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To the theist:: how do you know you are right?


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Posted on May 11, 2012 12:45:03 AM PDT
Greenwood says:
To Aard:

"If that's true, then go in peace and godspeed....."

Same to you. :)

"How do you vote? Do you pick candidates on their record and policies, or on their apparent character? And how do you judge their character?"

I do not vote because I have no faith in the system as so many others do, I also find myself turning my nose at them because of the "fake" feel I get from them. But that is how I feel.

"How "obvious" do you make your Belief known to others? (I note that you *are* posting on this forum, so you are unlikely to be a closet Believer) How much social pressure do you think you might put on others who differ from your beliefs? You can tell those who've you imposed upon -- not by their vocal retorts, but by their awkward silence."

Obvious...You mean like crosses and the like? I don't wear religious symbols of any kind. If people want to know my spiritual orientation they can ask, and I'll sheepishly give it to them. I don't do impositions; while I'm rather disgusted with most of Christianity it's not my place to force my belief on those who get some solace from it. Ironically many think they should with me and others -,-

"How is you personal space decorated? Any items with religious iconography, which again imposes your beliefs upon your visitors."

Nope. I like having a separate room for those things, as I don't like to plaster it everywhere. Of course, I've never felt ones personal house decorations to be imposing when visiting another's house.

"But I did want to point out that how we think we treat others, and how were are percieved as treating others are sometimes very different things, and we are often unaware of the latter."

That is very true. I wish people would take a step back more often.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 8:09:41 PM PDT
S. Friedman says:
Hi Brian,
OK, I pondered it. Yes, this 'One' thing could be God. (whatever it is you deem that "God" is)

Now, something for you to ponder:
Is there any basis to suggest that this one most powerful thing in existence responds favorably to praise, worship, ritual, or acknowledgement?

If you claim 'yes' -- thereby suggesting that it's in my best interest to alter some aspect of the way I live my life -- I'd simply ask why I should believe you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 6:22:54 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Rothery says: "I posit that the opponents (the atheists in this case) spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove the inexistence of God to the proponents or agnostic,"

Ariex: I posit that you posit a straw man. The existence of a god is an extraordinary claim. Therefore those who make the claim that god exists are trying to prove their case. We atheists merely point out that there is no evidence to support the claim and that natural processes seem to support a great deal that was in times past attributed to god.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 5:55:50 PM PDT
Aardwizz says:
Kimber Zercher: "Besides it's not like I'm forcing my beliefs or opinions on others. "

If that's true, then go in peace and godspeed.....

But consider:

How do you vote? Do you pick candidates on their record and policies, or on their apparent character? And how do you judge their character?

How "obvious" do you make your Belief known to others? (I note that you *are* posting on this forum, so you are unlikely to be a closet Believer) How much social pressure do you think you might put on others who differ from your beliefs? You can tell those who've you imposed upon -- not by their vocal retorts, but by their awkward silence.

How is you personal space decorated? Any items with religious iconography, which again imposes your beliefs upon your visitors.

I don't know if you are guilty of any of these, nor do I really care. If you were guilty, it would a small hypocrisy, and there are worse out there that demand my attention.

But I did want to point out that how we think we treat others, and how were are percieved as treating others are sometimes very different things, and we are often unaware of the latter.

õ¿õ¬

Posted on May 10, 2012 3:30:32 PM PDT
Greenwood says:
As I say to others, go find the evidence you desire. I don't purport to be a scientist, and I don't do things scientifically(though I have a strong skeptic streak). My evidence is merely anecdotal and significant to my own life and POV, not yours. Then again I don't force dogma down others throats...

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 3:18:44 PM PDT
Rothery

Speaking, kinda, sorta, for some atheists, we believe that since deities and other supernatural beasties are an extraordinary claim, the burden of proof is on the believers to provide empirical evidence to support your claim. We merely explain that there is non-existent evidence to support the 'god' conjecture, and that believers never provide any.

Posted on May 10, 2012 3:06:54 PM PDT
Greenwood says:
Hmmm, how do I know I'm right? Good question.

I don't know. I will never be 100% certain of my experiences, though maybe when I die I'll find out how correct I am.

