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Thoughts on "Privilege"Posted 6 years Ago

At 4/15/2016 12:40:47 AM, YYW wrote:
So, if privilege exists, in best case, privilege is illusory or a moving target, and it can't be proven. All we can meaningfully say about it, then, is conjectural. Why, then would I ever bother to "check" it?

I would like to add another nuance for your consideration.

If you look at the Bell Curve, so often used to discribe populations with a "normal distribution" the bulk of society is in the middle, with extremes of extremly high and low scoring people at the edges. Any characteristic you can measure that fits a normal distribution will be like this. Some, by nature, have more intelligence, some will have more physical strength. Some will excell in ability to run, while others have the ability to endure stressful situations.

What society tends to reward is the people who match their abilities with a situation or vocation whare their skill is valued. It is the match of natural ability with a vocation needing that ability that often leads to greater reward.

Back to the issue of privilege. Do we say Jamaican runners are privileged? Should they carry an extra weight to make things fair at the Olympics?

Rather than fighting against the people who have matched their special abilities with the roles in society, we should be helping people choose the roles where they will succeed.

I could check my white privilege by moving to Asia. There I would be "Bai Tou" or "Bak Guiy" and would be at a disadvantage socially and linguistically.

I want to embrace my privilege! I want to make the best use of the small skills and advantages I have. Then I can do well for myself and my family. After they are looked after I will have time and resources for charitable pursuits.
Forums Home > Politics

What do different Atheists think about?Posted 6 years Ago

At 12/28/2015 3:55:49 PM, IntellectVsSpirit5000 wrote:
What do you as an individual think about?

Christian Theist here

- Friends, family, work, chores

*Do you think intelligent life exists somewhere out there?

Probably not. (Just no evidence yet, not an emotional attachment to being unique.

*Do you think mankind will destroy each other soon?


*Do you think a world without belief in a god/gods will or can ever exist?

No - if people are free they will believe all kinds of things

*What would a perfect world look like to you?

Less war, less conflict, more helping one another.

*What do you wish were true if anything?

?? I haven't thought about it.

*Were you once a believer, but gave up on belief?

Once a lame believer, then strongly focused on science fact, now a believer with strong faith.

*Have you bounced back and forth on belief?

Not in the last 30 years

*Are there other universes?

Depends on your definition
They seem to be a mathematical construct rather than testable by experiment.

*Are there other realities?

Again, depends on your definition.

I would say 1 reality (by definition) with many cool aspects.
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I've had enoughPosted 6 years Ago

At 12/27/2015 12:09:19 AM, Zarroette wrote:
I really can't do this anymore.

Love & Prayers.

I hope things are going better for you.
Forums Home > Personal

A Cruel God.Posted 6 years Ago

You say . . .

God is just like us, sinners.

do you mean morally?

Are you telling me that you are as good as God?

This I have to see.
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A Cruel God.Posted 6 years Ago

Hi Rosalie

If you have been reading the Bible and came up wit those questions on your own, that is great.

I too have many questions (mostly different from yours ) about why God's standards and decisions are so much different from what mine would be.

Here are a few ideas that help me put it in perspective.

1. God knows the results before he speaks or does anything.
This means that he knows WHEN and HOW having a harsh punishment will work out for more good than letting people act however they want.

For example - God is harsh in the old testament about sexual promiscuity. We often think He is too harsh, but by allowing sexual promiscuity we promote sexually transmitted diseases. Only God knows how bad the epidemics would have been if not for the harsh punishments among the early Hebrew people.

2. You judge God as cruel because you don't like the laws he made for a violent people in a violent world over 3000 years ago. The people living in those times saw God as good and merciful. I think you would agree that they were in a better position to judge than we are.

Your judgments would be more accurate (you would have better understanding of culture and better access to the facts) if you were to judge what you see God doing with and through His people today.

If you accept that Christianity (The New Testament) helps you understand how God relates to more modern people, then you should look at the words and actions of Christian people in your time.

I am the pastor of a small Canadian church. We run a food bank out of our church, and our small congregation (65 people on a normal Sunday) feed about 120 families every week. Judging God and his people as good or bad or cruel or kind will be more accurate if you look at a time and place you understand rather than a long time ago in a far away place.

