UKC

/ Tim Fallon...

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Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2018
...now thinks that he was wrong to NOT say gay sex was a sin. Yes, you read that correctly.

In what weird universe he thinks an all powerful, all loving God gives a flying f*ck what two consenting adults do with each other in private is totally baffling.

Even more baffling - and offensive - is that he thought he could lie about his bonkers beliefs enough to con people to voting for his party, the last possible bastion against brexit. Unfortunately for us, on this occasion the public weren't as stupid as is sometimes thought.
11
Kevin Woods - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yeah I had to read that more than twice to make sure what I was reading was true.
Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you mean Tim Farron.
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.
75
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yep, I like lying, unprincipled bastards even less than people whose principles I disagree with.
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Maybe because homosexuality is not made up shite.
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MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because they're two completely different things which aren't even comparable?
3
DenzelLN - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because christianity is fair game for mockery and homosexuality is widely approved :D
8
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I mean that's a really stupid question.
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Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin. In November he said that he felt Christians were seen as a danger, now that he's said he thinks homosexuality is a sin, I can't help wanting to ask him if he's surprised at that. Nobody ever actually says 'why' it's a sin, it's a scary lack of logic.

Homosexuality is increasingly looking like it is predetermined in the womb, and Christianity is a set of beliefs, making me unsure whether it is hypocritical, by the way.
Post edited at 19:09
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john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Do you really see 'believing in a particular brand of make-believe simply because your parents/community taught you to' and 'having a natural and unavoidable preference for intimacy with people of the same sex' as equivalent?
4
MonkeyPuzzle - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Like I think we may struggle to get a stupider question on here this year and it's only January the 10th.
8
abr1966 - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think you're being harsh Rob.....he was in a difficult position, I heard the extract on radio 4 earlier from his interview on some religious radio show and had some sympathy for him. I think this whole issue reflects more on the pathetic state of British politics than anything else...
7
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to the thread:

All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!
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stevieb - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

I’m not a fan of the lazy ridiculing of Christianity, but I think the obvious difference here is that gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.
3
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

I get what you mean.

Edit: I realised I had to take that approach to my Dad's conservative partner, I can't be a liberal and not be chilled about her being a Tory.
Post edited at 19:20
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john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Does 'being liberal' mean we have to respect nonsense conspiracy theories too? Does it me we have to accept that much of what Trump says might make sense? Or is the exhortation to 'be liberal' just a way to prevent justified flak for irrational behaviour?
3
captain paranoia - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I'm not sure you understand what 'hypocrisy' means...
3
Crewey-Rob on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...
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yesbutnobutyesbut - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

It was definitely simple
6
Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...

People's ability to see what others mean and their willingness to acknowledge it, can be two very different things I sometimes think. I'm often surprised by UKC. ;-)
Post edited at 19:31
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john arran - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> I made what I thought was a simple point and it’s gone off like a firework in my face. I’m off for a beer...

That's what often happens when presumptions are subject to rational scrutiny. Enjoy your beer anyway!
12
flaneur - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

After dishing out vicious persecution for 2000 years, to now catch a little gentle mockery, it seems to me Christians are getting off pretty lightly
5
Luke90 on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

Wasn't that Tim Farron's mistake?
Big Ger - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I think being Tim Farron is a sin.
3
Nevis-the-cat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Because the chances of getting your head kicked in at closing time for being a Christian are pretty slim.
4
deepsoup - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
In matters of sexual morality, I think it's about time the Christians acknowledged that having the consent of one's partner is more important than having the consent of their invisible overlord.

And honestly, as long as it's reasonably safe sane and consensual, I think any god who gets that upset about what people chose to do together in private is a tad too small-minded to be going around claiming to be a supreme being.
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ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Because one lot tells the other lot they are evil, disgusting sinners, which primes the scene a bit for hatred, persecution, violence, prejudice, etc down through the generations....and the other lot don't.

I think that makes one of the groups fair game for mockery.
Post edited at 20:53
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ThunderCat - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> ... it’s gone off like a firework in my face.

"giggidy"

Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Nevis-the-cat:

> Because the chances of getting your head kicked in at closing time for being a Christian are pretty slim.

Indeed. All Tim Farron has done (potentially), is make anybody who is gay and struggling with it feel worse, and make anybody homophobic more sure their hatred is justified.
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Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:
> If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin. In November he said that he felt Christians were seen as a danger, now that he's said he thinks homosexuality is a sin, I can't help wanting to ask him if he's surprised at that. Nobody ever actually says 'why' it's a sin, it's a scary lack of logic.

I don't think Christians are a danger by the way, the above is open to misinterpretation.
Post edited at 21:01
summo on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> I don't think Christians are a danger by the way, the above is open to misinterpretation.

No doubt many kids who grew up in Christian run orphanage type homes would argue differently.
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Timmd on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:
> No doubt many kids who grew up in Christian run orphanage type homes would argue differently.

I think there is some doubt, some might be able to step back and see that their experiences don't mean that all Christians are a danger as such. Not everybody of any creed or what have you is going to be the same.
Post edited at 21:28
Dave Kerr - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Tim Farron is rather a conflicted fellow I feel.
1
alx on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Like I think we may struggle to get a stupider question on here this year and it's only January the 10th.

Have you filled in a recent climbing risk survey?
Jon Stewart - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I don't find it as annoying or offensive as many here. This may be because I have the choice of him or a Tory as my MP, and I'd much rather see the notorious queer basher Tim Farron (his full title since the election) have the seat.

I see it more like someone who's outed as enjoying smoking crack while taking it up the arse from a rent boy dressed as Hitler. It's embarrassing, and it's not what we want from our representatives, and we can expect them to deny it when the press get wind of what they get up to in private. But Tim Farron has never tried to enforce his bonkers beliefs on others - I still believe in him as a liberal. Indeed, if you listen to him, there isn't actually a conflict between what he believes and liberal policies giving homosexuals equal rights:

Part of the difficulty he said he found himself wrestling with was the different understanding of what sin constitutes for Christians and non-Christians.

"In the end, if you are a Christian you have a very clear idea of what sin is. It is us falling short of the glory of God, and that is something all of us equally share.

"So to be asked that question is essentially to persecute one group of human beings because sin is something, Jesus excepted, we are all guilty of. But if you are not a Christian, what does sin mean? It is to be accused of something, to be condemnatory, and so we are talking different languages.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/42638420
Ridge - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Don't go bringing Keith Vaz into this...
Rob Exile Ward on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Possibly not conflicted enough.
Captain Solo on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> Tim Farron is rather a conflicted fellow I feel.

I don't think he would be too happy about you feeling him
Rog Wilko on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Tim Farron is also my MP. Lots of MPs have weird beliefs, especially religious ones. I don't respect Tim for these quirks, and I don't consider his views on gays sit well with someone who calls himself a liberal but it won't stop me voting for him as I approve of just about everything else he does and says. His greatest strength in my view is that he speaks (outside religion, anyway) as he believes and doesn't say things he doesn't believe just to curry favour or to advance his personal standing, something rare enough amongst MPs. However, it wouldn't surprise me if his religious heart searchings don't eventually lead him to giving up his role as MP which I think would be a great loss. And heaven forbid that we should get a Tory next time - if for nothing else we should thank Tim for ridding us of the previous Tim (Collins), the epitome of the Nasty Party, whom he beat a decade or so ago.
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CasWebb - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Absolutely. It is perfectly possible for somebody to have a belief and be able to separate it from decisions they make in their jobs.  

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summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to CasWebb:

> Absolutely. It is perfectly possible for somebody to have a belief and be able to separate it from decisions they make in their jobs.  

I think believing in any religion in the manner he does, shows a complete lack of judgement and common sense. I wouldn't want that person influencing society. I am a lib dem voter, apart from this issue, his leadership skills and general ability to get out there and engage the public he is a dead loss. His time as leader cost the party another 5 years in the background.

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The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

What you are saying is that if you are tolerant, you cannot criticise anything. This is self evident twaddle.

The New NickB - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> I think being Tim Farron is a sin.

I’m sure Tim would agree!

Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to CasWebb:

That's not true is it? If someone believed the Earth was flat then you wouldn't trust them to legislate on, say, navigational issues.

If someone believed that consensual sex is evil how could they sensibly legislate around that?

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> I am a lib dem voter,

You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?

Mike Highbury - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Timmd:

> If there wasn't anything in Christianity saying homosexuality is a sin, I wouldn't be critical of that aspect of Christianity. I'm glad Tim Farron isn't in a position of influence now it's said he actually thinks it's a sin.

Yes, right at the start of the Bible and the (G)enesis of the sin of homosexuality and the justification of black slavery, BTW. The second point is clearer if you can read Hebrew but both in the following, Genesis (9), 'Ham saw his father's nakedness ... When Noah woke up and ... learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said, 'Cursed be Canaan the lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers'.

 

 

plyometrics - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

He’s our local MP and it’s time he stood down. 

1
john arran - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

If you haven't seen it before, this wonderfully highlights the hypocrisy of quoting biblical justifications for modern actions or opinions:

https://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/01/03/dear-dr-laura-why-cant-i-own-canadians-slaves

Flinticus - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Oddly, I was wondering why eating chips from a small wire basket is OK but I can't grope the receptionist at work.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> > I am a lib dem voter,
> You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?

Yeah..!! Can't win them all. But at least they acknowledge that to improve things you must pay more. At least even the eu is in the real living factual world, unlike religion. 

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GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

>At least even the eu is in the real living factual world, unlike religion. 

Religion, arguably, is in the real living factual world.  Its the faith it exploits which isn't.

Chris the Tall - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.

Please tell me where in the Bible Jesus Christ is quoted expressing an opinion on homosexuality 

 

The problem does not lie with Christianity, but with those bigots who claim to be "Christians" but do not follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you believe the book of Leviticus or the letters of Paul are more important than the message of love and tolerance in the 4 gospels, then call yourself a Levitican or Paulist.

 

 

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD: 
> Religion, arguably, is in the real living factual world.  Its the faith it exploits which isn't.

You getting all philosophical? 

All of mans religions are fictional to the absolute best of our knowledge. They should have zero influence on politics, policy or education. 

Mike Highbury - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> If you believe the book of Leviticus or the letters of Paul are more important than the message of love and tolerance in the 4 gospels, then call yourself a Levitican or Paulist.

Or a Samaritan, I suppose. 

 

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

Maybe, but religions have to be very real, otherwise they could never have any influence on politics, policy etc - which they clearly do.  As a means to control and exploit people, religions are very successful.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

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john arran - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

Would you please stop doing that - I find myself agreeing with your posts and it's feeling very strange.

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Hat Dude on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> to the absolute best of our knowledge

Isn't that contradictory?

1
stubbed on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

But wasn't he trying to be more tolerant? Despite what he had been brought up to believe?

For me debate like this is to the only way to work on these kind of intolerant-liberal-tolerant types of people.

1
summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Hat Dude:

> > to the absolute best of our knowledge
> Isn't that contradictory?

Kind of, but then religion is odd. When it's whole foundation is belief despite zero evidence and of course the absence of evidence is not necessarily proof of absence, like the alien life thread. 

Ex Poster 666 - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> summo > I am a lib dem voter,
> You mean the only overtly pro European party ? really ?


Now, that is funny!

GrahamD - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> Yeah. And a good start in moving the world away from fiction would be not electing politicians as our representatives when their beliefs belong in the middle ages. 

Except, of course, that many of the people doing the electing want those beliefs represented.  The difficulty surely starts with the electorate rather than the politicians ?

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD: 
> Except, of course, that many of the people doing the electing want those beliefs represented.  The difficulty surely starts with the electorate rather than the politicians ?

The government has a chief scientific advisor, perhaps we need more advisors of that ilk to educate the public to a greater degree. At the same time remove the bishops from the lords.

The public can worship who they like in their free time, but there should be no expectations that work life, education, or laws should be structured to reflect those religious views. 

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summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Lusk:

> > summo > I am a lib dem voter,
> Now, that is funny!

Well, life is never simple. I'm sure there are other anti eu lib dem supporters. Just like not ever Corbyn fan is a red flag singing terrorist supporting communist.

Tom V - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

I doubt you'd have said that in 1950, let alone 1350.

A Longleat Boulderer - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I've not read the whole thread... but just my 2p...

Why is this surprising? The guy is a Christian. He clearly thinks gay sex is a sin. My ex gf's best mate was also a Christian. She thought we were both going to hell for having sex out of wedlock. She would genuinely cry for us. But despite the fact we were 'sinners' she was still a very good friend.

Just because Farron thinks that gay sex is sinful doesn't mean he hates gays. All it means is he has not got the critical thinking capability that I personally believe is required for a leader of this country.

Post edited at 13:41
Jon Stewart - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> If someone believed that consensual sex is evil how could they sensibly legislate around that?

As far as I can see, he doesn't believe that the sin in question is one which should be legislated against. If he also holds the belief that the state should treat everyone equally regardless of sex, sexual orientation or race, then what is the conflict? 

Personally, I think the issue is a broader one : you have to be a bit of an idiot to hold these kinds of religious convictions, and you don't want idiots in positions of great responsibility. 

1
Jon Stewart - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> The public can worship who they like in their free time, but there should be no expectations that work life, education, or laws should be structured to reflect those religious views. 

Amen!

 

1
Tom V - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

The man on the Clapham omnibus might also think you have to be a bit of an idiot setting off to climb a 100 foot high piece of rock unroped, since one mistake would lead to death or at least paraplegia. Yet I am sure there are surgeons, airline pilots, military commanders and even powerful politicians who have done this sort of thing, and not always climbing three grades below their maximum on a familiar route. Idiots are two a penny and come in all shapes and sizes.

1
Jimbocz - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Personally, I am furious that we had two politicians that were supposed to save us from the  disaster of Brexit, and both couldn't even get the most basic positions correct in their heads.  During the referendum, Jeremy Corbyn couldn't be arsed to campaign at all against this clusterfk and since decided he's actually for it!  The most important issue in years that is just crying out for leadership in opposition and all we get are these two useless idiots.  

 

nufkin - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> As far as I can see, he doesn't believe that the sin in question is one which should be legislated against. If he also holds the belief that the state should treat everyone equally regardless of sex, sexual orientation or race, then what is the conflict?

 

Being charitable, presumably he was intending more to make the point that he regretted making a statement that was contrary to what he actually thinks, rather than belatedly declaring a crusade against all the rampaging gays

krikoman - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> All I'm saying is be liberal or be intolerant - don't mix the two up or you just end up confusing everybody!

I'm afraid that isn't all you're saying, your saying something very different, you're equating to very different things and two very different reasons for those things.

In one you have a choice in the other you don't.

Tolerance is fine and it should be advocated for all, but when you're not only a hypocrite, but a liar, who we all knew was lying at the time then it's a little different.

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Ade in Sheffield - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Conflation ?

Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

It wasn't my intention to defend Farron. I just had my nose put out a bit by the anti christian rhetoric coming from the OP. As for your point about that religious people have a choice I bet you that they'd argue to the contrary. And another thing about the anti religious trend that flourishes today, you can bet your arse that when the chips are down you won't be so nihilistic. I had a near death experience a couple of years ago and made my peace with the universe, not in any traditional religious way but I did pray. Why can't people be free to have a spiritual side?

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Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

...And here endeth the lesson ;-)

Rob Exile Ward on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I'm totally evangelical about being agnostic - sorry. And I've had one or two near death experiences, and have used them to test my agnosticism. Beyond here lies nothing.

1
Crewey-Rob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> Beyond here lies nothing.

I bet you're really fun at parties.

> I'm totally evangelical about being agnostic

Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

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krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> Why can't people be free to have a spiritual side?

People are free to have a religious side, but when it judges others for their life styles, especially when so much evil is perpetrated in the name of religion or hidden under a cloak for secrecy then, as the choirboy said to the bishop, "it's a bit had to swallow."

 

1
Stichtplate on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:
> Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

 

And there lies the problem with religion. Magical beings are a figment of the imagination.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to stevieb:

>  gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.

 

Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count... 

 

9
Rog Wilko on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:


> Please tell me where in the Bible Jesus Christ is quoted expressing an opinion on homosexuality 
>  

I don't set myself up as any kind of religious expert but I was told, at school I imagine, that only the New Testament is Christian and the Old Testament, where all the death to Sodomites stuff is found, is a Jewish book and all happened before JC came along being a lot more gentle and forgiving. I think Farron should throw his O T in the bin and ask himself what JC would say.

Andy Hardy on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Splitter!

GrahamD - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:


> Me too; it's the atheists that show a total dearth of imagination.

Sod off.  I'm an atheist ant I enjoy reading Sci Fi as much as anyone

1
Pete Pozman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It would be be better to look at what Jesus said about sin rather than what he said about homosexuality. The parable concerning the woman taken in adultery... Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone... (perhaps the most moving passage in the Bible) says more about what Tim Farron believes than the comments of people who do not acknowledge the concept of sin itself.

Tim is an honest man. There are plenty of right wing raving narcissists in parliament and elsewhere who would delight in his demise. The Left should be uniting in these grave times of peril not tearing at each other over  tenets of theology. 

 

1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count... 

See, the mistake you've made there is thinking that being gay is an "agenda" and not simply being attracted to those of the same sex. Silly sausage.

 

1
krikoman - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

> Tim is an honest man.

How do you get to this? It was pretty obvious during the election, he was saying things he didn't believe in the slightest. I don't think he's suddenly had a revaluation about homosexuality, but rather about his denial of his true feelings.

I believe he's espousing his guilt at not being true to his real feelings that homosexuality is wrong.

 

2
Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Rog Wilko:

I had the great misfortune to go to a Catholic primary school. For the record I don't regret being raised a Catholic, and although I am now very much an atheist I still think there is a lot of values in the teachings of Jesus Christ, particularly if you focus on the message and ignore the mythology and the miracles.

So I was taught there is a clear hierarchy to the bible.

At the top is the 4 Gospels - the accounts of Christ's teachings

Next up comes the rest of the NT - Acts, Letters etc

And finally the OT - 10 commandments, Adam and Eve and all that stuff

Now JC does explicitly repudiate some of the OT - eg turn the other cheek vs an eye for an eye - whilst clearly endorses other bits - not killing etc. But the notion that the OT stuff is fundamental to Christianity and overrides the teaching of JC is clearly rubbish.

The difficulty comes with the letters of St Paul - one of the founders of the church - and he does condemn homosexuality. But there is an argument that he himself is not a Christian. Although often banded with St Peter, he wasn't one of the apostles, he never met or heard JC. His Damoscene conversion came with a vision of God, not JC. The myth is that instead of persecuting the Christians he joined them. The probable reality is that it was more of a takeover - an educated Roman outwitting the rural fishermen - and he quickly shaped the religion for his own agenda.

So opposition to homosexuality is deeply ingrained in the religion, but doesn't come from Christ. And this is where I think bigots like Farron should be challenged, rather than be allowed to get away with saying "As a Christian, you should believe this"

 

 

1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> See, the mistake you've made there is thinking that being gay is an "agenda" and not simply being attracted to those of the same sex. Silly sausage.  

Scheiss, sorry, I didn't realise that simply being attracted to those of the same sex meant that you had to take out bill board posters or stick up adverts on the back of a bus. 

I should have been more precise; there are people who push an aggressive agenda in both sets of communities. Both are wrong to do so. To suggest that there is not a very vocal group intent on imposing their views on everyone is simply ridiculous (again that includes both groups).

 

Post edited at 12:28
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Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I would have to disagree with your analysis of what Jesus said about the OT. He says in Matthew that he did not come to get rid of the law but to fulfill it. He wholeheartly endorses the law ( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A17-20&version=ESV ) and says that if you were to relax any of the commandments you will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven. This would suggest that all of the laws that are in the old testament are still applicable. 

The bit about turning the other cheek is far more subtle than you suggest. He doesn't scrap the position of an eye for an eye but says it is better to turn the other cheek. Again this fits with what he says about not getting rid of the law.

I have to say I've never heard any suggestion that Paul is not a Christian, it is certainly an interesting idea but I am not sure why he would put himself into the position he ended up in if it was simply a way to usurp the early church...

 

1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Being gay is not a set of values and off-the-peg prejudices designed to dictate how one lives one's own life and how one should treat others. Christianity is. What "gay agenda" items concern you so much?

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

I am not saying that it is. Nor would I describe religion as being (particularly Christianity). 

Nor have I said I have any concerns about "gay agenda" items.

What I have said is that there is a vocal group of activists who have an agenda which they push in an aggressive way. My point was that to say that there is not an attempt to impose a set of views and beliefs is incorrect. As I have already said I should have been more precise and said that there is a vocal lobby who are trying to push their views onto others.

If I have concerns about anything it is the attempts to shut down any sort of discourse by yelling "Bigot" at anyone who disagrees with what is being said rather than having a rational discussion.

Taking Farron as an example, his position is incredibly nuanced, but rather than listening to what he has to say and then deciding whether he holds a valid position, there is a knee jerk reaction and he is labelled a bigot and a homophobe and there is no possibility of a sensible, rational discussion.   

 

5
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Sorry, again, what beliefs are gays trying to impose?

cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Was about to post exactly this.

CB

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:


> Taking Farron as an example, his position is incredibly nuanced,

Really?  I don't see any nuance.  He thinks homosexuality is a sin.

That said, he is also a true liberal in that he voted for say gay marriage, recognizing that, whatever his thoughts on the matter, it wouldn't harm others, for which he deserves some respect.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

> Really?  I don't see any nuance.  He thinks homosexuality is a sin.

 

No he doesn't, he thinks that gay sex is a sin (which is what it says in the Bible). There is a difference, albeit one that is often lost in the world of 20 second sound bites.  I know that to most people it doesn't seem that significant but it is quite important, particularly when talking about how a Christian (for the purposes of this I mean one who considers gay sex to be a sin) relates to the outside world. 

He also does not seek to push his views on others, as you say in your second paragraph. He may have personal beliefs about what is right and wrong but he believes that those who are in the minority should have their rights protected.

 

 

2
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

Which one?

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

The distinction between homosexuality and gay sex is sophistry, not nuance.

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Sorry, again, what beliefs are gays trying to impose?

As I have already said, I was imprecise in my first message, this is not reflective of the entire community, but there is a vocal group who are trying to impose their views which include, but are not limited to;

The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful. 

That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.

 

 

1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

No it isn't. There is a difference between hatred of a person and hatred of their actions. Wasn't it Gandhi who said hate the sin not the sinner?

 

 

2
cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

This:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 

2
MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

Wot??

1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

It was a reply to my post, DW!

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Erm, pretty sure they do. I guess it depends on how you define impose, but I'm pretty sure aggressive political campaigning and the smearing of anyone who disagrees with their agenda would count...   

I understand what you're saying - that you're not talking about gay people in general but about activists who get their underwear twisted about baking cakes for gay weddings and stuff - but I think it's important to recognise the fundamental asymmetry between the opposing views that gays should be treated equally (held by Farron, as it happens) and those who think that being gay is wrong (and so it's OK to treat them worse than you would straight people).

The reasons to think that gays should be treated equally are part of a consistent philosophy that says that the world is composed only of things we know about through looking at it and investigating objectively (meaning a consensus of third person accounts, basically) and things we know nothing about. As human beings in that world, there is no value structure that puts one type or category above the other, because there's nothing in the world that indicates any reasons for such a value structure. Instead, we judge people on their actions, and the value of people's actions is judged by the effects they have on others. People who improve the world for others are "good" and people who make the world worse are "bad". This is a sensible way to judge people's value because we all value our own experience and we have no other way to create a value system looking only at things that exist.

If follows directly from this simple philosophy of what the world is that it simply doesn't matter what consenting adults choose to do, so long as they don't make the world worse for others. If you believe in rational thought, then you believe in equality.

On the other hand, you can choose not to believe in rational thought, and believe instead that the world not only includes the things we know about objectively, but also a load of other stuff that ancient people believed in, but about which there is no consensus of third person accounts, only subjective accounts of faith. Once you throw that into the mix, you've given yourself a licence to create whatever value structure you like, one in which it's fine to denigrate people who aren't like you, one where your in-group can take the resources, a basis for making up a moral code to serve your own selfish ends. You could, if you want, from your wobbly nonsensical philosophy which has no grounding in reality make up exactly the same moral code as you get from using reason - but there's no reason to do that.

Theological debate about what this or that holy book says is right or wrong is worthless. The holy books don't say anything we have any reason to be interested in, other than for historical purposes. There is no underlying truth to be found in them, because their philosophical underpinning is based in ancient human thought preceding our understanding of reality. What makes them even more useless is the vagueness and contradiction, upon which is loaded a totally unjustified culture of morality and meaning.

You have to be a bit of an idiot to eschew the modern, rational understanding of reality as a basis for your moral code and instead choose a word salad dating from hundreds or thousands of years ago written by people with no understanding of the world, nor any consistency about what they thought about anything.

It's OK for people to believe whatever rubbish they want in their private lives; but should they attempt to force those beliefs on others it must be judged whether or not they are causing harm. In attempting to undermine equality for gay people they are causing harm and should be told to stop or prevented. In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.

All opinions are not equal. Some cause harm, while others reduce harm, and they should be judged accordingly.

 

Post edited at 15:57
1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> As I have already said, I was imprecise in my first message, this is not reflective of the entire community, but there is a vocal group who are trying to impose their views which include, but are not limited to;
> The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful.

They're intolerant of people's intolerance? The bastards.


> That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

Is this a law they're trying to bring in? Any specifics?


> That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.

Isn't that down to the position of the church itself? Churches are in the legally privileged position that it's allowed to discriminate on the grounds grounds of sexuality. I can see why people would want to change that.
 

 

 

 

 

1
cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

Sorry, replied to the wrong person! 

I tried to support Whitter's claim that Chris the Tall's idea about NT theology superseding the old Jewish law was contradicted already in the Bible. 

Hence, considering homosexuality a sin might be bigoted,but is at least consistent for Christians, even if there are no direct comments on this in the alleged words of JC himself.

Please note that this is not my conviction, for me homosexuality is a natural variant of sexual orientation that can be found in essentially all species where it has been studied. Bronze age belief systems simply are not relevant.

CB

1
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> The view that it is immoral to consider gay sex as being sinful. 

There's a problem with this view. If you teach it to your kids, and they turn out to be gay, you've harmed them. Or if they're not gay but they then go on to believe that gays are inferior, you've caused harm. As such, it's not a good view, and while it's not immoral to hold it, it is immoral to teach it to children.

> That people who hold religious views on sexuality should not be allowed to express them.

It's harmful to go around telling groups in society that they are "against gods will" or "an obination" etc. These views should not be expressed publicly, just as racist views should not. Very difficult to get the balance with freedom of speech right here: you have balance the right of free expression with the rights of the people being abused publicly.

> That if a member of the clergy who disagrees with gay marriage refuses to perform one that they should be compelled to or have to leave their jobs.  

It's a choice to get married in a church, and if you want to get married in a church that hates gays, you need your head checked. While churches should not be allowed to teach children that being gay is wrong, because that harms them, when it comes to religious marriage, I see no reason to force churches to conduct gay marriages if they don't want to. It doesn't stop gays getting married somewhere that's not retarded.

 

Post edited at 16:14
1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:


> I understand what you're saying - that you're not talking about gay people in general but about activists who get their underwear twisted about baking cakes for gay weddings and stuff - but I think it's important to recognise the fundamental asymmetry between the opposing views that gays should be treated equally (held by Farron, as it happens) and those who think that being gay is wrong (and so it's OK to treat them worse than you would straight people).

