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My ideas about religion

PointlessSpike
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6/16/2016 1:49:09 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Hi all

I wrote a Note on Facebook outlining my ideas on religion and expected people to engage me on it and give me a new perspective. None did, so I joined this site hoping you would. It's a last resort, and I'm hoping you'll point out something I've missed, so please, be as critical as you like. It might help you to know that I'm British.

Religion is one of my favourite subjects. I find it truly fascinating, and is both extraordinarily relevant politically and hugely consequential personally. In many situations changing your religion would be a death sentence- fathers have killed their daughters for it. There are, of course, potential metaphysical consequences- I have to make absolutely sure I'm right, otherwise I could be tortured for eternity for my lack of belief.

Exposing myself to other people's opinions is important. I've been having discussions on the subject for a long time. The first I can remember was with a Muslim girl in college, primarily about the contrast in our worldviews, which first made me truly think about the huge disparities in our understanding of basic information about the universe. Since then I've read countless books, watched multi-hour debates on YouTube, and pretty much read everything I can and have continued to discuss the subject with anyone who's open to it.

The important thing about all this is that I do it so I can gain a better understanding of the universe. I want to know the truth. I have nothing to do with this information, but I feel like I'll have failed if I start to believe I'm right, so I continually invite people to challenge me on my beliefs. It depresses me when I find that nobody can provide arguments I haven't considered.

That is the annoying thing about it all. I want to believe that the religious might know something I don't, but I'm coming to believe that's just not the case. The biggest catalyst for this attitude was when I invited Mormon missionaries around my flat a couple of time. This was probably a couple of years ago. Two conversations of several hours each produced the conclusion that they knew nothing I did not, and believed only because they wanted to. Because believing as they did had solved a pressing issue in their lives. When I confronted them on this- asked them what the difference was between them believing because they wanted to and them believing because it was true, they couldn't answer.

My philosophy on truth is that I follow what I think of as the basic tenets of science- reproducible experiments and the usage of information to judge the likelihood of possibilities. If there is a god, it is working extra-extra-hard to ensure there's no evidence of its existence.

The funny thing about that is that if that's true, it could not fault me for believing as I do. If it does... it is not worth worshipping.

This is an important point for me, one that worries me. Most religions have a god which is not good, despite what they say. At least, not by my moral standards. The Bible records a god that mass-murders innocents, exhibits jealousy and anger, and used to interfere regularly in our affairs (some say it still does). Allah, according to the Qur'an, celebrates the death of homosexuals and those that convert from Islam. These are debatable, but what is not debatable is that the Qur'an is supposed to be perfect but is very much open to interpretation. Different people believe radically different things. This would not be the case if it was truly meant to inspire people to understand God's will. It just doesn't make sense to me. There is nothing about the Qur'an or the Hadith that provide proof that Muhammad was a prophet.

There is an argument that is commonly made. God must exist because the universe exists. This brings up the first cause problem- what created God? My answer to this is to extend the solution, that God always existed, to the universe. We are constantly learning more about the universe through physics. Quantum physics has taught me that we are forever widening what's defined as "physics" and forever narrowing the scope of "metaphysics". This has actually been happening for a long time. Einstein proposed that at the time of the Big Bang, there was so much energy that time and space didn't exist in their current form. A possibility like this makes me question the need for a cause as we know it. But this ends up being something we can answer using science.

Frankly, I question the need and use of religion. It gives people temporary answers, but causes problems when those conflict with science. Some have argued it gives you a sense of community, but this is a matter of happenstance. The only reason atheists don't generally have that kind of thing (although some do, through things like Sunday Assembly) is because they are a minority that exists within every religious group rather than in clusters, as religious groups exist. So I question that religion gives you anything that you can't gain otherwise.

I can understand why it arose. People had questions about the world and wanted satisfying answers. Some needed discipline and religion was an effective method- heaven and hell are good motivators. It was useful as a tool for the ambitious, so they could control people. It must have seemed like a dream come true to not need a police force, but for people to just police each other and even themselves through imaginary punishments.

These things may, during humanity's infancy, been useful, like a parent dealing with their children. But we no longer need it. People are, overall, more educated now. They know more, and are individually more powerful through more powerful tools. They can control themselves by being educated on how to do so, not using religion but by understanding themselves and knowing how to do so.

I think now we can be better than that. We are expanding our understanding of the universe the point now where we are able to do things once considered magical. We can communicate almost instantly with people on the other side of the planet. We can bring people back from the dead (under certain circumstances, anyway). We can destroy entire cities. I think we can extend that advancement much further; it is the logical progression of the species. When one can see a clear path to becoming a god, religion becomes... a little bit pointless.

