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  1. #1601  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    I'm not sure what I need to do to convince you. (I'm human and subject to making mistakes.) I make more mistakes than the average person. Luckily I learn from (at least some of) those mistakes!
    I realize you're human. My point is that if you say "As an Atheist, you...", you are saying that the subject of your statement (in this case me) is an Atheist. You are not 'minimally implying' it. You are stating it. Apologizing is certainly an option, but deflection from having said it is more insulting than saying it. Note that I'm not saying I'm insulted. I've been on the interwebs more than long enough to have a pretty thick skin and have been called far worse.
    I wouldn't call "looking at all the possible evidence" before drawing conclusions "averaging it out".
    Except that you're referring to multiple translations of an arbitrary number of texts as a single entity that sometimes vary fairly widely as being one thing.
    I'm neither a bible scholar or a linguist.
    Then why couch your arguments with a veil of science?
    If I understood Latin, I'd probably read the Latin Vulgate. If I new Greekm Hebrew, or Aramaic, I'd probably want to read earlier resources. Reading multiple translations helps to see what various scholars (often each with their own "agenda") think the translation should be. I've compared some passages in various translations with the Greek (interlinear - it shows each word and I can click on each word to get a definition in English). More often than I would have expected, the Greek is substantially different and *all* of the (English) translations more or less agree with each other. (One could argue "both ways" whether this is a good or a bad thing.)
    One has to realize that many of these similarities are purely dogmatic and a product of historical church control. The only reason that we have the Bible as we 'know' it is due to the historical power of the Catholic Church (due primarily to Constantine).
    The church of Christianity 1.0 studied with Jesus.
    At best, Peter could be referred to as Christianity 1.1. Once you throw Paul in there, you're at least at 2.0 since you suddenly add the Gentiles into the mix. The Council of Nicea is at least in the 5.x range.
    They call this a "deposit of faith" that must always remain true. There can be no new (public) revelation after the time of the death of the last Apostle.
    According to...?
    I'm not sure how one can call one hypothesis good or bad.
    Because in the scientific sense, a hypothesis _must_ be testable in a manner which can be proven or dis-proven in a reproducible manner.
    Please feel free to explain what criteria you use to evaluate hypotheses (other than testing them via the scientific method).
    This is exactly why I'm wondering if you're serious. You refer to the scientific method and hypothesis and then you want criteria to evaluate a hypothesis other than testing with the scientific method (which is a little circular anyway since a hypothesis is one of the steps in the scientific method).
    If you have nothing other than use of the scientific method, I'll just ignore your comment and focus on whether or not the "test" is good.
    So, you are obviously not willing to admit that you may be wrong, and making a farce of your reference to the scientific method.
    It definitely has it's limits. It borrows from scientific principles as much as it can.
    Which is a very small amount apparently.
    If I understand correctly, the scientific method was invented by the Church. (I'm not sure of the circumstances behind why - or how it was used.)
    Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Who told you that the scientific method was invented by the Church? The logic behind it predates Jesus himself. Was Ibn al-Haytham a member of the Church? Galileo wasn't received well by the Church in his time either.
    That said, I'd venture to argue that if the revelation provided by this Church and its Bible stand the test of time, that's really no different than how we test any other hypothesis.
    This is why I'm having trouble believing you're serious.
    (I'm not sure I fully understand your point about how a test needs to have a "fail" case.
    Because otherwise, it's not scientific. It's pure faith.
    Do Newton's laws fail (yes)? Does this reduce the utility of the Laws in furthering our knowledge of our environment (no)?
    It actually makes it more useful. Newton's laws only apply under certain circumstances. We know they don't apply universally. A fundamental tenet of science is summed up in a quote attributed to Einstein, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
    I've noticed a lot of inconsistencies behind this belief system (so far, in the short time that I've surveyed it). I don't know if I can prove it wrong or not. I haven't really studied it (and I haven't really tried to prove it wrong, or not). I'm happy to learn more about it from you.
    I'm not a follower of the FSM, but it is modeled after the 'logical' structure of other religions.
    Yes.
    As stated earlier, the Roman Catholic Church holds no rightful title of Christianity 1.0.
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  2.    #1602  
    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    At best, Peter could be referred to as Christianity 1.1. Once you throw Paul in there, you're at least at 2.0 since you suddenly add the Gentiles into the mix. The Council of Nicea is at least in the 5.x range.
    Jesus is Christianity 1.0. The apostles learned from him and taught others. It's Christianity 1.0 because Jesus established a Church. The Council of Nicea was to defend heresy. In fact, most development of doctrine has been the result of defending one heresy or another. In life, we continually look at evidence and learn more. The Church should be no different (other than we have to do this under the guidelines of what the apostles taught and what the Church universally believed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    As stated earlier, the Roman Catholic Church holds no rightful title of Christianity 1.0.
    Any Church whose ministers have succeeded from the Apostles and submits to the authority of the successor of Peter is what I call "Christianity 1.0". The Roman rite of the Catholic Church is not the only one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    My point is that if you say "As an Atheist, you...", you are saying that the subject of your statement (in this case me) is an Atheist.
    ...
    Apologizing is certainly an option, but deflection from having said it is more insulting than saying it.
    I meant no offense to you. I seem to have a habit in life or insulting some people by not being what they expect of me. I'm not going to say any more about this now (hopefully ever).

