/ Picking a religion

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Duncan Bourne - on 06 Jan 2014
We have had all the does or doesn't God exist threads and it always seems curious that it often just boils down to a stand off between atheists and Christians, rather than any other religious denomination.
So, for the religious out there I am curious as to why you follow the one you do and not any other religion? Is it cultural? Is it the only option you looked at or did you read up on a whole load of them? Was it a divine bolt of lightening from the blue.
For instance I am culturally Christian but turned to Paganism in my teens before rejecting the whole lot altogether. I picked my belief on what seemed reasonable to me at the time but went at it open minded and looked at all religions and belief systems such as Islam, Hinduism, neo paganism, shamanism, Zoroasterism, Occultism, Buddhism etc. if I had to pin myself down then I would say that my philosophical belief is closer to Zen Buddhism but really it is just stuff I have worked it for myself
SteveoS - on 06 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Blue monkeys and a dude with an elephant for a head. Need I say more?
dissonance - on 06 Jan 2014
Sir Chasm - on 06 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne: I haven't decided on one yet, there are so many and I wouldn't want to pick the wrong one.

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Well maybe the reasons I stay away from those threads in general as I believe in the essence of god, and I also believe the teaching of Jesus Christ are very important


However 1, I'm not religious, and 2, I'm not a Christian in the choosing of a religion, or any other religion, although the peaceful eastern religions seem to be the more well rounded or developed.

However if I take part in these debates It feels like the vocal members of the UKC atheist community cannot understand this viewpoint! So they then maybe think I'm some form of new age religion when they cannot get the point that the belief in spiritually. i.e higher self/soul, and 4th density materialistic body/construct in our own reality has nothing to do with religion.

HTH
Post edited at 08:21
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
A lot of problems do seem to come down to a lack of understanding, speaking of which, could you explain what a "4th density materialistic body/construct in our own reality" is?
Post edited at 08:27
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> A lot of problems do seem to come down to a lack of understanding, speaking of which, could you explain what a "4th density materialistic body/construct in our own reality" is?

It's better if you try and read into what I'm saying than always want to be bottle fed, I think there's enough wording in there for your favourite search engine of choice to produce some interesting search results

HTH :)
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> It's better if you try and read into what I'm saying than always want to be bottle fed, I think there's enough wording in there for your favourite search engine of choice to produce some interesting search results

> HTH :)

It's an idea you subscribe to, surely asking you what it is and why you subscribe to it is better than making up my own interpretation?
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> It's an idea you subscribe to, surely asking you what it is and why you subscribe to it is better than making up my own interpretation?

1, I don't subscribe to it, and 2 my explanations would be my own, which wouldn't be relevant to you, as it's impossible to find the words to explain something that many folk don't believe even exists because the tools they possess cannot find it.
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> 1, I don't subscribe to it, and 2 my explanations would be my own, which wouldn't be relevant to you, as it's impossible to find the words to explain something that many folk don't believe even exists because the tools they possess cannot find it.

But surely you have some idea what you are referring to? It's precisely your explanation I'm interested in, because you brought the idea up.
Oceanrower - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

Well, this is the top hit from the "favourite search engine of choice"

http://www.portaltoascension.org/index.php/cosmicblog/92-what-is-fourth-density

But I really, really, don't understand.

Sorry.
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:


> But surely you have some idea what you are referring to? It's precisely your explanation I'm interested in, because you brought the idea up.

Of course I do, however my choice is to leave it slightly open and ambiguous especially when speaking to your fine self, if after all this time we've been chatting on here and you still haven't got a profile well I like to know who I'm talking to first.

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Oceanrower:

> Well, this is the top hit from the "favourite search engine of choice"


> But I really, really, don't understand.

> Sorry.

I just quickly scan read that link, I see right at the top it mentions 'law of one' this was a channelled series of discussions with for want of a better word 'a god' a lot of the new age movement refers to these teachings, it also mentions David Wilcock's, who one of the mainstays of the so called 'new age or conspiracy movement' if you can get you head around listening to some none mainstream viewpoints he may be a place to get a little more understanding into what I'm trying to say.

Hth
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Of course I do, however my choice is to leave it slightly open and ambiguous especially when speaking to your fine self, if after all this time we've been chatting on here and you still haven't got a profile well I like to know who I'm talking to first.

Fair enough, hopefully somebody with a profile will ask what you mean.
dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> However 1, I'm not religious, and 2, I'm not a Christian in the choosing of a religion, or any other religion, although the peaceful eastern religions seem to be the more well rounded or developed.

Can you elaborate on exactly which eastern religion is peaceful? Outside of Jainism.
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to dissonance:

> Can you elaborate on exactly which eastern religion is peaceful? Outside of Jainism.

Hinduism
Buddhism
Sikhism
Taoism
Shinto
Confucianism

Look at that I used wiki to do some helpful 'cutandpasteism', I don't think I've started a new peaceful western religion quite yet tho'



Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: You missed out Islam, or is that not far enough east?

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> You missed out Islam, or is that not far enough east?

peaceful eastern religions, However I think Christianity and Islam is essentially both sides of the same religion, the yin and yan has been split by man, after all it's the same god, and for shit and giggles someone way back split the tribes and formed a secret death cult sect!
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: I think you'll find that Islam is THE religion of peace.

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I think you'll find that Islam is THE religion of peace.

Maybe if you'd have sent this Pearl of wisdom to Tony Blair around year 2000, the world may have been a much safer place by now.
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Sorry, I was looking at your list of "peaceful" religions and just assumed you merely meant "religions that describe themselves as peaceful".

What happened in 2000?

dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:


Sorry some confusion. I asked for the peaceful religions rather than just a list of religions.
contrariousjim - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to dissonance:

Capitalism
Neo-liberalism
Marxism
Communism
etc
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> What happened in 2000?

Not much I remember other than peaceful post hangover year after we'd all partied like it was 1999, there was said to be a menelium (sic) bug, but not much came to that.
dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

I am not sure they count as peaceful religions either, although I can see why some would consider them religions.
The New NickB - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Sorry, I was looking at your list of "peaceful" religions and just assumed you merely meant "religions that describe themselves as peaceful".

> What happened in 2000?

Planning the conspiracy!?!
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim: As none of those are religions, and nobody is claiming they are peaceful, the relevance of your list is unclear.

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to dissonance:

> Sorry some confusion. I asked for the peaceful religions rather than just a list of religions.

Well maybe you can search for them yourself, I bet you was one of them kids at skool who always wanted other folk to do their homework.
contrariousjim - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:

The point was something on the lines that there are very few innocuous systems of belief.
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim: I think that may be why people were querying John's list of "peaceful" religions.

dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Well maybe you can search for them yourself, I bet you was one of them kids at skool who always wanted other folk to do their homework.

You are the one making the claim, it is for you to back it up.
For starters you can have a proper look at Shintoism, perhaps paying particular attention at WWII.
contrariousjim - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I think that may be why people were querying John's list of "peaceful" religions.

Yes, and why I was extending it beyond conventional religions.
SethChili - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
I'm a christian but I have no truck with organised religion .
I would call myself a follower of a long haired , dark skinned guy from the middle east who hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes , rejected violence and was anti wealth , anti religion and anti rules .
I can't see many similarities between that and the idea of religion - which says 'do it' when Jesus said 'it's done' Religion says 'sinner' , Jesus says 'Son'' . If Jesus had come to most churches , I doubt they would have let him in .
For me it was a bolt out of the blue - I looked around , saw the chaos and suffering humans have caused and looked for something which could explain it all . I read up the historical , scientific and philosophical evidence for Islam , Buddhism and Christianity , visited mosques ,monasterys and christian places of worship and decided that Christianity was the most logical answer .
That doesn't mean I don't find other believe systems fascinating .
Post edited at 10:04
Dave Garnett - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne)
>
> Here is a helpful flowchart.
>
> http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2009/10/25/a-flowchart-to-determine-what/

Very good. Makes precisely as much sense as any other way of doing it with the unusual advantage of not taking itself seriously.
tlm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> However if I take part in these debates It feels like the vocal members of the UKC atheist community cannot understand this viewpoint!

Don't worry - although there are lots of shoutey ukc people of all persuasions, there are plenty of readers who have no problem in understanding this. I join in until people start ranting and then get bored... but they like it, so who am I to worry?
tlm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> could you explain what a "4th density materialistic body/construct in our own reality" is?

Here is a page which explains those terms:
http://www.freewebs.com/the4thdensity/about.htm

"The First Density is that of Thought-Form only, or of Consciousness without Self-awareness or Intelligence. Rocks, Water and Inanimate "Objects," the Matter of the Universe is of this density. The Second Density is said to be that of Consciousness with limited Self-awareness and minor to reasonable intelligence. Animals and the lower creatures fall into this category. The Third Density is that of Consciousness, full Self-awareness and reasonable to high intelligence. Human Beings are now in the Third Density. It is important to note that the Planet Earth itself is in some circles believed to be an Intelligent Entity of either the Third or Fourth Density. I personally believe that at least this is true or that it is an entity of an even higher order.

The Third Density corresponds to our three-dimensional Spatial Reality as well. The Spirit world, Ghosts and many things of the Unknown are said to be aspects of the Fourth Density where we are now meant to ascend. Science, through the new discipline of String Theory is now predicting and describing the reality of these Higher Densities. String Theory predicts that there are from 10 to 26 dimensions. The three dimensions of Height, Width and Depth and Time are the only ones we notice because the other dimensions are so microscopically curled up into space at the subatomic level. The discovery of these unnoticed dimensions has opened up new areas of research making Free or Zero-Point Energy, Antigravity and perhaps even Time Travel a near-future possibility. Scientist are already making incredible breakthroughs using this new Alternative Science."
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to tlm: Ta, "The Spirit world, Ghosts and many things of the Unknown are said to be aspects of the Fourth Density where we are now meant to ascend.", I think it's clearer now.

Oceanrower - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to tlm:

> The discovery of these unnoticed dimensions has opened up new areas of research making Free or Zero-Point Energy, Antigravity and perhaps even Time Travel a near-future possibility. Scientist are already making incredible breakthroughs using this new Alternative Science."

Really? Care to name one?
tlm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

How did you choose Christianity over Islam?
tlm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Oceanrower:

> Really? Care to name one?

Don't ask me - I only copied and pasted from the website, as shown by my quotes.
ow arm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

why choose one? there are so many, they all cant be right, but they all can be wrong. Just live the way you see best
dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Oceanrower:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> [...]
>
> Really? Care to name one?

Since that website was apparently last updated in 2002 I am sure there are lots of their discoveries in the mainstream by now.

I do like the way that site also has a nice 911 conspiracy theory section.
Jacob Ram - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

Rastafarians,
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 92.40.249.3.threembb.co.uk
In reply to dissonance:

> You are the one making the claim, it is for you to back it up.

> For starters you can have a proper look at Shintoism, perhaps paying particular attention at WWII.

I did, which shows you at least do enough reading to continually take the opposing view to mine, even if in a lot of cases we're thinking along the same lines.
dissonance - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> I did,

and you still call it peaceful? If not which one shall we move onto?

> even if in a lot of cases we're thinking along the same lines.

what a terrifying thought. Although admittedly I do believe Ridge is behind the WTC attack.
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 92.40.249.3.threembb.co.uk
In reply to dissonance:

> and you still call it peaceful? If not which one shall we move onto?

> what a terrifying thought. Although admittedly I do believe Ridge is behind the WTC attack.

Yes I quickly read the page and added the obvious red herringical reference, we'll spotted;-)
csw on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

If I was going to pick a religion then it would probably be Hinduism, although anyone [johnj] who calls it a peaceful one has obviously failed to take the bag from off their head whilst studying it.

It's always struck me that Kali would be an excellent deity for a mountaineer. Mountains after all can be cruel and deadly, but for the dedicated, they have a way of dispelling illusion and granting [momentary] clarity.

Also rather than a slurp of ribena and a water biscuit, Hinduism offers some seriously fun ways to become one with God, such as getting wasted and doing lots of shagging - Krishna was famous for it - Half of his temple art would qualify as porn if you took the halo away. same with Mother Kali, only in her case it's snuff porn.....
GOD - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I do them all ;-) So long as people play nice, they are all of a muchness to me.
imkevinmc - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

And at what caste level would you propose slotting in?
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to csw:

> If I was going to pick a religion then it would probably be Hinduism, although anyone [johnj] who calls it a peaceful one has obviously failed to take the bag from off their head whilst studying it.

Well I'll respond as you put my name in quite attractive square brackets, I must admit I know very little about Hinduism as I haven't studied it as to me it's just another system of mind control however I thought it was peaceful as I never sang, Onward Hindu soldiers marching onto war when I was at skool so I'll have to take your word for it that it's another death cult, strange that you'd want to join it though if you don't believe it, is your middle name troll perchance?
winhill - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> In reply to dissonance:

> Can you elaborate on exactly which eastern religion is peaceful? Outside of Jainism.

> Hinduism

> Buddhism

> Sikhism

> Taoism

> Shinto

> Confucianism

Although followers of all of those can be extremely violent, Hindu riots in India kill thousands, Buddhists in Myanmar look a tad dogdy, Sikhism is really a military cult, the Japanese and Chinese like a good ruck.

How are they peaceful, except that they don't specifically instruct followers to go out and slaughter innocents?

It looks like they're exotic because they're eastern, a bit like eating monkey brains.

johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to winhill:

> Although followers of all of those can be extremely violent, Hindu riots in India kill thousands, Buddhists in Myanmar look a tad dogdy, Sikhism is really a military cult, the Japanese and Chinese like a good ruck.

> How are they peaceful, except that they don't specifically instruct followers to go out and slaughter innocents?

> It looks like they're exotic because they're eastern, a bit like eating monkey brains.

I can understand when someone presents information in a manner such as this means the point I have posted is something which I have misunderstood, all I was seeing was the peaceful aspects of the eastern religions. When every religion can be exploited by evil.

I concede in this point that my assumption wasn't correct, thank you:)
csw on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Well I'll respond as you put my name in quite attractive square brackets, I must admit I know very little about Hinduism as I haven't studied it as to me it's just another system of mind control however I thought it was peaceful as I never sang, Onward Hindu soldiers marching onto war when I was at skool so I'll have to take your word for it that it's another death cult, strange that you'd want to join it though if you don't believe it, is your middle name troll perchance?

