Good, since its not possible according to the nature of God. So, since the "complete" meaning is not possible, how can you know that your "understanding" of the bible is complete? Now, if you do NOT fully understand the bible, then in what way would that understanding be a "misunderstanding"?

Zakath
April 8th, 2003, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by One Eye Jack
...being born again means:
1. acknowledging that you're a sinner,
2. asking for forgiveness, and
3. repenting from your sins.

Originally posted by Z Man
I know, it's really simple. So simple, it's hard for you to understand it some times. But, a Christian is just that;
1. Any person who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior.
2. Any person that continues in the faith.


So simple, eh?

You and Jack can't even agree in three "simple" steps.

Notice that you have added a criterion for endurance that he did not.

It's amazing to me that you Christians cannot seem to agree on the "simple things"...

Of course, since you are all making up as you go along, it shouldn't be surprising... :rolleyes:

Z Man
April 8th, 2003, 11:26 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
So simple, eh?

You and Jack can't even agree in three "simple" steps.

Notice that you have added a criterion for endurance that he did not.

It's amazing to me that you Christians cannot seem to agree on the "simple things"...

Of course, since you are all making up as you go along, it shouldn't be surprising... :rolleyes:

What's so hard to understand here? What I and Jack said go hand in hand. Besides, Jack defined how an individual becomes a genuine Christian; I defined how to tell if an individual, who did what Jack described, is genuine or not.
Jack described the cause, I described the effect. :thumb:


Originally posted by One Eye Jack
...being born again means...

Originally posted by Z Man
...a Christian is...

One Eyed Jack
April 9th, 2003, 03:00 AM
Originally posted by shima
One Eyed Jack
>>Does a secretary use interpretation when taking dictation?<<

Yes.

No, the secretary types out exactly what the boss says -- no interpretation required.


>>God was there to witness it, and He told it to Moses who either wrote or compiled Genesis.<<

So, how accurate is Mozes account of Genesis?

Pretty accurate I'd imagine. Do you misspell everything on purpose, or is this a learning disability?


Since he hasn't seen it himself, he most likely filled in any blanks himself.

Such as?


>>I think you're a little too hung up on interpretation. If all the Bible authors relied totally on their own interpretations, I'm sure they'd have cast themselves in a better light. The fact that they record the good and the bad leads me to believe they're giving a true account.<<

Wow, same facts, different conclusion. Yes, they did record both the good and the bad, but only from their viewpoint.

From whose viewpoint should events have been recorded?


>>It's not as if people can't possibly get anything right.<<

Well, they may get something right, but usually not without errors. Considdering the length and size of the book its UNBELIEVABLE that all these people would NOT have made a single mistake.

There are 66 books in the Bible, averaging less than 50 pages each. It's not that hard to remain accurate for 50 pages, as long as you stick to the subject.


You don't really believe that they were flawless in their work do you?

Yes, I do. Do you really believe there is no God?


>>Like I said -- you're a prime example of someone who reads something and comes away with a totally different understanding than the one it intended to convey.<<

And exactly HOW would you know what meaning it was INTENDED to convey?

Well the Bible certainly wasn't intended to convey the notion that God doesn't exist -- surely you can agree with that.


>>That doesn't answer my question, but I'm getting used to that from you.<<

Then what precisely was your question? "What about the people that had access to copies of the original Greek and Hebrew writing?" In exactly what kind of direction were you interrested? Be a little more specific.

Play it off the comment that preceded it, and maybe you can figure it out.


>>I don't use anybody's interpretation. I just read it.<<

So you use your own interpretation. Just like everyone else, your interpretation of this world and everything in it is your own.

It just happens to be shared by others.


>>Have you ever considered that a lot of them use the same interpretation?<<

That isn't true, because for example Catholicism and Protestantism differ fundamentally in their interpretation of the bible such as the nature of "sin".

What are you talking about? Catholics and Protestants generally agree when it comes to the nature of sin.


>>I'm not aware of anybody that's claiming to completely understand the mind of God.<<

Good, since its not possible according to the nature of God. So, since the "complete" meaning is not possible, how can you know that your "understanding" of the bible is complete?

I never claimed my understanding of the Bible was complete.


Now, if you do NOT fully understand the bible, then in what way would that understanding be a "misunderstanding"?

You tell me, smart guy.

shima
April 9th, 2003, 03:58 AM
>>No, the secretary types out exactly what the boss says -- no interpretation required.<<

Correction, she types what she THINKS the boss is saying.

>>Do you misspell everything on purpose, or is this a learning disability? <<

Neither, English is not my mother language.

>>Such as?<<

I don't know, and the point is: neither do you.

>>From whose viewpoint should events have been recorded?<<

From Gods viewpoint ofcourse. Since God was dictating things, it should have been easy to write down Gods viewpoint. They didn't.

>>There are 66 books in the Bible, averaging less than 50 pages each. It's not that hard to remain accurate for 50 pages, as long as you stick to the subject.<<

Its extremely hard to be accurate if you weren't there to witness the events yourself. Its extremely hard to be accurate even if you WERE there to witness it. And ofcourse then there is the problem of cpying a copy from a copy etc. The ones who wrote down what was to become the authorative copy of the bible did NOT have the Greek and Hebrew originals, but only copies.

>>Yes, I do. <<

Why would they be any different than other people on this planet?

>>Do you really believe there is no God?<<

Yes, I believe there is no God.

>>Well the Bible certainly wasn't intended to convey the notion that God doesn't exist -- surely you can agree with that.<<

Well, the bible was intended to convey that God does exist. Ofcourse, that doesn't mean he DOES exists, only that those who wrote it intended it. They could have been lying, since these were religious/politically motivated people. Power and Control was their primary concern.

>>Play it off the comment that preceded it, and maybe you can figure it out. <<

Since we don't have the original Greek manuscript, there is very little we can know about how accurate the current translation is.

>>What are you talking about? Catholics and Protestants generally agree when it comes to the nature of sin. <<

No they don't. The baptism for example is different.

>>I never claimed my understanding of the Bible was complete.<<

Good.

One Eyed Jack
April 9th, 2003, 04:15 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>No, the secretary types out exactly what the boss says -- no interpretation required.<<

Correction, she types what she THINKS the boss is saying.

Well, all I can say is she better get it right if she wants to keep her job.


>>Do you misspell everything on purpose, or is this a learning disability? <<

Neither, English is not my mother language.

I find that hard to believe. You had the correct spelling right in front of you.


>>Such as?<<

I don't know

I didn't think so.


>>From whose viewpoint should events have been recorded?<<

From Gods viewpoint ofcourse. Since God was dictating things, it should have been easy to write down Gods viewpoint. They didn't.

What makes you say that?


>>There are 66 books in the Bible, averaging less than 50 pages each. It's not that hard to remain accurate for 50 pages, as long as you stick to the subject.<<

Its extremely hard to be accurate if you weren't there to witness the events yourself.

Most of the writers are talking about events they did witness.


Its extremely hard to be accurate even if you WERE there to witness it.

But not impossible.


And ofcourse then there is the problem of cpying a copy from a copy etc.

Not if you knew the methods the Hebrews employed to make sure their copies were accurate. They'd go over each copy letter by letter after it was made, and if so much as one letter was off -- they'd burn it and start all over. You don't pass on copying errors when you employ methods like that.


The ones who wrote down what was to become the authorative copy of the bible did NOT have the Greek and Hebrew originals, but only copies.

Which copy is the 'authoritative copy?'


>>Yes, I do. <<

Why would they be any different than other people on this planet?

They're not, by and large.


>>Do you really believe there is no God?<<

Yes, I believe there is no God.

You'll believe there's a God on Judgement Day.


>>Well the Bible certainly wasn't intended to convey the notion that God doesn't exist -- surely you can agree with that.<<

Well, the bible was intended to convey that God does exist.

Exactly.


>>Play it off the comment that preceded it, and maybe you can figure it out. <<

Since we don't have the original Greek manuscript, there is very little we can know about how accurate the current translation is.

We don't have the originals for a lot of things. How true to the original do you think The Illiad is?


>>What are you talking about? Catholics and Protestants generally agree when it comes to the nature of sin. <<

No they don't. The baptism for example is different.

That has nothing to do with the nature of sin.


>>I never claimed my understanding of the Bible was complete.<<

Good.

Were you expecting me to say otherwise?

shima
April 9th, 2003, 04:39 AM
One Eyed jack:
>>Not if you knew the methods the Hebrews employed to make sure their copies were accurate. They'd go over each copy letter by letter after it was made, and if so much as one letter was off -- they'd burn it and start all over. You don't pass on copying errors when you employ methods like that.<<

However, the Christians DIDN'T employ these copying methods.

>>Which copy is the 'authoritative copy?'<<

Precisely.

>>They're not, by and large.<<

Exactly my point.

>>You'll believe there's a God on Judgement Day.<<

No God means no Judgement Day.

>>Exactly.<<

Ofcourse, that doesn't mean God exists, but only that the people who wrote the bible wanted other people to believe that he does exist.

>>We don't have the originals for a lot of things. How true to the original do you think The Illiad is?<<

I don't know. Depends on how many times it was copied, and what amount of generations there were between the original and the current copy.

>>That has nothing to do with the nature of sin.<<

It does.

>>Were you expecting me to say otherwise?<<

No, which is precisely the point I was making. Since your understanding is incomplete, you have no idea how "misunderstood" your understanding actually is.

One Eyed Jack
April 9th, 2003, 04:48 AM
Originally posted by shima
One Eyed jack:
>>Not if you knew the methods the Hebrews employed to make sure their copies were accurate. They'd go over each copy letter by letter after it was made, and if so much as one letter was off -- they'd burn it and start all over. You don't pass on copying errors when you employ methods like that.<<

However, the Christians DIDN'T employ these copying methods.

I don't know what copying methods they employed, but we've got some pretty old copies that totally line up. We've got older copies of the New Testament manuscripts than the oldest copies available of many classics that we take for granted were copied faithfully.


>>Which copy is the 'authoritative copy?'<<

Precisely.

Precisely what? You've nullified your own statements.


>>They're not, by and large.<<

Exactly my point.

Your point being what -- that you don't know how to write down an accurate version of events you witness?


>>You'll believe there's a God on Judgement Day.<<

No God means no Judgement Day.

But there is a God. He's not dependent on your beliefs for existence.


>>Exactly.<<

Ofcourse, that doesn't mean God exists, but only that the people who wrote the bible wanted other people to believe that he does exist.

Or they believed it themselves.


>>We don't have the originals for a lot of things. How true to the original do you think The Illiad is?<<

I don't know. Depends on how many times it was copied, and what amount of generations there were between the original and the current copy.

A lot more than for the oldest New Testament manuscripts we have.


>>That has nothing to do with the nature of sin.<<

It does.

Explain how the method of baptism has to do with the nature of sin. I think you're confused.


>>Were you expecting me to say otherwise?<<

No, which is precisely the point I was making. Since your understanding is incomplete, you have no idea how "misunderstood" your understanding actually is.

