# The true question of religion and god

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by FyreStar, Aug 25, 1999.

1. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
FyreStar,

Sorry, I took so long to respond. I agree. These debates can get a bit heated. I've even seen some that are quick to stoop to name calling. I understand though. I too can be quick tempered. God has been working on me with that one since I was a child. I'm quite pleased with the results. I can't wait to see the rest. Anyway, regarding your comment of, "I understand what you are telling me, but the fundamental reason that I cannot act upon it is that I do not seem to share your awareness of a higher power. I practice complete self-honesty; I won't delude myself into thinking that things are perfect by ignoring a touchy subject or telling myself something I *know* to be false.", I'd first like to say that it's good that you could see where I was coming from even if you don't share the same awareness of a higher power. I'm sure that you can accept the fact that you do have a conscience. Wouldn't you? I doubt that anyone could ever produce a conscience detecting device though.

QUOTE: ( To ISDAMan )
Also, I'm not clear on your analogy to sheep.. do you mean that we are all being led, and if so, then are we being led by god?

Well, the direct point, in this case, was to show a need for a leader. You have, in fact, touched on a very very important point that we are all, in fact, being lead. According to the Bible; some by God and some by Satan. In a way, like good and evil, there's only two choices. Neutral does not exist where the orientation of a person to God is concerned. God shows that He is the source of all good. All things not of Him are not good and as such are evil or sin. Satan, being the father of sin, is the one to whom all sin and evil is orientated. This is true even if you are a "good" person that tries to do nice things whenever you can. The Bible calls our good works filthy rags and says that all have fallen short of the glory of God. Sin is not just going astry. Sin is like an arrow being shot that never even makes it as far as the target. Therefor, our orientation is without a good leader.

QUOTE: ( To IP )
Nobody can point to a definable or observable god and ascribe their beliefs to it. That is why the concept of faith is required for religion.

QUOTE: ( To Mock )
I know people of many faiths and of no faith which are morally suspect, and to me that suggests a problem with humans, not beliefs.

That makes you a rare find!

There's not many that do that. Most people, including most here, make up their minds very quickly about all of Christianity because of the actions a single Christian. In fact, many lurk in the background just waiting to pounce and point out the obvious humanity of those with faith in God. I thank you that you cannot be counted amongst these.

QUOTE: ( To Mock )
When people tell me such as you did about what they gained from religion, I examine my life and see whether or not I have those things. I know I am not alone in life; I have friends, family, and I know that there are enough decent people in the world that I continue to meet those whose differences I can rejoice in.

In all honesty, do you belive that you are complete? Are you still searching for something, on any level, to fill a void within you? Are you comfortable with the idea that you might die today? What do you think will happen?

QUOTE: ( To Mock )
In regards to disasters.. If I can do something to avoid them, I will; if not, there is little sense in worrying about that which I cannot change, so I accept it and move on.

I'm with you there buddy.

QUOTE: ( To Mock )
Also, neither would I "drown my sorrows in drink". Aside from the repulsion I feel towards voluntarily giving up control over my actions, it is much more efficient and healthy that I work them out and move past them, wouldn't you agree?

Now's the part where I have to ask, "What's you standard for defining what is good and what is bad?" Is it something that is floating or situational or is it a constant? Also, control is a major factor in relating to God of which I'm sure you are aware.

QUOTE: ( To Mock )
As to the bible, I think that in most cases, it does an adequate job of presenting morality to its readers, but I don't see what makes it literal truth.

In order to crack that nut, and it is a tough, but, crackable one, we first have to come to a common understanding of each others understanding of God. As I take it, you don't accept Him or rule Him out. Am I correct? To get a better grasp in where you are coming from, could you please post some of those shortfalls in it being literal truth? I could, without that, end up going in all sorts of directions from archeological data to other corroborating evidences. Thanks. Up until now, I belive I have been trying to address this on more of an interpersonal level. If I'mm missing you somewhere, please, let me know.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

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Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

[This message has been edited by ISDAMan (edited August 30, 1999).]

3. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Flash,

I'm not looking to get into a let's make each other mad contest. I never judged you. I asked you questions based on comments you made in posts and e-mail.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

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Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

5. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Boris,

QUOTE:
I was not discussing Christianity's claims in the post you critiqued, so much as I was proposing an alternative outlook, this time based on plain reality. I don't care what the Bible says about human capacity to cope without God or prayer; I claim the opposite, and indeed I not only claim it but practice it as well. And it works. And I believe it can work for others. And I believe that religion does far more harm than good. And I believe we are all better off without it.