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Except that you're referring to multiple translations of an arbitrary number of texts as a single entity that sometimes vary fairly widely as being one thing.
    It's not an arbitrary collection of texts. A systematic process was used to determine which books were and were not canonical. One (sort of strange) benchmark was that the books needed to be acceptable for use in the liturgy. Other books may or may not have had value for other purposes. Some books (such as Gnostic texts) were written to confuse and subvert that Church's teachings. You can believe otherwise, but I believe the Bible not because of itself, but because the Church that defined was established by Jesus (who I believe was "God" incarnate).

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    One has to realize that many of these similarities are purely dogmatic and a product of historical church control. The only reason that we have the Bible as we 'know' it is due to the historical power of the Catholic Church (due primarily to Constantine).
    • Define dogma.
    • If that power is from Jesus and God, I'm willing to go with it. If we prove it wrong, then I think you may have some interesting points for me to consider.


    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Then why couch your arguments with a veil of science?
    You are not the first person to object to my wanting to treat religion scientifically. I've always said (in this thread) that faith is necessary for religion. You and I are in agreement. I believe that if these writings and this Church are of God, then they should not fail (as stated in scripture). If they prove themselves then that's a reason for me to give credibility to them as revelation from a God (and by inference, that that God must exist).

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    So, you are obviously not willing to admit that you may be wrong, and making a farce of your reference to the scientific method.
    I'm happy to admit when I may be wrong. I suspect that many religions are both right and wrong in one way or another (often in many ways). My perceptions can fail me. I've been wrong many times in the past so why should now be any different? I still have much "growing up" to do in life (and probably less time than I would like to accomplish that). I see lots of problems in many churches. I try to live my life in spite of both my problems and those of others. I really don't know whether I'm wrong or right (as I suspect you don't know either). I think this is a point that you were trying to make earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Newton's laws only apply under certain circumstances. We know they don't apply universally.
    They apply "universally within a given set of boundaries". Some will call this statement an oxymoron. As we got smarter, we were able to question the universality of these three laws. That does not mean that we throw them out because they "have failed". They are still useful - which is exactly my point about applying "logic" to God's revelation in the Bible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    A fundamental tenet of science is summed up in a quote attributed to Einstein, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
    Another analogy that I'd like to make regarding how I treat Christianity 1.0. Whether you believe me or not (in spite of any small amount of faith that I may have) - while I fear being wrong, I fear more not knowing/realizing if I'm wrong and not changing. I think God would want me to change if he exists and I'm misunderstanding Him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    I'm not a follower of the FSM, but it is modeled after the 'logical' structure of other religions.
    Can you tell me a little more about your church now?