It's far from being a death cult - even if Kali's cult gets misrepresented that way. But there are plenty of martial references in the Baghavad Gita. Krishna's dialogue with Arjuna re: killing your enemies, with love, for instance......

Thing is, I can respect the ideas in religious texts without believing in the literal existence of the deities they're attributed to. My main argument with Christians, isn't that Jesus' ideas were crap - it's all the garbage about original sin, redemption through blood sacrifice, plus all the hate speech in the OT - and all the things Jesus said, that are worth listening to, have been said by some Hindu God or avatar. So all other things being equal if I was to choose, I'd choose hinduism. Also the food's better.....
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to csw:

> It's far from being a death cult - even if Kali's cult gets misrepresented that way. But there are plenty of martial references in the Baghavad Gita. Krishna's dialogue with Arjuna re: killing your enemies, with love, for instance......

> Thing is, I can respect the ideas in religious texts without believing in the literal existence of the deities they're attributed to. My main argument with Christians, isn't that Jesus' ideas were crap - it's all the garbage about original sin, redemption through blood sacrifice, plus all the hate speech in the OT - and all the things Jesus said, that are worth listening to, have been said by some Hindu God or avatar. So all other things being equal if I was to choose, I'd choose hinduism. Also the food's better.....

Yes Jesus the man was obviously well studied as he said nothing new, just repeated the older teachings, but what's wrong in repeating messages of truth and freedom, like I say I'm not religious far from it.
csw on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to imkevinmc:

I think I'd probably take the sadhu path - only instead of an orange robe and a trident I'd take ice tools and a duvet, and go seeking Kali in Himachal Pradesh...
csw on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Yes Jesus the man was obviously well studied as he said nothing new, just repeated the older teachings, but what's wrong in repeating messages of truth and freedom, like I say I'm not religious far from it.

Nothing at all wrong with that. Nothing at all wrong with a religion that has space in it for disagreement either.
Trangia - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'd have two religions

One that encourages debauchery, fornication, drinking and having it away with virgins,and

Roman Catholicism where by when you have overdone things you can go and confess, get forgiven and then start all over again.
Shani - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Well maybe the reasons I stay away from those threads in general as I believe in the essence of god, and I also believe the teaching of Jesus Christ are very important

Believing in the essence of God...would you be as accommodating about those who believe in the 'essence' of Unicorns or other supernatural beings?

As for the teaching of Jesus, I understand that he largely paraphrased what was there long before his arrival. Most of us can agree that mankind as a species have been around for circa 200,000 years - and managed to reciprocate at some level quite successfully before the (supposed) arrival of Jesus (he did arrive very late to the party). Most religious people on the planet get by without his teaching (Christians are a global minority). These points suggest that we can and do do very well without his teachings.

Jesus also misses out the BIG one - the Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity.

SethChili - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to tlm:

> How did you choose Christianity over Islam?

Islam came across as much less about a personal relationship with God and much more about total submission to a unknown force which I should be afraid of . The Islamic community was harder to engage with and I was very uncomfortable with their attitude towards women .
Also , Islam as a religion cannot really be examined historically in the same sense a Christianity - I was not inside Muhammed's head at the time so I will never know whether God actually told him to write the Koran . Like I said , very interesting regardless of my final conclusion .
contrariousjim - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> Jesus also misses out the BIG one - the Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity.

See Luke 10:25 including the Love your neighbour as yourself, with the subsequent qualification of who your neighbour is with the story of the good samaritan. Also see Matthew 7:12.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Shani - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> See Luke 10:25 including the Love your neighbour as yourself, with the subsequent qualification of who your neighbour is with the story of the good samaritan. Also see Matthew 7:12.

How could the Good Samaritan have been a Christian or follower of Jesus?
contrariousjim - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

I didn't say he was, or a real individual for that matter. Its a parable!! An illustrative story about how entrenched differences are not a reason not to act with love for your neighbour.
dek - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Trangia:

> I'd have two religions

> One that encourages debauchery, fornication, drinking and having it away with virgins,and

> Roman Catholicism where by when you have overdone things you can go and confess, get forgiven and then start all over again.

The Sky fairy allah, says Islam offers all those fringe benefits.....there's just a little downside to qualifying though.......;-)

Shani - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> I didn't say he was, or a real individual for that matter. Its a parable!! An illustrative story about how entrenched differences are not a reason not to act with love for your neighbour.

True.

And whilst talking of Luke: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." Luke 19:27.

Again just a parable, but isn't this Jesus calling for the killing of unbelievers?
Post edited at 16:24
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to SteveoS:

Exactly you can't argue with gods that feel like an acid trip
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Jan 2014
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 94.197.121.195.threembb.co.uk
In reply to Shani:

> Believing in the essence of God...would you be as accommodating about those who believe in the 'essence' of Unicorns or other supernatural beings?

If that's what gets people high, that's cool by me.
Shani - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> If that's what gets people high, that's cool by me.

Seriously? So if the House of Lords were to appoint someone who believed in Unicorns in one of the 26 roles of Lords Spiritual, you'd be cool with that?
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

Hi John thanks for your reply.
So I take it that you do not subscribe to any particular religion but you do have spiritual leanings. How did you come to them rather than any other?
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 94.197.121.195.threembb.co.uk
In reply to Shani:

> Seriously? So if the House of Lords were to appoint someone who believed in Unicorns in one of the 26 roles of Lords Spiritual, you'd be cool with that?

If the lords saw fit to appoint a unicorn handler well who am I to judge
johnj on 07 Jan 2014 - 94.197.121.195.threembb.co.uk
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Hi Duncan, my instint tells me that there's more too it than the simple we eat we sit and we die job.
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

Thank you for that.
Out of interest why did you find the Christian view the most logical? I ask as when I believed I found the Eastern ideas of re-incarnation and the Buddhist views on Life, suffering and desire to be more consistent with the world view I saw rather than the Christian "one shot at heaven through Christ" idea that was put to me
Sir Chasm - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> True.

> And whilst talking of Luke: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." Luke 19:27.

> Again just a parable, but isn't this Jesus calling for the killing of unbelievers?

What's the problem? They had a choice.
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

Hinduism is probably one of the worlds oldest religions and as such has absorbed quite a few other religions in its time. I have seen Buddha in hindu temples alongside Christ (they are all avatars of Shiva doncha know). But for many in India Hinduism is more than religion it is culture, society and everything in between. The caste system is still very much a part of it, though that is slowly changing, and it is not what I would call a peaceful relgion, at least no more so than Christianity if you take on board the old testament, there are battles and slayings, angry Gods and destructive ones, the most famous being Kali. Even Shiva has a duel aspect of creation and destruction.
I think it is fair to say that some religions are peaceful in certain aspects, but in the real world peaceful people tend to get obliterated by none peaceful people so many of the big religions also contain elements that allow for defense (or even offence). Of the religons that seem truely peaceful Jainism, Quakers, and most Buddhist sects come to mind
Jayboy - on 07 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Peter Griffin says "Christians don't believe in gravity". F*ck me! that's gotta be beneficial to bouldering!! Picked!!
Dave Garnett - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
> (In reply to dissonance)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> love it!

Having recently discovered Sainsbury's hummous with caramelised onions (dangerously addictive) I'm thinking of combining it with crispy smoked bacon lardons and then popularising it as a contribution to Middle East reconciliation.
SethChili - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Thank you for that.

> Out of interest why did you find the Christian view the most logical?

As a christian I believe that the way to heaven is through Christ - I know having a single door , narrow road approach to this is not fashionable but it is basis of my belief . Logically , the Bible is (excluding miracles , which are self evidently un-explainable ) more compatible with accepted scientific and historical observation : Creation from Nothing fits with the big bang . The locations mentioned existed . Accounts of Jesus were written very soon after they happened and copies were made - unlike most writings of the time ( Roman histories were especially naff ).

Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:
> (In reply to Duncan Bourne)
>
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> As a christian I believe that the way to heaven is through Christ - I know having a single door , narrow road approach to this is not fashionable but it is basis of my belief . Logically , the Bible is (excluding miracles , which are self evidently un-explainable ) more compatible with accepted scientific and historical observation : Creation from Nothing fits with the big bang . The locations mentioned existed . Accounts of Jesus were written very soon after they happened and copies were made - unlike most writings of the time ( Roman histories were especially naff ).

Interesting. Surely you couldn't have made this decision with full knowledge of all other competing religious models? That being the case, how can you trust the quality of your conclusion?
csw on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

> Logically , the Bible is (excluding miracles , which are self evidently un-explainable ) more compatible with accepted scientific and historical observation : Creation from Nothing fits with the big bang . The locations mentioned existed . Accounts of Jesus were written very soon after they happened and copies were made - unlike most writings of the time ( Roman histories were especially naff ).

It's always risky, invoking logic to support religion, since apart from everything else, there's plenty of stuff in the bible that inconsistent with other bits, and logic is about consistency more than truth.

However, how likely would you say it is, that the creator of heaven and earth, would confine all of his activity to the area outlined in the map below?

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/1604863_788384764520999_195064499_n.jpg

The reason faith is called faith, is that it flies in the face of logic. If believing what you do helps you to live a good life and to leave the world in a better state than you found it, then it's hard to see that as a bad thing, but logical is precisely what such belief isn't.

TheDrunkenBakers - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne: As I am profoundly atheist I would struggle to select any of them. In the spirit of the thread however, and I as see them all as bonkers nonsense, then I suppose I would want to go the whole hog and opt for the most bonkers of the lot, Scientology.

Have a read here, madder than a box of frogs:

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


csw on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I once had the idea that I could go to a beach in India and walk up to someone and just say "Hi - I'm God" and take it from there - Sooner or later someone would believe me, and once you have believers, it kind of snowballs from there - It worked for Rajneesh after all :)
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

> Accounts of Jesus were written very soon after they happened and copies were made - unlike most writings of the time ( Roman histories were especially naff ).

OK, so tell us when the earliest account of Jesus as a living human being was written? I suspect you can't produce any evidence for anything written earlier than about AD 80 to AD 90 or so, which is not "very soon after they [supposedly] happened".

None of the accounts of a human Jesus even claim to be by someone who had met him, indeed none of them even claim to be written by anyone who had met anyone who had met Jesus. Not to mention that we have very little idea who any of the authors actually were.

In contrast, to pick just one example, Caesar's "Gallic Wars" was written by the guy himself. Lots of other Roman histories were written by authors who we know who they were, when they wrote, what their sources of information were, and who were contemporaneous with events and who were often corroborated by others (for example there are lots of coins and statues and Roman forts and independent writings that corrroborate "Gallic Wars").

The idea that the New Testament is better history than typical Roman history is just Christian apologetics, it is a claim made up to tell the children in Sunday school, but is actually the opposite of the truth. The truth is that the New Testament is about as unreliable as history as it gets.
Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to SethChili)
>
> [...]
>
> OK, so tell us when the earliest account of Jesus as a living human being was written? I suspect you can't produce any evidence for anything written earlier than about AD 80 to AD 90 or so, which is not "very soon after they [supposedly] happened".

What interests me about this is that whilst I am willing to set the bar at a 'reasonable' height when it comes to the existence of Jesus, when it comes to examples of his 'miracles' ... well the claim of a miracle should arguably require the highest possible bar as, by definition, a miracle operates beyond all known laws of physics.

Should we really trust the retold stories of the illiterate, ignorant and superstitious?

Would we trust even an educated modern-day sheep farmer from Cumbria if he said that his great-great-great-great grandfather conversed with a burning bush?
contrariousjim - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In contrast, to pick just one example, Caesar's "Gallic Wars" was written by the guy himself. Lots of other Roman histories were written by authors who we know who they were, when they wrote, what their sources of information were, and who were contemporaneous with events and who were often corroborated by others (for example there are lots of coins and statues and Roman forts and independent writings that corrroborate "Gallic Wars").

They were the major holders of power!.. and yet, the earliest extant sources for gallic wars is 9th century.
contrariousjim - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> What interests me about this is that whilst I am willing to set the bar at a 'reasonable' height when it comes to the existence of Jesus, when it comes to examples of his 'miracles' ... well the claim of a miracle should arguably require the highest possible bar as, by definition, a miracle operates beyond all known laws of physics.

Whose definition is that? Sounds like Dawkins.. ..similar to his (re)definition of faith as well. How about they were just things events out of the norm, not explained!?
Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> Whose definition is that? Sounds like Dawkins.. ..similar to his (re)definition of faith as well. How about they were just things events out of the norm, not explained!?

It is my own. Walking on water for example breaks the laws of physics (unless it is frozen, shallow, you're Dynamo). This is indeed 'out of the norm', and clearly requires some form of explanation as you can't simply pass this by.
csw on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Whose definition is that? Sounds like Dawkins.. ..similar to his (re)definition of faith as well. How about they were just things events out of the norm, not explained!?

How about they were lies?
Sir Chasm - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim: Is anything that hasn't yet been explained a miracle? Or are only some unexplained things miracles?
Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
>
> [...]
>
> How about they were lies?

Yep - 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'.

If someone claims that a friend of a friend walked on water, what is the more likely; a) the event was true? b) the story is fabricated?

It seems that the evidence that Jesus performing miracles rests upon the circular argument that he performed miracles, therefore he 'could' perform miracles.
Clarence - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Why pick one when you can embrace Chaos and pick a new one every day?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_magic#Magical_paradigm_shifting

Chaos, if you don't like it, look again tomorrow.
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> They were the major holders of power!.. and yet, the earliest extant sources for gallic wars is 9th century.

Yes, but the earliest extant sources for most of the New Testament date from about AD 350, by which time Christianity was the official Roman Empire religion, and had armies of monks dedicated to copying out the NT for the next generation. Three hundred years after the supposed events is hardly contemporaneous.
Seocan - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Clarence:

I'm with you Clarence, but I didn't realise I was into Chaosism, I choose a different one every few weeks just in case one of them actually has some substance and there is afterlife, as I queue to get in i'll present my expired subscription and explain that I was just going to renew ... just as I myself expired.
Praise be to [enter your own preference here]

Did anybody actually get an understandable definition for what a fourth density is?
contrariousjim - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

> How about they were lies?

Couldn't express your wishful thinking better!
contrariousjim - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> It seems that the evidence that Jesus performing miracles rests upon the circular argument that he performed miracles, therefore he 'could' perform miracles.

