Atheist Arrogance?

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I don't even wanna go any further with this because people are so insanely quick to jump to dismiss everything as mere 'inaccuracy' and there's little use in continuing against something that redundant. When I say 'investigate' the faith, I don't mean study it like a science book. There's no point in that. I meant actually explore the spiritual significance of it. If you have no interest in it or don't necessarily believe in spirituality then by all means do nothing, but don't dismiss it as 'irrational' just because it doesn't offer the 'security' of mathematical forumlae and fancy jargon - because it deals with different things in a different way. Similarly, I'd never dismiss a scientific theory just because it might sound far-fetched. There's a huge misconception that Christians are all blind and delusional and will just about say anything to reject science. But it's just so wrong. So wrong.

Guys! Have some patience. Even though I don't understand HoneyVision's talk about spirituality and the like. I can see that there is no reason to jump at him like a pack of starved wolf.

The hippie kind of Christians is not the problem. It's the fire and brimstone types that are.

Silvanus:

When that day comes, the probability that can rationally be applied increases. In the absence of any such evidence, the default position is non-existence, the same position people find no problem taking with regards manticores and chimeras.

There are good logical reasons to not believe in what cannot be observed, yes.

What makes the frost giants "improbable", but god "unknowable"? I'm merely applying the same standard to claims that have the same body of evidence. Everybody's happy to accept negligible probability of one, but not the other. If you'd like to be consistent, I'd like to hear you agree that the turtle-surfing frost-Jotun are not of negligible probability.

You realise that I'm not suggesting scientific analysis specifically rules out religious claims, right...?

Look, your frost giant waffle is just "Russell's teapot" reformulated with minor narrative changes. It's an extension of Occam's Razor. It's a philosophical argument says that the burden of proof lies on the person trying to make scientifically unfalsifiable claims. You can read up Russell's teapot at your leisure.

The teapot, your frost giants, and God are all at the same level: scientifically unknown and philosophically implausible.

I have been entirely consistent.

I have objected to your occasional use of the term "probability". Probability in casual conversation means likelihood, plausibility, etc. In science, it's a measure of likelihood, for which there should be an evidence-based value attached. This scientific definition is invalid, because there is no data to measure.

You seriously think you've "opened my eyes", and I can't deal with it? What I meant by my reply was that it doesn't matter one iota to me what qualifications you have. I find it pretty hilarious that you found it relevant to bring up your PhD in a forum argument.

You chose to tell me I did not understand scientific method. And so I said I probably did as a professional scientist: it is a reasonable defence against the accusation made. Then you summarily dismiss me with a petty and snide retort that I am making false claims ("words are wind" = people lie and break promises - I've read his books too), so I might wonder why you are reluctant to believe so.

See? Simple cause and effect. Now get a fucking grip and stop pettily nettling me. Is that clear?

Hrmm. The last part of my reply was an effort to alleviate the tone; I see I failed.

How do any of these give us reason to assume the existence of the supernatural invisible flying creator-being? It's illogical, contrary to everything we know of the world, fulfills no function regarding the origin of the Universe, because it simply regresses the problem.

You have lost the context of the ongoing discussion and reversed the premise: logic/reason/philosophy give us good means to assume the non-existence of the supernatural. In my, your and many other people's view, anyway.

Of course, other philosophical arguments give other people reason to assume belief - but that's another matter.

HoneyVision:

Um, no. Have you actually read any significant portion of the book itself?

The entirety of it, cover to cover followed up by multiple commentaries, theological writings and a variety of other sources. I'm particularly fond of the works of Biblical historian Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou.

The absolute most central idea to the entire faith is the golden rule:

Matthew 22:36-40
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

As stated already by Arakasi the wording and context of the actual line itself limits one's love to their Jewish neighbour. I recommend you research this.

Also it should be noted Christianity wasn't the first to state this basic moral code. Pretty much every major philosophy had some variation of it. Look.

Gorr:

The hippie kind of Christians is not the problem. It's the fire and brimstone types that are.

I personally see the hippie/moderate kinds as equally bad.

They're the type of person who preaches a bastardised version of Christianity that is more palatable for the common man making it more likely for people to warm up to it, thus making it more memetically viable and thus allowing it to spread further.