    --
    Bob
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  3. #1603  
    I hate getting into these dicussions sometimes, but I do want to say one thing and im not sure if it's been said in this thread or not. I am agnostic but do see reasons on both sides that one could justify belief in theism or atheism. I believe that a person can reasonably have a religion until three things are answered with nearly 100% certainty.

    1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

    2. Explaining how the universe came to be from nothing, by nothing, for nothing and the mechanism that could create it. And if you appeal to quantum particles and an energy vacuum, how these particles could exist timelessly and infinitely with no explanation or beginning cause for their existence.

    3. An explanation or reproducable experiment showing how inanimate, dead material could become living at some point in history. I'm not talking about creating life in the lab using pre-existing genome of primitive bacteria either. I need to see how this could naturally come together with 100% certainty. How the first DNA could encode itself and create instructions for the cell without any previous instruction set to go off of.
  4.    #1604  
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    I hate getting into these dicussions sometimes,
    I know how you feel. I started the thread and every time I read a post I'm not sure how much I want to perpetuate the thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    but I do want to say one thing and im not sure if it's been said in this thread or not. I am agnostic but do see reasons on both sides that one could justify belief in theism or atheism.
    It's been said (but probably implicitly). We've had people say that making a choice either way is a "leap of faith".

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    I believe that a person can reasonably have a religion until three things are answered with nearly 100% certainty.
    Are you implying that once the three things below are known, religion is no longer possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

    2. Explaining how the universe came to be from nothing, by nothing, for nothing and the mechanism that could create it. And if you appeal to quantum particles and an energy vacuum, how these particles could exist timelessly and infinitely with no explanation or beginning cause for their existence.
    Why is probably more of a philosophical question than a scientific one.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    3. An explanation or reproducable experiment showing how inanimate, dead material could become living at some point in history. I'm not talking about creating life in the lab using pre-existing genome of primitive bacteria either. I need to see how this could naturally come together with 100% certainty. How the first DNA could encode itself and create instructions for the cell without any previous instruction set to go off of.
    I'm not sure that 3 is necessary or possible (but perhaps this is a special problem that agnostics may have that atheists and theists just don't have to consider.). An athiest might not care and a theist might say that God decides whether or not the "experiment" needs to be repeatable.

    You raised some interesting questions. I'm hoping to learn a bit more about your thinking behind your questions (assuming you have time to do so).

    thank you,
    --
    Bob
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  5. #1605  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    I know how you feel. I started the thread and every time I read a post I'm not sure how much I want to perpetuate the thread.


    It's been said (but probably implicitly). We've had people say that making a choice either way is a "leap of faith".


    Are you implying that once the three things below are known, religion is no longer possible?


    Why is probably more of a philosophical question than a scientific one.


    I'm not sure that 3 is necessary or possible (but perhaps this is a special problem that agnostics may have that atheists and theists just don't have to consider.). An athiest might not care and a theist might say that God decides whether or not the "experiment" needs to be repeatable.

    You raised some interesting questions. I'm hoping to learn a bit more about your thinking behind your questions (assuming you have time to do so).

    thank you,
    --
    Bob
    Before I answer, I have a website I follow that is run by a Christian astronomer, a biochemist, an astrophysicist and philosopher/theologian. It's called reasons.org I highly recommend it to you since this organization is dedicated to old earth creationism and talks about the Bible and science. I'm sure you will enjoy it very much if you don't already visit the site.

    The reason I don't like getting into it either is because of the snotty, arrogant condescension that seems to follow this topic. Sadly this is too touchy for some people to discuss in a mature manner, so I do feel bad for you for some of the comments you've received earlier in the thread.

    The why question is certainly philosophical in nature, but it is still thought provoking to wonder about. Do these energy vacuums exist necessarily, or is there some kind of explanation to their existence? Or are they simply a brute fact. I think once we start saying the universe "just is" or the particle energy vacuum of space "just is" then we are no longer doing science.

