An agnostic burner’s point of view

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by 5280MeV » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:21 am

JStep wrote: Arguing a point with someone who will continually change the definitions of the terms is pointless. They lose by default. We can go with the standard model of god, or we can have an amorphous un-defined thing that ultimately renders their own argument moot.
The problem here is that there is not and never has been anything even approximating a standard model of what 'God' really is. I don't really care what Merriam Webster penned down in his attempt at formalizing a natural language, the concept - or lack of any consensus thereof - long predates English.

Even if we take a concept of the christian God as penned down in the four gospels, John begins by equating God with the Logos, which is an extremely anti-anthropomorphic conception of something like the ordering principle of the universe. The intellectual lineage of the term from John probably extends back to Philo who described God as not even existing in space and time, having no attributes, and no operation in the world.

I think that all but a very select few theologians would take serious issue with any notion of a 'standard model of god', especially any such model that would resemble an angry man in the sky who could be logically refuted just by the fact that weather patterns are the ultimate result of a small number of physical forces well described by a set of differential equations that have nothing to do with divine wrath. In fact, I would imagine that the Stoics would be absolutely delighted with general relativity and the standard model of particle physics, and take it as definitive proof of divine reason.

The notion of the word-for-word literal truth of the bible is something that is out of the mainstream and is a modern innovation - likely a misguided response to the fact that we can now empirically reconstruct a natural history of events. The redactors and evangelists who compiled the Torah and the Gospels obviously didn't care for such a notion - otherwise they would have bothered to get the order of events the same in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, and fixed up the lineage from David to Jesus so that they matched in Matthew and Luke.

Lets not even get started on the ancient hindu philosophers...
JStep wrote: Well, here's where we probably differ fundamentally. I think delusions that convince people to commit the most heinous acts imaginable *do* matter.
Actual psychological delusions and hallucinations are different from simply being incorrect about the nature of the cosmos. The proponents of aether-drift theories didn't go around taking an axe to their families, only to stop when Einstein and Lorentz corrected their notion of space and time. Likewise, Philo probably didn't much change his ethical behavior when he reversed his initial viewpoint of God being outside of space and time to say that God permeated all space and time.

People do commit atrocities, sexually enslave children, and do all sorts of unspeakable horrors in the name of God. But this has more to do with greed, power, and charlatans than it has to do with Theology. The charlatan will say that God speaks directly to him, and commands you to give him your 13 year old daughter's hand in marriage. People with more anthropomorphized notions of God, and who don't want to take the time to think through the real consequences of their actions are more susceptible to put their trust unquestionably in this breed of charlatan.

The notion of God is often a convenient instrument for corrupt individuals and institutions to use to perpetuate injustices. However, remove God and they will simply find another proxy. Science is not in any way immune. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders listed homosexuality as a disease until 1973. Even the rejection of God itself can be an instrument of oppression, as Mao Zedong illustrated in the Cultural Revolution.


I refuse to call myself either an atheist or a theist because the emperor has no clothes - none of the philosophical terms in the debate have ever gotten anything remotely approaching a rigorous meaning - it is merely a language game. God has no definition and is not a concept, therefore cannot be debated rationally. Wittgenstein said it best when he should have finally shut up - "Whereof one cannot speak, one should be silent."
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:43 am

yes fishy, there is a "god gene" and a "Spirituality" receptor of sorts.

those people that have NOT evolved yet STILL have it.



they're fucking stupid, all you can do is pity them.