So why continue, if it may be wrong? Because, good people, I'm having fun. If this is the only life we live, I'll have my feet on the ground and head in the clouds. Besides it's not like I'm forcing my beliefs or opinions on others.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 9:43:06 AM PDT
Rothery says:
I posit that the opponents (the atheists in this case) spend an inordinate amount of time trying to prove the inexistence of God to the proponents or agnostic, while they could better use their time to contribute more to scientific efforts that they essentially hold to be _their_ religion. I just spent about an hour in the past couple of days on these topics on this forum and already I feel guilty for having wasted time on this issue, time I could have used more productively elsewhere :-). Ahh... whatchya gonna do?

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 9:14:01 AM PDT
Re Rothery, above: Good post. "why have there been ... posts from each camp trying to convince, convert and recruit the other?" The god proponents are exhibiting the placebo effect: they consider that their supposed god is beneficial, and find their belief in it to be pleasant (not to mention addictive). The opponents see the whole god business as a foolish delusion, uselessly diverting resources away from things like curing cancer.

For more on this, see: Dawkins, The God Delusion.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 8:09:17 AM PDT
Rothery says:
Indeed, ponder is all we can do, there being no evidence or proof one way or the other (at least not as of the moment I post this). And in the exercising of our free will and independence, we can rightly believe what we wish. So the question is, why have there been, continue to be, and always will be a googol posts from each camp trying to convince, convert and recruit the other? Can you imagine all that energy, brainpower, and bandwidth used for a more productive endeavor? Maybe if we put our time and minds together we can cure cancer! :-)

Posted on May 10, 2012 2:32:25 AM PDT
Everything can be traced back to 'One' thing, therefore this 'One' thing is in every other thing that came into existence after it.
It could be that this 'One' thing gives every other thing the power to grow and create, therefore this 'One' thing could be the most powerful thing in existence.
Could this 'One' thing be God?. Ponder on that 'One'.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 8:55:42 PM PDT
Re Harding, 5-9 5:43 PM: " ... whether absolute truth exists." It no doubt does -- but also, no doubt, we will not be able to recognize it if we see it. The progress of science is an iterative approach to absolute truth, but unlike the runner in Zeno's paradox, we will never actually get there. All we can do is to identify things that are wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:44:05 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Elijah E. Stephens says: "Denial is minimizing facts. If the disciples where in denial then they would be saying the equivalent of "He's not dead.""

Ariex: Sorry to repeat this, but we don't know what the disciples said or thought. All we have are expanded and enhanced stories from people of a generation later, promoting their own versions (conflicting) of the Jesus saga. As you note, it is useless to diagnose the disciples.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:43:11 PM PDT
J. Harding says:
jpl,

As Mickey pointed out, I was just quoting the post to which I was replying.

Here are my thoughts on this thread, for the interested:

One of the debates that pops up regularly in religion discussions is whether absolute truth exists. Some theists will claim that yes, absolute truth is revealed in their scripture. This has often led to me to wonder how an imperfect human, with only their imperfect senses and knowledge, could decide that something is absolute truth. To rephrase, even if perfect absolute truth existed, how could you know it? Wouldn't your limited, imperfect knowledge prevent you?

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:39:10 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Elijah E. Stephens says: "A). For someone to die they have to exist. Thus preaching after Jesus death, requires an existing Jesus to die."

Ariex: Very poor logic for someone who claims a degree in psychology. (?) Since all we have are fantastic tales about a divine figure who lived and died, there is no requirement at all for any particular part of the tale to be factual. Mythical divine figures have often served as the religious basis of highly detailed stories about their lives, exploits, and deaths.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "If a man counts his cows, and that list survives I don't think it odd that Jesus isn't mentioned."

Ariex: But if the Son of God is going about performing miracles in public, it is quite odd that nobody recorded anything about him until well after he had died, and then only for the purpose of promoting their own authority as His representatives.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "There are a lot of external evidence from the first and second century for the existence of Jesus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CycbvARsxWU

Ariex: Forgive me here, Elijah, but GROAAAAANNNNNNN!!! Not again! NONE, absolutely NONE of these documents was written by a person who actually knew or saw Jesus. All these reports were derived from what Christians commonly believed, not from records or from personal knowledge of Jesus. The "evidence" is hearsay from secondary sources. Here again you demonstrate that your "critical research" consists ONLY of the examination of apologetics. You are a long way from getting past your bias, Elijah.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "You are making assumption about Paul's possible diagnoses."