    To your question about once the three are answered, I think that would mean that you don't technically need a God. That isn't to say there isn't one though, sorry I didn't clarify that better before.

    As for question number three, I think that is a very relevant question to any theist or atheist. If naturalism cannot account for the origins of life and we simply cannot reproduce a way in which inanimate materials evolve to become living, I believe that the atheist cannot criticize the theist too harshly as their own philosophy becomes a leap of faith itself and outside of the realms of scientific testability.

    I was raised a Lutheran but I am now agnostic, leaning to belief if one is true that this the most plausible option. I got a kick out of certain individuals in the thread thinking that a Christian will hold onto their beliefs no matter what even if evidence to the contrary is given. Oh, how on the contrary that is, considering I would *love* Christianity to be true but will not commit the wishful thinking fallacy and believe it just because it gives me comfort. I will continue to study, and hopefully come to my own conclusion that the Christian worldview and science will show me that the arguments for God are greater than the negations against him. Isn't that really how we live most of our lives? We base many things on probabilities. i.e. It is more probable my mother loves me than hates me, so I believe that she does indeed love me. I follow the evidence where it leads, not because I like or dislike the conclusion that follows.
  6.    #1606  
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    Before I answer, I have a website I follow that is run by a Christian astronomer, a biochemist, an astrophysicist and philosopher/theologian. It's called reasons.org ...
    While I can't say that I've extensively read the content on your website, I did look into some of it when one or two participants here made mention of it.

    I'm honored to have you visit our thread (and likely to have the patience to read through most of it).

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    The reason I don't like getting into it either is because of the snotty, arrogant condescension that seems to follow this topic. Sadly this is too touchy for some people to discuss in a mature manner, so I do feel bad for you for some of the comments you've received earlier in the thread.
    I only wish those who seemingly only took "pot shots" would have matched the effort that some others had put into their questions, answers, and discussion. I am proud that for as many posts as there are in this thread, most participants made an effort to ask each other good questions and to be civil. I think I gained some "experience" in judging when the temperature began to "rise" (and I hope maybe that skill might be called into useful practice sometime later in my life, for either my benefit or for others')

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    The why question is certainly philosophical in nature, but it is still thought provoking to wonder about. Do these energy vacuums exist necessarily, or is there some kind of explanation to their existence? Or are they simply a brute fact. I think once we start saying the universe "just is" or the particle energy vacuum of space "just is" then we are no longer doing science

    To your question about once the three are answered, I think that would mean that you don't technically need a God. That isn't to say there isn't one though, sorry I didn't clarify that better before.

    As for question number three, I think that is a very relevant question to any theist or atheist. If naturalism cannot account for the origins of life and we simply cannot reproduce a way in which inanimate materials evolve to become living, I believe that the atheist cannot criticize the theist too harshly as their own philosophy becomes a leap of faith itself and outside of the realms of scientific testability.
    Your point resonates with my reasoning (and beliefs) because theology and science (if both created by a same God) must be in congruence with each other. Religious "truth" that contradicts science (to me) is obviously "anything but".

    I very much appreciate you calling attention to your website and the questions/analysis you've been doing over there. I agree that we need not be afraid with each other. One of my main reasons for starting this thread was to see what "dialog" is like. (I tend to be a very "confrontational" person in real life - if left to my own devices.)

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    I was raised a Lutheran but I am now agnostic, leaning to belief if one is true that this the most plausible option. I got a kick out of certain individuals in the thread thinking that a Christian will hold onto their beliefs no matter what even if evidence to the contrary is given. Oh, how on the contrary that is, considering I would *love* Christianity to be true but will not commit the wishful thinking fallacy and believe it just because it gives me comfort. I will continue to study, and hopefully come to my own conclusion that the Christian worldview and science will show me that the arguments for God are greater than the negations against him. Isn't that really how we live most of our lives? We base many things on probabilities. i.e. It is more probable my mother loves me than hates me, so I believe that she does indeed love me. I follow the evidence where it leads, not because I like or dislike the conclusion that follows.
    I don't remember the exact verse (in Revelation), but it says God will spew (vomit out) the "lukewarm". That verse keeps me motivated to seek answers (even if I am currently wrong). It's unfortunate that not everyone believed that I was serious about this strategy. Perhaps they are simply seeing what I don't - that I need to be *more* serious. I'm thankful to have a preacher who has been pushing me to learn in areas important for my current state of development. While my live has been feeling busier than I can handle, I do look forward to thinking about what you write and learning what/when I can.