3. Government and public order.
You live in a country that has capitol punishment (after a judicial process). Even more frequent your police kill people as they carry out their duties. I assume you vote, and that occasionally the party you vote for has some influence in government. Your government either is in favour of these conditions, or allows them to happen. The Old Testament need for public order is not much different than our need for it today. It is hard to convince me that you find God cruel for doing exactly what you and your government do.

4. Very low death toll
Do you believe that the US should have dropped atomic bombs on civilians?
Do you believe that drone strikes are a good idea?

God's death toll across the 4000 years is far lower than that of your government in less than 100 years. Your claims about the cruelty of God are sort of amusing.

From the stand point of governing, God seems to give too much freedom (to your politicians and mine)
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Is Trump really insane on foreign policy?Posted 6 years Ago

Hi from Canada.

Your political system is quite interesting.

As an outsider who gets news from different sources that you might see, there is one thing that seems evident that few American news outlets mention.
note this in The Atlantic )

All of your political hopefuls are trying to play a role that makes a certain group of voters like them.

I don't think that Trump is dumb.
He at least knows how to do well in business, which takes brains.

He also looks like he might win the Republican nomination.

All of them are to some extent acting out a persona they think will win them votes.

Trump is playing to those who like conservative values who are afraid of change, and are OK with closing down their borders in hopes for security and prosperity at home.

On foreign policy, here is what I think you cold expect of a Trump Whitehouse.
- Less using the military as an agent of foreign policy.
(Save money on military spending on hugely expensive foreign wars)
- More restrictive immigration policy - with all kinds of policies that would be civil rights issues if they were already citizens.
- More policies to free business from government oversight. (including freedoms for multinationals to outsource jobs)
- More foreign and domestic espionage, including industrial spying like the Chinese
- More use of targeted assassinations (rather than full on military actions)
- More use of business as a tool of the state (get Intel & Microsoft to build espionage into products for foreign markets.
Forums Home > Politics

Looking for Christian debaters!Posted 7 years Ago

I am also a Christian so for me to hear you speak of the Bible as errant is very disconcerting. You quote Hebrews 11:6 and Matthew 15:1-9 but how do you know these verses are an accurate understanding of what God has spoken? Why put your faith in something you don't know as true or in Someone that you don't know is true? To say that God is incapable of preserving His word is just like saying that what you read when you read the Bible could be or that could not be the words of God, we just don't know. Who decides? In the process of tearing down God's word what do you have left to stand on?

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB)
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Psalm 12:6
The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.


Hi Peter

Sorry to be so long in getting back to you.

My issue is that so many of the people who claim that the Bible is inerrant have made their claim, not based on a clear teaching of scripture, but on a fear that maybe they "don't have all the answers neatly sewn up."

God is perfect and true. 100% agreement there.
The Bible says that God is true. 100% agreement there.
The Bible says that Gods word is true. 100% agreement there.
Some them make the claim that the Bible (66 books in their preferred version in English) is infallible or inerrant. I do not agree with their interpretation and assumptions or this conclusion. We call the Bible God's word, but this is not what the inspired writers of scripture were talking about. (since they had no idea of our 66 books in English)

It is clear that God is inerrant and infallible.
He has not been tainted with sin and error.

We, however, are sinners who daily make mistakes and engage in disobedience to the Father. Everything that humanity touches will be tainted with sin and error.

I don't think believers should get sidetracked with arguments (outside academic circles) over things like inerrancy or infallibility. We have a message to proclaim.

1 Cor 15:3-7
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

I want my foundation to be Jesus, God himself, the Holy Spirit.
I love the scriptures.
I try to read through the whole book once every year.
I just don't think there is justification in scripture to put our faith in The Book (or even my ability to understand The Book) rather than in God himself.
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Why do Muslims like killing people?Posted 7 years Ago

At 1/28/2015 10:14:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
Thanks Gordon, best response yet.


It was hard to resist the urge to list all the deaths (and poverty in Muslim nations) caused by meddling superpowers. USA and Russia seem to take their moral position form a Christian background. India has a Hindu majority killing muslims. China is officially Atheist, as was the USSR. France would want to be listed as secular, because they equally oppress all expressions of faith.

R.J. Remmel has done some great work on "Death by Government"

It will surprise you that religious violence pales in comparison to death by government. Rummel is a strong believer in democracy, and says . . .