The more you allow it to spread, the more difficult it gets to beat out the irrational thoughts from the social consiousness.

Truth be told the hippy type are almost worse in the sense that they carry a more contageous version of the disease.

Arakasi:
You say this, then you pull out possibly the only two quotes in the book which apply such a thing.

Obviously not. In one sense, because the Bible has many passages exhorting the faithful to love God, and many to love their fellows. It is perhaps different referred to as a commandment, which makes for a very strong assertion - but why need it be repeated specifically as a commandment?

Also, in the original context it was intended, what it meant by 'Love thy neighbour' was actually 'Love thy Jewish neighbour'. How do you think they justified the Jews slaughtering masses of people in the old testament? So bottom line is, the golden rule is not central to the faith, it is not in the faith as it was, and it was an older idea that the Bible ripped off.

What evidence do you have that Jesus only meant Jewish neighbours? We should assume in the absence of contradiction that he meant what he said, and it implies all. This consistent with, for instance, the parable of the Good Samaritan which is much to do with good behaviour to others transcending differences.

Perhaps Jesus did not want to justify the Jews slaughtering masses of people in the OT, and actually wished to persuade people to act differently. This makes a lot of sense logically and theologically. If Jesus merely came to reassert ancient Hebrew beliefs, there would be no Christianity, and Jesus would be just another Jewish holy man. This same argument applies to your later comments, in that it doesn't necessarily matter what any old faiths say when someone creates a new one.

There are very good reasons to think the golden rule a central plank of Christianity. Reasoning supplied above is that a "Christian" follows the teachings of Christ; this seems the most logical assumption on many levels. It therefore follows that when Jesus stated clear commandments, they would be the most important general rules he believed in. (In and of themselves, however, those two commandments do not necessarily preclude harsh treatment of others.)

HoneyVision:
I don't even wanna go any further with this because people are so insanely quick to jump to dismiss everything as mere 'inaccuracy' and there's little use in continuing against something that redundant. When I say 'investigate' the faith, I don't mean study it like a science book. There's no point in that. I meant actually explore the spiritual significance of it. If you have no interest in it or don't necessarily believe in spirituality then by all means do nothing, but don't dismiss it as 'irrational' just because it doesn't offer the 'security' of mathematical forumlae and fancy jargon - because it deals with different things in a different way. Similarly, I'd never dismiss a scientific theory just because it might sound far-fetched. There's a huge misconception that Christians are all blind and delusional and will just about say anything to reject science. But it's just so wrong. So wrong.

I think you may be overreacting. People are not really jumping on you, just replying, and aren't really implying that you or all other christians and blind and delusional. Reasonably frequently we get a topic saying "Hey guys, not all christians are the same! You atheists shouldn't just assume we are!". While that does sometimes occur in R&P, I find that I (and others) speak generally when it comes to religion because it's just simpler than trying to qualify absolutely everything you say.

But anyway. In an odd turn of events, it's a christian (you) who is making a sweeping assumption about the bible and all christians (that the most important message is to love people. Although I have my problems with what a lot of christians term "love", but that's not relevant here), and the atheists are saying that you should not be making assumptions about what part of the bible is most important for all other denominations, and any non-denominational christians.

You say that "the golden rule", or to use a better term mutual reciprocity or reciprocal altruism is the most important message in the bible. That's great. I do not think there is any better passage in the bible to take as central, and there are most certainly a lot worse ones. But that is simply YOUR interpretation of a very old text, and other sects will interpret said text differently. That is all that people are trying to tell you.

Agema:

Arakasi:
You say this, then you pull out possibly the only two quotes in the book which apply such a thing.

Obviously not. In one sense, because the Bible has many passages exhorting the faithful to love God, and many to love their fellows. It is perhaps different referred to as a commandment, which makes for a very strong assertion - but why need it be repeated specifically as a commandment?

Also, in the original context it was intended, what it meant by 'Love thy neighbour' was actually 'Love thy Jewish neighbour'. How do you think they justified the Jews slaughtering masses of people in the old testament? So bottom line is, the golden rule is not central to the faith, it is not in the faith as it was, and it was an older idea that the Bible ripped off.

