/ Religion and ET

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Nov 2013
Oh no!!! Oh yes.

According to this week's New Scientist, 'if life is common in the universe, we will have found signs of it by the middle of the next decade.'

Hypothetical bullsh*t I know, but it does make you wonder where finding signs of life - any sort, not just intelligent - outside our solar system will leave religions that believe in a personal, human-centred God?
Wiley Coyote - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
They'll just re-group and carry on as they have ever since it was discovered that the sun did not go round the earth and every other discovery that's moved us further and further away from the centre of the universe
ThunderCat - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I can picture the Raelians prancing around in a circle doing the "nur nur na nur nur - I told you so" dance
Timmd on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: It'd probably just be reinterpreted as being the unique message from God to the human race, with the message to other beings put in the same terms?

Religious faith survives all kinds of challenges, for better or for worse...
Tim Chappell - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:


Can't see why it would be a problem to any such religions. If we find life elsewhere in the cosmos I will be amazed, fascinated, awestruck, curious... but worried about my religious beliefs? No, don't see why that would follow.
johnj on 10 Nov 2013 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

That's all that creation stuff in Genesis is about anyway, genetic experimentation to create a new race, they've been writing about it for millennia, I think anyone viewing these texts with a scientific viewpoint and open mind can see that anyway.
SI - profile removed on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Wouldn't make much difference to me, I think aliens and gods are the same thing anyway.

My religion is a unique, cherry picked combination of the few hazy details I know about buddism and paganism, infulenced rather heavily with a comprehensive understanding of Terry Pratchettism. Aliens are fine.
Bulls Crack - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

They will presumably just redefine boundaries and add a few more verses the 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' The advantages of not having to be specific or true!
Tim Chappell - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Well, OK, be specific and true for me, then.

What's supposed to be the problem? Do you actually have any idea?
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: I would have thought there was a problem, yes. If man is in God's image - I think that's part of the deal, isn't it? - and some life forms, conceivably more intelligent than us, turn out to have 5 legs or something, then ???
Tim Chappell - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

So God can only have one image?
mark s - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: religious people will not give a feck about any new proof that comes to light about how wrong they are,they have spent hundreds of years ignoring science.
leave them to it i say,they are the ones wasting their life worrying about a god who doesnt exist
MG - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: Were there floods elsewhere? Any aliens on the (space?) ark?
Tim Chappell - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell) Were there floods elsewhere? Any aliens on the (space?) ark?


Not with you at all here. What on earth are you on about?
MG - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: Not sure it was on earth!
Tim Chappell - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

I give up...
Coel Hellier - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> According to this week's New Scientist, 'if life is common in the universe, we will have found
> signs of it by the middle of the next decade.'

The more interesting question is how does New Scientist consider that this will be done? Using JWST to detect biomarkers in atmospheres of transiting exoplanets perhaps?
Bulls Crack - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
>
> Well, OK, be specific and true for me, then.
>
> What's supposed to be the problem? Do you actually have any idea?

Problem? I do see problem with religion continually redefining its boundaries to accommodate what we progressively learn about our universe and reality.
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: With the power of prayer, I think.
Also the Transiting Exoplanet survey satellite, James Webb Space Telescope and 'proposed starshade mission...'
Dave Kerr - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
>
> Hypothetical bullsh*t I know, but it does make you wonder where finding signs of life - any sort, not just intelligent - outside our solar system will leave religions that believe in a personal, human-centred God?

This is a major sub-plot in Carl Sagan's 'Contact'
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

I think the problem is that they can conceive of no idea of god other than the one convenient for their argument. In this case, the argument is that god in relationship with humans must involve a perfect download of all information about the universe in advance of the discoveries to be made by science or of people's ability to understand them (e.g how does someone understand the concept of another country on the other side of a round globe when they've never been outside of their village?!) It's straw men for thickos to cushion their prejudices.
MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
>
> I think the problem is that they can conceive of no idea of god other than the one convenient for their argument.

Whereas you can conceive of types of god to fit any new information that might arise. How clever you are.
1poundSOCKS - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: I once asked a muslim friend about this, when I was reading about one of the Mars explorer missions. He said any evidence would be a mistake or lie, or something. Basically he wouldn't accept the evidence, but that was possibly just his personal take on it.
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Is this a private conversation between the two of you, which is fine if it is, or can us thickos join in?
Sir Chasm - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Why don't you clear up any confusion and tell us what god is?
1poundSOCKS - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack: Doesn't science continually redefine it's boundaries to accommodate any new evidence?
ring ouzel on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Religions are very adaptable Rob, they will either adapt or die. It's a sort of survival of the fittest.
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

That's ur choice, not mine!
dissonance - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> It's straw men for thickos to cushion their prejudices.

Rather ironic considering you were busy constructing a straw village in the previous few sentences.
If we did find alien life, what would you expect gods actions to be?
Would they have a Jesus type character on each world or would it be down to the humans to pass the good news?
felt - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> Would they have a Jesus type character on each world

It would be just like some hippy-style parade of World Wrestling Federation dudes.
ads.ukclimbing.com
cb294 - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to ring ouzel:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) Religions are very adaptable Rob, they will either adapt or die. It's a sort of survival of the fittest.

Post of the month!

CB
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> In this case, the argument is that god in relationship with humans must involve a perfect download of
> all information about the universe in advance of the discoveries to be made by science or of people's
> ability to understand them

I don't think that that's the argument being made at all. The argument comes from the traditional idea that God had an intimate and personal relationship with humans, and that in some way the whole point of creation is the human race.

How is that affected if there are billions of similar life-forms strewn around universe? Well, of course you can simply suggest that God has an intimate and personal relationship with all of those races also (and has billions of sons each of whom he sent to save a planet); it just seems a bit less intimate and personal if so.
felt - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> [...]
> it just seems a bit less intimate and personal if so.

That might not be a bad thing -- it has got just a little bit intense what with all this killing and so on; you know, have a bit of a breather for a while, some down time, maybe even start seeing someone else.
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: I'm glad somebody got the point, shame it was the usual suspect! - but you would have thought it worthy of a moment's thought, wouldn't you? Apparently not. To even consider the question is to be branded a 'thicko'. Hmm.
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I don't think that that's the argument being made at all. The argument comes from the traditional idea that God had an intimate and personal relationship with humans, and that in some way the whole point of creation is the human race.

The idea for which comes from the fact that the relationship with that god is written and discussed from the point of view of humans. Of course, like a few on here, you could, like that of a creationist, take the excruciatingly fundamentalist/literalist position invoking any absence of discussion as utterly necessary exclusivity of god for humanity, but why take the thicko creationist route? For me the test is the other way around. If there wasn't 1 or more religions within a similarly civilised alien species involving a personal idea of god imbued with the concept of a sacrificial type of love, then it'd be a far greater test of faith for me then any of the usual mundane questions from militant (aka cuddly new born lamb) atheists pose.
Dave Garnett - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to shaun l:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) Wouldn't make much difference to me, I think aliens and gods are the same thing anyway.
>

I'd settle for being in an Iain M Banks universe with Special Circumstances nudging us in the right direction.
moac - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
To me the word God can be substituted by the word Nature more easily. If one thinks of God as being nature I can live with that. Over the years I've asked a few Christians what they think God is, most responses were God isn't a man but a force or spirit which is neither explainable fully or understandable by people. The universe is part of nature and follows it's laws. What we know of the universe and potential for life on other planets, God can't just be looking after humans. Nature is far bigger than us, and perhaps if there is a God, God has to be explained in terms of the universe or it becomes too local to have meaning. Like a big fish in a small pond, if you get my drift.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to moac:

> To me the word God can be substituted by the word Nature more easily.