What else would it rest on... ...going back in time and submitting Jesus to some experiments carried by modern scientists?!!! There is no historical evidence that would be accepted by modern day physical scientists as sufficient to justify miracles defined in the way you do.
csw on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Couldn't express your wishful thinking better!

Yes you could - this is a far better example of wishful thinking...

How about they were just things events out of the norm, not explained!?

Treading the fine line between wishful thinking and self delusion - My advice is to stock up on ketchup - you'll be eating these words every time you ask anyone to substantiate a claim based on rational thought :)
Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> What else would it rest on... ...going back in time and submitting Jesus to some experiments carried by modern scientists?!!! There is no historical evidence that would be accepted by modern day physical scientists as sufficient to justify miracles defined in the way you do.

So where is your 'quality gate'? How could you know that you are not being deluded here - and indeed, what stops you from being fooled? How do you know you are following the right god or religion?
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

So do you actually believe these miracles occurred? Afterall, you don't have even one account by anyone who was there, and supposedly saw it, not one account by anyone who claims to have met Jesus, not one account dating from the time of Jesus's (supposed) life. Given that, how can one possibly even begin to believe that the miracles might have been real?
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Clarence:

Funnily enough I was a practioner of chaos magic(k) still have some of Pete Carroll's books on my shelf. He developed it mostly form the writings of the artist Austin Osman Spare.
Clarence - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I read Spare back in the early 80s at a time when Michael Moorcock was fashionable and Games Workshop was all the rage for geeky teens like me. When Carroll's Liber Null and Psychonaut arrived on the scene I was hooked. On the face of it chaos magic is complete bobbins yet there are ideas behind it all that have come to underpin my entire worldview and made me more content and better disposed to my fellow man. Do you still have chaotic leanings, with or without the magic?
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

> Logically , the Bible is (excluding miracles , which are self evidently un-explainable ) more compatible with accepted scientific and historical observation : Creation from Nothing fits with the big bang .

I would say that applies to pretty much all religions. Every religion has its creation myth and they nearly always start from the something from nothing scenario. In "The Tao of Physics" Fritjof Capra outlined parallels between Eastern Mysticism and atomic theory.

The locations mentioned existed .

Again this applied to most religions, most especially Hinduism and Buddhism which are both rooted in the history of the lands they originated from. Though I suppose technically Buddhism is a philosophy with aspects of religion attatched.

Accounts of Jesus were written very soon after they happened and copies were made - unlike most writings of the time ( Roman histories were especially naff ).

As Coel has already mentioned there are many contemporary accounts of history. There is an excellent scholarly study of the Bible "The Unauthorised Version" by Robin Lane Fox which deals with the issue of when the Bible was written.
The same applies to other religious figures such as Mohammed, Buddha or Joseph Smith.

From a religious stand point I find the single door approach to be most illogical as you then have to account for the suffering of the world and whether tribes in obscure locations who have never heard of Christ, unbaptised children, people born before Christ, people who ate meat on Friday when it was considered a sin etc. get to go to heaven or not. Where as the reincarnation view point of many lives explains the suffering of the world as tests on the way to perfection and life being cyclic rather than linear, which again from a religious point seemed to make more sense to me

bullybones - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Seems to me, given that each religion is a different falsehood, that you may as well subscribe to that version of falsehood that offers the best afterlife. On that basis, I reckon your best bet for eternal life is being a Mayan king or the 'emperor' of N Korea. As neither of these options is available, I'm sticking with anti-theism.
Post edited at 17:20
csw on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to John H Bull:

If you want the best afterlife, then might I suggest the one with the strippers and the beer volcano?
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Clarence:

I think I do. For me it was the concept that you need to experience things direct and not through books or secondhand learning and that ritual was a tool that could be customised to explore the psyche that appealed. But mostly the idea of going direct to the source of things. This was later mirrored by the phrase "meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha" which is explained as take the lesson on board but not the teacher. ie. not to worship the figure head.
Clarence - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

It seems to be a common experience, once you have mentally clicked into an empirical spirituality groove and realised that utilitarian aspect to religion it is a difficult thing to shake off again.
johnj on 08 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

The whole Christian eternal life view when I've thought about it is essentially reincarnation, however it seems to me that the Christian viewpoint is somewhat reductionist in nature and says at this point in time your are judged on this life and all future life is made through this one, but eternity doesn't really add up as you'd spend some time in hell and then get promoted to chief rounder up of the new meat, and before too long hell would be pretty cool, so then things move on, and maybe you get another go at it to learn the lessons of peace love and been excellent to each other...... dude!

Another thing what doesn't stack up with the Christian thing of eternal is how can it be eternal if I was born in 1968, so maybe for me hell is been trapped on UKC talking nonsense as usual with my Cyber buddies as I'm really dead from my last life as a naughty wood pigeon?
Post edited at 17:50
SethChili - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'm sorry this thread has kind of turned into a christianity debate . I originally thought it was just a place to briefly state what you believed and why .
With regards to suffering , I would say that it is a result of the fall of man - essentially a rebellion against God which marred everything which exists .
The book of Hebrews describes extensively how people before Jesus were saved by faith - they were sure of what they didn't see .
I stand by what I said about Roman histories . The earliest copy of Caesar's Gallic War was produced in AD900 .

I know many people laugh at my faith , but it is a free society and we are all entitled to our own opinion . But despite what many fundamentalist christians think , being christian does not mean you are entitled to make up your own evidence .
I said in my first post I am not religious - religion builds huge churches but fails to feed the homeless .I follow what I believe to be right .

What ever you believe , I wish you nothing but the best . I'll be praying for snow - winter climbing is difficult without winter conditions !
tlm - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

> I'm sorry this thread has kind of turned into a christianity debate . I originally thought it was just a place to briefly state what you believed and why .

How long have you been using ukc???!!! :-)

Don't worry - there are other people reading what you write as well as the usual, inevitable debate.
tlm - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

So of everyone who has replied, is there anyone who now follows a different religion to the one that they were culturally exposed to when young? People have come up with all sorts of reasons for choosing their religion, but it still seems to end up being the one that you learnt about as a child on the whole (or atheism) rather than switching to a different religion...
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> The whole Christian eternal life view when I've thought about it is essentially reincarnation, however it seems to me that the Christian viewpoint is somewhat reductionist in nature and says at this point in time your are judged on this life and all future life is made through this one, but eternity doesn't really add up as you'd spend some time in hell and then get promoted to chief rounder up of the new meat, and before too long hell would be pretty cool, so then things move on, and maybe you get another go at it to learn the lessons of peace love and been excellent to each other...... dude!

It was the whole eternity based on one judgement thing which turned me off it in secondary school. The idea of life as a series of learning experiences seemed to fit better in my view
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

I think that is more down to Christianity being the predominate faith in this country more than anything.
I think it is good to think about what you believe and to question it.
Not laughing but discussing.
Eastern religions do not have a fall of man
johnj on 08 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> It was the whole eternity based on one judgement thing which turned me off it in secondary school. The idea of life as a series of learning experiences seemed to fit better in my view

Yes it seems very poorly thought out as eternity is infinite, how can you be judged for that whole amount of time which when viewed overall this lifetime is essentially a knee jerk reaction.
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to tlm:

Me definitely. I have worked my way from Christianity through various spiritual concepts to atheism
johnj on 08 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to tlm:

I was brought up as Christian, that didn't make difference, at one point I tried selling my soul to santa, but he didn't seem interested and instead I found out later that I'd been possessed by a lower form of lost spirit that hadn't gone onto the next place, he was a bit of an lazy thing really and whilst been a nice enough dude he just liked Mary Jane and heavy metal and wasting time, luckily I stopped doing what he wanted and he saw there were more interesting folk to harass so he jumped on the train to that London a few years back now.

My spiritual belief is that the soul of higher self is similar to the example show in the avatar film, that we plug into this body like a virtual reality game and at the end of it we get our game reviewed and assessed and then depending on performance we are assigned another journey.
Post edited at 18:58
kendogcatchy - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I'm not really convinced you're right in anything you've just said to be honest. The new testament is written very much (with the exception of revelations, which is fairly district) in a journalistic reporting style: Jesus went to X, met Y did Z - precisely so that members of the early church could verify what had happened. Similarly around half the books within the new testament are written by Paul - alive at the same time as Jesus. If you ever go to isreal you'll see there's enough historical evidence that the man Jesus existed - whether you believe he was the son of God is another question.

Here's an interesting question: Why would so many people in the immediate aftermath of Jesus's death start following his preachings?

There are over 2billion Christians world wide, so a few people decided to follow…
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

I presume that it is here or similar places that you get the information on age of the Gallic wars from?

http://executableoutlines.com/ca/ca_06.htm

It is quite credible but a little disturbing that the only sources for the age of the documents on Caesar's Gallic wars are all Christian websites. I would be interested to see if anyone can find some independent corroboration of the statements in the above link.
If true, does this then lend strength to the argument for the historic existence of Jesus if not the validity of Christianity?
kendogcatchy - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

i have a friend whose's big into his history I'll ask if there are any non christian sources.

I think there's plenty of evidence for Jesus being a real person - i suppose you could suggest that someone ran around the middle east 2000 years ago pretending to be a chap called Jesus, but you'd have to ask why. That takes Bill Hick's prankster God to another level...
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

That would be interesting.

I have a couple of questions.
a) If Caesar's Gallic war was not written down until 950 CE (or AD if you prefer) then what was it based on? Earlier writings now lost? Does this then call into question the historic basis for Julius Caesar himself and Roman history as we know it. Ditto for Tacitus etc. I have copies of all these but none state what the original sources were.

b) The earliest Christian texts were written at least 50 years after the death of Christ. Do we have these original texts?

In short what is the earliest surviving Christian document compared to the earliest surviving non-christian on.
The earliest I know is the Dead sea scrolls but their Christ like figure (not expressly named) is a man leading a band of guerillas and actively fighting the Roman occupation
SethChili - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Yep corroboration is the way to go . I was quoting Christian sources yes , and they will obviously be angled at supporting my beliefs yes ! Some good secular research into reliability of Roman documents would be great ( as opposed to Dawkins-esk atheists who are , just like Fundamentalist christians , prone to propping up their view at all costs . )
I think that if Roman documents were shown to be un reliable and the Bible is believed ( and shown by many different studies ) to be reliable , then it would support the reality of Jesus as a historical figure .
SethChili - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
It is a popular argument amongst christians that there is ''more evidence for Jesus than Julias Caesar'' . I tend not to use this one as it comes across a bit low end - and it is tricky to verify and usually turns into a historical ''quote mining'' battle with both sides picking out the texts which support their view rather than looking at it as a whole
I think that the sooner a copy has been made , the closer to the original it will be . Herodotus , Thucydides , Tacitus and Livy all have a period of at least 500 years between the time when their works were written and the earliest copies we have located . Interesting stuff .
I'm inadvertently hijacking this thread into a is-the-bible-accurate-did jesus exist discussion , so I will leave it here .,
Post edited at 19:50
kendogcatchy - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Th earliest copy we have of Gallic Wars is from 950AD - hence we cannot know that it's an exact copy - the main point being that we have many more and much older copies of the new testament (200AD) so you can tract the "progression" of the document through the years.

I emailed my vicar who pointed me here: http://www.bibleone.net/print_SF10.html but again, this is a Christian website, so I can't pull up peer reviews etc, but I think the methodology meets my common sense understanding!

Interesting that you mention Tacitus, as I believe he mentions Jesus.

The earliest texts were written in the years afterwards during the founding of the church - Corinthians is Paul writing to the church in Corinth, basically giving them a shooing (hence I always have a wry smile when people use this for weddings) - this was written in 55AD - broadly speaking I believe the NT was finished by 80AD, so within living memory of Jesus
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:


> I'm inadvertently hijacking this thread into a is-the-bible-accurate-did jesus exist discussion , so I will leave it here .,

I agree. That has been done before I was more interested in widening the thread into a discussion of comparing religious/spiritual beliefs than specifics on did one religion exist or not.
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

here is one I found

http://www.jstor.org/stable/263259
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

> The new testament is written very much (with the exception of revelations, which is fairly
> district) in a journalistic reporting style: Jesus went to X, met Y did Z ...

Really? It doesn't seem that way to me.

> - precisely so that members of the early church could verify what had happened.

How do you know that? How do you know what the motive for the style was; how do you know when it was written; how do you know how many "members of the early church" were around to verify it?

> Similarly around half the books within the new testament are written by Paul - alive at the same time as Jesus.

Alive at the same time as (supposedly) Jesus was, yes. But by his own words he never met a living-as-a-human Jesus. Even more remarkably, none of his writings ever refer to anyone who he says had met Jesus! He seems to have no conception of anyone actually meeting a living-as-a-human Jesus. Which is rather remarkable, don't you think, for the earliest Christian writings, written by someone, as you say, alive at the same time as the [supposed] Jesus?

More minor point, only about 7 of the 26 books of the NT are accepted as being written by Paul. Another 7 or so are reckoned to be forged, by people unknown pretending to be Paul.

> If you ever go to isreal you'll see there's enough historical evidence that the man Jesus existed ...

Eh??? I've been to Israel and saw no such evidence. Really??? What are you referring to? Are you sure you're not just parroting what you were told in Sunday school?

> Here's an interesting question: Why would so many people in the immediate aftermath of Jesus's death start following his preachings?

How many people are you claiming "in the immediate aftermath of Jesus's death start following his preachings"? Give me numbers for what I'm supposed to explain, before asking me to explain it.

The fact is that the Christian church grew, up the point of Constantine adopting it as the Roman Empire religion, at about the same rate as the Mormon church has grown. And we know that Mormonism was simply made up by a known con-artist.

> There are over 2billion Christians world wide, so a few people decided to follow…

The popularity today is mostly a result of Constantine adopting it as the Roman Empire's religion.
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

> I think there's plenty of evidence for Jesus being a real person

Produce it then.
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

> Interesting that you mention Tacitus, as I believe he mentions Jesus.

Tacitus is writing about AD117. His account only shows the existence of Christianity by then, which proves very little. We know that Mormonism existed by about 1860, but that doesn't prove the existence of the Angel Moroni or any of the other mythical figures in the founding of that religion.

> The earliest texts were written in the years afterwards during the founding of the church -
> Corinthians is Paul writing to the church in Corinth, basically giving them a shooing

Which is why it is remarkable that Paul has no conception of a living-as-a-human Jesus, and shows no conception of anyone having met such a man.

