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BELIEF IN GOD AND CERTAINTY OF BELIEF

poll Are you ...
Absolutely certain that there is a God
Somewhat certain that there is a God
Somewhat certain that there is no God
Absolutely certain that there is no God
Not sure whether or not there is a God
  39 Votes - 118 Posts
Results
   Discussion: BELIEF IN GOD AND CERTAINTY OF BELIEF
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 10 years, 10 months ago
You know that I'm always interested in these things. I've asked polls like this before. This one is a duplicate of one that the Harris Polls gave. You can see The results of the Harris Poll here.

Sorry for the all caps. I copied and pasted the subject line from the Harris Website.
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
My wife teaches at a school where alot of the kids parents believe that global warming is a sign of the "end times" and the second coming of Jesus Christ.  The kids tell her they don't need math because there  mother  believes the "rapture" is  going to happen and the world will cease to exist therefore they don't need to do their homework. How do you argue with that line of thinking? You can't criticize their religious beliefs or their parents.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Well you could actually quote Matthew where Jesus says, No one will know the time of his coming.

I'd feel more comfortable reasoning that even if the world is ending people are expected to do fulfill their responsibilities. You could add that there is no guarantee that the world will end before the semester does. Actually the best response is say, "That's how your mother feels? I'm give her a call and discuss it with her." That will scare them.
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Its just bizarre that adults would believe in it  and actually pray for it to happen
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Why is it that those who are religious become so hostile when their beliefs are questioned? How can one take up the cloth when they think 99% of the population their flock will come from are idiots?  I am not pointing fingers at any one person but if we have faith in a god shouldn't we have faith in the things that  god  creates ?  I don't proclaim to be perfect or better than any one but I see love as something unconditional. I try my best to love my family unconditionally as I think do most people. Religion preaches that we are all part of the same human family and no one is better than another. If I believed in organized religion that is what I would look for. I would pray for the end of  hate and war and  for the earth and all  the life forms  on it to survive.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
As I mentioned below, my problem is not with atheism or with having my beliefs questions. My problem is with having my beliefs mischaracterized and then ridiculed by those who do not understand them. And no, I do not mean by those who don't share them, I mean by those who do not understand them. It seems that most "strong atheists" that I encounter seem truly unable to wrap their heads around a concept of God that does not equate to big guy in the sky telling you what to do... and so, citing my religiousness (religiosity?) they make ridiculous claims about me and my alleged belief in an "imaginary friend" which I find deeply insulting. The God of Judaism is not a noun God. Our primary name for God is literally a verb. So to believe in a man in the sky is idolatry according to my tradition. I do not like to be called an idolater and as such, yes, I become hostile when I am insulted in such a manner.
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
What you say makes sense certainly. But in life at some point we are all misunderstood by others, usually on a daily basis-even by those we know best. Often it is a combination of not expressing ourselves correctly and others not listening. We can't always be offended and insulted. I guess thats what I object to about organized religion is it divides rather than unites people. Look at what is happening in the middle east. The only "god"or spiritual entity I can believe is the force that exists in the earth itself- sort of a mother earth that we need to care for. I can see why you would be offended by the those who assume "god" is some sort of omnipresent being over seeing everything we do. Imaginary friends can be fun though...I wouldn't let people get to you, it sounds like they are just trying to push your buttons. By getting angry and insulted maybe it is giving these people to much power over you. Just my two cents.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
My main problem is that most people cannot seem to divorce the "organized religion" from the religious belief.  Most public figures that profess to be Christian and leaders in the various Christian church are not what I would consider true Christians.

Religion, at least most of the ones I have studied, unites people, even if they don't believe the same thing.  Any time I hear a supposed Christian bad mouthing so called sinners, if I'm in a position to do so, I remind them as to who Christ hung around with and ministered to.

I guess that's what gets me hot and bothered.  The tendency to stereotype people who are religious. 
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Even though it is 2,000 years later Jesus would never survive if he was living today. If he wasn't arrested by some government, he would probably be assassinated.
nate... Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Just like he was then?
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
You mean would he be crucified?
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
What he's saying is that Jesus *was* arrested by his government, then killed. 
Paul Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
What is a true christian?
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Um, someone who believes in Christ's teachings?  Who accepts Christ as their savior?

The problem is that most "leaders" in the Christian "church" are more concerned with their own power and influence than with what Christ really preached.

The church I belong to says it best:  The church is not a building or an organization, it is the body of believers.  Christ himself got extremely pissed off when he witnessed the temples at the time being run more like a business than tending to the faith (Hmmmm...wonder how that sounds so familiar??).

