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  1. #161  
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbdh
    I said that God does not have to exist for Faith to provide the basis for moral clarity.

    A. There is a God who judges us, or there is not.

    B. One believes (has faith) that there is a God who judges us or one does not.

    I think we can agree that both these statements are true but these truths are in no way dependent on each other to be true. Believing or having faith that there is a God who judges us in no way changes the validity of statement A. Having a reality without a God who judges does not change the validity of statement B.

    The only way the validity of statement A has any affect on statement B is if it can be proven that one of the alternatives of statement A is false. But even then, Statement B has validity because the person with faith has the option to not believe the proof.

    Take a locked room within which you have never been nor have you ever seen anyone go in or come out of the room. Written documentation exists that there is someone in that room and others tell you that not only is there someone in the room but they have seen that someone. Perhaps you smell and hear things coming from the room that smell or sound like there is someone in there. Others study the room and it's history and conclude that there is no one in the room.

    You have a choice to believe in the existence of the person in the room or not. Now ask yourself a couple of questions...

    1. If you decide to believe and thus have faith that there is someone in the room, does that change the contents of the room?

    2. If you find the key to the room and unlock it, would the contents of the room change your belief? (this may not be a slam dunk answer for everyone)

    Getting back to the moral compass issue, it is being argued here that without faith in a higher power, one has no basis for a moral compass. Whether or not this is true is not relevant to where our moral compass comes from. This is different for everyone, but at the risk of over generalizing I think I can safely say that for the faithful it comes from within based on ones up-bringing, life experiences, as well as their religious beliefs and teachings. For the Atheist or person otherwise without faith it comes from within based only on their up-bringing and life experiences. Since the difference here is that word faith, any moral clarity provided by ones faith indeed does retain it's validity even if in reality God does not exist.
    I follow your logic and concur with you. I think we agree is that strongly held belief is sufficient for establishing moral basis.

    The distinction I was intending to raise is that Biblical faith is not merely the act of believing. Biblical faith is a confidence in that which is guaranteed but not yet delivered. It is a cliam check as it were.

    So, if there is no god, there is no (Biblical) faith. There is only strongly held belief (which we each have a right to hold).
  2. #162  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    I follow your logic and concur with you. I think we agree is that strongly held belief is sufficient for establishing moral basis.

    The distinction I was intending to raise is that Biblical faith is not merely the act of believing. Biblical faith is a confidence in that which is guaranteed but not yet delivered. It is a cliam check as it were.

    So, if there is no god, there is no (Biblical) faith. There is only strongly held belief (which we each have a right to hold).
    I don't understand why one can only have Biblical faith, as you define it, if in fact God exists. Would it not be more accurate to rephrase the second to last sentence in your post....

    "So, if you BELEIVE there is no God, there is no (Blblical) Faith."

    If you hold that claim check to which you alude and have confidence that it will be redeemable, you must then have faith that God exists. If in fact, the faithful are wrong about the existence of God, their confidence is not affected because the knowledge of this reality is outside their grasp. The opposite is also true... If in fact, the faithful are right about the existence of God, their confidence is not authenticated or enhanced because the knowledge of that reality is also outside their grasp.

    Did that make any sense???
  3. #163  
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbdh
    I don't understand why one can only have Biblical faith, as you define it, if in fact God exists. Would it not be more accurate to rephrase the second to last sentence in your post....

    "So, if you BELEIVE there is no God, there is no (Blblical) Faith."

    If you hold that claim check to which you alude and have confidence that it will be redeemable, you must then have faith that God exists. If in fact, the faithful are wrong about the existence of God, their confidence is not affected because the knowledge of this reality is outside their grasp. The opposite is also true... If in fact, the faithful are right about the existence of God, their confidence is not authenticated or enhanced because the knowledge of that reality is also outside their grasp.