Ariex: Here's another "diagnosis": Paul was a con artist who made the whole thing up in order to become an important person.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "Paul's vision lasted for a few moments, and his blindness lift after three days."

Ariex: According to Paul, that is. Joseph Smith saw Jesus and God in the woods when he was 14, according to Joseph Smith. Why should a reasonable person believe either story? Both men were able to convince a large following of gullible and ignorant people, after all. What motivated Smith to make the claims he successfully promoted?

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:17:29 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Elijah E. Stephens says: "You are right about there being psychological factors involved in thinking. However, one can take them into account, and work pass them."

Ariex: YES! We are all individuals, and yes, we all have biases, whether we want to believe that or not. Nobody is able to completely "take into account" one's own biases, nor can anyone "work pass them". They are a part of who we are.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "I became a Christian at a young age, and was involved in the church. As I recognized them, I started to have deep doubts, and so I started studying the resurrection from both sides."

Ariex: If this were true, it would be reflected in your presentations. From what you offer, it appears that you allowed apologists to present "both sides" for you. Otherwise you would recognize that your "facts" are not at all established as FACTS.

Sorry, Elijah, but your bias is clearly showing (as is mine, freely admitted), but your evidence is not so clearly in evidence.

(one large clue is your repeated reference to the Holocaust in comparison to the resurrection---the former is within the natural realm, the latter is not. Large scale murder is well documented, resurrection is completely undocumented. No, the Gospel stories are not "documentation", they are fantastic tales, anecdotes from unknown sources about things only known in stories.)

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:17:10 PM PDT
Mickey says:
It was Rothery who said intuition. Joel merely quoted him/her.

Posted on May 9, 2012 5:14:14 PM PDT
brunumb says:
Rothery: "No one knows anything for certain, including theists and atheists. What theists have in their favor is intuition that makes them believe in God, whereas atheists are basically driven by hate, intolerance, and inability to forgive the Galileo incident."

We're knee deep in Christian books, radio and TV stations, churches on every corner with their signs carrying corny messages. So I wonder what drives theists to do things like campaigning to ban books and films or destroying signs which they consider to be carrying atheist messages.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:08:39 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Elijah E. Stephens says: "There is a difference between proof and truth."

Ariex: Yes, there is. Proof is the evidence to support a claim. Truth is a claim that accurately represents reality. Your problem, should you have the intellect to face it, is to realize that in order to claim "Truth", you need to offer objective evidence to support it. If you can't do that, your "truth" is no truer than anybody else's "truth" about unexaminable things.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "I ate breakfast on Arp 8 2012. I can't prove it. However, it is true."

Ariex: I don't doubt your word. I flew to the moon and back twice before eating breakfast on Apr. 8, 2012. I can't prove it. However, it is true. Do you take my word for that? Why not? Hint: it is the same reason I don't take the word of Biblical writers on the resurrection. Ordinary vs extraordinary claims.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "Belief + Truth = Knowledge."

Ariex: Agreed, but without the objective evidence to establish a claim as truth, belief is only belief.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "I am simply listing evidence that supports the fact of Jesus' resurrection."

Ariex: No, you are listing anonymous hearsay making extraordinary claims. There is a great deal of difference between that an evidence.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "There are people who doubt the holocaust happened. I couldn't prove it to them, because they are in denial about the facts."

Ariex: Well, heck. All one has to do is look at the photographic records, both stills and motion, and examine the buildings and artifacts the Nazi's used, and, of course, a great many depositions from clearly identified witnesses with no personal agendas. Now if only we could even come close to that with the existence of Jesus, we might be able to reasonably accept that Jesus walked the earth as a fact. But we don't. We have to assume that he existed.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "There are five facts that one must deal with"

Ariex: Sorry, Elijah, but these are not facts. They are unsubstantiated claims. Let's look at them:

Elijah E. Stephens says: "1. Jesus lived, and died."

Ariex: Historically thought to be probable that a human being lived and died, and that his life formed the basis for the Jesus mythos.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "2. Shortly after his death his follower preached his arose."

Ariex: At some time after his death unidentifiable people claimed that he had appeared in some form to them. It is not known how much time had passed between his death and this claim. However, it is certainly a fact that this was taught by some Christians.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "3. They preach it in the city he died in"

Ariex: This is not at all established as fact. What the Jerusalem Christians taught is questionable, since none of their writings survived. It is probable that they taught that he had arisen in some form, but the Gospel stories originated decades later, within the Gentile communities, not the Jerusalem Christians.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "4. Paul, who killed Christians, claims to have converted as seeing the resurrected Jesus."