In my opinion and views, a true Christian does not seek to force or inflict their beliefs and worldview on others.  They seek to live their lives as best as possible according to Christ's teachings, and in doing so being a "light" to others.  Not to convert, but to attract.
Jºnªthªn Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
yeah! The protestants need another protestant reformation! The first one didn't take!
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Reformations never really *take* in the long run because people are people and they always eventually fall into the same traps. There is no perfect system.
Starfox · 10 years, 10 months ago
Tends to support there being a God/Creator. Is he exactly as described in the various holy books of the various religions? Obviously not (since they all differ), but there's probably grains of truth in each religion.

I won't get into why I believe Christianity is probably closer to being correct, but that's my personal belief. Although I don't think the various Christian churches get it right. Especially those that think the "church of Christ" has anything to do with a building or socio-political organization.
lawrence Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Wait, evidence? Where is this evidence? All evidence I've seen points to exactly the opposite.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I had a nice little discussion written out but this really isn't the place for it. I'd like for people to feel free to express their opinions here without fear of being judged. I am talking about in this poll, not on FHDC. I just want the poll to be less biased. I have no objection to intellectual arguments in general. Anyway this way I can save it for my diary where I was planning on writing it anyway.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Yeah, but "the evidence tends to support there being a God/Creator"? Opinions and beliefs are one thing, but Lawrence is right, that's a fairly bizarre thing to say. Whether or not god exists, I've never heard a Christian claim that their religion has any "evidence" unless they're tying to sell something.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I totally agree with Lawrence, I just didn't want to discuss it here. Actually what I was going to write about was a biology professor stating what he thought was evidence of the existence of god. He was talking with my officemate. He said that there is no conflict between religion and science. He then added, "evolution explains everything that happens after life is created but not how it started. We can't explain that first step." To him that was evidence of god. I think that is nonsense. Somehow he can accept an omnipotent intelligent deity being created without an explanation but not the precursor of bacteria.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Yeah, religion is a lazy placeholder for science. I will definitely respect a person's beliefs, but as soon as they try to claim science is on their side (especially without presenting evidence), all bets are off. I'm not going to kick a blind dog unless he starts biting my leg.
Jºnªthªn Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
My pet peeve is people who seem to reject some things for which there is ample scientific evidence, such as evolutionary processes, when they conflict with their belief system, but seem perfectly happy to use information technology, medicine, modern agriculture, transportation, etc. all of which were produced using the same scientific methods. I think if you don't believe in evolution, we should take away your car, phone, tv, antibiotics, plastics, and electricity, and your bible, which was likely produced using modern printing methods. You can have a stick and and animal skin and live in a forest.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Yeah, religion is a lazy placeholder for science.

I call bullshit.

See, watch: BULLSHIT!

Here's why I call bullshit... cause you have a preconception of what "religion" is and of what people mean when they talk about "God." You have a preconceived notion that religion and science are somehow connected in a very specific way. And... you're wrong. That's it.

:D
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
If you use a foofy definition of "religion" or "god" as being whatever there is in the universe that's bigger than we are, you're missing the mark of how 99% of Americans define it and we're suddenly playing a pointless game of semantics. Sure, maybe some faith is right and all science was created by a god. But you need to present compelling evidence of the religious origins of science before your argument is valid.

Any time somebody answers a question starting with the word "how" with an answer containing the word "god", it's intellectually lazy.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Foofy? FOOFY???

I don't care what 99% of Americans think! 99% of Americans are intellectually irrelevant.  If 99% of Americans thought that you were made of cottage cheese would it make it true or relevant? And I didn't say anything about "science" being created by "God." So try again.

Religion isn't democratic. You can't judge or define "Religion" by what the majority of people say or do. The majority is perfectly capable of being wrong, especially on a subject where some amount of abstract outside-the-box thinking is required, and when you're dealing with theology, that is the only correct way to think about it.

Don't insult me by telling me that Religion At Large, and by extension my religion has anything to do with laziness or denial of scientific method (not "science" because "science" is not a *thing* it is an *approach*) and then dismiss my approach to religion by reducing my theology or philosophy of religion to "foofiness." I study theology for real, and I've got some pretty well established and well respected theologians on my side here. The fact that 99% of Americans are idiots has no bearing on what religion is or is not.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago

  • It doesn't matter if the 99% are right or wrong. It's semantics. If we defined toothpaste as motor oil. it'd still get my teeth clean.
  • I'd contend that the majority is wrong. God is imaginary.
  • I have no problem with religions that don't fit within the scientific method. My original point (if you scroll waaay up) is that you better not start trying to claim that it does. Trying to shoehorn religion into science the scientific method is part of the reason this country is in the shitter right now.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
First of all, it's *not* 99%.  That is a made-up statistic and is simply untrue.  Why do you disregard unbiased studies?