> broadly speaking I believe the NT was finished by 80AD, so within living memory of Jesus

By "I believe the NT was finished by 80AD" do you mean you believe it, because your vicar told you it, or do you mean that you have evidence for it? If the latter, please present it. Note that, just for example, the recent Acts Seminar report is giving a date for Acts of about AD120.

> , so within living memory of Jesus ...

Now produce anything by any writer who claims to have met a living-as-a-human Jesus. Or even, produce anything by any writer who claims to have met someone who met Jesus. If you can't do that this "within living memory" of this supposed person is rather meaningless.
Coel Hellier - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to SethChili:

> It is a popular argument amongst christians that there is ''more evidence for Jesus than Julias Caesar''
> . I tend not to use this one as it comes across a bit low end - and it is tricky to verify and usually
> turns into a historical ''quote mining'' battle with both sides picking out the texts which support
> their view rather than looking at it as a whole

Any Christians who even try that one are rather foolish, owing to the vast number of coins and statutes of Caesar, dating from his lifetime, and the contemporary corroborative accounts, and the archeological evidence that corroborates his Gallic Wars etc (finding forts where he said they were, etc).
Shani - on 08 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:
> Here's an interesting question: Why would so many people in the immediate aftermath of Jesus's death start following his preachings?

Easy. At least 5000 of them would have attended a party where he fed 5000 party goers with three fish and a couple of loaves of bread. Another couple would have seen him walking on water (not something you could keep quiet), and then there are the myriad sick, lame and dead he restored to health and fitness.

If you're performing those kinds of miracles in public whilst claiming to be the son of God you'd easily attract followers as you'd have demonstrated/evidenced supernatural powers beyond ANYTHING known or witnessed before.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

Interesting comment from Tim Minchen today about how all recent religions were created by clearly fraudulent people.

What are the chances that medium aged religions have any more of an inauspicious start!?
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

The real truth on the whole situation is, nobody down here on Earth really will ever know until they leave in the way of dying, everything on both sides are just belief systems, the atheists they don't really know anything they just believe something so strongly that they think their beliefs are truthful. This is how all fraud takes place a bit of truth woven into the scam.

The example of Jesus is robust enough to have stood the test of time, even if the guy was a pure fake he must have done something pretty special to have been remembered in this way, I'd be very surprised if anyone can remember Tony Blair, or the vote for change drone bombers on either side of the pond in even a few lifetimes.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> (In reply to Shani)
>
> The real truth on the whole situation is, nobody down here on Earth really will ever know until they leave in the way of dying, everything on both sides are just belief systems, the atheists they don't really know anything they just believe something so strongly that they think their beliefs are truthful. This is how all fraud takes place a bit of truth woven into the scam.

I can agree with some of this, but atheism is NOT a belief system. Calling atheism a belief system is like calling not-skiing a winter sport.

> The example of Jesus is robust enough to have stood the test of time, even if the guy was a pure fake he must have done something pretty special to have been remembered in this way, I'd be very surprised if anyone can remember Tony Blair, or the vote for change drone bombers on either side of the pond in even a few lifetimes.

I don't think you need to do something that special to be remembered. Do you believe the divine claims of Joseph Smith (Mormon) and L.Ron Hubbard (Scientology)? Thousands do, so why not you?
Post edited at 08:51
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> I can agree with some of this, but atheism is NOT a belief system. Calling atheism a belief system is like calling not-skiing a winter sport.

Atheism is a belief system, atheists believe something that cannot actually be proven therefore it's a belief system, personally I think it's a religion, however by saying this the dyed in the wool followers of the belief system start preaching at me to tell me why I'm wrong.

> I don't think you need to do something that special to be remembered. Do you believe the divine claims of Joseph Smith (Mormon) and L.Ron Hubbard (Scientology)? Thousands do, so why not you?

Mormons only a few hundred years old and a spin off religion, this is always happening with spiritual beliefs, at certain points in history there are always spiritual uprisings and at that point the scammers are also around.

Same with Scientology but much more recent, same with the hippies and the free love thing the whole scene was infiltrated with the feds, in the form of organizations like MK Ultra, to experiment with drugs like LCD and make sure the spiritually uprisings were always closely monitored and controlled
The New NickB - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Atheism is a belief system, atheists believe something that cannot actually be proven therefore it's a belief system, personally I think it's a religion, however by saying this the dyed in the wool followers of the belief system start preaching at me to tell me why I'm wrong.

Atheism is a lack of belief system. The word system of course makes it seem more complex than it is, in it's simple form is a lack of belief in one thing, because it can't be proven, i.e. god. It would be idiotic to call atheism a religion.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to The New NickB:

> Atheism is a lack of belief system. The word system of course makes it seem more complex than it is, in it's simple form is a lack of belief in one thing, because it can't be proven, i.e. god. It would be idiotic to call atheism a religion.

Well this is how the religion of atheism works, it's very militant in disproving all other religions, 2 it's pretty snide as it makes out its correct without offering any proof, and 3 because it's followers are so brainwashed by its teachings it's no holds barred with this one so they can call people names as well. All the other religions generally have good teachings like be excellent to each other dude:+)

Does anyone know where my local church of Bill and Ted is?
The New NickB - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> The example of Jesus is robust enough to have stood the test of time, even if the guy was a pure fake he must have done something pretty special to have been remembered in this way.

Same could be said about Robin Hood and King Arthur. Generally fictional figures, which may have had some or multiple histicorical person(s) burried in the myth, but probably not much.
The New NickB - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Well this is how the religion of atheism works, it's very militant in disproving all other religions, 2 it's pretty snide as it makes out its correct without offering any proof, and 3 because it's followers are so brainwashed by its teachings it's no holds barred with this one so they can call people names as well.

No that is how religion works, atheism isn't a religion.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to The New NickB:

> Same could be said about Robin Hood and King Arthur. Generally fictional figures, which may have had some or multiple histicorical person(s) burried in the myth, but probably not much.

Yes but king Arthur and Robin Hood are figures woven in folk law so we have the Robin Hood airport and King Arthurs pub, usually in England, the Christian Faith has extended to most of the secular places on earth which are very different orders of magnitude.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Do you believe in all gods?

johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to The New NickB:

> No that is how religion works, atheism isn't a religion.

Well spotted its a belief system which is often followed very religiously.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Define gods
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Let's start with a few easy ones, do you believe in Ra, Poseidon, Zeus and Belobog?

Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> ... atheists believe something that cannot actually be proven ...

No, that's not so. Atheists believe things for which there is evidence; if there is little or no evidence they lack belief in them.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Let's start with a few easy ones, do you believe in Ra, Poseidon, Zeus and Belobog?

It's not something I've ever really thought about, I don't either believe in them or disbelieve in them any further than the next man I've never even heard of Belobog, I did jump in a bog before just Christmas if that counts?

Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: So you're an atheist in respect of some gods but not others.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, that's not so. Atheists believe things for which there is evidence; if there is little or no evidence they lack belief in them.

So what you're saying is your tools cannot find god so you believe your tools are absolute proof until somebody makes a better tool and then you'll believe that one, what ever way you try and dress it up its' just a belief system. If you were a bit more honest and said I really don't know I may think you had a point.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> So you're an atheist in respect of some gods but not others.

Why people need to label people to make it fit with their world view I don't know, if this term of description works for you to define me, fine :)
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: You're the one who started labelling people atheists, y'know, the people who lack a belief in one god less than you.

johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> You're the one who started labelling people atheists, y'know, the people who lack a belief in one god less than you.

I didn't I said atheism was a belief system.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> I didn't I said atheism was a belief system.

And you're wrong, does your lack of belief in Belobog mean you have a belief system in there being no Belobog?
Post edited at 09:42
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> Atheism is a belief system, atheists believe something that cannot actually be proven therefore it's a belief system, personally I think it's a religion, however by saying this the dyed in the wool followers of the belief system start preaching at me to tell me why I'm wrong.
>

How can you believe in the 'non-ness' of something? If I told you that the there was a second moon orbiting Earth and made of green cheese, would your consider any disagreement with concept a belief system?

>
> Mormons only a few hundred years old and a spin off religion, this is always happening with spiritual beliefs, at certain points in history there are always spiritual uprisings and at that point the scammers are also around.

How do you know that Christianity didn't spin off from a scam?
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> And your wrong, does your lack of belief in Belobog mean you have a belief system in their being no Belobog?

well that's your view, I said I'd never heard of Belobog, I don't think you actually read anything anyone posts, are your a piece of software?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Well, you've heard of him now, do you believe in him?

Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> So what you're saying is your tools cannot find god ...

Yes.

> so you believe your tools are absolute proof ...

No. That is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we lack belief in things for which there is no evidence.

> until somebody makes a better tool and then you'll believe that one, ...

Sure, if someone produces evidence then we'll be happy to consider that and reach the appropriate conclusion.

> what ever way you try and dress it up its' just a belief system.

No it isn't.

> If you were a bit more honest and said I really don't know I may think you had a point.

I really don't know whether there are gods that our tools cannot detect. How on earth would I know about that? See, I've said it. We indeed are honest. And it's clear that you do not know much about how atheists actually think, do you?
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> How can you believe in the 'non-ness' of something?

I don't understand what you mean by this could you please expand


If I told you that the there was a second moon orbiting Earth and made of green cheese, would your consider any disagreement with concept a belief system?

I would believe you had told me this and then I may think you believed it or maybe would think that you were just saying things for a laugh, if I thought you had a point I would then look for more information on the matter



> How do you know that Christianity didn't spin off from a scam?

I don't, all I've said is for it to get to this place, something happened.

johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Yes.

> No. That is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we lack belief in things for which there is no evidence.

Which is the same thing, once you see evidence you believe it, however just because you can't see the evidence doesn't mean the evidence doesn't exist, so the bias of your belief is weighted on physical evidence, hence in laymans terms a belief system.

> Sure, if someone produces evidence then we'll be happy to consider that and reach the appropriate conclusion.

Of course and it's been going on for a long time so if you think you're going to tidy this up with a few soundbites on UKC you're probably mistaken

> No it isn't.

If you say so, but you offer no proof, i.e a belief system.

> I really don't know whether there are gods that our tools cannot detect. How on earth would I know about that? See, I've said it. We indeed are honest. And it's clear that you do not know much about how atheists actually think, do you?

Excellent well done;+)
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> ... so the bias of your belief is weighted on physical evidence, hence in laymans terms a belief system.

No, not so. It's a simple matter of lacking belief in things for which there is no evidence. That includes all sorts of evidence, not just "physical evidence".
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't understand what you mean by this could you please expand

A few of us are making/have made this same point so it is worth me expanding....

You are saying that atheism is a belief system. You seem to think that we believe in the 'absence' of a god. But I and others are contesting this idea in that we just don't believe that there is/are god/s. (We are only one robust piece of evidence away from joining the faithful)

The clearest way I can think to phrase this is my example above; would you consider non-skiing a winter sport? This is analogous to considering atheism a belief system.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, not so. It's a simple matter of lacking belief in things for which there is no evidence. That includes all sorts of evidence, not just "physical evidence".

So the belief stems from the choice, in one case we believe in spirituality, and the other case we don't, and then we look for evidence of either viewpoint in the generally in both cases, the 'lack of' evidence.

At this point it appears to me that charisma comes into it and those of either persuasion are drawn to those who appear to have more knowledge on the subject as we all want to learn, so there are two definite paths.

I seem to remember C.S Lewis covering this in one of his children's books about the noble and just man who didn't believe in anything who had so to speak been on the wrong side but at the end of the journey passed the test better than those who maybe preached a good line but it was all a scam.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> So the belief stems from the choice, in one case we believe in spirituality, ...

So you choose to believe, and then you believe because you believe. OK, fine. The atheist does not make that choice to believe. Omitting that step is not a "belief system".
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> A few of us are making/have made this same point so it is worth me expanding....

> You are saying that atheism is a belief system. You seem to think that we believe in the 'absence' of a god. But I and others are contesting this idea in that we just don't believe that there is/are god/s. (We are only one robust piece of evidence away from joining the faithful)

Yes and you can take this view of Christianity, those who follow just the words of Jesus without the add ons, and those that have been brainwashed by the following cult and can often be scumbags don't you know, but go and confess every week and pay their 10% into the scheme, drink a little wine and get high

> The clearest way I can think to phrase this is my example above; would you consider non-skiing a winter sport? This is analogous to considering atheism a belief system.


I really don't understand what an answer would prove, which shows the limitations of on-line debate, due to the sound bite nature of correspondence we generally only see occasional keywords and focus on that point rather than tying to get a more robust impression of what the other is saying.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> How can you believe in the 'non-ness' of something? If I told you that the there was a second moon orbiting Earth and made of green cheese, would your consider any disagreement with concept a belief system?
Think about it. If you meet a concept, especially one you meet frequently enough, your brain doesn't have neurons that form thoughts that are "absence of belief".. ..they'd have neurons that form "belief in absence".. The latter may well be true in something you've never or rarely been exposed to, or rarely thought about, but the psychological, as distinct from rhetorical, truth of the way the brain behaves is that you cannot help your brain coming to definite beliefs.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So you choose to believe, and then you believe because you believe. OK, fine. The atheist does not make that choice to believe. Omitting that step is not a "belief system".

Your words, but the way I see it the atheist has made the choice not to believe the system in place, fine, that system may only have some truth but it doesn't mean on the grander scale it's not true. Whichever way you look at it, you have some very strong beliefs to go to the nth degree on here continually repeating the same points.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim: In respect of Ra, Zeus and Poseidon (assuming you've been exposed to those concepts), do you actively disbelieve?
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
> Think about it. If you meet a concept, especially one you meet frequently enough, your brain doesn't have neurons that form thoughts that are "absence of belief".. ..they'd have neurons that form "belief in absence".. The latter may well be true in something you've never or rarely been exposed to, or rarely thought about, but the psychological, as distinct from rhetorical, truth of the way the brain behaves is that you cannot help your brain coming to definite beliefs.

I'm in broad agreement here. But I'd wager you are very familiar with many Greek, Roman and Norse gods so this raises the questions:

1) Do you believe in any or all of Ra, Zeus and Thor (all of whom you will be familiar with)?
2) If your answer to the above question is 'no', is this a 'belief'?


