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Dan: you had an extremely traumatic accident, likely suffered head trauma, hallucinated that you saw your dead grandfather and now you're spiritual? Do you really expect any other person to find this experience meaningful or to see it as evidence for any sort of metaphysical claim?

 

Here's my counter anecdote (a fictional one).

 

"I'm an astronaut and I just returned from my first moon mission. Once I left the Earth's atmosphere and peered down at our blue planet, rapidly diminishing in our gold-plated window, I had the most spiritual, profound experience of my life. It was unlike any normal, petty affair. I was struck with a humbling lightning bolt of humanity. Space is so huge, so vast, and we are such a tiny part of it, that it made me love my fellow man profoundly. There was nothing else: no gods, no heaven, no supernatural deity. Just blackness and stars. Just atoms and beautiful chance.

 

I wanted to throttle every petty, lying politician, every fearmongering warlord, every single human on Earth who corrupted our gorgeous planet without having seen its tiny, interconnected fragility. It was then that I knew FOR SURE that Secular Humanism was the one truth. The one secret of the universe."

 

Why is this story any less credible or any less true than yours? Miracle stories and profound epiphanies are not evidence of anything. People have had them in countless circumstances: while on drugs, while near death, while meditating, while playing music, while peering down on Earth from the moon. These experiences are subjective and have been experienced by people of all faiths and those with none. They are not evidence for or against the existence of a supreme being. Try again.

Edited by Prometheon
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can i hear an Amen?

right on

can i hear an Amen?

right on

want to hear some lunar dust

right on.

want to hear some lunar dust

right on.

all i want to do is disco machine gun

all i want to do is disco machine gun

i used to pray and ask the lord/god/whoever

"please get me a girlfriend that has never had a boyfriend.

when i get to college."

and who did i met?

a girl who never had a boyfriend

:angry:

i know right?

went through college and sometimes I think about how much knowledge i have in my head

;)

i'm tired.

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can i hear an Amen?

right on

can i hear an Amen?

right on

want to hear some lunar dust

right on.

want to hear some lunar dust

right on.

all i want to do is disco machine gun

all i want to do is disco machine gun

i used to pray and ask the lord/god/whoever

"please get me a girlfriend that has never had a boyfriend.

when i get to college."

and who did i met?

a girl who never had a boyfriend

:angry:

i know right?

went through college and sometimes I think about how much knowledge i have in my head

;)

i'm tired.

 

DONNYPOSTER.jpg

 

you hurt my head.

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Looks like we can add Stephen Hawking to the long list of scientists (including Einstein and 97% of the national academy) who doesn't believe in fairy tales: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/may...re-is-no-heaven

 

First of all. The Dude abides. Thank you Owen.

 

Second of all, I didn't read the link, but reading what you read, in relation to those scientists, the first thing I thought was "Is there actually something wrong with believing in fairy tales?"

 

(Again, this is going to sound extremely simplistic, but) What if you believe in them so much, you research and spend your life dedicated to proving its existence, under the guise of being a scientist? What if you discover explanations to many wonderful things that help humanity, simply because you wanted to prove the existence of God?

 

I honestly don't really get the point of debating God. It's like debating your preference of ketchup on your burger.

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God is a woman. And the most incredibly gorgeous woman you've ever laid eyes on. I want to have sex with that woman. I want to make love to God.

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I was raised in an Independant Christian Church in a small town. I consider myself lucky that I am a rational person at this point and not a Bible-thumping intolerant. As a child I began to question faith and the church because even at the young age of 12 I could see the idiocy of their hypocrisy. Churches are full of smiley glad hands and two-faced liars with a multitude of fools tossed in for good measure. It's those r-tards that fuck it up for the deity.

 

Now as an adult I've realised that God and Church are two very different entities.

 

I "believe" in evolution because it's scientific-fucking-fact but I also believe that there might have been some sort of entity guiding that along. God, if you will. I think that this is because I have a rational mind that has been able to accept science as being not witchcraft but at the same time the early years of indoctrination that God created us in his image because he likes to rock a bitching beard and needed some people to check that shit out. That or it's a cop-out and I'm too lazy to make up my mind.