I think I've got the basics, and that's all you really need. Love God with all you've got, and love your neighbor as yourself.

shima
April 9th, 2003, 04:57 AM
One Eyed Jack:
>>Precisely what? You've nullified your own statements.<<

No, you rather nullified your own. There is currently no authorative copy of the bible, precisely because they are all different and all emply different INTERPRETATIONS of similar events. Now, for a book that is supposedly a "perfect" copy of the word of god, I expect all copies to be equal. Yet this is hardly the case for the bible. There are plenty of different versions about, all of which claim to be the "word of god". Yet they are all different.

If, for example, we lay two copies of "Illiad" next to eachother and they clearly differ, we then question the accuracy of the copying method and the interpretation used by those copiers. We however DON'T know which copy is more faithfull to the original untill we find more copies.

>>Your point being what -- that you don't know how to write down an accurate version of events you witness?<<

No, that HUMANS find it hard to write down an accurate version of events witnessed without letting their personal biass and interpretation get in the way of that accuracy.

>>But there is a God. He's not dependent on your beliefs for existence.<<

Neither does his absence depend on your belief in his existence. He either exists or he doesn't. You believe he does, I believe he doesn't.

One Eyed Jack
April 9th, 2003, 05:09 AM
Originally posted by shima
One Eyed Jack:
>>Precisely what? You've nullified your own statements.<<

No, you rather nullified your own.

How have I done that? I never claimed any particular translation was 'the authoritative copy.'


There is currently no authorative copy of the bible, precisely because they are all different and all emply different INTERPRETATIONS of similar events. Now, for a book that is supposedly a "perfect" copy of the word of god, I expect all copies to be equal. Yet this is hardly the case for the bible. There are plenty of different versions about, all of which claim to be the "word of god". Yet they are all different.

They're not that different. There are some bad translations out there, I'll agree, but most of them agree in all matters of doctrine.


If, for example, we lay two copies of "Illiad" next to eachother and they clearly differ, we then question the accuracy of the copying method and the interpretation used by those copiers. We however DON'T know which copy is more faithfull to the original untill we find more copies.

Correction -- until we find the original. And as far as I know, all the copies say the same thing.


>>Your point being what -- that you don't know how to write down an accurate version of events you witness?<<

No, that HUMANS find it hard to write down an accurate version of events witnessed without letting their personal biass and interpretation get in the way of that accuracy.

But not impossible.


>>But there is a God. He's not dependent on your beliefs for existence.<<

Neither does his absence depend on your belief in his existence.

No kidding.


He either exists or he doesn't. You believe he does, I believe he doesn't.

And on Judgement Day, He'll prove to you He does by resurrecting you for Judgement. You may be in for quite a shock, but you'll finally believe He exists.

Zakath
April 9th, 2003, 06:23 AM
Originally posted by Z Man
What's so hard to understand here? What I and Jack said go hand in hand. Besides, Jack defined how an individual becomes a genuine Christian; I defined how to tell if an individual, who did what Jack described, is genuine or not.
Perhaps it would be nice if you clarified such things when you post.


Jack described the cause, I described the effect.

Not quite. The use of jargon by religionists is very confusing. You appear to describe two very different things. Jack wrote the following, describing actions:

...being born again means:
1. acknowledging that you're a sinner,
2. asking for forgiveness, and
3. repenting from your sins.
You wrote the following, but describing different actions:
...a Christian is just that;
1. Any person who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior.
2. Any person that continues in the faith.


Try stepping outside your belief system for a moment and attempt to see things as they look to someone who is on the outside, Z-man. :D

How should I understand that acknowledging that one is a sinner and asking for forgiveness and repenting from one's sins is equivalent to believing in someone as their savior? Doesn't Christian doctrine claim that everyone a sinner? If so, why does one need to acknowledge something that is part of the human condition? It would be analogous to acknowledging that you have eyes or that you are human...

Additionally, if I suffer a heart attack an EMT may save me from death but it involves none of the actions you ascribe as necessary for being "saved". I know many religionists who believe in deities and expect posthumous rewards for those beliefs that do not require those actions.

In addition, your description implies that not only is the belief essential but the belief may turn to disbelief over time. That is a teaching that I have seen vigorously debated among those calling themselves Christians.

Sozo
April 9th, 2003, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by Zakath
In addition, your description implies that not only is the belief essential but the belief may turn to disbelief over time. That is a teaching that I have seen vigorously debated among those calling themselves Christians.

That is something that is taught and believed by idiot Christians of which there are many, just like there are idiot atheists, which you are not.

Please keep challenging them Zakath, hopefully they will see the contradictions of their so-called faith.

Gerald
April 9th, 2003, 08:04 AM
I asked of One-Eyed Jack:

Riddle me this, One-Eyed Jack: is the following statement true or false?

"There exist volitional entities, undetectable by human senses or instrumentation, who, interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion."

If your answer is yes, then please show irrefutable contemporary documentation demonstrating that such entities exist.

One-Eyed Jack asked:

How can they interact with reality in a repeatable and verifiable fashion if they're undetectable by human senses or instrumentation?

This is a sceptical statement from someone who says he believes God, a volitional entity, undetectable by human senses or instrumentation, who is said to interact with reality on a regular basis, exists.

What I posted also fits the generally accepted description of angels, demons, gremlins, etc.

So, Jack, are you interested in tackling this apparent discontinuity?

Zakath
April 9th, 2003, 12:37 PM
Gerald,

Maybe he's a closet skeptic...

Z Man
April 9th, 2003, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by Zakath

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Z Man
What's so hard to understand here? What I and Jack said go hand in hand. Besides, Jack defined how an individual becomes a genuine Christian; I defined how to tell if an individual, who did what Jack described, is genuine or not.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps it would be nice if you clarified such things when you post.

Roger doger. :thumb:




quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jack described the cause, I described the effect.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not quite. The use of jargon by religionists is very confusing. You appear to describe two very different things. Jack wrote the following, describing actions:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...being born again means:
1. acknowledging that you're a sinner,
2. asking for forgiveness, and
3. repenting from your sins.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You wrote the following, but describing different actions:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...a Christian is just that;
1. Any person who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior.
2. Any person that continues in the faith.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He defined how to be a Christian, I defined what is a Christian.


Try stepping outside your belief system for a moment and attempt to see things as they look to someone who is on the outside, Z-man. :D
I wasn't born "saved"... ;)


How should I understand that acknowledging that one is a sinner and asking for forgiveness and repenting from one's sins is equivalent to believing in someone as their savior? Doesn't Christian doctrine claim that everyone a sinner? If so, why does one need to acknowledge something that is part of the human condition? It would be analogous to acknowledging that you have eyes or that you are human...

The first step to overcoming a problem is to acknowledge you have one. In this case, our problem is our sin.


Additionally, if I suffer a heart attack an EMT may save me from death but it involves none of the actions you ascribe as necessary for being "saved".

Wait and see if the EMT will be there when you're standing before God, guilty of your sins. They can't save you from that...


I know many religionists who believe in deities and expect posthumous rewards for those beliefs that do not require those actions.

Believing in Christ is the only way to be saved.

Joh 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


In addition, your description implies that not only is the belief essential but the belief may turn to disbelief over time. That is a teaching that I have seen vigorously debated among those calling themselves Christians.

I don't believe a true, genuine saved born-again Christian can lose their belief in God. I do believe, however, that there are thousands of people that go to church, sing hymns, give offerings, and "play" Christian, but they don't last because they never truely believed.

1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

I know there are some Christians out there that disagree with this doctrine, but it dosn't make them or me any less "saved".

Zakath
April 10th, 2003, 02:43 PM
Zman,

Thank you for your reply.

Even though you assert you weren't born "saved" you appear to have been what you consider "saved" for long enough that you have difficulty conversing on these subjects without resorting to religious jargon. This makes it difficult to bridge the gulf caused by the preusppositions that underlie your position.

First, your assumption that I understand what you mean by "sin". The term has a wide variety of meaning depending entirely on the religious background of the person using it. As an atheist, I do think that you and I have a similar meaning for the term. To me, sin is something that causes unecessary harm or pain to another. To you, it sounds like it means something quite diferrent.

Second, you assert that "believing in Christ is the only way to be saved." Christ is the anglicized form of the Greek word for savior or messiah, particularly the Hebrew messiah. Since there are any number of persons who have either claimed or been awarded that title by various Jewish followers throughout the centuries, could you please explain which one you are speaking of and on what basis you make a determination that that particular individual is the correct one?

Third, as you mentioned above "... the only way to be saved" implies there is something for me to be saved from. What, in your opinion, is that?

Fourthly, you assert that many people "play Christian" because they do not "truly believe". What does that mean and how does one tell when someone has "truly believed" as compared to some other kind of belief.

Lastly, you claim to be in disagreement with other Christians on a matter of doctrine. How do you know that you're correct and they are wrong? Why doesn't your deity clearly spell out what is correct and what is not? Why does he permit so much confusion about what is correct and what is not when incorrect belief stands in the way of people understanding what he desires?

Z Man
April 11th, 2003, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Zman,

Thank you for your reply.

You're welcome.


Even though you assert you weren't born "saved" you appear to have been what you consider "saved" for long enough that you have difficulty conversing on these subjects without resorting to religious jargon. This makes it difficult to bridge the gulf caused by the preusppositions that underlie your position.

First, your assumption that I understand what you mean by "sin". The term has a wide variety of meaning depending entirely on the religious background of the person using it. As an atheist, I do think that you and I have a similar meaning for the term. To me, sin is something that causes unecessary harm or pain to another. To you, it sounds like it means something quite diferrent.

Sin is imperfection. Any action we take that inhibits us from perfection is wrong. I will also go on to say that sin is what keeps us seperated from God. It also creates lots of problems for us, though it may have started out as a pleasure or convienence. For example, pornagraphy. A lot of people are sucked into it thinking it harms no one, but it really damages relationships in that ones spouse loses that "intimate attraction" once that individual has recieved there satisfaction from porn.


Second, you assert that "believing in Christ is the only way to be saved." Christ is the anglicized form of the Greek word for savior or messiah, particularly the Hebrew messiah. Since there are any number of persons who have either claimed or been awarded that title by various Jewish followers throughout the centuries, could you please explain which one you are speaking of and on what basis you make a determination that that particular individual is the correct one?

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, or Christ. The reason for this is that He is the only person who took care of the "sin problem" amoung humankind. He is also the only individual who was "qualified" to do it. Yes, I know I wasn't alive when He was, so I don't have firsthand experience with His life, but that dosn't make any claims that have been made of Him in the Bible any less valid. I wasn't alive when Alexander the Great was around either, but I believe he existed, even though the first historical claims of his existence first appeared around 300 years after he was dead. But I really don't want to get into a debate about historical accuracy or what-not. With faith that God has given me, I believe in what the Bible says about Jesus, and nothing can take that belief away...


Third, as you mentioned above "... the only way to be saved" implies there is something for me to be saved from. What, in your opinion, is that?