What's wrong with just using the word "nature" if you mean "nature"?
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

There is a subtle distinction - albeit subtle - that Spinoza made (though of course he was branded as an atheist by the Dutch church). Einstein endorsed this and wrote about it regularly and clearly at different stages of his life, and mentioned Spinoza several times as being close to his views. Can be looked up quite easily.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> There is a subtle distinction - albeit subtle - that Spinoza made

What is this subtle distinction?

> Einstein endorsed this and wrote about it regularly and clearly at different stages of his life, ...

Hmm, one thing for sure is that any writings making this "subtle distinction" are not "clear".
moac - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
It's when I see or hear the word God.
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> What's wrong with just using the word "nature" if you mean "nature"?

To distinguish between:
1) nature as a human idol, where reality is stripped of mystery, told what it is according to the machinations of men, where laws are worshipped as objectively real (more than mere personal reflections) and necessary to make things happen
2) nature as oblique, like the concept of God, not subordinate, as per Einstein and Spinoza, in which laws are working reflections of a mysterious reality in which it is considered somewhat miraculous that there *is* something that we *can* probe and to a limited extent *fathom*
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Oops, didn't see your response.
winhill - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> To distinguish between:
> 1) nature as a human idol, where reality is stripped of mystery, told what it is according to the machinations of men, where laws are worshipped as objectively real (more than mere personal reflections) and necessary to make things happen

Are you channelling John Redhead again?
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

I see you are trying to validate my remark ("Hmm, one thing for sure is that any writings making this "subtle distinction" are not "clear".")!

Anyhow, isn't this idea of somewhere "... where laws are worshipped ... " and " nature [being] told what it is ..." just a strawman?
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> [...]
>
> What is this subtle distinction?
>
> [...]
>
> Hmm, one thing for sure is that any writings making this "subtle distinction" are not "clear".

We've done this all before. (Can't repeat it now because I'm v busy preparing a talk to the Rucksack Club in Stockport tomorrow night.)


Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Anyhow, isn't this idea of somewhere "... where laws are worshipped ... " and " nature [being] told what it is ..." just a strawman?

Not unless your middle name is "strawman"!
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> We've done this all before.

Yep, and the end result was that Einstein didn't believe in any "god" that was distinguished, however subtly, from "nature", nor in anything with any god-like properties.
moac - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
What I can't fathom is the religious belief that God has some sort of cognition in that whatever God is it responds to circumstances. That's where I think the word substitution "nature" fits better. Nature if you like responds to circumstances but in a non cognitive way. Black Holes, supernovas, white dwarves happen through laws of nature, they happen because they follow a natural law about physical reality. A religious person who believes in God would argue that God set these rules up, but I don't believe that, and that's why, when speaking to Christians when they use the word God, I think the word nature helps me to understand their meaning.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to moac:

> A religious person who believes in God would argue that God set these rules up, but I don't believe
> that, and that's why, when speaking to Christians when they use the word God, I think the word nature
> helps me to understand their meaning.

Shouldn't that be "helps me to mis-understand their meaning"? Afterall, if they are meaning something different from your interpretation of them, then you are misunderstanding.
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yep, and the end result was that Einstein didn't believe in any "god" that was distinguished, however subtly, from "nature", nor in anything with any god-like properties.

Your inability to see the difference in Einstein's discussion of nature, and the purpose of the orientation and language he used is because of your insistence to read and compare his view to your own through the lens of Coel, thus stripping any differences to do so.
SI - profile removed on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to moac:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> To me the word God can be substituted by the word Nature more easily. If one thinks of God as being nature I can live with that. Over the years I've asked a few Christians what they think God is, most responses were God isn't a man but a force or spirit which is neither explainable fully or understandable by people. The universe is part of nature and follows it's laws. What we know of the universe and potential for life on other planets, God can't just be looking after humans. Nature is far bigger than us, and perhaps if there is a God, God has to be explained in terms of the universe or it becomes too local to have meaning. Like a big fish in a small pond, if you get my drift.

Great post

MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> Your inability to see the difference in Einstein's discussion of nature, and the purpose of the orientation and language he used is because of your insistence to read and compare his view to your own through the lens of Jimbo, thus stripping any differences to do so.

Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Your inability to see the difference in Einstein's discussion of nature, and the purpose of the
> orientation and language he used is because of your insistence to read and compare his view to
> your own through the lens of Coel, thus stripping any differences to do so.

Similarly, I'd assert that your reading such things into Einstein is a result of you reading him through your own lens and wishful thinking.

Where does he "clearly" spell out the differences between a "god = nature" and simply "nature"? Where is it clear that he ascribes god-like properties to nature?
Bulls Crack - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to moac:

I still think that's just an example of redefining religious boundaries without having to explain or justify it in any meanigful way.
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

Target missed. I do see the difference in his explicitly pantheistic position from mine as a Christian, who does believe in a personal god. In contrast, Coel does not make an attempt to understand what Einstein was trying to say in his talk of pantheism and a non personal god, rather resorting to denial of any significance in the language Einstein used!
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Similarly, I'd assert that your reading such things into Einstein is a result of you reading him through your own lens and wishful thinking.

Such as?

> Where does he "clearly" spell out the differences between a "god = nature" and simply "nature"? Where is it clear that he ascribes god-like properties to nature?

Did I say he did? No, I didn't and I haven't!
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> In contrast, Coel does not make an attempt to understand what Einstein was trying to say in his talk
> of pantheism and a non personal god, rather resorting to denial of any significance in the language Einstein used!

Not true, I've made a serious and concerted attempt to see the difference between Einstein's supposed "pantheism and non-personal god" and atheism. But I haven't succeeded, and can't see any substantial difference. Can anyone point out this difference clearly and straightforwardly?
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

>> Where is it clear that he ascribes god-like properties to nature?

> Did I say he did? No, I didn't and I haven't!

Well, if he doesn't ascribe god-like properties to nature, then in what substantive way is it different from atheism?
MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> Target missed. I do see the difference in his explicitly pantheistic position

Where is he explicitly pantheistic? Sounds to me like that is coming though you "lens".
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Really where? I've only seen evidence of you arguing against those who do believe, like Gordon, that Einstein didn't employ the language for the sake of obfuscation and confusion.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

(As I say, haven't got time to stop, but) he insists that he is an agnostic and not an atheist, and refers a few times (not frequently) to 'God', so he clearly means something distinct from 'nature' - as Coel says, why use another word? His position is quite well summarised here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Einstein

Yes, his position is rather minimal (he totally rejects the notion of a Xtian, interventionist God). I suspect that he would have agreed with Wittgenstein's famous dictum (re. God and similar matters) 'What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.)
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

He explicitly refers to the word with reference to God and specifically aligns himself with Spinoza, who was the philosophical father of pantheism, e.g:
Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order... This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as "pantheistic" (Spinoza).
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well, if he doesn't ascribe god-like properties to nature, then in what substantive way is it different from atheism?

It's for you to account for the language he used by giving a reasoned and evidenced case, not to set up one particular test of what he doesn't appear to do so as to dismiss all significance if the language he used.
Tim Chappell - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
>
> I think the problem is that they can conceive of no idea of god other than the one convenient for their argument. In this case, the argument is that god in relationship with humans must involve a perfect download of all information about the universe in advance of the discoveries to be made by science or of people's ability to understand them (e.g how does someone understand the concept of another country on the other side of a round globe when they've never been outside of their village?!) It's straw men for thickos to cushion their prejudices.


Hmm. You may be right, Jimbo.

If you are right, that confirms my initial impression. Which was that this thread is all about heads-you-win-tails-you-lose for the theist.

If I update the details of my theism where necessary to make sense of new knowledge--as any rational theist clearly will--then I'm cheating. Though none of the usual-suspect God-bashers on this thread seems in the least bit clear about WHY this is cheating. So far as I can see, they just assume that it must be, even if they can't say why.

Whereas if I don't update, I'm a fish-in-a-barrel fundamentalist.