    Did that make any sense???
    I'm not sure if it makes sense, but I get what you're saying

    You are drawing the distinction between the act of believing and the accuracy of what is believed. And, I agree that what I or any one strongly believes does not have to be accurate for it to be believed.

    But you seem to be saying that the reality of the existence of God can not be known. Is this what you intended to communicate?
  4. #164  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    I'm not sure if it makes sense, but I get what you're saying

    You are drawing the distinction between the act of believing and the accuracy of what is believed. And, I agree that what I or any one strongly believes does not have to be accurate for it to be believed.

    But you seem to be saying that the reality of the existence of God can not be known. Is this what you intended to communicate?
    Exactly!!

    Do you agree?
  5. #165  
    I do not agree
  6. #166  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    I do not agree
    Interesting, though this is the answer I expected. I would once have answered the same way.

    Having been on your side of the argument myself and having since had many discussions from the side I am on now, I have no doubt that your belief and faith is so deeply felt that you could not even contemplate the possibility that God does not exist.

    Ask yourself the following question.

    What first hand experience do I have that convinces me that the only reality is that there is a God?

    Do not post your answer. I just want you to ask the question to yourself and answer it honestly.

    There are a couple of rules (feel free to question these rules)...

    1. God cannot be a metaphor for nature or otherwise part of the natural universe. If he is, then your are a scientist who has only given a name to what has not yet been discovered.

    2. The experience must be first hand. It cannot be based on what anyone has taught you. It cannot be based on the writings of another human being even if you believe it to be the word of God. The Bible for example cannot be used for reference because this would be circularly invalid as it can be the word of God only if God exists.

    3. If you want to use a personal contact with God, while you may FEEL otherwise, you must give evidence outside of your feelings that you in fact made contact with God. In other words the experience must not come from within oneself, it must be a physical encounter.

    4. Similar to rule #3, there can be no other explanation possible for your answer.

    5. You cannot say that you just know. That is faith which I am not questioning.

    The interesting thing about this exercise, is that if you have an answer that removes doubt as to Gods existence, no matter how valid to you, I cannot use your answer as a basis for my answer to the same question. This would violate rule #2.

    One can setup the same exercise for the other side of the argument by asking the question...

    What first hand experience do I have that convinces me that the only reality is that there is no God?

    Interestingly enough this the harder of the 2 questions because you cannot prove a negative. In fact the second question might be impossible to answer honestly. A philosopher might say this is proof that there is a God.
  7. #167  
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbdh
    ....

    3. If you want to use a personal contact with God, while you may FEEL otherwise, you must give evidence outside of your feelings that you in fact made contact with God. In other words the experience must not come from within oneself, it must be a physical encounter.
    What is the rationale for limiting the scope of this experiment to "physical" encounters?
  8. #168  
    Interesting excerpt from an article linked by daThomas in a post from another thread:

    http://history.hanover.edu/hhr/hhr93_1.html

    "I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it's [sic] parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it's [sic] composition. . . it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is . . . a fabricator of all things.[13]

    After applying his faculty of reason, in which he placed much faith, Jefferson found that he had to believe in a creator.
    "
  9. #169  
    The whole article is worth a read on the views of one of our nation's founders.
  10. #170  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    What is the rationale for limiting the scope of this experiment to "physical" encounters?
    Good question. Difficult to justify to someone who believes in the existence of a reality beyond the physical universe.

    The reason I include this rule is that if it is not a physical encounter than there is the possibility that it is a creation of the mind. The person experiencing an encounter without the benefit of the physical senses has no way to differentiate between real and imagined. The mind can even stimulate our physical senses to see, hear, or smell things that are not real. At the extreme, ask the paranoid schizophrenic if his experiences are real?

    Group experiences give more credibility to an experience, but the experience individually is the creation of ones mind affected by the group. We all have experienced this "electricity" in a crowd or group.

    We can be sure that a door is there, because if we tried to walk through the doorway without opening it we have the physical experience of pain in addition to the visual experience. But if we never go through the doorway, we only have our visual experience to know that it is there and that could be a creation of the mind.