In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out, but I don't hold out much hope that theism will ever hold any sway in my mind. I've been down that road and, instead of finding out things about the universe, only found out things about psychology.
Willows
Posts: 2,031
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6/16/2016 3:42:47 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I think you have pretty well nailed it on the head, said it like it is without the philosophical existential waffle preferred by many atheists.
We atheists have a responsibility in this world to advance the betterment of mankind whilst resisting the egotistical, self-centred, ill-gotten beliefs of theists. Their track record for contributing anything at all positive to society is poor.

Thank god i'm an atheist.
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/16/2016 3:57:58 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 3:42:47 PM, Willows wrote:
I think you have pretty well nailed it on the head, said it like it is without the philosophical existential waffle preferred by many atheists.
We atheists have a responsibility in this world to advance the betterment of mankind whilst resisting the egotistical, self-centred, ill-gotten beliefs of theists. Their track record for contributing anything at all positive to society is poor.

Thank god i'm an atheist.

I think the religious have given us plenty. This is evident from the sheer number of inventions created by theists. But I don't think their belief in metaphysical beings has contributed anything that would not otherwise be gained. It's not inconceivable that they were led to truths by such belief, but in the long-term it causes more intellectual harm than good.
Benshapiro
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6/16/2016 4:13:24 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Good post.

Why is there a dichotomy between religion and atheism though? Theism isn't bound to any particular religious belief. I myself am an irreligious theist.

I believe God exists for many reasons. I'll give you the shortest versions.

Reality is fundamentally mental.

Objective morality

Things in our world are means towards ends and since those things themselves lack intent and knowledge, it would require an outside force with intent and knowledge

Our DNA contains specified and complex information- the only type of information known to come from intelligent minds.

Dying declarations of an afterlife.

Quantum mechanics shows that the nature of reality itself is indeterminant until observed. Reality is made for, and revolves around, human perception.

There's more but I gtg
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/16/2016 4:29:05 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 4:13:24 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Good post.

Why is there a dichotomy between religion and atheism though? Theism isn't bound to any particular religious belief. I myself am an irreligious theist.

I believe God exists for many reasons. I'll give you the shortest versions.

Reality is fundamentally mental.

Objective morality

Things in our world are means towards ends and since those things themselves lack intent and knowledge, it would require an outside force with intent and knowledge

Our DNA contains specified and complex information- the only type of information known to come from intelligent minds.

Dying declarations of an afterlife.

Quantum mechanics shows that the nature of reality itself is indeterminant until observed. Reality is made for, and revolves around, human perception.

There's more but I gtg

I tend to use "religion" to include all kinds of theism. Perhaps you're right that's limiting, but I think people generally get the idea I'm not just talking about organised belief, but disorganised belief as well.

There's no evidence that things in the universe require intent and knowledge. There's no evidence that it's a fundamental part of reality, and even if it were, that wouldn't necessarily extend to whatever creates those laws. What you apply to God could apply to the universe itself.

There's no reason to think DNA could not have arisen naturally, starting from chemical compounds. Most of it is actually redundant information, not used at all.

Quantum mechanics shows no such thing. Beyond anything else, you are interpreting it to work a certain way. There are actually many ways it could work, and we currently only have interpretations. I think quantum waveforms are not resolved by sentient minds, but are in fact synchronised with the rest of a system of connected quanta. When isolated, they could be anything, but when brought into contact with a larger system of particles that are in contact with each other, their waveforms synchronise.

At least, that's my understanding, but I've only read like three books on theoretical physics. I'm no physicist. Bottom line is that these are interpretations that are unproven.
matt8800
Posts: 2,077
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6/16/2016 4:31:36 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 1:49:09 PM, PointlessSpike wrote:


There is an argument that is commonly made. God must exist because the universe exists. This brings up the first cause problem- what created God?

Yes, that is the most common argument by theists. The problem is that arguing that there might be some kind of intelligence, creative force, and/or consciousness inherent in the universe does nothing to further the argument of a specific religion or even the existence of God.

Its important to understand the definition of "god" before stating whether it should be believed or not.

God (definition) -
1. in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

By definition, the word god refers to a being that rules. Ruling and judging requires intervention or it is not ruling. To take the claims of the existence of an interventionist god seriously, one would need to see evidence of intervention. What is an interventionist god that doesn't intervene? "Non-interventionist god" is an oxymoron.

Do I believe that maybe there is consciousness and/or a form of intelligence in the universe that exists outside of our minds? Maybe.

Do I believe that there is a large, angry, jealous, vengeful human-like being floating in the sky obsessing about whether a species called humans on a speck of dust called earth misuse their genitals? No.
matt8800
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6/16/2016 4:39:26 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 4:13:24 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Good post.

Why is there a dichotomy between religion and atheism though? Theism isn't bound to any particular religious belief. I myself am an irreligious theist.