If that's what's going on, then I don't really see much point in my engaging, beyond making the point I've just made.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> he insists that he is an agnostic and not an atheist, ...

First, one can be both of those. Second, he did use the label "atheist" about himself sometimes (as well as "agnostic"). Third, saying "not an atheist" can mean according to the Christian's false definition of "atheist" is implying certainty about non-existence.

> to 'God', so he clearly means something distinct from 'nature' - as Coel says, why use another word?

Reasons can be (1) as a metaphor, and (2) to avoid associating Jews with atheism at times when Jews were under great peril in Europe and elsewhere, and when he was living in a highly Christian country.

Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Really where? I've only seen evidence of you arguing against those ...

One can think about things other than while posting on here!
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> specifically aligns himself with Spinoza, who was the philosophical father of pantheism ...

OK, but what, specifically, do pantheists believe about the universe that atheists don't?
Rob Exile Ward on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: You're being simplistic. Let me try and explain the motive behind the OP:

1) My understanding is that Christianity (let's leave other religions out of it) necessarily entails a certain set of beliefs, as encapsulated in the creed (Nicene?) If you don't believe those, you may be religious, but you're not really christian.

2) A key theme, a distinguishing feature of Christianity, constantly re-iterated in the creed, in the Bible, in prayers and all the rest is that God has a very special relationship with humanity, to the extent that a third of him/her/it IS in fact human. This isn't fundamentalism; it's basic C of E stuff.

3) If we find that the universe is teeming with other life forms, that may be more intelligent/self conscious/even 'soulful' than ourselves, but bearing no imaginable resemblance to our human form, what relationship would God have with those ('God the father, God the son, God the holy ghost'..)

4) Now your solution to this conundrum may well be to say 'unknowable', 'ineffable' etc but it's very hard to see how such discoveries could be reconciled with any conceivable flavour of Christianity unless it has been so redefined as to be meaningless.
MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Fair enough.
Tim Chappell - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:


I think any father of more than one child is aware of the possibility of having a very special relationship with more than one other being, or type of being.

If there's a problem here, you really haven't articulated it. You've just demonstrated that theism has the potential to outstrip your imagination. But that's no surprise at all. If theism is true it will outstrip anybody's imagination.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

What is your translation of the word "monogenes", as in the Christian usage of Jesus being the "only begotten" son?

If there were N other sufficiently human-like beings in the universe, would the trinity change from "father, son and holy ghost" to an N-multiplicity of "father, N sons, and N holy ghosts"?
Tim Chappell - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The sense in which, as it says in Acts (quoting a Greek poet, apparently), that "we are all God's children", is quite different from the sense in which Jesus is described in NT theology as "the only-begotten son of God".

It was the former sense I had in mind in my last post.

So what would change would simply be the scope of the "all" and the "we" in "we are all God's children".
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Let me turn the question to one which is more straightforward (and not question begging as to the nuances of different people of a pantheistic bent):

What do you think Einstein is getting at with his talk of "superior mind", "pantheism", the concept articulated above of society's self revelation, and "god"?
Jimbo W on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Don't you mean heads you lose tails you lose. Yes, I think that very much is the coin that's been handed out here.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> What do you think Einstein is getting at with his talk of "superior mind", "pantheism", the concept
> articulated above of society's self revelation, and "god"?

I think that they are all metaphors. He doesn't actually think that the universe is a "mind", that it is self-aware and thinking. What he means is that we can only partially figure out the laws of physics, yet they do fit together in a coherent way that we (so far) can only partially grasp. He uses the metaphorical language for that ultimate nature of the universe.

stp - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Religion evolves over time. Old Testament beliefs were polytheistic and the current God was a war God - hence all the killings in the Bible and God's quote: "For I am a jealous God" implying other Gods.

Over time God became a generalist deity that could do everything thus the other Gods were dropped.

Today we see the ideas are changing still more. Some people comparing God to nature or a natural force rather than a man like figure he was described earlier.

Most of Christianity adapted to Darwin's theory of evolution which debunked a big part of that religion.

Some Christians (in Holland) have already dropped the concept of God altogether saying that its taking things too far for most people.

So the course of Christianity: Polytheism > Monotheism > Atheism

By the time aliens are discovered we'll probably be in that final stage anyway.
stp - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> What do you think Einstein is getting at with his talk of "superior mind", "pantheism", the concept articulated above of society's self revelation, and "god"?

In Einstein's own words:

"I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."

"The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive."

Coel Hellier - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to stp:

> In Einstein's own words: "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, ...".

Yes, and Spinoza said similar, such as "neither intellect nor will appertain to God’s nature". So if this "God" does not have intellect, nor will, nor purpose, nor self-awareness, then in what way is it a "god"?

I often ask that about pantheism (I've done so a couple of times up-thread), yet never get a straightforward answer. Thus "pantheism" seems to me just an any-excuse-to-avoid-the-word-"atheism" word.

While on the subject of Einstein quotes:

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but yet quite primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. [...] For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."

Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to stp:

> In Einstein's own words:
> "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism."
> "The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive."

And your point being?
Sir Chasm - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Perhaps his point is to suggest that Einstein didn't believe in god, so vague handwavey "look, look, Einstein believed in god and he was really clever" isn't much of a call to authority.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) Perhaps his point is to suggest that Einstein didn't believe in god, so vague handwavey "look, look, Einstein believed in god and he was really clever" isn't much of a call to authority.

I must have missed the part where somebody did that.. ..why is precisely the point, stp seems to be answering with great vigour and energy a vapourous strawman assertion that no one here has made.
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Please just take the trouble to read what Einstein said. He called himself an agnostic, and insisted that he was not an atheist. The classic childish response to this, by those who are uncomfortable with it, is 'Einstein didn't really mean what he said.'
Sir Chasm - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Please take the time to read that my post was a suggestion as to what stp meant. Nonetheless, if Einstein was an agnostic he still wouldn't believe in god.
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:



Leaving aside the rather futile was-he-wasn't-he stuff about Einstein, I think we could reasonably point out that there are plenty of distinguished scientists around who are not just not atheists, but actually theists. Polkinghorne, Conway-Morris, and Stannard, for instance. Funny how their names never seem to pop up on here.
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
Polkinghorne, Conway-Morris, and Stannard, for instance. Funny how their names never seem to pop up on here.

Of course there are some - there are probably some who believe the moon is made of green cheese too. The point is that proportionally many fewer scientists believe in god than the general population
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
> Polkinghorne, Conway-Morris, and Stannard, for instance. Funny how their names never seem to pop up on here.
>
> Of course there are some - there are probably some who believe the moon is made of green cheese too.

I'd hazard a guess that there are none.
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: As I assume you understood, that was a metaphor for "any number of other absurd beliefs"
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

Yes. And I believe it is a serious mistake to lump them together as being a) of the same kind b) equally absurd.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Please just take the trouble to read what Einstein said.

I, for one, have done.

> He called himself an agnostic, ...

Yes, true. And one can be both an agnostic and an atheist. Nearly all atheists are agnostics!

> ... and insisted that he was not an atheist.

No, that's not so.

> The classic childish response to this, by those who are uncomfortable with it, is 'Einstein didn't really mean what he said.'

The classic response from you is just to make assertions about things yet never back them up with substance. If Einstein "clearly" believed in pantheism in a way that is incompatible with atheism, then what are the properties of this pantheistic "god" that make it incompatible with atheism?

ads.ukclimbing.com
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> I think we could reasonably point out that there are plenty of distinguished scientists around
> who are not just not atheists, but actually theists. Polkinghorne, Conway-Morris, and Stannard, for instance.
> Funny how their names never seem to pop up on here.

You are welcome to bring their names into it as appropriate. What does it show? That scientists are human and that like other humans they are prone to wishful-thinking beliefs. Another one you might add in is Francis Collins of Argument-from-a-Frozen-Waterfall fame.
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Surely what the man said is 'substance'?