    Now that you have introduced yourself, please feel free to lead some questions here. (Participants will probably return slowly and we can keep things sane if it seems like the temperature is beginning to rise.)

    sincerely,
    --
    Bob
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  7. #1607  
    Whenever this thread pops up in the "New Posts" search, I think about wondering over, but there's that whole "arguing on the internet" aspect of it, which seems like a fruitless endeavor. Yet, here I go, contributing:

    I'm an atheist, and from what I've read of this thread (I've almost replied many times, but withheld), a minority in this forum. I also don't post much in forums at all, as can be seen by my post count (had to go elsewhere just now to meet the 15 post minimum to reply in this section).


    Quote Originally Posted by PaulB007 View Post
    1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
    While this question doesn't bother me (I'd ask: Why does it matter 'why', there IS something. Let's find out more about it). I went to a Richard Dawkins lecture, and part of it included a criticism of questions similar to that. I'd cite it, but it's off topic. While I am very interested in science, and very science-minded, I do not purport to be an expert, but will say that I probably know more than the layperson.
    A pretty cool video on the subject is - a lecture given by Lawrence Krauss.

    2. Explaining how the universe came to be from nothing, by nothing, for nothing and the mechanism that could create it. And if you appeal to quantum particles and an energy vacuum, how these particles could exist timelessly and infinitely with no explanation or beginning cause for their existence.
    Why does there have to be a cause? I guess by responding to your first question before reading your second one, I fall into the category of appealing to quantum particles and an energy vacuum. Here's something perhaps related:
    If time (that is tied to space) "began" when the universe did, there is no "before" or timeless aspect of it. Why does there have to be a beginning cause?

    3. An explanation or reproducable experiment showing how inanimate, dead material could become living at some point in history. I'm not talking about creating life in the lab using pre-existing genome of primitive bacteria either. I need to see how this could naturally come together with 100% certainty. How the first DNA could encode itself and create instructions for the cell without any previous instruction set to go off of.
    There are many experiments dealing with abiogenesis, and several plausible theories about what happened specifically on Earth, but short of time machines being invented, it is unlikely we'll know how it specifically happened. Also, it gets fuzzy when you go back to the beginning / common ancestor. Do you consider "living" to be something that can self-replicate? What about the building blocks for other things to self-replicate? There's the Miller Urey experiment that shows the possibility of amino acids forming from non-living material. Phosopholipids can join together to create lipid-bilayers which in turn can encapsulate other things (like a cell membrane). And, last I saw, RNA is believed to have come before DNA, (again, would you consider that life?) So, if you have these membranes with bits inside (including organic molecules like amino acids) they could start to "compete" for finite resources in an early-earth environment. A few billion years of selection, and here we are.

    There will be a follow up post explaining my "beliefs" - possibly stated by other atheist that posted, but I stopped frequently checking this topic at around page 73.
  8. #1608  
    In my previous post, I labeled myself an "atheist", and while that is true, a more accurate description, or something I will call part of my identity, would be skeptic.

    In my one, short life, I'd like to believe in as many true things as I can, and as few false things as I possible. I want this, because I think actions based on false premises are generally harmful to the progression of our society. As a science-minded person, I understand that it is impossible to prove something to 100% certainty. Because of this, please (for the sake of discussion) understand that when I say "this is true" - I mean that that is what is currently supported by scientific data. So when PaulB007 wants "100% certainty" about how life came to be, he'll never be satisfied by anything science can give him.

    I do not believe in any form of god (deistic, theistic or otherwise), because there has been insufficient evidence presented to justify the positive believe.