 

Entirely agree. TBF I think you would be hard pushed to find many people in UK churches that would say that it is OK to treat gay people worse than straight people. That is why the distinction between being gay and doing gay (for want of a better way of putting it) is so important, particularly for those in religious circles. One leads to treating people as sub humans and the other leads to people viewing everyone as fallen sinners of equal standing. 


> The reasons to think that gays should be treated equally are part of a consistent philosophy that says that the world is composed only of things we know about through looking at it and investigating objectively (meaning a consensus of third person accounts, basically) and things we know nothing about. As human beings in that world, there is no value structure that puts one type or category above the other, because there's nothing in the world that indicates and reasons for such a value structure. Instead, we judge people on their actions, and the value of people's actions is judged by the effects they have on others. People who improve the world for others are "good" and people who make the world worse are "bad". This is a sensible way to judge people's value because we all value our own experience and we have no other way to create a value system looking only at things that exist.

> If follows directly from this simple philosophy of what the world is that it simply doesn't matter what consenting adults choose to do, so long as they don't make the world worse for others. If you believe in rational thought, then you believe in equality.
> On the other hand, you can choose not to believe in rational thought, and believe instead that the world not only includes the things we know about objectively, but also a load of other stuff that ancient people believed in, but about which there is no consensus of third person accounts, only subjective accounts of faith. Once you throw that into the mix, you've given yourself a licence to create whatever value structure you like, one in which it's fine to denigrate people who aren't like you, one where your in-group can take the resources, a basis for making up a moral code to serve your own selfish ends. You could, if you want, from your wobbly nonsensical philosophy which has no grounding in reality make up exactly the same moral code as you get from using reason - but there's no reason to do that.
> Theological debate about what this or that holy book says is right or wrong is worthless. The holy books don't say anything we have any reason to be interested in, other than for historical purposes. There is no underlying truth to be found in them, because their philosophical underpinning is based in ancient human thought preceding our understanding of reality. What makes them even more useless is the vagueness and contradiction, upon which is loaded a totally unjustified culture of morality and meaning.
> You have to be a bit of an idiot to eschew the modern, rational understanding of reality as a basis for your moral code and instead choose a word salad dating from hundreds or thousands of years ago written by people with no understanding of the world, nor any consistency about what they thought about anything.

> It's OK for people to believe whatever rubbish they want, in their private lives, and should they attempt to force those beliefs on others it must be judged whether or not they are causing harm. In attempting to undermine equality for gay people they are causing harm and should be told to stop or prevented. In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.
> All opinions are not equal. Some cause harm, while others reduce harm, and they should be judged accordingly.

That is a perfectly understandable defence of equal treatment from a non-religious position, but it is only one reason to believe in equal treatment. Where I think it falls down is in the contention that you have to take a "Rationalist" starting point or you are doomed to promote inequality. I know of many Christians who would say that they believe that every human being is of equal worth and that everyone is a sinner and therefore everyone should be treated equally. Given that Christians purportedly believe that all humans are created in the image of God (well some of them do anyway) it seems illogical and irrational for them to be treated differently.

I don't fully agree that rational thought = equality. Depends on your definition of rational thought I suppose, but there are plenty of examples throughout history of people using "Science" to justify inequality (just as there are plenty of examples of religion being used as a justification for it).  

I also find the characterisation of people as "Good" and "Bad" problematic, particularly when you try to judge people's value by it. Humans are incredibly complex creatures and even the best examples have done things which make the world a worse place. My view is that all humans, good and bad, are of the same value and that once we start trying to attribute value to people we create conditions for inequality.

I'm not going to get into a debate about the worth of religious texts but I can't help but feel that your dismissal of them is somewhat unfair and not entirely grounded in fact.

 

 

 

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Come on now, you know full well that any form of dissenting voice is shut down. For example, there was a bunch of adverts due to be run by a Christian group back in 2014 that got pulled following "Outrage among gay campaigners". Now, whilst you might not agree with the content of the adverts, it is an example of a lobbying group imposing their views and stifling free speech.

Now, people can disagree on whether that is a good or a bad thing but you have to accept that it is happening.

1
Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

> I tried to support Whitter's claim that Chris the Tall's idea about NT theology superseding the old Jewish law was contradicted already in the Bible. 
> Hence, considering homosexuality a sin might be bigoted,but is at least consistent for Christians, even if there are no direct comments on this in the alleged words of JC himself.

 

But if JC didn't have a different message from the OT then why build a religion around him ?  A JC that doesn't offer anything different to the OT is merely a minor prophet at best, or just another rabbi/teacher.

Surely the whole point of Christianity is that JC did have a new message - one of love, tolerance, compassion, sharing, peace etc. One that is quite different to fire, brimestone, war and general smiteing of thine enemies that goes on in OT. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

What was the content of the adverts and who pulled them?

1
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Entirely agree. TBF I think you would be hard pushed to find many people in UK churches that would say that it is OK to treat gay people worse than straight people. That is why the distinction between being gay and doing gay (for want of a better way of putting it) is so important, particularly for those in religious circles. One leads to treating people as sub humans and the other leads to people viewing everyone as fallen sinners of equal standing. 

Yes, and this is why I don't have a problem with the fact that Tim Farron has weird personal beliefs - they don't lead to a view that gays should be discriminated against, and that's reflected in his politics.

> Where I think it falls down is in the contention that you have to take a "Rationalist" starting point or you are doomed to promote inequality.

That's not what I said. I said that if you open the door to things outside the world of reason, then you have licence to invent whatever moral system you fancy. That moral system will of course reflect evolved human nature: the desire to keep resources under the control of those who help you pass on your genes. This is why religions have historically promoted in-group supremacy rather than equality.

I said that you can take a religious world view and still hold the same moral values as if you followed reason: but the role of religion is to give licence to whatever moral code you fancy.

> I know of many Christians who would say that they believe that every human being is of equal worth and that everyone is a sinner and therefore everyone should be treated equally. Given that Christians purportedly believe that all humans are created in the image of God (well some of them do anyway) it seems illogical and irrational for them to be treated differently.

Depends on what you choose to pick'n'mix from the Bible. Some Christians think that god hates fags and blacks should be slaves. Look in the Bible and you'll find whatever you need to justify your preconceived moral values.

> I don't fully agree that rational thought = equality. Depends on your definition of rational thought I suppose, but there are plenty of examples throughout history of people using "Science" to justify inequality (just as there are plenty of examples of religion being used as a justification for it).  

Have any of those views that promoted a scientific excuse for inequality stood up to scrutiny? Under the philosophy that I outlined, actions should be judged according to causing harm. I can't think of any examples of inequality - causing harm to people because of some characteristic they can't control and doesn't harm others - that can be justified using science or rational thought. Although yes, people have tried.

> I also find the characterisation of people as "Good" and "Bad" problematic, particularly when you try to judge people's value by it. Humans are incredibly complex creatures and even the best examples have done things which make the world a worse place. My view is that all humans, good and bad, are of the same value and that once we start trying to attribute value to people we create conditions for inequality.

At a slightly deeper level than in my previous post, I agree with you really about "good" and "bad" being daft words to use (hence the "s). There are reasons that people do everything which are beyond their control (the murderer or rapist didn't choose the genes they were born with nor the environment they grew up in) but you can influence their future behaviour. As such, we can usefully label behaviours that cause harm as "bad" (such as teaching children that gay sex is sinful, which is likely to lead to their psychological implosion should they discover that they are gay) and behaviours that reduce harm (such as teaching children that everyone is free to do as they like so long as they don't harm others) as "good". People (rather than actions) are only meaningfully "good" or "bad" if the sum total of their actions falls heavily on one side of the balance...and then you have to consider their intentions too, as they might have done a load of "good" or "bad" stuff by accident!   

 

Post edited at 16:57
1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Like I said before I do not want to get into a theological discussion, I was simply pointing out that these are things that are being imposed. The moral good or otherwise of doing so is debatable.

I have a massive problem with the notion that controversial views should not be allowed to be aired publicly and that they cannot be debated properly and rationally for two reasons. Firstly, who gets to say what is and isn't acceptable? It is either the minority or the majority and a tyranny of either is bad. As far as I am concerned as long as no one advocates violence towards anyone else there shouldn't be a limit on what can be discussed publicly. 

Secondly, by preventing the discussion of these types of things you drive the debate underground. This has two effects, one, the group who hold the repugnant views are able to claim victimhood and able to recruit more adherents. Two, those who get involved in these views never get challenged and their views continue to fester out of sight.

I'd much rather all views could be challenged in public and irrational and illogical arguments exposed as such.

 

   

MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Come on now, you know full well that any form of dissenting voice is shut down. For example, there was a bunch of adverts due to be run by a Christian group back in 2014 that got pulled following "Outrage among gay campaigners". 

What are you referring to. Google doesn’t come up with anything immediate.

 

Post edited at 16:57
1
MG - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

You need to show your claim that controversial views can’t be discussed is true. There are limits on incitement, libel and few other things but that’s about all. 

1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

In a nutshell Christian belief is that the OT set out a series of prophecies and foreshadows of the coming messiah who would save the world.

Jesus arrived, fulfilled the prophecies, died on the cross and then rose, thus saving the world. He offers forgiveness in a way that was foretold by the OT regime of sacrifice.

The NT has plenty of brimstone etc. He's just saving it for the end of the world. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Wait, found it. It was the "Ex-gay and proud" bus adverts which were not run because they were likely to cause widespread and serious offence. That decision was upheld by two appeals.

captain paranoia - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> No he doesn't, he thinks that gay sex is a sin (which is what it says in the Bible)

You do know that it's all made up, don't you...?

By different people, at different times. And then edited and revised a number of times over the course of a few centuries.

So it's hardly surprising that it's inconsistent, and self-contradictory.

1
Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/apr/12/anti-gay-adverts-boris-johnson

It was 2012, my bad.

 

In terms of your other post, I was commenting on the idea set out by Jon Stewart that he thought that bigoted views should not be allowed in public.  

 

Whitters - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman? 

Please, tell me what the inconsistencies and contradictions are. No genuinely, I have looked for years so that I can point them out to Christian friends and family...

Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> Like I said before I do not want to get into a theological discussion, I was simply pointing out that these are things that are being imposed. The moral good or otherwise of doing so is debatable.

You say things are being imposed, I'm saying that society has changed to make equality the norm and religiously motivated discrimination taboo. Gays used to live in a world in which they were simply not allowed to express their existence, now it is mainstream to promote their rights as equals. This may feel like someone is "imposing" a view, but it seems to me merely that a once mainstream view has become a minority view looked down upon as harmful and not in step with social norms. That's a good thing, and that those with harmful views have the experience of feeling marginalised is simply not a meaningful problem.

As I said, not all views are equal. If your view harms others, then be prepared to feel looked down on and marginalised now that we operate in a world in which equality trumps religion.

> I have a massive problem with the notion that controversial views should not be allowed to be aired publicly and that they cannot be debated properly and rationally for two reasons. Firstly, who gets to say what is and isn't acceptable? It is either the minority or the majority and a tyranny of either is bad. As far as I am concerned as long as no one advocates violence towards anyone else there shouldn't be a limit on what can be discussed publicly. 

It's a difficult question. On the one hand, I totally agree that ideas should be openly debated, reagrdless of whether they conform to social norms. On the other, I think it's absolutely wrong that anyone should use any public institution to promote racism, or to teach children that being gay is wrong, or promote any other harmful ideology. Finding the correct balance of freedom of expression and protecting people from harm is extremely difficult. I'm not convinced we have a problem with too much censorship at the moment.

Do you have examples of where freedom of expression has been wrongly curtailed, or as I suspect, do you just feel that religious views are now marginalised when once they were mainstream?

> I'd much rather all views could be challenged in public and irrational and illogical arguments exposed as such.

I agree. But while I'm seeing harmful views marginalised, I'm not seeing problematic censorship, although there may well be examples I'm not aware of.

 

Post edited at 17:16
1
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

It's an interesting question.

This uses public advertising to promote a message that gays can be cured of homosexuality, which is false. Underneath the words lie an objectively incorrect and harmful message, attacking the very right to exist of a minority group in society. I would treat it very much like a racist slogan, such as "blacks are thick, so don't give them schooling or jobs".

Would you be happy for that slogan to appear on the side of a bus? If not, what is the difference?

There is an interesting question about *how* we should avoid incorrect harmful messages appearing on the sides of buses while retaining freedom of expression. I just don't think that there is a problem with the balance at the moment.


> In terms of your other post, I was commenting on the idea set out by Jon Stewart that he thought that bigoted views should not be allowed in public.  

Please don't misrepresent. Here is my comment:

It's harmful to go around telling groups in society that they are "against gods will" or "an obination" etc. These views should not be expressed publicly, just as racist views should not. Very difficult to get the balance with freedom of speech right here: you have balance the right of free expression with the rights of the people being abused publicly.

 

1
cb294 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

That is precisely how Jews and Muslims would describe JC. However, that is not my point.  I cannot be arsed to list all the contradictions I was meant to accept when growing up in a protestant environment, the double think required to take all that stuff as read is simply staggering.

Instead, I have heard the passage I quoted being used by conservative Christians to rationalize their hatred of gays and to justify oppressing women. 

Given all the contradictions, it must feel great to be offered some consistency by the head guru! Follow the letter, not the spirit....

CB 

1
Chris the Tall - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> In a nutshell Christian belief is that the OT set out a series of prophecies and foreshadows of the coming messiah who would save the world.  

Do you base that on the teachings of the Church, or from the quoted teachings of JC in the 4 gospels ?

Because the fire and brimstone view of God has been very useful for the Church over the years, and of course they were never very keen on people actually reading the gospels

If however you believe is a loving, rational God, who sent his son down to guide people on how to live a harmonious, peaceful life, then you focus more on the message of the gospels and less on the mythology and the miracles.

The problem (for me at least) was that once you started bringing rationality into your theology, you start to realise that God is a man-made creation.....

<Edited for smelling pistakes>

 

Post edited at 18:04
TobyA on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I approve of your sentiments but actually think you make a number of logical jumps in your arguments that aren't really justified. I think also your view of people choosing to believe in something dismisses people's experience of belief in a way that ultimately means your position will always run the risk of becoming illiberal in the cause of liberalism.

> In contrast, people who attempt to "force" on others the belief that people should be treated equally are acting in a way that will improve the world for others, and as such they should be encouraged.

North Vietnamese re-education camps?

1
Jon Stewart - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:

> I approve of your sentiments but actually think you make a number of logical jumps in your arguments that aren't really justified.

Good. Go on then!

> I think also your view of people choosing to believe in something dismisses people's experience of belief in a way that ultimately means your position will always run the risk of becoming illiberal in the cause of liberalism.

What do you mean by illiberal? I'm promoting the idea that everyone can do whatever they like, so long as it doesn't harm others. You can hold whatever vile, toxic views you like, so long as you don't act on them in a way which harms others. Promoting racism or gay cures is acting on those beliefs in a way which harms others, and should be prevented (not necesarily by law).

What part of this is illiberal?


> North Vietnamese re-education camps?

I used inverted commas around "force" as I was referring to gay rights campaigning, which is not actually "forcing". I don't see any relevance of re-education camps, and I suspect, nor do you.

1
deepsoup - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman? 

> Please, tell me what the inconsistencies and contradictions are. No genuinely, I have looked for years so that I can point them out to Christian friends and family...


John Arran posted a link further up that deals with Leviticus very nicely.  Not so much inconsistencies in the book itself so much as the way certain people seem to think the one verse is really important and all the others can just quietly be forgotten. 

So here's a bit of context for the bit in the OT about a man lying with another man being an 'abomination':
https://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/01/03/dear-dr-laura-why-cant-i-own-canadians-slaves

captain paranoia - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> What it's made up that the Bible says that it is sinful for a man to lie with another man as he would a woman?

The Bible. All of it. All made up. It's not the divine word of God. It's the work of many men. Just like all other religious tracts. And god; also made up, by man.

1
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

I get the point of that link but know that there are “creative” ways to get around it. TBH the pick and choose nature of many Christians and the inconsistent application of the Bible is what ultimately resulted in me losing my faith. 

1
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Erm, think you misunderstood the emphasis of my post.

But to play devil’s advocate, prove it...

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> I get the point of that link but know that there are “creative” ways to get around it. TBH the pick and choose nature of many Christians and the inconsistent application of the Bible is what ultimately resulted in me losing my faith. 

Everybody picks and chooses. American "Christians" pick right to life in application to abortion but not where it relates to being shot in the street; love thy neighbour when it applies to their next door neighbour until a non white person moves in.

If you'd like not to lose your faith pick and choose the bits you believe in and dump the bits you can't believe in. Just like voting for a political party you have to make pragmatic choices which approximate to what you want to achieve. 

2
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

In terms of the mainstream/minority view point. I can’t think of many examples off the top of my head, mainly because it’s not something that is really on my radar. I know of the odd anecdote, more the LGBT movement more generally. I do, however, know a large number of people who are concerned about it. I think it goes beyond simple marginalisation though, marginalising would involve some dialogue rather than simply trying to silence.

I do find the labelling of beliefs that do not advocate violence as “harmful” concerning. Ultimately who can decide what is harmful? What harm is required in order for a view to be deemed harmful? It becomes incredibly subjective and, in my view, dangerous to start labelling things we disagree with as harmful.

in terms of the advert the comparison with the racialist slogan you suggest is completely ridiculous. The advert offered a service, which you might disagree with but which some people think works. Now, I don’t know what is involved or whether what they do has any effect on a person’s sexuality (I am unaware of any scientific research into it that would support your view that it doesn’t work, if there is please post it), I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of such a service, but some people think that it works and should be offered. It should also be noted that the ads were in response to the “Some people are gay, get over it”. The advert was simply for a service, it did not say that gay people *should* be “cured” or that they should be subject to bullying, harassment or anything else harmful. That is entirely Different to one advocating not giving jobs to ethnic minorities. 

It does raise the question as to why an advert that would be considered offensive to some, and potentially cause harm to them, is allowed but the one advocating the counter point which is also deemed to cause offence and harm is not...

In terms of misrepresenting what you said, you said that you thought that racist views and “harmful” views on homosexuality should not be expressed in public. Not sure how what I said misrepresented that but it wasn’t my intention to do so.

 

 

 

2
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

The problem with that is that if you’re talking about the infallible word of God, you can’t really pick and choose can you?

 

Added after posting:

 

Also there is a complete difference between someone being shot in the street when they are posing s threat to someone else and a baby in the womb... Though not a discussion for this thread eh? ????

Post edited at 08:29
1
Jim C - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to stevieb:

> I’m not a fan of the lazy ridiculing of Christianity, but I think the obvious difference here is that gay people generally don’t try to impose their values and beliefs on others, but religion frequently has and still does.

I wondered why two very pretty ( turned out to be Mormon )girls smiled nicely at me and  said hello every time they passed me.  ( For the record I have not had any same sex approaches )

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> The problem with that is that if you’re talking about the infallible word of God, you can’t really pick and choose can you?

Why not? I do.

> Also there is a complete difference between someone being shot in the street when they are posing s threat to someone else and a baby in the womb... Though not a discussion for this thread eh? ????

You'll be aware of the daily savagery in America and the righteous passion for arms bearing amongst the christian Right, cf that gun toting asshole Moore spurring his pony to the polls in a cowboy hat.  I pick this bit of the Gospel: "Blessed are the Peacemakers". I suppose there's something in there which goes with shooting people dead when you are not being threatened, but I haven't come across it yet. If I do I'll treat it as a piece of Iron Age mythology like the Iliad or some other contemporaneous text.

No conflict just choose. The good bits are the word of God the rest is Beowulf/Gilgamesh etc

2
wercat on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Let's just squish the squishable like Tim Farron and Christians in general then see what we are left with, because the unsquishable are so much better to govern us.  Particularly those nice Islamic fundamentalists, fascists and hard-line communists.   Squish the turn the other cheek brigade, YAY!

Post edited at 12:40
1
Whitters - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Pete Pozman:

So what you are saying is live as you want to live and if there happens to be a bit in a religious text that backs your way of life then roll with it...

The exact thing that Westborough Baptist types do...

 

elsewhere on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> So what you are saying is live as you want to live and if there happens to be a bit in a religious text that backs your way of life then roll with it...

> The exact thing that Westborough Baptist types do...

Their religion, their faith, their choice.

Same for Pete.

 

Post edited at 13:40
Jon Stewart - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

> I think it goes beyond simple marginalisation though, marginalising would involve some dialogue rather than simply trying to silence.

The only example we have is that of the bus advert, which there are very good reasons for getting rid of. I don't see any reason to believe that there is any problem, except that people who hold toxic views are now criticised, marginalised and called bigots, whereas they used to be respected. Society has changed. If your attitudes haven't caught up, you're going to feel like you're being silenced. That's what it feels like to be marginalised. I see no reason why we should protect people from that feeling, and I see no evidence of peoples freedom of expression being curtailed. 

> I do find the labelling of beliefs that do not advocate violence as “harmful” concerning. Ultimately who can decide what is harmful? What hoarm is required in order for a view to be deemed harmful? It becomes incredibly subjective and, in my view, dangerous to start labelling things we disagree with as harmful.

I agree it's difficult and not clear cut. That's why it takes a bit of discussion and working out, and usually there is some trade off to be made. In the changes to a society of equal rights, there are some losers: people who don't agree with equal rights get marginalised and called bigots, which is a harm to them. The question is what we want society to look like: which values do we promote and which do we discourage? I'm completely clear that telling kids that being gay is wrong is a serious harm to them, putting them at risk of depression and suicide. That's a harm worth avoiding, whereas the adult who gets called a bigot can change their attitudes so they're no longer marginalised, or they can put up with it. It's not worth others suffering just so they can feel like they have the moral high ground while promoting attitudes that lead to childhood suicides. 

> in terms of the advert the comparison with the racialist slogan you suggest is completely ridiculous.

One's racist, one's homophobic. I can't see the difference. 

The advert offered a service, which you might disagree with but which some people think works. Now, I don’t know what is involved or whether what they do has any effect on a person’s sexuality (I am unaware of any scientific research into it that would support your view that it doesn’t work, if there is please post it), I’m not commenting on the rights and wrongs of such a service, but some people think that it works and should be offered.

No it shouldn't be offered. It has been shown not to work, and promoting the idea that it does is both dishonest and morally repugnant. If you promote the idea that homosexuality can be cured, you're telling gay people that their sexuality is a disease. It would be a moral conundrum if it worked, but since it doesn't, there is no moral question : promoting gay cures is immoral. 

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www1.bps.org.uk/system/files/Public%2520files/conversion_therapy_final_version.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj7lPaQ_NTYAhXJAMAKHSFcCs8QFjADegQIDRAB&usg=AOvVaw0Wr7pX5Ot9LUoK5wUsDVPg

> It should also be noted that the ads were in response to the “Some people are gay, get over it”. The advert was simply for a service, it did not say that gay people *should* be “cured” or that they should be subject to bullying, harassment or anything else harmful. That is entirely Different to one advocating not giving jobs to ethnic minorities. 

The advert carries the message that homosexuality is a disease that can be cured. Do you honestly think that the mayor of London is going to be fine with that? Londoners are going to be baffled and appalled, since the message conflicts so starkly with the liberal social values that we as a democracy endorse and encode into law. And tourists will think that backwards religious beliefs about homosexuality are promoted by TfL! It was never going to fly! 

The message of the stonewall ad was "gay people are normal, don't be homophobic". This is a message that we as a democracy are deliberately promoting because we think doing so improves society (e.g. Through fewer teenage suicides, gay people living more successful lives, less family breakdown etc). One message is appropriate for the side of a bus, because it promotes the liberal social attitudes that we as a democracy endorse, while the other is eye-wateringly vile and makes London look like a bastion of religious conservatism - that's not the image the mayor wants to portray! 

> In terms of misrepresenting what you said... 

No worries, my fault really. I just qualified my remark with the point about the balance of freedom of speech and it comes across quite differently without that qualification. To clarify what I meant, there are appropriate ways to air controversial views which are regarded by the mainstream of society as offensive, and plastering them to the side of a bus ain't one of 'em. 

Pete Pozman - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

Where do I find these Westborough Baptists, and do they accept Catholics? 

marsbar - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Whitters:

As far as I can understand, adverts have to be truthful.  

It isn’t true that people can be cured of gay.  That is bad science and utter nonsense.  

The adverts that were pulled were suggesting that gay is something that can and should be cured. 

They were pulled by a straight white man, who isn’t afraid of controversy or speaking his mind.  

cumbria mammoth - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Have any of those views that promoted a scientific excuse for inequality stood up to scrutiny? Under the philosophy that I outlined, actions should be judged according to causing harm. I can't think of any examples of inequality - causing harm to people because of some characteristic they can't control and doesn't harm others - that can be justified using science or rational thought. Although yes, people have tried.

That doesn’t elevate your philosophy over a Christian philosophy though. Under the philosophy that Jesus outlined, actions should also be judged according to causing harm. "A tree is known by its fruit for a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit – a  good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heartbrings forth evil".

Christians and unbelievers are equally as capable of using, misusing, or ignoring, rational thought. The only difference is the foundation belief that everything else follows from. It is an act of faith to say God exists and it is an act of faith to say there is no God. There is no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief in God.

On the issue of sin, I don’t think it is a case of this action is alright but that action is a sin. It is not the case that some people are living better lives than other people. The human condition is to be rebellious against God throughout our existence. Jesus came for the salvation of all and that ought to lead to equal treatment of all.

On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant. The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

5
kmhphoto - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

"depends on accepting the freely given grace of God."

Which one?

 

deepsoup - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

There may be no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief, but it does remove a certain temptation to present one's own view as um.. 'gospel' eh? 

There certainly is a degree of intellectual and/or moral inferiority in presenting one's own prejudices as the will of God.  Something we see all the time from those who claim to speak for him, Christians and otherwise.

 

Post edited at 11:16
cumbria mammoth - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

I agree with that. It is dishonest to claim to know the will of God at all, let alone for the purpose of backing up prejudices. Unbelievers also use dishonest means to back up their prejudices.

I’m not trying to defend prejudiced people, I just want to make the point that not all Christians have the same view of the world and that a well founded and thought through Christian philosophy is not inferior to a well founded atheist philosophy. As said above, you can decide for yourself which of the competing doctrines is likely to be closest to the will of God by the fruit that it bears.

timjones - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> ...now thinks that he was wrong to NOT say gay sex was a sin. Yes, you read that correctly.

> In what weird universe he thinks an all powerful, all loving God gives a flying f*ck what two consenting adults do with each other in private is totally baffling.

> Even more baffling - and offensive - is that he thought he could lie about his bonkers beliefs enough to con people to voting for his party, the last possible bastion against brexit. Unfortunately for us, on this occasion the public weren't as stupid as is sometimes thought.

Have you ever changed your mind on anything and does that mean that your earlier opinions were lies?

Rob Exile Ward on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to timjones:

Yes of course, and no. But the point about this story is the exact opposite;  Farron hasn't changed his mind at all, he has admitted that has always believed that gay sex was a 'sin', but denied holding that opinion, in public, for the sake of the election. Not that it did him much good.

Ex Poster 666 - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

>  Not that it did him much good.

Banging on about having a second referendum is what did him/them no good.

Jon Stewart - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Really interesting reply, many thanks.

> That doesn’t elevate your philosophy over a Christian philosophy though.