No, it's not semantics.  You are making ethnocentric and narrow definitions of something that is far broader than your immediate experience.  It's not about right or wrong.  It's about assumptions that have little basis in reality.  Let's just go with the ethnocentric argument for a momend and condsider an unbiased and fairly sampled study.  The percentage of people in the US who believe life was divinely created in its present form is around 51% and 45% believe in scientific explanation of development of life.  That's far from your fallacious assumption of 99%.

Maybe the course of events that led to the development of life on this planet was initiated by a divine spark.  Maybe it wasn't.  Both camps are inherently unprovable and I don't really see why it matters either way.

It's Fundamentalist belief that has the country in the shitter, not belief in God in general.  Gella and I are both highly capable of rational thought and both of us are secure in our respective faiths.   Maybe we are not representative of the slight majority who believe we were created wholecloth,  but we are representative of a very large portion of society.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
It's Fundamentalist belief that has the country in the shitter, not belief in God in general.  Gella and I are both highly capable of rational thought and both of us are preparing to become clergy in our respective faiths.


Thanks for pointing this out.  In this country, those who profess to believe in Christianity (Falwell, Robertson, hell even Dubya) are most emphatically NOT Christian IMO, so one should not judge religious belief by those nutjobs.  That's just the same as saying that all Muslims are wacko terrorists.  It's a gross generalization.

I purposely didn't argue for my statement because I wanted to avoid a flame war while at the same time stating my opinion.  Whoops.  I'd be happy to discuss what "evidence" I see of there being a God/Creator with someone who is capable of speaking about it rationally and not immediately deriding the point of contention.  But I won't do it here in a public forum where people can attack or ridicule instead of saying "I don't believe that, and we'll agree to disagree" because when it comes down to disagreements on fundamentals, it's just best to say exactly that.  There's way to many ad hominem attacks going on in this thread to make it worth a while to attempt to have a rational conversation about it.

I did not ever once state that people who believed otherwise are unworthy or "wrong" in their belief (although that I grant that's implied).  To me it's like saying "I believe there's sufficient evidence to say the Toyota Camry is the finest car made."  And someone else believing that it's the Honda Accord.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Completely discounting non-Christian faith and beliefs outside of the US in your argument reeks of ethnocentrism and, frankly, gives your argument pretty much no weight. 

First of all, spouting unfounded statistics is hardly good argumentative technique.  According to most polls and studies, the percentage of Christians in the US consistently hovers between 80-83% in recent years.  A quick Google could have told you that.

Please, tell me how African traditional/diasporic religion, Chinese traditional religion, aboriginal faiths and Jainism, to name a few, "foofily" disregard science.  The majority of the world's population is not Christian.  Using the US as a definition of religious thought simply smacks of ignorance.

There is a pretentious contingent of the atheist population that likes to feel intellectually superior and assume that belief in God automatically negates that individual's capacity for rational and critical thinking.  That is just as intellecually lazy as those who refuse to consider scientific thought.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Note that I didn't say that 99% of Americans are Christian; I said that they define religion in a traditional sense. I'm an atheist, and I'm in that group. I don't think any statistics exist on the topic, but almost everyone I know has the same basic "preconception of what religion is" (to quota Gella).

I only mentioned the US because it's the only place I feel qualified to make generalizations about spiritual belief. I have no idea what a lot of other religions believe (or even what the word "diasporic" means, for that matter), so I'm not going to try to assume. I'll fully admit that I'm ignorant on the details of many world religions.

I don't think that religious people are incapable of critical thought. I respect you and Gella a lot. I just think that religion is something that can happen to anyone, especially when they're indoctrinated at a young and impressionable age. A kid in Alabama going to almost definitely end up a Christian, just as a kid in the forests of Papua New Guinea almost definitely going to end up believing that a Suangi could come eat their body cavity out, turning their insides into grass. Religion is like a virus. It doesn't matter how smart you are if the people around you start coughing in your face; you're probably going to start coughing yourself before long.

As long as you understand that your beliefs are based in faith and not science, more power to you. But the moment you try to tell me that the earth is 6,000 years old, I call serious bullshit.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
That's fair, even though I still think you should check your statistics ;)

We simulateously made the same point in our posts about fundamentalism and I now see the point you were trying to make.  Didn't mean to get so aggressive... I could blame a certain deity for that, but that would be ridiculous in conversation both religious and secular ;)

(Dua Bes!)