I believe God exists for many reasons. I'll give you the shortest versions.

Reality is fundamentally mental.

Objective morality

Things in our world are means towards ends and since those things themselves lack intent and knowledge, it would require an outside force with intent and knowledge

Our DNA contains specified and complex information- the only type of information known to come from intelligent minds.

Dying declarations of an afterlife.

Quantum mechanics shows that the nature of reality itself is indeterminant until observed. Reality is made for, and revolves around, human perception.

There's more but I gtg

I agree with everything you said but that could only be argued as evidence for Deism. Science makes no absolute statements that contradict Deism but it does contradict many claims made by religions.

By definition, a theist believes in an interventionist god that rules and judges. There is no evidence for that.

Based on what you have said above, you sound more like a Deist to me; not a theist.
PureX
Posts: 1,516
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6/16/2016 4:52:57 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I think you are chasing the wrong horse.

You are seeking the truth of God; a truth that clearly cannot be caught by any human being. It can only be speculated upon, because ultimately, "God" is the personification of the great unknown, and unknowable. "God" is the source, sustenance, and purpose of all that is. "God" transcends 'truth', since the 'truth is 'what is' and God, by definition, is the progenitor of all that is. So "God" is the source of all truth.

We humans are so limited in our perceptual and intellectual capacities that we can't even grasp the whole of what is. We can't even determine how much of 'what is', we don't know. We can only grasp relative bits of the whole, that we call "facts", and then string them together in our imaginations into the illusion of a whole, that we call "reality". Yet even these facts are ever-changing; and subject to perspective, time, and circumstance. So that if we cannot even know the reality in which we exist, how can we possibly know the source, sustenance and reason of existence?

The answer is that we can't.

I know there are a lot of naive and ignorant theists out there who can't tell the difference between reality and mythology, and so go around proclaiming that their religious myths are historical fact, and thus, that they "have the answers" to the great mystery of existence. But they are adult children, lost to their own self-imposed intellectual retardation. Not to be emulated.

On the other hand, however, there can be definite positive value in the practice of personifying the great unknown, and endowing it with the best qualities that we see in the world around us, and in ourselves, and then holding that persona close to us in times of struggle and doubt. It has proven an effective practice for we humans for a very long time.

So here would be my suggestion to you:

Create your own God, understanding right up front that this is your creation, and that you are filling in the Great Mystery of Being with your own hopes and desires. Do you want God to be kind, forgiving, loving, and just? Then let those traits be your God's essence! And then look into yourself, and at the world around you, for the 'evidence' of those traits. Seek them out as your 'proof'. And if you feel the need to "worship God", worship those divine attributes that you have endowed your God, with. They deserve your respect.

Understand that everyone else is doing the same, only most of them are doing it unawares. Whereas you are doing it with conscious conviction, and purposeful intent. And you will be doing it because it's a logical and healthy thing to do. After all, there is no proof whatever that your god-ideal is not true. And your life will be much improved by having this god-ideal as a tool for you to use in difficult times. After all, relating to a personal God is much easier and more effective than trying to relate to blind providence, or the great unknown, or a collection of moving facts. Especially when you're in one of life's "foxholes".

Right?

So my advice is to create the best "God" you can, and then use it to it's best effect in your life. And then keep 'tweaking' it, accordingly.

Above all, stop chasing after "truth" and start pursuing honesty. I guarantee that you'll be much happier, and more successful.
Harikrish
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6/16/2016 5:17:06 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 3:42:47 PM, Willows wrote:
I think you have pretty well nailed it on the head, said it like it is without the philosophical existential waffle preferred by many atheists.
We atheists have a responsibility in this world to advance the betterment of mankind whilst resisting the egotistical, self-centred, ill-gotten beliefs of theists. Their track record for contributing anything at all positive to society is poor.

Thank god i'm an atheist.

At least your allegiance to God has not vaned. You still thank him for what you are. He could just as easily made you a Jehovah's Witness to end up the ridicule of 2 billion Christians. Now you are just another monkey believer.
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/16/2016 6:09:24 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 4:52:57 PM, PureX wrote:
I think you are chasing the wrong horse.

You are seeking the truth of God; a truth that clearly cannot be caught by any human being. It can only be speculated upon, because ultimately, "God" is the personification of the great unknown, and unknowable. "God" is the source, sustenance, and purpose of all that is. "God" transcends 'truth', since the 'truth is 'what is' and God, by definition, is the progenitor of all that is. So "God" is the source of all truth.