Ariex: Well, maybe. Many scholars think Paul's claim to have killed Christians is somewhat like the claim of modern apologists that they were once atheists. Paul may have made this up in order to make his "conversion" more dramatic and believable. Paul gave many suspicious "details" about his life before he began telling people about his vision. In any event, many have claimed to have seen visions that instructed them to become religious leaders. Do you believe all of them? Muhammad? Joseph Smith? Ellen Gould White? Many, many others. Or do you simply accept the indoctrination of your own denomination without critical examination?

Elijah E. Stephens says: "5. Jesus', brother James, who mocked him during his ministry, become a leader in the church"

Ariex: Since the story about James mocking Jesus comes from the Gospels, which are considered by many scholars, including some clergymen, to be unreliable, containing a great deal of "enhanced" material and even fabrications, it is erroneous to assume that we know anything about James other than fragments. On another note, since "titles" and leadership position were often passed along kinship lines, the "fact" that James assumed leadership of the Jerusalem Christians upon Jesus' death could be considered evidence that Jesus was a historical figure.

Elijah E. Stephens says: "The best explanation of those facts is the resurrection."

Ariex: And if you believe that, I'll sell you some moon rocks, since I make regular trips there before breakfast. The best explanation of your collection of assumptions and facts is that a human Jesus was crucified, and that his followers loved him well enough to feel a "spiritual" connection to him after he died. In evaluating the writings of ancients in a culture steeped in "magical thinking", one must try to understand how they viewed their reality. Visions of the departed were not uncommon, and people expected to see them in dreams and in waking situations as well. (this was also the case among the Mormons as late as, well, today, with a few very devout believers).

Paul seems to have been a very persuasive fellow, since his followers eventually became the strongest Christian movement. A good salesman promoting his product. This is not only the most reasonable explanation, it is the most commonly found explanation for the formation of new religions.

Most Bible readers do not consider that the Christian movements went through several stages of development, including the evolution of the oral traditions at the heart of their beliefs. The NT writings were the result of refinements and "enhancements" and probably went through some modifications and editing before becoming established in the third century in approximately the form we have today in the oldest Greek texts.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 5:05:54 PM PDT
jpl says:
Joel D. Harding says: "No one knows anything for certain, including theists and atheists. What theists have in their favor is intuition that makes them believe in God, whereas atheists are basically driven by hate, intolerance, and inability to forgive the Galileo incident."[jpl: Are you projecting?]

Oh no! My cover is blown! Someone finally figured out that I'm an atheist because of the Galileo incident!

jpl: Elucidate, Joel. What do you define as "intuition"?

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 4:53:35 PM PDT
J. Harding says:
"No one knows anything for certain, including theists and atheists. What theists have in their favor is intuition that makes them believe in God, whereas atheists are basically driven by hate, intolerance, and inability to forgive the Galileo incident."

Oh no! My cover is blown! Someone finally figured out that I'm an atheist because of the Galileo incident!

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 4:39:42 PM PDT
Ariex says:
Elijah E. Stephens says: "The disciples claim was "I knew a guy that died, was dead for three days and rose." Their goal was to spread what they thought was the most important fact in history. They were all convinced that the guy who they had just went on a 3 year camping/missionary trip was alive. If Jesus who existed, didn't rise from the dead, how did his students become convinced of it so shortly after his dead?"

Ariex: Your perspective is based on a "best case scenario" understanding of the Bible. First off, we have no idea what the "disciples" claimed since we have no records from them, nor do we know when the belief that he had risen became established in Christian lore.

All the NT tracts were written by people who never saw Jesus. Paul, writing in the early 50's, claimed to have seen a risen Jesus in some form, but so have thousands of people. A few were able to convince a following that they had done so, (Joseph Smith, for example) while others were considered deluded.

The gospels did not appear until around 70 (Mark) and later, many years after Jesus was crucified. None of the 4 gospels is though to have been written by an eyewitness to Jesus. "An Introduction To The New Testament", by Fr. Raymond Brown.

William Lane Craig, (and many others, of course) makes a great effort to support the "Empty Tomb" scenario, but, like the arguments of virtually all apologists, relies on the fact that his target audience, Christian believers, will welcome his presentation without critical analysis, which reveals its flaws. "The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave", edited by Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder, shows the emptiness of Craig's argument.