Then, please, let me point out that you just stated a belief based on experiences others have not had. Moreover, you expressed that, if adhered to by others, it would improve their lives. You just placed yourself on the same playing field by having affirmed a religion.

QUOTE:
The point is, that one should go on with life, and fight for ones values, and defend against harm, and ultimately nevertheless try to live in peace and happiness -- but one should never give up, because nothing in life can ever be significant enough to warrant surrender. (i.e., one can always die later -- so why not live another day, and live it to its fullest, while you still can?)

This, above, is a synopsis of your doctrine.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

------------------
Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

7. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
ISDAMan:

Yes, in very loose terms I am promoting a new religion (and behold -- I'm actually in the correct forum!

). However, notice that my 'religion' is not on the same playing field, as you seem to be concluding. For example, I do not claim ultimate knowledge, I do not utilize anything supernatural, I am perfectly willing to admit that I am wrong about any of my claims if appropriate evidence surfaces, I do not argue for damnation to the heretics, and I assume as little as I possibly can. Moreover, my 'religion' is based entirely on what I (and anybody else) perceive around me -- not on shady proclamations from 'divine sources'. It is certainly a religion, as it makes a rather unverifiable assumption that nothing supernatural exists. But, that assumption is not critical to the rest of my 'doctrine' -- as it would clearly stand even if something undeniably supernatural actually provides evidence of itself.

What I argue for is an end to the old-style religions with their fixed mindsets, absolutist beliefs, and broadside directives unsupported by reason and taken on faith. I would like people to become far more open-minded than they are on average at present, and I want people to become far more aware of the deeper insights stemming from their very surroundings. At the same time, I want people to be critical and reasonable about the stances they take and the goals they set. And I honestly believe we as a civilization have a chance to achieve all of these goals.

Now, I made a lot of statements here of the form "I believe". Any one of such statements is debatable, and I am eagerly awaiting a challenge so that my beliefs could be put to a test.

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I am; therefore I think.

8. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
QUOTE:
Moreover, my 'religion' is based entirely on what I (and anybody else) perceive around me -- not on shady proclamations from 'divine sources'.

Does this include the criminally insane?

Two questions:

1) Where does your religion do away with faith?

2) If God did you like He did Saul (Apostle Paul), would you then turn to Christ or still go your own way?

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

------------------
Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

[This message has been edited by ISDAMan (edited August 30, 1999).]

9. ### 2+2Registered Senior Member

Messages:
55
My experiences tell me also that mankind would be better off without so many of us
having an invisible friend, who is watching everything EVERYONE does, REMEMBERING all this
behavior, and JUDGING it all later.&nbsp; Plus this invisible friend despises what some
folks, who are living, believe is going on here, and it is okay to hate those people
outright (they are all going to hell anyway).</p>

No doubt, that if anyone thinks that they really know what is going on here, they are
mistaken.&nbsp; Just describing what happened to ourselves today in a realistic way, is
hard enough for most of us.&nbsp; Believing that we are being watched seems to me to be a
little paranoid...that someone is listening to our THOUGHTS, sounds schizophrenic to me.
&nbsp; I think that this kind of thinking allows people to disrespect others thinking, and

I find it hard to believe that people believe in a life after this one.&nbsp; I think
that they hope that there is an afterlife, but people who believe it are going to be like
the Heavens' Gate people.&nbsp; But the point of view that there is a better life detracts
from the reality of the amazing fact that we humans are the apogee of&nbsp; life forms.
&nbsp; We should treasure eachother for that reason.&nbsp; We alone have TIME.&nbsp; We
share time...and living, and words.&nbsp; </p>
</body>
</html>

10. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
ISDAMan:

1) There are different degrees of 'faith'. It is one thing to take an assumption of materialism on faith (actually, as it turns out, it's a pretty good working assumption!) It is something altogether different to take on faith the Tower of Babel story, or the Ark of Moses story, the Genesis story, or the Resurrection story, or any of the gazillions of stories of Christianity (or in fact any anscient religion whatsoever). It is something altogether different to take an assumption of idealism on faith, but in addition to it take on faith an entire baggage from heaven, to hell, to souls, to afterlife, to angels and deamons, to God's singularity and attributes, to the modes of interaction between the material and immaterial. I do not claim to do away with all faith. However, I certainly claim to do away with unquestioned acceptance of claims. It is part of my 'doctrine' that you have a right to disagree, and that by a very long shot you might even be right and I wrong in an absolute sense about existence of God or the supernatural and immortal. However, I reserve the right to shoot down any of your claims (or indeed even my own) whenever they come in flat and demonstrable contradiction with actual observed reality. Ultimately, I view all religion as mere guessing. However, there are blind guesses, and then there are educated ones.