Introduction to Part I
2. No War between Democracies
3. Democracy Limits Bilateral Violence
4. Democracies are Least Warlike
5. Democracies are Most Internally Peaceful
6. Democracies Don't Murder Their Citizens


7. A New Fact?
8. What is to be Explained? [On The Nature of Democracy]
9. First Level Explanation: The People's Will
10. Second Level Explanation: Cross-Pressures, Exchange Culture, and In-Group Perception
11. Third Level Explanation I: Social Field and Freedom
12. Third Level Explanation II: Antifield and Power
13. Power Kills [Why Does Power Kill?]
Forums Home > Religion

Why do Muslims like killing people?Posted 7 years Ago

Wylted wrote:
I'm in fear of even asking why they do that because one of them could kill me for saying their religion is not one of peace.

There are lots of issues with the question (later for those).
You comment about being in fear makes me sad.

My assumption is that you are a male in the USA with very little contact with Muslims of any kind.

We do not need to live in fear of North American Muslims.

Those involved in terrorism take high visibility and high value targets.
You and I do not qualify as either.
You do not need to be afraid.

Now for the other issues.

Shahadah: saying "there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God's Messenger"
Salat: ritual prayer five times a day
Zakat: giving 2.5% of one"s savings to the poor and needy
Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime if one is able

Everything outside of these tends to become the focus of what they call "different schools of Islam" or what Christians call a sect or denomination.

2. There are many different sects within Islam. The don't all get along.
See this wiki to see how vast their differences.

3. Sharia Law
Sharia (meaning legislation) deals with all of life, so there are rules about crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Most Muslims agree with Sharia in principle.

4. Fiqh is the human interpretation of Sharia.
This means that different local authorities may not agree on the details. Also, punishments for breaking the law can be harsh (fines, flogging, amputation & death) they become the favourite tools of dictator hopefuls and warring factions.
Each faction can have their favourite jurist or Mufti declare a Fatwa (legal opinion) that is the equivalent to a death sentence. (see

NOTE - Technically, it is unanimously agreed that a fatwā is only binding on its author

Once a fatwā is declared it has long term consequences if the person or country supporting it has any level of legitimacy. Check this out.

5. Poverty
There are so many people living in extreme poverty in the Muslim world that there are many willing to die and kill for a CHANCE at a better life (read money or power or prestige) or even a martyrs death.

this is helpful for understanding
"The combined annual GDP of 57 Muslim countries remains under $2 trillion."
America is $10.4 trillion

America spends more on Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP (22%) than these 57 countries on everything.

As long as people see such disparity they will be ripe for revolt, war, murder and mayhem. It is interesting to note that Muslims are supposed to give 2.5% of income to the poor. I wonder if rich Muslim countries are helping (or killing) their neighbours?
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Looking for Christian debaters!Posted 7 years Ago


I am a Christian, and I like to debate, but I have a problem with both your debate topics.

1. The Christian God exists.

In Hebrews 11 I get the impression that God likes faith and trust, and WILL NOT give us the ability to "force people to believe." He seems to deliberately leave people room to ignore Him and even deny His existence. I can give evidence, But God has chosen to have His most irrefutable evidence around the person of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. It also seems that the focus is not us judging God, but us seeking His approval.

2. The Bible is infallible.

I would love to debate this, but I would also be on the CON side.
In as much as the Bible is a work of human hands it is full of mistakes and problems. God has given us the Holy Spirit (in part) to teach us about Jesus, so the minor errors in the printed word are not an issue.

There might be errors in the originals (which we do not have)
There are certainly differences in some of the manuscripts we do have.
We make mistakes in translation and interpretation.
There are ideas that the original language conveyed to the original culture that we do not get (See example below) because our words, thoughts and culture are so different.
Even if we had a perfect translation of perfectly preserved originals I am still quite likely to intentionally misinterpret because I don't like what it says. This is what Jesus was dealing with in Mt 15:1-9
They didn't want to support their parents, so they said their "giving to the church" was the money they would have used for mom & DAD.

There are many examples in scripture where the desire for inerrancey (rather than faith in a living God) is idolatry.


Hebrews 11:1-6 (NASB)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Matthew 15 (NASB)
1 Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." 3 And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, "Honor your father and mother," and, "He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death." 5 But you say, "Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God," 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother." And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
8 "This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.
9 "But in vain do they worship Me,Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.""
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