IMHO, we all need to be saved from our sins. What we have done against God is outrageous, and we definitly deserve a consequence that is damning. We can't save ourselves from sin, because sin is our nature. We don't teach children how to steal cookies from the jar, or to lie, or to disrespect their parents or siblings; it all comes natural to them. God gave humanity the law so that we could know what sin is, but we definitly can not uphold to it. That's why God had to come to earth Himself and bear our punishment; death. The only way to be free from sin is to never commit it; become perfect, if you will. I believe the only individual to do this was Jesus. To me, God has shown what love really is by taking my punishment upon Himself when He Himself is God Almighty. I mean, who am I for Him to do this for little ol' me? Amazing....


Fourthly, you assert that many people "play Christian" because they do not "truly believe". What does that mean and how does one tell when someone has "truly believed" as compared to some other kind of belief.

They continue in the faith; that's how you can tell.


Lastly, you claim to be in disagreement with other Christians on a matter of doctrine. How do you know that you're correct and they are wrong? Why doesn't your deity clearly spell out what is correct and what is not? Why does he permit so much confusion about what is correct and what is not when incorrect belief stands in the way of people understanding what he desires?

I believe that if anyone is a true believer in Jesus as their savior, then they can't be wrong. Of course Christians will disagree about different things, but we all agree that God is love, and He displayed that love on the cross. This is what it's all about. I could care less if we disagree on what to eat or not, how to dress or not, when to go to church or not, etc. etc. These are minor details. As long as someone beleives in Jesus as their personal Savior, I will always count them as a Brother or Sister in Christ.

shima
April 13th, 2003, 03:54 AM
>>Sin is imperfection. Any action we take that inhibits us from perfection is wrong. I will also go on to say that sin is what keeps us seperated from God. It also creates lots of problems for us, though it may have started out as a pleasure or convienence. For example, pornagraphy. A lot of people are sucked into it thinking it harms no one, but it really damages relationships in that ones spouse loses that "intimate attraction" once that individual has recieved there satisfaction from porn.<<

What if he doesn't have a spouse?

Z Man
April 13th, 2003, 04:14 AM
Originally posted by shima
>>Sin is imperfection. Any action we take that inhibits us from perfection is wrong. I will also go on to say that sin is what keeps us seperated from God. It also creates lots of problems for us, though it may have started out as a pleasure or convienence. For example, pornagraphy. A lot of people are sucked into it thinking it harms no one, but it really damages relationships in that ones spouse loses that "intimate attraction" once that individual has recieved there satisfaction from porn.<<

What if he doesn't have a spouse?

It dosn't matter. A person should still keep their minds purified from this garbage. No one knows what the future holds, and an individual who may not be married now may be in the future. And, if when they were single they indulged in porn, they have wasted what intimacy belonged to their future spouse and threw it away to the pigs, this so called pornography. And besides, once you start, it's hard to stop.

What if a person never marries and deceides to stay single all their life? Well, from a Christian perspective, they should still keep themselves pure for God.

Zakath
April 13th, 2003, 10:47 AM
Z Man,

Thank you for your post, it is very interesting. My comments follow...

Originally posted by Z Man
Sin is imperfection. Any action we take that inhibits us from perfection is wrong. I will also go on to say that sin is what keeps us seperated from God. Just to be clear, are you intimating that these are two separate things or the same thing?:confused:


I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, or Christ. The Jewish Messiah? If so, then why do his followers generally reject Judaism?


The reason for this is that He is the only person who took care of the "sin problem" amoung humankind. He is also the only individual who was "qualified" to do it. How so? How so you believe he did so and what were his qualifications?


Yes, I know I wasn't alive when He was, so I don't have firsthand experience with His life, but that dosn't make any claims that have been made of Him in the Bible any less valid.That's OK, old as I am, even I wasn't around back then... ;)

Unfortunately you've opened an entirely different line of discussion here - the validity and accuracy of the Bible. Are you interested in pursuing that, say on a separate thread?

Your choice. :)


I wasn't alive when Alexander the Great was around either, but I believe he existed, even though the first historical claims of his existence first appeared around 300 years after he was dead. That's the first time I've heard that one. I would assume you mean Plutarch's or Arrian's writings. Here are a few other earlier references...
Demonsthenes, (fourth century BC) tried to convince the leaders of Athens not to sign a treaty with Alexander (see "Demosthenes. The Olynthiac and Other Public Orations of Demosthenes. trans. Charles Rann Kennedy (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1852), 217-220.")
A mosaic, a copy (circa 200 BC) of an original allegedly completed around 300 BC, represents Alexander leading troops at the battle of Issus. (see "The Alexander Mosaic." Mosaic. Ca. 200 B.C. Naples, Museo Nazionale.)
Diodorous, a Roman historian writing in the first century BC, chronicled Alexander's sacking of Perspolis. (see Diodorus. Diodorus of Sicily in Twelve Volumes. trans. C. Bradford Welles, vol. 8 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1933), 319-327.)


But I really don't want to get into a debate about historical accuracy or what-not. With faith that God has given me, I believe in what the Bible says about Jesus, and nothing can take that belief away.So you're belief is based entirely on faith and not on evidence?


IMHO, we all need to be saved from our sins. What we have done against God is outrageous, and we definitly deserve a consequence that is damning. We can't save ourselves from sin, because sin is our nature. We don't teach children how to steal cookies from the jar, or to lie, or to disrespect their parents or siblings; it all comes natural to them. What has a newborn infant "done against God"? What has a severely mentally retarded person "done against God"?


God gave humanity the law so that we could know what sin is, but we definitly can not uphold to it. How do you explain Deuteronomy 30?
…if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. – Dt. 30 10b-14 – Emphasis mine - Z


That's why God had to come to earth Himself and bear our punishment; death. This presents several logical problems:First, you appear to believe that an immortal entity died.

Second, if you are speaking of what Christians refer to as "the crucifixion", then you are claiming that YHWH demanded human sacrifice.

Third, you are claiming that the death of one man affected the entire race, even though they were not descended from him as Christians allege humans are from Adam.


The only way to be free from sin is to never commit it; become perfect, if you will. I believe the only individual to do this was Jesus. Again, you are claiming that Moses (and YHWH) lied to Israel?


I believe that if anyone is a true believer in Jesus as their savior, then they can't be wrong.So real Christians are "infallible" or incapable of error? You are saying essentially the same thing the Roman Catholics do, except you're extending the infallibility from the leaders of the Church to the entire Church. That's quite a claim! If it is true, how do you explain the twenty centuries of infighting among the Christians about who is "right" and who is "wrong" in major areas of doctrine.


I could care less if we disagree on what to eat or not, how to dress or not, when to go to church or not, etc. etc. These are minor details. As long as someone beleives in Jesus as their personal Savior, I will always count themTwo points:

1. What do you mean by "personal Savior"?

2. If you will study your church history you will find that Christians disagree on much, much more than a few "minor details". Do you really think a few minor details were what caused the killings of Christians by Christians for the last 1600 years or so?

Z Man
April 13th, 2003, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
Z Man,

Thank you for your post, it is very interesting. My comments follow...


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Z Man
Sin is imperfection. Any action we take that inhibits us from perfection is wrong. I will also go on to say that sin is what keeps us seperated from God.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just to be clear, are you intimating that these are two separate things or the same thing?

Well, you asked what my take on sin was and I replied that it was imperfection. Then, I just deceided to throw in there why it's a problem. No big deal; it didn't cost extra. ;)



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, or Christ.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Jewish Messiah? If so, then why do his followers generally reject Judaism?

Yeah, the Jewish Messiah too. They just don't know it yet. I don't reject Judaism, persay, or look down upon them. I respect them greatly. They believe in the same thing we do other than the issue on Jesus being the Messiah. Besides, one day, when Jesus comes back in the end, the Jews will know He is their Messiah as well.



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The reason for this is that He is the only person who took care of the "sin problem" amoung humankind. He is also the only individual who was "qualified" to do it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How so? How so you believe he did so and what were his qualifications?

God requires one to be perfect in order to be holy and acceptable to Him, thus ensuring a relationship with Him. But mankind chooses not to attain perfection. The punishment for our sins is death. God knows we're doomed, so He deceided to come down and save us by showing us how to live a perfect life. Then, He bore our punishment, even though He was not guilty. He chose to sacrifice His own Son so that we could have a way to perfection. The only way is through His Son. He's the key to salvation.



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, I know I wasn't alive when He was, so I don't have firsthand experience with His life, but that dosn't make any claims that have been made of Him in the Bible any less valid.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's OK, old as I am, even I wasn't around back then...

Unfortunately you've opened an entirely different line of discussion here - the validity and accuracy of the Bible. Are you interested in pursuing that, say on a separate thread?

Your choice.

Why don't we pursue a discussion on the validity and accuracy of some other written form of history, such as that on Alexander the Great, or George Washington, or some other great historical figure? It seems you guys, Atheists, want to pick apart the Bible and you request "extrodinary evidence", but when it comes to someone else who would not effect the way we live, you don't apply the same standards. Check out this site for more details:

http://www.carm.org/evidence/extraordinary.htm



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I wasn't alive when Alexander the Great was around either, but I believe he existed, even though the first historical claims of his existence first appeared around 300 years after he was dead.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's the first time I've heard that one. I would assume you mean Plutarch's or Arrian's writings. Here are a few other earlier references...

Demonsthenes, (fourth century BC) tried to convince the leaders of Athens not to sign a treaty with Alexander (see "Demosthenes. The Olynthiac and Other Public Orations of Demosthenes. trans. Charles Rann Kennedy (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1852), 217-220.")

A mosaic, a copy (circa 200 BC) of an original allegedly completed around 300 BC, represents Alexander leading troops at the battle of Issus. (see "The Alexander Mosaic." Mosaic. Ca. 200 B.C. Naples, Museo Nazionale.)

Diodorous, a Roman historian writing in the first century BC, chronicled Alexander's sacking of Perspolis. (see Diodorus. Diodorus of Sicily in Twelve Volumes. trans. C. Bradford Welles, vol. 8 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1933), 319-327.)

Again, check out the site above.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But I really don't want to get into a debate about historical accuracy or what-not. With faith that God has given me, I believe in what the Bible says about Jesus, and nothing can take that belief away.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So you're belief is based entirely on faith and not on evidence?

I have evidence: the Bible. It's the same kind of written evidence that we all have for any type of history.

Look, I didn't "choose" to just believe in all this "hunky-doorie" hoobla one day. I didn't believe in God because of some kind of evidence or "feeling". I believe in God because He came to me and showed me the Truth. He saved me. He gave me the faith it takes for one to totally change their lives and give up everything they know to follow some guy who claimed to be God some 2000 years ago. And I know that evidence is not what it is going to take to change your mind either. It's going to take an act of God...


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IMHO, we all need to be saved from our sins. What we have done against God is outrageous, and we definitly deserve a consequence that is damning. We can't save ourselves from sin, because sin is our nature. We don't teach children how to steal cookies from the jar, or to lie, or to disrespect their parents or siblings; it all comes natural to them.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What has a newborn infant "done against God"? What has a severely mentally retarded person "done against God"?