African Diasporic religions are largely faiths that evolved from traditional African faiths in communities of slaves that were brought to North America, though a few of them are revivals of ancient faiths.  Examples of those faiths are Voudou, Santeria and Yoruba, which are all faiths that employ polyvalent logic -- the belief that two things can be true simultaneously.  Admittedly, they are a small minority of most populations (save certain islands in the Caribbean), but I think it's a pretty cool course of thought.

Sorry if this is an inappropriate derailment, but I'm trying to de-escalate because I was getting unfairly hostile in my tone and I apologize for that element of my posts (but not the essence).
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
As long as you understand that your beliefs are based in faith and not science, more power to you. But the moment you try to tell me that the earth is 6,000 years old, I call serious bullshit.

Oh come ON!

My "beliefs" if you can even call it that, are not based in "faith." My religion does not tell me to believe that the world (in the sense of the earth/universe) is in any scientific sense 5757 years old. I resent the implication that religion is necessarily tantamount to an ideological infection. When Neal Stephenson used the virus analogy he used it well. You use it insultingly.

I do not accept that my view of religion is "nontraditional." I might argue (elsewhere because I really think that this is going to go nowhere) that my understanding is in fact more "traditional" than what you experience as the majority view. Religion is a complex amalgam of socio-political and philosophical elements. It has very little to do with "science" as most of us tend to understand it these days. That 5757 number? Yes, it's the beginning of "the world" in a sense... the conscious conceptual world of a society, of an element of civilization. Terms and definitions used in ancient texts and the religions that spring from them do not always have the same meaning as the same terms and definitions as commonly understood today. The fact that you or anyone else don't understand the workings of religion is not reason enough to dismiss it as foolhardy delusion because it doesn't fit your outlook.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I said that they define religion in a traditional sense. I'm an atheist, and I'm in that group.

Ok, see here's what I don't understand.  You have stated that there is incomplete knowledge.  We don't know EVERYTHING.  We don't know how the universe began, or how pre-bacteria life could have started/evolved, or any of those things.  There is incomplete evidence and proof, I think you would agree with that statement.

I'd turn your incredulity at people who choose to believe there is a God/Creator around on you.  How can you say to a 100% certainty there is no God/Creator?  Isn't that ignoring scientific evidence as well?  You're basically stating it's a fact there is no God/Creator based on incomplete evidence and knowledge.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I've never understood why it's ok for a Christian to claim they're sure that their God exists, but it's not ok for an atheist to be equally convinced of their beliefs. Present to me compelling evidence that a religion is valid, and I'll listen. The burden of proof in this conversation isn't on me.

I should clarify that I'm an atheist in the sense that I don't believe that one of the traditional gods this planet worships is real. I think it's entirely possible that there's something far bigger than we are, but I doubt we'll ever really learn what that is. I guess in this sense science and "religion" could intersect, but it's a moot point because I'm quite certain that nobody on this earth truly understands what's out there.

To me, the formation of life isn't the mystery. I think it's entirely possible that the right molecules randomly bumped into one another ages ago and set off an incredible chain of events. The real mystery is where the molecules came from. Most religions explain it with some variation of "well, because god made them", which is lazy because they don't explain who created their god.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I've never understood why it's ok for a Christian to claim they're sure that their God exists, but it's not ok for an atheist to be equally convinced of their beliefs. Present to me compelling evidence that a religion is valid, and I'll listen. The burden of proof in this conversation isn't on me.

Again, turn it around.  You are the one claiming Christians are the ones not being logical or scientific when you yourself state no proof/evidence to determine to the level of 100% certainty there is no god.  Both viewpoints are asserting something to a level of factual certainty, yet you claim only one side should have to prove it.

I should clarify that I'm an atheist in the sense that I don't believe that one of the traditional gods this planet worships is real.
I think it's entirely possible that there's something far bigger than we are, but I doubt we'll ever really learn what that is.

Then you are using the word incorrectly.  Agnostic would be a better description of this belief.

The real mystery is where the molecules came from. Most religions explain it with some variation of "well, because god made them", which is lazy because they don't explain who created their god.

The ultimate question being asked is essentially "how do you get SOMETHING from absolute NOTHING?"  Because if there was always something, then it has just always existed.  Some people term this "God" and give it all sorts of human characteristics.  Some people call this "the universe" and say it just started getting bigger.  It is beyond the realm of logic as we know it to say that something can just spontaneously come into existence for the total absence of existence.  Either way that would be defined as supernatural.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
> Again, turn it around.  You are the one claiming Christians are
> the ones not being logical or scientific when you yourself state no proof/evidence
> to determine to the level of 100% certainty there is no god.

