02-16-2014 01:50 AM
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  1. anon8126715's Avatar
    In most religions that believe in the end of the world, there will be a period of violence, then good triumphs over evil, and the result is everlasting peace. I suppose that would be comforting to followers of those religions.
    So you're saying it's ok if they're the ones that bring upon violence and somehow convince themselves that they're good? What if that sect loses? Would they have been evil all this time?
    01-31-2014 10:04 PM
  2. Scott7217's Avatar
    So you're saying it's ok if they're the ones that bring upon violence and somehow convince themselves that they're good? What if that sect loses? Would they have been evil all this time?
    I'm just giving my interpretation on what some people believe. Whether it is okay or not is up to debate. You do bring up interesting questions, though. Have you asked the people who believe in those religions? If so, what was their response?
    02-03-2014 03:47 PM
  3. anon8126715's Avatar
    I'm just giving my interpretation on what some people believe. Whether it is okay or not is up to debate. You do bring up interesting questions, though. Have you asked the people who believe in those religions? If so, what was their response?
    I think it would be like saying that the 9/11 terrorists were agents of good. And if I recall, many people in some countries (that we're still giving aid to, btw) actually applauded the 9/11 terrorists.
    02-03-2014 06:17 PM
  4. Scott7217's Avatar
    I think it would be like saying that the 9/11 terrorists were agents of good. And if I recall, many people in some countries (that we're still giving aid to, btw) actually applauded the 9/11 terrorists.
    I think people express similar sentiments when they say one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
    02-04-2014 01:03 AM
  5. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    I've been following along with this thread for a while but haven't really said much here. By chance today I have been listening to some Shpongle and decided to google some of the lyrics, and discovered some of the writings of a gentleman named Terence McKenna, who passed away in 2000 and had been seriously into a lot of the kind of discussion you need to have a serious background in philosophy, theology, and a number of other subjects to fully appreciate.

    Anyhow, it put me in the mind to write a bit of a response to some of the points more recently made in this thread.

    I come from the Judeo-Christian traditions. I have not researched or studied any other religions, but I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about life and philosophy and the like, and so here are some quick points.

    Assume God exists. If God is accurately described by various religions, it would seem God is supposedly a rational actor. Also, at least according to Judeo-Christian tradition, God is also the triumvirate of all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful, in addition to being perfect.

    So, we can derive the following basic points. First, God is perfectly rational (which enforces constraint because God must also be perfectly self-consistent). Second, God is all-powerful, which enables God to be everywhere simultaneously, and all-knowing. If we take "omni-present" to its most logically extreme, that means God exists across time much the same way we limited 3 dimensional beings exist across the entire volume of our physical bodies. I describe it like this because it makes sense then that God would "know everything" and have the means to possess this knowledge, in addition to being all-powerful which gives the capacity to know everything.

    The reason I wanted to establish the above is for a few basic points. God created the Universe from nothing; in order for this to be an achievement possible by anyone, that individual must be of substantial means. On a far smaller scale, God created the kind of thing we call "life" of which everything we know of that is a life-form is a subset of this phenomenon. Humans are then a sub-subset of this. And, in light of the above, it makes no essential difference whether God created an environment in which we could come about, or God created is directly. God created us with foreknowledge of the totality of our design.

    That means, among other things, that God knew our design allowed for homosexuality to be expressed, as much as blonde hair or bi-pedalism. Clearly anyone having the resources to bring our species into existence would have the capability to only allow us to be heterosexual. So, how can someone be a deviant if one is expressing traits capable of being expressed by the species of which they are a part? I suppose one could use this argument to say that it's not "wrong" to be a murderer or child ****** since such a person is only acting on a nature which is within the range of traits expressible by their own species. Perhaps this would justify the notion that "God will forgive anything if you ask". However, if it's part of the human experience, how can it be wrong? Yet, if it is harmful, how can it be right?

    I'm still working that argument out.

    Anyhow, as Homosexuality itself harms nobody else, it doesn't really get tied up in any of that. And since God has no bad-hair days that means we were created with a total range of traits about which God was fully aware -- and indeed about which God had foreknowledge -- so Homosexuality can only be evil if God is irrational.

    Christians who argue against this generally argue that everyone is actually heterosexual, and that one has to choose to be homosexual. I am straight so I can't make personal claims here, but everyone I know who is either completely gay, or is bisexual, disputes this point. Moreover, why would one deliberately choose to be something that society has traditionally frowned on and persecuted over? That is irrational. One could perhaps argue that everyone who's ever been gay or bi has been irrational, but I would tend to disbelieve that as being likely, unless one wants to claim that everyone who is gay or bi is also masochistic, which I also strongly believe not to be the case.