    I have to draw a line somewhere when asking this question to myself. So, assuming I am not delusional, I will accept physical as an experience with any of my physical senses. I think a physical encounter is the closest we can come to an irrefutable experience.

    This discussion presents an additional complication which I did not put in the mix. If you have an experience, physical or not, how do you know that it was in fact God you had the experience with. That in itself is a mental conclusion and so to be answered requires further evidence. Since this is a personal exercise, you will have to decide if this question needs to be asked to confirm your irrefutable belief in the existing of God.

    My mother would call me a doubting Thomas, but participating in this exercise is not meant to, nor should it, convince one to not believe that there is a God. Admitting that there is no way of knowing does not in any way mean that you are admitting that there is not a God. If God exists, he exists whether you have the knowledge of his existence or not.

    Assuming, as I have, that there is no way of knowing the existence of God, what you believe then becomes a very personal decision no matter how you come to your conclusion. What too many people of all persuasions lose sight of is that, for this very reason, ones choice deserves, perhaps demands, the respect of others.
  11. #171  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Interesting excerpt from an article linked by daThomas in a post from another thread:

    http://history.hanover.edu/hhr/hhr93_1.html

    "I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it's [sic] parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it's [sic] composition. . . it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is . . . a fabricator of all things.[13]

    After applying his faculty of reason, in which he placed much faith, Jefferson found that he had to believe in a creator.
    "
    While I can entertain Jefferson's reasoning and concur with his conclusion, his reasoning does not exclude the possibility that God does not exist.

    Jefferson in his own word says that it is impossible "for the human mind not to believe". Could it be that the human mind is not capable, yet, to understand how the universe exists without a fabricator. This may be good reason to believe in the existence of God, but it is not proof of the existence of God.
  12. #172  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Interesting excerpt from an article linked by daThomas in a post from another thread:

    http://history.hanover.edu/hhr/hhr93_1.html

    "I hold (without appeal to revelation) that when we take a view of the Universe, in it's [sic] parts general or particular, it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of it's [sic] composition. . . it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe that there is . . . a fabricator of all things.[13]

    After applying his faculty of reason, in which he placed much faith, Jefferson found that he had to believe in a creator.
    "
    Jefferson was obviously wrong about this... it is easily possible to explain everything we encounter in this universe without gods, whether you mean Shiva, or Allah, or whichever god you happen to believe in according to your upbringing. The fact that Jefferson could not imagine this really doesn't mean anything, it only shows the very limited knowledge of the time. We got over that quite a while ago.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  13. #173  
    Quote Originally Posted by ToolkiT
    one more thing, you never explained why a hetero couple would make better parents.
    There are heteros that are terrible with kids and gays that are great with kids. Why does that change if you put 2 of them together??
    I get the feeling you think hetero's are superior to gays in general, is that right?

    I personally feel that homosexuality is just wrong (gotta say it......as "wrong as two boys kissing"). It's a crime against god and if you don't believe in god...it's a crime against nature.

    If you think homosexuality is a choice, then why do we tolerate a choice that's wrong on so many levels....if you think homosexuality is hardwired in your genes...then this should be looked at as a "disease". And when my son gets old enough to understand what homosexuality is and asks me about it....I only hope I can teach him that the act of homosexuality is wrong, but you cannot discriminate against a person for a wrong action. (i.e. don't hate the person, hate the act).

    You can flame me if you want.....but I don't really read this part of the forum much.
  14.    #174  
    Quote Originally Posted by RicoM
    I personally feel that homosexuality is just wrong (gotta say it......as "wrong as two boys kissing"). It's a crime against god and if you don't believe in god...it's a crime against nature.