I'm certain that 1+1 equals 2, because all evidence points toward that being the case, If someone claims that it 1+1 equals 3, especially when they use phrases like "evidence supports that 1+1=3" without presenting any of that evidence *nudge nudge*, the burden of proof is theirs.

> Then you are using the word incorrectly. Agnostic would be a better description of this belief.

I waver back and forth here. It's entirely possible that we're just manifestations of some kid's high school science experiment in another existence, but I'm quite certain that that Jesus dude who lived a couple thousand years ago was nothing more than an ordinary guy with delusions of grandeur. I'm an atheist when it comes to current world religions, but am agnostic when it comes to the possibility of there being a bigger thing that we'll never be capable of understanding.

> The ultimate question being asked is essentially
> "how do you get SOMETHING from absolute NOTHING?"  Because
> if there was always something, then it has just always existed.  Some
> people term this "God" and give it all sorts of human characteristics. 
> Some people call this "the universe" and say it just started getting
> bigger.  It is beyond the realm of logic as we know it to say that
> something can just spontaneously come into existence for the total absence
> of existence.  Either way that would be defined as supernatural.

But this brings us back to semantics, which is a boring argument. To bring this back to the beginning, you said that evidence points to a creator. Tell us about this evidence.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I'm certain that 1+1 equals 2, because all evidence points toward that being the case, If someone claims that it 1+1 equals 3, especially when they use phrases like "evidence supports that 1+1=3" without presenting any of that evidence *nudge nudge*, the burden of proof is theirs.

Again, that's a false analogy.  You analogy implies I am making a claim contrary to empirical observation and proof.  It's more like we're dealing with an equation like 1+1=x and we are arguing over what the X is because we don't know what base we are dealing with.  Is it 1+1 = 2 base 10? or 1+1=10 base 2?  So I reject that the burden is any more such on me than it is on you. 

I'd gladly talk about the evidence I think supports my claim if I thought for a second that I wouldn't be attacked, ridiculed, or told I'm a fool for believing it.  Most people here tend to be quite anti-religious because they view anyone who professes religious belief to be akin to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or the religious right.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I'd gladly talk about the evidence I think supports my claim if I thought for a second that I wouldn't be attacked, ridiculed, or told I'm a fool for believing it.

Same here.  In fact, I'd probably be called downright crazy. :P
lawrence Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I'd gladly talk about the evidence I think supports my claim if I thought for a second that I wouldn't be attacked, ridiculed, or told I'm a fool for believing it.

That sounds more like the argument of someone who lacks evidence than someone who has it. If you were afraid of being attacked, ridiculed, or told you were a fool for believing it, why did you post in the first place?

If you have evidence, share it. If you don't, say you don't. But it's kind of rude to tell people you know something and then not tell them what it is you know.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
What would be attacked isn't so much the evidence, but the conclusions drawn from the evidence, and I know exactly how vicious and derogatory some people here can be, so I chose to simply state what I believed (as the poll was asking) and leave it as that.  People that don't think there is evidence to support a God/Creator are free to believe that and I don't fault them for doing so.

If I thought for a moment that such a discussion with yourself or Josh or others would be rational, respectful or civilized, I'd gladly discuss it (and not with a view to "convincing" anyone), but I simply know that's not the case, so why waste my time?
lawrence Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Then I would suggest not making such absolute statements as "The evidence tends to support there being a God/Creator." If you've seen what you consider such evidence, fine, I accept that - it's a personal thing and your belief.

But that isn't what you said, and that's why I questioned it.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Now who's playing semantics.  It was MY reply with MY belief to a poll which ASKED such a thing.  By definition, all personal beliefs are absolute to those people who believe them.   You made a similar such "absolute statement" in saying that "all the evidence [you've] seen points to exactly the opposite".
lawrence Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Yes, all the evidence I've seen, hence my conclusion. Not all the evidence, period, as you claimed. You made it sound like there was some conclusion to be drawn by an observer other than yourself.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
I don't automatically respect a person's beliefs. Many beliefs don't deserve respect (e.g. That the DH is a good rule in baseball). What I do respect is the person.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
How can you create a poll of this nature, then tell people that dialogue about religion and beliefs isn't welcome?  You can't micromanage discussion like that.  It's pretty much inevitable in a topic like this and you should know that bringing up the topic on most message boards is pretty much downright inflammatory.
danced with Lazlo · 10 years, 10 months ago
I'M GOING TO BEAT YOU UP!!!
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
It is hard to judge from the indentations here but was that directed at me? If so it is a good thing you are adorable.
Jºnªthªn Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Nothing turns Gordon on like a properly indented thread....
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
You started the topic. Hence everything with no indentation is a reply to you.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
I just wasn't sure that there was no indentation.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
If she's going to beat you up, then you might end up being the one with the indentation.  *rimshot*
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
LOL IRL :)
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 10 years, 10 months ago
You can delete one of them if you like.
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
heh.  he deleted both :P
danced with Lazlo · 10 years, 10 months ago
As George Carlin says "Do you honestly expect me to believe there is a man, living in the clouds who watches where I put my hands?"