 

Whether or not there's a God isn't something that I usually put thought into unless I've just smoked some really good stuff, this being one of the rare exceptions.

 

In summation; yeah, I think there's probably some sort of deity-being out there but I don't think it looks down on us in any sort of maternal or paternal way.

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I remember watching a Comedy Central Jon Stewart special and he was talking about God, and how he believes in him, but he believes that God doesn't have as huge a part in our lives as we think. He thinks we're like, this shitty Science Fair project that he shoved under his bed.

 

It's funny and I laughed, but in a way, rang some truth to me.

 

Isn't that agnosticism?

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No, being agnostic means you don't believe either way. Essentially apathy of faith.

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First of all. The Dude abides. Thank you Owen.

 

Second of all, I didn't read the link, but reading what you read, in relation to those scientists, the first thing I thought was "Is there actually something wrong with believing in fairy tales?"

 

(Again, this is going to sound extremely simplistic, but) What if you believe in them so much, you research and spend your life dedicated to proving its existence, under the guise of being a scientist? What if you discover explanations to many wonderful things that help humanity, simply because you wanted to prove the existence of God?

 

I honestly don't really get the point of debating God. It's like debating your preference of ketchup on your burger.

 

Warning: long and slightly inflammatory. Still, as far as condemnations of religion go, I think this is a decent summary.

That'd be great if it was how things actually worked. Instead people murder each other over rival interpretations of their fairy tales, indoctrinate their children with them, impede scientific progress with them (directly leading to suffering and death), and include copies of them when they give aid to others. They allow the fairy tales to pervert their idea of what constitutes healthy sexuality, what constitutes moral concern, and what belongs in or out of a classroom. They let their fairy tales infect their mind with notions of an afterlife that makes them able to rationalize otherwise atrocious and unthinkable acts. Finally, here's a personal one: it leads parents to disown their children because they marry outside of the faith or are of a different sexual predilection.

 

Moderate religion exists, sure. But it's still insidious. This is the thing Tracy: I don't think you know what it's like to really believe in God. Sure, there's a lot of warm and fuzzy in the NT, but the Bible (and the Koran even moreso) is filled to the brim with immoral garbage that can rationalize any behavior. The problem is not people reading the books "out of context" or "not reading the correct parts." The problem is that some people believe - really believe - that a book is the literal, inerrant word of the creator of the universe. This is the CORE of religion, and if you can't see why it's dangerous and ridiculous you either haven't read the books or you aren't trying hard enough. This idea, this concept of divine authorship and instruction, is one we simply need to examine with intellectual honesty and banish forever. I can tell by the example you give that you don't get what I'm saying. The people I'm talking about don't become scientists to try and prove God exists. They KNOW that God exists and they know that the Bible/Koran/Torah is his perfect word.

 

Sam Harris said it better than I can: "Why did nineteen well-educated, middle class men trade their lives in this world for the privilege of killing thousands of our neighbors? Because they believed that they would go straight to paradise for doing so. It is rare to find the behavior of human beings so fully and satisfactorily explained. Why have we been so reluctant to accept this explanation?" He then articulates that it's possible in many places of the world to get a PhD and still really believe (really believe) that God hates infidels or that you will get 72 virgins in paradise. Is this a situation that we're comfortable with? Should it be? What's the solution?

 

This is my position: it really DOES matter what billions of people on Earth believe.

 

re: "spirituality" vs "organized religion."

 

The natural response to the above is to say "yeah...well that's ORGANIZED religion." I agree. You nailed it. But organized religion isn't going anywhere until we take away its power. I don't care about what you believe in the privacy of your own mind. The thing that many people miss though is that beliefs are actionable and have behavioral consequences, and religious beliefs in many contexts lead to very, very bad behavior.

 

So here's my conclusion. If you believe in Jesus because it makes you feel good: cool. I think you're wrong and that you don't have any evidence to support your claim, but whatever. If however, you give money to a church, you are an accomplice to child molestation and the death of millions of African lives after your Pope toured there and lied about condoms. If you defend certain Muslim beliefs under the guise of liberal cultural relativism, you are the accomplice to some of the most abhorrent misogyny and child abuse ever perpetrated. When people claim to know things that they can't possibly know, bad things happen.