    If you think homosexuality is a choice, then why do we tolerate a choice that's wrong on so many levels....if you think homosexuality is hardwired in your genes...then this should be looked at as a "disease". And when my son gets old enough to understand what homosexuality is and asks me about it....I only hope I can teach him that the act of homosexuality is wrong, but you cannot discriminate against a person for a wrong action. (i.e. don't hate the person, hate the act).

    You can flame me if you want.....but I don't really read this part of the forum much.
    way off base, my friend. disease? well, although you or i wouldnt choose that lifestyle, who are you or i to call that choice a disease?

    youre not changing your mind. i know that. but it has to be said that calling it a disease is just simply wrong.

    karma has a way of humbling you when you make statements like these. id be careful. you and i would HOPE that our sons and daughters will be heterosexual, but if they dont, will you still call it a disease?

    until a situation like this one presents itself on YOUR own doorstep, my friend, its EASY to make those statements.
  15. #175  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Jefferson was obviously wrong about this...
    I do not think you can say that it is obvious. For the vast majority of the population of the world I would say he is spot on. I would agree that his statement would have been more accurate if he had not been so definitive in his declaration. The gist of his reasoning is valid for most minds.

    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    it is easily possible to explain everything we encounter in this universe without gods...
    Hmmm, I would say that everything we encounter in the universe is very hard to explain. Most explanations are only theories and and nearly all explanations are challenged by new discoveries and understandings. Many explanations that are understood to be scientific gospel, are often later found to be invalid. Nothing easy about any of this.

    Explaining what we encounter rarely explains what created what we encounter. Jefferson is talking about a creator. If you explain the origin of the Universe using the Big Bang theory, why did the Big Bang happen? If you explain the origin of humans with the theory of evolution, how or why did the evolution start? You see the explanations are not complete and may be only explaining the work of a creator. I think Jefferson was correct, it is impossible for the mind to explain the wonders of the universe without including a fabricator in the explanation.


    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    The fact that Jefferson could not imagine this really doesn't mean anything, it only shows the very limited knowledge of the time. We got over that quite a while ago.
    Who is the we you refer to. The vast majority of the population of this world today would still agree with Jefferson. To write everyone off who does not think the way you do as ignorant borders on arrogance. Science has not de-mystified the universe. If anything, the more that science discovers the more mystifying the universe becomes. Many scientists believe that they are studying the handiwork of the fabricator to whom Jefferson refers.

    When did "we" write off God as a participant in the origin of the Universe.
  16. #176  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214
    way off base, my friend. disease? well, although you or i wouldnt choose that lifestyle, who are you or i to call that choice a disease?

    youre not changing your mind. i know that. but it has to be said that calling it a disease is just simply wrong.

    karma has a way of humbling you when you make statements like these. id be careful. you and i would HOPE that our sons and daughters will be heterosexual, but if they dont, will you still call it a disease?

    until a situation like this one presents itself on YOUR own doorstep, my friend, its EASY to make those statements.
    My Granddaughter has Juvenile Diabetes. It is a disease believed to be of genetic origin. One could say that she has a "flawed" gene. This in no way changes how we feel about her or her value as a human being.

    If homosexuality is genetic, why could we not view the condition the same way, and if we did why would calling it a disease lower your opinion of the person so afflicted.

    I don't believe there is any credible evidence that homosexuality is genetic, but I found your reaction to RicoM very telling about how we view diseased people differently depending on the disease. Leprosy is another example of this in our recent history.

    Think about this.. If it were genetic and some day we discovered a way to modify the gene so that it did not result in homosexuality, would everyone with the gene seek the procedure?
  17. #177  
    Quote Originally Posted by treobk214
    way off base, my friend. disease? well, although you or i wouldnt choose that lifestyle, who are you or i to call that choice a disease?

    youre not changing your mind. i know that. but it has to be said that calling it a disease is just simply wrong.

    karma has a way of humbling you when you make statements like these. id be careful. you and i would HOPE that our sons and daughters will be heterosexual, but if they dont, will you still call it a disease?

    until a situation like this one presents itself on YOUR own doorstep, my friend, its EASY to make those statements.
    definition: [n] an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning

    Re-read my post....I said if it's hardwired into your genes it could be considered a disease (i.e. no choice is involved, it's just the cards you're dealt with). Compair that to the defintion...I don't see anything wrong with calling it a disease IF it is hardwired, but as another post says, there's no real proof of that. So then it reverts back to a choice in which I say that I don't feel it's correct to support a choice that's wrong on so many levels.