ok, i'm done.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Roberto Dobbisano » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:45 am

gee, thats almost as condescending as talking to a born-again who knows that Jesus is going to save them, and not YOU...
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Simon of the Playa » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:46 am

this is very true, except for the simple fact that i'm right and they are not.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by H.G.Crosby » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:47 am

yeah, i mean why BOTHER praying to "God" when you have 7 or 8 other people to talk to at any given moment?
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by ygmir » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:37 am

ygmir wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:
ygmir wrote:if we assume, nothing can actually be proven 100% (quantum physics, Schrodinger, Xeno, etc), then might I suggest "faith" may be the only thing, that is real? Because, it requires no proof.
I think you're comparing apples and roller skates here.
well, in my little mind, it flows....................
theCryptofishist wrote: Sorry, I have a lot of trouble with the kind of reductionist thinking that some on the religist right indulge in, i.e. the "science is just another belief." Science is not perfect and scientists don't always follow the scientific method and certainly there are underlying beliefs that give scientists blind spots. But the ways that science is proven and not proven and can and cannot be proven are very different than the ways than the objects of faith are proven or not proven.
PET scans of brains believing in gods and of brains beliving in evolution (for instance) may look the same (or thye may not, I've never read about this being done, and I"m not sure how it could be) but that does not mean that they are equivelent in the real world. Hence the definition: Science is that when you stop beliving in it still remains true.
I find the deep anti-intellectualism and anti-science bias in this country to be frightening and regressive. You can expect that I will jump on statements that seem to support that world view.

I don't think, (or certainly didn't intend) that my statement, was in any way disrespectful of science.
In fact, to me, I used science, as the basis. I was trying to say, even science, admits there are only probabilities of things being true, and, that there is room for error.
That, does not take away from science, or the drive to learn, and "prove" something. And of course, if it's true, it's true whether you believe it or not.
But, it is stated, nothing is absolute..........
Am I wrong in that?

As such, in pondering "truth and provability", I came to (my own) a conclusion, that the only thing, "for sure", ( in our own minds),is something that does not require proof.
As such, I only found "faith", as a concept, that relates to "believing something true", but, not requiring proof.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:59 am

It's apparent to me, yggy, that in my zeal to protect science I can be a little hardline. Even a little hardline in not mentioning my own wavering at points.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by unjonharley » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:03 pm

\\
My faith is in... If it can happen, it will..

And, What will, will be..

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by ygmir » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:22 pm

unjonharley wrote:\\
My faith is in... If it can happen, it will..

And, What will, will be..
[youtube][/youtube]
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by unjonharley » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:27 pm

ygmir wrote:
unjonharley wrote:\\
My faith is in... If it can happen, it will..

And, What will, will be..
[youtube][/youtube]

I might add.. If I want some thing done, I will do it myself.

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by ygmir » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:23 pm

unjonharley wrote:
ygmir wrote:
unjonharley wrote:\\
My faith is in... If it can happen, it will..

And, What will, will be..
[youtube][/youtube]

I might add.. If I want some thing done, I will do it myself.
stop it with the sex talk, UJH..........really............
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by oneeyeddick » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:30 pm

Curses!
Just when I finally had a chance to turn this into a dick joke this new Eplaya won't let me embed more than 3 quotes..Dammitt Bill!!
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by cowboyangel » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:41 pm

Herman Melville once said about God, "Some sayeth yeah and some sayeth nay, but God, he keeps the middle way....

Yeah or nay, there's always the Rebbi...if this ain't divine...what is?

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by ygmir » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:48 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:Curses!
Just when I finally had a chance to turn this into a dick joke this new Eplaya won't let me embed more than 3 quotes..Dammitt Bill!!
just separate one out and put it below.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by JStep » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:48 pm

5280MeV wrote:
JStep wrote: Arguing a point with someone who will continually change the definitions of the terms is pointless. They lose by default. We can go with the standard model of god, or we can have an amorphous un-defined thing that ultimately renders their own argument moot.
The problem here is that there is not and never has been anything even approximating a standard model of what 'God' really is. I don't really care what Merriam Webster penned down in his attempt at formalizing a natural language, the concept - or lack of any consensus thereof - long predates English.

Even if we take a concept of the christian God as penned down in the four gospels, John begins by equating God with the Logos, which is an extremely anti-anthropomorphic conception of something like the ordering principle of the universe. The intellectual lineage of the term from John probably extends back to Philo who described God as not even existing in space and time, having no attributes, and no operation in the world.
Ohh, this is a great post! Let's dig in!