We humans are so limited in our perceptual and intellectual capacities that we can't even grasp the whole of what is. We can't even determine how much of 'what is', we don't know. We can only grasp relative bits of the whole, that we call "facts", and then string them together in our imaginations into the illusion of a whole, that we call "reality". Yet even these facts are ever-changing; and subject to perspective, time, and circumstance. So that if we cannot even know the reality in which we exist, how can we possibly know the source, sustenance and reason of existence?

The answer is that we can't.

I know there are a lot of naive and ignorant theists out there who can't tell the difference between reality and mythology, and so go around proclaiming that their religious myths are historical fact, and thus, that they "have the answers" to the great mystery of existence. But they are adult children, lost to their own self-imposed intellectual retardation. Not to be emulated.

On the other hand, however, there can be definite positive value in the practice of personifying the great unknown, and endowing it with the best qualities that we see in the world around us, and in ourselves, and then holding that persona close to us in times of struggle and doubt. It has proven an effective practice for we humans for a very long time.

So here would be my suggestion to you:

Create your own God, understanding right up front that this is your creation, and that you are filling in the Great Mystery of Being with your own hopes and desires. Do you want God to be kind, forgiving, loving, and just? Then let those traits be your God's essence! And then look into yourself, and at the world around you, for the 'evidence' of those traits. Seek them out as your 'proof'. And if you feel the need to "worship God", worship those divine attributes that you have endowed your God, with. They deserve your respect.

Understand that everyone else is doing the same, only most of them are doing it unawares. Whereas you are doing it with conscious conviction, and purposeful intent. And you will be doing it because it's a logical and healthy thing to do. After all, there is no proof whatever that your god-ideal is not true. And your life will be much improved by having this god-ideal as a tool for you to use in difficult times. After all, relating to a personal God is much easier and more effective than trying to relate to blind providence, or the great unknown, or a collection of moving facts. Especially when you're in one of life's "foxholes".

Right?

So my advice is to create the best "God" you can, and then use it to it's best effect in your life. And then keep 'tweaking' it, accordingly.

Above all, stop chasing after "truth" and start pursuing honesty. I guarantee that you'll be much happier, and more successful.

The problem is how easily wishful thinking can turn into denial of the facts. While initially I might recognise it is my own creation, it could stop me from considering alternatives if I don't like them. The best way to avoid this is to not believe things like that, and be willing to reconsider what I think I know.

Additionally, I have for too long trained myself to only believe in what I can prove to be true. Such motivated reasoning sticks out in my mind as an unworthy thought, and would be too foreign for me to easily entertain. I really, really wish I could think that way, but I must instead take solace in confidence in myself and my fellow human beings.
PureX
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6/16/2016 8:28:57 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 6:09:24 PM, PointlessSpike wrote:
At 6/16/2016 4:52:57 PM, PureX wrote:
I think you are chasing the wrong horse.

You are seeking the truth of God; a truth that clearly cannot be caught by any human being. It can only be speculated upon, because ultimately, "God" is the personification of the great unknown, and unknowable. "God" is the source, sustenance, and purpose of all that is. "God" transcends 'truth', since the 'truth is 'what is' and God, by definition, is the progenitor of all that is. So "God" is the source of all truth.

We humans are so limited in our perceptual and intellectual capacities that we can't even grasp the whole of what is. We can't even determine how much of 'what is', we don't know. We can only grasp relative bits of the whole, that we call "facts", and then string them together in our imaginations into the illusion of a whole, that we call "reality". Yet even these facts are ever-changing; and subject to perspective, time, and circumstance. So that if we cannot even know the reality in which we exist, how can we possibly know the source, sustenance and reason of existence?

The answer is that we can't.

I know there are a lot of naive and ignorant theists out there who can't tell the difference between reality and mythology, and so go around proclaiming that their religious myths are historical fact, and thus, that they "have the answers" to the great mystery of existence. But they are adult children, lost to their own self-imposed intellectual retardation. Not to be emulated.

On the other hand, however, there can be definite positive value in the practice of personifying the great unknown, and endowing it with the best qualities that we see in the world around us, and in ourselves, and then holding that persona close to us in times of struggle and doubt. It has proven an effective practice for we humans for a very long time.

So here would be my suggestion to you:

Create your own God, understanding right up front that this is your creation, and that you are filling in the Great Mystery of Being with your own hopes and desires. Do you want God to be kind, forgiving, loving, and just? Then let those traits be your God's essence! And then look into yourself, and at the world around you, for the 'evidence' of those traits. Seek them out as your 'proof'. And if you feel the need to "worship God", worship those divine attributes that you have endowed your God, with. They deserve your respect.

Understand that everyone else is doing the same, only most of them are doing it unawares. Whereas you are doing it with conscious conviction, and purposeful intent. And you will be doing it because it's a logical and healthy thing to do. After all, there is no proof whatever that your god-ideal is not true. And your life will be much improved by having this god-ideal as a tool for you to use in difficult times. After all, relating to a personal God is much easier and more effective than trying to relate to blind providence, or the great unknown, or a collection of moving facts. Especially when you're in one of life's "foxholes".