I would argue that the rationalist philosophy I outline is much better defined than a Christian philosophy. Although it's perfectly possible for a specific, carefully constructed Christian philosophy to be a more effective way of generating good behaviours than my rationalist approach. There just isn't any real underpinning to such a philosophy, it would be constructed as basically a rule-book for being good and any material gleaned from the Bible could just have easily come from any other suitably vague and varied source.

> Christians and unbelievers are equally as capable of using, misusing, or ignoring, rational thought. The only difference is the foundation belief that everything else follows from.

I agree. Although if you are religious, you reject the value of rational thought at the most basic level of your world view; so you stand a better chance of being rigorous with your application of reason if you're an unbeliever.

> It is an act of faith to say God exists and it is an act of faith to say there is no God. There is no intellectual or moral superiority in unbelief in God.

The symmetry is false. A believer in God cannot and will not accept that if you posit the existence of a new thing for which there is no evidence, then with that proposal comes the burden of providing the evidence. I can list 10 million things that don't exist but which can't be proven not to exist. Positing the existence of one of this infinite set of imaginary things does not make it equally likely and unlikely to be true. I'm not sure if it's morally superior not to believe in God, but I am absolutely 100% certain that the existence of the Christian God is precisely as likely as the existence of every other imaginary entity: the probability is zero and no faith is needed. This is the intellectually superior position.

This discussion can't really go any further because those who believe in God won't accept the rules of the game: that when you posit the existence of something, the burden of providing evidence of your claim falls on you, and not on the unbeliever to prove a negative. 

> On the issue of sin, I don’t think it is a case of this action is alright but that action is a sin. It is not the case that some people are living better lives than other people. The human condition is to be rebellious against God throughout our existence. Jesus came for the salvation of all and that ought to lead to equal treatment of all.

That's a really interesting view, and I can't get to grips with it to be honest. Some people are awful, and they demonstrably cause almost nothing but misery by their actions. Others are delightful and contribute a steady flow of positive outcomes, enriching our lives with generosity, knowledge, creativity and kindness. I think it's perfectly reasonable to judge people's actions according to their consequences and if something has no negative consequences (like two blokes shagging - although of course that *can* have bad consequences!) I don't see any rational basis for labeling it a 'sin'.

> On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant.

There is no parallel here. There is a system in place in law to ensure that you can't pick and choose. There are appointed arbiters whose decisions must be defended using reason are then followed by everyone living under that jurisdiction (or until another appointed arbiter overturns it on the basis of a superior argument or new information, etc). The law is systematic. Religious pick'n'mix has no basis deeper than preference. You can choose your favourite arbiter, or just do it yourself. This is completely unlike the law.

> The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

I'm afraid I just don't know what this means! Sorry!

Post edited at 22:39
cumbria mammoth - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> when you posit the existence of something, the burden of providing evidence of your claim falls on you, and not on the unbeliever to prove a negative. 

 

My own school of thought does not deny anything that scientific investigation has shown is very likely to be true (note that nothing is ever proven 100% true, it is always one theory is found to be more accurate than the theory that preceded it, so even the most rigourous follower of your method will at some point be confronted by a situation where an element of picking and choosing is necessary), it is just that God is behind it all. A believer can follow essentially the same philosophy as yours with the same checks against causing harm to ensure that any decisions bring “good fruit”.

Your claim of the superiority of unbelief though rests on believers having invented something unprovable. It is not believers who have made something up though.

1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory. Of course some of these believers will have been stupid and irrational people, but also some of the finest minds in history.

2) We all trust our senses that the things we see, hear, touch, etc, exist outside of our own mind, without having to investigate these things scientifically. There is an idea that all people are also born with a sense of divinity and there are scientific studies that could be seen to give some credibility to this, concluding that the human mind is predisposed to religion.  A lot of people today will say that they don’t believe in God but they do believe in some sort of higher power.

3) People are today reporting spiritual experiences, even on this thread.  I am always surprised to read the level of vitriol on this forum as it is when I am in the mountains that I feel the presence of God the strongest.

It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

If your eyes are not open to it you will dismiss peoples accounts and see alternative explanations so you are right to say this discussion is unlikely to usefully go any further. Thanks for your measured and considered thoughts though.

 

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cumbria mammoth - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> That's a really interesting view, and I can't get to grips with it to be honest. Some people are awful, and they demonstrably cause almost nothing but misery by their actions. Others are delightful and contribute a steady flow of positive outcomes, enriching our lives with generosity, knowledge, creativity and kindness. I think it's perfectly reasonable to judge people's actions according to their consequences and if something has no negative consequences (like two blokes shagging - although of course that *can* have bad consequences!) I don't see any rational basis for labeling it a 'sin'.

As I see it there is a crucial difference between sin and bad deeds.

Bad deeds are actions that people do that cause harm in the world and are related to sin which is the state of rebellion against God. Sin is related to our motives rather than our deeds. We are all drowning in an ocean of sin because none of us are giving glory to God in everything we do and think. It certainly seems to be true that some people commit more bad deeds than others and it may also be the case that these people are more sinful than others but if you are drowning 100 miles from the shore you are no better off than the person who is drowning 101, 150, or 200 miles from the shore. God will freely wipe the slate clean if only we acknowledge that we are sinners in need of his salvation.

It is not a good idea for us to label anything as a sin because judging peoples motives is a matter between God and each individual and Jesus explicitly warned us not to go there.

We do legislate in our society against bad deeds because we need to do so in order that our society doesn’t descend into chaos.

There are appointed arbiters in place to judge the intent of the secular law where there are issues of interpretation and there are self appointed arbiters to judge the intent of the biblical law where there are issues of interpretation.

In Jesus’ day the arbiters were the Pharisees who had developed a system of laws full self righteousness, and it was a key message of Jesus to point out their hypocrisy. They had invented loopholes to avoid the good deeds that were part of the law using clever word play which impressed men but would not impress God who judges motives. The Pharisees made a big show of following rituals and the things that made them look good but they neglected the more important matters of the law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

The Pharisees placed heavy burdens peoples shoulders, just as some versions of the established church may be trying to do today, but the message of Jesus was that he would relieve those burdens by offering the free gift of salvation to all who admit that they are in need of it.

 

1
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> My own school of thought does not deny anything that scientific investigation has shown is very likely to be true (note that nothing is ever proven 100% true, it is always one theory is found to be more accurate than the theory that preceded it, so even the most rigourous follower of your method will at some point be confronted by a situation where an element of picking and choosing is necessary), it is just that God is behind it all.

I have no doubts about the sincerity and the consistency of this position. Loads of brilliant and intelligent people hold precisely this view, and it's very close to my own view in many ways. If we rename 'god' 'nature' and the remove all the anthropomorphic nonsense about judging people, or caring about people's moral choices, or having any link to any religious scripture, then we end up in the same place. Nature is 'behind it all'. Nature is all-powerful and glorious and incomprehensible, beyond the imagination of the mere human mind.

I completely appreciate that outside the abstract worlds of mathematics and logic, in the real world of things we know about through our senses, knowledge is never absolute - it is probabilistic. It is almost certain but not completely certain that the sun will rise tomorrow, because while we know exactly why the sun appears to "rise" and there is no reason to think that the earth will stop turning on its axis, nor that the sun will cease to shine by the time we're facing it again, we could have missed something. But without going to millions of decimal places, the likelihood that the sun will rise tomorrow is 100%.

The absence of absolute, deductive knowledge is not however a gap in human knowledge that allows the  supernatural to be prised in. It's just the character of knowledge about the world.

> A believer can follow essentially the same philosophy as yours with the same checks against causing harm to ensure that any decisions bring “good fruit”.

I agree that that can, and that they should. The point here is that religion is unnecessary in guiding moral choices, a more elegant, consistent and reliable way would be to follow reason.

> Your claim of the superiority of unbelief though rests on believers having invented something unprovable. It is not believers who have made something up though.

> 1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory.

No it hasn't. Not in a consistent enough fashion to provide any reason to believe in the God of the abrahamic faiths. If you want to use the spread of belief amongst humans as evidence for God, you need to explain why belief in God is spread only through the physical world, i.e. through books, through traditions, stories, music, the internet - physical media through which information is transmitted from person to person. I would accept as evidence for the God of the Abrahamic religions a consistent belief in amongst all or many people who had no contact through physical means of transmitting information. If when first contact with tribes in New Guinea was made, their religions looked like Christianity, this would be evidence. People throughout history show no consistency whatsoever in a belief in God (although they do tend to believe in things non-physical, and incredibly varied forms), so this area of evidence is empty. The belief in God has been transmitted between people in precisely the same way as the belief in Father Christmas.

> 2) We all trust our senses that the things we see, hear, touch, etc, exist outside of our own mind, without having to investigate these things scientifically. There is an idea that all people are also born with a sense of divinity and there are scientific studies that could be seen to give some credibility to this, concluding that the human mind is predisposed to religion.  A lot of people today will say that they don’t believe in God but they do believe in some sort of higher power.

I agree that there is something fundamental about the human brain that predisposes the human mind to "spiritual" feelings and beliefs. Hence why we see religions, myths, stories about things non-physical in all cultures. But also why they're so incredibly diverse. This provides great evidence for certain characteristics of the human brain and mind, but provides no evidence at all of anything supernatural. 

If we're going to be sincere about committing to reason as a way to uncover what is true in the world and what is false, we have to look for information that we can agree on. The scientific method is a way of forcing people to witness and agree upon the same information, so that an understanding of real things in the objective physical world can be developed. Religion (and to be rational we have to include every mythology of every group of humans) serves to create competing, multiple accounts of the same ideas with no anchoring in the physical world that can be used to generate consensus. As such, it has no value whatsoever in revealing what is true in the world and what is fiction. That doesn't mean that a religious idea can't resonate emotionally and *feel* true - religious stories were written by people to have precisely this impact, so of course they have this character! 

> 3) People are today reporting spiritual experiences, even on this thread.  I am always surprised to read the level of vitriol on this forum as it is when I am in the mountains that I feel the presence of God the strongest.

I'm a big fan of the "spiritual experience". I've moved to be close the mountains, I've learnt to listen to the music of Bach, I've soloed certain routes so many times that I can climb them in a state of meditative contemplation, feeling the crystals of grit against my palms and delighting in the sensations of my weight transferring effortlessly from foot to hand to foot taking me up the cliff face without consciously make a single decision. These are what I call "spiritual" experiences, which nourish my "soul". Such spiritual experiences are created by my brain. They provide great evidence for the capacity of humans to have religious or spiritual experiences, generated by physical stimuli. In the same way that a horror movie elicits from the brain the activation of amygdala, the rush of hormones into the blood, the sympathetic nervous system response, a church with a very high ceiling, candles, incense and chanting will elicit in many people the activation of brain regions that generate the "spirtual experience".

 

Post edited at 23:50
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

No. You cannot lump every tribe's version of a spirit underworld world inhabited by ancestors, every polytheistic system, every shamanic and meditative tradition together and call them "belief in God". Belief in the God of the Abrahamic religions is just a story told between some tribes, for a short period of history, into which you happened to be born. The burden is on you to show why this particular God is real while all the other gods from the birth of history, from every continent on this earth are made up. Until you show why this God is different, it just a story, like all the others, and it is as made up as Father Christmas.

> If your eyes are not open to it you will dismiss peoples accounts and see alternative explanations so you are right to say this discussion is unlikely to usefully go any further. Thanks for your measured and considered thoughts though.

It's genuinely a pleasure. But if we're going to play by the rules of reason, we need to seek alternative explanations, and then we need to compare our explanations to find the best one. Inference to the best explanation or abductive reasoning is how we uncover what things exist, what is true, and what is a story made up by people. If you're happy to throw away abductive reasoning here, what makes you believe in the rest of science?

cumbria mammoth - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> You cannot lump every tribe's version of a spirit underworld world inhabited by ancestors, every polytheistic system, every shamanic and meditative tradition together and call them "belief in God". Belief in the God of the Abrahamic religions is just a story told between some tribes, for a short period of history, into which you happened to be born. 

I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

> But if we're going to play by the rules of reason, we need to seek alternative explanations, and then we need to compare our explanations to find the best one. 

I can see your point but I suspect that most committed unbelievers are automatically going to find the existence of God as the worst of all possible explanations. There are not many fields of scientific research where you need to go to the level of whether God exists or not anyway. 

 

summo on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It is the non existence of God that is the newer concept (in society at large) and I might just as well say that the burden of proof lies with those positing a universe sprung into creation by itself.

I'd say the opposite. The earth is 5billion ish years old, the universe much more. Man has been believing in things he has no evidence for less than 10,000 years(that we have evidence of) and now as science is explaining what we previously misunderstood belief is declining. It is a little like the phases of learning conscious incompetence, competence etc. 

 

Post edited at 05:58
john arran - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

Interesting discussion, and thank you for explaining your thought processes. My difficulty with the above is that it seems like you're able to reason the existence of God, and even qualities associated with God, only by having started with God as an axiom. For example, if you conceive of God as a supreme being then it follows logically that human ego will sooner or later stray into the realm of what you will be calling sinfulness. But unchecked ego seems to me to be vilified in pretty much all religions and indeed among those with no religion, I would say because it leads to disharmony within a society, so it's hard to see how any individual concept of God can be responsible for society's dislike of unchecked ego. People's behavioural failings within society do not lend any credence to the nature or existence of God unless you've already defined God to make that so.

Also, what is it that feeds your conviction that the God you feel you know now is any more capable of delivering human salvation than a God at any other time in history? And given that various differing creeds have evolved across the world and across history, what is it that's uniquely convincing about yours? It seems to me to be either myopic or arrogant to think that human society, in the age and the part of the world in which we happen to have been born, is uniquely privileged to be able to know the 'real' God. Given the lessons from history in other spheres of knowledge, is it not overwhelmingly more likely that your current understanding of God will eventually morph into, or be replaced by, a significantly different understanding, and that people of that age will then look back upon our current times as being further dark ages?

> I can see your point but I suspect that most committed unbelievers are automatically going to find the existence of God as the worst of all possible explanations.

The existence of God is certainly not the worst of all possible explanations, but given the complete lack of demonstrable evidence for it, it has little or nothing to commend it over other explanations such as one that has the world existing only within my consciousness. I see it as a fault in all religions (and indeed of human psychology in general) that the unknown and the unknowable cannot be accepted as such and that any explanation, no matter how poorly supported by evidence, must surely be better than the ego-less (see what I did there!) acknowledgement of man's ignorance. 

krikoman - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> On the issue of picking and choosing, this is always the case with the law, be it biblical or governmental. The written word is interpreted differently by different people depending on conscience and/or what suits or even just a different understanding of what is meant. The law of the OT only serves to show that it is impossible to be saved by keeping the law and that our salvation depends on accepting the freely given grace of God.

Except his grace isn't given freely is it? It has to be earned by praying and believing.

What grace has god given the children of Gaza, or Syria, or the Rohingya, the people of Yemen, the people who died in the plague, the people that go blind suffering from Loa loa filariasis. If god is the creator of all things, then why the f*ck would they create a worm that lives in the eyes of children. Tell me where the grace is there.

 

Post edited at 10:33
Jon Stewart - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would lump all conceptions of God throughout history together even if not all are equal. It cannot be the case that only those who have been lucky enough to live in a time and culture where Gods will has been revealed are capable of being saved. There must always have been a way everywhere. I don't know enough about many other religions but I see it as a battle against the ego and those who have been wiling to submit to a higher authority and acknowledge their failings must always have been the ones who were closest to God. "To those whom much has been given much will be required" i.e. followers of the Abrahamic religions have much less excuse for their failings than those who went before.

Thanks again for the interesting discussion (and apologies for not proof reading my posts which can make some of the non-sentences hard to read!). I'm not too keen on carrying on down this road of God's existence or not, because I don't see attempting to dislodge your faith as something worthwhile. You seem to have a really similar moral outlook to me and I'm sure your faith is a purely positive thing in your life.

I do think though that intellectually, you're trying to have your cake and eat it. I firmly believe that if you truly commit to reason, then this is incongruous with faith in the God of the Abrahamic religions. The ways of justifying belief in both appear to me to be unnecessary mental contortions - and such contortions are inconsistent with reason.

This said, there are large groups of people whose religous faith I would take enormous delight in destroying if I could: the Vatican, Hamas, Isreali religious zionists, House of Saud, the US religious right, the genocidal Bhuddists of Myanmar, the list goes on and on and on. Thinking globally, the case for attempting to replace religion with rationalism is strong.

 

Jon Stewart - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> As I see it there is a crucial difference between sin and bad deeds.

> Bad deeds are actions that people do that cause harm in the world and are related to sin which is the state of rebellion against God. Sin is related to our motives rather than our deeds...

I am really interested in this strand though! I've got some things to do, but these ideas about moral philosophy are fascinating and I've never heard a Christian perspective on it, so I'll try to read your post a few times and cook up some sort of response when I have time.

Cheers,

Jon

Ridge - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>  It certainly seems to be true that some people commit more bad deeds than others and it may also be the case that these people are more sinful than others but if you are drowning 100 miles from the shore you are no better off than the person who is drowning 101, 150, or 200 miles from the shore. God will freely wipe the slate clean if only we acknowledge that we are sinners in need of his salvation.

I have a real problem with this. Is stealing a biro from work the same in the eyes of god as rape or murder?

Is an unrepentant paperclip thief worse than a 'saved' mass torturer?

I just can't get my head around this line of thinking.

cb294 - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> 1) Evidence for the existence of God is all around in the glory of his creation. God’s existence has been held as self-evident by most people throughout recorded history and throughout many thousands of years of prehistory. Of course some of these believers will have been stupid and irrational people, but also some of the finest minds in history.

Whether fine minds in recent times had religious experiences is irrelevant, the emergence of religions is a byproduct of evolution that far precedes our recorded history, attributing agency is adaptive: It is much safer to assume that a branch in the forest rustles because of a bear in the bushes than to think that the branch cracks "just so". 

Similarly, if there is thunder, something or someone must make it thunder, if there is a creation there must be a creator.

CB

 

 

krikoman - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Recent posts:

Can I ask a question, In a galaxy of one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe, and orbiting a star of 250 billion (± 150 billion) stars our galaxy, on a sinlge planet of the 8 of our solar system.

God takes an interest in whether I'm a sinner or not (providing I've picked the correct team)? If I haven't I'm already written off.

Or takes the time to create AIDS to punish gay people?

Or care whether I put my winky up someone else's bumhole, providing it's another man's bumhole of course, I'm presuming it's not gay to do it with my girlfriend.

And God called on the people in LA to have 13 children and keep them locked up?

I fail to see how anyone can answer yes to any of the above questions, without being slightly self centred.

Post edited at 17:55
1
cumbria mammoth - on 16 Jan 2018
In reply to Recent posts:

Lots of interesting points well put above. Spent all my free time tonight trying to give my take on these issues but, because there is quite a bit, apologies if I have not given my response the same depth as was made in the original point.

 

> Trying to prove God using reason. Religion is inconsistent with reason.

I am definitely not trying to do this. All I would like to do is show that there can be rational reasons that can allow for the existence of God because further up the thread there were a lot of conceited posts of the type that claims mental deficiencies in believers which makes believers unfit for office.

There will never be absolute proof of God as you have to come to him by faith. There can be proof of God enough to satisfy an enquiring mind that is open to there being a spiritual aspect to life. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

> Religion is unnecessary and inconsistent with reason. No Evidence. Other explanations.

It is certainly unnecessary to get by in this life. I disagree that it is inconsistent with reason. At the fundamental levels scientific enquiry has not revealed the truth either and followers of your rational philosophy excluding God also have to make choices or be honest and say they don’t know. How can matter be a wave at the same time as it is a particle? What is dark energy? What is consciousness? If these things matter to you, you need to take a best guess or admit you don’t know. You have then picked a fundamental that all else follows from. My set of fundamental beliefs includes the existence of God.

> God = Nature. Anthropomorphic.

Indeed. God is not a man waving at us from the sky, he is not the most powerful being in the universe. God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. Perfect beyond comprehension and the use of anthropomorphic language is only an aid to understanding.

The other day when I had a similar discussion with a mate who has abandoned his Christian belief I was amazed to discover how similar his views of how things are to mine. I think this modern idea of a higher power/nature is the same thing as my idea of God. He won’t have it though.

Punishment, well who knows but what if in some way the talk in the bible of heaven and hell is a warning of something we do to ourselves? If you allow yourself to imagine that your consciousness survives death what would you imagine being confronted with the perfection of the almighty would do to your ego if you had not come to terms with your failings and were still clinging hard to your self centred life?

> Age/size of the universe, why is God bothered.

God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Not only is he bothered, he is the father who is concerned for our fate and wishes for us to return from our rebelliousness so that he can show us his grace.

> Grace has to be earned by praying and believing.

This is hardly a cost though is it. Praying is just talking to God (the father to anthropomorphise the relationship), a little internal monologue in your head every now and then. Believing has no cost. Say I had scratched your car by mistake without realising it and you were prepared to let it go. How could I experience your forgiveness if I did not first believe in your existence and that I had done it and then talk to you?

> Other religions/cultures sharing similar moralities. Picking the wrong team.

Yes, this is a key point that I made yesterday. I see this as potentially pointing to us all having all been born with a sense of God which allowed early people to be saved even though the full revelation had not been made to them.

> Existence of suffering.

This is probably the hardest. Whatever the purpose of creation it does not seem to have been to give us a playground to just enjoy our lives in without any worries. The examples you have given are all caused by men, either directly or by the way as a whole we have chosen to structure our society. Even this worm because, without looking into it, I bet in the countries where this happens it is not the children of the wealthy who suffer from it. Natural disasters - why have we ended up in such an overcrowded world where we cram into slums on the sides of volcanoes, etc. Human kind has made bad choices throughout history, a world where suffering is the exception rather than the rule was and is possible but we won’t get there by continuing to live apart from God.

Undeniably there is suffering that occurs without any causation from the choices made by man. All I can offer is that suffering in this life is but a speck compared to the joy promised in the next life for those who have suffered.

> People who cause suffering because of their religious beliefs.

Unfortunately, servants of evil come disguised as servants of righteousness offering false doctrines that are appealing to men and can delude people with a persuasive argument. Many people would rather believe an authoritative sounding preacher, than form their beliefs by personal study and conviction. Jesus warned about wolves in sheep’s clothing and gave us the parable of judging a good tree by its fruit.

This is just as big an issue in the secular world by the way.

> Sins not of equal magnitude.

I agree but consider it unwise to judge, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye”.

Remember that sin is not just an occasional bad deed here and there. It is something we are wading into all the time by ignorance and inaction and by our stubborn self-concern.

Nobody is reconciled to God by their own good deeds, it can only come by acknowledgement of our sinful nature.

> God as the cause of suffering in order to punish.

No. We will face God in the next life not in this one.

6
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'No. We will face God in the next life not in this one'

FWIW there's nothing I am more certain of than no, we won't.

 

 
 
2
krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Punishment, well who knows but what if in some way the talk in the bible of heaven and hell is a warning of something we do to ourselves? If you allow yourself to imagine that your consciousness survives death what would you imagine being confronted with the perfection of the almighty would do to your ego if you had not come to terms with your failings and were still clinging hard to your self centred life?

But by the time you get there it's already too late unless you've repented. Which is another issue, it seems you can do prety much anthing you like nd repent on you death bed to be forgiven.

> > Age/size of the universe, why is God bothered.

> God is infinite in time, space, power, and knowledge. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Not only is he bothered, he is the father who is concerned for our fate and wishes for us to return from our rebelliousness so that he can show us his grace.

If he waqs so concerned about anyones fate then why all the suffering?

Am I worth more than many sparrows? If a whole species was to go extinct because of your actions is that OK. I'm I worth more than the last female Rhino, or last blue whale, in the world?

> > Grace has to be earned by praying and believing.

> This is hardly a cost though is it. Praying is just talking to God (the father to anthropomorphise the relationship), a little internal monologue in your head every now and then. Believing has no cost. Say I had scratched your car by mistake without realising it and you were prepared to let it go. How could I experience your forgiveness if I did not first believe in your existence and that I had done it and then talk to you?

But it is a massive cost, because it excuses the actions of otherwise right minded people, "it's the will of God". For instance instead of going to church or mosque, you could be helping with the environment, community projects, or studying more to make you a better person. If I didn't exist I wouldn't have a car would I?

> > Other religions/cultures sharing similar moralities. Picking the wrong team.

> Yes, this is a key point that I made yesterday. I see this as potentially pointing to us all having all been born with a sense of God which allowed early people to be saved even though the full revelation had not been made to them.

I don't understand your reply, are you suggesting that heaven has plenty of Muslims, Jews and Buddhists?

> > Existence of suffering.

> This is probably the hardest.

I'm not surprised!!

>Whatever the purpose of creation it does not seem to have been to give us a playground to just enjoy our lives in without any worries. The examples you have given are all caused by men, either directly or by the way as a whole we have chosen to structure our society. Even this worm because, without looking into it, I bet in the countries where this happens it is not the children of the wealthy who suffer from it. Natural disasters - why have we ended up in such an overcrowded world where we cram into slums on the sides of volcanoes, etc. Human kind has made bad choices throughout history, a world where suffering is the exception rather than the rule was and is possible but we won’t get there by continuing to live apart from God.

The Plague wasn't created by man, flu isn't, the eye worm isn't created by man, (if your a creationist it was created by God). There's a similar worm that affects Greenland sharks, this is neither created by man of as a result of man's influence, yet still the shark goes blind. For you statement, it appears God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. If he's so powerful to have created the universe and all that's in it, he a bit lazy / spiteful / uncaring to not get rid of this worm. better still to have never created it in the first place! What's you answer to diseases that affect everyone, rich or poor, are those man made?

No one is saying we have to live in a world without hardships, but do we really have to suffer so much pain on so many innocent people, for the "glory" of God. He seem very vindictive if you ask me. What would you think of a person who given the opportunity to help, sat on his hands. The person knocked of his bike and you just stand and watch, because they are going to a better place? You wouldn't and you'd condemn anyone that did, and yet it's OK for God!

 

> Undeniably there is suffering that occurs without any causation from the choices made by man. All I can offer is that suffering in this life is but a speck compared to the joy promised in the next life for those who have suffered.

Jam tomorrow then? What such a lazy God, he can create the whole universe but can't be arsed to fix a few little things.

> Nobody is reconciled to God by their own good deeds, it can only come by acknowledgement of our sinful nature.

No you have to say you sorry, and if you do you can be forgiven anything, including the rape of little boys.

> > God as the cause of suffering in order to punish.

God is that cause of suffering because he can't be bothered.

1
summo on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Strange how believers want to live a long time in this world, despite the next life being so much better?

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

All these arguments, criticisms and refutation are put so elegantly and lucidly in the God Delusion I don't know why any of us bother any more. 

3
john arran - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Most of the people who might benefit the most from reading it, won't have read it.

summo on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

> Most of the people who might benefit the most from reading it, won't have read it.

Because that would be blasphemy, go straight to hell without a get out of hell card.

2
krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Another question, sorry!

Why did god wait 14 billion years before creating us, when I suppose he could have easily done it all at once?

Or do you dispute the whole of evolution / big bang / solar system thing?

Ex Poster 666 - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Another question, sorry!

> Why did god wait 14 billion years before creating us, when I suppose he could have easily done it all at once?

He didn't, Earth is only 4,000 years old (or somesuch number)!

 

 

captain paranoia - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Except his grace isn't given freely is it? It has to be earned by praying and believing.