I think you're half right, there is no *universally accepted* standard model of god, only one that most people (at least in the west) would agree on. For the purpose of debate (if you really want to get into this, and I don't mind though it might bore anyone else) we can establish our own mutually agreed upon model. I would posit that, in our culture/context, the standard model of god is something that closely resembles the following model from Why Won't God Heal Amputees:

# People believe that God is the almighty ruler of the universe. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, eternal, timeless, omnipresent and perfect.

# People believe that God is the creator of everything. He created the universe and the earth.

# People believe that God is the creator of life and human beings. Many people believe that God created the first man (Adam) and woman (Eve) in his own image, and we are all Adam and Eve's descendants. Others are not that literal, and believe that God played a central role in the creation of the human species and our consciousness.

# People believe that God instills in each of us a unique and everlasting soul.

# People believe that we have eternal life after death. When we die, people believe that our souls return to God in Heaven for eternity if we have accepted Jesus as our savior.

# People believe that God wrote or inspired the Bible. The Bible is God's word. There is a sentence that summarizes the Bible for many people: The Bible is infallible, inspired and inerrant. Others are not that literal, but do believe that God played a central role in the Bible's creation.

# People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God.

# People believe that God is a benevolent and loving ruler. God is good and God is love.

# People believe that God is a living being who knows and loves each one of us. Each of us can speak to God and have a personal relationship with him. The way that we speak to God is through prayer.

# People believe that God has a plan for each of us. We each have a distinct and unique purpose in God's universe.
I think that all but a very select few theologians would take serious issue with any notion of a 'standard model of god', especially any such model that would resemble an angry man in the sky who could be logically refuted just by the fact that weather patterns are the ultimate result of a small number of physical forces well described by a set of differential equations that have nothing to do with divine wrath. In fact, I would imagine that the Stoics would be absolutely delighted with general relativity and the standard model of particle physics, and take it as definitive proof of divine reason.

The notion of the word-for-word literal truth of the bible is something that is out of the mainstream and is a modern innovation - likely a misguided response to the fact that we can now empirically reconstruct a natural history of events. The redactors and evangelists who compiled the Torah and the Gospels obviously didn't care for such a notion - otherwise they would have bothered to get the order of events the same in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, and fixed up the lineage from David to Jesus so that they matched in Matthew and Luke.

Lets not even get started on the ancient hindu philosophers...
JStep wrote: Well, here's where we probably differ fundamentally. I think delusions that convince people to commit the most heinous acts imaginable *do* matter.
Actual psychological delusions and hallucinations are different from simply being incorrect about the nature of the cosmos. The proponents of aether-drift theories didn't go around taking an axe to their families, only to stop when Einstein and Lorentz corrected their notion of space and time. Likewise, Philo probably didn't much change his ethical behavior when he reversed his initial viewpoint of God being outside of space and time to say that God permeated all space and time.
Well, to point to the dictionary again " Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder"

Typical use is in reference to a mental disorder, but the belief in something that you have no reason to believe other than your desire to believe it, the insistence of others or some other reason despite a lack of evidence coupled with all the evidence against it's existence is (in my mind) a delusion on some level.

People do commit atrocities, sexually enslave children, and do all sorts of unspeakable horrors in the name of God. But this has more to do with greed, power, and charlatans than it has to do with Theology. The charlatan will say that God speaks directly to him, and commands you to give him your 13 year old daughter's hand in marriage. People with more anthropomorphized notions of God, and who don't want to take the time to think through the real consequences of their actions are more susceptible to put their trust unquestionably in this breed of charlatan.