    I understand that there are certain things that I am comfortable with that a lot of people wouldn't be: there not being an afterlife, the heat-death of the universe, not having a "purpose" (in the sense that I've seen discussed here). I'm OK with the fact that we evolved from the same common ancestor as apes, birds and worms.

    I remember other atheists have popped into this thread in the past, and I figured this thread was dead a long time ago, but for those still kicking and sticking around, have any questions for me?
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    #1609  
    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    I remember other atheists have popped into this thread in the past, and I figured this thread was dead a long time ago, but for those still kicking and sticking around, have any questions for me?
    I have an observation and a question.

    In your previous post you called in to question the need to ask 'Why". It occured to me that for an atheist, "Why" would certainly be the one question that would be avoided.

    I'm not convinced that "why" isn't part of the scientific approach to analysis. Can you confirm that it is not?
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  10. #1610  
    Richard Dawkins answers it best, this is what I referred to in my original post:



    It's not that I (we/atheists) are avoiding the question, but the question as asked implies purpose. I would ask, why does there have to be purpose?

    That isn't to say that the question of "why is there a universe instead of not" (without the implied purpose) isn't something that prompts scientific research, and I'd again refer to the first video I linked starring Lawrence Krauss.
  11. #1611  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    I have an observation and a question.

    In your previous post you called in to question the need to ask 'Why". It occured to me that for an atheist, "Why" would certainly be the one question that would be avoided.

    I'm not convinced that "why" isn't part of the scientific approach to analysis. Can you confirm that it is not?
    "Why?" is certainly of importance, but the argument that God exists because something had to make the universe is moot, because then how did God come about?

    If you then argue that nothing made God, he existed since the beginning of time, you could equally say nothing made the universe -it existed since the beginning of time. In Big bang theory, time did not exist before the big bang, so the start of the universe was the start of time itself (this seems to be what jmquinn was trying to get at).

    So to ask an atheist "Why was the Universe made?" is essentially equal to asking believers "Why was God made?" There is not a very clear answer for either party..
  12. #1612  
    If you follow some trains of thought, most religions were created to control the society into which they were introduced. They establish clear social mores and consequences when these mores are not followed. This same train of thought also often includes that these religions seek to explain for its followers, things they cannot understand. For the Mayans, it explained the Sun among other celestial bodies, to name a "primitive, old world" example. The sum of these two thoughts can be brought to bear on Christianity as well... "Why shouldn't I covet my neighbors wife?" "Because you will go to hell." "Why do bad things happen to good people?" "Because God acts in mysterious ways." So on and so forth, remember I am attempting to be as simplistic as possible here. The presence of most religions would tend to suggest a preclusion of the need to ask why for many of the beliefs it seeks to instill upon its believers.

    The lack of religion can also have the same affect, however. Questions that would be important to a believer, can be passed off as insignificant to an atheist in much the same way the questions important to an atheist can be easily passed off by a believer. "Why was the Universe made?" "There is no need to ask why, it simply is..." "What is the purpose of life?" "There is no purpose, we simply are..."

    Mans basic nature is to question... this is particularly true and evidenced by the fact that he is never satisfied with an answer, verily he will simply move on to a bigger, better question. This is shown most easily by the advancement of science, but also by the evolution of many religions (for an example, think on the how the many versions of the bible differ from each other... how some answers presented become more complex in their explanations while others stayed the same. As well as how the oral teaching of the religion can differ so greatly from original documents)

    I posit to you... "God, god, gods" is in the act of questioning. It is in the act of being man...
  13. #1613  
    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    Richard Dawkins answers it best, this is what I referred to in my original post:

    good video, didn't know the evidence about the universe being flat. If you watch the video he explain mathematically and cosmologically how the universe began from nothing. Short explanation is that in a flat universe it is possible for mass and energy to equal out in the equation for a summation of 0, meaning a start from nothing.
  14.    #1614  
    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    Richard Dawkins answers it best, this is what I referred to in my original post:



    It's not that I (we/atheists) are avoiding the question, but the question as asked implies purpose. I would ask, why does there have to be purpose?