Come to think of it, I don't believe in the Yeti and I suspect you don't. Nor do either of us believe in Santa. So would you consider that 'to NOT believe in the Yeti/Santa' is a belief system?
Post edited at 10:41
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Your words, but the way I see it the atheist has made the choice not to believe the system in place, fine, ...

You mean the atheist finds it very unconvincing and thus lacks belief.

> Whichever way you look at it, you have some very strong beliefs ...

Sure I do. For example I have a strong belief that if I go to Sainsbury's this afternoon I'll be able to buy some food for my dinner. I have this strong belief owing to a large amount of evidence for this sort of thing happening.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You mean the atheist finds it very unconvincing and thus lacks belief.

I think everyone who's thought about the examples as given in the bible would find things on the edges of reality. However the fact that it is engrained into history means it isn't going away.

So at that point there are several choices

which would be something

1 don't care
2 believe in it fully
3 disbelieve in it fully
4 start to search for the answers woven into the story
5 sit on the side-lines and watch the pantomime unfold

simple boxes such as religious or non religious really are way past their sell by dates

> Sure I do. For example I have a strong belief that if I go to Sainsbury's this afternoon I'll be able to buy some food for my dinner. I have this strong belief owing to a large amount of evidence for this sort of thing happening.

Yes I'm sure you have a point here, but unfortunately it's gone way over my head ;+)
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
> [...]
>
> I'm in broad agreement here. But I'd wager you are very familiar with many Greek, Roman and Norse gods so this raises the questions:
>
> 1) Do you believe in any or all of Ra, Zeus and Thor (all of whom you will be familiar with)?
> 2) If your answer to the above question is 'no', is this a 'belief'?

I believe none of those exist, other than as mythological characters / idols. I believe some of those have been worshipped historically as god. Yes, the former is a belief, because it is a definite position which I / may brain holds. I lacked belief in the Spaghetti monster hiding behind the moon before I met the notion on UKC so frequently, now I'd have to say that I believe such a monster does not exist, because this is the honest view may brain holds. It'd be dishonest to say the only thing I hold is a lack of belief in these gods, because I have encountered them all, and do hold definitive positions with respect to them.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> However the fact that it is engrained into history means it isn't going away.

So what? The fact that Islam is engrained in history doesn't show that Mohammed flew on a winged horse to heaven for a visit.

> So at that point there are several choices. which would be something

You missed one, along the lines of: 6. Treat it as one of a large number of myths that mankind has created (unless decent evidence arises for it being more than that).

johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So what? The fact that Islam is engrained in history doesn't show that Mohammed flew on a winged horse to heaven for a visit.

Interesting that you pick a mythological reference out of a whole book, a lot of spin for a scientist.

> You missed one, along the lines of: 6. Treat it as one of a large number of myths that mankind has created (unless decent evidence arises for it being more than that).


Well mine was a first off the cuff attempt at a list, so I probably missed a lot more than one and this is what happens to such selections the more input means the list becomes more robust, thank you for suggestion:)
bullybones - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> I have a strong belief that if I go to Sainsbury's this afternoon I'll be able to buy some food for my dinner. I have this strong belief owing to a large amount of evidence for this sort of thing happening.

Rather than belief I'd call that inductive reasoning - a useful tool when it comes to picking a tasty dinner.

Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> I believe none of those exist, other than as mythological characters / idols. I believe some of those have been worshipped historically as god. Yes, the former is a belief, because it is a definite position which I / may brain holds. I lacked belief in the Spaghetti monster hiding behind the moon before I met the notion on UKC so frequently, now I'd have to say that I believe such a monster does not exist, because this is the honest view may brain holds. It'd be dishonest to say the only thing I hold is a lack of belief in these gods, because I have encountered them all, and do hold definitive positions with respect to them.

So do you 'believe' that 'non-skiing' is a winter sport?
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Why do you think that bit is a mythological reference? How have you decided which bits are real and which are mythology? Flying horses = made up, but bloke rises from dead = real?

contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
> [...]
>
> So do you 'believe' that 'non-skiing' is a winter sport?

Doesn't make sense. Are your trying to inject a rhetorical device to defend soft atheism?
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Why do you think that bit is a mythological reference?

err it's obvious


How have you decided which bits are real and which are mythology?

see above


Flying horses = made up, but bloke rises from dead = real?

Is this some math you've just worked out? can you show your working out?

Robert Durran - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> So what? The fact that Islam is engrained in history doesn't show that Mohammed flew on a winged horse to heaven for a visit.

The same could be said of Harry Potter. Someone made it up. Therefore (according to johnj) there must be some truth in it. Therefore johnj believes in it. Just like all those conspiracy theories. johnj doesn't really have a concept of reality.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> Doesn't make sense. Are your trying to inject a rhetorical device to defend soft atheism?

Exactly, it doesn't make sense. You've gone beyond some simple concept of 'belief' and applied a 'quality gate'. That is exactly what I feel about the notion of god(s).

I think the label 'atheist' puts a handle on non-belivers that makes it easy to classify them alongside religious denominations, but I think UN-belief best describe their position rather than NON-belief.
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: I'll try and dumb it down for you. You seem to be claiming it's easy to distinguish mythological references. So you don't believe Mohammed really flew to heaven on a horse, because it's a silly idea. But some people might find the idea you can raise the dead (or raise yourself from the dead) equally silly. So how do you try to distinguish myth from reality?

MikeYouCanClimb - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Your words, but the way I see it the atheist has made the choice not to believe the system in place, fine, ...

> You mean the atheist finds it very unconvincing and thus lacks belief.


I would have thought that such a conclusion can only be reached if an atheist is 100% convinced, being "very unconvincing" is not absolute in the way "lacks belief" is.

99% of people can believe they are right, but 1% may actually be right.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to MikeYouCanClimb:

> I would have thought that such a conclusion can only be reached if an atheist is 100% convinced, being
> "very unconvincing" is not absolute in the way "lacks belief" is.

I don't see why "lacks belief" is at all "absolute", it is a simple lack of belief.

Do you currently *believe* that I had a boiled egg for breakfast this morning?
If not, do you lack: "belief that Coel had a boiled egg for breakfast this morning"?
Do you have to be 100% convinced that I did not in order to lack that belief?

If you're at all sensible your answers will have been: no, yes and no.

This is all very straightforward if you just treat the issue as a normal one, The trouble is that religious believers make such a palaver out of mere "belief" that it clouds the whole issue.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to johnj) I'll try and dumb it down for you. You seem to be claiming it's easy to distinguish mythological references. So you don't believe Mohammed really flew to heaven on a horse, because it's a silly idea. But some people might find the idea you can raise the dead (or raise yourself from the dead) equally silly. So how do you try to distinguish myth from reality?

Interesting that our respective discussions have come to belief and some kind of 'test of reasonableness' for that belief (and whether it is 'silly/sensible' or not).
dissonance - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You missed one, along the lines of: 6. Treat it as one of a large number of myths that mankind has created (unless decent evidence arises for it being more than that).

mildly of topic but on the subjects of myths Adrienne Mayor's books on myths and fossils are fascinating.
The first fossil hunters looks at some of the Mediterranean myths and how certain mythical creatures match the fossils which people would have found.

Just started on the follow up which looks at Native American legends vs the American archaeological record.

Many myths will have a grain of truth in them somewhere. The trick is finding that amongst the inventions.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to dissonance:
> Many myths will have a grain of truth in them somewhere. The trick is finding that amongst the inventions.

Which leads us on to memes....is religion a parasitic meme relying on our propensity for bayesian inference?
Sir Chasm - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> Interesting that our respective discussions have come to belief and some kind of 'test of reasonableness' for that belief (and whether it is 'silly/sensible' or not).

Indeed, I suspect that the belief comes prior to any proper consideration and becomes so ingrained or cherished that all the inconsistencies are brushed aside without being subject to the sort of scrutiny that "winged horse" stories would otherwise come under.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> Indeed, I suspect that the belief comes prior to any proper consideration and becomes so ingrained or cherished that all the inconsistencies are brushed aside without being subject to the sort of scrutiny that "winged horse" stories would otherwise come under.

The 'winged horse' stories seem particularly silly (although no more silly than being able to walk on water).

The thing is most of us now know enough basic biology to realise that you cannot simply append wings to a horse and think that it would then be able to fly. To think such a thing requires ignorance and/or an incredibly child-like naivity.

Most Western children are now eductated enough to know that the form of an animal follows function. A horse's 'horseness' is a function of what it is evolutionarily adapted for and the same goes for birds.

You cannot simply take the wings from a bird and put them on to a horse then expect the horse to fly. To flap those wings the horse would have to have a massively changed physiology (the result of which is that it would look more birdlike), and so the horse would actually lose its 'horseness' (ie its horselike shape).

The only way a winged horse that 'looked like a horse but with wings' could fly is by magic - in which case, why put wings on it at all? The wings are there to make it believable to the common man. But the common educated man can see this for the absurdity it is.

The notion of a flying horse is absurd. Putting wings on that horse seems to explain how it could fly. But simply putting wings on a horse leads to further absurd questions to anyone with a modest education. If you put gills on a horse do you think it'd be able to breath under water?
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
> [...]
>
> Exactly, it doesn't make sense. You've gone beyond some simple concept of 'belief' and applied a 'quality gate'.

? A quality gate on English language... It doesn't make sense / I don't know what you are trying to say. Skiing is an activity people do.. ..it exists. I believe it exists. What does non-skiing mean? I know about Ra, Zeus, Thor etc, and I am atheist with respect to these "gods".. ..I believe they do not exist. I do not know what non-Ra, non-Zeus, or non-Thor mean.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> Skiing is an activity people do.. ..it exists. I believe it exists. What does non-skiing mean?

What does non-skiing mean? The same as atheism but with respect to 'belief in a god'.

If it is terminology that divides us then I am happy to abandon the term 'atheist' as non-'believing in god' is similarly meaningless.
MikeYouCanClimb - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

>Do you currently *believe* that I had a boiled egg for breakfast this morning? No
>If not, do you lack: "belief that Coel had a boiled egg for breakfast this morning"? Yes
>Do you have to be 100% convinced that I did not, in order to lack that belief? Yes

> I don't see why "lacks belief" is at all "absolute", it is a simple lack of belief.


> If you're at all sensible your answers will have been: no, yes and no.

Being sensible, and answering the questions in order, my first answer would actually be yes. I would have assumed (wrongly as it turns out) that you were not deliberately misleading me by mentioning a topic you have no interest in. That information plus the knowledge that x% of people who consider eggs for breakfast as important, will have had a boiled egg for breakfast.

I need evidence to support a reasoned decision. Evidence can range from poor to strong, but unless it is 100% , I can never be absolutely sure. That applies to any belief or non belief.

Clearly we do not live in a world of absolutes, even our justice system adds the "beyond reasonable doubt" clause. It does not mean it is right though.

To add to my point, there was a reporter on the news this morning asking what they had achieved at Jodrell bank in 50 years. One guys response was that they were trying to prove Einstein wrong. So far they had failed, but they were still trying in order to uncover some potentially new area of physics.

A scientist is always searching for the truth, a believer on the other hand appears to think they have already found it.
csw on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'm unable to believe that there is anyone involved in this discussion that can't comprehend the difference between a thing and the absence of a thing, or the concept of withholding judgement pending evidence.

One thing I have noticed though is that it's usually the believers who need to play word games - the "Atheism is a religion" word game is by no means the only one.

Atheism is the absence of a belief in the existence of Gods - it's not a belief in their absence. Anyone of secondary school age who can't comprehend that difference is either being deliberately disingenuous or is afflicted with learning difficulties.

Generally I tend to go with dishonesty as an explanation, which is admittedly doing a disservice to the stupid and the genuinely gullible - but since those people are quite likely to be parroting the teachings of a knowingly dishonest person, my conscience doesn't bother me that much.

Believers need to call atheism a religion, to put it on an equal footing with their own beliefs, and so, for their purposes they define it as a belief in absence, rather than the absence of belief. This enables them to [correctly] assert that it's impossible to prove the non-existence of a thing, and from there, to claim that there's no reason to rate one position as more rational than the other.

It's noteworthy that the same people who are so vociferous in their objection to other people attempting to define their belief system [c.f. the reticence exhibited by jimbo re the divinity of christ, and the doctrine of original sin, hellfire etc] and yet these same people have no issues with defining someone else's beliefs, or lack thereof, to suit their own purposes.

So it's really pointless to try to explain the point - they already know it, but dogma requires them to reject it.

Have tried to use a civil tone here, because I'd much prefer to debate the ideas, but a spade is still a spade......
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to MikeYouCanClimb:

>> Do you currently *believe* that I had a boiled egg for breakfast this morning? No

> Being sensible, and answering the questions in order, my first answer would actually be yes. I would have assumed (wrongly as it turns out)
> that you were not deliberately misleading me by mentioning a topic you have no interest in. That information plus the knowledge that
> x% of people who consider eggs for breakfast as important, will have had a boiled egg for breakfast.

Really? That's the sort of "evidence" that leads you to have a "belief" in something? In other words, you are of the opinion that more-likely-than-not I had a boiled egg for breakfast purely on the basis of me asking the question? Really??

Sorry, I don't think your answer was at all sensible. By the way, you are wrong, I didn't.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:
> What does non-skiing mean? The same as atheism but with respect to 'belief in a god'.
> If it is terminology that divides us then I am happy to abandon the term 'atheist' as non-'believing in god' is similarly meaningless.

Ra, Zeus, and Thor, are gods that do not exist. Quite happy to state that, because that is a statement of what and how I view these gods. Anyone who states otherwise with respect to a common and clearly expressed version of god is employing a kindagarten level of rhetorical device that does not concur with the way the brain actually works. Consistent with that, the soft atheism rhetorical device is a very recent tool, absent in the major atheistic works up to the 19th and late 20th century, appearing, as it did, particularly with the "new" pop atheists, where the psychological need of adherents for online success is endemic.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

> So it's really pointless to try to explain the point - they already know it, but dogma requires them to reject it.

I don't think I've met someone as dogmatic as you try to be.. ..parroting the new atheist dogma of "soft" atheism!
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Consistent with that, the soft atheism rhetorical device is a very recent tool, absent in the major atheistic works up to the 19th and
> late 20th century, appearing, as it did, particularly with the "new" pop atheists, where the psychological need of adherents for
> online success is endemic.

You are simply wrong:

Charles Bradlaugh in 1876: "Atheism is without God. It does not assert no God. The atheist does not say that there is no God, but ..."