This is straight from Wikipedia, (but I have both Isaacson and Janner's books too).

"In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views." … “[T]he fanatical atheists...are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional 'opium of the people'—cannot bear the music of the spheres." Although he did not believe in a personal God, he indicated that he would never seek to combat such belief because "such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook."

I can't see what there is to argue about really, and have nothing more to add. Can't see the point. And yes, work calls, and no, I'd rather not spend my birthday bickering with the ill-tempered.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> Surely what the man said is 'substance'?
>
> This is straight from Wikipedia, (but I have both Isaacson and Janner's books too).
>
> "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views." … “[T]he fanatical atheists...are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional 'opium of the people'—cannot bear the music of the spheres." Although he did not believe in a personal God, he indicated that he would never seek to combat such belief because "such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook."
>
> I can't see what there is to argue about really, and have nothing more to add. Can't see the point. And yes, work calls, and no, I'd rather not spend my birthday bickering with the ill-tempered.

Gordon, you're absolutely right, but perhaps resist the temptation to start offering quotes in an impending quote war with Coel.. ..you can only get a true sense of Einstein's convictions in reading him, and in reading the good biographies written about him, as you have done, but the person who wants to use Einstein quotes as a reference tool for rhetorical and polemical purposes will always be able to produce another answer.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Surely what the man said is 'substance'?

Yep.

> "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize,
> there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me
> for the support of such views."

As I've told you before, that quote arose 13 years after Einstein's death, in the autobiography of a Catholic activist, decorated by the Pope, who was using the quote to advance his religion. He claimed that Einstein had said it at a dinner party many years earlier, but considering that Einstein could not comment on whether he had actually said that (having died 13 years earlier), I for one do not trust it.

Christians have a track record of making up such quotes about Einstein. For example, they made up a quote of Einstein saying:

"Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."

This "quote" was broadcast nationally by the Catholic Fulton John Sheen, later Archbishop of Newport. Then, in 1950 Rev. Cornelius Greenway of Brooklyn asked Einstein to write out the statement in his own hand. Einstein replied (letter, 14th Nov 1950).

"I am, however, a little embarrassed. The wording of the statement you have quoted is not my own. Shortly after Hitler came to power in Germany I had an oral conversation with a newspaper man about these matters. Since then my remarks have been elaborated and exaggerated nearly beyond recognition. I cannot in good conscience write down the statement you sent me as my own. The matter is all the more embarrassing to me because I, like yourself, I am predominantly critical concerning the activities, and especially the political activities, through history of the official clergy. Thus, my former statement, even if reduced to my actual words (which I do not remember in detail) gives a wrong impression of my general attitude"

> This is straight from Wikipedia

Wiki is always a good start on such things, but come on, it's only a start. You try to give the impression that you're the one who knows about Einstein's views of this, so one would expect you to know about the issues with the quotes you're using -- especially when I've told you this before.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

See! Told you so.. ...here we go!
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: So you are quite happy for fraudulant quotes to be used but unhappy when they are challenged!?
Gordon Stainforth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Agreed. I've got a large collection of Einstein's writings, plus Isaacsons and Janner's books. Sometimes I wonder why Einstein or Isaacson or Janner bothered to put pen to paper on these issues.

Now, I have to leave, (en route to Derby, Sheffield. Stockport) and will no doubt be criticised for that too.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> “[T]he fanatical atheists...are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. ..."

Yep, and here he does not say that he is not an atheist, he is criticising ***fanatical*** atheists. Lots of atheists criticise other atheists! I can find you lots of atheists today who would criticise Dawkins in exactly the same way, that does not mean they are not atheists.

A similar quote is this: "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervour is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth."

Here, again, he does not say that he is not an atheist, he is saying that he does "not share the crusading spirit of the **professional** atheist whose fervour ...".

Thus, overall Einstein seems to be an atheist, but one with very conciliatory attitudes towards religion, and not sharing the "crusading spirit" of the Dawkins-style atheists.

If this is the best you can do in support of the claim that he "insisted that he was not an atheist", then it's not very good. And still no-one has presented any clear-cut belief about a "pantheistic" universe that clearly distinguishes it from atheism.

> I can't see what there is to argue about really, and have nothing more to add. Can't see the point.

The point would be to try to go beyond your rather superficial reading of these things.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Gordon, you're absolutely right ...

No, he's absolutely wrong, and is making a very superficial reading of such things through the distortion of his own lens.

> ... and in reading the good biographies written about him

Of course these biographies often have an agenda. Max Jammer in particular, who is a religious Jew trying to reconcile Einstein with Judaism, and a rather literal version of Judaism. For example, in his Chapter 3 he tries to reconcile the age of the Earth with a *literal* reading of the timescale of Genesis by appealing to Einstein's relativity and relativistic time dilation! (rolls eyes!) His agenda is blatant.

> the person who wants to use Einstein quotes as a reference tool for rhetorical and polemical purposes ....

Which is exactly that Gordon is doing, though rather ineptly.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Sometimes I wonder why Einstein or Isaacson or Janner bothered to put pen to paper on these issues.

If by "Janner" you mean Max Jammer then his reason for doing so is entirely clear -- see previous post -- it is to try to reconcile Einstein with Jammer's own version of Judaism. It is very much an agenda-driven book.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) So you are quite happy for fraudulant quotes to be used but unhappy when they are challenged!?

You really are being a polemicists fool. Can you not see the polemicist at work here... ...tarring all Christians with a brush to create a crucial doubt in favour of the polemicists cause! Let Einstein speak for himself.. ..look above, that is all I or Gordon are proposing; only one overt agenda is being pursued here, and it is not that of the Christian or theist.
Sir Chasm - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: How is your reliance on made-up quotes allowing Einstein to speak for himself?
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
Let Einstein speak for himself..

Well if Coel is correct that is exactly what you are not doing. Why are the religous always so dishonest?
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Let Einstein speak for himself.. ..look above

Exactly, I agree entirely. And Einstein quite explicitly states that he does not think of "nature" as having a "will", nor any "intelligence" or "purpose" or "goal" or awareness. He explicitly says that morals are a human affair, nothing to do with gods. He explicitly rejects the notion of life after death. He rejects any notion of "purpose" beyond the purposes of mankind. He rejects any supernatural souls, and adopts materialism and determinism. [I can supply quotes for all of these on request.]

All of the above is atheism. What belief did he actually hold that is incompatible with atheism? No-one has yet pointed to one.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) How is your reliance on made-up quotes allowing Einstein to speak for himself?

Which reliance on what made up quotes!!! There is no such made up quotes having been used by myself or Gordon, only one used by Coel for overt polemical purposes, which is precisely the point!
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
that is all I or Gordon are proposing; only one overt agenda is being pursued here, and it is not that of the Christian or theist.

Even that is not correct. Gordon brought up Einstein in attempt to support his (bizarre and I think bascially religous) attempt to find a disinction between "nature" and "Nature"
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
> that is all I or Gordon are proposing; only one overt agenda is being pursued here, and it is not that of the Christian or theist.
>
> Even that is not correct. Gordon brought up Einstein in attempt to support his (bizarre and I think bascially religous) attempt to find a disinction between "nature" and "Nature"

"his attempt" ROFLMAO!!! It's Einstein's attempt, not Gordon's! He is the one who has aligned himself with that view of reality! How easily you are swung under the sway of Coelian polemic and wishful thinking!
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Which reliance on what made up quotes!!! There is no such made up quotes having been used by myself or Gordon, ...

So you think that a "quote" that appears 13 years after Einstein's death in a book with an agenda written by a Catholic activist is reliable enough to use?
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

>> support his (bizarre and I think bascially religous) attempt to find a disinction between "nature" and "Nature"

> It's Einstein's attempt, not Gordon's! He is the one who has aligned himself with that view of reality!