Right?

So my advice is to create the best "God" you can, and then use it to it's best effect in your life. And then keep 'tweaking' it, accordingly.

Above all, stop chasing after "truth" and start pursuing honesty. I guarantee that you'll be much happier, and more successful.

The problem is how easily wishful thinking can turn into denial of the facts. While initially I might recognise it is my own creation, it could stop me from considering alternatives if I don't like them. The best way to avoid this is to not believe things like that, and be willing to reconsider what I think I know.

But that's exactly what I'm suggesting you do: stop thinking that you can "know" the reality of "God" beyond faith. Because you cannot.

"God" is an IDEA. As an idea, God is as real as love, beauty, perfection, justice and eternity. But as a reality these ideals are impossible for us to conceive of and experience any way but subjectively. I am suggesting that you accept this fact of your limited human condition. And so stop searching for what you cannot have: objective confirmation that the ideal of God is real beyond our subjective conceptual experience.

Then, once you accept the limitations of your human condition, and let go of this silly fantasy of obtaining objective knowledge of God, you will be free to choose what you wish to believe according to your own best interest. Yet you would be doing so CONSCIOUSLY. And DELIBERATELY. So that you will not deluding yourself, or anyone else.

This is what real faith is: choosing to believe that what we hope to be true, will turn out to be true, even though we don't know it to be true, at this time.

Additionally, I have for too long trained myself to only believe in what I can prove to be true. Such motivated reasoning sticks out in my mind as an unworthy thought, and would be too foreign for me to easily entertain. I really, really wish I could think that way, but I must instead take solace in confidence in myself and my fellow human beings.

How do you prove love to be real, and not an illusion created in your mind by your own personal need of it? How do you prove beauty to be real and not just an illusion created in your mind by your own personal bias? How do you prove justice to be real and not just some invented ideology based on your own fear and well-being? How do you prove that absolute states like infinity, perfection, and eternity exist when you have no possible way of comprehending them? I don't think you have proven nearly as much to yourself as you think you have. Because we humans just don't have much capacity for establishing proof. We can establish probabilities. But probabilities are not proofs.

All I'm saying is that once we humble ourselves, and recognize the true depth of our ignorance, we realize that we humans are living by faith pretty much all the time. Not by actual knowledge, as we so love to imagine. We are living by our faith in our ability to determine accurate probabilities, so we can act on them without disastrous consequences. And yet, we are still so often wrong.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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6/16/2016 8:29:57 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Welcome, Spike.

At 6/16/2016 1:49:09 PM, PointlessSpike wrote:
please, be as critical as you like. It might help you to know that I'm British.
I'm wondering if those two points are related? :D

The important thing about all this is that I do it so I can gain a better understanding of the universe.
I think religion is fascinating too, Spike. However I'm not persuaded there's much about the universe religious doctrine knows. But even so, I think studying religion helps us better understand human psychology, sense-making, societies, history and behaviour.

I want to believe that the religious might know something I don't, but I'm coming to believe that's just not the case.
How do you define knowledge, Spike? How can you recognise when a person does or doesn't know something?

Two conversations of several hours each produced the conclusion that they knew nothing I did not, and believed only because they wanted to.
Suppose that were true. What do you make of that?

believing as they did had solved a pressing issue in their lives.
What issues do you think their faith solved?

My philosophy on truth is that I follow what I think of as the basic tenets of science- reproducible experiments and the usage of information to judge the likelihood of possibilities.
Have you found any religions willing to ensure all their claims are independently testable by people trained in such testing?

Most religions have a god which is not good, despite what they say.
It's interesting isn't it, that monotheistic empires all favoured a cruel, warlike, expansionist god who's only kind to the conquered?

There is an argument that is commonly made. God must exist because the universe exists.
That's a poor rationale, Spike. Suppose something were able to create a universe. How does that make it worthy of worship, submission and placation? How does it make any theological doctrine true?

I question the need and use of religion.
Are religions imposed, do they fulfill a need, or is it both?

These things may, during humanity's infancy, been useful, like a parent dealing with their children. But we no longer need it.
One function of religion is to bind a society of strangers to common custom, values and priorities. In observing strangers worship as you do, behave as you do toward invisible ideas, you can begin to trust them as a member of family. In trade, perhaps they'll favour you, do better deals with you than they'll do with those outside your faith. In politics, perhaps they'll ally with you, grow your power and share theirs.

Absent religion, how can a society of strangers be bound? And is there still merit in hegemonies of religious adherents doing special commercial and political deals with one another?