2) The only way I can ever believe in God, is if he/she/it personally explains to me and shows me the reasons, mechanisms, and foundations for absolutely everything, including God's own existence -- and explains it in such a way that the existence of God would no longer be questionable. Needless to say, I am still waiting (seems like God got out of the personal catering business a few millennia ago.

)

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I am; therefore I think.

11. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Boris,

QUOTE: What I argue for is an end to the old-style religions with their fixed mindsets, absolutist beliefs, and broadside directives unsupported by reason and taken on faith. I would like people to become far more open-minded than they are on average at present, and I want people to become far more aware of the deeper insights stemming from their very surroundings. At the same time, I want people to be critical and reasonable about the stances they take and the goals they set. And I honestly believe we as a civilization have a chance to achieve all of these goals.

QUOTE: I do not claim to do away with all faith. However, I certainly claim to do away with unquestioned acceptance of claims.

Supposing that someone does, without question, accept the claims of the Bible, where does it conflict with your religion? This person has clearly judged that he cannot hold judgement over the claims. Also, could you clarify your statements on faith for me?

QUOTE: The only way I can ever believe in God, is if he/she/it personally explains to me and shows me the reasons, mechanisms, and foundations for absolutely everything, including God's own existence -- and explains it in such a way that the existence of God would no longer be questionable. Needless to say, I am still waiting (seems like God got out of the personal catering business a few millennia ago. )

How can God be God if God has to yield to your will? You're close, but, not quite on one thing. God has never been in the personal catering business. He calls people to come to Him.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

------------------
Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

12. ### bedlanamGuest

boris,

so there is truth in that which is observeavle, and none beyond; until a method to observe it is developed. therefore all speculative theory is fantasy. and many of our discoveries have come of this, fantasy. u agree to a change once evidence 'arrives' , evidence will arrive. so many have not been wrong about the soul. the study of mind cannot derive such a stance, it is your right of course not to believe that it exists. yet it is also your own injustice. what attempts to percieve the soul have you (ever) made ?as fact is the premise/economy of your 'religion', then you must have demonitized the soul in some way, otherwise it has been unaccounted for. what was the beginning, middle and end of this 'objection' to your 'religion'. because it was not observeable ? but we observe thru our senses and this is where u can observe your soul. you have evaded the possibility well. u will begin to notice things in a different way. u will have your proof -

peace

13. ### FlashRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
771
ISDAMan,
Alright then... but .. ok, then what is your
motive? I mean..the stuff you are saying
is pretty much out there don't you think?
How did you expect me to respond?
You just come in here and wham...you have
me tagged as some kind of wacko alcoholic
who is in serious need of help. Thing is
you do not even know me. I am not the only
one who comes here and writes while drinking... Why me?
All I was simply doing was to try to voice
my beliefs and to try to get some kind of
input on the questions I asked...which I
strange?
Ok, my sword is down... no more anger. How's
that? How would you feel if I walked in
and asked you the same kinds of questions
you asked me? Not to mention right here
on a message board. Wouldn't you get pissed?
Somewhat????? The things you said were not
light..not to mention off base. As far as
the e-mail thing goes...you KNOW the answer
to that one... do me a favor..e-mail me back
and let me know what I wrote to make you think all of this shit.

14. ### PlatoRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
366
ISDAman,

You know up until this point I actually had some sympathy for your points. I found you to be a true christian who is firm in his belief and even tries to live or at least write according to it. I must say I admire that in people. But I was suddenly taken by the following claim :
Quote -
"Looking back in the past of the good old US of A, it's plain to see a direct correlation between high moral standards in the country and the percentage of persons there in practicing Christianity. When Christians are strong in this country, this country is strong. No other religion could even come close to making this claim. "

Ok, I can imagine you being a patriot while you where in the army and all but this is really outragously stupid. You call exterminating Indians high moral ? Or what about inviding a third world country like Puerto Rico ? Or what about thinking that the southern part of the New Continent is your play garding where you can intervene and install puppet governments as you please ? Castro was a hard pill to swallow wasn't it ? Not to mention the fact that you guys are proclaiming yourself to be the rulers of the earth, the New World Order, remember ?
Shall I go on ? Perhaps this is a bit to unsettling for you patriottic mind. Ok, the European countries are as bad if not worse but this had nothing to do with religion.

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"If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton

15. ### MockRegistered Member

Messages:
16
Hi to all, on a lighter note ...

" To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

The world is so beautiful, Gods fingerprints are all over it. Notwithstanding the evil that men do.

Lets all lighten up.

In Christ.

16. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
ISDAMan:

If you are willing to call an opinion a 'fixed mind set', then so be it -- but then you would be somewhat redefining the meaning of the words, wouldn't you? My entire 'religion' is composed of opinions I hold. They are not 'fixed mind sets', as I have tried to explain earlier. I am willing to reexamine any one of them if they come in direct contradiction with hard evidence.

Indeed, I mean precisely that there are no absolutes (with just two rare exceptions to be mentioned shortly). There are two reasons for such a claim:

<u>Reason 1:</u>
Save the two exceptions, there are no absolutes we know of. All our knowledge of the world consists of 1) observations, 2) generalizations (theories) based on observations. Theories are merely models; it is impossible to guarantee that any one theory actually reflects an absolute truth. Theories are built from facts through induction; there is no mathematical justification for the process of induction, it is merely assumed to work, and demonstrated to work through practice. The two fundamental, or 'absolute' as you might call them, assumptions that underlie induction are 1) we exist, and so does the world around us, 2) the world is not chaotic (i.e. the world follows laws that are semi-constant at least over short periods of time.)

<u>Reason 2:</u>
Precisely because of the inductive nature of our knowledge, we could never in principle know the absolute constitution of the universe. For example, we have induced certain laws of nature, such as the forward passage of time, or the law of gravity. However, nothing guarantees that in the next instant something will not flip in the universe to make time flow backward, or turn gravity into a repulsive force. The only thing we can be sure of is that we know roughly what happened in the relatively recent past, and that as long as we continue to exist in the future, we are justified on making predictions based on our present knowledge/theories. Ultimately, our beliefs, theories, and facts are only as absolute or guaranteed, as the probability that we shall still be here in the next instant (for if any physical law abruptly changed, we would probably cease to exist.)

Nothing could ever cure all social ills. Deviants are part of evolutionary reality, and they will always be present (unless we come to control our very constitution and maturation in every nuance). But let me ask a question of *you*: what sounds more convincing as a motivation for upholding a moral, "we say that God says...", or "for your own and common good, because..."?

Plato's got part of my response. But may I also remind you that when Christianity was at its most rampant in U.S., so was slavery, and so was religious persecution, and so was sexism, and so was laissez faire capitalism, and so was environmental destruction, to name just a few? "High moral standards" is a very subjective measure; it is by far not as absolute as you would like it to be...

Yes, the concept of a religion adjusting to fit the times may indeed be very odd to you. Yet, that very principle is at the root of my 'religion'. Actually, to put it more accurately, I do not propose that religion 'adjust itself to fit the times'. Rather, I propose that religion stem exclusively from facts and demonstrated theories, and adjust to fit just those two foundations, not merely the whimsy of contemporary society.

As for the constancy of the universe, I already mentioned that it's only an inductive assumption; it is by no means an absolute. Of course, we hope that this particular assumption is true in an absolute sense, and we base our very existence on it (as does the rest of life on Earth, or anywhere else.) And, we hope that as long as that assumption holds out against observables, we can build theories that converge ever-closer to a true representation of reality. And that's what my 'religion' is all about.

No, that is not what I mean by 'critical' (i.e. I don't mean it in the same sense as 'judgemental', or contrary). A critical approach means an approach that considers both the pros and the cons on equal footing -- and ultimately elects an affirmative or negative conclusion based on the prevalence of the pros over the cons, or vice versa. It is also an approach that never truly closes the case, and is always open toward examination of new evidence.

No foundation could ever be conclusively proven to be 100% solid. What I claim is that my foundation is more solid than any before, and grows ever more solid with every passing year.

Judging what the truth is indeed does not necessitate 'following' the truth (whatever that means). To establish certain norms of behavior, we have laws. All I ask is that the laws we create be based on critical reasoning, and not some holy book -- and that they be taught, justified and enforced in the same manner.

It conflicts with my religion in the sense that the person took a whole warehouse of empty claims on faith with no shred of empirical evidence to back them up. Not only that, but a lot of the claims sound extremely unbelievable in light of empirical evidence or theories rooted therein, and some of the claims just flat contradict empirical evidence. And finally, I argue that the process of theory formation is directional, and goes from empirical measurement to hypothesis, to theory. It should never go from pure unfounded speculation in reverse direction (because chances of success of such an approach are basically 0).

God according to ISDAMan and his reliable sources, Chapter 1...

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I am; therefore I think.

17. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Whoa There Plato,

ARMY?!?!?!?!?!? That's UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS! For any that be amongst the non-military here, though both are equally patriotic and loyal in service, there is a major difference. That switch was the only unsettling comment you had made.

I thank you extremely for you having expressed that you have noticed my desire to follow Christ. That really does mean a lot to me.