    That isn't to say that the question of "why is there a universe instead of not" (without the implied purpose) isn't something that prompts scientific research, and I'd again refer to the first video I linked starring Lawrence Krauss.
    I was a bit shocked that Richard Dawkins dismissed that question with so little thought. I can understand viewing the question as silly unless you ask yourself why people continually ask such questions. For whatever reason, Dawkins did not want to do that.

    If we do not have a purpose, should we correlate that all other life has no purpose either? What about the food chain and plants producing oxygen? Would it be logical to give purpose to lower forms of life but not to ourselves?
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  15.    #1615  
    Quote Originally Posted by bluewanders View Post
    If you follow some trains of thought, most religions were created to control the society into which they were introduced. They establish clear social mores and consequences when these mores are not followed. This same train of thought also often includes that these religions seek to explain for its followers, things they cannot understand. For the Mayans, it explained the Sun among other celestial bodies, to name a "primitive, old world" example. The sum of these two thoughts can be brought to bear on Christianity as well... "Why shouldn't I covet my neighbors wife?" "Because you will go to hell." "Why do bad things happen to good people?" "Because God acts in mysterious ways." So on and so forth, remember I am attempting to be as simplistic as possible here. The presence of most religions would tend to suggest a preclusion of the need to ask why for many of the beliefs it seeks to instill upon its believers.

    The lack of religion can also have the same affect, however. Questions that would be important to a believer, can be passed off as insignificant to an atheist in much the same way the questions important to an atheist can be easily passed off by a believer. "Why was the Universe made?" "There is no need to ask why, it simply is..." "What is the purpose of life?" "There is no purpose, we simply are..."

    Mans basic nature is to question... this is particularly true and evidenced by the fact that he is never satisfied with an answer, verily he will simply move on to a bigger, better question. ...
    Interesting points so far. I think you're hitting on how our brains are built to zero in on ambiguity and try to resolve it. That is clearly very human.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluewanders View Post
    ... This is shown most easily by the advancement of science, but also by the evolution of many religions...
    I agree with you here too (so far)

    Quote Originally Posted by bluewanders View Post
    ... (for an example, think on the how the many versions of the bible differ from each other... how some answers presented become more complex in their explanations while others stayed the same. As well as how the oral teaching of the religion can differ so greatly from original documents)...
    Yes, I believe various Bible translations resolve ambiguity OF LANGUAGE TRANSLATION in a way that supports whatever the goal of the translation might be. If you are trying to say more than this, I'm going to ask you to "try and reduce your ambiguity".

    You continue stating that oral teaching greatly differs from original documents? What documents? Are they part of the canon or not? Since you say these "differ so greatly", it should be easy for you to describe some examples that we can discuss here.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluewanders View Post
    ... I posit to you... "God, god, gods" is in the act of questioning. It is in the act of being man...
    I'd say it is simply an example of our physical and theological worlds remaining in congruence and supporting each other.

    You have raised the start of some very interesting questions. I'm hoping you are willing to explore them with others here!

    --
    Bob
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!
  16. #1616  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    If we do not have a purpose, should we correlate that all other life has no purpose either? What about the food chain and plants producing oxygen? Would it be logical to give purpose to lower forms of life but not to ourselves?
    I think your missing the point I am making about the word "purpose". Do you think that a "lower form of life"'s purpose is to drive the ecosystem so that Humans can survive?

    From my point of view, there is no "lower form of life", and we are animals with bigger brains and opposable thumbs.

    The point Dawkins was trying to make was that you aren't really looking for the answer to that question. Our biological "purpose" is that that we are to have sex and survive and spread our genetic material. I think when you say "purpose", you are implying that Humans are special and "made in the likeness of God", and if that's the case, then other religious questions follow like "If we are special and made in the image of God, why is there suffering", etc.
  17. #1617  
    For an example of oral tradition splitting off from the "documents" think for a moment on the various and extreme interpretations of the Quran... a single document that has spawned quite a few extremist factions, whose oral teachings pass down a greatly changed view than how it was originally interpreted.