Um... no. And neither do I. This is exactly what I'm talking about... I have no problem with atheism. What I have a problem with is the mischaracterization of religion by self-proclaimed atheists. I am religious, and I don't believe in a man living in the clouds and I feel very insulted when anyone implies that I do... what's worse is that when I say that I don't, people argue with me! I mean seriously, what the hell?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
I just looked back on the Harris Poll and only 9% of Americans believe in an anthropomorphic god. I believe in a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Mamalissa! Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
I'm pretty sure that's an entréepomorphic god.

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
I can't complain. I'm getting my just deserts.
Bender · 10 years, 10 months ago
As I have stated before, dismissal of religion as a whole based on fallacious arguments and lack of knowlege of religion outside of the one you are exposed to most frequently is as ignorant as those who say, "Believe my way or TO HELL YOU GO."

You have every right to be an atheist.  I am not disputing that.  However, I am disputing the arrogant way you go about expressing your beliefs.  I am respectful of your right to believe what you wish.  Why do you insist on being disrespectful to the beliefs of others?  The only bullshit in this discussion are your ignorant, condescending claims.

You have no right to make such a statement until you can explain your opinion in the context of other faiths.  Some opinions are more valid that others, and that validity is based on knowledge of a broader view of a situation.  Right now, your argument is comparable to saying all people from Sweden have sex with cats because you met one Swede with a penchant for feline booty.

Most of the world's population does not adhere to this "bearded man in the clouds" view.

Can you explain why my faith's adherence to polyvalent logic is bullshit?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
He didn't say anything about a beard... that changes everything. :P
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Depends on what kind of beard.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Good point. I am of the opinion that God cannot have a goatee.
Jºnªthªn Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
But God is in everything, and I have a goatee, ergo...

And according to this you might want to leave your cat at home when you go Sweden...
Bender Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Holy crap.  I thought I was just making random stuff up.
Jºnªthªn Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
You have to be careful. That's how rumors (and sometimes religions) get started.

It was a Norwegian site, so I'd take it with a grain of salt.
Matt P · 10 years, 10 months ago
Neither is ever going to be proven. I choose to believe in the one that's more fun to believe in. One of the major points of most religions is that one can never fully understand God- so I just keep an open mind, try to be kind and not sin and all that jazz.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 10 months ago
Jazz music is the Dewil!
wild bill Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Of course what is and what constitutes a sin is totally dependent upon what you believe.. maybe my god doesn't believe that any action is sin-worthy. 
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord
wild bill Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
hmm.. if you had heard the chord that pleased the lord, would it be a secret anymore?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
If I'd heard it, it wouldn't be secret anymore... but if I just heard *about* it, then the Lord has no worries.
wild bill Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Ah, well all and good.  Was a bit worried, the Lord's followers these days seem a might twitchy.  Knowing that the secret chord was out of the closet might send them into a frenzy.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Wait... the secret chord is GAY???
wild bill Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
naturally.  all secret chords are gay since god is gay.  all evidence that i have seen has shown me that god is gay and i'd present that evidence but i'm afraid that i might get ridiculed.  in fact, god is so gay that my secret evidence is gay.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Well, he was right wasn't he?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
The Moody Blues searched for it.

Anyone here get that one?
Alan Mendelsohn Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I did.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
No fair, you don't count when it comes to that question.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
So there can be no objective right and wrong?

Ah, forget it, that's opening a can o' worms o' plenty.
wild bill Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Hmm..

i'm not sure if we do want to go into that argument, esp since i merely mentioned the concept of sin, which isn't exactly the same as right and wrong.  i feel that conflating the two is where you start getting into the can of worms.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Mmmm... yummy yummy worms...
Kris 'engaged' Bedient Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I subjectively declare that there is no such thing as objectivity because everyone processes things through their own brains and all brains are different. So there.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
All that means is that there is no human perception of pure objectivity, not that it doesn't exist.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
There is objective fact independent of human observation or belief or interpretation.  Most people thought the sun revolved around the earth until Galileo proved them wrong. 