And if you're a stillborn child, or a child that dies before being baptised, grace is never given. Not even after Vatican II. At least that's the case in Catholic doctrine.

So much for 'suffer the little children to come unto me'...

What a foul doctrine that add only adds to the suffering of grieving, Catholic parents who lose a child in such circumstances; knowing they will never be reunited with their entirely innocent child.

That doctrine is one of the many enforcing functions used to bind believers to the faith, and ensure that they are baptised into the faith as soon as possible.

Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Lusk:

I think this is veering dangerously into bullying territory, but I think it does illustrate how some people (like myself) are totally baffled by any sort of belief in afterlife, or a god having any agency over human affairs etc.  I also suspect that some Christians - the Pope, and Rowan Williams to name just 2 - would be pretty circumspect if you had a sit down discussion and really tested their genuine, heartfelt belief in, say, a meaningful afterlife. After all - why didn't Williams strangle his kids at birth? It wouldn't be their fault, so they could then go straight to paradise and skip this vale of tears.

1
krikoman - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> I think this is veering dangerously into bullying territory, but I think it does illustrate how some people (like myself) are totally baffled by any sort of belief in afterlife, or a god having any agency over human affairs etc. 

If you mean me, I'm not trying to be bullying ( and I think most people have been polite, if passionate - it's always difficult to judge from text). I'm genuinely interested in what other people think. I don't expect to change anyone's mind, I can't imagine that happening.

I find it hard to understand how people can reconcile the obvious suffering in the world, with a kind and fatherly God.

 

1
Rob Exile Ward on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

No I didn't particularly mean you, I was including myself as well! I too find it hard to understand. As Dawkins said, 'the amount of suffering in the world did beyond decent contemplation.' God has a lot to answer for.

1
Andy Hardy on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

[...]

> > Religion is unnecessary and inconsistent with reason. No Evidence. Other explanations.

> It is certainly unnecessary to get by in this life. I disagree that it is inconsistent with reason. At the fundamental levels scientific enquiry has not revealed the truth either and followers of your rational philosophy excluding God also have to make choices or be honest and say they don’t know. How can matter be a wave at the same time as it is a particle? What is dark energy? What is consciousness? If these things matter to you, you need to take a best guess or admit you don’t know. You have then picked a fundamental that all else follows from. My set of fundamental beliefs includes the existence of God.

[...]

 

I am not a scientist, however I have no problem with admitting I don't know what consciousness is (as an example) I will also accept that science doesn't come up with absolute proof of anything, however unless you can bring me a unicorn, I will continue in my belief that unicorns do not exist.

One more question: At what point in our evolution did we become worthy of salvation? Are there Neanderthals and Australopithecines in heaven?

wercat on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

I don't profess to understand anything, considering that the Universe is made of Nothing and Something is Nothing with Something leftover, still made of Nothing!

But then Nothing does not exist it seems.

 

Believing that seems to need faith to me!

cumbria mammoth - on 17 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I think most people have been polite, if passionate - it's always difficult to judge from text). I'm genuinely interested in what other people think. I don't expect to change anyone's mind, I can't imagine that happening.

I agree. The reason I have continued posting is that the people who are engaging do seem to be genuinely interested to hear a Christian viewpoint (my viewpoint alone, I don’t claim to speak for anyone else but some Christians will share many of my views and some will share virtually none).

I did wonder there though whether you were deliberately misrepresenting my meaning as there are at least two occasions above where I thought I had said the exact opposite of how you have interpreted it. More likely I have just failed to make my point so apologies for that.

The sparrows quote was in answer to a question about why God is bothered about our affairs when the Universe is so vast. The context of the sparrows quote is that it was given as encouragement for people who were about to face danger for the sake of God - God cares about whether a sparrow falls to the ground so do not be afraid because he certainly cares about you. It is telling them not to be afraid because God cares about things in minute detail even down to the detail of the numbers of hairs on our head.

What the quote says about sparrows and the natural world is that even though human society has placed so little value on it God cares for every detail of creation so the fact that we are making such a mess of it is going to count poorly on us and is another reason why we are all complicit in sin.

A lesson to learn from this misunderstanding which is very relevant to this topic is not to take quotes from the bible out of context. It also shows a way that false prophets can take advantage of any believers who do not critically think and so false doctrines take hold.

The other misrepresentation is where you seem to think I have meant that God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. What I was trying to get across about suffering there is that most of it is man made. I am assuming this worm thrives in places with poor sanitation? Why do people have to live in places with poor sanitation? It’s because of choices made by the wealthy to value riches ahead of God and to deny a fair share of resources to everyone else. Jesus has a lot to say on this issue, he spent most of his time on this earth with the poor and the outcasts of society. When he did come face to face with the rich and powerful he would often rebuke them for their misplaced priorities and lack of concern for the poor. “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”, I think is hyperbole but I definitely think the wealthy need to consider carefully how they are using the resources they have been allowed to look after.

I could easily imagine a world where suffering was rare, where man didn’t prey on man, where people cooperated and shared with each other, where everyone thinks things through and makes rational moral choices, where proper care is freely given to ease the suffering that comes from natural causes. Such a world could exist but doesn’t because of choices that have been made through the ages and that are still made now. This is another reason why we are all sinners.

A lot of the things being said about suffering come across as if you are angry with God rather than that you don’t believe in him. That’s your choice but if you are so certain that God doesn’t exist who are you raging at? It is good to be angry about suffering but direct it at the people and systems that have caused it.

I don’t know the reason that the suffering that doesn’t originate from man takes place, this is an issue I have grappled with and not come up with an answer. This will be unsatisfactory to you but all I can offer is that I have faith that at the end of it all the role of suffering in Gods perfect plan will be revealed. Death itself though, the role of death seems fairly obvious, it is the means by which we access the spiritual realm.

A couple of quick ones, I believe the universe is 14bn years old but God exists outside time so what is 14bn years to God? I’m not a catholic and if that is their doctrine then it is a false one, I don’t go to church. Yes, Jesus came for the salvation of all so I believe true repentance on a deathbed will result in salvation, there will be no cheating God though.

 

And, yes I do believe in evolution (I think most Christians do, certainly most British Christians, and it is a lazy characterisation made by the ignorant to make out that Christians deny the findings of scientific enquiry) and the logic of this to me (this next bit is not mainstream) means that there will be animals in heaven (perhaps all animals because how can an animal sin without the knowledge to make rational moral choices?) where I hope to be reunited with Snowy.

summo on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

So if you believe in evolution, that means you believe some parts of the various Christian books are wrong. Yet you are willing to believe the other elements. How do you know the whole lot isn't made up bo11ocks?

How do you know Jesus wasn't an old school version of those USA tv evangelists? Luring people in, gathering their wealth, living off their efforts, then he was rumbled by the Romans? 

1
krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> I don't profess to understand anything, considering that the Universe is made of Nothing and Something is Nothing with Something leftover, still made of Nothing!

It's not made of nothing, is it there's plenty to see, and more importantly test, that is physical and tangible.

2
krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> What the quote says about sparrows and the natural world is that even though human society has placed so little value on it God cares for every detail of creation so the fact that we are making such a mess of it is going to count poorly on us and is another reason why we are all complicit in sin.

Which was my point (sorry it wasn't clear), if he knows about every detail, then he is complicit in every suffering, whether man made or not. Therefore he chooses not to intervene.

> The other misrepresentation is where you seem to think I have meant that God doesn't care if you're poor, and yet he can make sure the rich don't suffer. What I was trying to get across about suffering there is that most of it is man made. I am assuming this worm thrives in places with poor sanitation?

But this worm ( and this is only one example) has been around since before the massive differences between rich and poor, it wasn't a creation of the people, it might, today, be an indicator of being poor (I'm sure in most places) but it was always there the "creator" made it. One could say that it's only with man made wealth and engineering, it's become less of a problem due to cleaner water etc.

As for the Greenland Whale, what have they every done to suffer the same fate, I don't think there's rich and poor in the whale community.

> I could easily imagine a world where suffering was rare, where man didn’t prey on man, where people cooperated and shared with each other, where everyone thinks things through and makes rational moral choices, where proper care is freely given to ease the suffering that comes from natural causes. Such a world could exist but doesn’t because of choices that have been made through the ages and that are still made now. This is another reason why we are all sinners.

Again why does God allow us to be sinners? If he can do all the things he's, supposedly, capable of, why?

> A lot of the things being said about suffering come across as if you are angry with God rather than that you don’t believe in him. That’s your choice but if you are so certain that God doesn’t exist who are you raging at? It is good to be angry about suffering but direct it at the people and systems that have caused it.

How can I be angry with something that doesn't exist? Pointing out the holes in the reasoning, of why suffering exists, only goes to prove a kind and loving father figure can't exist.

> I don’t know the reason that the suffering that doesn’t originate from man takes place, this is an issue I have grappled with and not come up with an answer.

But you said above God knows and is responsible for the lack of hair on my baldy pate. So it fair that you don't know, but as I said it's hardly someone whose got you best interests at heart.

>  Yes, Jesus came for the salvation of all so I believe true repentance on a deathbed will result in salvation, there will be no cheating God though.

However vile you've been throughout you live, you'll be OK. Where as good and great people who don't believe, or even unborn children for that matter, don't get in?

> .....and the logic of this to me (this next bit is not mainstream) means that there will be animals in heaven (perhaps all animals because how can an animal sin without the knowledge to make rational moral choices?) where I hope to be reunited with Snowy.

And the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, occultisms, etc. will they be there, or is it a case of backing the wrong horse.

Thanks for the replies.

1
wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

btw after coming to this conclusion  I asked the Swiss physicist they had to give talks and answer questions at the enormous and fascinating 2005-6 Einstein exhibition/demonstrations in Berne if this was indeed true and he said "in essence, yes" and went on to recommend some further reading.

krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

Surely there are at least 1 proton and 1 electron, in most of the stuff around us.

Unless of course it's all in our imagination.

Post edited at 11:11
Ex Poster 666 - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> btw after coming to this conclusion  I asked the Swiss physicist they had to give talks and answer questions at the enormous and fascinating 2005-6 Einstein exhibition/demonstrations in Berne if this was indeed true and he said "in essence, yes" and went on to recommend some further reading.

Have you got any suggestions?

summo on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> yes but the stuff we tange and measure is made of "nothing"  as is our measuring apparatus and the bodies we inhabit!  "Nothing" behaving as "something" is our reality.

Try running into a wall, something is definitely there. 

krikoman - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

"In essence" not the best phrase to use. If you mean atoms are mostly made up of nothing, then that's fine, but there's still something there.

Post edited at 12:18
Crewey-Rob on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

I see Tim continues to campaign to reduce travelling times for patients going to radiotherapy... <sarcasm mode> What an utter bastard! </sarcasm mode>.

http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15799025.Tim_Farron_MP_introduces_bill_to_reduce_travel_times_to_radiotherapy_centres/

Rob Exile Ward on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

Because of the  untruthfulness which he has now admitted ( but to be fair, he wasn't very successful at) the LibDems were even less successful or impactful about countering brexit than they would otherwise have been. Who knows how much that has cost us all.

This is not offset so very much by him continuing to perform the normal activities of a constituency MP.

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Lusk:

He recommended Penrose and agreed that Hawking  leaves out too much to be understandable without extensive filling in of the gaps.   What I found was the need to begin with books written in the late 20s and progress through the decades as many books misdescribe or give a gappy account of previous knowledge/theory.

I went back as far as "The Mysterious Universe", Jeans, which is a distillation of a series of lectures given in 1930 summarising the state of knowledge then.

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

as particles can spontaneously arise from "the vacuum" which in common parle is the closest to "nothing" of which we prehend I hold to my argument

wercat on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

Oh something appears to be there, amazing how something so full of empty space can, apparently, hurt ...

 

Doesn't mean that is the absolute and compleat truth though, given the entire universe is thought to have arisen from a quantum fluctuation smaller than any particle

Crewey-Rob on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point. People aren't allowed a religion these days, they get scoffed at by every man and his dog.

Weird times.

1
MarkJH - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point. People aren't allowed a religion these days, they get scoffed at by every man and his dog.

There is almost no restriction on people's permission to have any religion they choose (in this country at least).  The fact that people are not required to admire them for it is irrelevant. 

Should he not be happy if people mock him for his beliefs?  I seem to recall reading somewhere that this would be in his interests (in the long run).

 

Post edited at 14:27
MG - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> It's the fact that he felt like he needed to lie that is the revealing point.

 

What does it reveal?  Beyond people not wanting homophobic leaders?

Crewey-Rob on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to MarkJH:

> Should he not be happy if people mock him for his beliefs? 

As some kind of penance? The plot thickens..

>I seem to recall reading somewhere that this would be in his interests (in the long run).

I don't see how being ridiculed can help anyone's political career, still, if you have a link I'd be interested to read about it.

summo on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> Oh something appears to be there, amazing how something so full of empty space can, apparently, hurt ...

Not mysterious  just Electromagnetic forces.

> Doesn't mean that is the absolute and compleat truth though, given the entire universe is thought to have arisen from a quantum fluctuation smaller than any particle

But that does not mean that matter doesn't exist here and now, there could just be other matter(so to speak) else where in the universe that if they meet would cancel out. You can still have a pound; while someone else has less because they lent you it. 

 

Crewey-Rob on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

It reveals an overtly liberal society where the moral pendulum has swung so far away from oppressive times that if you don't subscribe to the LGBT free for all you're portrayed as a homophobe.

7
MarkJH - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

 

> I don't see how being ridiculed can help anyone's political career, still, if you have a link I'd be interested to read about it.

 

I was thinking of the beatitudes... Surely more important than a political career.

 

MG - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

I don't think regarding gay sex as a sin is just portrayed as homophobia, it is just that.  To be fair to Faron, he did vote for gay marriage etc. and in that sense is liberal.  However, I think it's quite reasonable not to want a leader who regards 10%(?) of the population's natural, unharmful sexual behaviour as sinful.

Crewey-Rob on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to MG:

I think I'm going to change my mind and agree with you (if that sort of thing is allowed). If I continue to argue my case I will look increasingly deranged.

MG - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> I think I'm going to change my mind and agree with you

DO WHAT!!!.  This is UKC you know.  Are you mad!?

Post edited at 15:04
cumbria mammoth - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> So if you believe in evolution, that means you believe some parts of the various Christian books are wrong. Yet you are willing to believe the other elements. How do you know the whole lot isn't made up bo11ocks?

> How do you know Jesus wasn't an old school version of those USA tv evangelists? Luring people in, gathering their wealth, living off their efforts, then he was rumbled by the Romans?


I believe in the scientific method and I believe in God, there is no conflict as far as I am concerned.

I think that the bible was written by men doing their best to put their divinely inspired thoughts into words. I don't think that any of the messages in the bible are wrong, you do have to use some critical thought in places to understand the message though. The message of those first few words in the bible is simply that God created the universe and everything in it. Whether there is a message in the 6 days then a day of rest I am not sure but it certainly isn't literal.

The purpose of the bible isn't to give us hints to solve scientific mysteries, it's a message of how we can be saved. If God had revealed the literal truth to a prehistoric Israeli 3000 years ago I doubt the poor fella would have had the building blocks of knowledge to make any sense of it anyway.

I've said this before but the way to distinguish between the message of God and the message of false prophets such as those TV evangelists is to "judge a good tree by its fruit".

3
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

There is no god. Get over it. It doesn't matter how elegantly you express your 'thoughts' - they are all based on an empty premise. Sorry about that.

2
GrahamD - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Saved from what exactly?

cumbria mammoth - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> How can I be angry with something that doesn't exist? Pointing out the holes in the reasoning, of why suffering exists, only goes to prove a kind and loving father figure can't exist.

 

 

Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. So you are saying then that God is not kind and loving because he allows suffering in this world.

Whatever the reason for suffering in this world God is not the cause and suffering in this life is not a punishment from God. The fate of our immortal soul vastly outweighs any (in comparisson) momentary pain in this world. I'm sorry, I just don't know the purpose as the purpose of creation has not been revealed. Our free will must be part of the purpose of creation. The choices we make using our free will and the need for death so that we can go to God are two reasons for suffering but easy to say these things when I'm not really suffering, I know.

God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm. He demonstrated his kindness and love when he came in flesh to suffer and die, rejected, tortured, nailed to a cross, and ridiculed. By that suffering and death he paid the price that we should pay for our sin so that we may avoid it.

> However vile you've been throughout you live, you'll be OK. Where as good and great people who don't believe, or even unborn children for that matter, don't get in?

No one is good, the message of Jesus is a message that men do not wish to hear or to accept. People need to get over their ego's and accept that they cause harm in the world in their daily lives.

Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. Why else do you think many Christians are so concerned about abortion?

 

"To those whom much has been given much will be required" must logically be true in reverse as well.

> Muslims, Jews, Buddhists

Maybe, they will have less excuse than a prehistoric person as the truth has been revealed now but they must be disadvantaged compared to those that grew up in a Christian culture so logically less will be required.

> occultisms

 

If you mean devil worshippers then I can't see it.

1
captain paranoia - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. 

Not according to Catholic doctrine, absolutely not, if they are not baptised. Never, ever, ever. Not even after the end of days. There is never a place in heaven for them. They cannot be buried in consecrated ground. They are 'lost' forever.

The drivel in Vatican II trying to justify this position is sickening.

It is a vile doctrine.

1
Gordon Stainforth - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

I thought this vile doctrine (which was never remotely Christian in spirit) had been completely overturned by the Pope about a decade ago. 

Post edited at 23:55
captain paranoia - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Nope.

[edit] I don't think so.

But, if it has, how did that doctrine survive for so long?

How did the primary stream of Christianity hold such a vile opinion?

Why should we take any notice of such religion, which holds vile opinions, and changes them on a whim?

Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

Post edited at 00:02
Gordon Stainforth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Tell me how this empathy thing works, without any moral guidelines whatever. I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.

1
captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Oh, FFS.

I can only be responsible for my own actions, not those of a nation.

What moral guidelines are you referring to? Stoning people to death as per Leviticus? Keeping foreigners as slaves? Selling your daughters? Or Matt 22 36:40? Specifically 39?

I really need to stop posting on this thread. We've been over this so many times before, and there's no way we are going to persuade someone who holds a faith to see it for the nonsense we see it to be. And vice versa.

Post edited at 00:28
Gordon Stainforth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Oh, things like religious creeds and commandments, the Beatitudes, the words of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Socrates, the Nicomachean Ethics, etc. etc. 

captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

The Mosaic ten commandments?

Almost entirely about maintaining a faith, and very little about how to actually behave towards one's fellow man.

captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

If you need to refer to someone else's thoughts on what is moral, or simply decent behaviour, there's probably something wrong with you.

Now I really must stop.

Gordon Stainforth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Well that's one set, but then, of course, they were hugely modified by the rather shocking extra two commandments that Christ added .. and very few people find those very palatable even to this day. 

But, as someone who is in not in any deep or meaningful sense a religious person, I'd highly recommend Macintyre's Short History of Ethics. 

Gordon Stainforth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

I must stop too now. It just so happens that I spend all day, every day, thinking about how I would feel in other people's shoes. That's my job.

Post edited at 00:59
summo on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. 

And liking something doesn't mean it does exist.

The bible isn't to be taken literally? So basically it's vague fictional stories that religious leaders can use to control and manipulate the population by presenting their meaning in different ways. Nice. God won't love you if despite being poor you don't give your last penny to the rich church, bend over page boy...  oh I'll repent all these sins and that will make it ok. 

 

GrahamD - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

FactorXXX - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

Top Ropers and Ramblers.

1
Rob Exile Ward on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm. He demonstrated his kindness and love when he came in flesh to suffer and die, rejected, tortured, nailed to a cross, and ridiculed. By that suffering and death he paid the price that we should pay for our sin so that we may avoid it.'

For a long time I thought this was completely meaningless drivel, however often it was repeated or eloquently expressed. One Easter I even asked that OU professor, formerly of this parish (Sonia?) to elucidate; he/she repeated the same pretty much verbatim as though it explained anything.

The first time it made sense was a very elegant paragraph in, I think, Better Angels by Pinker. He describes how the idea that gods were vengeful and revelled in man's pain and suffering would be a logical conclusion to draw in a prehistoric world were all lives was nasty, brutish and short. If such gods enjoyed inflicting pain and suffering, then why not help them out by sacrificing a few (or, as in the case of the Aztecs, a lot) of victims to give their gods their share of pain for the day, on the basis that they might not then come after you? And if you *really* want to give the gods an extra special charge, why not sacrifice someone close to you, like a son or daughter, to *really* give the gods their kick? And that is the meme that finally ends up crystallised at the heart of Christian mythology.

summo on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'm still waiting to hear precisely what I need saving from.

An eternity of angels playing harps as background music, sounds like hell to me. 

cb294 - on 19 Jan 2018
toad - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:wow! A proper, honest to goodness, ukc religion thread. It’s 2005 all over again ????

 

captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to toad:

> It’s 2005 all over again ????

No; Coel's not made an appearance yet...

Anyway, it's a bit of light relief from Brexit...

Post edited at 13:57
1
GrahamD - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Brexit is religion.  Its all down to blind faith.

captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Brexit matters.

Religion is largely irrelevant these days (well, in this country, at least). Gone are the days when the Church would have me 'tried' and burnt at the stake for the things I've said here (you know, in that good, tolerant, Christian way they had...)

1
krikoman - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Tell me how this empathy thing works, without any moral guidelines whatever. I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.


I suggest you look at MSF, and the work they do.

1
captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'm not seeing much now of our old empathy (that I remember so strongly when I was young in the 1950s) for refugees and foreigners of all kinds, for example.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say...

The 1950's? "No coloureds or Irish". Yeah, the good old days when there was strong empathy for foreigners.

2
krikoman - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Not liking something is not proof that it doesn't exist. So you are saying then that God is not kind and loving because he allows suffering in this world.

Yes I an saying that, because if he has the power, and if he's responsible for everything down to the hairs on my head, then he's either very lazy ( it wouldn't appear so as his created the whole universe and everything that in it - even eye worms for whales), or apathetic ( yet we're told he takes keen interest - especially to out sins, or more to the point our asking for forgiveness).

> Whatever the reason for suffering in this world God is not the cause and suffering in this life is not a punishment from God. The fate of our immortal soul vastly outweighs any (in comparisson) momentary pain in this world.

It doesn't have to be punishment from God thought does it, if someone is kicking bits out of you in the street, and I'm six foot tall and wide and have muscles coming out of my ears, yet I decide to carry on walking..... I'm not causing the suffering, but I have it within my power to stop it. Why can't God be more like the good Samaritan?

> God is very concerned for us to avoid suffering in the next realm.

Well he should get his finger out and be very concerned for us to avoid suffeing now!

I noticed God was instrumental in the recent case of the 13 children locked up and suffering in America.

> No one is good, the message of Jesus is a message that men do not wish to hear or to accept. People need to get over their ego's and accept that they cause harm in the world in their daily lives.

This simply isn't true there are many people who have no ego and do good work without causing harm.

> Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. Why else do you think many Christians are so concerned about abortion?

Not according to the Catholics (or are they the wrong team?) or at least only in the last few years at least. And what about babies born out of wedlock not 20 years ago?

> "To those whom much has been given much will be required" must logically be true in reverse as well.

Logically!, sorry that made me LOL!!

> Maybe, they will have less excuse than a prehistoric person as the truth has been revealed now but they must be disadvantaged compared to those that grew up in a Christian culture so logically less will be required.

Once again, at what age do people become disadvantaged, you seem to be saying that if you're clever enough to understand, you won't get in, but if you're a bit thick or young, then you might stand a chance. Sounds a little bit selective, aren't we all equal under the eyes of God.

You seem to be implying that because I us words or phrases about God that I must believe in him, or how can I not believe and use certain terms. My comments are based on what I've been told God is and what he represents, there no doubt regarding belief for me.

2
krikoman - on 19 Jan 2018
Crewey-Rob on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Keep your hair on mate! I've found him. He was on Twitter all this time!

https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod

captain paranoia - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

He's on Facebook, too. I like him... the Facebook version, that is...

https://m.facebook.com/TheGoodLordAbove

Post edited at 20:53
1
cumbria mammoth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> He describes how the idea that gods were vengeful and revelled in man's pain and suffering would be a logical conclusion to draw in a prehistoric world were all lives was nasty, brutish and short.

Yes, I think you could be right about how those ideas came about. I would see it as those people latched on to this "sense of God" that seems to be part of the human condition but they have allowed false teachers to mislead them and the ideas have taken hold.

I'm taking that "elegant" you said before anyway, cheers, never been called that before.

cumbria mammoth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> Saved from what exactly?

Eternal seperation from God which is called hell in our culture. I hope it is just the oblivion that most people on here believe in anyway.

Whatever it is Jesus took it so that we don't have to.

cumbria mammoth - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > Unborn children though? Of course they will get in, children are a group that cannot be guilty of sin. 

> Not according to Catholic doctrine, absolutely not, if they are not baptised. Never, ever, ever. Not even after the end of days. There is never a place in heaven for them. They cannot be buried in consecrated ground. They are 'lost' forever.

> The drivel in Vatican II trying to justify this position is sickening.

> It is a vile doctrine.

I'm not a Catholic and I'd never heard that, yes if that is what they teach it is a vile doctrine. Some of the most severe words of Jesus were when he condemned the Pharisees who were the establishment teachers of religion in his day. They were self righteous quick to condemn peoples sins but unaware of their own. Outwardly they looked holy and pious but they were hypocrites who laid heavy burdens upon the people and would not do anything to make the load lighter. They performed some good deeds but they reveled in the approval of men not of God. They loved the places of honor and the titles that set them apart from and above the rest. I suppose the Catholic church could well be the Pharisees of our day.

> Why should we take any notice of such religion, which holds vile opinions, and changes them on a whim?

You shouldn't, you should listen to Jesus' words and you are responsible for your own interpretation.

> Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

> How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

This is why I'm posting, it turns out you and me follow exactly the same process when making our moral decisions but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

1
Ex Poster 666 - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

My first child was a wonderful little thing until she was smitten with hardcore epilepsy just before her first birthday.

Jesus, God and the Holy f*cking Ghost can go and f*ck themselves up each others arses as far as I'm concerned.

Religion, belief in a higher being (?) you're a lame brained fool.

1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

People can say what they like about Christians but they never forget to capitalise the first letters of many words. Kudos.

captain paranoia - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

Google keyboard spell checker...

captain paranoia - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I'm not a Catholic and I'd never heard that

Then you need to educate yourself properly about the various strands of Christianity, and religion in general, not just what you have chosen to believe.

There are approximately 7000 known gods. Are you sure you've picked the right one? And the right interpretation of whatever 'divine text' you have chosen to follow?

You should not need an atheist to educate you about your belief...

Catholicism was Christianity for about 1500 years. And was as powerful, if not more powerful, than secular law. Hence my comments above about being burnt as a heretic.

cumbria mammoth - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> It doesn't have to be punishment from God thought does it, if someone is kicking bits out of you in the street, and I'm six foot tall and wide and have muscles coming out of my ears, yet I decide to carry on walking..... I'm not causing the suffering, but I have it within my power to stop it. Why can't God be more like the good Samaritan?

What about if you ran past me because over the road there's a bomb that you need to diffuse before millions are killed? Not a brilliant analogy because he is all powerful so yes he must allow it but the point is there must be a higher purpose for it that hasn't been revealed or we can't comprehend. I don't have the answer, perhaps suffering assists in creating a detachment from this world and prepares us for the next?