So what is this "view of reality" that distinguishes between "nature" and "Nature"? I honestly have tried to understand it, but still have no idea what is intended by it.
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:


Whatever Einstein may or may not have believed, it doesn't, after all, prove anything one way or the other. No doubt this would already have been loudly insisted upon, had Einstein been obviously a theist.

What Einstein clearly did have was a sense of reverence and mystery. We could certainly do with more of that, and less of the pointless macho I-believe-in-even-less-than-you-do reductionist willy-waving that often makes UKC such a weariness to the spirit.
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
>
> Whatever Einstein may or may not have believed, it doesn't, after all, prove anything one way or the other.

Agree - it is entirely irrelevant really.


> What Einstein clearly did have was a sense of ... mystery.

Like I suspect most people, certainly on this thread.

We could certainly do with more of that, and less of the pointless macho I-believe-in-even-less-than-you-do reductionist willy-waving

And you spoil it by childish comments like that... After all, you have such a closed mind attitude to believing the moon is made of green cheese, I assume. You could believe even more if you believed that.
winhill - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to stp)
>
> Thus "pantheism" seems to me just an any-excuse-to-avoid-the-word-"atheism" word.

Yes, it's no surprise when historical fgures, experts in one field are not outside social norms on others, Marx and Einstein, for example, not brilliant in personal relationships.

As people try to re-define God there comes a moment where you ask why label it God?
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
> Yes, it's no surprise when historical fgures, experts in one field are not outside social norms on others, Marx and Einstein, for example, not brilliant in personal relationships.
>
> As people try to re-define God there comes a moment where you ask why label it God?

What r u on about?
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Older testament god> New testament god > Spinoza type thing > Spinoza type thing taking account of aliens. Quite a difference. Why not just give up on the idea and accept it is just the universe.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

You can't be serious with that pop pseudoscientific atheistic apologetic nonsense! Not only is such a narrative more fiction than necessary scientific fact, but it's also debatable that we have fewer gods at all or certainly more of the equivalent of Old Testament idols growing in number and idolaters all about us!
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward, Coel, MG et al:

Go and dose yourselves up on some John Tavener, a fellow countryman, musician and composer who has just sadly died today following a stroke. Much more likely to find out what Einstein was on about than through your own fancies! John was on start the week only yesterday along with Jeanette winterson and a guy talking about George Herbert, so if you can't find anything to enjoy on youtube, then try listen again to start the week.
wintertree - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> Oh no!!! Oh yes.
>
> According to this week's New Scientist, 'if life is common in the universe, we will have found signs of it by the middle of the next decade.'
>
> Hypothetical bullsh*t I know, but it does make you wonder where finding signs of life - any sort, not just intelligent - outside our solar system will leave religions that believe in a personal, human-centred God?

1) I wouldn't call it bullish*t at all. The looming prospect of detecting free oxygen on an alien planet is one of the most exciting things about the next 15 years of astronomy. in fact it's about the only exciting thing to me. Dark matter and dark energy, now there's a whiff of bullturd.

2) That's just a sign of plant-like life and is no indication of intelligent life

3) It won't make a difference to anybody's belief in invisible sky people any more than all the other rational evidence base they continue to ignore as an act of their faith.
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward, Coel, MG et al)
>
> Go and dose yourselves up on some John Tavener, a fellow countryman, musician and composer who has just sadly died today following a stroke. Much more likely to find out what Einstein was on about than through your own fancies! John was on start the week only yesterday along with Jeanette winterson and a guy talking about George Herbert, so if you can't find anything to enjoy on youtube, then try listen again to start the week.


Post of the thread, Jimbo. Thanks for the tip.

Though to be honest, the competition for that title was not exactly red hot...
Rob Exile Ward on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Why do you think atheists don't experience and appreciate music and poetry as much as you do?
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Did he say that? No, he didn't say that. Sheesh. What a pointlessly hostile post.

I'm beginning to think there might be a gap in the market for a climbing forum where people are nice to each other.
Dominion - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to johnj:

> That's all that creation stuff in Genesis is about anyway, genetic experimentation to create a new race, they've been writing about it for millennia, I think anyone viewing these texts with a scientific viewpoint and open mind can see that anyway.

And, looked at fair and square. all the "creation stuff" in Genesis has no more validity than any other creation myth.

It's a creation myth, the one in the bible is a semitic one, and the old testament is the genealogy of a particular family, who portray themselves as favoured by their god

We've been taught to view "adam and eve" as the origins of humans, when it is very clearly just a mythological based family history of a specific family- or several families - culminating in Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.

Or not ending there, according to some people. See the whole Holy Blood and the Holy Grail thing.

We, as humans, know that there are lots of creation myths, and it quite frankly beggars belief that there are some people still insisting that some of them are true.


Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> Did he say that? No, he didn't say that. Sheesh. What a pointlessly hostile post.

Well if that wasn't what he meant then what did he mean?
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

What I said, not what I didn't!
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

What did he mean?

Well, how about this?

"Go and dose yourselves up on some John Tavener, a fellow countryman, musician and composer who has just sadly died today following a stroke. Much more likely to find out what Einstein was on about than through your own fancies! John was on start the week only yesterday along with Jeanette winterson and a guy talking about George Herbert, so if you can't find anything to enjoy on youtube, then try listen again to start the week."

Sheesh. And again sheesh.

Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Dominion:
>
> We've been taught to view "adam and eve" as the origins of humans


Have we? Have we really? Good gracious, by whom?

No one who taught me ever suggested *that*. So who on earth can have been teaching you???
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> Sheesh. And again sheesh.

Not a very informative reply. Such uninformative replies often come from people who don't know themselves what they mean.

Specifically, why would we be "more likely to find out what Einstein was on about" (I'm presuming on the subject of Spinoza-style pantheism) by listening to John Tavener music than "through [our] own fancies"?
Rob Exile Ward on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell: FWIW Lament for Jerusalem is one of my favourites pieces of music, I find it slightly irritating to be told to 'dose myself up on it.'

John Updike described parsing George Herbert in glowing terms, something about extracting meaning like tracing ivy up a wall, but I never got it, frankly.
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Tim Chappell)
>
> [...]
>
> Not a very informative reply.


Full and complete information. I reminded you what Jimbo actually said. I suggested, by implication, that you and Mr Ward and everyone else who's so desperate to knock Jimbo down, attend to what he actually said, rather than what you wish he'd said.

And I made a point about the endlessly unpleasant hostility that develops among the evangelistic atheists on threads like this, which really does get very boring indeed.
MG - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:Oh FFS it was obviously a snide ignorant dig implying those who don't believe are incapable of appreciating beauty. He evn said as much more directly above..
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

So here's what you might have posted in reply to Jimbo:

"Lament for Jerusalem is one of my favourites pieces of music."

Next time, why not just post that and keep things friendly, eh?
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> ... attend to what he actually said, rather than what you wish he'd said.

And my question is about what he meant (which is not clear), not what he said.

> And I made a point about the endlessly unpleasant hostility that develops among the evangelistic atheists
> on threads like this, which really does get very boring indeed.

Of course large fractions of the "endlessly unpleasant hostility" comes from people opposed to the atheists. Do you dislike that also?
Dominion - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> No one who taught me ever suggested *that*. So who on earth can have been teaching you???

Sorry, I went to Sunday School for a few weeks, and a CofE school - back in the mid 1960s - and also did Religious Education for 2 years at grammar school when I was 12 or 13, and from those I got the impression that Genesis was supposedly what you needed to believe was true if you were a christian. Although the Roman Catholic pupils at the grammar school were allowed to opt out of the RE lessons. Not sure why...


I got thrown out of Sunday school after not many weeks for asking questions bout evolution, and came 2nd in the year in the end of year exams at Grammar school in the R.E exams...