So it is the same with right and wrong.  There is an objective moral right and wrong that is independent of human perception or belief.  Even if 100% of the people did not believe murder was wrong, it would still be wrong.
nate... Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
According to whom?

Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Fred Costello of Birmingham, Alabama.

Didn't you get the memo?
lawrence Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Even if 100% of the people did not believe murder was wrong, it would still be wrong.

No it wouldn't. There wouldn't be anyone to tell you it was wrong. (Never mind the fact that if 100% of the people did not believe murder was wrong, 100% of the people would end up murdered.)

In your example, you're still applying your own subjectivity to it - it's like asking "What's it like to be dead?" No living human can ever possibly know and explain it to other living humans. Similarly, you can't possibly know what it would be like to live in a society where 100% of the people approved of murder, because you don't. And if you lived in that society, you wouldn't know what it was like to think murder was wrong.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Again, you presuppose that right and wrong is based upon what other people tell you what is right and wrong.  That there is no objective, rational means by which to determine what is right and wrong, independent of what one or many BELIEVE to be right and wrong.

Morals and ethics start from the metaphysical.  Morals and ethics can only pertain to one class of beings, LIVING beings.  It is only those which are living organisms that face a constant alternative:  The issue of life or death.  Life, in and of itself is a process of self-sustaining, self-generated action.  The concept of "Life" is the only thing that makes a concept of "value" possible.  That which furthers life is "good", that which threatens it is "evil".  This  entirely independent of societal constructs of good and evil.  It is based solely on the nature of us as living beings.

Therefore, in my example, the act of murder is inherently immoral, irregardless of what society at large believes.

Man, as a species must be dictated by his nature.  That which dictates *what* he is.  There is no choice involved in what kind of entity we are.  The only standard by which we can measure "right" and "wrong" is the very nature of our lives as LIVING ORGANISMS. 

So, yes, there exists a right and wrong, a morality that is totally independent of human societal constructs regarding morality. So even if you come from a society that doesn't regard murder as wrong, it would still be morally wrong. 
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
So you're saying that rape is not only ethical, but good?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Don't be absurd.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Read his post before you call me absurd.

That which furthers life is "good", that which threatens it is "evil".

Rape furthers life by creating new life, and therefore by his definition, is "good". It doesn't matter that the girl doesn't consent, because the morality of furthering the species trumps all. Unless you'd like to revise your "absolute" definition, Starfox?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Yes, but it is not particularly productive to make a taunting single line statement like that. It doesn't make you look smarter, just more obnoxious. If you read my post below you'll see that I covered that in a larger commentary on social contract. What you do is not argument or education, it is ridicule. Make your whole point, don't just settle for making other people look dumb.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
It's not obnoxious to point out an obvious counter-argument. My whole point was made: any attempt to reduce good and evil to twelve words is absurd.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Why don't you read and consider what someone writes first before coming up with some flippant ass response based on a news story you read the day before.

It's what furthers the living organism's life, not what creates life in and of itself.  Rape is a violation of the individual, hardly what I would consider furthering the life of the individual.  I never said once that anything that "further[s] the life of the species trumps all".  YOU are the one that warped what I said into that.

The standard by which good and evil is determined by the nature of human life itself. 

Next time engage your fucking brain before you just pick out one line of what I wrote and warp it into some absurdity so you can ridicule that which you don't like. 

You don't debate sir, you attack, you ridicule, and you mock.  Grow the fuck up.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I only ridicule the ridiculous.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Thanks for proving my point. 
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
And your argument? Your rebuttal? Do you have one? Or are you afraid to share because you fear it will be ridiculed?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
What you're describing are the beginnings of social contract, which starts with the fundamental principle of propagation of the species. However, the finer points of right and wrong hinge on more complex set of assumptions and agreements, spoken or unspoken, between two or more people, but ultimately comes down to the fundamental principle laid down by Rabbi Hillel, what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor (The rest is commentary). Ethical standards of right and wrong are determined by what it is that we all agree that we want to be protected from and by who in a given society has the right to be counted within that "everyone." The example that Josh brings up below of rape, that is propagation of the species. However it is declared wrong in our religions... primarily because a woman is close to (but not exactly) property and violation of a man's property and messing with his progeny is something that the men wanted to be protected from. Later came the concept of a woman being a person in and of herself and having equal rights to her own body (the men certainly didn't want to be raped either). The principles of what is right and what is wrong follow a logical course, and I do believe that certain ethics are fundamental to humanity, in that they pre-exist our discovery or realization of them... but they are irrelevant until we come in contact with each other and hammer them out in the commentary.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
"However [rape] is declared wrong in our religions..."