Annie Besant in 1877: "The position of the atheist is a clear and reasonable one. I know nothing about God and therefore I do not believe in Him or it."

G.W. Foote in 1902: "Etymologically, as well as philosophically, an ATheist is one without God. That is all the "A" before "Theist" really means."

Richard Watson: 1831: "Atheist, in the strict and proper sense of the word, is one who does not believe in the existence of a god, ..."

Robert Flint: 1885: "The atheist is not necessarily a man who says there is no God. What is called positive or dogmatic atheism, so far from being the only kind of atheism, is the rarest of all kinds. ...every man is an atheist who does not believe that there is a God, ..."

Sources: http://atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/a/freethinkers.htm

Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> Ra, Zeus, and Thor, are gods that do not exist. Quite happy to state that, because that is a statement of what and how I view these gods. Anyone who states otherwise with respect to a common and clearly expressed version of god is employing a kindagarten level of rhetorical device that does not concur with the way the brain actually works.

What Cole states wrt to latter part of your last post. With regard the first bit (and which I quote above), there is no reason to doubt that the early Greeks and Romans believed in Zues, Thor etc...any less than modern
theists believe in theirs.

So here is the question. Given that you state 'Ra, Zeus, and Thor, are gods that do not exist', how do you KNOW this and how can you be so sure?
Post edited at 15:03
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I'll try and dumb it down for you. You seem to be claiming it's easy to distinguish mythological references. So you don't believe Mohammed really flew to heaven on a horse, because it's a silly idea. But some people might find the idea you can raise the dead (or raise yourself from the dead) equally silly. So how do you try to distinguish myth from reality?

By using the same set of values that any normal rational person would use.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

> The same could be said of Harry Potter. Someone made it up. Therefore (according to johnj) there must be some truth in it. Therefore johnj believes in it. Just like all those conspiracy theories. johnj doesn't really have a concept of reality.

Hello Bob, well as you like to keep name dropping me:+) I'll reply.

It seems to me what you're trying to say is you don't think I have a concept on reality rather than the statement above which you state without providing any evidence which is rather misleading really.

contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You are simply wrong:

Not at all.. ..which is why you had to respond with a motley bunch who have not produced major atheistic works, and then made my point for me by resorting to the more politically active (NSS) of the time, someone who became a theosophist and two theologians!
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> So here is the question. Given that you state 'Ra, Zeus, and Thor, are gods that do not exist', how do you KNOW this and how can you be so sure?

Because your brain does not work on the basis of scientific knowledge, established socially (then permitted neurologically) it works on the basis of inductive knowledge, decided judiciously.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> Because your brain does not work on the basis of scientific knowledge, established socially (then permitted neurologically) it works on the basis of inductive knowledge, decided judiciously.

So by the same token that you claim Zeus and Ra do not exist, I claim the Abrahamic god - nor any other god, exists.
bullybones - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

For those of us who's brains actually DO work on the basis of scientific knowledge (as far as is possible), it's true that you can't prove the non-existence of anything, including unicorns, fairies, Ra, Zeus, or Thor. Therefore, the burden of proof lies with those who claim their existence, not with those who refute it.
Robert Durran - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> It seems to me what you're trying to say is you don't think I have a concept on reality rather than the statement above which you state without providing any evidence which is rather misleading really.

Lots of evidence in these forums :-)

I don't know whether or not you actually believe there is any truth in Harry Potter, but the point I was (obviously) making is that, if you did, it wouldn't really be in a different category from much of the made up stuff you seem to believe in (as evidenced in these forums).
Post edited at 15:59
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Not at all.. ..which is why you had to respond with a motley bunch who have not produced major atheistic works, ...

Some of those that I quoted, such as Charles Bradlaugh, were among the most well-known atheists of their day. You are simply wrong that the idea of "soft" atheism is a recent invention, it has always been the commonest position amongst those calling themselves atheists.
johnj on 09 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Lots of evidence in these forums :-)

Yes I'm very proud of every word I've typed, I understand also that some people can't see the wood for the trees hence why people such as me take the somewhat more 'out there' viewpoints!
csw on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> I don't think I've met someone as dogmatic as you try to be.. ..parroting the new atheist dogma of "soft" atheism!

There is no such thing as soft atheism. There's only a belief in a deity or the lack of such a belief - It's rather telling that your debating tactic is to make spurious arguments against the atheist position, rather than positive arguments for your own - I can't help thinking it's because deep down, you know you don't have one. Prove me wrong and I'll eat those words.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
>
> [...]
>
> There is no such thing as soft atheism. There's only a belief in a deity or the lack of such a belief

Balls..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_atheism
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to contrariousjim)
>
> [...]
>
> Some of those that I quoted, such as Charles Bradlaugh, were among the most well-known atheists of their day. You are simply wrong that the idea of "soft" atheism is a recent invention, it has always been the commonest position amongst those calling themselves atheists.

Bradlaugh was notorious, for sure. I said it wasn't a facet of major atheistic work, which is true. I did not say the distinction had *never* been made before the popular assertion of it more recently.
Kimono - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to imkevinmc:

> And at what caste level would you propose slotting in?

As a farangi (a foreigner) he would technically be lower even than the Untouchables

Hope you enjoy that!
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

> So by the same token that you claim Zeus and Ra do not exist, I claim the Abrahamic god - nor any other god, exists.

Ok.. ..happy with that. ..much more straightforward and honest than Coel and csw ;)
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to bullybones:

> For those of us who's brains actually DO work on the basis of scientific knowledge (as far as is possible), it's true that you can't prove the non-existence of anything, including unicorns, fairies, Ra, Zeus, or Thor. Therefore, the burden of proof lies with those who claim their existence, not with those who refute it.

You can't particularly change the way your brain's neurones deals with information just because you accept the scientific social paradigm of falsification. I accept that paradigm too.. ..it's a necessary way of dealing with bias, precisely because our brains don't work in that way.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

But this isn't a debate about the existence or non-existence of belief but why people choose particular beliefs
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I think the whole idea that people 'choose' beliefs is largely fallacious.
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> I said it wasn't a facet of major atheistic work, which is true.

You also said that: "... the soft atheism rhetorical device is a very recent tool ...". I have shown that it was commonplace a hundred years ago and more.

Now your turn, produce quotes by notable atheists producing "major atheistic works" (whatever they are) that support your definition.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to kendogcatchy:

Tacitus is interesting as some scholars believe the mention of Christ to be a later insertion.

Which brings us to the inescapable conclusion on the existence or not of Christ to use a quiz show phrase "No body knows" or to be fair, no body can conclusively prove either way. To me I accept that the earliest Christian writing can be dated to AD50 and it seems very much the case that other non-Christian writings ie. Caesar, Tacitus, etc. are probably contemporary but as the earliest copies of these are of considerably later date we can not be sure if they are 100% accurate copies. It may also be the case that Jesus just wasn't important to Caesar, or at least relevant to his writing.

In some ways arguing for the historical reality of Jesus is a bit of a red herring, that detracts in some way from the teachings. Buddha was thought a myth until archaeological finds in Lumbini provided evidence for his existance, yet his teachings were not diminished. My earliest recorded ancestor George Staunton was married in 1594 and died in 1646. I have no birth record for him yet he existed, neither have I records for all those who went before him and yet they existed. There are no direct ancestors of Jesus (thou I believe he did have a brother) about that we know of but that does not mean that he didn't exist
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Why is that Gordon?
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Sorry, Duncan, I would have to discuss this for hours, but can't. It's just not the way beliefs work, generally. Is it? Needs thinking about more than discussing. Most beliefs are the result of indoctrination, covert or overt, obvious or subtle; others have no obvious basis, and might even be in a vague sense genetic (to do with character traits). What we certainly can't and don't do is say: 'What shall I believe in today?' Or 'What beliefs shall I/should I give up today?' Mostly because our psychological make-up won't let us.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Sorry, Duncan, I would have to discuss this for hours, but can't. It's just not the way beliefs work, generally. Is it? Needs thinking about more than discussing. Most beliefs are the result of indoctrination, covert or overt, obvious or subtle; others have no obvious basis, and might even be in a vague sense genetic (to do with character traits). What we certainly can't and don't do is say: 'What shall I believe in today?' Or 'What beliefs shall I/should I give up today?' Mostly because our psychological make-up won't let us.

Yes. Think about the psychological and neurological events involved in belief. I think you are largely right. Though it's not just that psychology / worldview / indoctrination affect your beliefs, but also that the psychological / neurological correlates don't conform simply to superficial ideas about what we do don't should shouldn't believe.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You also said that: "... the soft atheism rhetorical device is a very recent tool ...". I have shown that it was commonplace a hundred years ago and more.

You haven't in any sense shown that.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I would beg to differ there Gordon I was brought up Christian but chose to become Pagan.
But I do take the point that pre-destination of genetic and psychological traits will definitely lead you down various paths be it Christian, Pagan or atheist
csw on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Balls..


Well - if you'd take the trouble to read the articles you quote, then you'd see that they don't support your position as uniquivocally as you think they do.

"Because of flexibility in the term god, it is possible that a person could be a positive/strong atheist in terms of certain conceptions of God, while remaining a negative/weak atheist in terms of others. For example, the God of classical theism is often considered to be a personal supreme being who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent, caring about humans and human affairs. One might be a positive atheist for such a deity (see problem of evil), while being a negative atheist with respect to a deistic conception of God by rejecting belief in such a deity but not explicitly asserting it to be false.

I'm quoting that particular section just to point out to you that the subject isn't as cut and dried as you imply.

Once again though - you're protecting your own shaky beliefs by playing word games with the opposing argument - You may not realise this, but you've already conceded the argument.

However duncan makes a very good point that The question he started the thread to ask, has been swept aside by us engaging in the same arguments we do on every thread that mentions religion - Anyone would think yours was the only god in the world :) Let's continue the disucssion elsewhere....
csw on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

True - my apologies, I was just replying to a comment I probably should have ignored
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I would beg to differ there Gordon I was brought up Christian but chose to become Pagan.

> But I do take the point that pre-destination of genetic and psychological traits will definitely lead you down various paths be it Christian, Pagan or atheist

Of course many of our beliefs change, but typically as a result of an intellectual process of questioning, spread over a period of time, often many months or even years. Or, there's the mental flash of realisation: this is all total crap! But that again, I would submit, is typically the result of many months or years of mulling/increasing doubt, even at a subconscious level. Neither of these are anything like a 'choice'. So the other thing, 'picking a religion', is bollocks too.
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> We have had all the does or doesn't God exist threads and it always seems curious that it often just boils down to a stand off between atheists and Christians, rather than any other religious denomination.

It is curious how many people have been born in to the 'right' religion - both geographically and temporally.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Interesting. I would say that you make a choice based on those months years of wrangling, doubt, (reading too!). I might have been genetically predisposed to question the orthodoxy and followed the example of some of my peers but I still read Fraser's "The Golden Bough", "The Dharmmapada", "Liber Null", "Magick in theory and practice", "The Bible", "The Ley hunters Companion", The Kabbalah, the various Indian tales of Krishna, Shiva, Ganisha, The Koran, as well as dozens of other books on every spectrum of belief, spirituality and mysticism. I have talked with sufi's in Nottingham, discussed with Tibetan and Newari monks in Nepal, chatted with Indian Christians in Bangalore and more. The developement of my beliefs are based on all of this experience but at the end of the day I chose to go the way I did with the same amount of choice as I would if I had bought a house or gone on holiday to Croatia. So if choosing a religion or belief or non-belief is not a choice, then neither are they surely?
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Shani:

Indeed. I think many people, my own parents included, do not really think much about religion, though that isn't to say that they don't believe, or take it seriously. They just accept what life has thrown at them and follow the social custom they were brought up to. If we were an atheist country 50 years ago then they would probably have been atheists. For them God is real and Christian in the same way as up is up and the sky is blue.
Other people think about what they belief and arrive at their own conclusions, if this weren't the case we would still be attending the solstice at Stonehenge along with all the neo-druids
Shani - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
I remember being about 10 and getting angry with myself for not believing in god. I wished at the time that I had been brainwashed as doubting made me feel like an outsider. I even asked for a divine sign and I swear, the clouds outside my bedroom parted and a beam of sunlight hit me!

Sadly I know that this was coincidence! I've got a spiritual side but I know it is coded in my biology and I'm happy with that. My spiritual side responds to the wonder of life, the universe, knowledge, family, friends. The usual!
Post edited at 19:46
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> You haven't in any sense shown that.

I have given 5 quotes supporting my opinion that my version was widespread a hundred years ago and more. You have given zero quotes supporting your claim.
Gordon Stainforth - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Strangely enough (you may think) I've read practically everything you mention on this subject, mostly stemming from a screenplay I struggled with in the mid 1970s about a pagan/Christian conflict in Ireland in C10th, that never came to anything. I still completely reject this idea of 'choosing a religion'. If what you say is true, and I know you as a very honest guy, I think your case is very unusual indeed.
Duncan Bourne - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

It may be that I have never been satisfied with an easy answer and always like to question, even my own opinions.
The case of Pete Carroll and the rise of Chaos magic(k) in the mid 80's is probably a good example. At the time myself and a few others had dared to question the supremacy of the Golden Dawn hierarchy by questioning the validity of the ritual mash up of Kabalah and world mythology. Suggesting instead that ritual was merely a focus for the mind and virtually anything would do to connect with the "super conscious". We experimented with our own ideas and Published them in The Daath Papers. Carroll picked up on them and together we all developed a new system of magic which has become quite big if not mainstream (I have been out of it so long I can't remember what is in vogue these days). The point is there was a "new wave" in belief as there was in music and we weren't shy about kicking out what had gone before. Only I eventually went one step further and kicked out the whole supernatural shindig
csw on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

On the subject of whether or not religion is a choice, I don't have a personal experience to relate, But there was one celebrated case in India when I was there - A Swiss guy who'd chucked all his stuff away, donned an orange robe and taken the name Shivashanti - he wasn't the only European sadhu in India by a long shot, but he was significant in that he successfully appealed against being deported for overstaying his visa, on the grounds that a Sadhu has no nationality.