When one can see a clear path to becoming a god, religion becomes... a little bit pointless.
What does that mean 'becoming a god'? Why is it desirable?
Benshapiro
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6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/16/2016 4:29:05 PM, PointlessSpike wrote:
At 6/16/2016 4:13:24 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Good post.

Why is there a dichotomy between religion and atheism though? Theism isn't bound to any particular religious belief. I myself am an irreligious theist.

I believe God exists for many reasons. I'll give you the shortest versions.

Reality is fundamentally mental.

Objective morality

Things in our world are means towards ends and since those things themselves lack intent and knowledge, it would require an outside force with intent and knowledge

Our DNA contains specified and complex information- the only type of information known to come from intelligent minds.

Dying declarations of an afterlife.

Quantum mechanics shows that the nature of reality itself is indeterminant until observed. Reality is made for, and revolves around, human perception.

There's more but I gtg

I tend to use "religion" to include all kinds of theism. Perhaps you're right that's limiting, but I think people generally get the idea I'm not just talking about organised belief, but disorganised belief as well.

There's no evidence that things in the universe require intent and knowledge.

If any natural thing is a means to an end, then that is evidence right there that things in the universe are the product of intent and knowledge. If there is no natural thing that is a means to an end, then the heart is the means for pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body exactly as much as it is a means for breaking down food and absorbing its nutrients. Is this conclusion rational or irrational?

There's no evidence that it's a fundamental part of reality, and even if it were, that wouldn't necessarily extend to whatever creates those laws. What you apply to God could apply to the universe itself.

I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

There's no reason to think DNA could not have arisen naturally, starting from chemical compounds. Most of it is actually redundant information, not used at all.

There is very good reason to think exactly the opposite. There's a huge informational gap. It's akin to believing that given enough time, millions of monkeys slapping computer keyboards for hundreds of billions of years would eventually create rocket trajectory software.

Quantum mechanics shows no such thing. Beyond anything else, you are interpreting it to work a certain way. There are actually many ways it could work, and we currently only have interpretations. I think quantum waveforms are not resolved by sentient minds, but are in fact synchronised with the rest of a system of connected quanta. When isolated, they could be anything, but when brought into contact with a larger system of particles that are in contact with each other, their waveforms synchronise.

Why do the founders of Quantum mechanics and the likes of Einstein disagree with that assessment?

At least, that's my understanding, but I've only read like three books on theoretical physics. I'm no physicist. Bottom line is that these are interpretations that are unproven.
bulproof
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6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
bulproof
Posts: 25,184
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6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/17/2016 4:31:48 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.

The difference is that a radio cannot be made to say something completely different by altering the insides in a basic way. Brain damage caused people not to suddenly die, but to alter their behaviour. Disable a certain part of the brain and they can't talk, or walk. So this is demonstrably false.
Benshapiro
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6/17/2016 4:34:02 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.

You. But no, really, evidence is only applicable if we have the free ability to reason. If we don't have the ability to change our mind in a determinant universe, asking for evidence of something would be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. You made the assertions that a mind by definition requires a brain. I made no claims of that nature. Would you be willing to defend that?
Benshapiro
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6/17/2016 4:36:15 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:31:48 AM, PointlessSpike wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.

The difference is that a radio cannot be made to say something completely different by altering the insides in a basic way. Brain damage caused people not to suddenly die, but to alter their behaviour. Disable a certain part of the brain and they can't talk, or walk. So this is demonstrably false.

If you dropped a radio in water it might reproduce sounds at an unusual frequency or certain functions might stop working. It's not a perfect analogy to begin with but I got the point across.
bulproof
Posts: 25,184
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6/17/2016 4:39:48 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:34:02 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.

You. But no, really, evidence is only applicable if we have the free ability to reason. If we don't have the ability to change our mind in a determinant universe, asking for evidence of something would be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. You made the assertions that a mind by definition requires a brain. I made no claims of that nature. Would you be willing to defend that?

Yes, ALL of the evidence supports my claim.
Now would you like to support your claim that the brain is a radio?
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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6/17/2016 4:45:06 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:39:48 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:34:02 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.

You. But no, really, evidence is only applicable if we have the free ability to reason. If we don't have the ability to change our mind in a determinant universe, asking for evidence of something would be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. You made the assertions that a mind by definition requires a brain. I made no claims of that nature. Would you be willing to defend that?

Yes, ALL of the evidence supports my claim.
Now would you like to support your claim that the brain is a radio?

Great let's hear it. I never said the brain is a radio. I said it's like a radio. This is in the sense of an analogy.
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/17/2016 4:55:13 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:45:06 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:39:48 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:34:02 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.