They'll all be judged by God accordingly. I don't know their fate, and it's not for me to say.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
God gave humanity the law so that we could know what sin is, but we definitly can not uphold to it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How do you explain Deuteronomy 30?
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
…if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. – Dt. 30 10b-14 – Emphasis mine - Z
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We cannot uphold to it because we choose not to.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That's why God had to come to earth Himself and bear our punishment; death.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This presents several logical problems:
First, you appear to believe that an immortal entity died.

Second, if you are speaking of what Christians refer to as "the crucifixion", then you are claiming that YHWH demanded human sacrifice.

Third, you are claiming that the death of one man affected the entire race, even though they were not descended from him as Christians allege humans are from Adam.

First, Jesus was human, not immortal.

Second, YHWH didn't demand it from anybody; He choose to sacrifice His Son for us.

Third, I am claiming that because of Christ's death, those who believe have been set free from the punishment of sin, and that because of His ressurection, we have hope and a reason to believe.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The only way to be free from sin is to never commit it; become perfect, if you will. I believe the only individual to do this was Jesus.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Again, you are claiming that Moses (and YHWH) lied to Israel?

We could be perfect if we choose to stop sinning. But can we; no. Because we love sin so much, it is part of our culture; part of our nature. The only person who has lied to us is us.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I believe that if anyone is a true believer in Jesus as their savior, then they can't be wrong.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So real Christians are "infallible" or incapable of error? You are saying essentially the same thing the Roman Catholics do, except you're extending the infallibility from the leaders of the Church to the entire Church. That's quite a claim! If it is true, how do you explain the twenty centuries of infighting among the Christians about who is "right" and who is "wrong" in major areas of doctrine.

I guess you misunderstood me. You asked me, "How do you know that you're correct [in your doctine] and [other Christians] are wrong?" To me, disagreement in doctrine is so little important in comparision to what really matters; belief in Jesus Christ. To me, as long as a Christian believes in this key point to the belief, then it dosn't matter what else we disagree on; they're still a Christian. That's all I was implying.


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I could care less if we disagree on what to eat or not, how to dress or not, when to go to church or not, etc. etc. These are minor details. As long as someone beleives in Jesus as their personal Savior, I will always count them
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two points:

1. What do you mean by "personal Savior"?

2. If you will study your church history you will find that Christians disagree on much, much more than a few "minor details". Do you really think a few minor details were what caused the killings of Christians by Christians for the last 1600 years or so?

1. I mean just that. Christianity is about a relationship with God, nothing more or less. Jesus Christ is the only person, thing, object, reality, or whatever, that can save an individual. A person has to believe this on their own. Someone else can't walk down that road for them; they have to have a relationship with God on their own. It's personal. God wants personal relationships with us.

2. Zakath, I'm not religious and I could care less about Church history or why people killed who for what reasons. I don't care. Having a relationship with God is all that matters to me. Not religion, church history, church songs, offerings, whatever, just me and God. He's the only one who can save me. He's the only one that matters.

Zakath
April 13th, 2003, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by Z Man
Well, you asked what my take on sin was and I replied that it was imperfection. Then, I just deceided to throw in there why it's a problem. No big deal; it didn't cost extra. ;)That's good, I'm not on an expense account here, y'know. ;)


Yeah, the Jewish Messiah too. They just don't know it yet. It's only been twenty centuries. When do you expect they'll figure it out?


I don't reject Judaism, persay, or look down upon them. I respect them greatly. They believe in the same thing we do other than the issue on Jesus being the Messiah. Besides, one day, when Jesus comes back in the end, the Jews will know He is their Messiah as well. Actually they believe many things differently than you... try a brief read here link (http://www.outreachjudaism.org/index.html) - he even takes questions!


God requires one to be perfect in order to be holy and acceptable to Him, thus ensuring a relationship with Him.And you know this how?


But mankind chooses not to attain perfection. I can see this point. It's too much trouble for most people.


The punishment for our sins is death.Not always. Read the rest of the OT besides Isaiah. It describes all kinds of other penalties for various kinds of sin.


God knows we're doomed, so He deceided to come down and save us by showing us how to live a perfect life.But his system was what doomed you in the first place. That's kind of a backwards way to handle things, don't you think?


Then, He bore our punishment, even though He was not guilty. He chose to sacrifice His own Son so that we could have a way to perfection. The only way is through His Son. He's the key to salvation. So your deity requires and accepts human sacrifice?


Why don't we pursue a discussion on the validity and accuracy of some other written form of history, such as that on Alexander the Great, or George Washington, or some other great historical figure? I provided you with some information about Alexander the Great which you did not comment on. Did you read any of the information I suggested? If so, what did you think?


It seems you guys, Atheists, want to pick apart the Bible and you request "extrodinary evidence", but when it comes to someone else who would not effect the way we live, you don't apply the same standards. Very astute. You picked up the point that extraordinary claims (miracles, divine intervention in daily affairs, etc,) should require extraordinary evidence while day-to-day things that would not affect the way you live would require significantly less evidence since they may not impact you at all.

For example, you claim that not following the teachings of your deity will impact me eternally, while not accepting your view on Alexander the Great does not impact me at all.



Check out this site for more details: http://www.carm.org/evidence/extraordinary.htm I've read much of it before. Wasn't terribly impressed. Sorry. :(


I have evidence: the Bible. It's the same kind of written evidence that we all have for any type of history.No its not. It's supporters claim that it is religious literature, not merely historical literature. Neither you or I would not care one whit whether someone claimed miraculous powers for Alexander the Great. But you claim extreme miraculous powers for one Jesus of Nazareth. That's a big difference and one that requires a different kind of evidence.


Look, I didn't "choose" to just believe in all this "hunky-doorie" hoobla one day. I didn't believe in God because of some kind of evidence or "feeling". I believe in God because He came to me and showed me the Truth. He saved me. He gave me the faith it takes for one to totally change their lives and give up everything they know to follow some guy who claimed to be God some 2000 years ago. So you are claiming you had direct revelation from your deity?


And I know that evidence is not what it is going to take to change your mind either. It's going to take an act of God...Quite possibly, if there is a deity... :rolleyes:


Regarding following the Law you wrote:
"We cannot uphold to it because we choose not to."If you choose not to, then you also have the choice to choose to follow it. That's my point. If you can choose to follow it, then it's likely someone has. If they have, then there is no need for "salvation."


First, Jesus was human, not immortal.I also believe that Jesus of Nazareth was human. The question is, do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was "God" as well?


Second, YHWH didn't demand it from anybody; He choose to sacrifice His Son for us. See my question above about human sacrifice...


Third, I am claiming that because of Christ's death, those who believe have been set free from the punishment of sin, and that because of His ressurection, we have hope and a reason to believe.You know this because your deity told you, or because you read it somewhere?


We could be perfect if we choose to stop sinning. But can we; no.If we cannot choose to stop, then we cannot stop. This makes it a no win scenario with the deity creating us for destruction...


I guess you misunderstood me. You asked me, "How do you know that you're correct [in your doctine] and [other Christians] are wrong?" To me, disagreement in doctrine is so little important in comparision to what really matters; belief in Jesus Christ. To me, as long as a Christian believes in this key point to the belief, then it dosn't matter what else we disagree on; they're still a Christian. That's all I was implying. Thank you for clarifying.


Christianity is about a relationship with God, nothing more or less. Jesus Christ is the only person, thing, object, reality, or whatever, that can save an individual. A person has to believe this on their own. Someone else can't walk down that road for them; they have to have a relationship with God on their own. It's personal. God wants personal relationships with us.But, aside from some personal revelation from your deity, how does one accomplish this radical change from unbelief to belief?


Zakath, I'm not religious and I could care less about Church history or why people killed who for what reasons. I don't care.But they are your "brothers and sisters in Christ". Their actions impact you, even today. To ignore those actions is to weaken your position considerably.


Having a relationship with God is all that matters to me. Not religion, church history, church songs, offerings, whatever, just me and God. He's the only one who can save me. He's the only one that matters. Just you and God, eh? If it's all about the individual and the deity, then why is there a "Church"?

Z Man
April 13th, 2003, 11:52 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
It's only been twenty centuries. When do you expect they'll figure it out?

When He returns.


Actually they believe many things differently than you... try a brief read here link (http://www.outreachjudaism.org/index.html) - he even takes questions!

Well, I know they ain't Christians, but our faith did come from theirs. We believe in the same God, just differently. I really do need to clarify more when I post, huh? :doh:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
God requires one to be perfect in order to be holy and acceptable to Him, thus ensuring a relationship with Him.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And you know this how?

Well, ummm, because us Christians tend to believe that God is perfect. And to fellowship with imperfection is against His character.


Not always. Read the rest of the OT besides Isaiah. It describes all kinds of other penalties for various kinds of sin.

I'm not talking about any kind of physical punishment or physical death, I'm talking about spiritual death; eternal damnation apart from Love, Truth, Light, the only Being whose beauty far surpasses that which any living being has ever witnessed on this earth; God.


But his system was what doomed you in the first place. That's kind of a backwards way to handle things, don't you think?

No, His system didn't doom us, we doomed ourselves. Like you said, His system was too much trouble for us. So we tossed Him aside and deceided to do things our way. What a big mistake. Some of us have found this out, but many are still wondering why we can't do anything right around here...


So your deity requires and accepts human sacrifice?

I thought I made this point clear when I said God chose to take upon Himself our punishment. It's like if you were walking through the jungles in Vietnam and shots were fired and another soldier jumped in front of you to take your bullet. Has nothing to do with human sacrifices. It's all about love.


I provided you with some information about Alexander the Great which you did not comment on. Did you read any of the information I suggested? If so, what did you think?

Yeah, I read it. I think that whether there were earlier historical claims about him or not is irrelevant; The fact is you believe in them. Why not believe in what people wrote about Jesus?


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It seems you guys, Atheists, want to pick apart the Bible and you request "extrodinary evidence", but when it comes to someone else who would not effect the way we live, you don't apply the same standards.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Very astute. You picked up the point that extraordinary claims (miracles, divine intervention in daily affairs, etc,) should require extraordinary evidence while day-to-day things that would not affect the way you live would require significantly less evidence since they may not impact you at all.

For example, you claim that not following the teachings of your deity will impact me eternally, while not accepting your view on Alexander the Great does not impact me at all.

What Alexander the Great did in his time and age was phenomenal. He claims to have conquered the world at age 33! No one has ever done that before. That is indeed an extraordinary event in history.

So, I ask, "Where is the extraordinary evidence to back that extraordinary claim up?" Has any skeptic in Christ's resurrection, equally applied the principle of "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," to Alexander the Great's conquest of the known world? If not, then this brings us full circle to the issue concerning presuppositions. With an atheist, for example, the presupposition that God does not exist means that the extraordinary claim of Christ's resurrection requires extraordinary evidence but Alexander the Great's world conquest does not, yet both are extraordinary claims of history.