However unpaletable it is for me to say this, if you believe in an eternal fate then suffering in the hear and now is not as important as our eternal fate.

> Well he should get his finger out and be very concerned for us to avoid suffeing now!

He is. The above isn't a free ticket for us to ignore the suffering around us, the example of Jesus ws to spend most of his time easing the burdens of those who were suffering, he condemned the Pharisees who held themselves up as righteous because they followed rituals perfectly but would not lift a finger to help the sick.

> This simply isn't true there are many people who have no ego and do good work without causing harm.

Sorry but this is your ego talking. It is the message that no one wants to hear but we are all sinners. There are people who do a lot of good in the world and I admire them. Nobody gets through life without causing harm though and then there is our blindness and lack of action to suffering in others.

>> "To those whom much has been given much will be required"

> Once again, at what age do people become disadvantaged, you seem to be saying that if you're clever enough to understand, you won't get in, but if you're a bit thick or young, then you might stand a chance. Sounds a little bit selective, aren't we all equal under the eyes of God.

Yes but we aren't all born with the same advantages in life and a perfectly just God understands this. Are you demanding he should use black and white lines like we use? He is concerned with the state of a heart and knows our motivations.

> You seem to be implying that because I us words or phrases about God that I must believe in him, or how can I not believe and use certain terms. My comments are based on what I've been told God is and what he represents, there no doubt regarding belief for me.

It was the anger I was detecting. If not God then it's either me or Christians in general. If it's general then I think it's misplaced anger, and Christ would also be angry at the people who cause suffering in his name.

 

1
captain paranoia - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> However unpaletable it is for me to say this, if you believe in an eternal fate then suffering in the hear and now is not as important as our eternal fate

And that's just one of the problems associated with the belief in an eternal, perfect afterlife.

This is the only life we have.

Make good use of it, and try to be be decent while you're here.

captain paranoia - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> but the point is there must be a higher purpose for it that hasn't been revealed or we can't comprehend. I don't have the answer,

Of course you don't have the answer, because it's utter bollocks. It's just the usual, trite, inscrutable copout.

You don't have the answer to why God allows suffering due to natural disasters. Because that's bollocks, too.

Accept that God doesn't exist, that our lives are finite, and everything becomes much simpler to understand. And morals based on empathy are much simpler, and more honest (and what you do anyway, even if you 'believe').

FactorXXX - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

captain p, your devoutness to atheism is bordering on being religious in its sincerity and passion for it...

1
cumbria mammoth - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Then you need to educate yourself properly about the various strands of Christianity, and religion in general, not just what you have chosen to believe.

You're not being honest in your dealings with me here if this is what you choose to expand on out of that post.

To take it on though, why should I educate myself about false doctrines, I am interested in the teachings of Jesus? Jesus warned against the religious authorities in his day and I am free to take the views of the Catholic leaders with a pinch of salt as are you. The Catholic church has never been the only viewpoint in Christianity, it has just been the strand with the backing of the political authorities which ought to immediately ring alarm bells.

Power corrupts and as soon as a church becomes powerful then it will be infiltrated by those who seek power instead of God. I think most of the stuff that people seem angry about is the corrupt teachings of men rather than the teachings of Christ. Believer or not, I think that anyone interested in ethics can look at the teachings of Christ, which are in the 4 gospels, and see that he was an important philosopher who spoke a lot of truth.

I would have liked to see you expand on this.

>> you should listen to Jesus' words and you are responsible for your own interpretation.

> Why not dispense with the entire nonsense, and rely on empathy to decide how to behave?

> How about just thinking for yourself? Thinking about how you would feel in the other person's shoes?

>>That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

>>This is why I'm posting, it turns out you and me follow exactly the same process when making our moral decisions but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

 

Post edited at 10:02
2
captain paranoia - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> To take it on though, why should I educate myself about false doctrines, I am interested in the teachings of Jesus? 

How do you know that they are false, and the one you have chosen is true?

Believers in other faiths think their faith is true, and yours is false.

If you haven't studied the others, you cannot say they are false.

You just think yours is true because it's the first one you were introduced to.

> That's exactly what Jesus advised us to do.

My point is that I don't need Jesus to tell me to do that. And neither should anyone.

You must have missed my reference to Matt 22 v39, which is the only line necessary. And it's not an original concept, and it comes from the application of empathy.

> but you would condemn people like me just because of my Christian identity.

I have not, and do not condemn anybody. You are free to believe what you like, provided your faith harms no-one else, and you do not try to enforce your faith on others.

I am merely pointing out that religion provides no moral superiority, because it is based on nothing.

And on that note, I really must leave it. Have a good day.

Post edited at 10:27
krikoman - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> However unpaletable it is for me to say this, if you believe in an eternal fate then suffering in the hear and now is not as important as our eternal fate.

Eay to say when you not the one suffering.

> He is. The above isn't a free ticket for us to ignore the suffering around us, the example of Jesus ws to spend most of his time easing the burdens of those who were suffering, he condemned the Pharisees who held themselves up as righteous because they followed rituals perfectly but would not lift a finger to help the sick.

And yet the one "person" who could make the most difference would be God.

> Sorry but this is your ego talking. It is the message that no one wants to hear but we are all sinners. There are people who do a lot of good in the world and I admire them. Nobody gets through life without causing harm though and then there is our blindness and lack of action to suffering in others.

My ego is talking, because there are people doing good!! What's it got to do with me or my ego?

> >> "To those whom much has been given much will be required"

And the one's who have nothing but are suffering, doesn't seem to ring true I'm afraid.

> Yes but we aren't all born with the same advantages in life and a perfectly just God understands this. Are you demanding he should use black and white lines like we use? He is concerned with the state of a heart and knows our motivations.

So he knew the motivations of Hitler, Stalin Pol Pot, Richard Nixon, pick any other mass murder / catholic priest sex offender, and chose not to at least influence them away.

> It was the anger I was detecting. If not God then it's either me or Christians in general. If it's general then I think it's misplaced anger, and Christ would also be angry at the people who cause suffering in his name.

So why not do something about it?

Again, no anger, exasperation and (sorry for the pun) disbelief, that anyone can allow self deception to excuse any inaction for all the suffering in this world. Jam tomorrow doesn't really wash for me.

 

3
krikoman - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I have not, and do not condemn anybody. You are free to believe what you like, provided your faith harms no-one else, and you do not try to enforce your faith on others.

 

The problem is though, that "faith" does harm other people, probably all of us, it abrogates personal responsibility to "the will of God".

There are people in America waiting for Armageddon in the middle east to full-fill some prophesy and after that the rapture!

Pence is evangelical Christian, so if he was following his religion, he has no interest in peace in the middle east!!

While I'm not against people following or believing, I not altogether sure it's harmless.

Besides the point above consider Catholicism and their opposition to birth control, how many people have died of AIDS ( again something God must have created ) or been forced into poverty because of having to look after the children, or simply to over population of the earth. Religion has a lot to answer for.

 

2
GrahamD - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Eternal seperation from God which is called hell in our culture. I hope it is just the oblivion that most people on here believe in anyway.

> Whatever it is Jesus took it so that we don't have to.

That's OK then.  Nothing for me to worry about if your God has already sorted it out.  To be honest though, being eternally separated from a God that must have invented the plague etc. doesn't sound that bad.

2
wercat on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

"So he knew the motivations of Hitler, Stalin Pol Pot, Richard Nixon, pick any other mass murder / catholic priest sex offender, and chose not to at least influence them away."

 

But the Deity would then have influenced away the good that came from the horror these men did as well.   A growing number of people who would never have existed but for the history that happened then, and their descendants down the centuries.

 

Who are you to prefer some lines of people over others?  The Deity presumably would not, being outside time and therefore perhaps perceiving space-time-history as a whole at once, like a kind of extradimensional crystal

1
krikoman - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> But the Deity would then have influenced away the good that came from the horror these men did as well.   A growing number of people who would never have existed but for the history that happened then, and their descendants down the centuries.

Not sure if you're taking the piss, so I'll assume not.

Well I'd be interested to know the good that come from the horrors that these men did. I think more people would have existed if they hadn't been around and been the cause of so many early deaths. You seem to be excusing mass murder on the grounds of God can't be bothered. Well if he can't be bother why should we? Why should WE be so bothered about killing someone else, after all they're getting to heaven sooner, so I might just well be ending their suffering. Isn't this an ISIS meme?

> Who are you to prefer some lines of people over others?  The Deity presumably would not, being outside time and therefore perhaps perceiving space-time-history as a whole at once, like a kind of extradimensional crystal

I'm someone who prefers people not to kill each other, unlike our merciful father, who doesn't seem to care. Taking out the "people" influence why did God create malaria, cholera, AIDS, Ebola, seems a bit difficult to justify from my point of view.

 

 

2
john arran - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Well I'd be interested to know the good that come from the horrors that these men did.

If you start out assuming what you're trying to show, i.e. that God is good, then it follows that God must have allowed such atrocities because he knew that preventing them would have led to even greater misery. Thus, the atrocities were fully justified and the world and God's part in it are good after all.

Slightly misses the whole point of omnipotence, but there you go. Can't have everything, eh? Mysterious ways an' all.

 

1
Duncan Bourne - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> How come it’s fashionable for homosexuality to get widespread approval whilst Christianity is fair game for mockery? This seems hypocritical to me.


I'll go for a fair answer. Firstly it is not that Homosexuality gets widespread approval. It is just the most people no longer see it as an issue worth getting het up about, except media outlets like the Dail Mail or on the opposite side the BBC. As a general thing most people have come to believe that folks can live there lives how they will as long as it doesn't impinge on others. Now the same also applies to Christianity and other religions. Unfortunately there are a significant number of religious adherants who seem quite happy to lambast other people for their life choices on the basis that their particular fantasy is the truth. To the best of my knowledge no one has ever told me that I should be homosexual, but quite a few have told me I should believe in God and that not believing in him is open invitation to torture (Hell). Given that I don't see any hypocracy in mocking a belief that holds ridiculous views about me. I hasten to add that I do not always mock the religious. If I go to a church I donot stand up and say "It's all a load of bollocks" that wouldn't be poilite. But if anyone wants to publically express a view that I think is erroneous then they are fair game.

krikoman - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

I see, then how do you condemn any murderer / bad deed?

Bit of a cop-out, which was my point about any religion not being such a benign thing.

1
Crewey-Rob on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Institutional religion is in some ways flawed or “bollocks” as you rightly say. It’s mired in millennia of politics and fundamentalism. But if you approach it with an open mind there are many lessons and philosophies that you can learn from. People derive enormous comfort from these institutions in hard times. Just by cherry picking the good bits and filtering out the guff you can form character or even develop your own spiritual beliefs. It’s as unhealthy to discriminate against people spiritually as it is sexually (within reason obvs).

1
wercat on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

If one's starting point includes the knowledge that but for the war, started by Hitler and Stalin, one's wife and hence children would never have existed then certainly good can come out of a war.  My wife will not be alone in being born in a chain of causation going back to Hitler and Stalin and so there is a large band of humans and their descendants who exist as a result.  Who has the power to prefer that they should not have been born or indeed that the people who died in the war and their unborn descendants should have been snuffed out?

 

Is that taking the pee?  I think not.  It's rather a deep philosophical point and one with which I live

Post edited at 17:48
wercat on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

> If you start out assuming what you're trying to show, i.e. that God is good

Not what I'm involved with at all, just presenting an argument why a hypothetical Deity is not obliged to fulfil wishes for a nice cosy cosmos and why using that idea is not an argument against a Deity

 

Post edited at 17:51
cb294 - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

I assumed you meant it in this philosophical way and not as a wind up, so did not reply to your easily misunderstood earlier post.

I still think you are wrong. 

Yes, good things may by chance come from evil, a sign largely of human resilience, but there is no point painting the past as having had a "purpose" that lead to something good later/now according to some grand, external plan.

We have to live life forward, so ethical decisions have to be made in the present, based on their effects now and in the future. We have the power and duty to judge different options based on their effects on the people living now, and on predicted effects for mankind in general for the future.

To look back and suggest that different decisions then would negatively affect individual people living now is missing the point. Like your wife I would not live without Hitler and Stalin, but it would not matter to "me" if WWII had been prevented, there would be no "me". 

You cannot realistically attribute value to people who only potentially exist, "virtual humans" if you will,  in the same way you do with real humans.

CB

wercat on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to cb294:

Perhaps I was not too clear.   I think you are saying what I was intending - that no one can choose one course of history over another, so why should a Deity?  I was not for one moment saying that it was right for things to turn out one way or another.   When I used the word "prefer" it was in the same sense as used in arguments as to why our universe is as it is and not as some other - in other words one cannot be preferred over the other based on physics or, in the case of this discussion, history.

 

But then again, would determinists argue that history is a subset of physics?

Post edited at 18:45
cb294 - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

OK, I agree!

CB

Jon Stewart - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> It’s as unhealthy to discriminate against people spiritually as it is sexually (within reason obvs).

Not quite. I agree it's unpleasant to be mean to people because of their religious or spiritual beliefs. But having a go at someone because of what they believe is a very different kettle of fish to having a go at someone because of a characteristic that they can't control, e.g. the colour of their skin or their sexual orientation.

1
john arran - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> Not what I'm involved with at all, just presenting an argument why a hypothetical Deity is not obliged to fulfil wishes for a nice cosy cosmos and why using that idea is not an argument against a Deity

It may indeed be an argument, but I'd say it was a particularly unconvincing one.

1
krikoman - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> If one's starting point includes the knowledge that but for the war, started by Hitler and Stalin, one's wife and hence children would never have existed then certainly good can come out of a war. 

And what about the millions of people who died in the war and the children they would have produced.

To be honest you being glad for the war so your wife was born seems very selfish.

I suppose it boils down to how many lives you think your life is worth, you seem content that without the 50 million deaths your wife wouldn't be here.

Give that though, you might have another wife, even better than the one you have now.

 

2
Duncan Bourne - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

precisely. I myself use the tennets of Buddhism as part of my philosophy but I don't agree with people who use belief as a stick to beat others or abdicate responsiblity for their actions

Crewey-Rob on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

True, there can be an element of choice with religion sometimes. And it could also be said that spirituality, like sexuality is a spectrum that people flit across parts of throughout their lives. Not always through choice but due to a core part of their psyche.

1
Jon Stewart - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> True, there can be an element of choice with religion sometimes. And it could also be said that spirituality, like sexuality is a spectrum that people flit across parts of throughout their lives. Not always through choice but due to a core part of their psyche.

I think they're completely different. If you don't want to be a Christian, you don't have to be. You can wish you weren't gay...

1
cumbria mammoth - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

Thanks for that reply and sorry I probably did get carried away there saying you had condemned all Christians.

The reason I started posting though was because people up the thread were posting along the lines of all Christians are idiots and should be barred from politics.

I am just trying to show that a Christian should be making their ethical decisions in exactly the same way as non believers that think ethical questions through do. By using empathy and judging outcomes by results.

I'm not trying to argue that following this same method but based on a Christian foundation is superior either. I do think you are being unkind to say he was not original, he was a radical thinker in his day turning the teachings of the established rulers of the Jewish faith upside down.

There are Christians following false doctrines and who have got it wrong and there are non believing rational thinkers who do the same. There are a great many on both sides who don't follow any sort of rational thought process at all.

Yes, "love your neighbour as you love yourself" is something we should all be able to agree on. When you read Jesus' further teachings though you will see that this is a much tougher philosophy than "do unto others..." because people love themselves a great deal and will go to great lengths, not just to avoid hurt, but to provide ourselves with the maximum comfort and fulfillment we can get out of life. To properly follow this advice means an individual must put themself last of all.

I would also argue that "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" which immediately preceeds "love your neighbour..." is equally important. Whether you actually believe in God or not I think that this advice is also mostly about giving up ego and each individual understanding that they are not the most valuable or knowledgeable person in the universe.  So I think this also has value for a non believer.

I agree, my faith is the first I was introduced to, followers of other belief systems (atheism included) must make their own choices. As I say, "judge a good tree by its fruit", I think the people who try their best to put all others first and are willing to take advice from those who have more knowledge are the people who are likely to be doing most good in the world whether this comes from a foundation of Christianity or not.

Post edited at 21:56
cumbria mammoth - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> So why not do something about it?

> Again, no anger, exasperation and (sorry for the pun) disbelief, that anyone can allow self deception to excuse any . Jam tomorrow doesn't really wash for me.

Fair enough. There is no excuse for Christian inaction on all the suffering in this world and whatever your thoughts on their beliefs I think you have to agree that many Christians are extremely motivated to relieve suffering wherever they find it.

I start with the foundational belief that God exists. That suffering also exists I don't see as proof that God doesn't and I don't hold it against God. Of course jam tomorrow won't wash with you if you don't believe in tomorrow.

captain paranoia - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would also argue that "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" which immediately preceeds "love your neighbour..." is equally important

No it isn't. It has absolutely no value in governing your behaviour.

Like much of what is preached in sermons, it is merely about maintaining a faith.

1
Jon Stewart - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I think they're completely different. If you don't want to be a Christian, you don't have to be. You can wish you weren't gay...

I'm really intrigued by the dislike of this post. It's a statement of fact. Anyone care to elucidate what they 'dislike' or disagree with about this fact?

1
captain paranoia - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Maybe someone didn't like the wishing bit...?

Or just a consequence of the new post layout...?

Or you have a dislike stalker; there are a few about.

1
Jon Stewart - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

I think that someone's elephant was responding to my rider.

1
krikoman - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Fair enough. There is no excuse for Christian inaction on all the suffering in this world and whatever your thoughts on their beliefs I think you have to agree that many Christians are extremely motivated to relieve suffering wherever they find it.

 

But given what you've just said, which I agree with, then there's no excuse for God's inaction, why is it left to us? By leaving it to us, it gives people the excuse of it being God's will! Which isn't very far away from excusing everything.

 

1
summo on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I think you have to agree that many Christians are extremely motivated to relieve suffering wherever they find it.

Ever heard the pope encourage the use of contraception to stop the spread if hiv in the African Christian population?

 

krikoman - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

I noticed you avoided the question about Muslims, Jews, etc being allowed into heaven.

What if you've backed the wrong team and it's the Jews who've got it right, where will you end up?

It seems a little self righteous and egotistical to assume you've chosen the right God, out of all the other possibilities, you've managed to pick the right one.

Imagine you'd been born in Saudi Arabia which god would you be rooting for then?

Sir Chasm - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I noticed you avoided the question about Muslims, Jews, etc being allowed into heaven.

Gods' mansion has many doors, the big ornate one at the front is for Christians, but there are doors for Muslims, Jews and all the other lesser religions around the back.

wercat on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> To be honest you being glad for the war so your wife was born seems very selfish.

> I suppose it boils down to how many lives you think your life is worth, you seem content that without the 50 million deaths your wife wouldn't be here.

That interpretation is so far from the sense I expressed as to be almost inflammatory.

 

is it even worth trying to illustrate the complexity of things when you are so full of Tom Kitten and Peter Rabbit?

2
cumbria mammoth - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I noticed you avoided the question about Muslims, Jews, etc being allowed into heaven.

I didn't, you replied to me when I gave my thoughts on that on 19th. The answer was maybe and revolves around "to those whom much has been given much will be required". However they come to it I think the people who try their best to put all others first, are willing to accept advice from those with more wisdom, and who admit that they cause harm in the world and need Gods salvation are the ones who will be OK with God.

> But given what you've just said, which I agree with, then there's no excuse for God's inaction

You don't believe in God and I don't blame God. Neither of us are angry with God so there's no point debating that further.

We are both agreed that there is no excuse for a Christians to be inactive about suffering and I hope I have shown that a proper understanding of scripture should lead to that same conclusion for any Christian.

So what we are left with are the Christians who find excuses for non action about suffering. It is right to be angry about their inaction but equally you should be angry with the many non believers that find excuses for inaction about suffering. If Christian inaction is due to the teaching of the Catholic church then it is also right to be angry with the Catholic church for that teaching but you should not assume all Christians follow those teachings and you should also acknowledge that there are many secular philosophies that provide excuses for people to ignore suffering and powerful organisations behind their teaching as well.

cumbria mammoth - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> Ever heard the pope encourage the use of contraception to stop the spread if hiv in the African Christian population?

"Judge a good tree by its fruit" - the pope is wrong.

1
summo on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> "Judge a good tree by its fruit" - the pope is wrong.

And who elects the pope, his followers. So that is an example of church leaders doing harm. And that's before we even discuss them protecting pedos within their flock, or sitting on vast wealth.

It's just a con to control people. The church doesn't care about you, it just wants to brain wash you. 

1
Jon Stewart - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

> It's just a con to control people. The church doesn't care about you, it just wants to brain wash you. 

It doesn't seem to me that CM is a Catholic. You're making a fallacy of generalisation (and being really aggressive and impolite to someone who's shown a great deal of humility and patience).

1
cumbria mammoth - on 24 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart and Summo

Thanks Jon for the defence. No not a Catholic. Not a church goer either, although that is something I count as one of my failings.

There is truth though in what you have said Summo, some churches over the centuries have tried to control the message and place themselves as the gatekeeper between man and God. It is people who seek power rather than God who have done this.

Jesus was radically against the establishment religion of his day which had done exactly the same thing, and he warned that it would be the same in the future.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

I think that most people in the churches are genuine people who have devoted their lives to the study of ethical living but bad people rise into positions where they can influence others and, as in any other sphere of life, you are responsible for your own choices and need to think critically about where peoples ideas are coming from and where they lead.

captain paranoia - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Not a church goer either, although that is something I count as one of my failings

I think you're doing just fine without. You seem to be thinking about what I would say is the true message of Christianity, thinking about what you think is right to do, rather than following some interpretation of some ancient rules, without actually thinking.

I suspect the only real difference between us is that you believe in God, Jesus and an afterlife, and I don't (and see no need to believe in them).

1
summo on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> It doesn't seem to me that CM is a Catholic. You're making a fallacy of generalisation .....

Sorry. Wrong God. How many are there?

Ps. And yes the church is brain washing, either sat in church now or reading books that were written hundreds of years after the alleged events etc.. It's all still there purely to control the way people think. 

Post edited at 05:45
Rob Exile Ward on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

What I don't get is how you - or any 'intelligent, educated religious' person - can engage with the real world - presumably gain some knowledge of evolution, some grasp of the scale of the universe, some understanding of the Big Bang and all the rest, which all form an imperfect but generally coherent explanation for what we see around us ... and then go into what I can only describe as totally bonkers mode, adding to all that understanding a belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden. Because that, really, is all that a belief in an all powerful deity who takes and interest in and influences outcomes actually is.

Which isn't to say that there isn't a mystery about how the universe started, or what was there before. But as there's so far been no evolutionary advantage being able to understand these things, we haven't developed the capability. I can live with that.

1
summo on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Because science can easily be explained by obvious events. Evolution; God put the fossils in the rock when he made earth, day 1 or 2 I presume.  

Si_G - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Gods' mansion has many doors, the big ornate one at the front is for Christians, but there are doors for Muslims, Jews and all the other lesser religions around the back.

Some of them get upset if you suggest they go round the back. 

 

If you look look at religions as an analogy instead of literal, they work alongside science as a framework for a harmonious society. They just need to be viewed in context. 

Those written words have been translated and rehashed and bent to the will of various people in power over the years. 

The problem lies when people of any viewpoint get all binary about stuff.

<ie why can’t we all just get along, and stop hating, maaan?>

krikoman - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> Gods' mansion has many doors, the big ornate one at the front is for Christians, but there are doors for Muslims, Jews and all the other lesser religions around the back.


I'm not keen on using the back-door

1
krikoman - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> That interpretation is so far from the sense I expressed as to be almost inflammatory.

 

But that's exactly what you said, "My wife will not be alone in being born in a chain of causation going back to Hitler and Stalin and so there is a large band of humans and their descendants who exist as a result. ".

You imply that you wife is her because of the chain of events, but that chain of events required 50 million dead in the war and 80 million dead from the flu after it, and all this was Gods work???

 

2
krikoman - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Sorry I was going to leave this, as we're going around in circles but....

> You don't believe in God and I don't blame God. Neither of us are angry with God so there's no point debating that further.

> We are both agreed that there is no excuse for a Christians to be inactive about suffering and I hope I have shown that a proper understanding of scripture should lead to that same conclusion for any Christian.

> So what we are left with are the Christians who find excuses for non action about suffering. It is right to be angry about their inaction but equally you should be angry with the many non believers that find excuses for inaction about suffering. If Christian inaction is due to the teaching of the Catholic church then it is also right to be angry with the Catholic church for that teaching but you should not assume all Christians follow those teachings and you should also acknowledge that there are many secular philosophies that provide excuses for people to ignore suffering and powerful organisations behind their teaching as well.

Aren't and believers simple following God in his example of inaction, should they chose to not bother. Surely the best we to lead is by example.

Again there's no anger here, the issue is with the hypocrisy of it all. You are on one hand excusing God for standing by and doing nothing, and one the other admonishing believers and non-belivers for doing nothing.

And let's remember in all of this, God created some of this suffering, if he's the creator of everything and is interested in the number of hairs on your head, then he's responsible for malaria, AIDS and eye worms. All of which existed before poverty.

 

3
wercat on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I did not say it was God's work at all.   I am saying that no-one can say whether one line of historical survival  is, in the end, wholly better than another line of survival and that a hypothetical God, who would be outside time anyway and would know of the whole of "history" as a complete entity, could not be expected to prefer one set of survivors over another just to satisfy humans who favour one set of survivors or existors over another.

 

Further, perhaps the many-paths, many-worlds view is correct and every particle really does explore every possibility in the quantum world.   A god would know that, so that all of the horrible unfortunate experiences or lack of existence chances for a line of history survivors or existors in the worlds in which they existed or failed to exist would be balanced by by alternative histories in other paths.  Would the Deity intervene in all such paths, or allow each to develop?  I simply can't see how harm in a world or universe can, scientifically, be used to deny a hypothetical Deity.

krikoman - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

>  I simply can't see how harm in a world or universe can, scientifically, be used to deny a hypothetical Deity.

 

There's not much science involved in God is there? It's more about belief and if God is the Creator, then God himself created things that do harm, which doesn't really chime with a benevolent God looking after us, or even one that cares about us. If he doesn't care then why would you want to be with God, unless out of fear. Which is really the pint of God isn't it?

 

1
john arran - on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> a hypothetical God, who would be outside time anyway and would know of the whole of "history" as a complete entity, could not be expected to prefer one set of survivors over another just to satisfy humans who favour one set of survivors or existors over another.

But that's precisely what Christianity, and presumably most other religions, teaches. If you behave/think in a certain way then God will look favourably upon you when it comes to an afterlife. Whyever would you expect the same God to ignore you when things aren't going well before that?

summo on 25 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> And let's remember in all of this, God created some of this suffering, if he's the creator of everything and is interested in the number of hairs on your head, then he's responsible for malaria, AIDS and eye worms. All of which existed before poverty.

Don't forget, yellow fever, hurricanes, tsunamis, quakes, volcanoes, polio, tb, leprosy, plague, typhoid, cholera, all the cancers .... All just God sharing his love with innocent people. 

wercat on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

Good point but I think the rewards in Christianity et al are in some future life to come, not in the fleshly life.

 

I was providing logical reasons why the presence of harm in this life/set of lives would not be an argument, or at least not a strong one, against the existence of a Deity.

wercat on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

This really does remind me of Dick and Smithy!