The notion of God is often a convenient instrument for corrupt individuals and institutions to use to perpetuate injustices. However, remove God and they will simply find another proxy. Science is not in any way immune. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders listed homosexuality as a disease until 1973. Even the rejection of God itself can be an instrument of oppression, as Mao Zedong illustrated in the Cultural Revolution.
I have a blog post about this on one of my blogs I think. In it I fully reinforce the truth that the great majority of religious believers are good people who wish no ill will upon other people, often in spite of their religion's direct command to enact violence, subjugation or outright murder on them. My position on this is that this is given. However, the danger lies in the mental break where one accepts as truth something for which there is no evidence (and considerable evidence against). That break is called faith. Every debate with a religious person, when finally backed into their corner, ends with "faith". It's the cosmic "out" that allows them to escape logic, reason and reality. A person who embraces faith, as I describe it, is just a few bad circumstances and a little further indoctrination away from psychosis. This is, I believe, how the jihaddists manage to convince so many people to blow themselves up in the name of god. So we aren't really in disagreement on this point, we're saying the same thing. I'm just contextualizing it here as a matter of degree to which someone A) embraces faith B) is convinced to act upon the commands of their religious text and C) believes in the truth of the religious commands they are given.

I refuse to call myself either an atheist or a theist because the emperor has no clothes - none of the philosophical terms in the debate have ever gotten anything remotely approaching a rigorous meaning - it is merely a language game. God has no definition and is not a concept, therefore cannot be debated rationally. Wittgenstein said it best when he should have finally shut up - "Whereof one cannot speak, one should be silent."
Forgive me, but I think this is a cop-out answer, as is the oft referred to maxim that the existence of god is unprovable and unknowable. This is where Russel's Teapot comes into play. You can say the exact same thing about a tiny teapot orbiting the sun. That doesn't make the existence or non-existence of the teapot (or god) a 50-50 proposition.

Another weak argument made along these lines is the old stand by "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Well, no.... But an absence of evidence *where there should be some* IS!

I should also add that I don't mean "cop-out answer" as a pejorative reference to you or the OP. I think this response is conditioned through constant repetition. I don't mean to insult anyone, especially considering that I once made these exact same arguments myself. I was hung up on the false assumption, based on the incorrect use of the terms atheist and agnostic, that I couldn't be an atheist because I can't absolutely prove that god doesn't exist. This is silly and not even accurate. I can prove that god doesn't exist in the same way I can prove that Russel's Teapot doesn't exist, but no one can prove a negative absolutely and this is not a requirement for not believing in something that has no evidence for it's existence and loads of evidence against it's existence.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Eric » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:26 pm

JStep wrote:# People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God.
Point of clarification- most (but not all) Christian sects believe this. In the Abrahamic cultures neither Jews, Muslims or Baha'i believe this. Jews don't believe at all (or at most think he was an uppity Rebbe), Islam & Baha'i look at him as a Prophet, not as God incarnate.

All of your statements that include Jesus as savior in your presumption of what "westerners" believe in as "God" presumes that all believers are mainstream Christian; and in believers in the Abrahamic traditions world-wide 1/3 are Muslim, and the Christian 2/3 contains all Christian sects (which is kind of lumping all Congressmen into one belief system because of the word "Congress"). (Jews & Baha'i make up what in a recipe would be called a "dash")

By your definition you've removed at least 1/3 of the "Western" schools from your "God": that's well over a billion people, not an insignificant amount.

Just pointing out the fallacy of trying to argue religion as if it's a monolithic sort of thing or that you can ever come up with a definition of "God".
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by cowboyangel » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:30 pm

Ok. Interesting. We are using the mind as an analysis medium here. That's a slippery slope. Everyone's mind is subject to many different types of forces, experiences, abilities, individuation, etc. How sure are we that there actually even is something to analyze? Can we say that the universe exists without question? Well, something seems to exist. Something seems to persist. But does that perceptibility end at death? If there is a God, a singularity, a first cause, a unifying principle, it would seem to me that that would have to be universally pervasive, or omnipresent to make sense.That argues for persistence. A persistence that supersedes and surpasses or survives at least, the mind.If the singularity is truly that, everywhere at once in everything (the God Particle talked about recently?) then it seems that all at once persistent existence is starting to look like all at once nothingness too.