QUOTE: You call exterminating Indians high moral ? Or what about inviding a third world country like Puerto Rico ? Or what about thinking that the southern part of the New Continent is your play garding where you can intervene and install puppet governments as you please ? Castro was a hard pill to swallow wasn't it ? Not to mention the fact that you guys are proclaiming yourself to be the rulers of the earth, the New World Order, remember ?

Having noticed what you have noticed about me, do you think that I, as a Christian, would have condoned these atrocities? I never said that we ever controlled this country. I made a statement to the level of influence we have had on this country as a whole and in the heart of men not policy. Morality is a matter of the heart not law. When there was more morality, there was less law. People just didn't do the things that they do today. Yes, just as today, we have had dips in influence. It's our own fault. Yet, the upper echelons of the government and the will that drives them is typically a non-Christian will, has typically been, and will no doubt remain so. That is evident even in our government today (No matter what false face ol' Billy Bob puts on it.). What I can say about those dark times, weather they slipped up behind us or were allowed because we were too weak, it is a stone cold fact that Christians could be counted on to help us through it. I, a Black man myself, am grateful to all the effort, the Christian and non-Christian, that went into freeing the slaves. The Indians, no doubt, were treated even worse than we. Many of their people no longer exist. It's obvious that many fools, in the past and even today, have undertaken missions of filth and bloodshed and claimed the false value of virtue by calling their actions, "The Will Of God". Some, even, being true Christians, have strayed so far from a right relationship with God that the product of their sins have brought shame to the entire family of Christians. We can all point to these kinds of stories. We can, also, all point to people in our own families that have done foolishly and subsequently turned away from their foolishness. We can all even point these things out in our own lives. Yes, there were wolves that come in with the sheep. Thankfully, many of those wolves and their ways are dead. I wish they all were. Until then, I will continue to do what is correct in the sight of God so as to be a benefit to my neighbor. I can never account for the ills that arise in the minds of others. I will have to account for my own some day. They will have to for theirs. If we all had our focus on maintaining a right relationship to the God of the Bible, it would be very hard for these evil events to come to pass.

QUOTE: Ok, the European countries are as bad if not worse but this had nothing to do with religion.

Just like with us, it had everything to do with their orientation with the God that created them.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

------------------
Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

18. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Boris,

If you are willing to call an opinion a 'fixed mind set', then so be it -- but then you would be somewhat redefining the meaning of the words, wouldn't you? My entire 'religion' is composed of opinions I hold. They are not 'fixed mind sets', as I have tried to explain earlier. I am willing to reexamine any one of them if they come in direct contradiction with hard evidence.

However, you still hold the key on what you will or will not accept as hard evidence. In fact, you already have this whole thing preconceived as is proven by your statement, "The only way I can ever believe in God, is if he/she/it personally explains to me and shows me the reasons, mechanisms, and foundations for absolutely everything, including God's own existence -- and explains it in such a way that the existence of God would no longer be questionable." You have already chosen to exclude any evidence that does not fit this criteria. It's rare that any detective is able to make his case against a criminal by finding a hand written manifesto, belonging to the criminal, entitled A Step By Step Illustrated Guide To How I committed The Crime. If you refute the Bible as evidence and say that you will look elsewhere, then, if you are a good detective, you will have no choice but to collect the pieces. You, instead, are throwing everything away that doesn't fit your key in whole. That sounds like a fixed mind set to me.

QUOTE: Theories are merely models; it is impossible to guarantee that any one theory actually reflects an absolute truth. Theories are built from facts through induction; there is no mathematical justification for the process of induction, it is merely assumed to work, and demonstrated to work through practice.

That's why theory is theory and fact is fact, reflecting back upon your first sentence in quote. Theories are built of a product of perceived values of fact intermingled with idea. Your definition defines theory as fact in that it is inducted from something existing and unseen. I could just as easily say, as it once was, that flies spontaneously formed from rotting meat. Through practice, as meat was allowed to rot, flies arose. The theory was induced from a false perception and was itself false. Yet, it always produced flies as expected.

QUOTE: Reason 2:
Precisely because of the inductive nature of our knowledge, we could never in principle know the absolute constitution of the universe. For example, we have induced certain laws of nature, such as the forward passage of time, or the law of gravity. However, nothing guarantees that in the next instant something will not flip in the universe to make time flow backward, or turn gravity into a repulsive force. The only thing we can be sure of is that we know roughly what happened in the relatively recent past, and that as long as we continue to exist in the future, we are justified on making predictions based on our present knowledge/theories. Ultimately, our beliefs, theories, and facts are only as absolute or guaranteed, as the probability that we shall still be here in the next instant (for if any physical law abruptly changed, we would probably cease to exist.)