If it is true about Alexander the Great, no big deal. It won't have any effect on anyone and it won't change anything in anyone's life outside of just having the information that he conquered the known world by age 33. But, if it is true about Jesus, then that is completely different. Jesus claimed to be divine and He had a message for people about heaven and hell and that salvation is only through Him. Such a claim requires extraordinary evidence, such as a resurrection from the dead. This would have a profound effect on people and it can make them uncomfortable. Therefore, people will not want it to be true and will desperately try to hold onto their presuppositions; hence, the claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Matthew J. Slick
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS AND RESEARCH MINISTRY


No its not. It's supporters claim that it is religious literature, not merely historical literature. Neither you or I would not care one whit whether someone claimed miraculous powers for Alexander the Great. But you claim extreme miraculous powers for one Jesus of Nazareth. That's a big difference and one that requires a different kind of evidence.

What kind of evidence? And why don't you ask the same of the historical claims made on Alexander's conquering of the world at age 33? That seems to be an extremely extraodinary claim, don't you think?


So you are claiming you had direct revelation from your deity?

He didn't come out of Heaven with thunder and lightening or anything. Here's my story. I was raised in a Christian home and I've believed in God for as long as I can remember. I had my doubts though, especially when I was younger and during my pre-teen years, but God saved me and I can not stray from the faith. I knew deep down inside that He was real because of many things I've seen in my life and the things I see around me. I've heard the truth spoken in churches and through the Bible and I've seen it in action in the world. I've related this truth with what the world has to offer and I see a world that is extremely blind of what it has gotten into. People blindly follow sin, believing it will grant them happiness. And it does, but for only a season... Anyways, I'll shut up now. I tend to ramble alot, sorry. :o


Quite possibly, if there is a deity... :rolleyes:

You'll find out one day. I just pray it won't be too late... :(


If you choose not to, then you also have the choice to choose to follow it. That's my point. If you can choose to follow it, then it's likely someone has. If they have, then there is no need for "salvation."

I agree. But if there was a chance that people could live perfect lives, then we wouldn't be debating right now because there would have never been a Jesus who died on the cross. In fact, we'd all be naked still, living in a beautiful garden... ;)


I also believe that Jesus of Nazareth was human. The question is, do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was "God" as well?

Yes. I believe in the Trinity. But let's not go down that road either. Too long...


See my question above about human sacrifice...

See my answer above on human sacrifice.


You know this because your deity told you, or because you read it somewhere?

I know this from experience.


If we cannot choose to stop, then we cannot stop. This makes it a no win scenario with the deity creating us for destruction...

Well, some of us. The elect will be saved.


Thank you for clarifying.

You're welcome.


But, aside from some personal revelation from your deity, how does one accomplish this radical change from unbelief to belief?

One can not do it on their own will. Only God can make one believe. Only He can change one's heart. He does this through the gospel. When His elect hear the truth, they believe it and become saved, born-again, a new man with a changed heart, etc. etc.


But they are your "brothers and sisters in Christ". Their actions impact you, even today. To ignore those actions is to weaken your position considerably.

They had nothing to do with my salvation.


Just you and God, eh? If it's all about the individual and the deity, then why is there a "Church"?

Oh boy, I knew this was coming. Either you read too much into my posts, or like you said, I just don't clarify enough. Of course the church is important. To not fellowship with people who believe in the same thing you do would be suicide to your faith. One who is saved will desire to "hang out" with those in the same mind and accord as you. That's where the church scene comes into play. But the church has nothing to do with my salvation. It does not sustain it, grant it, contribute to it, nor take away from it; that's totally in God's hands.

Gerald
April 14th, 2003, 02:49 PM
Looks like One-Eyed Jack isn't interested in tackling the little discontinuity I brought to his attention...

One Eyed Jack
April 15th, 2003, 12:54 AM
There is no discontinuity, Gerald. Just because I believe in God, doesn't mean I think I can make Him appear and perform miracles, in order to satisfy our scientific curiousity. Your query was contradictory -- how else was I supposed to respond to it?

shima
April 15th, 2003, 03:50 AM
As always, the Christians have no proof that they are correct. Since their religion is, from the atheistic point of view, no different from any of the countless other religions on earth, why should we believe it? I have read the bible and it wasn't believable. So, according to your arguements, God doesn't like me very much and chooses NOT to save me.

As a question to the Christians: could you give me some of your reasons to reject both the Jewish and the Muslim religion?

Zakath
April 15th, 2003, 06:39 AM
While claiming to be "absolutely correct", Christians generally fail the proof test two ways:

1. They have no demonstrable, empircal proof they are exclusively correct.

2. They have no demonstable, empirical proof that others (either other religionists or non-theists) are absolutlely wrong.

Gerald
April 15th, 2003, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by One Eyed Jack
There is no discontinuity, Gerald. Just because I believe in God, doesn't mean I think I can make Him appear and perform miracles, in order to satisfy our scientific curiousity. Your query was contradictory -- how else was I supposed to respond to it?
So, am I to infer from this that you don't believe in invisible nasties like Freak does?

Or is it that you do believe they exist, despite the fact that the existence of such beings has yet to be demonstrated?

One Eyed Jack
April 15th, 2003, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by Gerald

So, am I to infer from this that you don't believe in invisible nasties like Freak does?

Define 'invisible nasties.' I certainly don't believe in everything that might fall under that description (such as alien abductors, fairies, ghosts, or gremlins).


Or is it that you do believe they exist, despite the fact that the existence of such beings has yet to be demonstrated?

I wouldn't say their existence has yet to be demonstrated, period, but I can't exactly demonstrate their existence in a repeatable and verifiable manner, either. Nonetheless, I do believe that such beings exist.

Does that clear things up for you?

RogerB
April 15th, 2003, 09:26 AM
Shima,


As always, the Christians have no proof that they are correct. Since their religion is, from the atheistic point of view, no different from any of the countless other religions on earth, why should we believe it? I have read the bible and it wasn't believable. So, according to your arguements, God doesn't like me very much and chooses NOT to save me.

It is you who has chosen to reject God. He desparately wants to save you. Good luck in your search.

shima
April 15th, 2003, 10:26 AM
RogerB
>>It is you who has chosen to reject God.<<

The bible is to me unbelievable. Without verification from an independant source I tend not to believe fairytales.

>>He desparately wants to save you.<<

Obviously not desperate enough.

>>Good luck in your search.<<

Why? I have, for myself, determined that he doesn't exist. Otherwise there would have been a massive amount of evidence pointing towards his existence. So far, no evidence.

RogerB
April 15th, 2003, 12:02 PM
Shima,

You mean to say that you believe your search is over? You are here to shine the light of truth and overpowering evidence on all of us gullible, ignorant believers?

I think you are still searching and this is a better place than most to look.

Roger

Z Man
April 15th, 2003, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by shima
As always, the Christians have no proof that they are correct. Since their religion is, from the atheistic point of view, no different from any of the countless other religions on earth, why should we believe it? ... As a question to the Christians: could you give me some of your reasons to reject both the Jewish and the Muslim religion?

The Christian God is the only God who created a solution to mankinds problem, which is sin. The Muslim faith does not. For example, in the Muslim faith, to get to "paradise", one must do certain tasks, such as make a trip to Mecca, fast in the month of Ramadan, pray 3 times a day, etc. etc. But Christianity teaches that man cannot save themselves, only God can, and He did, displaying the most powerful presentation of love that this world has ever seen. As for Judaism, I believe they are still God's people and He will save them in the end.


I have read the bible and it wasn't believable. So, according to your arguements, God doesn't like me very much and chooses NOT to save me.

God desires that everyone comes to know Him. You are on His mind everyday. If you feel that something is stirring inside of you, bothering you everyday, about His existence, or a desire to know Him more, I suggest you heed the call and give in. You've heard the news of the gospel, no doubt, now it's up to you to deceide. You can reject Christ all your life, but you won't have a pleasant one, no matter what you tell yourself or do to make it feel worth living...

Z Man
April 15th, 2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
While claiming to be "absolutely correct", Christians generally fail the proof test two ways:

1. They have no demonstrable, empircal proof they are exclusively correct.

2. They have no demonstable, empirical proof that others (either other religionists or non-theists) are absolutlely wrong.

While claiming to be "absolutely correct", Ateists generally fail the proof test two ways:

1. They have no demonstrable, empircal proof they are exclusively correct.

2. They have no demonstrable, empirical proof that others (such as us Christians) are absolutley wrong.


Dear Zakath,
You have yet to answer my question:


Originally posted by Zakath
But you claim extreme miraculous powers for one Jesus of Nazareth. That's a big difference and one that requires a different kind of evidence.

Originally posted by Z Man
What kind of evidence? And why don't you ask the same of the historical claims made on Alexander's conquering of the world at age 33? That seems to be an extremely extraodinary claim, don't you think?

Knight
April 15th, 2003, 04:16 PM
Z-Man... sweet avatar!

Z Man
April 15th, 2003, 04:33 PM
Hehe... Thanks, you too! :thumb:

shima
April 16th, 2003, 02:52 AM
RogerB:
>>Shima, You mean to say that you believe your search is over?<<

I haven't stopped searching, but the more I search the more I have become convinced that the bible isn't true.

>>You are here to shine the light of truth and overpowering evidence on all of us gullible, ignorant believers?<<

No. I'm not here to "shine the light of truth", since its just my belief that the bible isn't true. While some small parts have been disproven (Theory of Evolution, Global Flood) most major parts are "unprovable and unrefutable". They thus depend solely on belief, which ofcourse can swing either way.

>>I think you are still searching and this is a better place than most to look.<<

I never stopped searching, which is more than I can say for most christians.

>>The Christian God is the only God who created a solution to mankinds problem, which is sin.<<

I don't believe Sin exists.

>>The Muslim faith does not. For example, in the Muslim faith, to get to "paradise", one must do certain tasks, such as make a trip to Mecca, fast in the month of Ramadan, pray 3 times a day, etc. etc. <<

So they did create a solution. Its just not a solution that YOU like.

>>But Christianity teaches that man cannot save themselves, only God can, and He did, displaying the most powerful presentation of love that this world has ever seen. As for Judaism, I believe they are still God's people and He will save them in the end.<<

Every religion teaches different things. In what way does this make Christianity any different from the millions of other religions?

>>God desires that everyone comes to know Him. You are on His mind everyday. If you feel that something is stirring inside of you, bothering you everyday, about His existence, or a desire to know Him more, I suggest you heed the call and give in.<<

What is bothering me mostly is what is written in the bible. The God as described in the Old Testament is simply NOT a good God. He's an *******, hypocritical, vengefull God.

>>You've heard the news of the gospel, no doubt, now it's up to you to deceide. You can reject Christ all your life, but you won't have a pleasant one, no matter what you tell yourself or do to make it feel worth living...<<

I have a pleasant life thank you very much. Yes, I've struggled with life for quite a while but I am on top of things right now. And I know that I am strong enough as a person to survive any challenges life can throw at me. And as for leading a fullfilling life: suppose that all that you believe is WRONG and the Muslims were rigth after all? You will definitely burn in the Islamic version of Hell for your unwillingness to convert to Islam.