You. But no, really, evidence is only applicable if we have the free ability to reason. If we don't have the ability to change our mind in a determinant universe, asking for evidence of something would be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. You made the assertions that a mind by definition requires a brain. I made no claims of that nature. Would you be willing to defend that?

Yes, ALL of the evidence supports my claim.
Now would you like to support your claim that the brain is a radio?

Great let's hear it. I never said the brain is a radio. I said it's like a radio. This is in the sense of an analogy.

There's also the fact that animals have less complex brains and the things we happen to be good at are larger. If we put someone under an MRI we can determine whether or not they believe a given proposition. The thing with the radio analogy is that while you could break the radio, you couldn't change the signal. You couldn't make the radio say something else. A brain can be altered. Using drugs a brain can be made to operate differently.

Exactly what does a soul give the brain given all this?
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/17/2016 5:10:14 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
God is The Ultimate Reality. It's all about Truth worship. You love The Truth, you will purify yourself and clean your measuring equipment. The way is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

It's not about faith in humans, institutions, or anything else in creation. The faith is in God.

And don't be fooled, it is written, "keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith."

There is a lot that is called science. Just remember, unless you yourself are performing real experiments, you aren't much better than anyone else who just believes what they read.

Remember this too, you can't disprove God, that's utterly absurd. God is The Ultimate Reality. Also, if you demand evidence for God it is like saying, "Prove to me that it is true that there is such a thing as truth!". It's absurd. That is where the faith comes in. The position of atheism is either one of ignorance(meaning, a misunderstanding of the concept) or petulance(In the case of those who are perverse and deny reality).
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/17/2016 5:26:19 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 5:10:14 AM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
God is The Ultimate Reality. It's all about Truth worship. You love The Truth, you will purify yourself and clean your measuring equipment. The way is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

It's not about faith in humans, institutions, or anything else in creation. The faith is in God.

And don't be fooled, it is written, "keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith."

There is a lot that is called science. Just remember, unless you yourself are performing real experiments, you aren't much better than anyone else who just believes what they read.

Remember this too, you can't disprove God, that's utterly absurd. God is The Ultimate Reality. Also, if you demand evidence for God it is like saying, "Prove to me that it is true that there is such a thing as truth!". It's absurd. That is where the faith comes in. The position of atheism is either one of ignorance(meaning, a misunderstanding of the concept) or petulance(In the case of those who are perverse and deny reality).

But God must have some effect on the world- that can be proven. We can't disprove it, but we can demonstrate that it has not been proven. Thus far nothing I have heard is evidence of God.

As for science, I trust in the system, which uses peer-review to ensure the accuracy of findings. It's been pretty good. Science has this improved our lives immeasurably, whereas religion has not.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/17/2016 5:30:00 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 5:26:19 AM, PointlessSpike wrote:
But God must have some effect on the world- that can be proven. We can't disprove it, but we can demonstrate that it has not been proven. Thus far nothing I have heard is evidence of God.

As for science, I trust in the system, which uses peer-review to ensure the accuracy of findings. It's been pretty good. Science has this improved our lives immeasurably, whereas religion has not.

The scientific method you are talking about is a religion. You understand things through a false dichotomy.

God, as I said is "The Ultimate Reality", this means that God is omni-present and omni-potent. This being the case, everything you observe is an effect God has on the world. God is behind all energy.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
bulproof
Posts: 25,184
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6/17/2016 5:32:48 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 4:45:06 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:39:48 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:34:02 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:19:39 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 4:07:51 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:58:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 6/17/2016 3:51:01 AM, Benshapiro wrote:
I disagree, because intent and knowledge by definition require the existence of mind.

Which by definition requires the existence of a physical brain, does your god have one?

If our mind derives from our brain then reality is illusory and we have no free will - which would then render rational discourse to be meaningless. If this is true, you have a self-defeating proposal. No, our brain is like a radio. You won't find the person inside by taking apart the radio.
And living inside your radio is your own private god, good on you.
Provide evidence of a mind sans a brain.

You. But no, really, evidence is only applicable if we have the free ability to reason. If we don't have the ability to change our mind in a determinant universe, asking for evidence of something would be fruitless. Notwithstanding, the burden of proof is on the person making the assertion. You made the assertions that a mind by definition requires a brain. I made no claims of that nature. Would you be willing to defend that?

Yes, ALL of the evidence supports my claim.
Now would you like to support your claim that the brain is a radio?

Great let's hear it. I never said the brain is a radio. I said it's like a radio. This is in the sense of an analogy.
Ooh goody, I get to play like a theist.
Just look around you, it's obvious to anyone, the evidence is all around you.
Do you know anything with a mind that doesn't have a brain?
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/17/2016 5:41:43 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Let me ask you this: what would convince you God doesn't exist?