Man, you're getting all mystical on me now. Are you the same Boris from the Expanding Universe discussion? Why even bother if reality can be so loose? Who cares. There's not even any use in discussing this if that were true. All the fun would be just setting around and waiting to see if you still existed. Your religion has a basis in observing what is around you. You could never even come close to supporting any of that stuff with what you observe around you. I find it amazing that you can believe in the possible upheaval of all that is the basis for what is physical around you, while, at the same time, with the basic fact that everything not alive can be reduced to a mathematical equation (some you'd have to be darned quick for), you deny the existence of a maker. By your way, we have a code and no code master. Worse yet, the code doesn't even matter. It could self-destruct or re-establish itself at any moment. That's far out!

QUOTE: But let me ask a question of *you*: what sounds more convincing as a motivation for upholding a moral, "we say that God says...", or "for your own and common good, because..."?

Is it not the common good, if there is a God, to be in allegiance with Him? Why bother standing against the one with the power enough to make all that exits?

QUOTE: But may I also remind you that when Christianity was at its most rampant in U.S., so was slavery, and so was religious persecution, and so was sexism, and so was laissez faire capitalism, and so was environmental destruction, to name just a few?

You can read what I wrote to Plato. On top of that, with the good people came the evil. The evil, being evil, use every underhanded method to advance their cause. The good triumph by staying the course. The evil triumph when the good do not. History shows true that despite battle scars we staid the course.

QUOTE: Yes, the concept of a religion adjusting to fit the times may indeed be very odd to you. Yet, that very principle is at the root of my 'religion'. Actually, to put it more accurately, I do not propose that religion 'adjust itself to fit the times'. Rather, I propose that religion stem exclusively from facts and demonstrated theories, and adjust to fit just those two foundations, not merely the whimsy of contemporary society.

We've pretty well covered this stuff dealing with what is real, theory, fact, and idea. I see a lot of clashes.

QUOTE: No, that is not what I mean by 'critical' (i.e. I don't mean it in the same sense as 'judgemental', or contrary). A critical approach means an approach that considers both the pros and the cons on equal footing -- and ultimately elects an affirmative or negative conclusion based on the prevalence of the pros over the cons, or vice versa. It is also an approach that never truly closes the case, and is always open toward examination of new evidence.

QUOTE: Judging what the truth is indeed does not necessitate 'following' the truth (whatever that means). To establish certain norms of behavior, we have laws. All I ask is that the laws we create be based on critical reasoning, and not some holy book -- and that they be taught, justified and enforced in the same manner.

Where does that differ from judgement? You're actually producing more your way and leaving every action open to speculation. People are not so cut and dry. If people in general followed this plan, it's obvious that people would constantly second guess their own or others choices. There is no stable benchmark here by which they can evaluate their choices. People already do a great deal of second guessing as is. There is no stability in your system. If you don't want to believe me that stability is important, just look at nature around you. Even you affirmed that stability is important through out the entirety of your post. Furthermore, how can you both create and enforce laws based on a relational value system? Who is anybody to tell someone else that they have wronged under your religion? Even worse, the progress of reasoning does not progress at the same rate for all people. How can a stable platform of what is acceptable and unacceptable be brought to bare while reasonably accounting for everyone's reasoning? Who gets to be the one to say some parts of someone's reasoning are ok and some are not? Your religion needs an unchanging God. There can be no law without stability. If stability can be passing in an instant, then, your laws have no value. Please, tell me where in nature you have observed laws change, re-arrange, or dissolve all together.

QUOTE: No foundation could ever be conclusively proven to be 100% solid. What I claim is that my foundation is more solid than any before, and grows ever more solid with every passing year.

Now, you know I couldn't post without disputing this one

. Just the very fact that the arguments against Christianity have remained the same throughout the centuries is a testament of solidity. You might have lying fools trying to claim that they have new secret Bible codes, but, you will not find a single man that can say I have an all new proof against Christianity. In fact, as time goes on, the Bible is affirmed more and more through even secular discoveries in the world. The arguments are shrinking.

QUOTE: It conflicts with my religion in the sense that the person took a whole warehouse of empty claims on faith with no shred of empirical evidence to back them up. Not only that, but a lot of the claims sound extremely unbelievable in light of empirical evidence or theories rooted therein, and some of the claims just flat contradict empirical evidence. And finally, I argue that the process of theory formation is directional, and goes from empirical measurement to hypothesis, to theory. It should never go from pure unfounded speculation in reverse direction (because chances of success of such an approach are basically 0).