RogerB
April 16th, 2003, 05:52 AM
Shima,


I never stopped searching, which is more than I can say for most christians.

The whole point in searching is to STOP once you've found what you're looking for.

What exactly are you searching for? A religion with empirical evidence? One that fits your current lifestyle? One that doesn't ask you to give up something you love? One without miracles?

Jesus is offering you eternity in heaven. That's too good to be true, right? And it certainly can't be proven. So are you looking for a religion that has no concept of heaven or eternal life?

Well, maybe I should just let you list out your requirements for a religion you could believe in. I just want you to be careful in making your list. Make sure that you list things that YOU want, not false hopes and dreams planted in your mind by this world (or, dare I say it - Satan).

Have a good day! :)

shima
April 16th, 2003, 06:37 AM
RogerB
>>The whole point in searching is to STOP once you've found what you're looking for.<<

Yes, but how do you KNOW that what you just found is what you were looking for in the first place? I find that, while finding something is always very cool, there is no reason to STOP searching. Who knots what ELSE you might encounter on your search? Perhaps you find that what you found first wasn't really what you were looking for, and didn't hold the awnsers you thought it did.

>>What exactly are you searching for? A religion with empirical evidence? One that fits your current lifestyle? One that doesn't ask you to give up something you love? One without miracles?<<

The truth. I'm a very curious person, so I WANT to know (not believe) if I have the "right" awnser.

>>Jesus is offering you eternity in heaven. That's too good to be true, right? <<

Which was one of the reasons why I rejected it.

>>And it certainly can't be proven. So are you looking for a religion that has no concept of heaven or eternal life?<<

I'm not LOOKING for a religion. What I am looking for is awnsers to questions like: "Why are we here", "What happens to your soul after you die" etc. I have awnsers already, but that doesn't mean they are CORRECT (if there are indeed "correct" awnsers to these questions) merely because I believe them to be correct. I am always comapring my awnsers to awnsers from others to see if perhaps they have "better" awnsers.

Most religions awnser these questions, but only in the context of meaning given to us by God/Gods/Powerfull Entities. This awnser demands further awnsers to questions like: "Where did that powerfull entity come from", "what are his motives for doing *insert committed attrocity here*" etc.

>>Well, maybe I should just let you list out your requirements for a religion you could believe in. I just want you to be careful in making your list. Make sure that you list things that YOU want, not false hopes and dreams planted in your mind by this world (or, dare I say it - Satan).<<

Its not a religion I'm looking for, nor philosophy, but EVIDENCE. There are plenty of awnsers out there, but NONE of them are in any way evidently correct. This is why I hang out on sites like this one: it gives me a chance to talk to people who have different awnsers to these questions, and see what evidence/arguements they have for thinking their awnser is CORRECT.

I stop searching only when I think I have found awnsers that can be explained/argued from any viewpoint and STILL hold up. Religion obviously doesn't satisfy that criterium.

PureX
April 16th, 2003, 06:50 AM
Originally posted by RogerB
Shima,



The whole point in searching is to STOP once you've found what you're looking for.
When I was about 12 or 13, I found alcohol. It felt very much like the solution to all my problems. It worked so well (it seemed to me) that I never tried another solution for over 20 years. It took that long for me to see and understand that what looked and felt so much like a solution was in fact no solution at all. It was just a drug that kept me from caring about the problems, or about any other possible solutions.

For a lot of people, religion works much the same way. They find it, it feels like a solution, and they never look for anything else thereafter. At least not until it becomes brutally and painfully obvious to them that it was not a solution after all. But like alcoholics, many will never reach that point. They will die addicted to their "solutions". Their whole life having been wasted on hiding from a reality that gives us far more questions than it does answers. When we stop asking, we stop living. Ignorance and curiosity are the human condition.

.Ant
April 16th, 2003, 06:50 AM
great posts Z Man :thumb:

Zakath
April 16th, 2003, 07:51 AM
Originally posted by Z Man
Dear Zakath,
You have yet to answer my question:

Originally posted by Zakath
But you claim extreme miraculous powers for one Jesus of Nazareth. That's a big difference and one that requires a different kind of evidence.

Originally posted by Z Man
What kind of evidence? And why don't you ask the same of the historical claims made on Alexander's conquering of the world at age 33? That seems to be an extremely extraodinary claim, don't you think?

I seem to count three questions there, Z Man.;)

Answer to question #1: When someone makes claims that appear to violate what are commonly called physcial laws, the burden is on the claimant to produce believable evidence to show that something paranormal or extraordinary has indeed happened. If you claim that a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, demonstrated paranormal abilities, you need to furnish evidence. Since that human being died almost twenty centuries ago, we cannot hop into your auto and drive over to see him in action to verify the truth of those claims. We must rely on documentary evidence. To accept a claim that a particular individual engaged in paranormal activity I would look to evaluate a variety of evidence, including the following:
1. Original eyewitness accounts - by this I mean the original autographs written by the observers in the original languages. To the best of my knowledge, no such accounts exist for anything done by Jesus of Nazareth.

2. Specific accounts of the individual events factually described by others outside the religious movement. Again, to the best of my knowledge, no such accounts exist.

Even when presented with such evidence, it would need to be critically evaluated for accuracy and bias.

Answer to questions #2 & #3: There are two reasons that historical claims about the exploits of a particular general are not subjected to similar levels of scrutiny as your claims about your deity.

First, the claim is made about a human being carrying on frequently observable human activities (i.e. a general conquering nations). There is no paranormal activity claimed that violates any observable so called "phyisical laws", so the level of proof is not extraordinary.

Second, there are consequences alleged for belief (or disbelief) in religious figures and their messages that are seldom, if ever, claimed for generals. For example, Christians tell me that if I do not believe as they assert I should that I am doomed to eternal torment. While the most I've ever heard claimed for those who disagree with scholars about Alexander is that they're ignorant. Thus the stakes, from my point of view, are much higher for religious issues than merely historical ones.

shima
April 16th, 2003, 08:03 AM
Good post, Zakath

RogerB
April 16th, 2003, 08:30 AM
When you find the book or set of keys that you've been looking for, you stop searching.

Followers of Christ have this same kind of resolution and satisfaction.

By all means, KEEP SEARCHING!

RogerB
April 16th, 2003, 08:38 AM
When someone makes claims that appear to violate what are commonly called physcial laws, the burden is on the claimant to produce believable evidence to show that something paranormal or extraordinary has indeed happened.

Did you find this in the "Great big Book of Proving the Impossible" or did you just make it up?

Gerald
April 16th, 2003, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by RogerB
Did you find this in the "Great big Book of Proving the Impossible" or did you just make it up?
Are you saying that Zakath's statement is untrue? That the burden is on the doubter to prove that something paranormal or extraordinary didn't happen?

Consider your answer carefully, because the answer that often comes from believers in ghosts, psychic powers and flying saucers is "yes".

I mean, someone once asked me "If psychic powers don't exist, how does Uri Geller bend spoons?"

Zakath
April 16th, 2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by RogerB
Did you find this in the "Great big Book of Proving the Impossible" or did you just make it up?

Roger, if I came to you stating that the universe was created and run by an Invisible Pink Unicorn (TM) with all kinds of miraculous powers, what kind of proof would you require before believing me? :confused:

RogerB
April 16th, 2003, 12:22 PM
...if I came to you stating that the universe was created and run by an Invisible Pink Unicorn (TM)...

But you didn't. So how was the universe created and what proof (not theories) can you offer?

Zakath
April 16th, 2003, 12:27 PM
Hey, I'm just a poor dumb atheist. I don't claim to know everything. :D

As far as the beginnings of the universe: It's so far out of my area of study that I'm ignorant and apathethic.

(Translation: I don't know and I don't care.) ;)

Gerald
April 16th, 2003, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by RogerB
So how was the universe created...
"I don't know." "I haven't the faintest idea."

Both are perfectly valid responses.


...and what proof (not theories) can you offer?
Now there's a meaty challenge: to prove that one does not know something...

Gerald
April 16th, 2003, 12:33 PM
Hmmm...

Perhaps RogerB could pick up where One-Eyed Jack left off.

How about we flip off the Way-Back Machine and return to the present?

All this talk about origins of the universe is wasted on the average unbeliever (Zakath and I being cases in point); why not show examples of how the existence of supernatural entities or events has been conclusively demonstrated?

Much closer to home, that...

RogerB
April 16th, 2003, 12:37 PM
So ignornace is bliss? Is that what it means to be an atheist? Arms folded, grumpy look on your face, asserting nothing, demanding what you yourself refuse to provide....:thumb:

Party on, Zak!

Z Man
April 16th, 2003, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by .Ant
great posts Z Man :thumb:

Thanks .Ant. :up:


Originally posted by Zakath
I seem to count three questions there, Z Man.;)

Answer to question #1: When someone makes claims that appear to violate what are commonly called physcial laws, the burden is on the claimant to produce believable evidence to show that something paranormal or extraordinary has indeed happened. If you claim that a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, demonstrated paranormal abilities, you need to furnish evidence. Since that human being died almost twenty centuries ago, we cannot hop into your auto and drive over to see him in action to verify the truth of those claims. We must rely on documentary evidence. To accept a claim that a particular individual engaged in paranormal activity I would look to evaluate a variety of evidence, including the following:
1. Original eyewitness accounts - by this I mean the original autographs written by the observers in the original languages. To the best of my knowledge, no such accounts exist for anything done by Jesus of Nazareth.

Ummmm....we have the Bible, hello? The Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote about Jesus's resurrection and they were eye-witnesses. So what if the Bible has gone through numerous language translations; dosn't mean the message was changed a bit. If a translator had tried to change the message, there would have been countless people who would have objected otherwise. You gotta keep in mind that the bible wasn't tooken to someones cave to be translated by one person so that they could put what ever they wanted in there; it went through countless scrutiny under the highest scholars in the church to undergo a translation. That's it, just a language translation!

The point is, something dramatic happened back then that caused these disciples and numerous other people to begin a huge religious movement that has changed the world as we know it. And back then, it wasn't easy. Christians were slaughtered like swine for there faith. Most of them were alive during Jesus' time and they witnessed either, a) His miracles, or b) His empty tomb (which, by the way, you can still go witness to this day ;) ) All of these people wouldn't have died for a lie.


2. Specific accounts of the individual events factually described by others outside the religious movement. Again, to the best of my knowledge, no such accounts exist.

This would never happen, because if they had witnessed for themselves the risen Christ, they would have been part of the religious movement. ;) Besides, I know that not everyone believed in Jesus in His time, even when He performed miracles before their eyes. So if they were to document His life and the events that took place, would they have been bias? They hated this guy with all their guts, mainly becuase He declared to be God. So would the very ones who put Him on the cross have made an accurate documentation of His life? I think not...


Even when presented with such evidence, it would need to be critically evaluated for accuracy and bias.

In other words, no matter what is presented before you as evidence of Christ's existence and miraclous claims, you will never believe... :rolleyes:


Answer to questions #2 & #3: There are two reasons that historical claims about the exploits of a particular general are not subjected to similar levels of scrutiny as your claims about your deity.