Anyway I realise that this isn't answering your question either, but this guy and others came from predominantly christian countries, and obviously saw something in Shiva that resonated strongly enough for them to let go of one life and embrace another. Of course they may not have seen it as a choice.
contrariousjim - on 09 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Well you, csw et al are about as significant as the figure you mention and are doing the job for me with your live quoting if your rhetorical breed of soft atheism!
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:
A fascinating subject in its own right. In "the White Murgals" William Dalrymple tells the tale of British goveners and subjects who "went native" as it were. Prior to the Victorian era this was more common and even accepted to a certain degree. Following on from the Governments take over of the East India company and especially with the late Victorian religious revival this became frowned upon but still occurred.

One should also not forget the huge upheaval that Martin Luthor caused with his Protestant movement. Nor Henry VIII in putting himself at the top of the Church not the Pope. And then you have all the various breakaway movements Quakers, Methodists, Seveth Day Adventists. They may not have been choosing their God but they were certainly choosing their mode of worship

On the subject of choosing to believe in God or not though. I believe Gordon does have a point. Not believing in God I could not consciously just decide to believe in God nor do I think the reverse is true either. Religion however is a moveable feast
Post edited at 06:57
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> On the subject of choosing to believe in God or not though. I believe Gordon does have a point. Not believing in God I could not consciously just decide to believe in God nor do I think the reverse is true either. Religion however is a moveable feast

Hi Duncan, I don't agree with Gordon on the point of choice I think ultimately we do choose, we can dress it up in all kinds of ways, like smokers do by saying they're addicted, yes I agree certain habits are hard to break but the smoker decides to light the fire. Same with God at some point a choice is made, however subtle that choice is, is down to each individual person.

csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

It's ok not to have an answer, and it's ok to hold a belief in spite of evidence to the contrary - but you'll make yourself look silly responding to serious points with playground insults. Take a position why don't you? Say what you believe, To be honest I suspect you're one of us atheists really, but in massive denial - A bit like Richard Littlejohn and his homophobic rants, methinks thou dost protest too much. Step out of your closet and live - God won't care. God's not there......
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I think there's a great deal of choice involved in a person's spiritual path. In another sense there may be very little. I suspect that our worldview, in the absence of a better word, is set pretty early on. I don't think we can choose to see the world other than we do, or if we can, then it's a very long and difficult process [or perhaps a short and traumatic one] but I do believe that people choose aspects of the spiritual practice that they're exposed to, that express their inner nature - In that respect I think that the labels can be very misleading.

contrariousjim - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

> God won't care. God's not there......

Good slip into hard atheism. You'll be joining the respectable crowd with Shani soon!
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Good slip into hard atheism. You'll be joining the respectable crowd with Shani soon!

Look - if you hadn't noticed, this thread isn't about what you, Jimbo, believe. it's about why people choose the particular path they follow. Out of respect for DB I'm not going to respond to your jibes after this, not on this thread anyway. If you want to know why these discussions end up as hair pulling matches, then I suggest you read over what you've written on this thread. - Feel free to claim a victory if you like.

On the subject of "Hard" vs "Soft" atheism, I can withhold judgement on the existence of God, while being perfectly sure that the one you claim to believe in, doesn't exist. As I've said earlier - I suspect that deep down you feel the same way....
Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:
> On the subject of "Hard" vs "Soft" atheism, I can withhold judgement on the existence of God, while being perfectly sure that the one you claim to believe in, doesn't exist. As I've said earlier - I suspect that deep down you feel the same way....

There's the rub; how can theists be sure that the god(s) they worship today are any more real than those that came before (and about which they hold an atheistic position)?

With regard to hard and soft atheism, I see no use in these flavours of atheism and consider them a straw man. I don't believe in Santa and see no need to stratify my position in to a hard non-santa-ist or soft non-santa-ist.
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw: 'while being perfectly sure that the one you claim to believe in, doesn't exist. As I've said earlier - I suspect that deep down you feel the same way.... '

I think this is at the root of some of the passions that this topic seems to stimulate. As an atheist, I can never rid myself of the feeling that deep down, in their heart of hearts, most religious people know that it is all so much historical baggage, so much hogwash, and they go through the motions because their social lives, their families, sometimes even their careers are all inextricably linked. How bizarre if all they people they are trying to stay in with all secretly feel the same way!

It must be as hard for a Christian to say, 'Do you know, I've been thinking about this and all this religious bumph doesn't really make sense - of course there isn't a god who is watching me', as it is for a footballer to admit he's gay.

Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> It must be as hard for a Christian to say, 'Do you know, I've been thinking about this and all this religious bumph doesn't really make sense - of course there isn't a god who is watching me', as it is for a footballer to admit he's gay.

There is an embarrassement factor as well. Imagine investing so much personal effort and energy in to an act that is ultimately pointless?

This embarrassement explains why the religious get so defensive (and are quick to call atheists strident or angry). There was a time when you could propose the existence of a winged horse, or, that an earthquake was an act of god. But science has revealed the absurdities in these ideas and it is for the religious to defend these absurdities; an exercise in cognitive dissonance.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> Good slip into hard atheism. You'll be joining the respectable crowd with Shani soon!

Well most atheists would say "on the balance of probability, as best I can assess it, I think that no gods exist". That is not, however, a leap-of-faith "belief" akin to that of the religious, it is merely an assessment of the evidence and is open to revision given further evidence.

It's only the religious believers who make this big deal and fuss about belief, because belief is all they've got.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> It's only the religious believers who make this big deal and fuss about belief, because belief is all they've got.

And that's what got man to the moon the belief that he could, where as you only have a lack of evidence which you use to say it God doesn't exist because we can't find him, which to anyone with an open mind on the subject looks very much like a belief also.

Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: I think man was a bit more certain that the moon exists.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Yes once they thought it was made out of cheese as well.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> where as you only have a lack of evidence which you use to say it God doesn't exist because we can't find him, which to anyone with
> an open mind on the subject looks very much like a belief also.

In the same way that, most likely unicorns and flying winged horeses don't exist, because we can't find them. But it's not a "belief" akin to that of religious belief, it's just a following of the evidence. For things for which there is no evidence we lack belief. If evidence comes along that will change.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> In the same way that, most likely unicorns and flying winged horeses don't exist, because we can't find them. But it's not a "belief" akin to that of religious belief, it's just a following of the evidence. For things for which there is no evidence we lack belief. If evidence comes along that will change.

How do you know a unicorn doesn't exist on another planet, quite simply you don't, A unicorn could have existed on this planet, and no fossils have ever been found, this repeated point you like to try to use as proof is something on a level that you'd teach to six year olds.

Evidence works both ways, when you provide evidence that God doesn't exist the case will be closed, until that time your views are beliefs, exactly the same as the god squads;+)
contrariousjim - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well most atheists would say "on the balance of probability, as best I can assess it, I think that no gods exist". That is not, however, a leap-of-faith "belief" akin to that of the religious, it is merely an assessment of the evidence and is open to revision given further evidence.
> It's only the religious believers who make this big deal and fuss about belief, because belief is all they've got.

You don't need to even say "on the balance of probability". Its just not an honest way that the individual deals with an absence of evidence / data / information (even though I DO accept it is the way that our scientific method deals with hypotheses). The comparison to Norse gods or Roman gods was a very good way to show that it was possible to express a definitive position with respect to conceptions of god, even for a traditional Christian. Not so as to produce a technical, and rhetorically useful: "I lack belief in X", but so as to demonstrate the normative position of "I believe X does not exist".

Belief is all any of us have.
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> And that's what got man to the moon the belief that he could, where as you only have a lack of evidence which you use to say it God doesn't exist because we can't find him, which to anyone with an open mind on the subject looks very much like a belief also.

What got humans to the moon was hard science. the people who believed it could be done weren't praying - they were experimenting and changing the way they thought based on the data generated by the results - To liken this approach to religious faith is to either fail to comprehend it, or to deliberately misrepresent it

Also - there's a difference between an open mind and the renunciation of critical thought. I'm not sure you grasp that. The difference between belief and wishful thinking, is evidence.
Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim: But believing in "something" doesn't necessarily mean that "something" exists.

contrariousjim - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

> What got humans to the moon was hard science. the people who believed it could be done weren't praying

I bet some of them said a prayer or two going up in those rockets and when getting onto the moon!
contrariousjim - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to contrariousjim) But believing in "something" doesn't necessarily mean that "something" exists.

Of course not.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to csw:

> What got humans to the moon was hard science. the people who believed it could be done weren't praying - they were experimenting and changing the way they thought based on the data generated by the results - To liken this approach to religious faith is to either fail to comprehend it, or to deliberately misrepresent it

No it's not the belief existed, and then the science was done, and then the engineers built the thing for the guys with the right stuff to sit on top of a hydrogen bomb, a fantastic amount of self belief, what about Armstrong when he needed to switch off the landing computer and go to manual as the site was on a boulder field, that's some belief!

> Also - there's a difference between an open mind and the renunciation of critical thought. I'm not sure you grasp that. The difference between belief and wishful thinking, is evidence.

Well provide the evidence for you belief and you'll have billions of followers.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> How do you know a unicorn doesn't exist on another planet, quite simply you don't, A unicorn could have existed on this planet, and no
> fossils have ever been found, this repeated point you like to try to use as proof is something on a level that you'd teach to six year olds.

You're not listening are you? We know all that! We atheists understand this point way better than you do. Let me quote myself from above with added emphasis:

"on the balance of probability, AS BEST I CAN ASSESS IT, I think that no gods exist". That is not, however, a leap-of-faith "belief" akin to that of the religious, it is merely AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EVIDENCE and is OPEN TO REVISION GIVEN FURTHER EVIDENCE.

We ***know*** that there could exist things for which we currently do not have evidence. We *are* *not* *claiming* that current lack of evidence is "proof" of non-existence.

Which bit of this are you not yet getting?
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> No it's not the belief existed, and then the science was done, and then the engineers built the thing for the guys with the right stuff to sit on top of a hydrogen bomb, a fantastic amount of self belief, what about Armstrong when he needed to switch off the landing computer and go to manual as the site was on a boulder field, that's some belief!

> Well provide the evidence for you belief and you'll have billions of followers.

Once again - wildly off topic - and also unworthy of any reply after this one.

The science of Rocketry is hundreds of years old - What belief exactly motivated it do you think? What makes you think that the motivation wasn't curiosity?

Belief in your own skill isn't anything like belief in a deity. do you think that Armstrong had never practiced landing the LEM manually? I have a sneaky suspicion he had a few hours in the simulator training for the eventuality that a manual landing might have been necessary - The fact that there were manual controls is what we in the trade [thinking] call a great big fvcking clue.

I believe I took more time typing this, than you did thinking about the words I'm replying to - How's that for blind faith?

Also - I suggest you read up on hydrogen bombs - they don't bear a very close resemblance to a Saturn V rocket at all - This might help you...

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/up_goer_five.png
Post edited at 10:29
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> what about Armstrong when he needed to switch off the landing computer and go to manual as the site was on a boulder field, that's some belief!

There is a big, big, big difference between beliefs that derive from solid evidence, and "religious belief" that does not.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> You're not listening are you?

Technically no, I'm reading

>We know all that! We atheists understand this point way better than you do. Let me quote myself from above with added emphasis:

> "on the balance of probability, AS BEST I CAN ASSESS IT, I think that no gods exist". That is not, however, a leap-of-faith "belief" akin to that of the religious, it is merely AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EVIDENCE and is OPEN TO REVISION GIVEN FURTHER EVIDENCE.

> We ***know*** that there could exist things for which we currently do not have evidence. We *are* *not* *claiming* that current lack of evidence is "proof" of non-existence.

> Which bit of this are you not yet getting?

I get all this, basically you're saying I haven't seen any evidence so I don't believe God exists.

johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to csw:

> Once again - wildly off topic - and also unworthy of any reply after this one.

> The science of Rocketry is hundreds of years old - What belief exactly motivated it do you think? What makes you think that the motivation wasn't curiosity?

Same as the mounteneers quote, cos it's there, and the belief that someone can go and check out the view

> Belief in your own skill isn't anything like belief in a deity. do you think that Armstrong had never practiced landing the LEM manually?

Yeah every space fans seen the one he ditched

> I have a sneaky suspicion he had a few hours in the simulator training for the eventuality that a manual landing might have been necessary - The fact that there were manual controls is what we in the trade [thinking] call a great big fvcking clue.

> I believe I took more time typing this, than you did thinking about the words I'm replying to - How's that for blind faith?

Well done

> Also - I suggest you read up on hydrogen bombs - they don't bear a very close resemblance to a Saturn V rocket at all...

Turn of phrase nothing more, they go bang when they go off!

But I agree you've got far too much time on your hands, to type all this off topic stuff.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> There is a big, big, big difference between beliefs that derive from solid evidence, and "religious belief" that does not.

Yes a difference, however they are both beliefs, same as your belief.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Yes a difference, however they are both beliefs, same as your belief.

As I said up-thread, if you're comparing religious belief to the belief that Sainsbury's sells food, and that one can go and purchase food for ones dinner there, then you are just making a rather feeble semantic argument, rather than having any actual point.

Some beliefs are based on very solid evidence; they are not comparable with wishful-thinking "faith" beliefs which are not.
Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes a difference, however they are both beliefs, same as your belief.

Clearly we need some test of belief to verify it, otherwise for something to be 'true', we'd simply need to find someone who believed in it. Religious belief doesn't require empirical facts or evidence.

How do you propose we would test the belief in a god?
Post edited at 11:46
Robert Durran - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> And that's what got man to the moon......

Do you really believe that man got to the moon? If so, I am genuinely surprised ;-)
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> As I said up-thread, if you're comparing religious belief to the belief that Sainsbury's sells food, and that one can go and purchase food for ones dinner there, then you are just making a rather feeble semantic argument, rather than having any actual point.

I'm not you brought up the pointless supermarket comparison, and now you say my argument is feeble and I don't have a point, well if I didn't have a point you wouldn't be trying to disprove it.

> Some beliefs are based on very solid evidence; they are not comparable with wishful-thinking "faith" beliefs which are not.

Yes so when you provide this very solid evidence that god doesn't exist, I might think you have a point.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:


> How do you propose we would test the belief in a god?

I think before you can even try and define a test you have to describe what you're testing for, currently it seems the jury's out.

Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: Well, if you have a belief in god perhaps you could tell us what that god is. Rather than ask people to define something they don't believe exists.
Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
>
> [...]
>
> I think before you can even try and define a test you have to describe what you're testing for, currently it seems the jury's out.

If you are proposing that there is a god, then I guess that it is for you to define the test.