Again, under your religion, who are you to reason against what that person has reasoned? By what standard can you say that the person took a whole warehouse of empty claims on faith with no shred of empirical evidence to back them up? By what standard can you say that the claims are empty? You sound emotional to me. No man is Mr. Spock. Lastly, the speculator is he whom it is that is digging for his theory in a box of toy parts. The man based on what he truly knows to be real is reading the instruction manual.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

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Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

19. ### ISDAManThank You Jesus!Registered Senior Member

Messages:
378
Flash,

I'm working on your e-mail now.

Peace, Love, and Prayers
ISDAMan

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Feel free to contact me privately at isda@gte.net . I'm a Christian Web Developer. I run Apostle Creed Online.

20. ### BorisSenior MemberRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
1,052
ISDAMan:

Not so. I put the key out in public. My criterion is this: hard evidence is that evidence which 1) stems from pure measurement (is phenomenological), 2) can be replicated through more measurements, 3) will be arrived at regardless of the observer's initial mindset. For example, there is plenty of hard evidence for Earth's rotation. One way to measure it is to construct a Foucault pendulum at some non-zero latitude. Hopefully, it should be clear to you now, why it is that I refuse to consider the Bible to be evidence for anything other than its own existence.

The reason I got so tough on proofs of God, is that any 'evidence' save that I cited before and that is phenomenological, will fall into two categories: 1) explainable through current physical theories, 2) not explainable through current physical theories. If the evidence falls into category 1), it says nothing about God. If it falls into category 2), it more likely says something about incompleteness of our theories, than about God.

This is the opposite of my definition. Theory is not fact; only observation is fact. Theory is induced from observation.

This is a good example of how theories progress. Yes, any theory is only as good as its background of observational data. As more varied observations are performed that agree with the theory, the theory grows stronger, as it were. In this case, the spontaneous formation was indeed once a theory, verifiable through experiment. It is only after a particular experiment was performed that the theory of spontaneous generation was shown to be false, and was replaced by a better theory. Namely, if you let meat rot inside a closed class jar, no flies will appear on it. This disproves the theory of spontaneous generation, and gives rise to more observation, through which we eventually arrive at the theory that flies deposit eggs into the bread, which transform into maggots, which in turn give rise to more flies.

All science progresses through a similar process, and that is why it claims that its theories slowly but steadily must converge toward the truth.

All I wanted to say is, that the constancy of the universal laws is in itself only a theory. So far, it has been verified countless times, over billions of years, through direct measurement both by sentient scientists, and by the rest of the matter-energy in the universe. However, that does not mean that this particular theory could never be disproved. The <u>assumption</u> that it won't is one of the fundamental justifications for induction.

That is indeed what I am saying. The 'no code master' portion of this, is of course an assumption, arrived at with aim for conceptual simplicity and accuracy of the model (Occam's razor, in other words). Until some observation actually necessitates a hypothesis of a code-maker, I relegate that hypothesis to the bottomless pits filled with infinity of other empty speculations.

I <u>want</u> people to constantly second-guess their own actions! Perhaps if they did so more often, they wouldn't participate in mob insanity, chase after scandals, behave hypocritically, or step on others, to name a few.

As for 'stable benchmarks' -- that's what laws are for. Laws not passed by me, or my neighbor -- but by our democratically-elected Congress. It is those laws in particular that ought to be justified through critical argument rather than appellation to religion. As for personal guidelines, much of what modern religions teach would still remain. As I've said earlier, the Golden Rule can be accepted and internalized purely based upon its evident practical value, rather than based on unjustified religious handwaving.

There indeed is stability in my system. As much stability as in the scientific enterprise as a whole. My system should converge toward ever-more stable and universal principles, just as science converges toward ever-more stable and universal theories.

As for nature, the 'stability' around you is illusory. The only things that do not change are the laws of physics. Everything else is in a constant and frenzied flux; if our lifetimes were a few orders of magnitude longer, you would be directly able to perceive the constant change in the world. There is a reason they say you can never enter the same river twice.

But my world outlook is not in as much flux as nature in general. It consists mainly of theories and observations tied inexorably to physical laws. So, as long as physical laws remain unchanged, so will the basic 'flavor' of any stances I take.

Well -- who is a judge to sentence you to a punishment other than a person following the rules laid out by Congress?

Normally, nobody gets to decide who is right and who is wrong. What I call for are open debates. And in debates, a winner usually does emerge eventually -- either by revealing a self-contradiction on the loser's side, or having been justified through empirical observation. Until a consensus is reached in any debate, conclusions should not be drawn. Nevertheless, once conclusions are drawn they can be widely relied upon and applied universally, until hard evidence surfaces to contradict named conclusions.