Probably because I found all those mythology things quite interesting, along with things like The Lord of the Rings, the Trojan wars, tales of King Arthur and so on. Fantasy fiction stuff.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:


"You really are an ignoramus"! Now that's how I'd do it, if I wanted to have a dig I'd just tell you straight! No, MG, it was a serious point, oblique, requiring work, but serious and without any "dig". Listen to him and his music and how he got there, and in the context of the disarming assessment of a man demanded at his death can help one attend all the more. Listen to the discussion on "start the week" and notice the I-thou far more than the I-it. Then go to Einstein and read his correspondence again, and not only to the language of religion, mind, awe, illusion, god, pantheism, imagination, creativity etc, but also to the importance of music to him. Only an utter aversion to any even transient notion of faith could lead you to such a polar opposite conclusion.
Rob Exile Ward on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Assuming that you understand and believe the geological, biological, physical and historical explanations of, say, a mountain landscape at sunset, does that diminish your experience of it? Or is it something you just immerse yourself in the experience anyway, and let the rationality and explanation take the hindmost? At a guess you don't think 'because I know that sunset is caused by the refraction of sunlight through the atmosphere, I am no longer moved by it.'

Well, that's my experience of sacred music, poetry, architecture and much else. I know they are expressions of beliefs in 'an outworn creed'; but I still have an emotional response to them.
Coel Hellier - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> "You really are an ignoramus"! Now that's how I'd do it, if I wanted to have a dig I'd just tell you
> straight! No, MG, it was a serious point, oblique, requiring work, but serious and without any "dig".
> Listen to him and his music and how he got there, and in the context of the disarming assessment of a
> man demanded at his death can help one attend all the more. Listen to the discussion on "start the
> week" and notice the I-thou far more than the I-it. Then go to Einstein and read his correspondence
> again, and not only to the language of religion, mind, awe, illusion, god, pantheism, imagination,
> creativity etc, but also to the importance of music to him. Only an utter aversion to any even
> transient notion of faith could lead you to such a polar opposite conclusion.

I've read this a few times, trying to work out what it means and implies. I think it implies that Jimbo simply doesn't understand atheism. Surprising as it may seem to some, "atheism" is not the notion that music, creativity, humanity, imagination, awe, empathy, and human emotions, desires, feelings and reflections do not exist or are unimportant. Indeed, we atheists have been immersed in such all our lives, just like theists, and are just as expert about them as theists are.
Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:


I know what atheism is and what it implies, in principle. It's just the absence of belief in God.

And yet, in practice, at least on UKC, atheism does seem to be about aggressive denial, about sneering at anyone whose cognitive reach exceeds his grasp (as Einstein's surely did), about nothing-but-ness, about disdain for mystery, about--how can I put it?-- "dvocating the most outrageously reductionist, materialist, atheistic and deterministic version of science and scientism that I can get away with".

I am genuinely unsure why. And I think this urge to destroy, demean, belittle, iconoclase (if that's the verb), and insult is a great shame on UKC, and a great tragedy in our society at large. Because as you rightly say, Coel, it's not a necessary part of *atheism* at all; nothing is, except the denial that there's a god.
Jimbo W on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Ahhhh. The point in the discussion when you start to address your luvvies rather than your interlocutor. Ok, well, enjoy your walking the boards of the stage, just so long as the fact that I've not been making any point about your umbilical fluff (your boring atheism) registers somewhere in your numbskull!
dissonance - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> I am genuinely unsure why. And I think this urge to destroy, demean, belittle, iconoclase (if that's the verb), and insult is a great shame on UKC,

Considering your previous paragraph and Jimbo W following post I think that, perhaps, you could answer it by looking at your own attitudes.


Tim Chappell - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to dissonance:


There's nothing wrong with my attitudes. Really there isn't.

Sure, it's easy to lose your temper when you have 7 people baiting you at once. But really--I am not the one trying to take other people down all the time. Nor is Jimbo. Again and again, what happens is that either he or I try to say something creative and different, something slightly offbeat, something thought-provoking--and get set on as it were by a pack of wild dogs, who won't rest till they've pulled the discussion back to the usual well-worn furrows, the same old trench warfare as before. I have to say I am beginning to get very bored of that.

You can chant about pots and kettles if you like, but truly, the point about destructiveness, demeaning, belittling, insulting and smashing things up really isn't a 50: 50 rap. There really is far more of it on the atheist side on UKC. As I've just pointed out, Coel at any rate makes destructive and aggressive reductionism an explicit part of his manifesto. And as I say I find this puzzling, because all this has nothing intrinsically to do with *atheism*; atheism just means not believing in God, and that's all.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> [...]
>
>
> And I made a point about the endlessly unpleasant hostility that develops among the evangelistic atheists on threads like this, which really does get very boring indeed.

"Ahhhh. The point in the discussion when you start to address your luvvies rather than your interlocutor. Ok, well, enjoy your walking the boards of the stage, just so long as the fact that I've not been making any point about your umbilical fluff (your boring atheism) registers somewhere in your numbskull!"- Jimbo, 23.38

matthew 7, v1-5

i generally try to stay out of these, as they have a tendency to go on too long, and require too much time and effort to really get involved in

(i save that for the falklands threads.... ;-))

but i often lurk, and it seems pretty much evens from my perpective in the snide digs and resort to ad hominem stakes

overall these remain interesting debates, no need for either side to cry foul to my mind, and smacks of a lack of trust in their arguments if they do.

on this particular matter, i think its legitimate to seek greater understanding of jimbo's intentions in posting about the sad passing of Sir John Taverner. coel's reasonable point in this regard:

"Specifically, why would we be "more likely to find out what Einstein was on about" (I'm presuming on the subject of Spinoza-style pantheism) by listening to John Tavener music than "through [our] own fancies"?"

remains unanswered,


cheers
gregor
Timmd on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)

> I am genuinely unsure why. And I think this urge to destroy, demean, belittle, iconoclase (if that's the verb), and insult is a great shame on UKC, and a great tragedy in our society at large. Because as you rightly say, Coel, it's not a necessary part of *atheism* at all; nothing is, except the denial that there's a god.

Denial? I never came across anything in Catholicism to prove beyond doubt there is a god, it's why I gave up believing. I'm much happier now too, it's akin to not having to go to school anymore, no longer having Catholic-guilt. (:-))
Jimbo W on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Come on eggsy! I make no apology whatever for calling a spade a spade, calling out MG for a dig that wasn't (it was merely an attempt at a new angle inspired by one thing.. ..hearing of a John's death and thinking about his life, having met him, sung his music often, and having had it all flood back on hearing that "start the week" only last night. So I let go a pathetic ounce of spleen when Coel starts playing to the luvvies again (he certainly had desisted from addressing anything remotely resembling my approach).. ..and in so doing made something that was about Einstein, pantheism etc all about himself and his atheism, as similarly had Rob! As for seeking greater understanding.. ..well have a little faith, listen to the "start the week", make a comment on your reaction, and then we'll have grounds on which to continue without the ad hominems, including yours.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

> Coel at any rate makes destructive and aggressive reductionism an explicit part of his manifesto.

There's nothing destructive about it, or only in the sense of destroying falsehoods.

Anyhow, Jimbo -- reflecting on the life and music of a composer he greatly enjoyed -- commented about what such things meant to him. He also included what seemed to be a dig at us ("Much more likely to find out what Einstein was on about than through your own fancies!").

At least, several people interpreted it that way. When we queried what that was intended to mean, you and Jimbo either just dismissively quote the same words, or just deny that there was any dig (while refusing to explain), and then resort to a lot of smokescreen and bluster criticising atheists and our attitude.