I can't define a god as I really have no idea what a god would be like, its properties etc...
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Do you really believe that man got to the moon? If so, I am genuinely surprised ;-)

Of course I believe man got to the moon, I've read all the conspiracy theories about it and I've watched as much footage as I can on it, and I think it would be much harder to fake those recordings than it would be to record them as they were.

johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> If you are proposing that there is a god, then I guess that it is for you to define the test.

I'm not proposing there is a god, I just get the feeling that there may be, I don't need to define a test because I'm not in either camp trying to say god exists or god does not exist as that would be impossible to prove either way.

> I can't define a god as I really have no idea what a god would be like, its properties etc...



johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Well, if you have a belief in god perhaps you could tell us what that god is. Rather than ask people to define something they don't believe exists.

Something far greater than I can either comprehend or describe therefore any attempt would be futile.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Yes so when you provide this very solid evidence that god doesn't exist, I might think you have a point.

Why on earth is it up to me to provide "very solid evidence" about somebody else's claim? Again, as I keep saying, if there is no decent evidence for any gods then lacking belief in them is sensible. It is up to those arguing for such gods to do the proving.
Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Something far greater than I can either comprehend or describe therefore any attempt would be futile.

Don't worry, if you don't believe there are gods (clearly you can't believe if you haven't decided) then you're an atheist. Jimbo can tell you whether you're hard or soft.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why on earth is it up to me to provide "very solid evidence" about somebody else's claim? Again, as I keep saying, if there is no decent evidence for any gods then lacking belief in them is sensible. It is up to those arguing for such gods to do the proving.

Probably because you keep going on about it, but don't provide it so by the same viewpoint if there is no decent evidence to say there isn't a god keeping an open mind is a much more sensible approach.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Don't worry, if you don't believe there are gods (clearly you can't believe if you haven't decided) then you're an atheist. Jimbo can tell you whether you're hard or soft.

Well if you say so.
dissonance - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Something far greater than I can either comprehend or describe therefore any attempt would be futile.

So thats the religions buggered isnt it?
if this thing is far greater than be described or comprehended the logical conclusion is that you might as well be an atheist.
Unless this uncomprehendable being suddenly starts writing books etc at which point we can test against it.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> ...I don't need to define a test because I'm not in either camp trying to say god exists or god does not exist as that would be impossible to prove either way.
>
> [...]

Care to back that up? How do you know this? Furthermore,

1) WHICH god are you saying might exist (Greek, Roman, Abrahamic etc...?)
2) How many gods are there? By your rationale there could be millions because you've taken the apriori position that 'to say god exists or god does not exist as that would be impossible to prove either way'
Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj: I'm merely going on the words you type, you keep saying you have an open mind and haven't decided, you are without belief in god.

johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> Care to back that up? How do you know this? Furthermore,

> 1) WHICH god are you saying might exist (Greek, Roman, Abrahamic etc...?)

> 2) How many gods are there? By your rationale there could be millions because you've taken the apriori position that 'to say god exists or god does not exist as that would be impossible to prove either way'

I'm not saying any of the above I'm just watching and learning and keeping an open mind.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Probably because you keep going on about it, but don't provide it so ...

Well, what I keep "going on about" mostly is the often harmful effect that religions have on society, the unfair way that society often grants special privileges to the religious -- and I also poke holes in claims made by the religious. I do not, though, "keep going on about" claims that no gods exist. If you think I do, go ahead and provide some quotes of me doing it.

> if there is no decent evidence to say there isn't a god keeping an open mind is a much more sensible approach.

I do keep an open mind! As i've said multiple times now, which you keep ignoring, if evidence for gods comes along then I'll be happy to assess it. In the meantime, I do keep an open mind about gods in the same way that I keep an open mind about other things for which there is no evidence, such as unicorns and winged, flying horses.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I'm merely going on the words you type, you keep saying you have an open mind and haven't decided, you are without belief in god.

I think all I can say for sure is there has to be an intelligence in the universe far greater than human life on earth, if you want to call that god, well that's your call.
Sir Chasm - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> I think all I can say for sure is there has to be an intelligence in the universe far greater than human life on earth, if you want to call that god, well that's your call.

Why does there have to be?
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well, what I keep "going on about" mostly is the often harmful effect that religions have on society, the unfair way that society often grants special privileges to the religious -- and I also poke holes in claims made by the religious. I do not, though, "keep going on about" claims that no gods exist. If you think I do, go ahead and provide some quotes of me doing it.

Yes we all know that religion can be used as a tool for good or for evil, and if you really think I'm going to start rereading what you've already typed you may be in for a long wait.


> I do keep an open mind! As i've said multiple times now, which you keep ignoring, if evidence for gods comes along then I'll be happy to assess it. In the meantime, I do keep an open mind about gods in the same way that I keep an open mind about other things for which there is no evidence, such as unicorns and winged, flying horses.


Well done have a gold star;+)
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Why does there have to be?

Just down to the way things work.
Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
>
> [...]
>
> I think all I can say for sure is there has to be an intelligence in the universe far greater than human life on earth, if you want to call that god, well that's your call.

HAS to be? And you believe this intelligence to be a god? And there may be millions of these gods? And their existence can neither be proven nor disproven?

Wow.
contrariousjim - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to dissonance:
> (In reply to johnj)
>
> [...]
>
> So thats the religions buggered isnt it?
> if this thing is far greater than be described or comprehended the logical conclusion is that you might as well be an atheist.
> Unless this uncomprehendable being suddenly starts writing books etc at which point we can test against it.

This is a not uncommon position though. The mirror of soft atheism in soft theism.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Shani:

> HAS to be?

I would say 99.999% yes has to be



>And you believe this intelligence to be a god?

No I said if someone wants to call that god, that's there call

>And there may be millions of these gods?

Perhaps billions


>And their existence can neither be proven nor disproven?

currently

> Wow.

Shani - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:
> (In reply to Shani)
>
> [...]
>
> I would say 99.999% yes has to be
>
>
>
> >And you believe this intelligence to be a god?
>
> No I said if someone wants to call that god, that's there call
>
> >And there may be millions of these gods?
>
> Perhaps billions
>
>
> >And their existence can neither be proven nor disproven?
>
> currently
>
> [...]

So what is this thing that has a 99.999% probability of being real and of which there are perhaps billions? (I don't understand and would like to know what you are describing here.)

Also, if they currently can't be detected what development do you think will be required to detect them?
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

Do you think you might be getting god(s) mixed up with ET?
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> I think all I can say for sure is there has to be an intelligence in the universe far greater than human life on earth, if you want to call that god, well that's your call.

Well if you can say it for sure, then perhaps you'd care to share your reasoning. although "greater than human intelligence" seems to be setting the bar pretty low for a deity.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Let me give you an example, amongst other folk, Jordan Maxwell (generally classed as a conspiracy theorist) did some work on the Sumerian texts which pre date the bible, now he says that the many translations have removed certain accents and the like, so the famous quote God created Adam and Eve, when translated straight from Sumerian to English, reads The Gods created the Adams and Eves. Now this completely alters everything the concept of a race of Gods creating a race of Humans, so the question of ET and God/s goes back before the bible was even written.


dissonance - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

> This is a not uncommon position though. The mirror of soft atheism in soft theism.

Not at all.
Since the only theists who can really take that line are pantheists.
Any polytheist or monotheist will be claiming far more knowledge.
That or accepting that their religion is man made but just subscribing to it anyway.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Now this completely alters everything the concept of a race of Gods creating a race of Humans, so the question of ET and God/s goes
> back before the bible was even written.

Since many religions were polytheistic, what does this have to do with ET?

You're right, though, that Genesis started off as polytheistic (split between the god "yahweh" and the god "elohim" for example, and with all of that stuff about "no other gods before me").
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

No - the question about whether or not God was an extraterrestrial goes back to when Erich Von Daniken saw there was a book deal in it :)
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Since many religions were polytheistic, what does this have to do with ET?

Well since we aren't talking about the Tetragrammaton, someone or something did the creating, the legend of the Anunnaki is just one example of an established ET connection.

> You're right, though, that Genesis started off as polytheistic (split between the god "yahweh" and the god "elohim" for example, and with all of that stuff about "no other gods before me").

Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> ... the legend of the Anunnaki is just one example of an established ET connection.

Established??
Robert Durran - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> Of course I believe man got to the moon, I've read all the conspiracy theories about it and I've watched as much footage as I can on it, and I think it would be much harder to fake those recordings than it would be to record them as they were.

You actually looked at the evidence? Hallelujah!
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Established??

In certain circles is pretty much believed as truth.
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Robert Durran:

> You actually looked at the evidence? Hallelujah!

Hello Bob been a geek I generally look at as much evidence as I can in all places from the mainstream to the tripped out stuff.

Hallelujah, high praise indeed, cheers :+)
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to csw:

Some good points there and it occured to me that I never really explained how I arrived at my current point, so this is my story.

I was born in to a C of E family and was sent to Sunday school, as most of us were, and for much the early part of my life God was a fact, everyone told me there was a God (and by everyone I mean parents, teachers, and any other authority figure, it was just generally assumed) and I went along with that. But when I entered secondary school I began to question things I couldn't reconcile a supposedly loving God with not just the suffering of the world but in the unfairness as I saw it in the selection of whether you went to heaven or Hell when you died. How did children who died in infancy fit in? How did people who never heard of Christ fit in? How did good people who simply didn't believe fit in? (Hell according to some I spoke too). I couldn't see it and I couldn't see any logic in the way people suffered or didn't suffer in their lives, so at the age of 11 or 12 I decided that God didn't exist. Nevertheless I still believed in ghosts and the supernatural as I had heard and seen them. Something was up or so I thought. I was introduced to Dennis Wheatley novels (all about magic and the supernatural) and after reading the “Devil and all his works” changed my mind and decided that God and the Devil were real and things were a lot more complex than I had previously thought. But what exactly were these “things”, if God was real then I wanted to understand him/her/it, not just in an intuitive way but in a practical real way. I wanted to know what made God tick, what God was, how God worked and how the whole of the supernatural fitted into that. Religion did not offer that to me, it only spoke about faith and trust, but faith and trust in what? So I suppose magic was the only logical course for me. By my teens I had read up on Theosopy, Spiritualism and of course the Golden Dawn, a magical society that emerged in the late Victorian era and based its teachings on a mix of Jewish Kabbalah, Indian, Greek and Egyptian mythology (the classics basically) and some medieval treatises on magic in the British Museum. I was keenly interested in the usual stuff, tarot cards, divination, and such but none of it answered any of the questions I wanted answering. Along with some friends I met at college we joined a “secret” magical society (name withheld for legal reasons) and began our “apprenticeship” in occultism doing small rituals and practicing visualisation and meditation, astral travel and such.
But it seemed very slow to us, and the dire warnings about endangering our sanity and souls did little to deter us from undertaking our own experiments.
We now come to life changing event number one.
As a part of these experiments we had been trying out a technique using a hotchpotch of Enochian (Elizabethan Angelic magic conjured up by John Dee and fraudster Mathew Kelly), and various meditations and rituals based around The Sacred Magic of Abra Melin the Mage (available from any good book store) to gain knowledge (and conversation) of ones Holy Guardian Angel (Higher Self). After some fairly dramatic events, in which I saw a shadowy figure in my room, which sent me into spasms of hot and cold and a racing heart as soon as I touched it (well you have to don’t you) and a lucid vision in which I was visited by three strange women in Victorian garb and a doppelganger who said he was my Higher Self, we reckoned that we were onto something BIG. The “Secret” society told us to rein it in, we didn’t and continued experimenting. At first we followed standard procedure but after completing a series of rituals using the Goetia (Lesser key of Solomon) we noticed that things had a certain pattern and began to think “well how is all this working? What is it that makes a ritual work? What kind of energies are we dealing with here?” So we formed our own order and drew up our own course work and, in an unprecedented step at the time, published our results.
For many years I practiced magic, always trying to refine it and chuck out the “junk” as I called it. We took on the work of psychologist Carl Jung and the Chaos theories (magic not physics) plus exploration of neo-Keltic Shamanism and the idea of earth forces. I thought I had it sussed but then one day…..

Life changing moment number two. An atheist friend said to me “Why try to explain the complexity of the universe with something even more complex?” Well that was easy I KNEW God existed and I could PROVE it. I had 20 years of magical experiments and forays into archane realms with fellow travellers as independent witnesses and what is more I had written it all down!!
So I went back to my notes and diaries and scoured them for verifiable accounts of the independent existence of phenomena. And, to my great surprise, I didn’t find any. To be sure I had a great many lucid and real seeming encounters, where others were present not one tallied exactly with mine. We all saw and experienced stuff, but it was different, and at the end of the day I could not swear that any of it had an objective reality beyond that of my own mind.
A real crisis of faith ensued as a very big wall of belief came crashing down.
So the result today is that the human mind is capable of some incredibly wonderful things and I take to heart the Buddhist phrase “You are what you think”. The world is what it is and if we want it to be a better place then it is up to us to do it ourselves.

So a bit long winded but that is the shortened version of my travels through belief to where I am today.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to johnj:

> In certain circles is pretty much believed as truth.

Would these certain circles also believe in Lizard Overlords, crashed ET craft in Area 51, the Philadelphia experiment, and 9/11 being done by Mossad?
johnj on 10 Jan 2014 - 86.112.78.158 whois?
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Would these certain circles also believe in Lizard Overlords, crashed ET craft in Area 51, the Philadelphia experiment, and 9/11 being done by Mossad?

I don't know you need to ask the people in those circles.
csw on 10 Jan 2014
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Thanks for sharing - It sounds like a very interesting journey...
Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Of course how do you KNOW a man went to the moon?
I believe that a man did go to the moon but if I am honest I haven't really looked at the evidence. Sure I have seen the video footage and read quotes by the astronauts but when all is said and done I am taking a lot on trust. I have never been to the launch site, never interviewed the astronauts myself, never really looked at all the science. And that is what it is like for a lot of things in life because to doubt and analyse everything would make it almost impossible to do anything. When people believe in God it must be remembered that until very recently the existence of God was barely questioned outside of academic circles. Sure there were plenty of atheists around but the man in the street just accepted it as fact. That is the environment I grew up in, teachers, parents, school friends, politicians all tended to the view that God was just there. My point is that reality is made up of various factors from the stand point of the individual and we often don't question it unless we have a real need to.

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