    Believe it or not, I said all that to say this as well. Everything I know about Judaism and Christianity suggests that God values physical material as well as life. Even if "creating everything" was of no effort to God, we are alive, and everything we know is composed of some kind of "thing" and so therefore has value. I am not aware of any end times described by religion that talks about the termination of Sol's viability nor the heat death of the universe (assuming such an event is going to happen) and instead all end-times-stuff that I know about is basically "final battle of good vs. evil". Earth is a pretty nice planet. And in each of their own respects, so are the other planets in our system. So is Sol. Plus, there is some degree of material value for everything in our system. How many trillions of tons of iron are there? Of gold? Of diamonds, perhaps?

    So does it really make sense to just say "f--- it" and destroy everything in a final battle? Does it make sense to wipe out a sentient species? I thought life had value. God doesn't like it when we murder others: there's a commandment against it. So surely just wiping us all out and the planet we live on crosses the line, does it not? In any event, is this a rational act? Surely not.

    Anyhow, I've blathered on here long enough. I'd love feedback on this. Thanks!
    nolittdroid likes this.
    02-06-2014 04:44 PM
  6. palandri's Avatar
    ...Anyhow, I've blathered on here long enough. I'd love feedback on this. Thanks!
    Have you seen the creation vs evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye: WATCH Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate VIDEO in FULL HERE: Who won Creation vs Evolution debate? [POLL] | Christian News on Christian Today
    02-06-2014 05:07 PM
  7. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    Ok, I'm watching this debate now. I'll come back.
    palandri likes this.
    02-06-2014 06:45 PM
  8. kellyjdrummer's Avatar
    There is really no way to avoid knowing about it.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 on Tapatalk because I can.
    02-06-2014 08:55 PM
  9. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    Oh God, my ears... (now there's an ironic response, given the subject)

    I'm listening to the Q&As. Yikes.
    02-06-2014 08:59 PM
  10. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    Disclosure: I know of Bill Nye, but mostly as a result of Internet chatter about him. I've seen clips from his shows, but I've never watched them, so I'm not "a fan" of his coming into this. I've never previously heard of Ken Ham, nor of the organization of which he's the CEO. Also, I'd regard myself as being spiritual.

    I looked at a number of articles about the Bill Nye / Ken Ham debate, but the one which I found the most interesting was by Michael Schulson of The Daily Beast: The Bill Nye-Ken Ham Debate Was a Nightmare for Science.

    On many mornings, I wake up and think, “You know what this country needs? More culture war.” As I scramble up a couple eggs, I find myself wishing—fervently wishing—that we could spend more time reducing substantive issues to mere spectacle. Later, as I scrub the pan, I’ll fantasize about how those very spectacles might even funnel money toward some of the country’s most politicized religious groups.
    Anyhow, Mr. Schulson goes on to say that Mr. Nye helped add to the culture war he sarcastically talked about in the quote above. I don't really agree with that assertion, but I would agree Mr. Nye essentially wasted his time. He might just as well have been debating someone from the Flat Earth Society, or someone from the Christian Scientists, or frankly a died-in-the-wool iPhone user about the downsides of closed platforms and the negative side of Apple's business behavior in recent years.

    As I said above, I'm spiritual. It's hard for me to look at a lot of what one finds in nature, even at the smallest scale, and not believe there was some engineering prowess behind it. However, as I have said for years, I don't claim to know how it was done, and it is (or should be) obvious to anyone who reads the Bible that it is hardly a technical manual for how things work. If it were and had it been intended to be, we would have been lightyears ahead of where we are now, untold thousands of years ago. Of course, I have another idea about that, and it's one which both Gene Roddenberry and the folks behind Classic Dr. Who have touched on, and that's the principle of non-intervention. Assuming God exists and the Bible had been an instructional text, can you imagine what the otherwise culturally primitive peoples of the time would have done with the technology? If Genghis Khan or even Caesar had access to machine guns, or night vision, or explosives, or rocketry, or heaven help us, nuclear or biological technology, would we even exist as a species today? One, in my view, has only to look at what happened to the first nations of the Americas when European and European-descendent settlers unwittingly unleashed biological attacks. How much worse would it have been had it been deliberate and those folks actually knew what they were doing?