Well, anyway, my basic attitude is trying to understand things. And I've still got little idea what Tavener's music (which seems to me to be all about humanity) has to do with Spinoza-style pantheism (the topic under discussion), and indeed I still have no idea what Spinoza-style pantheism is even supposed to be. This is mainly because advocates of it refuse to explain what they mean, which is a bit weird. It's almost as though they themselves don't know what they mean, as though they're saying "don't try to understand, just emote".
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Morning jimbo,

Interesting you read my post as an ad hominem attack. It certainly wasn't intended as such, and I'm not sure how you could read it as that. Apologies if it came across so

It was meant to bring a focus back to coel's point, looking for clarification of what you meant when you wrote the words he quoted

Best wishes

Gregor
moac - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
Much as I love these debates about religion, it's sad to see such hostile, patronising, bullying and down right rude mud slinging done by some of the participants. Debate by all means but leave the aggression out of it please. It sometimes feels like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y
Rob Exile Ward on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to moac: This is weird. Whatever some people may think, I started the post with a genuine musing, not an argument or assertion:

'it does make you wonder where finding signs of life - any sort, not just intelligent - outside our solar system will leave religions that believe in a personal, human-centred God?'

To which Jimbo's 1st contribution was

'It's straw men for thickos to cushion their prejudices.'

A bit later he suggests

'Go and dose yourselves up on some John Tavener,'

which isn't exactly a value neutral suggestion, implying an illness or lack of some kind, which I thought posed the question

'Why do you think atheists don't experience and appreciate music and poetry as much as you do?'

...which is immediately interpreted by Tim as

'a pointlessly hostile post.'

It's weird.

MG - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: Yes. I'll admit to being pretty agressive in this thread but basically it stems from endless other threads of sneering, dismissive, pompous posts from the usual theists trying to claim they are more intelligent, more moral, more honest, more appreciative of beauty etc. while never stating their position clearly or unambigiously. I could (and probably should) just ignore them but when I am bored do reply in kind.
Coel Hellier - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

It's also a good rule of thumb that people complaining that atheists are nasty, aggressive and condescending are nearly always more nasty, aggressive and condescending than the atheists they complain about. I think they really do have a blind spot about their own attitudes.

[We atheists don't have any such blind spot, we know and admit that we do aggression and condescension when appropriate!]
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to moac) This is weird. Whatever some people may think, I started the post with a genuine musing, not an argument or assertion:

Pull the other one! It was the sentiment of a rubbernecker, of someone out for the morning's hanging for entertainment.

> 'it does make you wonder where finding signs of life - any sort, not just intelligent - outside our solar system will leave religions that believe in a personal, human-centred God?'
> To which Jimbo's 1st contribution was
> 'It's straw men for thickos to cushion their prejudices.'

That was the qualification at the end of my contribution, and it did not refer to your op, but rather the utterly trivial, superficial, and insensible interaction with Tim that followed your op in which you demonstrated a wholly particular view about what god constituted that completely undermined the supposed inquisitiveness of your op. It deserved spleen.

> A bit later he suggests
> 'Go and dose yourselves up on some John Tavener,'
> which isn't exactly a value neutral suggestion, implying an illness or lack of some kind, which I thought posed the question

Balls. Just your wishful thinking there on the illness front, unless you believe that any difference of opinion necessarily means that your interlocutor believes you are ill.

> 'Why do you think atheists don't experience and appreciate music and poetry as much as you do?'
> ...which is immediately interpreted by Tim as
> 'a pointlessly hostile post.'

I can't speak for Tim, but I can confirm that it certainly seemed pointless as it posed a question about something I did not and do not believe.

> It's weird.

Yes, its weird to see the wishful thinking you demonstrate in looking for a cheap edge. Further undermines the sincerity of your question.
aln - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> Yes, its weird to see the wishful thinking

Religious belief
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward) Yes. I'll admit to being pretty agressive in this thread but basically it stems from endless other threads of sneering, dismissive, pompous posts

Wow, an amazing declaration of intrinsic bias! At least eggsy manages a fairer hand!
MG - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: You should apply to the Sun or somewhere for a job. They'd love you.
Rob Exile Ward on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: You think you're being bated. You're wrong, but if it makes you feel better to think of yourself as victim and martyr, then go ahead.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Bated.. ..no, and calling out straw men notions of god that put you at odds with Tim, and noting insensible self contained means of engagement with Tim does not indicate a desire for victimhood, it's just cutting off the argument at its weak points at the ground.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

Ah bless! There isn't an institution for you to get a job at.. ..it'd need to be a mix of skeptical inquirer and the daily mail!
Hayden Carr - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward: it doesn't seem to phase religious people that their god didn't bother turning up until a couple of thousand years ago (depending on the religion), and having ignored everyone who lived before then. So I can't see aliens causing an issue. Facts don't have much impact on religious belief.
Rob Exile Ward on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Hayden Carr: That's a fair point,though I was genuinely interested in how alien life forms might be reconciled with phrases like 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son'... You start taking stuff like that away and what have you get left?

It was in the same spirit (!) that I once asked about the meaning of Easter, Tim did then give me a civilised reply, but not one I could make much sense of - fwiw Pinker's account in Better Angels was much more intelligible.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Hayden Carr) That's a fair point,though I was genuinely interested in how alien life forms might be reconciled with phrases like 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son'... You start taking stuff like that away and what have you get left?

You do know that the Greek used for "world" here is "Kosmos".
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Hayden Carr) That's a fair point,though I was genuinely interested in how alien life forms might be reconciled with phrases like 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son'... You start taking stuff like that away and what have you get left?
>
> It was in the same spirit (!) that I once asked about the meaning of Easter, Tim did then give me a civilised reply, but not one I could make much sense of - fwiw Pinker's account in Better Angels was much more intelligible.

I thought the meaning of Easter was widely understood to be based on an early English (Anglo-Saxon) and German pagan festival called Eostre or 'month of opening', which took place on the first full moon after the spring equinox. A festival that was nearly universal in the pagan world, and the start of the new year in many pagan societies. Widely believed to be of much more ancient origin. (Cf. the start of the astrological year at the First Point of Aries, and before that, because of the precession of the equinoxes, the First Point of Taurus, when the Bull god was worshipped, e.g in ancient Egypt). Through syncretism, the ancient pagan festival was absorbed into Christianity and overlain by a new myth that still retained some aspects of the old. The world 'east' also closely connected with Easter etymologically.

Rob Exile Ward on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: I was talking more about the theology - how Christ being crucified 'saved the world.' How?

The paragraph in Pinker that describes it actually made me start with the elegance and logic he used to explain it.
Hayden Carr - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W: Relying on the modern English interpretation of a Greek word translated from the original Aramaic? Genius.

And if God so loved the universe that he sent his only son to a stone age village on a planet the rest of the universe can have no knowledge of, then how does that make sense?
Coel Hellier - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

REW's earlier question to Tim was about the Christian meaning of Easter, rather than pagan origins of the festival.

I think the question was along the lines of, given that Abraham/Isaac story is about moving beyond the primitive pagan-religious blood sacrifice as atonement, why did God later on require a blood sacrifice for atonement?
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Hayden Carr:
> (In reply to Jimbo W) Relying on the modern English interpretation of a Greek word translated from the original Aramaic? Genius.

Well ask rob why he does it then!

> And if God so loved the universe that he sent his only son to a stone age village on a planet the rest of the universe can have no knowledge of, then how does that make sense?

What universally non-local intervention did you particularly have in mind?
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth)
>
> REW's earlier question to Tim was about the Christian meaning of Easter, rather than pagan origins of the festival.
>
> I think the question was along the lines of, given that Abraham/Isaac story is about moving beyond the primitive pagan-religious blood sacrifice as atonement, why did God later on require a blood sacrifice for atonement?

Not sure of what you're referring to, but just thought I'd ask.. ..are we talking atonement or at-one-ment?
Coel Hellier - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Not sure of what you're referring to ...