 

By even being privately reigious, you implicitly add your voice to the notion that "it's OK to believe in what ancient, bronze-age texts have to say about the world." You are lending tacit approval to the notion that (often sectarian) superstition and notions of life after death are OK to harbor in a time of 21st century geopolitics and weaponry. It's time to stop humoring irrationality and letting it have its way with the civilized world (a great example is the Danish cartoon controversy). I'd rather fight a war of ideas and conversation than a war of bombs and murder. Let's wage it.

 

Last edit for Tracy: I still think that the "atheist movement" is a little misguided. Because many atheists (myself included) are rationalists, they have to attack all religious beliefs somewhat evenly. From a probabilistic and scientific perspective, it is just as silly to believe that Jesus walked on water and was born of a virgin as it is to believe that Mohammad rode a flying horse. However, moderately religiously people often DON'T "really" believe this nonsense (ie: the nonsense isn't behaviorally operational). I know this is true in your case, as you don't hate on the gays, you have premarital sex, and you probably oppose a lot of the unconscionable things going on in the middle east right now. Thus, for the good of society, I think that we should stop criticizing your beliefs and instead join with you in a chorus of "talking snakes? That IS pretty dumb!" I think that religious moderates, if handled better, can actually help alleviate this problem. The problem is that they aren't doing it. Still, as a galvanizing tactic, "you're stupid and are living a lie" is likely not the best battle call.

Edited by Prometheon

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First of all.

 

Yeesh.

 

Second of all,

 

Well-written, completely understood.

 

I am certainly only speaking for myself, but I think the reason why I wasn't understanding you is because, you're right. You're right simply because I'm selfish and can't be bothered to really give *that* much of a shit about WHY I believe what I believe. Only that I believe it, and because of it, it guides me towards being a better person. And so I assumed the same for "the good ones".

 

As for everyone else, yeah, your reasons are completely valid for wanting to be rid of it.

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Dan: you had an extremely traumatic accident, likely suffered head trauma, hallucinated that you saw your dead grandfather and now you're spiritual? Do you really expect any other person to find this experience meaningful or to see it as evidence for any sort of metaphysical claim?

 

 

i know you can say that, but this is what faith means, i guess. by your logic (as quoted above), the spiritual understandings attained through drugs are essentially meaningless to all the cultures that existed eons before either of our respective bloodlines did??

 

and i didn't see my grandfather - in that he was the last member of my family to pass on, a man of far greater moral constitution than myself, but who would adhere to no prescribed doctrine. everything happens for a reason, and i had my accident right after he died, so that i could remain within his grasp. i saw past lives, i swear to you, and i will explain everything i remember and why it was instrumental to my current 'daniel stewart' character, if you're curious. i swear to you, we are the illusion - your soul is the nature of the electricity (as decided by your personal constitution/karma) animating all of your muscles, our brains included

 

 

i reached something far more beautiful than 'subjective', the scale of which i never even could have imagined when i was ignorant. the world makes so much sense when you undergo the paradigm shift. so much sense you see how everything is always perfect, even when it hurts. if anyone remembers when i first joined this place, i was an angry kid with figures lke matthew good and conor oberst being the only ones i felt understood me, and even then it was only on occasion that our perceptions would seem to align.

 

ever since i broke my head i don't give a fuck who understands me, because to a physiological degree, now i understand them, sometimes before they open their mouths. the beauty of the hueman race is that we all posess qualities most-closely equated with 'aspergers'; the terror of the hueman race is that we're all in denial in every way. look at your own life, and consider the ramifications of your presence here. yes, you're no dirtier than the worst of us, you might even be better - but if that were honestly true, then the inner-peace attained through maturation would cloak you far more befittingly. and this is not 'owen-bashing' - this is what we collectively look like

 

 

 

 

and for the record, i'm super busy, but i want to carry ever conversation with everyone, but between devian tart, fakebook, here and real-life, i'm feeling spread-thin hahhaa. i'll read the analogy asap, thank you for sharing <3

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I have a post on the previous page that sums up my feelings re: religion, moderate religion, and spirituality for those still reading this topic.