First, the claim is made about a human being carrying on frequently observable human activities (i.e. a general conquering nations). There is no paranormal activity claimed that violates any observable so called "phyisical laws", so the level of proof is not extraordinary.

Second, there are consequences alleged for belief (or disbelief) in religious figures and their messages that are seldom, if ever, claimed for generals. For example, Christians tell me that if I do not believe as they assert I should that I am doomed to eternal torment. While the most I've ever heard claimed for those who disagree with scholars about Alexander is that they're ignorant. Thus the stakes, from my point of view, are much higher for religious issues than merely historical ones.

Blah, blah, blah... Like I posted earlier:

If it is true about Alexander the Great, no big deal. It won't have any effect on anyone and it won't change anything in anyone's life outside of just having the information that he conquered the known world by age 33. But, if it is true about Jesus, then that is completely different. Jesus claimed to be divine and He had a message for people about heaven and hell and that salvation is only through Him. Such a claim requires extraordinary evidence, such as a resurrection from the dead. This would have a profound effect on people and it can make them uncomfortable. Therefore, people will not want it to be true and will desperately try to hold onto their presuppositions; hence, the claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Matthew J. Slick
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS AND RESEARCH MINISTRY

Z Man
April 16th, 2003, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by shima
>>But Christianity teaches that man cannot save themselves, only God can, and He did, displaying the most powerful presentation of love that this world has ever seen. As for Judaism, I believe they are still God's people and He will save them in the end.<<

Every religion teaches different things. In what way does this make Christianity any different from the millions of other religions?

Every religion in the world teaches that man must achieve his/her own salvation, except Christianity. Christianity displays the greatest power of love ever demonstrated between a perfect Supreme Being and His creation. The message that God loves me so much that He was willing to die for my mistakes, is the only solution in any religion to completely elleviate the problem of humankind. No other religion can compare...

Remeber, Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship.

mindlight
April 16th, 2003, 01:27 PM
When someone makes claims that appear to violate what are commonly called physcial laws, the burden is on the claimant to produce believable evidence to show that something paranormal or extraordinary has indeed happened. If you claim that a human being, Jesus of Nazareth, demonstrated paranormal abilities, you need to furnish evidence. Since that human being died almost twenty centuries ago, we cannot hop into your auto and drive over to see him in action to verify the truth of those claims. We must rely on documentary evidence. To accept a claim that a particular individual engaged in paranormal activity I would look to evaluate a variety of evidence, including the following:

1. Original eyewitness accounts - by this I mean the original autographs written by the observers in the original languages. To the best of my knowledge, no such accounts exist for anything done by Jesus of Nazareth.

The Bible is documentary evidence written by eyewitnesses to the events described:

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty.' (2 Peter 1:16)

`The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also might believe.' (John19:35)

`Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.' (Luke 1:1-4)

The credibility of this document can be affirmed in a host of ways including the circumstantial and occasionally direct support of non Christian writers like Josephus.

Regarding evidence that Jesus did miracles or things which defy normal explanation the Bible is a credible and should be the primary source. It is quoted and affirmed by numerous other commentators not that far from the period of writing itself and we have fragments dating back to the within a generation of its writing.

There are non Christian sources which also appear to affirm the notion for instance that Jesus performed paranormal actions:

JOSEPHUS:
"Testimonium Flavianum" (Josephus - Jewish Antiquities- Book 18 - Chapter 3 ( 63-64).

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the ) Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him are not extinct at this day."


Jewish Talmudic literature

"Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and led Israel astray"


I think the way a person approaches evidence is the key issue here though;

From my own resources I can honestly say that I could not find out answers to questions that include within their scope things outside my own experience. Since my experience is limited to several decades of the late C20 /earlyC21 that excludes most of history and of the universe also. Thus anybody who will never accept evidence that is not in some sense validated by analogy to their own experience will in the end be able to say little about some of the most fundamental questions human beings can and do ask:

Questions like: where do I come from?
When did the Universe begin, and how and why.
Who am I
What happens when I die?
Is there any thing more to life than the experience we have of this life here on Earth in this time period?

Given our finitude and imperfection we cannot answer these questions with anything but "I don't or even cannot know!"

However a Christian can answer these questions with integrity because they have been given answers by someone who could credibly answer the questions posed - God Himself. We can quote the revelation that we have received in the scriptures. Many believers have been converted by the quality and presence of God in the Bible. We can know, to the limits that a human can know, what we need to know about God and the Universe because God Himself became a man , shared our experience of history and demonstrated what it means to know Him within space and time.

An Atheist or agnostic can in fact say little with any authority except perhaps:

" I was wrong O Lord - please forgive me and help me to see what I have been blind to for all my life - so that I may know You and live forever in Your Light."

Zakath
April 16th, 2003, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by Z Man
Ummmm....we have the Bible, hello? The Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all wrote about Jesus's resurrection and they were eye-witnesses...So say the theologians and bible scholars who make a comfortable living selling the idea to each generation. The question I have for you, Z Man is simple.

How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you believe is true?

Think about what you are saying: you are willing to stake your eternal destiny on alleged eyewitness accounts allegedly recorded in documents that no longer exist. All that do exist are fragments of alleged translations of those documents, written in languages you can't read, and translated into your language by people you've never met.


So what if the Bible has gone through numerous language translations; dosn't mean the message was changed a bit. If a translator had tried to change the message, there would have been countless people who would have objected otherwise. Not necessarily. There are currently more that fifty extant english translations of the Bible. Why? Because no two groups of translators can agree on exactly the same wording from the parent languages.


You gotta keep in mind that the bible wasn't tooken to someones cave to be translated by one person so that they could put what ever they wanted in there; it went through countless scrutiny under the highest scholars in the church to undergo a translation. That's it, just a language translation!You're wrong. Z Man. You seem to have forgotten, or never heard of, a fellow named Jerome. Over a period of about 15 years, during the late fourth century, he performed the first full translation of some of the texts you call "the bible" into a single language, Latin. Remember that, until Jerome's translation there was no single book called "the Bible". The original documents don't exist. All that are available are fragments of ancient documents written in languages that are not used today. These fragments are not even believed to be written in the original languages of the texts, particularly in the case of the old testament.

You believe there was no tampering? Aside from divine intervention, I think it is safe to say that there was indeed tampering with the text or at least variant versions of the texts floating around for centuries (the last chapter of Mark being a well discussed example). There are thousands of variant texts in libraries and museums around the world. In addition to text fragments, for centuries, which books made up the bible was a serious debate. The actual canon, the list of books that make up the Bible wasn't fixed until much later. The canon of the NT was fixed in the 16th century and the canon of the Old Testament is still not universally fixed. There still debate between the Catholic/Orthodox churches and the Protestant churches since some churches include books that others do not.


The point is, something dramatic happened back then that caused these disciples and numerous other people to begin a huge religious movement that has changed the world as we know it. Remember that the movement wasn't huge back in apostolic days. It probably didn't become huge until Christianity became the state religion of the Byzantine empire under Constantine.


...Most of them were alive during Jesus' time and they witnessed either, a) His miracles, or b) His empty tomb (which, by the way, you can still go witness to this day ;) ) Two points:1. You are aware that there are multiple sites that are alleged to be the empty tomb? I can point you to two of the most famous: (see Catholic/Orthodox tomb (http://www.christusrex.org/www2/baram/B-sepulchre.html) and Protestant tomb (http://www.gardentomb.com/Pages/home.html)). I have been told there are others...

2. You are aware that Paul, according to history, met neither of the criteria you listed, yet his writings make up a significant portion of the New Testament canon.


All of these people wouldn't have died for a lie.
I have two names to jog your memory in answer to that statement: Jonestown (960 dead - suicide and murder)
Heaven's Gate (39 suicides)
All those people died for a lie. All of them did so during the enlightened twentieth century. :rolleyes:


In other words, no matter what is presented before you as evidence of Christ's existence and miraclous claims, you will never believe... :rolleyes: I don't think that's correct. A more correct statement would be, any evidence that I've see, to date, has been insufficient.

Without the NT, is there any other evidence?


If it is true about Alexander the Great, no big deal. It won't have any effect on anyone and it won't change anything in anyone's life outside of just having the information that he conquered the known world by age 33.This is exactly the point most atheists would make. So what is the big revelation here?


But, if it is true about Jesus, then that is completely different.But we've discussed, ad nauseum, why I do not think the NT is any more reliable evidence that secular historians evidence for Alexander's conquests.

The greatest difference follows:


Jesus claimed to be divine and He had a message for people about heaven and hell and that salvation is only through Him.Where did Jesus claim to be divine in the gospels?


Such a claim requires extraordinary evidence, such as a resurrection from the dead. This would have a profound effect on people and it can make them uncomfortable. Therefore, people will not want it to be true and will desperately try to hold onto their presuppositions; hence, the claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.The extraordinary evidence your author proposes is merely hearsay. I can provide you cases of several men from in India (one is even alive today), all claiming to be incarnate deities and all have allegedly healed, multiplied food, and raised the dead.

Following your line of reasoning, shouldn't I believe it's true, merely because these fellows' followers claim it is so? Do you believe that these fellows are an incarnations of deity since they perform these miracles?

Gerald
April 16th, 2003, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by mindlight
Questions like: where do I come from?
I come from Alabama, with a banjo on my knee...:D

When did the Universe begin, and how and why.I must be weird, because those questions have never vexed me...

Who am II am I, Don Quixote, the lord of La Mancha...ahem...'scuse me, had a Broadway Moment there...:D

What happens when I die?I can't speak for everybody, but I get cremated and my remains launched into solar orbit...

Is there any thing more to life than the experience we have of this life here on Earth in this time period?Again, I must be weird, because this question has never vexed me...

Zakath
April 16th, 2003, 02:33 PM
Originally posted by mindlight
The Bible is documentary evidence written by eyewitnesses to the events described:It is more correct to say that the Bible claims to be documentary evidence allegedly written by alleged eyewitnesses to the alleged events described.

Notice the use of the word "alleged"? That's because, eighteen or twenty centuries later, we have no way to assess the veracity of the content of what you and I read in the Bible as regards the fantastic events described about Jesus of Nazareth.

See my response to Z Man about scriptural accuracy.


The credibility of this document can be affirmed in a host of ways including the circumstantial and occasionally direct support of non Christian writers like Josephus.The veracity of the gloss from Josephus has been debated for centuries. It is generally thought that the reference is an addition by a Christian scribe.

Let me provide you with another version of the same text from Josephus. This text was from an Arabic source dated the tenth century:
At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders.

Let's reprint your citation with the disputed text in plain black and the remaining undisputed text in bold. We can now compare the two passages to see how closely they match...


"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the ) Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him are not extinct at this day."


Jewish Talmudic literature

"Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and led Israel astray" This appears to be a very, very loose translation of Talmud Sanhedrin 107b Sotah 47a. "And the master said, "Yeshu (the Notzri) practiceed magic and deceived and led Israel astray." Though without a citation I am not certain.