How does God having Jesus killed solve anything? It only makes sense in a primitive pagan understanding of a blood sacrifice to appease the gods.
Hayden Carr - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Hayden Carr)
> [...]
>
> Well ask rob why he does it then!
No! Standards of proof don't sink to the low water mark

> What universally non-local intervention did you particularly have in mind?
Sorry, I thought your point was that 'world'really meant universe and therefore there is no problem with aliens for Christianity. So I was wondering why God sent his son to a stone age desert on Earth because of his love for the universe. What was your point then?
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> [...]
>
> How does God having Jesus killed solve anything? It only makes sense in a primitive pagan understanding of a blood sacrifice to appease the gods.

Wasn't it a bit more complicated than just 'appeasing the gods'? I've always understood that most pagan cultures required an annual sacrifice of their totem god (ram, bull etc.) in the belief that the spirit of the god would be reborn (i.e the resurrection idea lurked there) and, in broader terms, the earth goddess and/or sun god would likewise be reborn. All to do with the life cycle (each year) - life only being intelligible in the context of death and rebirth.

I seem to remember that Freud was interesting on this subject in 'Totem and Taboo', but I'll have to confess I can't remember his thesis now.

Rob Exile Ward on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: A complementary explanation is that life was so tough for most people - nasty brutish and short - that it was reasonable to assume that any gods overseeing the process must be sadistic b*stards who enjoyed watching suffering. So perhaps if you made some other fellow suffer then the gods would be placated and wouldn't come after you.

The twist is that there was and is a significant tradition of being hurt by proxy. E.g. Princes couldn't be punished, but their friends could be on their behalf - and the closer the friend, the more effective the punishment would be.

Combine this with the sacrifice above, and it follows that the more you love the sacrifice, and the more you torture them, the more the gods will be appeased. Hence the concept of the Crucifixion.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Combine this with the sacrifice above, and it follows that the more you love the sacrifice, and the more you torture them, the more the gods will be appeased. Hence the concept of the Crucifixion.

Except that the crucifixion of Christ was not an act of appeasement for God. That's why I asked Coel about whether he was talking atonement (modern connotation) or at-one-ment (original connotation). The crucifixion is an act understood my Christians to make at-one-ment possible, that is reconciliation, but has nothing to do with appeasement.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Hayden Carr:

> Sorry, I thought your point was that 'world'really meant universe and therefore there is no problem with aliens for Christianity. So I was wondering why God sent his son to a stone age desert on Earth because of his love for the universe. What was your point then?

You clearly had a more rational notion in mind for what God's intervention with the whole universe and all inhabitants might look like. I merely wondered at what that notion might be. The miracle of existence is pretty universal, as is the miracle of causality and perhaps even lawfulness. So I'd give you those, but I was just wondering what your better idea of an intervening creator god might look like historically and universally? As I said up thread in response to Coel:
> The idea [that God had an intimate and personal relationship with humans] comes from the fact that the relationship with that god is written and discussed from the point of view of humans. Of course, like a few on here, you could, like that of a creationist, take the excruciatingly fundamentalist/literalist position invoking any absence of discussion as utterly necessary exclusivity of god for humanity, but why take the thicko creationist route? For me the test is the other way around. If there wasn't 1 or more religions within a similarly civilised alien species involving a personal idea of god imbued with the concept of a sacrificial type of love, then it'd be a far greater test of faith for me then any of the usual mundane questions from militant (aka cuddly new born lamb) atheists pose.
birdie num num - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
I reckon they might find God on Mars.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to birdie num num:
> (In reply to Rob Exile Ward)
> I reckon they might find God on Mars.

Nonsense, he hops from universe to universe away from whoever seeks him hardest.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> The crucifixion is an act understood my Christians to make at-one-ment possible, that is reconciliation,
> but has nothing to do with appeasement.

If God was unwilling to accept reconciliation without first having the blood sacrifice then that is indeed "appeasement".
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) A complementary explanation is that life was so tough for most people - nasty brutish and short - that it was reasonable to assume that any gods overseeing the process must be sadistic b*stards who enjoyed watching suffering. So perhaps if you made some other fellow suffer then the gods would be placated and wouldn't come after you.
>
> The twist is that there was and is a significant tradition of being hurt by proxy. E.g. Princes couldn't be punished, but their friends could be on their behalf - and the closer the friend, the more effective the punishment would be.
>
> Combine this with the sacrifice above, and it follows that the more you love the sacrifice, and the more you torture them, the more the gods will be appeased. Hence the concept of the Crucifixion.

This exotic and plausible theory perhaps has some bearing on human sacrifice, but the problem with it is that it doesn't really tie up with the ideas that are connected with animal sacrifices that are still seen in parts of the world today. I think it is probably true to say that the relationship between the pagan peoples and their gods was not one of abject fear, but more of 'respect'. Where the rituals survive they talk in terms of 'worshipping' and 'honouring' their gods. The gods are typically seen, not as cruel, but as protective deities.

Islam, too, denies the idea of a cruel god. Allah is the 'Ever Merciful'/'Most Compassionate' etc:
See: http://www.islamawareness.net/Qurbani/concept.html re. their concept of sacrifice.

Typically, animal sacrifices are seen as 'gifts' to the gods/ 'honouring' the gods. For example, in Taiwan, in the Night Sacrifices of the Pingpu people, their protective god, Taizu, is 'welcomed' to the ceremony.
http://www.culture.tw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2148&Itemid=156

This is quite an interesting article on the subject:
http://www.paganinstitute.org/PIR/animal_sacrifice.shtml
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> If God was unwilling to accept reconciliation without first having the blood sacrifice then that is indeed "appeasement".

Appeasement between who and who, conducted by who on whose behalf?
Coel Hellier - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> Appeasement between who and who, conducted by who on whose behalf?

Appeasement of God, between God and God, conducted by a mixture of God and humans, on behalf of humans.

Essentially God was in a huff, refusing to accept reconciliation unless Jesus got tortured and killed as part of the process.
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I.e. you don't know.. ..and you're just making it up.
MG - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> I.e. you don't know.. ..and you're just making it up.

A bit like the various theologians down the ages that have been entirely unable to agree on a reason why torturing someone makes things better in the eyes of god (particularly given the someone is meant to be either god or the son of god or both or something). You must admit worshiping this sort of god appears pretty f*cked-up - why not pick Pol-Pot or someone.

Coel Hellier - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

> I.e. you don't know.. ..and you're just making it up.

You're welcome to explain why the blood sacrifice of Jesus was necessary from a Christian perspective. Blood sacrifices do indeed feature in a lot of pagan religions, so is the story just a hold-over from those?
Jimbo W on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:

> A bit like the various theologians down the ages that have been entirely unable to agree on a reason why torturing someone makes things better in the eyes of god (particularly given the someone is meant to be either god or the son of god or both or something). You must admit worshiping this sort of god appears pretty f*cked-up - why not pick Pol-Pot or someone.

I see you just went with the daily mail instead! ;)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Rob Exile Ward on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: Islam is pretty recent, and subject to the same civilising influences that influenced the evolution of Christianity from pretty barbaric OT customs, (sacrificing sons etc) to the abandonment of sacrifices.

I don't think you can infer with any certainty how prehistoric man perceived the natural world and his gods. It seems pretty plausible to me that if my daily life entailed endlessly struggling against starvation/desperately seeking shelter/watching most of my children die/watching my wives die in agony in childbirth/avoiding being killed by rival tribes/avoiding being eaten by wild animals/wondering what quirk of the weather (ice age or desertification) I would have to cope with, I doubt very much whether I'd be singing the prehistoric equivalent of 'All Things Bright and Beautiful' at the end of a tough week on the savannah. If I thought killing a virgin would save me some of that, if only for a moment, I'd be up for it.
moac - on 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"Essentially God was in a huff, refusing to accept reconciliation unless Jesus got tortured and killed as part of the process."

Does this mean you accept there is a God and believe Jesus actually lived then Coel? :o)


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.