    Mr. Ham likes to try and stand there, calmly and comfortably, with what can only be described as a certain smugness, and talk about how awesome Christianity is and how it embraces science -- no, wait for it, "observational science" -- and that it's basically a benefit to humankind that this is the case. He's from Australia; surely he knows the unfortunate history of the Aborigines? He lives in Kentucky, surely he knows of European wars against Indians? White Christian European and American actions against blacks? The Roman Catholic Church's actions against scholars and scientists in centuries past? The Protestant movement which was nearly a second Dark Ages in the U.S.? This love affair that Christianity supposedly has with "all things science" is a strictly recent phenomenon and is only the case because the theocracies of Europe and America lost out to the Industrial Revolution and humanist philosophy which stated human beings are worth something and not simply chattel or property for others to rule, dominate, or own.

    So please, Mr. Ham, spare me. Forget what anyone here on AC who's an atheist, anti-theist, or agnostic might say: I'm telling you you're full of s**t and your attitude stinks.

    In my view, I think he and his organization might just as well be the mouthpiece for the Christian Coalition or the Tea Party.
    msndrstood and nolittdroid like this.
    02-06-2014 11:15 PM
  11. Scott7217's Avatar
    Anyhow, it put me in the mind to write a bit of a response to some of the points more recently made in this thread.
    Those are excellent points! Should we remove freedom of religion from the Constitution? Keep in mind that not every country has that freedom.
    02-07-2014 03:02 PM
  12. anon(6142785)'s Avatar
    I prefer freedom FROM religion myself.

    Posted via Android Central App
    A895, msndrstood and nolittdroid like this.
    02-07-2014 08:15 PM
  13. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    Those are excellent points! Should we remove freedom of religion from the Constitution? Keep in mind that not every country has that freedom.
    In the sense in which the Constitution is written? No, absolutely not. Freedom to have whatever sort of philosophical or theological beliefs one wishes is critical to our foundational underpinnings.

    Do I see a different way to write the Constitution so that this doesn't need to be specifically defined yet would be fundamentally handled? Yes, I believe I do. But, creating a cleaner, more appropriate, and more inclusive Constitution is a discussion for it's own thread, not this one.
    02-08-2014 12:02 AM
  14. Scott7217's Avatar
    In the sense in which the Constitution is written? No, absolutely not. Freedom to have whatever sort of philosophical or theological beliefs one wishes is critical to our foundational underpinnings.
    What if we repealed freedom of religion and only allowed reason, logic, and scientific principles? Would that cause more problems, or would things be better?
    02-09-2014 09:40 AM
  15. Mooncatt's Avatar
    What if we repealed freedom of religion and only allowed reason, logic, and scientific principles? Would that cause more problems, or would things be better?
    I'm not religious, but I'm sure your idea would cause way more problems than it'd solve.
    02-09-2014 09:42 AM
  16. Scott7217's Avatar
    I'm not religious, but I'm sure your idea would cause way more problems than it'd solve.
    Can you give an example?
    02-09-2014 09:55 AM
  17. Mooncatt's Avatar
    Can you give an example?
    Look at just about any religious persecution in history. It's a sad tale and usually results in violence.
    02-09-2014 10:21 AM
  18. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    I am unable to square a "free society" with the idea that we would deny people the freedom to have a belief system.

    Beyond that, how do you determine what constitutes religious beliefs? Also, who gets to determine this? This is soooooooooooo 1984 and Soviet Union (and probably North Korea as well) that it just isn't funny.

    Do you intend to define those who have religious beliefs but have never harmed anyone on that basis as criminals? What do plan on doing with them?

    What would even make you (or anyone else) go down this particular road?

    Here's a random thought for fun: what would you do with people who had a belief in it being wrong to have a belief? Would you arrest them, too?
    kellyjdrummer likes this.
    02-09-2014 10:43 PM
  19. A895's Avatar
    I prefer freedom FROM religion myself.

    Posted via Android Central App
    Reminds me of when Wolf Blitzer asked that woman is she thanking God for missing the storm that took her house.

    "Do you thank God?"

    "Do you?"

    When she replies she's an atheist he gets so awkward its hilarious.

    Posted via Android Central App
    anon(6142785) likes this.
    02-10-2014 05:07 AM
  20. Scott7217's Avatar
    So does it really make sense to just say "f--- it" and destroy everything in a final battle? Does it make sense to wipe out a sentient species? I thought life had value. God doesn't like it when we murder others: there's a commandment against it. So surely just wiping us all out and the planet we live on crosses the line, does it not? In any event, is this a rational act? Surely not.
    There is a precedent where God wiped out life on earth by flooding it. (The only people that survived where on an ark.) So it looks like wiping us all out does not cross a line.
    02-14-2014 09:50 AM
  21. Tall Mike 2145's Avatar
    02-16-2014 01:50 AM
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