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I'm reminded of my philosophy classes now.
Any of you atheists ever consider Pascal's Wager?
If you truly believe there's no God, then life, by definition, is nothing more than trivial events and simple pleasures until you die.
Speaking of history and the church, here's how Constantine saved the church and incorporated into the state and it became the Roman Catholic Church. Persecutions of the Christians stopped and he brought them into the gov't and returned confiscated lands and gave lands to the Catholic Church as its wealth was created.
THE CHURCH IS POOR AND HUMBLE. ST PETER.
THE CHURCH IS NO LONGER POOR. CATHOLIC POPE.
AND THE CHURCH IS NO LONGER HUMBLE. ST THOMAS ACQINAS TO POPE.
Caveat - this is a wiki link but it seems spot on.
In a universe with a heaven, what is life expect another version of the womb? A short, limited experience before eternity. Heaven gives us a place to fix our regrets, settle old grudges, tell people we love them. But if its not there, then we have to use our life for that.
This is their (your) one shot and then it's all a big nothing so you must, by definition, live an incredibly full life.
The concept of heaven and hell is a religious concept, created in the minds of a finite being. It's an extension of the same vein attempt to explain the unexplainable.
This is a journey and death is a mere door into the next journey. I don't assume that once I leave this world, I am going to go to a place that has all the answers.
Hell, along with predetermination/predestination, and biblical literalism, are the biggest reasons why I distanced myself from Christianity. Jesus was anything but a biblical literalist. In fact, it's what got him into so much trouble. It's troubling to try and understand how a religion that dons the man's name doesn't follow what he preached. Of the many men and women -who I would consider very intelligent and eminent voices of the faith- that I've spoken with about the Bible, all of them flirt with equivocation with their pick and choose approach to how they interpret the bible.
Here's some sad news that has to do with this thread.
Rick Warren's son committed suicide. He was on 27 yrs old. He had mental disorders for quite awhile and was seeing the best doctors in the country. He hinted of suicide a decade ago and told his famous father, I know I'm going to heaven so why don't I just kill myself now.
Suicide is usually equivalent to murder but in this case only God knows if he was truly saved. He had a disease so he might get off. I know I wouldn't want to face God on my judgement day shortly after killing myself.
This is a tough issue.
Warren is the famous pastor of the Saddleback Church in California and wrote the famous Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church books. They sold more copies than just about any book in history and made skillions for Warren. He gave back every cent his church paid him during the last 25 years and tithes 90% of his book receipts while living on 10% but that still comes to about a couple of million pr yr for him.
He's also a leader in the so-called Emergent or Emergencing Church and leader of the post modern era. He sends millions to third world countries as well as to Aids research and victims.
First off, I think we need to separate organized religion with the idea of God. I do not believe in prophets, I believe no man has any extra perception of the divine. Religion is rule of law for society in its origin.
When I was a freshman in college I embroiled myself in spirituality, meditation, God. I actually became delusional, I thought I was connected to the divine. My thoughts were not inherently mine, I thought. internal and external perceptions melded into melody. In this way I found patterns in my walking life, it became mentally unhealthy when I couldn't stop creating patterns of numbers, sequential numbers, I attached emotions to numbers leaving my emotional responses quite irregular during this time period. I would walk alone in the woods and read animals, the movement of water, it all spoke to me because I thought god existed in everything and I thought I had a medium of communication. It was quite a bizarre situation.. (No I was not tripping), this occurred for I'd say 4-5 month period
Ultimately I think that the idea of God is interesting and it captivates man. Man wants answers and perception and continual change play roles in our development as humans. God is an idea, and one that man will be talking about long after we're dead and the reasons are clear. We have no definite solutions just our perceptions.
Showtime is running it's movie "Borgias" (the original crime family) about a corrupt Pope who actually had a hit man and actually used him. It shows how corrupt the early church was and the abuse of power by the early popes. There were tons of illigitimate kids from the early popes and today we have the scandals from the priests. Not much has changed.
The Pope in 1960 said the incense from the force has infiltrated the walls of the vatican. He was putting the cardinals and priests on notice that he knew about their satan worship and it spread to France and eventually the south east of the U.S. The term was never used again.
The Force is a old testament Jewish term for Satan and George Lucas used it in his Star Wars
movie when they said may be force be with you. He was actually talking about Satan and nobody knew it. Lucas is Jewish and well familiar with the old testament and the term.
I really don't think God intended the church to go from the Upper Room to the Catholic Church and a pope. When Cornelius bowed to St Peter, Peter said no. You bow to no one except God.
I'm really this close from dropping out of church and worshipping God in my own way. I get better sermons on TV anyway.
Just going to bump this thread because it was very interesting. Also, what a representation of atheists here! I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm a proud one myself.
Wind is not transcendent. While it cannot be seen, it can be felt on the skin, it can be heard, and if it is carrying the right particles it can be smelled. It can be detected irrefutably and scientifically. Nothing about god or gods--timelessness, mysteriousness, needing to rely on faith to know it's there--applies to wind. Or, really, to any force of nature that simply cannot be seen but can be proven in myriad other ways, e.g., gravity, magnetic waves, radiation, etc.
Matt Dillahunty is the most famous host of a show I like on YouTube called "The Atheist Experience." (Perhaps a few posters here like HoustonRaven have even heard of it? It's based in Austin, TX.) Anyway, one of Matt's most famous sayings is, "Faith is the reason people give when they don't have a good reason."