I think the mind is ultimately a useless tool to definitively understand existence.That's why I brought up Shankaracharya. There's gotta be something else to use. A deeper mind, higher mind, universal mind, over-soul mind as the Transcendentalists called it? I think also that certain kinds music may take you there faster than rational thought.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by JStep » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:47 pm

Eric wrote:
JStep wrote:# People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God.
Point of clarification- most (but not all) Christian sects believe this. In the Abrahamic cultures neither Jews, Muslims or Baha'i believe this. Jews don't believe at all (or at most think he was an uppity Rebbe), Islam & Baha'i look at him as a Prophet, not as God incarnate.

All of your statements that include Jesus as savior in your presumption of what "westerners" believe in as "God" presumes that all believers are mainstream Christian; and in believers in the Abrahamic traditions world-wide 1/3 are Muslim, and the Christian 2/3 contains all Christian sects (which is kind of lumping all Congressmen into one belief system because of the word "Congress"). (Jews & Baha'i make up what in a recipe would be called a "dash")

By your definition you've removed at least 1/3 of the "Western" schools from your "God": that's well over a billion people, not an insignificant amount.

Just pointing out the fallacy of trying to argue religion as if it's a monolithic sort of thing or that you can ever come up with a definition of "God".
Duly noted. Let's strike "People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God." from our working model of god then.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Eric » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:25 pm

JStep wrote:Duly noted. Let's strike "People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God." from our working model of god then.
I think you missed my point- your "working model of god" is just that: your working model of god. When you start talking in depth, no two people are going to have the same concept of what "god" is: you could take two people of the same gender of the same age who've gone to the same church for all their lives and their initial beliefs would probably match up pretty close. But as you start digging their life experiences are going to color their idea of god- a just god, a cruel god, a smiting god, a loving god...

Just look at Evangelical Christianity vs. Catholicism vs. Liberal Christianity vs. Amish vs. Gnostics vs. Eastern Orthodox... : they are all followers of Christ, reading from (approximately) the same Bible, but with very different traditions and ways of looking at god. Evangelicals look at the god they follow as a Active God (literally watching over us, strict rules, Bible as inerrant word, active participation in daily life) whereas a lot of the more liberal Protestant branches look at god as more hands off, the Bible as a guide, the only rules to follow the 10 Commandments and the teachings of the "New Testament".

There can never be more than a superficial agreement on what god "means" or "is". If there was, there would be only one religious tradition.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Bob » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:40 pm

Oh great, open the door for more Unitarian jokes.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by JStep » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:44 pm

Eric wrote:
JStep wrote:Duly noted. Let's strike "People believe that God sent Jesus to earth as God incarnate. Jesus performed many miracles while he was alive, and after his death Jesus was resurrected, appeared to hundreds of people, and then ascended into heaven, proving that he is God." from our working model of god then.
I think you missed my point- your "working model of god" is just that: your working model of god. When you start talking in depth, no two people are going to have the same concept of what "god" is: you could take two people of the same gender of the same age who've gone to the same church for all their lives and their initial beliefs would probably match up pretty close. But as you start digging their life experiences are going to color their idea of god- a just god, a cruel god, a smiting god, a loving god...

Just look at Evangelical Christianity vs. Catholicism vs. Liberal Christianity vs. Amish vs. Gnostics vs. Eastern Orthodox... : they are all followers of Christ, reading from (approximately) the same Bible, but with very different traditions and ways of looking at god. Evangelicals look at the god they follow as a Active God (literally watching over us, strict rules, Bible as inerrant word, active participation in daily life) whereas a lot of the more liberal Protestant branches look at god as more hands off, the Bible as a guide, the only rules to follow the 10 Commandments and the teachings of the "New Testament".