Your first observation is correct. In fact, 'stability' is only another way of saying 'lawfullness'.

There is two-fold consideration when it comes to stability. On the one hand, we have the question of stability of physical laws. On the other hand, we have the question of stability of theories.

We only exist as long as physical laws remain stable. Therefore, we should not concern ourselves with what would happen if physical laws changed, since most likely we would not survive to endure the consequences. As for stability of theories, it is pretty much guaranteed through the assumption of stability of fundamental physical laws. As long as nature behaves consistently, theories are guaranteed to converge toward a complete description of nature.

As discussed above, that standard is foundation in 'hard evidence', or in better words, empirical observation.

No man could possibly <u>truly</u> know what is real. If you assume to the contrary, you are kidding yourself.

The perception of absolute reality is illusory, and forgievable. It stems from the most fundamental assumption of all life that the basic laws of physics remain constant. It is little wonder that life's most fundamental assumption is also the one arrived at by a naiive thinker. With more reflection, however, one realizes that everything we perceive and assume merely represents a small portion of reality. When we make absolutist claims based on our limited knowledge, we are extrapolating our observations to infinity. With linear laws this may be fine, but with any more complex aspects of reality it would clearly be a horrendous fallacy. The trouble is, we have no way of even knowing which portions of reality perceived by us, form complete representations of a part of the true underlying structure -- and we have no way of knowing which, if any, of our current theories can be extrapolated to all of space and time without missing anything significant.

Remember now that I argue from a 'clean slate' viewpoint. I do not assume the Christian 'truths', or indeed the claims of any religion out there. I hold the opinion that all of human knowledge has been obtained exclusively from our senses, and complemented through ever-evolving theories. That means, I assume the stories of the Christians, Buddhists, Egyptians or Greeks are all exclusively results of the minds of humans. I assume that our species has slowly accumulated knowledge starting from the state of an ape's awareness and progressing all the way to the heights of modern comprehension. And any claims of observable or moral 'absolutes' are therefore, from my standpoint, fallacious. What we ultimately arrive at as 'true', is a result of concensus through theory, or through observation, or often through both or either coupled with deductive argument.

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I am; therefore I think.

[This message has been edited by Boris (edited August 31, 1999).]

21. ### FyreStarFaithless since 1980Registered Senior Member

Messages:
229
Mock -
The primary reason why the bible's message has remained somewhat unchanged is because it has been safegaurded by the church. Coincidentally, the reason why there are only a few other books that have lasted so long (and there are others) is because the aforementioned church took it upon itself to destroy uncounted millions of other such books. I've heard many reasons for believing in a deity or deities, but "because a book has been around for 1500 years" is probably the poorest example I have ever heard.

FyreStar

22. ### FyreStarFaithless since 1980Registered Senior Member

Messages:
229
ISDAMan -
I do indeed have a conscience.

Or rather, I have notions of right and wrong that can be symbolized by a quantity referred to as a conscience. And by no means are those notions complete or constant. It would be considerably easier if I had a morality chart to analyze every situation by, but that is where my personal (subjective) judgement must come in.
I agree that TV focuses on the bad stuff much more than the good. In some cases, it is to appeal to the part of humanity that enjoys it. In others, it is to introduce a hero figure. I accept that as human nature, taking the bad with the good.

In regards to completeness.. that is a highly subjective question, and I would request that you narrow the question somewhat, but I will attempt to respond. My best answer is that I am complete but unfinished; I will be changing as long as I live, undoubtedly, but I don't feel as if part of myself is missing. I do have a desire to learn and understand, but I am secure in that I will have the chance to do that. As for death; I have millions of reasons to go on living, and only one to die. I very much want to live, but I am not fearful or hateful towards death in any way. To me it is not worth worrying about because I most likely will have no control over it (referring back to my earlier statement about disasters). As to what comes after death; I have absolutely no clue whatsoever. I could venture baseless guesses, but what is the point?

As for the bible.. I can't prove a negative

I simply don't see what makes it true. I see contradictions, and impossibilities, and situations that are now regarded as morally wrong by most people, and that makes me even less inclined to see it as truth. As for a deity.. I have seen nothing to make be believe in one. Again, I can't prove a negative. When I opened this topic I was hoping to learn what caused others to believe in one.
Please let me know if I need to clarify anything; I appreciate your openness.

FyreStar

23. ### bedlanamGuest

boris,

"I want people to constantly second-guess their own actions! Perhaps if
they did so more often, they wouldn't participate in mob insanity, {chase
after scandals}, behave hypocritically, or {step on others}, to name a few."

this includes everybody. the 'system' is convincing.