Is this the concept you're referring to, HR? If so, yes I have considered it. 1) I can't force myself to believe for the sake of a bet. I don't believe in god/gods because my mind does not allow me. It is illogical to me. 2) If a god is worth my worship, it shouldn't be able to be tricked this way. Because really, this is a hedging of bets that amounts to working the system.
What scientists don't know proves to me the existence of a higher being just as much as we have been able to prove. For every time a scientist figures out why something happens, there's 5 new doors opened leading Man in another direction. The more we study the vastness of space or the vast world of microbiology that we're just now beginning to discover, let alone explain, the more we realize that what we don't know as a race is far more than what we actually do know.
I don't look at Faith as a competition of who's right or "logically superior" to someone else. Perhaps there's our fundamental difference. Faith (or lack of) is a deeply personal issue, and while it's being discussed openly here, isn't something one should force on to one another.
Faith is the absence of logic so of course, as someone who sees Faith through the prism of logic, cannot understand.
It's common to hear the moment of the big bang referred to as an Infinitely dense, infinitely small ball of energy. There is no such quantity as "infinite." It's not a number, it's a direction you count in. Calling something "infinitely small" or "infinitely dense" tries to call a counting process a quantity. It's a slick trick to paper over the fact that if there ever was any point of origin of "the universe," physics completely lacks the tools to describe it. All it can even try to describe is events after the origin. It is ridiculously comical when someone points to something like M-theory or String theory (Theoretical mathematical iteration masquerading as if it could ever be more than just that, theoretical.) as exhibit 'A' as to why theism/deism should be mocked and is unnecessary mysticism.
In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawkins eludes to the idea that science will know the answer to all questions worth asking. The operative words here being "worth asking". In order to set things straight, in classic western-scientific triumphalist fashion, he proclaims "philosophy is dead". Ignoring the enormous hubris of such a statement, thinj of the irony alone; itself of course being a philosophical statement, subscribing to its own philosophy. The reason for dismissing philosophy is simple. It rids of all questions that do not admit a scientific answer as simply non-questions, or psuedo-questions. The error in this thinking is simple, Said best by Sir Peter Medawar, "Scientists must however never be tempted into mistaking the necessity of reason for the sufficiency of reason. Rationalism falls short of answering the many simple and childlike questions people ask: questions about origins and purposes such as are often comtemptuously dismissed as non- questions or pseudoquestions, although people understand them clearly enough and long to have answers. These are intellectual pains that rationalists-- like bad physicians confronted by ailments they cannot diagnose or cure-- are apt to dismiss as "imagination." it is not to rationalism that we look for answers to these simple questions because rationalism chides the endeavor to look at all."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager). But it was indeed just a discussion point. Hopefully, I've made you a little more familiar with a common interpretation of Pascal's Wager. :)
Aka, we're trying to keep things civil around here.
Snarky quips about if someone you disagree with has a Nobel Prize isn't going to help your cause.
As for your post, I don't feel the exercise in trying to point out why someone's faith is illogical is any different than a devout Catholic trying to proselytize. Both acts are futile, neither will convince the other of their perceived failings and the underlying notion of superiority is very telling as to the lack of strength in the logic.
Also, HR, I have never been trying to convince you of anything. Perhaps what I have been trying to do is prove is the illogicality of belief, and you, in a way, have helped me do that.
You said "faith is the absence of logic."
You claim to "believe" in a god.
When someone believes something without good evidence, s/he is believing it on faith.
By your own logic, your belief is illogical.
That doesn't even mean your belief is wrong; because if we find out there is a god, or gods, when we die, you will have been proven right. But the fact remains--again, through reasoning I drew from your own words--that, currently, your faith-based position is not based on reason, evidence, or anything supportable through testable, scientific means.
No, he didn't just go along with it. Historians debate if he became a Chrisitan but
he was the first Roman emperor with a cross in his diadem.
He got a dream from God. He had a big fight coming
up to save his empire and God spoke in the dream and told him to carry crosses into
the battle and he would win. Just think, for 300 years the emperors killed anyone
with a cross and he orders his soldiers to carry them into battle.
They did and the won and that's when Constantine saved the church then organized
it. Yes, he did it in part to save his empire but it was the strongest empire in the
world during his reign. Not sure if Constantine became a Christian but he gathered the
pope and bishops at the Nicea Council where the Nicene
Creed comes from and the church was organized and some believe the books of the
Bible were organized there as well. There's no proof that Constantine approved or
disapproved the organizing of the books into the Bible. The first Bible as is today
was published by the PUritans.
The book of Genesis was written by Jews in captivity in Babylon and it survived all
those centuries. Mathew, the first book of the new testament, was not the first book
written but was the first book to go into the New Testament.
Luke was the first book written in the New Testament but it makes sense to put
Mathew first because it gives Christ's lineage going back to King David. That's
important because he came as the Messiah exactly the way the Old Testament
said the Messiah would come.
Jews in the old testament kept strict records of their family's names that lasted
for centuries. In fact one had to be a member of Aaron's tribe to be a priest in
the temple. All the names from that tribe were written on the walls of the temple.
When the disciples marvelled over all those names Christ said don't marvel for they
will all come down and the temple will be destroyed.
It was 70 years later and the deciples, or most of them saw the temple destroyed
by the Romans. Today, orthodox Jews want to build a third temple on the same spot
where the big mosque with the golden dome is. It's called the Temple MOunt and
its the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the world today.
The Israeli gov't wont let the Jews put a temple there because it will start WW 3
but the book of Ezekial says a temple will be built in the end times. The Jews even
have a name for it and call it Ezekial's Temple.
More info is at www.templemount.com