There can never be more than a superficial agreement on what god "means" or "is". If there was, there would be only one religious tradition.
Eric, I agree 100%. The idea was to pick *a* standard model of god to debate, not "mine" or "the". As long as one can keep moving the goal posts redefining the subject then their argument becomes moot. I mentioned that a bit back.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by oneeyeddick » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:00 am

And yes, some people worship those goal posts every Sunday.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Eric » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:28 am

JStep wrote:Eric, I agree 100%. The idea was to pick *a* standard model of god to debate, not "mine" or "the". As long as one can keep moving the goal posts redefining the subject then their argument becomes moot. I mentioned that a bit back.
I have a very good friend who is a militant atheist- he has set his definition for what "god" is & what atheism is, and judges everything according to those standards (e.g: "there is no proof of god, and belief in something without proof is irrational; therefor people who believe in god are irrational").

By your attempts to peg one & only one definition of something that by it's nature doesn't have one you're saying that people can only debate on the terms you approve of (even if you're trying to keep them in "our culture/context"). Your attempt to limit the discussion to the "modern Abrahamic western interpretation of god preferred by evangelical Christians" (yes, past the mentions of Christ that was pretty much the one you bullet-pointed) is forcing an arbitrary goal-post on the other people and saying they have to argue from that, even if that isn't what they're basing their arguments on. What you see as "moving goal-posts" they may see as a broader definition of god than you're willing to accept. I've studied way too much history to see your definition as anything but extremely narrow, since almost half of the people on this planet have religions other than ones that fall under it.

I'm not taking any sides in the actual "agnostic" debate, I'm just pointing out that there is almost no way to come to find common ground to have the debate on, because one side is always going to disagree with the terms used by the other, and attempting to control the terms will always disadvantage one side. Just like in politics. It may be fun for people to try to find holes in the other persons argument, but anyone with smarts can always find something in an argument large enough to drive a truck through (like I've done in my posts).

Which is also why I'm dropping out of the thread- I don't really care about the arguments for or against peoples beliefs as long as what they do or don't believe doesn't affect me. When it does cross that line I oppose it because of that affect, not because of the (dis)belief.

Oh- my example from my friend up there? Change "god" to "dark matter" or "dark energy" or "string theory" and you see why this becomes a problem.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by unjonharley » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:23 am

unjonharley wrote:]]
I accept no titles for my beliefs.. I try to deal in logic in this matter..

I refuse to believe in the raving of one paranoid schizophrenic that heard voices 4000 years ago.. Or a adulterous and his/her bastard murderous son.. All that heard voices.. Followed by a cop killer.. That hid out on the desert for forty years Eating desert weeds and bug shit.. Claiming he was hearing voices.. Flim flaming his outlaw crew in to believing the voices told him to write the law in stone.. Then leading then in a war to take other peoples land.. The land that the first nut jods voices claim as his.. From that point on there has been war after war and mass murder the world over in the belief of these paranoid schizophrenic voices..

That could be a great play or movie, damn

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by unjonharley » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:25 am

unjonharley wrote:\\
My faith is in... If it can happen, it will..

And, What will, will be..

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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Elderberry » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:41 am

Well, if you consider that the whole concept of god is a fantasy made up in people's minds, I guess it can be anything you imagine it to be. So, why even bother to define it further? It's still irrational, magical thinking which has no place in today's scientific, intellectually and technically driven age. In fact, I would venture to say that it is counterproductive and even distructive.

And Eric, I think your friend and I would get along splendidly.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by 5280MeV » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:48 am

JStep wrote:I would posit that, in our culture/context, the standard model of god is something that closely resembles the following model from Why Won't God Heal Amputees:
I can't agree - even in the context of contemporary American Christianity.

What you are describing is very similar to the some of the views required by the fundamentalist movement, and I have no qualms with calling them simply incorrect. They made an absurd mistake to fight the modern understanding of evolution, which is simply empirically correct. Likewise, Ezra did not write the Book of Ezra. Prior to the turn of the 20th century, these were not issues, nobody had any good empirical understanding of how species evolved or tools to determine the origin of any 2000 year old text.