You said earlier that the Resurrection of Jesus was a well established historical event, but this is just not true. In fact, the existence of Jesus as a real person is not historically established, although most historians (but not all, by a long shot) accept it as probable.

Your presentations here will not be well received because you appear to be indoctrinated rather than informed about the history of the Christian movement.

Paul's activities were definitely political, and it is very likely that the actions of other Christian leaders were as well. Believers don't consider that the common human desire for social position and power are motivation for religious leaders.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 3:36:27 PM PDT
Aardwizz says:
Elijah E. Stephens: "He died, he rose, and we saw him."

What's so special about him coming back from the dead?

Lazarus did it.
The centurian's daughter did it.
The apostles apparently had the "power" to do it, even when Jesus wasn't around. (Peter raised Tabitha).

You'll say, "But it was in Jesus' NAME that these things were done".

But what's in a "name"? What does that really **mean** "In his name"? It sounds much like sympathetic magic, where knowing the name of the thing gives you power over the thing; the map IS the territory; the symbol IS the thing.

And why, if it is so true, is it so hard to show that prayer "in His name" is statistically effective when compared to "spontaneous" occurances (without a "summoning" prayer?

I'm willing to Believe. I just don't see that Believers have anything that anyone else has or doesn't have.

So, to reiterate the OP -- how do you kow you are right?

õ¿õ¬

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 2:59:40 PM PDT
Aardwizz says:
Elijah E. Stephens:
"Thus preaching after Jesus death, requires an existing Jesus to die."

Aardwizz:
You're quibbling (a sign of dissonance?). What I was arguing against was "After Passover of 30 AD, the apostles preached of Jesus' Resurrection", whereas you begged the question by assuming that Jesus died (and therefore lived) for the apostles to tell about his life and events. Remember that many were fishermen. Not all "big fish" stories actually involve real fish.

================

Elijah E. Stephens:
"There are a lot of external evidence from the first and second century for the existence of Jesus."

Aardwizz:
Sublte correction: There is a lot of evidience in the 1st & 2nd centuries for a "Jesus movement". IDENTIFIABLE people who claimed to have heard Him with their own ears, seen him with their own eyes -- zero.
What we know of James comes only from Paul, who never actually met Jesus in the flesh. The Gospels themselves are curiously written in 3rd person omniscient, and contain plot elements that are unlikely for any author to actually know (what Pilate's wife said, or what Jesus said right before he was taken away and while everyone else was asleep).

================

Elijah E. Stephens:
"Are you actually claiming Jesus didn't exist?????"

Aardwizz:
No. But neither am I assuming that He did, either. Again, you keep assuming that he did, and then justifying your assumption, post hoc.

================

Elijah E. Stephens:
"Survivors guilt is when some survives something tragic like a mom who survives her children in a car accident. Paul doesn't qualify"

Aardwizz: More quibbling. James WAS a part of whatever "movement" Jesus was. Jesus died because of it. James didn't. Survivor guilt.

Your comment regarding DSM-IV requirements are like saying that that someone isn't "missing" until they've been gone for 48 hrs. I'll concede that it's not possible to accurately diagnose Paul's mental state, particularly given the annecdotal nature of the account. That doesn't mean that he was completely sane. Again, if you remove your pre-conceptions regarding Paul, and examine him like you might Jim Jones or some other charismatic cult leader with whom you don't agree, you will see many striking similarities. Enough, perhaps, to make you question his veracity when you do add your preconceptions back in.

õ¿õ¬

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 1:25:03 PM PDT
EES

Consider: The disciples like most Judeans hated the Roman occupation, even though the Judeans invited them in. The jews believed that a messiah would come to lift the Roman yoke so they could live free with the messiah reigning as a mortal king. Given the volatility of the situation in Judea, it would not be a stretch to say that a charismatic apocalyptic preacher might become a focal point for more radical elements, which many scholars speculate Judas was a part, spread the tale that Jesus was the messiah in order to swell the numbers and persuade Judean leaders to join in, bringing in yet more people. The Romans deciding this guy was trouble executed him. Stuck with a dead messiah, rumors began saying that he rose from the dead.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  25
Total posts:  141
Initial post:  May 8, 2012
Latest post:  May 11, 2012

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