Several problems with this text:
First, Yeshu was a common name in Israel.

Second, this is part of a longer passage which provides context. The Yeshu in this particular passage lived about 100 years prior to the time Jesus of Nazareth is alleged to have lived, during the reign of John Hycranus (90's BCE) and was a student of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachiah who allegedly made the statement. This Yeshu eventually adopted a pagan religion, and created his own sect of Judaism.

Third, only one of four extant copies of this document have the appelation "HaNotrzi" applied to Yeshu. The other three do not use it.

Fourth, nothing in the actual story in the Talmud fits anything out of the life of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the gospels.


Given our finitude and imperfection we cannot answer these questions with anything but "I don't or even cannot know!"

However a Christian can answer these questions with integrity...And I believe that type of intellectual pride is the root of much alleged religious belief. Pride in the certitude that you have the answers to life's questions.

As an atheist I do not believe that I must have to have the answers to everything... :rolleyes:

Z Man
April 16th, 2003, 10:55 PM
Originally posted by Zakath
How do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you believe is true?

Because everything else I've believed in has failed me.


Think about what you are saying: you are willing to stake your eternal destiny on alleged eyewitness accounts allegedly recorded in documents that no longer exist. All that do exist are fragments of alleged translations of those documents, written in languages you can't read, and translated into your language by people you've never met.

Think about what you are saying: you are willing to stake your eternal destiny on rejecting the Truth because of your pride and pleasure in sin. I know, it's hard to give up what we love, but the world (like the "matrix" ;) ) is controlling you like a little puppet on strings. It has you blinded from the Truth so that it can continue to feed of you until there's nothing left. In the end, you'll have to bear your own burden for your fulfillment in sin, which is a hard burden to bear. I pray that God will save you before it's too late...


2. You are aware that Paul, according to history, met neither of the criteria you listed, yet his writings make up a significant portion of the New Testament canon.

Ahem...read the following verses and be educated:

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.


Without the NT, is there any other evidence?

There are many other historical documents that state and declare Jesus's existence. Either you haven't looked hard enough, or you have ignored them. Other than that, I really don't know what kind of evidence you want. Jesus lived in the past, and the only way to record that history was in written documents. You wanted eye-witness accounts, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John knew this. They recorded the history that they were blessed to witness. They weren't trying to write religious articles, they were merely noting a part of history that was extraordinary at the time. These men weren't stupid either. Luke himself was a physician, and was accumstomed to writing and study, being a doctor. He meticously wrote every part of Jesus's life that He witnessed so that all generations could understand that this man was extraordinary. They recorded history the same way it had been recorded for all of time. There is no difference between the NT claims of Jesus's existence and the historical claims that Alexander the Great conquered the world.


The extraordinary evidence your author proposes is merely hearsay.

All the evidence that we have of history is hearsay!

Zakath, I told you earlier and I'll tell you again, evidence will not save you. The key reason Christians believe in all this "bologna" is faith. Evidence won't save you, the church can't save you, the world can't save you, and you can't even save yourself. The only person who can save you is God. He's the one that holds the "key", which is faith...

RogerB
April 17th, 2003, 06:14 AM
Think about what you are saying: you are willing to stake your eternal destiny on alleged eyewitness accounts allegedly recorded in documents that no longer exist.

Think about what YOU are saying: you are willing to turn your back on eternal life based on something you cannot know for a fact does not exist. You will admit, won't you, that you do not know everything there is to know about the universe? Heck, you "don't know and don't care", right? It's just as likely that tomorrow a scientist will discover a new galaxy in the universe as you could discover proof of God's existance.

The atheists destiny is an eternal separation from God. What is it about trying to become more Christ-like that you are affraid of? What material things do you love more than yourself?

RogerB
April 17th, 2003, 06:21 AM
The only person who can save you is God.

But it's up to you, not Him. So Zak posting every day "God still hasn't saved me" is like saying "I still only have two eyes". Duh!!!

God is waiting for you to make the next move. He has forever....what about you?

Zakath
April 17th, 2003, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by Z Man
Because everything else I've believed in has failed me.I'm sorry your life has worked out that way.


Think about what you are saying: you are willing to stake your eternal destiny on rejecting the Truth because of your pride and pleasure in sin. Pride? No. Pleasure in "sin"? No. I am in my present position due to lack of sufficient evidence provided by any relgionist to change my mind.

As a psychologist, I frequently speak with people who believe all sorts of things. Most of those things are not "real", that's why these folk visit me. ;)

Something I've learned over the years: the fact that someone is convinced something is real is insufficient evidence for me to accept the reality of their belief without corraborating evidence from outside the indivdual's perspective.


I know, it's hard to give up what we love, (snipped sermonette)...In the end, you'll have to bear your own burden for your fulfillment in sin, which is a hard burden to bear. I pray that God will save you before it's too late... But as an atheist, I have already agreed to bear my own burdens. There is no one else who will, except for the mythical imaginary deities of the thousands of sects of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. I expect no help from myths or fantasies.



Ahem...read the following verses and be educated:

[i]1 Corinthians 15:3-8First, this begs the question of the accuracy of the Bible which we've already discussed extensively.

Second, you expect me to base my relationship with your deity on a second hand report of an alleged vision of a dead person? Perhaps I'll just contact Sylvia Browne or John Edwards. They claim to be able to put me in contact with the dead real time. I wouldn't have to rely on questionable manuscript evidence plus 18 or 19 centuries of self-serving commentary by various church officials.


There are many other historical documents that state and declare Jesus's existence. Either you haven't looked hard enough, or you have ignored them. For example???
Since there are many, how about providing the names of a dozen, or even ten. :)

[qoute]Other than that, I really don't know what kind of evidence you want.[/quote]We've already discussed this, as well. You do not seem to be able to provide anything concrete, merely vague references to contemporary movies and "many other historical documents".

Hardly a convincing argument. :(


All the evidence that we have of history is hearsay! You're finally getting the point, as it pertains to written evidence. There is historical evidence that is not hearsay, but speaks pretty clearly to the actuality of a given historical event.

For example, we can be relatively certain that Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon and brought his legion into Rome due to the observable fact that history was changed by that event. The Roman governent changed form, the Roman state underwent significant change as well.

There are no comparable changes that can be directly attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. While many of his followers have left their imprint on history, he himself left virtually no directly discernable trace.


...The only person who can save you is God. He's the one that holds the "key", which is faith... But only if one believes what you termed the alleged "bologna". The problem, as I see it, is that no amount of faith changes reality. In reality, as I understand it, the deity of the Bible does not exist. No amount of faith will change that. ;)

Zakath
April 17th, 2003, 06:59 AM
Originally posted by RogerB
Think about what YOU are saying: you are willing to turn your back on eternal life based on something you cannot know for a fact does not exist. You will admit, won't you, that you do not know everything there is to know about the universe? Heck, you "don't know and don't care", right? It's just as likely that tomorrow a scientist will discover a new galaxy in the universe as you could discover proof of God's existance.Actually the likelihood that someone will observe a previously uncatalogued galaxy is many, many times greater that the chance that some religionist will present convincing evidence of the existence of their deity. ;)

I do not claim to know everything. Neither do I need to know everything to have a reasonable certainity that what I understand to be real is true. For example, when I drive to work, I am not absolutely certain that I'll arrive there intact. But I am reasonably certain enough so that I can plan to engage in activities after arriving at work. I would wager you engage in similar probability exercises on a daily basis when you turn on a light switch, drink beverages or eat food prepared by others, or fly on a scheduled airline. You have no certainty that any of those events won't kill you, yet you act and plan as if you'll survive. That's life.

Next, you are merely playing with a variation on Pascal's wager. So I'll play back... :)

Suppose there is a deity, or deities, out there. Why do you think the one you've chosen is the correct one, or the only one?

This is where Pascal's Wager breaks down. He, being a good Christian, conveniently ignored the observable fact that the majority of the human race does not accept the Christians' versions of deity as correct. What if the majority is actually right in this case?


The atheists destiny is an eternal separation from God. Separation from what does not exist is a moot argument.


What is it about trying to become more Christ-like that you are affraid of? What material things do you love more than yourself? I would wager that by many measures I am more "Christ-like" in my behavior and attitudes than many people who call themselves Christian. I have little problem with some of the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I have significant heartburn about the ones made up as mandatory by his followers throughout the centuries... ;)

Zakath
April 17th, 2003, 07:00 AM
Originally posted by RogerB
But it's up to you, not Him. So Zak posting every day "God still hasn't saved me" is like saying "I still only have two eyes". Duh!!!

God is waiting for you to make the next move. He has forever....what about you? Why'd you post this here, and not on the thread where it is applicable?

BTW, I checked and I'm still not saved... ;)

Freak
April 17th, 2003, 07:30 AM
Zakath tells us: For example, we can be relatively certain that Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon and brought his legion into Rome due to the observable fact that history was changed by that event. The Roman governent changed form, the Roman state underwent significant change as well.

Well, we can be certain there was a risen Jesus because we have the observable reality of the church (that celebrates the risen Christ) that has remained with us for over 2,000 years. History has been changed by the reality of the church for the body of Christ has founded relief missions, hosptials, chapels, homeless shelters, etc all over the world. How many atheistic hosptials in our world, Zakath? Any women shelters started by an atheist?

As we can see Zakath has lied to us once again. He told us: There are no comparable changes that can be directly attributed to Jesus of Nazareth.

The Church is the change in human history that is directly attributed to Jesus. For He once said: I will build my church.

shima
April 17th, 2003, 10:05 AM
There is a difference between Jezus of Nazareth really existing and inspiring others, and Jezus of Nazareth being Christ, the Son of God.

That history was changed in his name is beyond doubt. What is NOT beyond doubt is the question: is Jezus really the Son of God?

anon
April 17th, 2003, 10:09 AM
An Atheist is a person with out belief.
Those who believe they are an Atheist are not Atheists so we must conclude that there is no such thing.

Gerald
April 17th, 2003, 11:12 AM
Originally posted by anon
An Atheist is a person with out belief.
Those who believe they are an Atheist are not Atheists so we must conclude that there is no such thing.
An atheist is a person without belief in deities, you dolt!
:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

::stalks away, fuming::

RogerB
April 17th, 2003, 12:25 PM
Zakath,

You answered NONE of my questions, as expected.

I don't think you want to talk probability. Not only do you not know everything there is to know about the universe, you don't even know how much there is to know about it. Your comparisons mean nothing. :D


I would wager that by many measures I am more "Christ-like" in my behavior and attitudes than many people who call themselves Christian.

And the One who is qualified to determine whether you win or lose that wager will make that judgement. ;)

Gerald
April 17th, 2003, 12:49 PM
Hmmm...

RogerB's not taking up the challenge, either...

One Eyed Jack
April 17th, 2003, 12:58 PM
Originally posted by Gerald
Hmmm...

RogerB's not taking up the challenge, either...

Well maybe if you could come up with one... I can't speak for RogerB, but I haven't exactly found your trick questions very challenging.