This sort of test of faith that you describe is almost exactly reflective of the birth of the fundamentalist movement - in 1910 people were actually set the goal-posts for who was or was not a christian and cast out the "nonbelievers".

There is nothing like this in the bulk of mainline protestant denominations, who to varying degrees accept liberal interpretations of god and the bible.

I can take a major denomination, for example, the United Church of Christ, who clearly state that these various creeds are just "testimonies of faith around which the church gathers", not any sort of test requiring line by line consent. Their official view of the bible is simply that it still speaks to people even though it was written a long time ago - a far cry from anything like being inerrant.

It also seems absurd to me to call a thinker like Philo an atheist simply because he does not conform to an American fundamentalist view of god. I mean - he influenced the christian gospels for heaven's sake!
JStep wrote: A person who embraces faith, as I describe it, is just a few bad circumstances and a little further indoctrination away from psychosis. This is, I believe, how the jihaddists manage to convince so many people to blow themselves up in the name of god. So we aren't really in disagreement on this point, we're saying the same thing. I'm just contextualizing it here as a matter of degree to which someone A) embraces faith B) is convinced to act upon the commands of their religious text and C) believes in the truth of the religious commands they are given.
This is also to me a condemnation of fundamentalism and extreme orthodoxy, you have described faith as accepting something for which there is considerable evidence against. I would argue that this is out of the mainstream. Most people when presented with evidence that they fully comprehend will adjust their views on the universe accordingly.

Even still, I would not view the environment that jihadists come from "a few bad circumstances". Egypt under Mubarak was a dystopian hell with poverty, hopelessness, and even present government minders keeping watch. Take any human being with a touch of schizophrenia into such an environment where there are literally conspiracies and mind control happening everywhere, and they are going to go right off the deep end.

While it is true that in the US less self-identified athiests go to jail than self-identified christians, I am not sure that one can so easily distinguish cause and effect. To self-identify an atheist in the US one typically has to think critically, have some level of education, and the ability to stand up for ones convictions. To self-identify christian one simply has to sit through confirmation practice. Although I don't know of actual studies, I would hazard to guess that socioeconomic status, and quality education are better wards against mental illness than some abstract conception of the order of the universe.
JStep wrote: Forgive me, but I think this is a cop-out answer, as is the oft referred to maxim that the existence of god is unprovable and unknowable. This is where Russel's Teapot comes into play. You can say the exact same thing about a tiny teapot orbiting the sun. That doesn't make the existence or non-existence of the teapot (or god) a 50-50 proposition.
If we are going to have the fundamentalist argument, then sure it would be a cop-out to say that I reject the big-haired TV preacher's concept of god and heaven because I have ample empirical evidence against it. But how do I argue against Philo's initial conception of god as being outside of the universe?

The essential problem is that we all know exactly what a teapot is, and we have a clear mental picture of what it would mean for it to orbit the sun.

A teapot is a well understood concept because it is based on experience. A god is not. Kant says, "The light dove, in free flight cutting through the air the resistance of which it feels, could get the idea that it could do even better in airless space." - and so we are all tempted to make words for concepts that we cannot trace back to sensory experience, and then we wonder why we can't ever gain a scientific understanding of them.

CowboyAngel already won the argument anyway when he posted the old master playing the violin.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Bob » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:57 am

Spiritualism offends me much more than theism. Cherry-picking so-and-sos.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by Simon of the Playa » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:06 am

can we all agree that regis philbin is the devil?

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because i can prove that.
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Re: An agnostic burner’s point of view

Post by B the B » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:11 am

People know what infinity is, but you can't visualize an infinite universe. That doesn't mean it's not there. That's about all I got. Other then my personal belief that IF "he" exists it's more of a force, like say magnetism, then any one particular entity. Everywhere and nowhere at the same time, if you were to attempt to put "it" into words. Everything in our universe is microscopic in another, and the smallest sub-atomic particles contain an infinite number of universes. Ow, my head.
"what if one of these times the man says f it and decides to burn us?"

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