 

Dan: to be honest, I'm unsure what you're trying to say. Here's my response to one of the parts I understand:

 

this is what faith means

What's the difference between faith and blind faith?

 

the spiritual understandings attained through drugs are essentially meaningless

It depends on what you mean by "spiritual". I've done a lot of drugs and a few of them have even made me a better person. I fail to see the need to invoke any metaphysics here. They affected my brain and perception, and the experience was powerful and meaningful. It doesn't mean I REALLY communed with the "soul" of a river (to cite one awesome experience).

 

i swear to you, we are the illusion - your soul is the nature of the electricity (as decided by your personal constitution/karma) animating all of your muscles, our brains included

This is verbal mumbo-jumbo that doesn't mean anything. What are you trying to say? We have every reason to believe that our brains are the sole source of our conscious experience and no reason to believe otherwise. My degree is in neuropsychology. The physical brain defines every aspect of who "you" are, and through modifications to the brain and its chemistry we can modify your consciousness, personality, memory, everything.

 

If your claims actually impact the experience and behavior of conscious life, than they should be discoverable. If they don't impact the experience and behavior of conscious life, than whatever you're talking about is, quite literally, the most boring thing in the universe. What reason do you have to think that you've revolutionized physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and neuroscience? Why haven't you won a Nobel prize yet?

 

Expand on your views and I'd love to discuss them more.

 

Edit @ Tracy: I didn't see your response on the last page. Again, I hope I didn't offend you. If your beliefs make you a better, happier person and they don't impact anyone else negatively, then that's awesome. Keep on rockin`.

Edited by Prometheon

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Nope, not at all ;)

 

In fact, I appreciated the thorough response. Despite not being interested in promoting your ideas, I appreciate the validity of your arguments and it's important to be informed and educated on all sides, not just your own. Knowledge is good.

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Owen, i agree with most of what u said in your long post, minus the stuff between you and Muran cuz i haven't followed your conversion & is really not my business.

 

Religion has caused the deaths of so many millions of people, the Wars of Reformation being a good example, and was one of the factors leading to & perpetuation the colonialism of what are now most of the poorest & internally violent countries in the world.

 

I wish the Old Testament never existed, because its mostly a pile of garbage with few redeeming qualities. The New Testament , on the other hand, i believe is, for the most part, a book where people can learn some great life lessons from. Whether he was the son of god or not, or if even said te tings attributed to him, Jesus was an awesome guy. Loving, empathetic, tolerant, forgiving, and non-violent. He didn't hate gays or subjugate women etc. The problem is that the vast majority of those who believe in him don't even follow is teachings!!! America, the nation of a strong Christian majority, has the death penalty in many states, and not to mention the 50 billion un-Christian policies its church-going leaders support.

 

But as you elude to, region screws it all up, and makes it about power and dogma.

 

As for the science, i believe that agnosticism is the only scientifically valid position. The existence of god(s), aka a being of great power that created our universe, is theoretically possible, but there is no evidence for or against it, so we cant prove it nor disprove it because it is unknowable. Atheism draws a conclusion even though science doesn't yet know how our universe was created & nobody has been empirically observed to have traveled beyond our universe or go back in time to find out.

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Owen, i agree with most of what u said in your long post, minus the stuff between you and Muran cuz i haven't followed your conversion & is really not my business.

 

I wish the Old Testament never existed, because its mostly a pile of garbage with few redeeming qualities. The New Testament , on the other hand, i believe is, for the most part, a book where people can learn some great life lessons from. Whether he was the son of god or not, or if even said te tings attributed to him, Jesus was an awesome guy. Loving, empathetic, tolerant, forgiving, and non-violent. He didn't hate gays or subjugate women etc. The problem is that the vast majority of those who believe in him don't even follow is teachings!!! America, the nation of a strong Christian majority, has the death penalty in many states, and not to mention the 50 billion un-Christian policies its church-going leaders support.

 

Conversion? What conversion are you talking about?