 

When I used the term "scientifically" I was referring to logical argument, not as to whether the idea of a Deity is scientific, so I'm not sure what you are adding to the discussion there.  Is that the best you can do?

krikoman - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> Good point but I think the rewards in Christianity et al a.......

Exactly a very good point I think it's more Dmity & Yakov, than dick & Smithy.

 

> I was providing logical reasons why the presence of harm in this life/set of lives would not be an argument, or at least not a strong one, against the existence of a Deity.

Where's the logic in it? You keep saying logic, but there isn't any. If you want to look at it logically then you'd have to wonder, considering God is the creator of everything and is omnipotent, the logical thing would be to :

  1. Have never created diseases, parasites.
  2. Stop natural disasters killing innocent people.

You'd hardly be called logical if you walked away injured people in a car accident, because you decided they'll be better off in the afterlife. I very much doubt you'd be walking away from your wife if she was in that position. So where's the logic?

 

 

 

Post edited at 18:05
john arran - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to wercat:

> Good point but I think the rewards in Christianity et al are in some future life to come, not in the fleshly life.

> I was providing logical reasons why the presence of harm in this life/set of lives would not be an argument, or at least not a strong one, against the existence of a Deity.

So now, instead of defining God as 'good', we have to define God as 'good once you're dead', to get around the thorny issue of Him getting the blame for all of the harm in the world. The God-shaped hole quickly gets smaller once you start thinking critically.

cumbria mammoth - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> I suspect the only real difference between us is that you believe in God, Jesus and an afterlife, and I don't (and see no need to believe in them).

Thanks, that's appreciated.

I would think so as well and that's the point I have been trying to make all along.

If it is true for me then it is also true that other Christians are making moral choices for reasons that you would mostly agree with as well.

Few people are sitting at church soaking up everything they are told without question just as no one would sit at a lecture about the teachings of say Francis Bacon and immediately take on his entire philosophy without questioning at least some elements of it. Whatever the teaching of the Catholic church is, hundreds of thousands of Catholics voted for same sex marriage in Ireland.

Christians can and do make their own minds up about what is right and wrong just the same as everyone else, and this is actually the way it should be as taught by the words of Jesus, so if people want to criticise the view of a particular Christian then that might be fair but it is lazy and unfair for people to criticise all Christians for views and beliefs that most of them probably don't hold.

 

cumbria mammoth - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> What I don't get is how you - or any 'intelligent, educated religious' person - can engage with the real world - presumably gain some knowledge of evolution, some grasp of the scale of the universe, some understanding of the Big Bang and all the rest, which all form an imperfect but generally coherent explanation for what we see around us ... and then go into what I can only describe as totally bonkers mode, adding to all that understanding a belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

I didn’t make God up though or bolt God onto my understanding of science. I grew up with an interest in how the world is, which has included a belief in God for as long as I can remember. There has never been a conflict between God and science for me. Each revelation that comes as a result of scientific enquiry is also a revelation about God.

I was certainly taught about God from an early age but I am interested in this idea of a universal sense of the divine. Whether that sense exists or not I would guess that most people here were also taught from an early age that God exists so I would ask what was the crucial piece of evidence that convinced you that there is no God? I have never seen such evidence and I would argue that you are engaging in a leap of faith as much as I am.

 

4
cumbria mammoth - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Sorry I was going to leave this, as we're going around in circles but....

> Aren't and believers simple following God in his example of inaction, should they chose to not bother. Surely the best we to lead is by example.

> Again there's no anger here, the issue is with the hypocrisy of it all. You are on one hand excusing God for standing by and doing nothing, and one the other admonishing believers and non-belivers for doing nothing.

> And let's remember in all of this, God created some of this suffering, if he's the creator of everything and is interested in the number of hairs on your head, then he's responsible for malaria, AIDS and eye worms. All of which existed before poverty.

We are going around in circles. I agree with you that belief in an all knowing and all powerful God must mean that has set up the universe in such a way that includes the existence of suffering. I don’t see it as in 1346 he sent plague and in 1980 he sent AIDS, and throughout the ages he is going “have some baldness you tossers”, and neither does he intervene. Rather, 14bn years ago he set up the universe in such a way that the plague, AIDS, and baldness are natural consequences of the laws of nature.

There must be a purpose for suffering then. If God is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly loving, perfectly just, etc, I can only conclude that there is a pretty important reason for suffering. Ideas include that it seems to be important that we are able to make moral choices so if there was no consequence to our choices how could they be moral? Another idea is that suffering makes us stop focusing on the trivial and puts things in their proper perspective. You seem to want Christians be angry with God for putting us into a world that includes suffering then, I don't know the answer but I wouldn’t presume that I know better than God how he should have set up his creation.

Meanwhile he did lead by example when he lived among us fully as a human 2000 years ago, devoting his entire life to easing the suffering of those he encountered and delivering a message of hope to the suffering, before drinking his own cup of suffering as an innocent man nailed to a cross.

2
captain paranoia - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I would ask what was the crucial piece of evidence that convinced you that there is no God? I have never seen such evidence and I would argue that you are engaging in a leap of faith as much as I am.

Read the thread again. Especially the bits about unicorns.

If you posit the existence of God, the onus is on you to prove God exists. Otherwise, the leap of faith is entirely yours. Where is your crucial piece of evidence that God does exist?

I need no leap of faith not to believe in unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, little green men, Hogwarts, God, or any other mythical or imaginary concept.

I can see how man created god, and why, but I see no need for me to believe in his existence. I don't need to believe in a creator god (not that the concept answers anything), and I don't need god to give me a moral reference, and I don't need god to blame for natural disasters, or thank for anything, and I don't need to look forward to an external afterlife. None of that makes any sense to me, and never has, even from a child. My parents did not indoctrinate me into a religion, but, instead, used the simple question "how would you like it if someone did that to you?", whenever I did something not nice. It worked for me.

But I can see why some people need to have answers to the questions of "where do we come from?", "what happens to us when we die?", and the hope that we will be reunited with our loved ones after death. That last one is a very powerful enforcing function, deliberately exploited to ensure people stay faithful. Religion exploits fear and love to bind people to a faith; birth, marriage, sex, death, and the afterlife, all controlled by the church to maintain faith, power and social control. You might think you are not controlled, since you say you don't hold with a formal church, but you are binding yourself to most of their enforcing functions.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> We are going around in circles. I agree with you that belief in an all knowing and all powerful God must mean that has set up the universe in such a way that includes the existence of suffering. I don’t see it as in 1346 he sent plague and in 1980 he sent AIDS, and throughout the ages he is going “have some baldness you tossers”, and neither does he intervene. Rather, 14bn years ago he set up the universe in such a way that the plague, AIDS, and baldness are natural consequences of the laws of nature.

> There must be a purpose for suffering then. If God is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly loving, perfectly just, etc, I can only conclude that there is a pretty important reason for suffering. Ideas include that it seems to be important that we are able to make moral choices so if there was no consequence to our choices how could they be moral? Another idea is that suffering makes us stop focusing on the trivial and puts things in their proper perspective. You seem to want Christians be angry with God for putting us into a world that includes suffering then, I don't know the answer but I wouldn’t presume that I know better than God how he should have set up his creation.

> Meanwhile he did lead by example when he lived among us fully as a human 2000 years ago, devoting his entire life to easing the suffering of those he encountered and delivering a message of hope to the suffering, before drinking his own cup of suffering as an innocent man nailed to a cross.

This is an unconvincing argument. So much suffering is manifestly not as a result of moral choices made; it is largely random and pointless. And having relatives die horrifically from causes they had no chance to avoid appears a pretty harsh way of encouraging a sense of perspective.

 

so we’re left with it just being god working in mysterious ways; we just have to trust him that there’s a good reason, even though it just looks plain nasty. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt, but it’s really asking a lot 

captain paranoia - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>  If God is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly loving, perfectly just, etc, I can only conclude that there is a pretty important reason for suffering. 

You asked me about evidence that God doesn't exist. I missed that you had just given that evidence.

I took your 'if god is...' question, and come to the conclusion that God cannot exist, not that there must be a 'higher purpose'.

Shit just happens, and we have to deal with it.

We've been through all this before, in the 'UKC Holy Wars', ten years ago. I'm sure I could dig out a few relevant threads and send them to you, to save us going through it all again...

You are different from most of the theists involved then, since you aren't arguing that atheists have no morals, or that God provides an immutable moral reference, or that theists' morals are superior to atheists' morals. You'll have to forgive me if I assumed you would hold beliefs similar to them.

Post edited at 00:16
krikoman - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Meanwhile he did lead by example when he lived among us fully as a human 2000 years ago, devoting his entire life to easing the suffering of those he encountered and delivering a message of hope to the suffering, before drinking his own cup of suffering as an innocent man nailed to a cross.

One example in 14bn years and the rest we just have to hope he knows what he's doing.

I still don't get how you know you've picked the right god, if you'd been born elsewhere, you'd be believing in Buddha, Mohamed, Vishnu,Baiame or any other number of other options. It's all very strange to me?

Thanks for the replies though, it's been enlightening

 

plyometrics - on 27 Jan 2018

Respect to the OP for garnering over 300 posts. 

To get the thread back on track, TF’s still a wazzock. 

Post edited at 13:52
1
cumbria mammoth - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> If you posit the existence of God, the onus is on you to prove God exists. Otherwise, the leap of faith is entirely yours. Where is your crucial piece of evidence that God does exist?

I'm not trying to prove that God exists because there will never be proof, you have to come to God through faith. I am not trying to argue it through reason either. I am just reacting to this self satisfied stuff about unicorns and bonkers beliefs (which is coming from otherwise fair minded people). I believe but I am not trying to claim intellectual superiority over you as you are trying to do to me with this argument.

Because something cannot be scientifically validated is not proof that it doesn't exist.

It's not the same as unicorns and the rest of it, a belief in God or gods has been the dominant strand of human thought for at least as long as we have evidence for, still is in most of the world, and even here in modern Britain non believers will still say they have a belief in some sort of higher power. The existence or not of God is a subject worthy of intellectual contemplation.

In science the burden of proof lies with a person presenting a new idea.

 

 

Post edited at 21:38
4
Sir Chasm - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It's not the same as unicorns and the rest of it

Of course it is. You'd like it to be different, but it's exactly the same as believing in all the other imaginary creatures.

2
Crewey-Rob on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

What gets me is it must be terrifying for non believers to die. Plus this notion that God is some kind of creature is bizarre and makes a mockery of the idea. I always knew that Santa Claus was bullshit yet I’m not godless. God is nature. Or something…

Edit: I think I'm drunk.

Post edited at 22:17
1
cumbria mammoth - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: krikoman: captain paranoia

> Thanks for the replies though, it's been enlightening

Certainly has, until posting here I always thought it was the message that we are all sinners that turned people off God. I now see that the existence of suffering is at least as important.

There are three choices of what we can choose to believe, all are a leap of faith.

1. God does not exist.

2. God exists but he is either not all knowing and powerful or he is not as loving as claimed.

3. God exists and is perfect and there is a good reason for suffering.

God is real to me, not in the sense that I believe but real in the sense that I experience him every day. I believe option 3 but maybe I am too self centred to understand the good reason? The idea that suffering seperates us from this world and prepares us for the next is the most promising that I have seen so far.

I don't agree that suffering is mostly random and pointless, it is mostly death, which is the bridge between this world and the next, or mans inhumanity to man and nature, which is a consequence of our free will. As a society we could make choices to reduce our exposure to natural disasters and disease but we don't. We could make choices to look after those who suffer and give them as much satisfaction as possible out of life but we don't. In actual fact that is not completely true, we make those choices for those close to us but allow the suffering of others.

In this near perfect society we could choose to create there would still be residual suffering though. You'll have to make your own choice (you already have in fairness), I have gone as far as I am competent to on this subject.

> My parents did not indoctrinate me into a religion, but, instead, used the simple question "how would you like it if someone did that to you?", whenever I did something not nice. It worked for me.

That philosophy is good but it could be better. "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" is much stronger. It is not just avoiding causing harm, it is actively striving to make sure that "your neighbour" gets all the fulfilment out of life that each of us craves for ourselves. This is the teaching of Jesus but you could still come to this conclusion without religion.

> I still don't get how you know you've picked the right god, if you'd been born elsewhere, you'd be believing in Buddha, Mohamed, Vishnu,Baiame or any other number of other options.

I've spent a lot of time on this subject already. God is God whatever name people give him. If I'd been brought up in India then I'd like to think I would have still come to the same conclusion about the need to try my best to live without ego, listen to those with more wisdom, admit the harm that I cause, and ask God for forgiveness.

 

 

Post edited at 22:53
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Sir Chasm - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> krikoman: captain paranoia

> Certainly has, until posting here I always thought it was the message that we are all sinners that turned people off God. I now see that the existence of suffering is at least as important.

> There are three choices of what we can choose to believe, all are a leap of faith.

> 1. God does not exist.

> 2. God exists but he is either not all knowing and powerful or he is not as loving as claimed.

> 3. God exists and is perfect and there is a good reason for suffering.

That's a very one-eyed view, I have have no belief in gods, but that doesn't mean I believe there are no gods (clearly there aren't, but if you believe then they exist for you).

cumbria mammoth - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

On the beers SC? Same here so it could be me actually but I don't follow what you're saying?

Sir Chasm - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

It's quite simple, your 3 options start with the choice to believe that "God does not exist", but another option is, rather than to believe in no gods, to have no belief in gods. Do you believe fairies don't exist? Or do you merely have no belief that there are fairies? 

1
Andy Hardy on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Your God exists only in your head. It is impossible for anyone to convince you otherwise. As long as you don't think that your God sanctions, condones or requires you to harm others, that's fine. 

2
cumbria mammoth - on 27 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

A don't know option?

I'd be interested to hear what the undecided or ambivalent think on these matters but so far the threads been quite binary.

cumbria mammoth - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

You can hold that view if you want. The point I have been trying to make since I got involved is that your view is neither superior or inferior to mine but it is self congratulatory arrogance from the ignorant to suppose that Christians are any more likely to cause harm than the next man (you might not suppose this but there was plenty of evidence of this view earlier on in the thread).

Sir Chasm - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> A don't know option?

Don't know what? You don't know whether or not you believe in fairies, but you're cool with an omnipotent being?

> I'd be interested to hear what the undecided or ambivalent think on these matters but so far the threads been quite binary.

Well, the undecided don't believe in gods. I don't know about the ambivalent.

1
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Many years ago I did a degree in parasitology. One of the organisms we studied was the parasitic worm, onchocerca volvulus, the pathogen responsible for the disease onchocerciasis 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onchocerciasis

this organism causes blindness in hundreds of thousands of people. They become infected by being bitten by flies while collecting water; a task that is clearly obligatory. Through carrying out an everyday necessary for basic survival, generations of people are left in deeply unpleasant discomfort (the worm causes allergic reactions and severe itching) and lifelong disability. 

 

David Attenborough put it better than I can:

 

 

People say: ‘How you can see hummingbirds, roses, and orchids and not believe in the Lord’s splendour’? But if you’re going to look at those things, you should look at other things, too. Imagine an African boy with a parasitic worm boring into his eye. If you tell me God not only created but cares for us all, what about that boy? Are you telling me he says: ‘God deliberately created a worm that’s going to blind me’? I find that intolerable.”

 

I find it hard to square the existence of onchocerca volvulus with an all powerful, all knowing,benevolent creator.

 

edit: reading again your most recent post, you appear to be claiming that much suffering as a result of disease is the responsibility of humans, who could choose to organise themselves and deploy resources in a different way. I find this an unsatisfactory explanation on a number of levels

 

- why should the boy with river blindness be left in torment and poverty because of the choices made by his government, over whose policies he had no say? This seems a high price for some people to pay in order to expose the shortcomings of others. The game may be one where we are presented with choices in order to demonstrate our moral worth, or otherwise; but the way it’s constructed seems to verge on sadistic, going far beyond the minimum suffering needed to establish this.

 

 - there are diseases now where policy choices could be reduce peoples exposure to them, and so it would technically be possible to see them as some sort of moral test for the government of a state, subject to the caveat above. But this has only become possible in principle, never mind in reality, in the last 2 generations. What about the hundreds, maybe thousands, of generations who experienced suffering before we even had the tools to look at treatment and vector control? That seems a remarkable volume of misery to inflict in order to set up a situation at some point in the future where a few people can have their moral decision making explored.

 

Its hard to see how this is the product of a benevolent god, no matter how much I may wish that were the case.

 

Post edited at 00:38
1
captain paranoia - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The existence or not of God is a subject worthy of intellectual contemplation.

And I have done the intellectual contemplation, and concluded that God does not exist, is the invention of man, and resides only in the brains of believers, as can be demonstrated by functional MRI.

> In science the burden of proof lies with a person presenting a new idea.

In science, the burden of proof lies with the person proposing a hypothesis, new or not. Just because people have believed in gods for thousands of years does not make them right.

You'll be proposing the ontological argument next.

Post edited at 01:00
1
john arran - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> There are three choices of what we can choose to believe, all are a leap of faith.

> 1. God does not exist.

 

The problem here is the word ''believe'. Whereas 'faith' suggests a conviction, a certainty; 'belief' in its general sense requires only an opinion.

I believe any particular God does not exist, simply because there is no evidence to support the opinion that it does. It is therefore my considered opinion , and that conclusion/belief requires no faith on my part.

Once you reduce atheism to a similarly irrational level as faith-based conviction, you may as well be starting with an assumption that 0=1.

 

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> In science the burden of proof lies with a person presenting a new idea.

Do I have to prove witches don't exist?

 

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> What gets me is it must be terrifying for non believers to die. Plus this notion that God is some kind of creature is bizarre and makes a mockery of the idea. I always knew that Santa Claus was bullshit yet I’m not godless. God is nature. Or something…

A false sense of security isn't comfort though. I'm not sure it is terrifying for non-believers to die, I know it's going to happen, there's not much I can do about it, so why should I be terrified?

This is an obvious failing of believing as far as I can see, it's about hiding the truth and not facing up to reality. Again it's based on "believe in me or terrible things will happen to you". Indoctrination on the basis of fear, doesn't really appeal to my, it's bullying and I've always stood up to bullies.

 

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> krikoman: captain paranoia

> Certainly has, until posting here I always thought it was the message that we are all sinners that turned people off God. I now see that the existence of suffering is at least as important.

> There are three choices of what we can choose to believe, all are a leap of faith.

> 1. God does not exist.

> 2. God exists but he is either not all knowing and powerful or he is not as loving as claimed.

> 3. God exists and is perfect and there is a good reason for suffering.

> God is real to me, not in the sense that I believe but real in the sense that I experience him every day. I believe option 3 but maybe I am too self centred to understand the good reason? The idea that suffering seperates us from this world and prepares us for the next is the most promising that I have seen so far.

> I don't agree that suffering is mostly random and pointless, it is mostly death,

It isn't mostly death though, it's a long drawn out life of pointless suffering, sometimes at the hands of God's appointees here on earth.

> In this near perfect society we could choose to create there would still be residual suffering though. You'll have to make your own choice (you already have in fairness), I have gone as far as I am competent to on this subject.

But that's exactly the point, suffering isn't anything to do with God, it's humans, if there was a god then he could and should stop it. worse than that there shouldn't be scriptures telling us how bad we are for not helping out, or doing God's bidding. Surly if you take that to the leter, you simply say well God can't be arsed so why should I?

> That philosophy is good but it could be better. "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" is much stronger. It is not just avoiding causing harm, it is actively striving to make sure that "your neighbour" gets all the fulfilment out of life that each of us craves for ourselves. This is the teaching of Jesus but you could still come to this conclusion without religion.

I have, and many other people have too, but this doesn't obviously need God as you've stated.

> I've spent a lot of time on this subject already. God is God whatever name people give him. If I'd been brought up in India then I'd like to think I would have still come to the same conclusion about the need to try my best to live without ego, listen to those with more wisdom, admit the harm that I cause, and ask God for forgiveness.

I don't need forgiveness, I chose to live with the mistakes I make, or not make them in the first place, or ask forgiveness from the people I've "sinned" against. Doing something you know is wrong then asking for forgiveness, is simply giving yourself and excuse to do the things you know are wrong in the first place.

 

1
Andy Hardy on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> You can hold that view if you want. The point I have been trying to make since I got involved is that your view is neither superior or inferior to mine but it is self congratulatory arrogance from the ignorant to suppose that Christians are any more likely to cause harm than the next man (you might not suppose this but there was plenty of evidence of this view earlier on in the thread).

If the Christian viewpoint is that gay sex is a sin and therefore should be proscribed, then that harms gay men and women, in that it deprives them of the right to a sex life.

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

 

> That philosophy is good but it could be better. "Love your neighbour as you love yourself" is much stronger. It is not just avoiding causing harm, it is actively striving to make sure that "your neighbour" gets all the fulfilment out of life that each of us craves for ourselves. This is the teaching of Jesus but you could still come to this conclusion without religion.

You seem to be quite keen to quote a number of aphorisms from the bible, but you don't need a bible to live a moral life, if you want aphorisms then here's a few I try to follow :-

1) Do the right thing, we all know what right and wrong.

2) Apologise for your mistakes.

3) Try to be honest.

4) Use as little as possible, give as much as you can.

5) Be nice.

I'm sure there are many more, that people live their lives by, without even considering them, it's just something people do.

1
Crewey-Rob on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Indoctrination on the basis of fear, doesn't really appeal to my, it's bullying and I've always stood up to bullies.

I'm now sober and can detect an inflammatory edge to your words...

1. Who's trying to indoctrinate anyone?

2. You could argue that un-indoctrinating someone is equally malicious,,

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> I'm now sober and can detect an inflammatory edge to your words...

Inflammatory edge, what does that even mean?

> 1. Who's trying to indoctrinate anyone?

Most religions / cults / gangs / sects.

> 2. You could argue that un-indoctrinating someone is equally malicious,,

You could try but it would be a daft argument.

You asked about how people aren't terrified if they don't believe, it's very simple  they aren't. You don't need God to be unafraid. Like I said, this is a common trope in many regions, "believe in us or it's going to be horrible", let's not forget about the Evangelical rapture, that's only for the righteous (providing you've backed the right one. Of course it's indoctrination it's how many "gangs" not just religion work, loyalty to the cause or "bad things will happen"

My Dad and my granddad faced death without fear or God.

You might try looking up Louis Theroux and the Scientology mob, I'm sure it's on the BBC web site.

Post edited at 12:53
1
Crewey-Rob on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> You might try looking up Louis Theroux and the Scientology mob, I'm sure it's on the BBC web site.

Yep, I have seen that thanks. It did come across as a really unpleasant organisation.

1
krikoman - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to Crewey-Rob:

> Yep, I have seen that thanks. It did come across as a really unpleasant organisation.


Then it's not much of a stretch to apply that to any religion then is it?

In Scientology, you get a good beating here on earth, but in Christianity the beating lasts forever, even after you're dead!  And you proposed belief is a comfort!

2
cumbria mammoth - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Sorry, I think we must be misunderstanding each other. I honestly can’t work out what the point you are making is? I took a stab there that you were saying that a fourth option should be the agnostic  - people who don’t know if there is a God or not.

cumbria mammoth - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I see that not only has our ability to fight this disease only increased in modern times, the disease has also become much more widespread in modern times with a clear link to the construction of dams - people are at least part of the cause. Slavery has also had a big part to play in the spread of this particular disease – mans inhumanity to man.

It’s not governments or states that I would blame. It’s directly you and me who are responsible for this boys suffering. Every time we get worked up about losing our standing in the world as other countries’ economies overtake ours, the cheap food and other products that we demand, any time we just turn a blind eye to these issues, we are part of the cause and this is why we are all sinners.

If for the last 2000 years everybody had been following the philosophy of “love your neighbour as you love yourself” I am confident that this particular example of suffering would have been at least virtually eliminated long ago. Any residual suffering, well it leaves you with those three choices of what must be true.

cumbria mammoth - on 28 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia: john arran

> Just because people have believed in gods for thousands of years does not make them right.

It does not make them right, your lack of belief does not make them wrong. I’m not trying to prove Gods existence, just show that atheism does not have a monopoly on rational thought. You cannot ignore the dominant line of human thinking as a subject worthy of intellectual consideration. You have a hypothesis that there is no God, I have a hypothesis that there is. Both are equally likely, there is no evidence either way.

3
cumbria mammoth - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

>  you don't need a bible to live a moral life

I am not saying you need a bible or God to lead a moral life. Other people are saying that Christians cannot lead a moral life because we follow immoral teachings. I am trying to show that this view is based on only a superficial level of understanding of Christianity if not complete ignorance.

I'm not trying to claim superiority, people on the other side of the debate are.

>  Doing something you know is wrong then asking for forgiveness, is simply giving yourself and excuse to do the things you know are wrong in the first place.

I suppose someone could mistakenly follow that logic but if they followed Jesus’ teachings they wouldn’t. On the other hand, a non believer can simply decide not to be arsed without even wondering if there are any consequences for their inaction.

More likely a Christian who is inclined to excuse themselves from action is going to think about whether they will have to account for their inaction on judgement day and be spurred into doing something. Even if they only do good deeds because they fear God it is still better than not doing good deeds.

 

Post edited at 00:17
1
cumbria mammoth - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> If the Christian viewpoint is that gay sex is a sin and therefore should be proscribed, then that harms gay men and women, in that it deprives them of the right to a sex life.


It isn't the Christian viewpoint. It is a viewpoint of the leaders of some churches. Jesus explicitly warned us not to judge. Christians should and do follow Jesus' advice rather than their church leaders advice on all sorts of ethical matters, in particular they did just this when they voted for same sex marriage in Ireland and Australia.

captain paranoia - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

I'm going to bow out of this.

We will never understand each other's position.

It has never been my intention to be unpleasant, so if I have appeared that way, please accept my apologies.

1
summo on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> john arran

>  You have a hypothesis that there is no God, I have a hypothesis that there is. Both are equally likely, there is no evidence either way.

Equally?

What makes your God more likely than any other religions God? 

1
john arran - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> john arran

> I’m not trying to prove Gods existence, just show that atheism does not have a monopoly on rational thought.

And I explained why atheism is based on rationality and theism isn't. Wishing it were not so won't change that.

> You cannot ignore the dominant line of human thinking as a subject worthy of intellectual consideration.

Of course not. But neither does it have merit simply due to ubiquity. Ang grouping all religions throughout history together to stand behind, when you yourself dismiss almost all of them, isn't a strong argument.

> You have a hypothesis that there is no God, I have a hypothesis that there is. Both are equally likely, there is no evidence either way.

Is the flying spaghetti monster equally likely too? Or is the concept of likelihood simply not relevant here?

 

Andy Hardy on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It isn't the Christian viewpoint. It is a viewpoint of the leaders of some churches. [...]

Yet the adherents of those churches would describe themselves as Christian, like Tim Farron, and they do say that gay sex is a sin in Christianity. Therefore Christianity can cause harm that atheism doesn't. 

You'd think that if there was an omnipotent supernatural being ordaining the lives of humanity he'd have a bit clearer. I guess it's just more evidence for the non existence of gods.