    AND IF this does turn up on my doorstep...yes I'll be crushed, but again, re-read my post. I can love my son/daughter without supporting homosexuality (don't hate the person, hate the act...or something similar to that is what I said).

    For my short post....you didn't really read it well.
  18. #178  
    Quote Originally Posted by RicoM
    I personally feel that homosexuality is just wrong (gotta say it......as "wrong as two boys kissing"). It's a crime against god and if you don't believe in god...it's a crime against nature.
    Crime against nature, or god? That's a very funny view, because if it were true, homosexuality would be a crime commited by nature (or god).

    Obviously you don't know this, but homosexuality (and bisexuality) is very common in the animal kingdom, in fact, in many species much more common than in humans:

    "Gay and lesbian geese stay together year after year. Bottlenose dolphins don't form male-female couples, but males often form lifelong pairs with other males. Some are interested only in males, but others are bisexual and happily indulge in beak-genital propulsion and more with male or female alike. Male black swans court and form stable pairs. With two males, they are able to defend huge territories from other swan couples, which sounds like a double-income-no-kids situation except that they often manage to wangle some eggs from somewhere -- all right, they steal them -- and become model parents, twice as successful as straight parents." Also e.g. male pairs of penguins are quite frequent, and mostly more successfull in hatching eggs (from female penguins of course...).

    For more information apart from the quote above, see here or here, the latter containing an interesting table about the percentage of homosexual and bisexual members of some species. In our closest relatives, the bonobo chimpanzees, 100% of the members are bisexual, for instance.

    Homosexuality a crime against nature or god? Forget it...
    Last edited by clulup; 12/09/2004 at 06:11 AM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  19. #179  
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbdh
    Good question. Difficult to justify to someone who believes in the existence of a reality beyond the physical universe.
    I am able to set aside my belief for the sake of discussion (and, as necessary reinstate a modified belief after the discussion). So, my bias aside, I want to understand your rationale. For example, in the rules of the experiment, you state that "God cannot be a...part of the natural universe." However, you require that the "prooving" experience has to be physical.

    If I'm combining those two concepts correctly, the only proof that could be acceptable (according to rule #3) would subsequently be voided by rule #1.

    Is my reasoning sound on this conclusion?
  20. #180  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    Crime against nature, or god? That's a very funny view, because if it were true, homosexuality would be a crime commited by nature (or god).

    Obviously you don't know this, but homosexuality (and bisexuality) is very common in the animal kingdom, in fact, in many species much more common than in humans:

    "Gay and lesbian geese stay together year after year. Bottlenose dolphins don't form male-female couples, but males often form lifelong pairs with other males. Some are interested only in males, but others are bisexual and happily indulge in beak-genital propulsion and more with male or female alike. Male black swans court and form stable pairs. With two males, they are able to defend huge territories from other swan couples, which sounds like a double-income-no-kids situation except that they often manage to wangle some eggs from somewhere -- all right, they steal them -- and become model parents, twice as successful as straight parents." Also e.g. male pairs of penguins are quite frequent, and mostly more successfull in hatching eggs (from female penguins of course...).

    For more information apart from the quote above, see here or here, the latter containing an interesting table about the percentage of homosexual and bisexual members of some species. In our closest relatives, the bonobo chimpanzees, 100% of the members are bisexual, for instance.

    Homosexuality a crime against nature or god? Forget it...

    Most animals also lick thier own A**! So what! Humans are not animals!

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