 

You're totally right though! That's exactly how I see Jesus as well. And you have no idea how frustrating it is for me, as a Catholic, to see so many other retarded Catholics out there, who forget one very important commandment. In Religion class, we were taught that the 10 commandments, and the teachings of God can be summarized into one commandment which is "Love one another as you would love yourself". And so, when making any moral decisions, to take that into account.

 

We get so caught up in semantics and details that perhaps if you simplify a little, it's not all that difficult to do the "right thing".

 

I think, humans in general, as a group, have a problem with excess and "going overboard", refining things until it no longer resembles the original. Fast food, plastic surgery...even fandom...it's not only with Religion, that's conviction and belief are a frightening concept.

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used to pray

same old, "now i lay me down to sleep." yadda yadda yadda, and used to add on at the end, "please don't end the world on on oct. 05, 2000"

cause i used to believe in 20/20 fear mongers.

 

did the world end?

no

thank you very much

i saved all you assholes

AND i added "please help me meet a girl in college, never had a boyfriend."

who did I meet?

my first GF

never had a boyfriend

:o i know, right?

and THAT one came true.

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I'd like to say it's related to a bunch of factors as to why people believe in what the bible says. I don't know if some people are capable of managing their own emotions and lives without some kind of idea placed in their head. Fear is probably another factor.

 

 

I'd like to say intelligence or education could be a factor but then I've met some people who would abolish that stereotype. Which makes me think, why a geology professor, who studies and teaches evolution on a abiotic level, believe in God?

Edited by guitarchick

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i used to hardcore, used to ask G*d if jesus was sitting at this right hand, if I could sit on his left. recently i have gone to a church i can walk to, just to make some friends, get some free coffee, had talked to one of the ministers and he said this, i didn't, "why wasn't jesus married?"

I leave it at that.

Edited by sodamntired

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man, it's easy. just not so, to explain

 

 

 

 

we proceed along whatever path we want, to meet our predestined death; "whatever path we want" is already decided (i guess by our bloodlines, of which we are merely the current face, of), and "god"(or allah or yahweh or jehovah or the flying spaghetti monster) is simpley the machinisation that allows our bloodlines to constitute it

 

 

it's like democracy, in that we could build new threads, if we really wanted to. so it goes

 

 

 

 

 

 

i'm seriously going to sit down and read this entire thread tomorrow

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was feeling kind of Atheisty so I googled "Jesus Real Father" cause we all know that there is NO WAY Mary had a talk with some angel late at night, who told her "You are conceive a child, God told me."

 

there were a couple results

 

my favorite, was the one from Fox News *pew* saying that Mary was actually raped.

 

they don't know nothing.

 

thank you

*trip on soap box*

Edited by sodamntired

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I consider myself an atheist. I used to be an evangelical Christian but it's a belief that has made less and less sense over the years. Even as a kid I was at times suspicious of biblical stories... For example when Moses tries to convince the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go, it is said that God hardens the Pharaoh's heart causing him to say no; then God visits plagues upon Egypt because the Pharaoh did what God made him do. The entire Bible is filled with such logical flaws, historical errors, etc. from cover to cover but it takes a long time for someone deeply indoctrinated to finally see it.

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It's a fascinating read. Oddly enough I've studied the Bible with a great deal more interest as an atheist than as a Christian. There was a time I tried to strike a balance between historical /scientific evidence and the Bible but found it's an intellectually dishonest and pointless pursuit. For example, I don't have to explain the multitude of reasons why the Noah's Ark story couldn't have happened, and "moderate" concede that point but argue that when the Bible said the flood covered the whole world, it could have meant the known world at the time... which is apparently just that Middle East area. The suspicious thing is, no one actually read it and interpreted that way until they had to when it became obvious that the previous idea was too absurd to be true. And of course these rationalizations often just generate further contradictions. For instance, if it were just a regional flood, wouldn't it have been simpler for Noah and his family to leave the area than to spend 100 years building the biggest wooden ship in human history before or since?

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It's possible, perhaps even probable, that some Biblical stories are heavily exaggerated iterations of something that genuinely happened. If that is the case though, and the truth behind Noah is that he was just a guy who built a boat that was considered pretty big for the time and had a handful of animals aboard then it becomes so mundane as to no longer need the involvement of any gods. It becomes pointless.

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