 

summo on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

The force is strong on Lewis, therefore jedis are real. Or at least 'Equally' likely as any other religion.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-42834380

Post edited at 08:04
Rob Exile Ward on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'Both are equally likely'

No they're not. In 63 years I have never, ever experienced anything that needed a supernatural explanation. I don't know anyone who has. In my book that tilts the odds somewhat.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

Shouldn’t the placards they’re holding say:

’down with this sort of thing’

and

’careful now’

Luke90 on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Presumably, since since there's no evidence either way, you divide your time equally between churches, synagogues, gurdwaras, mosques, and the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (though that last institution is somewhat discredited by its lack of abuse scandals, can't possibly be a real religion if it doesn't use its power to ruin some lives).

Post edited at 08:39
cumbria mammoth - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to captain paranoia

> I'm going to bow out of this.

> We will never understand each other's position.

> It has never been my intention to be unpleasant, so if I have appeared that way, please accept my apologies.

If you're bowing out, thanks for the interesting discussion.

Never found you unpleasant at all, I think there was a misunderstanding at the start but it has been good that you have a decent knowledge of the topic and you haven't just been throwing daft insults about.

Cheers.

cumbria mammoth - on 29 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

The question "does God exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration, I think you and most people agree on that?

If it's worthy of consideration and there's no evidence either way then I think the only people who can claim to be truly rational are the agnostics. There is no rational way to decide, yes or no is equally likely.

I think anyone with a conception of God or gods is onto something. I can happily concede that narrowing the question down to "does God exist and is he Jesus" statistically reduces the probability of it being true. I believe Jesus spoke the truth though because his philosophy is true. As far as I am concerned if we all followed it we would have as near a perfect world as humans can make it (it is important here to recognise how scathing Jesus was about the organised religion of his day).

I think a fair characterisation of Christians by non believers would be.

1. They believe in a creator but can't justify this belief by science.

2. They try to follow the teachings of an important philosopher from 2000 years ago.

3. They often get things wrong but are also capable of good.

I think a fair characterisation of atheists is.

1. They believe there is no creator but can't justify this belief by science.

2. They can follow the teachings of any important philosopher they want, or none.

3. They often get things wrong but are also capable of good.

I think a viewpoint of all Christians are nutters who follow immoral teachings is as unreasonable as it would be applied to all atheists.

Post edited at 22:51
2
GrahamD - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The question "does God exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration, I think you and most people agree on that?

Only to the extent "Does Father Christmas exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration.

2
thomasadixon - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>I think a fair characterisation of atheists is.

> 1. They believe there is no creator but can't justify this belief by science.

You had to fall down somewhere.  That's not a fair characterisation.  They (we) believe there is no creator because there is no evidence of a creator.  They (we) can justify this belief in the same way that they justify not believing in anything else.  If there's no evidence to support a belief then it should be discarded.  That's the scientific worldview, evidence before belief, and atheism is the only rational belief that can be formed based in the evidence we have.

Agnostics would have us believe that unicorns may exist, largely because they don't want to offend the religious it seems to me.  I'll stick with the assumption that they don't unless evidence tells me otherwise.

summo on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

All people will occasionally do something wrong, or good and bad as you call it.

The difference is many religions allow people to use their beliefs as an excuse for doing that wrong and no religion is exempt. Atheists have no excuse. 

It is strange how many people who are considered to have had God's calling, do some surprisingly evil things to other innocent people. Is that God's message? what a nice caring guy(Or girl) they are. 

Post edited at 10:48
Andy Hardy on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> The question "does God exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration, I think you and most people agree on that?

> If it's worthy of consideration and there's no evidence either way then I think the only people who can claim to be truly rational are the agnostics. There is no rational way to decide, yes or no is equally likely.

So the probability of unicorns existing (since we can't prove they don't) is 50/50?

Just about every atheist I've talked to would be willing to concede God might exist if there was a bit of evidence to support that view.

Luke90 on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to summo:

Bastardising a quote that I only partially remember...

"Good people tend to do good things and bad people tend to do bad things but it takes religion to make good people do bad things."

The division between good people and bad people is a bit blunt and I'm sure the original quote probably put it better but I think the basic point is valid. I know religious people whose basic character is kind and loving, who would by instinct be accepting of most people, but they follow the church's line on who to hate. They and the church would disagree with the term "hate" but it amounts to the same thing. It's sad to see.

1
elsewhere on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Luke90:

> Bastardising a quote that I only partially remember...

> "Good people tend to do good things and bad people tend to do bad things but it takes religion to make good people do bad things."

Bastardising it further:

"Good people tend to do good things and bad people tend to do bad things but it takes religion, politics, nationalism or racism to make good people do bad things."

Atheist and theist ideologies have no problems getting a proportion* of the population to commit atrocities such as the Holocaust, Rwanda genocide, Cultural revolution, Killing Fields, Stalin's purges, DPRNK prison camps today, Pinochet's Chile or the Argentinian Junta etc etc etc etc etc.

*the believers, opportunists, the acquiescent and the fearful

There's nothing particularly religious or non-religious about murder or mass-murder.

 

 

 

 

Loughan - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Hi Mammoth, You're doing a great job, witnessing on UKC has to be a E1 6a

As a Christian seeing the assumptive & misunderstanding of the Christian message of Jesus Christ on UKC I find it sad to see so many lost souls. Your efforts are commendable!

To the others, it would be great if you would do some or all of the following

  • Read a Gospel (John or Luke would be good).
  • Can I trust the Bible (Google it and see what you find)
  • Who was Jesus (the Liar, Lunatic, Lord test is useful at this point)

But i digress, do continue.

Yours in Christ

 

 

 

 

 

7
Andy Hardy on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:if God doesn't exist, what is the point of religion?

john arran - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

> Read a Gospel (John or Luke would be good).

If there was a book all about the lives and habits of unicorns, would you feel like you needed to have read it in order to reach a decision as to whether unicorns exist?

Nobody seems to be denying that there are lots of positive messages in the Gospels, or that Jesus was probably a visionary thinker of his day. They're simply denying the utterly unsupported next step - that there's any reason to believe that one or more deities exist, and especially that the attributes associated with any particular one of these deities have any basis in observable reality.

 

3
krikoman - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

> As a Christian seeing the assumptive & misunderstanding of the Christian message of Jesus Christ on UKC

"Hiding from the evidence" might be a better phrase to use.

What could reading the Bible tell me I don't already know?

If as I said above, how I try to live my life, the only bit I'm missing is believing in mysticism. There are plenty of people who live commendable lives without religion, and plenty with religion who lead absolutely horrendous, evil lives. So simple reading a few chapters from a book is hardly likely to make the world a wonderful place.

 

2
MG - on 30 Jan 2018

> Can I trust the Bible (Google it and see what you find)

I did that.  The first link was 

https://www.alwaysbeready.com/bible-evidence?id=99

Which is entertaining...

1
Rob Exile Ward on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

... And another thing. Near where I used to live their is a chapel made out of corrugated iron. I think it's still in use but it is run down, paint peeling, shabby, uncared for.

I never see it without reflecting in the utterly bizarre incongruity of people actually believing that an almighty, all powerful god with dominion over all things appreciates this sad shabby little tin hut being dedicated to his glory. 

 

4
krikoman - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> ... And another thing. Near where I used to live their is a chapel made out of corrugated iron. I think it's still in use but it is run down, paint peeling, shabby, uncared for.

> I never see it without reflecting in the utterly bizarre incongruity of people actually believing that an almighty, all powerful god with dominion over all things appreciates this sad shabby little tin hut being dedicated to his glory. 


I would have thought, they should all be like that, if God existed. Why would he need massive edifices to "his" glory, unless he's extremely vain of course, to the point of building huge temple rather than feeding the poor.

john arran - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Yes indeed. It always struck me as important that the organised Church needed impressive cathedrals - which were bound to inspire a sense of awe, certainly at the time - to perpetuate the illusion that they were somehow holy or blessed places (whatever those words might mean - I've looked them up in the past and gone around in circles.)

1
summo on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

> Read a Gospel (John or Luke would be good).> Can I trust the Bible (Google it and see what you find)

What is the oldest copy?

Is it carbon dated?

Was the writer a witness to any of the actual events?

Is it peer reviewed?

crossdressingrodney - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

Your "can I trust the Bible?" link seems to say "yes, because evolution is clearly wrong". 

Are you sure this is the best way to convince UKCers of the truth?

CDR

crossdressingrodney - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

On the difference between being a Christian and being gay...*

Homosexuals don't make a conscious decision to become gay.  But surely believers don't make a conscious choice to believe?  I mean, you could go along to a church and sing all the songs and eat all the wafers and prostrate yourself on the ground correctly at the designated moments, but surely you could make yourself actually believe by simply choosing to do so.

That's why Pascal's wager has always seemed such a trivially flawed piece of "reasoning" to me - you can't just make yourself believe something by sheer willpower.  Perhaps after a great deal of brainwashing, you may truly believe it, but the same can be said of the "cures" for homosexuality peddled by the more extreme US fundamentalists.

* As a caveat, I should make it clear that I am neither gay nor a Christian.  Actually, my gran really wanted me to join one of those groups in particular and insisted that as a teenager I went along to their taster session in the hope they would convert me, but it wasn't really for me.

Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

> On the difference between being a Christian and being gay...*

> Homosexuals don't make a conscious decision to become gay.  But surely believers don't make a conscious choice to believe?  I mean, you could go along to a church and sing all the songs and eat all the wafers and prostrate yourself on the ground correctly at the designated moments, but surely you could make yourself actually believe by simply choosing to do so.

> That's why Pascal's wager has always seemed such a trivially flawed piece of "reasoning" to me - you can't just make yourself believe something by sheer willpower.  Perhaps after a great deal of brainwashing, you may truly believe it, but the same can be said of the "cures" for homosexuality peddled by the more extreme US fundamentalists.

The fundamental difference between religion and sexual orientation is that you get homosexuality in the animal kingdom, you don't get Christianity. You may not be able to simply start believing in God the way you can start wearing red shoes, but you can stop any time you like.

Having a go at someone for a simple characteristic that they can't control (and one that does no harm) is a different matter than having a go at someone for their beliefs or culture, even if that culture is fairly deeply ingrained.

 

Luke90 on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

> Hi Mammoth, You're doing a great job, witnessing on UKC has to be a E1 6a

Surely he has to actually convince someone to claim a successful ascent? Right now, if evangelism was rock climbing, he would have got his foot stuck in a crack on the abseil and dropped half his rack in the sea.

> Read a Gospel (John or Luke would be good).

Why are you so certain that nobody here has? I was brought up in a church and read plenty of the Bible. It's not all that compelling. Have you studied all the other religions or is it just Christianity that every good citizen should study?

> Can I trust the Bible (Google it and see what you find)

I was bored, so I did. What I found were hilarious circular arguments and people patting themselves on the back that archaeological evidence suggests some of the biblical characters weren't made up. By that logic, everything Bernard Cornwell ever wrote must be historical truth.

> Who was Jesus (the Liar, Lunatic, Lord test is useful at this point)

Except that those aren't really the only options and if you think that argument is so convincing, how do you avoid applying a similar one to Mohammed or Buddha?

 

elsewhere on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The fundamental difference between religion and sexual orientation is that you get homosexuality in the animal kingdom, you don't get Christianity

But you do get worship in the animal kingdom! 

 https://www.newscientist.com/article/2079630-what-do-chimp-temples-tell-us-about-the-evolution-of-religion/

crossdressingrodney - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> The fundamental difference between religion and sexual orientation is that you get homosexuality in the animal kingdom, you don't get Christianity.

I don't know how fundamental that is.  If there were no documented cases of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, would that change anything about the way that we ought to treat human homosexuals?  I don't think so?

And as far as I know (open to correction here) we don't know of any male lugworms that have decided they wish to live female lugworms; does that make transgender humans more akin to Christians than human homosexuals?

> You may not be able to simply start believing in God the way you can start wearing red shoes, but you can stop any time you like.

Can you?  Surely you can't just walk into a room and walk out again suddenly not believing, purely by making a conscious decision (this room does not contain Derren Brown, pedants).  I'm struggling to think of any considered opinion I hold that I could simply choose to stop believing in, without some external force or experience or evidence to (literally) change my mind.

> Having a go at someone for a simple characteristic that they can't control (and one that does no harm) is a different matter than having a go at someone for their beliefs or culture, even if that culture is fairly deeply ingrained.

Yes.  Completely agree.  Especially if the culture if harmful.  I'm just interested in actually how easy it is to change your core beliefs.

john arran - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

> But you do get worship in the animal kingdom! 

which only serves to reinforce the idea that religion is a primitive way to create some kind of meaning in a world where no such meaning is apparent.

 

Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

> I don't know how fundamental that is.  If there were no documented cases of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, would that change anything about the way that we ought to treat human homosexuals?  I don't think so?

It's a good way of illustrating that homosexuality isn't just a matter of culture. I could have said "you get gays in the Amazon, you don't get Christians" which would start a pointless and pedantic row even though everyone would be perfectly clear about what I meant.

> And as far as I know (open to correction here) we don't know of any male lugworms that have decided they wish to live female lugworms; does that make transgender humans more akin to Christians than human homosexuals?

No. It means that lugworms don't exhibit behaviour that's directly analogous to human transexualism. Having a gender identity is a complex psychological thing (sorry don't have the time to come up with a better word than 'thing') and can only really be observed by someone telling you how they feel. Do animals have gender identity? Some higher mammals might? On the hand, you can watch animals of the same sex doing each other - homosexuality is  easy to observe.

> Can you? 

By definition, you stop believing *if you like*. The point is that there is no compulsion. If you no longer believe, you no longer believe, and that's a consequence of culture, of information, of experience. You might stop being gay one day (apparently it happens), but it's not because of new information or because of culture - hence the failure of 'gay cures'.

> I'm just interested in actually how easy it is to change your core beliefs.

Difficult. But easier than changing your sexual orientation, as your beliefs come from your culture, but your sexual orientation is just biological.

Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

> But you do get worship in the animal kingdom! 

Cool!

cumbria mammoth - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> You had to fall down somewhere.  That's not a fair characterisation.  They (we) believe there is no creator because there is no evidence of a creator.  They (we) can justify this belief in the same way that they justify not believing in anything else.  If there's no evidence to support a belief then it should be discarded.  That's the scientific worldview, evidence before belief, and atheism is the only rational belief that can be formed based in the evidence we have.

> Agnostics would have us believe that unicorns may exist, largely because they don't want to offend the religious it seems to me.  I'll stick with the assumption that they don't unless evidence tells me otherwise.

If the question "does God exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration (as everyone who posted was agreeing that it was until after my last post) then you need evidence either way to take a rational view point. If you have picked a side without any evidence then you are as irrational as I am.

I don't know why this idea offends atheists so much? There are places at the frontiers of science where the rational view is "I don't know" but rational people that care about these subjects will pick their favoured theory. What is the electron doing when we are not observing it for instance? Conciousness, time, etc, there are many unknowns and unknowables in these subjects at the frontiers of knowledge.

We are just picking our favoured theories in a subject that has dominated the thinking of humankind since before the dawn of history.

 

Post edited at 22:49
john arran - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

I can't decide to what extent you're deliberately missing the point. Picking your favourite theory and hoping science will one day provide evidence for it, is so far away from having absolute faith despite zero evidence, that it's hard to see how any intelligent individual could see the two as in any way comparable.

1
deepsoup - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:
> In 63 years I have never, ever experienced anything that needed a supernatural explanation. I don't know anyone who has. In my book that tilts the odds somewhat.

There are lots of things for which we have no explanation.  Science doesn't know everything.  Of course science knows it doesn't know everything, otherwise it would stop.

I'm not religious, or particularly superstitious, but in the absence of a rational explanation for something that affects us profoundly I do understand the urge to invent one.

deepsoup - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> By definition, you stop believing *if you like*.

Is it that easy?  I don't know.  I'm not religious, but I have many other beliefs that I think would be extraordinarily difficult to change by a simple act of will.

Obviously the arguments presented by Mr Mammoth above have been rehearsed endlessly on here in the past, and thoroughly debunked by Dawkins, Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, and others.  I'll not get into that.

But someone else above (maybe even you, Jon, I'm not sure) said in a reply to one of Mr Mammoth's posts (paraphrasing here): "I'm an atheist, so unlike you I'm thinking rationally."

I don't think that necessarily follows.  As an atheist you believe in one god fewer than a Christian, (of course you share a disbelief in Odin, Zeus, Anansi and countless other gods) and maybe you have one delusion fewer.  You'll still be subject to a huge range of cognitive biases, illusions and delusions just like everyone else. 

For example, it's a very common occurrence that a human being will make a quick decision on wholly instinctive, perhaps irrational, grounds then construct a rationalisation after the fact and believe completely that their retrospective reasoning came first and led them to a rational decision.

These things are documented pretty well, understood pretty well, and never (I believe) mentioned in school science lessons.  Perhaps they should be given the same kind of coverage as evolution.

 

Here's a little film.  As the title suggests it's semi-factual.  I'm posting it here because it's also semi-relevant, and also kinda fun:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4GP_UD9S0

cumbria mammoth - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to Loughan:

Cheers for the support.

Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> Is it that easy?  I don't know.  I'm not religious, but I have many other beliefs that I think would be extraordinarily difficult to change by a simple act of will.

I was rather unclear there. What I meant was, by the time you've realised you don't want to believe in God and be a Christian, then by definition you've stopped believing. Wanting to not believe and not believing are the same thing. There is no deeper compulsion. It doesn't really work the other way, you can want to believe something but not actually believe it (but that gives rise to a bit of cognitive dissonance so you soon give up the wanting bit, or you start believing something that another part of you knows is't true - I see this a lot in work situations).

> Obviously the arguments presented by Mr Mammoth above have been rehearsed endlessly on here in the past, and thoroughly debunked by Dawkins, Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, and others.  I'll not get into that.

> "I'm an atheist, so unlike you I'm thinking rationally."

> I don't think that necessarily follows.

We can all create a definition of rationality that suits us. But I think that the atheist world view is far more self-consistent and consistent with evidence (what we can glean of the external objective reality) than any religious or mystical world view. This is my definition of rationality, and it's I think it's the best one going - consistency has shown to be a good test for every set of ideas since ideas were invented.

> For example, it's a very common occurrence that a human being will make a quick decision on wholly instinctive, perhaps irrational, grounds then construct a rationalisation after the fact and believe completely that their retrospective reasoning came first and led them to a rational decision.

Indeed - amazing to what extend we're doing this all the time. And that's consistent with the atheist world view (specifically the one I subscribe to in which people are like fancy (that is, conscious) machines rather than magic beings with souls and free will), which is nice.

 

Wicamoi on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

Wise post, deepsoup - and thanks for the film link.

cumbria mammoth - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to john arran:

> I can't decide to what extent you're deliberately missing the point. Picking your favourite theory and hoping science will one day provide evidence for it, is so far away from having absolute faith despite zero evidence, that it's hard to see how any intelligent individual could see the two as in any way comparable.


It's exactly the same as far as I can see, a Christian could just as well hope science will one day provide evidence for God. If you believe a theory without evidence then it is faith.

> But you do get worship in the animal kingdom! 

> which only serves to reinforce the idea that religion is a primitive way to create some kind of meaning in a world where no such meaning is apparent.

Or, religion is a universal concept amongst all sentient life begging the question "is there a God".

Anyway,

> Nobody seems to be denying that there are lots of positive messages in the Gospels, or that Jesus was probably a visionary thinker of his day.

This is the entire reason for my posting on this thread so thankyou very much for that because that statement was not how this thread was going when I came in.

deepsoup - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:
> If you believe a theory without evidence then it is faith.

Without *any* evidence at all you don't have a theory - a theory is only developed in the attempt to understand something.  'Hypothesis' might be a better word. 

Faith would be continuing to believe the theory is correct after searching extensively for evidence and finding none, or even continuing to believe it in spite of contradictory evidence, and insisting that equally plausible theories must be wrong because they're incompatible with your own,

> Or, religion is a universal concept amongst all sentient life begging the question "is there a God".

Funny, I just tried to edit my 22:57 post above to add a link but I couldn't because it's too late.  I'll put it here instead.  http://www.jesusandmo.net/comic/homo2/

 

Post edited at 23:51
cumbria mammoth - on 30 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> But someone else above (maybe even you, Jon, I'm not sure) said in a reply to one of Mr Mammoth's posts (paraphrasing here): "I'm an atheist, so unlike you I'm thinking rationally."

> I don't think that necessarily follows.  As an atheist you believe in one god fewer than a Christian, (of course you share a disbelief in Odin, Zeus, Anansi and countless other gods) and maybe you have one delusion fewer.  You'll still be subject to a huge range of cognitive biases, illusions and delusions just like everyone else. 

> For example, it's a very common occurrence that a human being will make a quick decision on wholly instinctive, perhaps irrational, grounds then construct a rationalisation after the fact and believe completely that their retrospective reasoning came first and led them to a rational decision.

> These things are documented pretty well, understood pretty well, and never (I believe) mentioned in school science lessons.  Perhaps they should be given the same kind of coverage as evolution.

> Here's a little film.  As the title suggests it's semi-factual.  I'm posting it here because it's also semi-relevant, and also kinda fun:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj4GP_UD9S0

Thankyou deepsoup, the point I have been trying to make for about three weeks summed pretty much perfectly in one post.

thomasadixon - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> If the question "does God exist" is worthy of intellectual consideration (as everyone who posted was agreeing that it was until after my last post) then you need evidence either way to take a rational view point. If you have picked a side without any evidence then you are as irrational as I am.

You don't need evidence to not believe something, the starting assumption ought to be no belief.  Do you mean something specific by intellectual consideration?  As a thought experiment anything's worth considering.

> I don't know why this idea offends atheists so much? There are places at the frontiers of science where the rational view is "I don't know" but rational people that care about these subjects will pick their favoured theory. What is the electron doing when we are not observing it for instance? Conciousness, time, etc, there are many unknowns and unknowables in these subjects at the frontiers of knowledge.

I'm not sure why you think it offends, it's just wrong.  There are many things that we don't know, I'm not sure why you think that's a problem.  What you're doing is taking one of those unknowns and claiming that you know the answer.  Without evidence that's irrational.

> We are just picking our favoured theories in a subject that has dominated the thinking of humankind since before the dawn of history.

No I'm picking the absence of a theory.  What caused us to happen, the first cause?  No idea.  The big bang doesn't answer that question.  I'm not sure it can even be answered.  That's okay.  Taking a rational view of the world means starting with no assumptions and not believing what you're told without evidence.  From there I can't see how you get to believing in any god.

thomasadixon - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> I don't think that necessarily follows.  As an atheist you believe in one god fewer than a Christian, (of course you share a disbelief in Odin, Zeus, Anansi and countless other gods) and maybe you have one delusion fewer.  You'll still be subject to a huge range of cognitive biases, illusions and delusions just like everyone else. 

Of course, but religion means deliberately disregarding a lack of evidence, and deciding to instead rely on faith.  That's a step further than just being wrong, it's an act against a rational worldview.  Trying to be rational about things and failing is different.

john arran - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It's exactly the same as far as I can see, a Christian could just as well hope science will one day provide evidence for God. If you believe a theory without evidence then it is faith.

Where we will have to fundamentally disagree is the step after that, where a Christian will go on to have absolute conviction in the veracity of their theory, even though it cannot be supported with any evidence at all. That is virtually a definition of irrational. The atheist scientist will not 'believe' any theory to be true - at least in the strong sense you appear to be limiting the word to, without supporting evidence. Without that they will simply not believe it true, which semantically may or may not be equivalent to believing it false.  Having a belief/expectation that something will be the case but being prepared to review that if evidence were one day to emerge (as atheist scientists do with a Christian God's non-existence) requires no belief/faith. It's that dual meaning of our usage of 'belief' that's allowing the two utterly different mindsets to be portrayed as comparable.

krikoman - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

> * As a caveat, I should make it clear that I am neither gay nor a Christian.  Actually, my gran really wanted me to join one of those groups in particular and insisted that as a teenager I went along to their taster session in the hope they would convert me, but it wasn't really for me.

I hope she was suggesting joining a Christian group, or was she pushing you to try homosexuality?

I didn't know they did taster sessions

 

krikoman - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

> But you do get worship in the animal kingdom! 

Do you? or do you get someone anthropomorphising about chimps?

Post edited at 08:42
krikoman - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

>> Nobody seems to be denying that there are lots of positive messages in the Gospels, or that Jesus was probably a visionary thinker of his day.

 

> This is the entire reason for my posting on this thread so thank you very much for that because that statement was not how this thread was going when I came in.

But so were, Confucius, Buddha, Mohamed, Parshvanatha etc, and many modern visionaries, Gandhi for one.

As I've said earlier, and you've answered so I'm aware of your views, but there seems to be a certain conceit in the fact that your religion is the correct religion. If it isn't and you've backed the wrong side, is that worse than not believing at all? With the exception of Buddhism, as far as I'm aware, most religions seem to exclude you from heaven if you've made the wrong choice.

 

deepsoup - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Trying to be rational about things and failing is different.

Failing to be rational about things and believing that you succeeded is different again.

cb294 - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

No idea about chimps, what I read so far looked not enough to call it "worship". Culturally, non-genetically inherited arbitrary behaviour that looks as if it may be evolving towards fixed rituals, certainly.

Neanderthals and other early humans is a different issue. Even though we have no idea about their beliefs we have clear evidence for the presence of suspiciously religious looking rituals (oriented burials with heads pointing in some fixed direction over generations, symbolic depictions of prey, sketches of half animal spirits or shamans, etc. ...).

I sometimes wonder whether ritual is not the main point / group selection advantage of religion anyway, and the actual content of the teaching secondary. This would at least explain why there are so many gods with wildly varying attributes. Underlying this is the adaptive value of trusting in authorities (parents, clan elders,..) as a default, which made us susceptible to buying into even higher authorities,


CB

cumbria mammoth - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to thomasadixon: john arran

> You don't need evidence to not believe something, the starting assumption ought to be no belief. 

If the question is valid the starting assumption should be no belief either way, the two sides of the question are equally valid. If you pick a side without evidence then it is a belief.

> Do you mean something specific by intellectual consideration?

Sort of, I might have used the phrase worthy of scientific investigation but I don't think God will ever be found by scientific investigation. God isn't needed to explain anything in the physical world, he is only revealed through faith. They're just my thoughts though, in principle scientific investigation could reveal God.

>  What you're doing is taking one of those unknowns and claiming that you know the answer.  Without evidence that's irrational.

I've come around to that view, so are you though, the only rational people are the agnostic.

> Having a belief/expectation that something will be the case but being prepared to review that if evidence were one day to emerge (as atheist scientists do with a Christian God's non-existence) requires no belief/faith.

A Christian scientist might say the same thing, where is the evidence that has emerged to disprove the existence of God?

 

cumbria mammoth - on 31 Jan 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Just to restate, if people believe in God then they are onto something whatever name they give him. I think Jesus has revealed the truth but people of all cultures who have tried to live without ego and acknowledge their faults before God are the ones who are closest to God.

Interesting you talk about Buddha, apart from the belief in a deity, the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Buddha are striking enough to have warranted historical study, did Jesus travel east in his non documented years before he began his ministry, did he study Buddhism in Judea?

Post edited at 23:42
cumbria mammoth - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> A Christian scientist might say the same thing, where is the evidence that has emerged to disprove the existence of God?

Can't edit but this would have been a better question to ask. Where is the evidence that has emerged that gives the Christian scientist a need to reevaluate his expectation that God exists?

john arran - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> If the question is valid the starting assumption should be no belief either way, the two sides of the question are equally valid. If you pick a side without evidence then it is a belief.