If the answer is nothing, you beliefs do not reflect the state of the world. To some, this might not seem like a bad thing, but we would not say this about any other area of discourse. If I told you a I needed to go Scotland to join a school of wizards, you'd either say I was insane or tell me not to take a book so seriously. But you're a muggle, I'd protest, you wouldn't understand.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
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6/17/2016 5:54:22 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 5:41:43 AM, PointlessSpike wrote:
Let me ask you this: what would convince you God doesn't exist?

If the answer is nothing, you beliefs do not reflect the state of the world. To some, this might not seem like a bad thing, but we would not say this about any other area of discourse. If I told you a I needed to go Scotland to join a school of wizards, you'd either say I was insane or tell me not to take a book so seriously. But you're a muggle, I'd protest, you wouldn't understand.

You still don't understand.

The very position, "There is no such thing as The Ultimate Reality" is self defeating.

There is an old saying, "Only a fool says in their heart that there is no God". This is not a vain saying by someone who didn't like people who disagreed with him.. This is an obvious statement of truth when God has been realized.

No, I couldn't deny God. God is Salvation. You don't know God. If you knew God, you wouldn't be asking these questions. You've got a lot of superstitious ideas that are getting in the way of things.

Also, you put far too much faith in people, institution, and writing. The faith is in God, not created things. The scriptures point to God, but it isn't an idol to be placed before God. The people who have a problem with scripture tend to be superstitious about it. They don't understand it. If they understood it, they'd realize that "The letter of the law kills, but the spirit of the law brings life".

God is The Uncreated Creator of Creation, not creation. All of creation testifies of God, and God is everywhere.

How do you express the Uncreated through creation? It's absurd. How do you communicate what is fundamentally beyond abstraction through abstraction? It's absurd.

But God is real. Indeed, if there is a real, God would be that real. God is The Ultimate Reality. Before you can have an effective relationship with God, you need to recognize God. It's all about the relationship.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
PointlessSpike
Posts: 29
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6/17/2016 5:59:41 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 5:54:22 AM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/17/2016 5:41:43 AM, PointlessSpike wrote:
Let me ask you this: what would convince you God doesn't exist?

If the answer is nothing, you beliefs do not reflect the state of the world. To some, this might not seem like a bad thing, but we would not say this about any other area of discourse. If I told you a I needed to go Scotland to join a school of wizards, you'd either say I was insane or tell me not to take a book so seriously. But you're a muggle, I'd protest, you wouldn't understand.

You still don't understand.

The very position, "There is no such thing as The Ultimate Reality" is self defeating.

There is an old saying, "Only a fool says in their heart that there is no God". This is not a vain saying by someone who didn't like people who disagreed with him.. This is an obvious statement of truth when God has been realized.

No, I couldn't deny God. God is Salvation. You don't know God. If you knew God, you wouldn't be asking these questions. You've got a lot of superstitious ideas that are getting in the way of things.

Also, you put far too much faith in people, institution, and writing. The faith is in God, not created things. The scriptures point to God, but it isn't an idol to be placed before God. The people who have a problem with scripture tend to be superstitious about it. They don't understand it. If they understood it, they'd realize that "The letter of the law kills, but the spirit of the law brings life".

God is The Uncreated Creator of Creation, not creation. All of creation testifies of God, and God is everywhere.

How do you express the Uncreated through creation? It's absurd. How do you communicate what is fundamentally beyond abstraction through abstraction? It's absurd.

But God is real. Indeed, if there is a real, God would be that real. God is The Ultimate Reality. Before you can have an effective relationship with God, you need to recognize God. It's all about the relationship.

Are you saying that the universe is God?
Willows
Posts: 2,031
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6/17/2016 6:03:35 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/17/2016 5:30:00 AM, SpiritandTruth wrote:
At 6/17/2016 5:26:19 AM, PointlessSpike wrote:
But God must have some effect on the world- that can be proven. We can't disprove it, but we can demonstrate that it has not been proven. Thus far nothing I have heard is evidence of God.

As for science, I trust in the system, which uses peer-review to ensure the accuracy of findings. It's been pretty good. Science has this improved our lives immeasurably, whereas religion has not.

The scientific method you are talking about is a religion. You understand things through a false dichotomy.

God, as I said is "The Ultimate Reality", this means that God is omni-present and omni-potent. This being the case, everything you observe is an effect God has on the world. God is behind all energy.

Using concepts and metaphors such as God, truth, ultimate reality and mind is where the problem of religion started in the first place. Theists have come to think that they have dominion to sit above everyone else with an elite belief system that transcends mere science and common sense. While you are at it, why not throw the term "Mother Nature" into the melting pot of ridiculous excuses. Then again, it would go against the ideals of most theists for a woman to have control over such a powerful force.