Judges 21:10-24, Numbers 31:7-18, Deuteronomy 20:10-14, 22:28-29, 22:23-24, 21:10-14, Samuel 12:11-14, Judges 5:30, Exodus 21:7-11, Zechariah 14:1-2.

Morality can't be defined by religion in a rational society.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Josh, if you'd actually read what I wrote you'd realize that I WASN'T defining morality by religion but rather by social contract. I'm well aware that the bible contradicts itself, I've studied it quite a bit more than you have.

This is the problem with satisfying yourself with making the other look dumb... you end up making yourself look dumber.
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I know you are, but what am I?
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
A garbage man
Josh Woodward Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
D'oh!
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
I think we are saying the same thing in different ways.  I agree that there is basic level of morality/ethics that is fundamental to humanity because they are defined by the nature of humanity as living organisms.  Beyond that there are alot of things that could be considered moral or not moral which, in my opinion, do not necessarily form the basis for societal laws.  i.e. murder is wrong universally because it involves violating fundamental ethics.  Prostitution is not necessarily fundamentally wrong.  It may be, but I don't think it should form the basis for restrictions on human behavior (but that's starting to get outside the realm of the metaphysical discussion and getting more into the realm of political law).
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Well, we may or may not be saying the same thing. Personally, I think we are saying half the same thing and half not... also you're getting ahead of the argument. We're both starting off talking about fundamental ethics that come about as a logical progression from, basically, a Lockean state of nature, which become codified by a given society. That's what political law is fundamentally, and one might argue (*I* might argue) that it is no different from religious law... its just that the commentary tends to be a little different in this day and age when we separate things like religion and culture and politics and law etc. into neat categories of the sort that didn't exist certainly when my religion came about, and still weren't really developed when yours did either.

Where we lose each other is that you then choose to separate the political (which I assume you would consider the mundane) from the metaphysical (which I assume also that you associate with the Divine). I tend not to make that distinction. We may well both believe that the origins of morals and ethics are in some way "From God," but you and I have radically different conceptions of what God is. For you, I suspect, God is outside of the mundane, neatly separated from the realm of political law. This is convenient and quite necessary in a modern state where laws belong to the state and morality belongs to (fill in the blank... religion, conscience, metaphysical truth, what have you) and never the twain shall meet. Thing is, I belong to a legalistic religion where these separations are not so easily made. Where you separate the legal from the moral, I do not immediately make that distinction.

I'm not talking here about any aspect of the United States legal system, I'm talking about the sorts of laws that were laid down in ancient books before we started dividing the concept of society into anthropological subsections. I believe that these laws came about much in the way that I described above, as a progression from the individual rights of a Lockean state of nature, developed and codified into a theistic legal society, which is where the commentary comes in and hammers out those fine distinctions like prostitution, to use your example, based on what serves to most effectively advance the goals of the society. And where is God in all of this? Is God absent? No, I think that God is in this process... that this process is largely what God is... self-aware existence of humanity that allows these things to happen in the first place. That's where and what God is.
lawrence Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
No, I'm saying that you, by virtue of being human, are incapable of knowing what is objective. You're still applying your own filter, because you can't not. It's what humans do. We are biased.

So really, the concept of objective morality is irrelevant, since no human can understand or apply it. What we call 'objective morality' can always only be our interpretation of what 'objective morality' is. But that doesn't make it objective or absolute.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
There is but it goes by what I say and nobody else sees that that is right. I don't get you people.
Starfox Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Well when you die and rise from the grave, then that might give a little more credibility to what you're saying.  :-)   *poke*  (j/k and smilies added for the humor impaired). 
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Die? "Some artists want to achieve immorality through their work. I want to achieve mine by not dying. " - Woody Allen.
danced with Lazlo Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
Bender Back · 10 years, 9 months ago
Having a concept of right and wrong doesn't mean you have to have a concept of sin.
Dave Milligan · 9 years, 3 months ago
For the record, I was ASKED to delete my opinion. I notice that others can aggresivly defend thier opinions which I wholeheartedly agree with, but a declaration of my lack of faith is so offensive and wrong I must delete it? I regret now deleting my entry, as I feel I had nothin gto be asham
Bender Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
The thread had been dead and forgotten for months.  Why revive it?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
That's what they said about Jesus.
Josh Woodward Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
I love you, Gordon. :D
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
Sorry Josh; you are a married man. We can't be more than just friends.
Jºnªthªn Back · 9 years, 3 months ago
Awesome!

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