    The same can be said to a lesser extent in Christanity... the oral tradition is where the main difference lies in the interpretation of the bible among the catholics (who have more books of the bible than other Judeo-Christian branches) and the lutherans, baptists, methodists, and so on. The document, in this case the bible, has (mostly) one iteration, though as you stated language translations show variability) but the oral tradition that goes hand in hand with it changes the interpretation by leaps and bounds in some places. It is interesting to note that the Christians also have their extremist factions, although there is some argument in both religions I have mentioned as to the validity of grouping the extremists with the more mainstream factions.

    Yeah, I can agree that the quest to question would be a congruence, but my argument is that belief and non-belief are both valid by virtue of man being his own god... and god being present in the act of being man. Rather than god as an external entity, or god being non-existent.


    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    Yes, I believe various Bible translations resolve ambiguity OF LANGUAGE TRANSLATION in a way that supports whatever the goal of the translation might be. If you are trying to say more than this, I'm going to ask you to "try and reduce your ambiguity".

    You continue stating that oral teaching greatly differs from original documents? What documents? Are they part of the canon or not? Since you say these "differ so greatly", it should be easy for you to describe some examples that we can discuss here.


    I'd say it is simply an example of our physical and theological worlds remaining in congruence and supporting each other.

    You have raised the start of some very interesting questions. I'm hoping you are willing to explore them with others here!

    --
    Bob
  18. #1618  
    Sudoer, back in post 1590, you said you believe in the God of the bible.

    This is a fairly loaded question, but Why? Care to describe the god you believe in (to the best of your abilities? Perhaps some qualities of Him)?
  19. #1619  
    Quote Originally Posted by sudoer View Post
    While I can't say that I've extensively read the content on your website, I did look into some of it when one or two participants here made mention of it.

    I'm honored to have you visit our thread (and likely to have the patience to read through most of it).
    FWIW, this is why I was wondering how serious you were. He did not say "I have a website", but rather "I have a website I follow".
    ‎"Is that suck and salvage the Kevin Costner method?" - Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 6, 2010. Wonder if he's talking about his oil device or his movie career...
  20.    #1620  
    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    I think your missing the point I am making about the word "purpose".
    I'm sorry. I didn't make it clear that my comments about "purpose" because of Dawkins dismissal of the question of why (and his clear implication, at least to me) that we do not have a purpose. I found that absurd.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    Do you think that a "lower form of life"'s purpose is to drive the ecosystem so that Humans can survive?
    Yes to the first part (to drive the ecosystem) but I'm not so sure that it's so humans can survive or not. (We could become extinct and the world could probably go on fine - perhaps better - without us!)

    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    From my point of view, there is no "lower form of life", and we are animals with bigger brains and opposable thumbs.
    I can understand your view (and it is a noble and modest one, that I highly respect).

    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    The point Dawkins was trying to make was that you aren't really looking for the answer to that question. Our biological "purpose" is that that we are to have sex and survive and spread our genetic material. ...
    It was hard for me to tell based on the small length of the video segment provided. I'll trust that your summary of the surrounding content is correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmquinn View Post
    ... I think when you say "purpose", you are implying that Humans are special and "made in the likeness of God", and if that's the case, then other religious questions follow like "If we are special and made in the image of God, why is there suffering", etc.
    I wasn't thinking specifically of the above points at all, but we can discuss them if you want. I view my "purpose" on Earth (more or less) to learn how to get along with and help other people so that we all can benefit. When you bring religion into the equation, if I have an afterlife then I ask "why would God give me (and others) such a purpose? I can only surmise that it's a form of "development" for living together (perfectly) in an afterlife.

    Why suffering? The short answer is because we do not all get along. A longer answer is that suffering makes us stronger. These might not be good enough answers for you but I'm willing to explore the topic of suffering in more depth if you want.
    I'm both super! ... and a doer!

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