I've explained twice now why this is not the case, or at the vey least is misleadingly confounding two very different things under the same label. You either aren't listening, aren't understanding, or are choosing to ignore my explanation because it doesn't fit your argument. You are, of course, free to do so, but not while maintaining the semblance of a rational argument, so I'll be on my way. Thanks for the diversion.

Rob Exile Ward on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

'Interesting you talk about Buddha, apart from the belief in a deity, the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Buddha are striking enough to have warranted historical study, did Jesus travel east in his non documented years before he began his ministry, did he study Buddhism in Judea?'

No.

Most religions are reflections of the fact that we are, despite appearances to the contrary, social animals. We owe our evolutionary success to the fact that we cooperate, we nurture our young and their nursing mothers, we share food in times of feast and famine with kinfolk and neighbours. It's built in.

thomasadixon - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

I think I see where you're making the mistake.  Science is a study of empirical fact, it's not philosophy.  I'm not doing a thought experiment, I'm looking at what actually is.

> Sort of, I might have used the phrase worthy of scientific investigation but I don't think God will ever be found by scientific investigation. God isn't needed to explain anything in the physical world, he is only revealed through faith. They're just my thoughts though, in principle scientific investigation could reveal God.

And if it does I'll believe God exists.  Currently, I don't.  You don't believe he exists for any evidenced reason, you don't even think an empirical test can show that existence and yet you believe anyway.  That's not rational.

Andy Hardy on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Can't edit but this would have been a better question to ask. Where is the evidence that has emerged that gives the Christian scientist a need to reevaluate his expectation that God exists?


Well, you could always try testing your faith by handling serpents and drinking poison, if your faith is strong enough, you'll survive, and while your at it, lay hands on the sick to cure them. (Mark 14-18)

It would be a simple matter to do a trial. If even the most devout, fervent believer can't survive deadly poison or heal the sick by the laying on of hands, then we'd have to say that counts as evidence against.

More seriously it is the fact that nothing observed in our universe has any cause which can only be explained by the existence of god*, which should give a christian scientist a need to reevaluate the existence of god. But I think, deep down you knew that already.

 

*possible exceptions: quantum entanglement and Scarlett Johansen (according to the Mash)

deepsoup - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:
> Well, you could always try testing your faith by handling serpents and drinking poison, if your faith is strong enough, you'll survive, and while your at it, lay hands on the sick to cure them. (Mark 14-18)

Well he could, but from a scientific perspective I don't think it's an experiment that particularly needs repeating. 

There have already been a good few trials of the power of prayer to heal turns out it doesn't work.  Contrary to what the gospels have to say (repeatedly - your quote is one of many such promises that faith will heal people), prayer does bugger all for the sick and injured generally any more so than it does for amputees. 
(If God did heal people, that would point to him having a particular dislike for amputees: http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com )

cumbria mammoth - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

Just disagreeing. If I understand it right you are saying that atheists aren't taking a stand, they are just passively waiting for some evidence. It all depends on starting assumptions though, someone who starts as a believer that God exists could also just be waiting passively for some evidence. Why was the default position that God doesn't exist in your view?

You are having it that all believers have a strong faith based conviction and all atheists have this impassive view that doesn't sound that far off agnostic to me anyway. You might be correct to say that about me but it is not necessarily the case.

cumbria mammoth - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

I don't believe he exists for any evidenced reason that would be accepted as fact by anybody but me. You are trying to claim this passive view that you are not taking a side, just waiting for evidence. It's just not true, if you're passive why did you pick a side?

cumbria mammoth - on 01 Feb 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

You've mis referenced the quote but most bible scholars think that the gospel of Mark ended at 16:8 and that the longer ending, Mark 16:9-20 which includes the strange stuff your saying about, was added by later Christians who didn't like the abrupt ending at verse 8. Some bibles don't include Mark 16:9-20 and most will add a note about this controversy.

Andy Hardy on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

How very convenient. 

You have still not put forward any evidence which supports the hypothesis that God exists, could you do that? (It doesn't have to be concrete, irrefutable proof, just something that supports your position)

john arran - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Just disagreeing. If I understand it right you are saying that atheists aren't taking a stand, they are just passively waiting for some evidence.

It all depends on starting assumptions though, someone who starts as a believer that God exists could also just be waiting passively for some evidence. Why was the default position that God doesn't exist in your view?

> You are having it that all believers have a strong faith based conviction and all atheists have this impassive view that doesn't sound that far off agnostic to me anyway. You might be correct to say that about me but it is not necessarily the case.

No, you didn't understand correctly. There is evidence for the lack of a Christian God. Absence of evidence for one is itself a form of evidence against, given the claims made about prayer and benefits here on earth that are common. This absence justifies a more active disbelief/opinion than is usually seen in the agnostic position, but it doesn't justify the kind of militant faith/belief that Christians adopt because there would be no rationale for doing so. 

summo on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

Exactly. The holocaust must have been one of the biggest unintentional prayer experiments. Nothing happened to save them, that is unless of course the Cumbrian mammoth thinks God meant them to be horrifically murdered in his(or her) name. 

GrahamD - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Funnily enough the ending of Lord of the Rings was changed a few times as well.  That's also a book about fictional supernatural beings.  Or maybe not, since "it is written" ?

captain paranoia - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> It all depends on starting assumptions though, someone who starts as a believer that God exists could also just be waiting passively for some evidence.

I thought I'd come back to address that interesting point.

No-one starts out with a belief in anything imaginary; it's not something you are born with.

We experience the world through real events.

Some of those real events, we cannot explain what causes them. The need to try to explain the unexplained drove Man to invent imaginary entities that did things. I've always thought that is quite a conceptual step, but I was thinking about it this morning, and maybe it's not such a leap; our memory, and the ability to replay events, and imagine the future (required to evade predators and other hazards) means we do have to imagine, and possibly imagine people we haven't met (i.e. future threats). Maybe imaginary entities that cause things to happen (lightning, earthquakes, etc), are only an extension of that ability to imagine the future.

Once you have invented imaginary actors to explain why some things happen (especially bad things), you start to ascribe more powers to them, and the need to keep them happy, to stop them doing bad things. And so we're into the gods.

This cannot have occurred before the development of language, and a pretty complex language at that, because language is needed to exchange the idea of an imaginary being, and the powers and needs of that imaginary being. But language is pretty old in human development.

But, fundamentally, we are not born believing in gods.

So, what was it that made you believe in god, and, in particular, a Christian god? Someone had to tell you about god, and about Christianity. Who was that, and why did you choose to believe them? What was it that they told you about this God that convinced you it was real, and more real than any of the other 7000 or so gods that humans have imagined over their history?

I never got past the not believing in Gods; although the concept was explained to me, nothing convinced me they were real, or were necessary, and a lot of the things I was told about them were contradictory. I concluded, therefore, that they were not real.

deepsoup - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:
> This cannot have occurred before the development of language

Formal religion maybe, dogma, orthodoxy and so forth - but there's no need for language to start down that road with superstition, nor perhaps with ritual.

Here's a link from a brief google:
https://www.livescience.com/14504-superstitions-evolutionary-basis-lucky-charms.html

I had heard of the superstitious behaviour in hungry pigeons before, that was what came to mind reading your post, but I was a bit surprised to learn that study was so long ago.

Did you see this link posted a bit further up the thread?
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2079630-what-do-chimp-temples-tell-us-about-the-evolution-of-religion

summo on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

Which makes sense when you consider the very early rituals around the sun. It obviously does sustain life on earth, so they weren't far wrong. But at some point it switched more to beings and people, which probably coincided with it trying to control and manipulate populations. 

captain paranoia - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> but there's no need for language to start down that road with superstition, nor perhaps with ritual.

Personal superstition, maybe. But how do you communicate that superstition to someone else without language? The only means would be showing fear, or running away. And if the other person didn't recognise why you were afraid, or running away  and didn't share your superstition, they'd just think you were a bit odd, or that you'd seen something real that they hadn't...

john arran - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

I'm guessing that, at its simplest, placing a token item in a certain spot each night to make sure the sun rose in the morning, wouldn't be too hard to communicate by expressions and without the need for formal language.

captain paranoia - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

I suppose, linking that to the 'pigeon superstitions' mentioned above... pigeons can be trained to do various things in response to food/reward. And it seems that intermittent reinforcement is more powerful than continuous reinforcement...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement#Intermittent_reinforcement;_schedules

Maybe they're so susceptible to reward, that they have taught themselves to believe in their own rituals in the hope of getting food... At some point, they have associated getting food with some event. And, by chance, that has happened again, and they have remembered. Then the intermittent reinforcement kicks in, and the next thing you know, they're worshipping idols...

Language has been around a long time, though, so maybe long enough to have enabled superstition and associated myth to be propagated.

deepsoup - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Personal superstition, maybe. But how do you communicate that superstition to someone else without language?

Through ritual I suppose, as John suggests.  I'm sure you're right that it wouldn't be possible to communicate anything particularly abstract like, say, an afterlife.  (The problem wouldn't just be in communication, without language it would be very difficult to form such complex abstract ideas in the first place.)

But a superstition might be taught the same way a technique with a tool is:  "It's raining.  Watch me, this is what we do when it rains.  See?  Now it has stopped."

Perhaps it might go far enough to develop a sort of animism.  Perform a ritual in some special place, maybe a particular tree, before you go hunting.  If the hunt went well, leave an offering there when you get back.

<Skipping ahead a bit>
Ah, I think we're thinking along the same lines here..

>Language has been around a long time, though, so maybe long enough to have enabled superstition and associated myth to be propagated.

I mentioned above that I think language is necessary to form the more abstract ideas in the first place, as well as to communicate them.  So in a sense it is as old as our consciousness itself. 

I'm basing that assertion on an interesting book I read a year or two back - 'Seeing Voices' by Oliver Sacks (the neurologist who went on to write 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat', and was played by Robin Williams in 'Awakenings').  It's mostly a book about sign language in the deaf, but it talks a lot about the cognitive impairments that come about when an otherwise perfectly normal child grows up without acquiring language for some reason.

 

cumbria mammoth - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

> Absence of evidence for one is itself a form of evidence against,

That is not logically true. Absence of evidence just means we don't have the tools to find any evidence. Evidence of absence is a form of evidence, not the other way around.

> given the claims made about prayer and benefits here on earth that are common.

I agree with this but firstly those who make such claims have a false understanding of scripture, Jesus says that his followers will be rejected by the world. It is not for benefits here on earth that anyone should follow Christ. Secondly, it is not the particular Christian idea of God that I have been trying to discuss, but rather the rationality or not of believing in no creator (or vice versa). I think both positions are as irrational as each other.

 

1
john arran - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

Firstly, when you said my first quote was not true, you omitted the crucial rest of the sentence. I would agree that, without it, the logic would not stack up.

Secondly, I guessed you would dismiss the vast majority of Christian tradition by removing any prospect of God-response while still living. While you may well have a point about it not being accurately reflected in scriptures (I would neither know nor really care), not only does this substantially reduce the size of the God-shaped hole, but also it reduces the entire issue to one of pointless unknowability. Just like whether the multiverse model is in any sense the 'true' explanation for quantum behaviour, your afterlife-only God would then have no relevance whatsoever in the observable universe. At that point, a rational person would consider further study or contemplation of it to be singularly pointless. As indeed I do now.

1
cumbria mammoth - on 02 Feb 2018
In reply to captain paranoia:

> No-one starts out with a belief in anything imaginary; it's not something you are born with.

Here you have prejudged the question, proving that your atheism did not come about by rationality. Definitely not wanting to have a go at you in saying that, it's how we all come to our beliefs and then we try to convince ourselves that our beliefs are rational. Deepsoup showed that earlier and here is a good blog that shows how none of us are as rational as we would like to think we are https://youarenotsosmart.com/

If we are honest searchers of truth we will try to correct as many of our biases as possible, and the scientific method provides the best method we have for doing this, but none of us starts as a rational blank slate. Atheists are as irrational as believers.

As far as I know we could all be born believing in God(s), I have been saying all along how I am interested in this idea of a universal sense of the divine, people have been posting in this thread a number of possible examples of it.

> So, what was it that made you believe in god, and, in particular, a Christian god? Someone had to tell you about god, and about Christianity. Who was that, and why did you choose to believe them? What was it that they told you about this God that convinced you it was real, and more real than any of the other 7000 or so gods that humans have imagined over their history?

I have never not believed as far as I know. Certainly I was taught (not in any intense way mind, my mam and dad believe but it was not a central part of life or anything) and by the time I was old enough to try to think rationally I already had an idea of who God is, etc. I have modified my beliefs over time but my enquiry has never resulted in the need to abandon Christianity because the message is true as far as I am concerned.

The difference between Christianity and other religions is that it is not following a set of rules collecting God points or whatever, it is trying to give up self and acknowledge your flaws, it rings true as an ethical way of living. I have never seen a conflict between science and religion, each scientific discovery reveals a bit more of Gods creation.

 

 

cumbria mammoth - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

Ok, sorry if it appears that way but I didn't omit the rest, I split it into parts. We have been arguing at cross purposes though because from the start I have been explaining that I think all conceptions that people have of God are at least a partial revelation of the true God.

If you consider study or contemplation of it pointless that is fine but then why are many atheists so vocal in their opposition to the idea?

Post edited at 00:11
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to summo:

> Which makes sense when you consider the very early rituals around the sun. It obviously does sustain life on earth, so they weren't far wrong. But at some point it switched more to beings and people, which probably coincided with it trying to control and manipulate populations. 

Almost all 'primitive man's' earliest rituals revolved around the moon, i.e. the 'moon goddess' (mother goddess) predated the 'sun god'. The male sun god was the first step towards manipulating populations. Huge subject. But best to get the basic facts right first. 

Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

> I'm guessing that, at its simplest, placing a token item in a certain spot each night to make sure the sun rose in the morning, wouldn't be too hard to communicate by expressions and without the need for formal language.

One needs to discuss totems as well as tokens.

summo on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Almost all 'primitive man's' earliest rituals revolved around the moon, i.e. the 'moon goddess' (mother goddess) predated the 'sun god'. The male sun god was the first step towards manipulating populations. Huge subject. But best to get the basic facts right first. 

I said early. Not earliest. 3000bc is still pretty early in my book. 

I was referring to those events around solstices and equinoxes. Solar dieties were common in the ME, africa, S America, Europe for thousands of years. If anything I've had the impression they were often studied in tandem, as many ancients groups knew they obviously followed different paths. In a time when they attached a different God to each major natural event.

What is the precise timeline? Either way it predates Christianity which was my point. 

 

Post edited at 06:34
deepsoup - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:
> If we are honest searchers of truth we will try to correct as many of our biases as possible, and the scientific method provides the best method we have for doing this, but none of us starts as a rational blank slate. Atheists are as irrational as believers.

You don't seem particularly honest to me I'm afraid.  I was indeed pointing out earlier that none of us is as rational as we think we are, but that doesn't mean that some of us aren't more rational than others.

You're contending that an atheist is one who is absolutely certain of god's non-existence despite a lack of evidence, and that therefore atheism is a faith.  This is a logical fallacy, dealt with by Dawkins, Hitchens, Russell et al and rehearsed many times in some epic threads here in the past.

For the great majority of atheists, their atheism is something you would probably call agnosticism.  You've spoken as if agnosticism is a position that "I don't know for sure either way, so it's as likely god exists as he doesn't."  As if it is only possible either to be utterly convinced one way or the other, or to think it's a 50/50 chance.  But this is not the case.  It's entirely possible, perfectly reasonable and the position of many atheists to say "Well of course I can't be absolutely certain, but it is overwhelmingly unlikely that god exists."  In exactly the same way that it's overwhelmingly unlikely that Bertrand Russell's celestial teapot exists.

You also speak as if there are only two alternatives for the agnostic to consider - no creator exists, or the creator in which you believe exists.  If the 'rational agnostic' you insist would have to see this as a 50/50 call were to give equal credence to every other creation myth so far devised along with the one to which you subscribe, the odds in favour of your favourite will be considerably poorer than 50/50. 

Personally, looking at the world, I find the idea of a pantheon of imperfect, squabbling gods considerably more compelling than one perfect one.  If you must believe in 'intelligent design', it's just bloody obvious that our world is the work of a committee thoroughly distracted by it's own internal politics.

Rob Exile Ward on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Not entirely sure how you can be so certain Gordon, it's not as though you were around at the time. I'm not sure what artefacts .have survived from 100/200 thousand years ago as evidence?

Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yes, loads of artifacts/images. And innumerable studies for nearly two centuries. E.g. The Golden Bough by J.G.Frazer, The White Goddess by Robert Graves and The Great Mother by Erich Neumann (the latter two particularly recommended). Very roughly, it seems that the Earth Mother/Moon Goddess survived until the Age of Taurus, when it was gradually usurped by the Horned God/Sun God. The clash intensified in the Age of Aries, with Sun/Ram God and Moon goddess vying, and further still in the age of Pisces, with educated Romans siding with the Christians versus the pagans (final remnant of the Mother Goddess being the Virgin Mary). Age of Aquarius, death of god/s.

john arran - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> If you consider study or contemplation of it pointless that is fine but then why are many atheists so vocal in their opposition to the idea?

You'd need to ask others for their opinions but I'd assume that most would be vocal in arguing against a rather more tangible God that responds to people's behaviour and prayers while they're still in our physical world. I would - indeed I could - have no objection to the 'God as a philosophical thought experiment' concept that we're left with if we remove that important element. That's not to say there could ever be any significant justification for believing it, but that neither could there ever be a substantive case against. It simply adds no tangible value other than intellectual curiosity. Hence my quantum multiverse analogy above.

summo on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> If you consider study or contemplation of it pointless that is fine but then why are many atheists so vocal in their opposition to the idea?

Not against the discussion of how the universe was formed at all. Spent many years studying physics, earth or natural sciences. The workings of single molecule or the vastness of space is as fasinating as it is mind boggling. I'm open minded towards, multi verses, wormholes etc.. But I've never come across a single piece of evidence to suggest a 'creator' with Devine powers exists. 

There could be a creator who has initiated many big bangs and the entire universe could simply be someone's lab experiment. But we simply don't know and almost certainly never will. I can happily live with that insecurity.

What I can't tolerate is any form of religion interfering with people's daily lives. Ever impressionable brain that is conditioned into believing in God is another brain that is less likely to solve the last few big puzzles within the universe. 

In centuries to come people will chuckle that we had the technology to put a buggy on Mars or a probe out past Pluto, yet a huge number still believed in God and lived their lives as such.

Post edited at 10:45
deepsoup - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to deepsoup:
> You don't seem particularly honest to me I'm afraid.

I should probably clarify that, it looks like a bit of a personal jibe - I mean as a 'searcher of truth'.  Of course I have no reason to think you're a dishonest person, or that you're insincere in what you say here.  I merely note the mental gymnastics you are willing to engage in to maintain your world-view.

deepsoup - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

> You'd need to ask others for their opinions but I'd assume that most would be vocal in arguing against a rather more tangible God that responds to people's behaviour and prayers while they're still in our physical world.

I'd be with you there, since we have accumulated a fair bit of scientific evidence that prayer does not work, for example as a medical intervention.  I think it's a bit unusual to see a Christian argue that god doesn't respond to prayers, in spite of the numerous statements to the contrary in the gospels.  I've more often seen the argument that he does indeed heal the sick in response to prayer. (But is impervious to science, so you can't gather evidence of him doing so: it's turtles all the way down.)

Jesus even says that with a little faith one can literally move a mountain. (Matthew 17:20) Seems perfectly literal to me anyway - but of course it turns out that was just a metaphor after all now that a millennium or two has gone by without anybody ever actually doing it. 

As far as the non-interventionist god goes - my objection to believing in that guy is pretty much just that he falls foul of Occam's Razor.  And, I suppose, that if he is still omnipotent, could intervene in the processes of the world and chooses not to, he's no more perfectly compassionate than the god who does interfere all the time but nevertheless allows a mind-boggling amount of suffering and injustice.

 

Post edited at 13:46
cumbria mammoth - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

> You don't seem particularly honest to me I'm afraid.

> I should probably clarify that, it looks like a bit of a personal jibe - I mean as a 'searcher of truth'.

Ha, the clarification was more stinging than the initial jibe!

 

What you're seeing as mental gymnastics is just a result of my understanding of Christianity growing in parallel with my understanding of everything else that goes on in the world.

 

> It's entirely possible, perfectly reasonable and the position of many atheists to say "Well of course I can't be absolutely certain, but it is overwhelmingly unlikely that god exists."

> You also speak as if there are only two alternatives for the agnostic to consider - no creator exists, or the creator in which you believe exists.

Atheism is a non-belief in deities and there are only two alternatives to the question. There is no overwhelming evidence against a creator that I know of and without compelling evidence the only rational view is agnosticism but it is not always a virtue to avoid making a decision.

If atheists have this weak atheist position bordering on agnosticism then it is not really reasonable for them to carry that weak belief over to the position that all believers are feeble minded idiots and should be banned from politics as was a theme earlier in this thread.

If atheists consider it overwhelmingly unlikely that god exists then it is a belief like any other, especially if it is felt strongly enough to lead to the position that all believers are feeble minded idiots and should be banned from politics.

God is God whatever name he is given by different people. I don’t subscribe to any creation myth, I see God as the creator of the universe that we are able to reveal by science.

The reason I believe the Christian version is partly cultural, I was brought up this way, but in later years through study have found that the teachings of Jesus are radical and so much more compelling than any other philosophy I have come across.

> I think it's a bit unusual to see a Christian argue that god doesn't respond to prayers, in spite of the numerous statements to the contrary in the gospels.

I don't think there are numerous statements about God responding to prayers with healing in the gospels. I did a google search though and I see there are plenty of websites that do claim this so I can't really blame you for thinking this. It's false prophets twisting words and reinterpreting messages though, selling people what they hope to hear, a Christian should reach this conclusion in the same way that you have done.

The quote about moving mountains is just Jesus kicking off with his followers because of their lack of faith. If you have any interest in this stuff one thing to keep in mind is that the language is full of hyperbole.

Christians need to exercise their critical thinking when reading the bible, or listening to sermons. It is ok for atheists to criticise Christians who have failed to do this and are causing harm in the world but I think it is unfair to criticise all Christians for being weak minded and following immoral teachings when that should not be the case for Christians any more than it should be for atheists.

Apologies for the overly massive post again. I've put too much time into this thread and I'm gonna try to resist the temptation to look at any replies after this. Thanks for engaging though, thanks to all who have done.

 

cumbria mammoth - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to john arran:

> You'd need to ask others for their opinions but I'd assume that most would be vocal in arguing against a rather more tangible God that responds to people's behaviour and prayers while they're still in our physical world. I would - indeed I could - have no objection to the 'God as a philosophical thought experiment' concept that we're left with if we remove that important element. That's not to say there could ever be any significant justification for believing it, but that neither could there ever be a substantive case against. It simply adds no tangible value other than intellectual curiosity. Hence my quantum multiverse analogy above.

I don’t think it is irrational to contemplate unknowable ideas, these ideas are often the most fascinating with the most profound implications if the competing ideas are thought through and applied to the world we experience. Unknowable does not mean not real.

FactorXXX - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> I've put too much time into this thread and I'm gonna try to resist the temptation to look at any replies after this.

You appear to have been led into the temptation of replying thus far, why stop now?

 

Post edited at 22:53
cumbria mammoth - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to summo:

> Not against the discussion of how the universe was formed at all. Spent many years studying physics, earth or natural sciences. The workings of single molecule or the vastness of space is as fasinating as it is mind boggling. I'm open minded towards, multi verses, wormholes etc.. But I've never come across a single piece of evidence to suggest a 'creator' with Devine powers exists. 

> There could be a creator who has initiated many big bangs and the entire universe could simply be someone's lab experiment. But we simply don't know and almost certainly never will. I can happily live with that insecurity.

> What I can't tolerate is any form of religion interfering with people's daily lives. Ever impressionable brain that is conditioned into believing in God is another brain that is less likely to solve the last few big puzzles within the universe. 

> In centuries to come people will chuckle that we had the technology to put a buggy on Mars or a probe out past Pluto, yet a huge number still believed in God and lived their lives as such.

I’m fascinated by the vastness of the cosmos and the insane workings of fundamental particles as well, how much more glorious is the God who created all this than the God that basically created a snow globe as creationists would have us believe?

If it’s the Christian message you object to then you are free to ignore the teachings of Christianity as you are with the message of any other philosophy. Where Christians are causing harm in people’s daily lives it's fair for you to take issue with those Christians.

The point I have been trying to make all the way through though is that the Christians who cause harm are either people who have distorted the Christian message for their own purposes or those who they have managed to convince. Christians have no excuse to suspend their critical thinking and follow somebody elses interpretation of the message, they should "judge a good tree by its fruit" as instructed by Jesus.

Most Christians are capable of doing just this and will happily pick the good from the bad even from the teachings of their own church leaders. So if you hear of an immoral teaching of the Catholic church for instance then it is fair to criticise the teaching, or maybe criticise the Catholic church, but it is not fair to criticise all Christians because most probably most Christians reject the teaching for the same reasons as most atheists do.

I've put too much time into this thread and I'm gonna try to resist the temptation to look at any replies after this. Cheers.

cumbria mammoth - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

Too much time honestly. Just click the X now and not logging on to UKC for a few days. Cheers.

captain paranoia - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> how much more glorious is the God who created all this

And who created God?

Or is it 'turtles all the way down'...?

Ridge - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

> Atheism is a non-belief in deities and there are only two alternatives to the question. There is no overwhelming evidence against a creator that I know of and without compelling evidence the only rational view is agnosticism but it is not always a virtue to avoid making a decision.

I think you're being a little disingenuous. If I can't find my car keys in the morning  there is no overwhelming evidence that Mrs Ridge has put them 'somewhere safe', nor is there overwhelming  evidence that space aliens have abducted them for evil experiments.

However on balance of probabilities it's unlikely to be the space aliens behind it.

I'm quite happy to entertain the theory of us being something in a petri dish, or an experiment in AI by some incredibly advanced species beyond our comprehension. However the omnipotent being you can have a personal relationship with or worship seems a flight of total fancy.

Andy Hardy on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to cumbria mammoth:

[...]

> Atheism is a non-belief in deities and there are only two alternatives to the question. There is no overwhelming evidence against a creator that I know of and without compelling evidence the only rational view is agnosticism but it is not always a virtue to avoid making a decision.

> If atheists have this weak atheist position bordering on agnosticism then it is not really reasonable for them to carry that weak belief over to the position that all believers are feeble minded idiots and should be banned from politics as was a theme earlier in this thread.

> If atheists consider it overwhelmingly unlikely that god exists then it is a belief like any other, especially if it is felt strongly enough to lead to the position that all believers are feeble minded idiots and should be banned from politics.

[...]

I stated above, and I will again, if there was any evidence for the existence of god, all of the atheists I know would at least acknowledge the possibility of god existing. Most of them are a lot closer to agnosticism than atheism.

You have not replied to any of the points regarding mythical creatures and the likelihood of their existence, why not? (I guess this question will disappear into the cyber void, so I will just assume it's because you actually do see the parallels between unicorns and gods but can't bring yourself to examine them too closely)

 

Wiley Coyote2 - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Not read the 400 and odd posts but personally I find a belief in invisible, omnipotent beings that control the universe and heavenly bliss after death totally rational compared to the Promised Land Overflowing with Cake and Trade Deals  guff I hear from Johnson, Gove, Fox and IDS


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