What evidence do you have that Jesus only meant Jewish neighbours?

Houston, we have a mistranslation: http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

The Hebrew of the Torah is not easily translatable. The customary translation of veahavta l'reyacha kamocha--"you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18)--seems to imply that all "neighbors," regardless of creed, are to be loved equally. This implication, based upon the inadequate translation of reyacha, is not accurate.

First let us observe the context in which the above phrase appears in the Torah: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart?You shall not take revenge or feel resentment against the children of your people, you shall love your companion [reyacha] as yourself." From this it is clear that "your companion" refers to the same category as "your brother" and "the children of your people," all explicitly referring to one's fellow Jew.

It goes on, but you get the point.

Agema:

We should assume in the absence of contradiction that he meant what he said, and it implies all. This consistent with, for instance, the parable of the Good Samaritan which is much to do with good behaviour to others transcending differences.

The Old Testament is vastly contradictory of the New Testament when you really get down to it. People try to smooth over it, but to be blunt, they simply don't mesh.

Agema:

Perhaps Jesus did not want to justify the Jews slaughtering masses of people in the OT, and actually wished to persuade people to act differently. This makes a lot of sense logically and theologically. If Jesus merely came to reassert ancient Hebrew beliefs, there would be no Christianity, and Jesus would be just another Jewish holy man. This same argument applies to your later comments, in that it doesn't necessarily matter what any old faiths say when someone creates a new one.

Jesus contradicted himself left right and centre, if you take the Bible to be true. Here's some examples of him refuting exactly what you said there: http://www.evilbible.com/do_not_ignore_ot.htm

1) "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV) Clearly the Old Testament is to be abided by until the end of human existence itself. None other then Jesus said so.

2) "It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." (Luke 16:17 NAB)

3) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place." (Matthew 5:17 NAB)

3b) "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness..." (2 Timothy 3:16 NAB)

3c) "Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." (2 Peter 20-21 NAB)

4) "Whoever curses father or mother shall die" (Mark 7:10 NAB)

5) "He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death." (Matthew 15:4-7)

6) Jesus has a punishment even worse than his father concerning adultery: God said the act of adultery was punishable by death. Jesus says looking with lust is the same thing and you should gouge your eye out, better a part, than the whole. The punishment under Jesus is an eternity in Hell. (Matthew 5:27)

7) Peter says that all slaves should "be subject to [their] masters with all fear," to the bad and cruel as well as the "good and gentle." This is merely an echo of the same slavery commands in the Old Testament. 1 Peter 2:18

8) "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law" (John7:19) and "For the law was given by Moses,..." (John 1:17).

9) "...the scripture cannot be broken." --Jesus Christ, John 10:35

Also, not to mention that one breaks a logical rule by assuming that Jesus would want to teach something different. If the Christian God is infalable, knows all, and is all good, then why would he have changed his mind between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Why would his morality change with the morality of the people? (Even though Jesus specifies that it doesn't)

Agema:

There are very good reasons to think the golden rule a central plank of Christianity. Reasoning supplied above is that a "Christian" follows the teachings of Christ; this seems the most logical assumption on many levels. It therefore follows that when Jesus stated clear commandments, they would be the most important general rules he believed in. (In and of themselves, however, those two commandments do not necessarily preclude harsh treatment of others.)

See above. Jesus was just as backwards and immoral as anyone in the Old Testament.

Arakasi:
Houston, we have a mistranslation: http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

That's a interpretation of ancient Hebrew.

But Jesus spoke after several thousand years of linguistic development, in Aramaic not Hebrew, and some of the Gospels were initially written in Greek.

The Old Testament is vastly contradictory of the New Testament when you really get down to it. People try to smooth over it, but to be blunt, they simply don't mesh.

To some extent. But in this particular instance, so what?

Jesus contradicted himself left right and centre, if you take the Bible to be true. Here's some examples of him refuting exactly what you said there: http://www.evilbible.com/do_not_ignore_ot.htm

I am not particularly compelled by the opinions of a site that exists purely to characterise the Bible in a way injurious to Christianity. It is embarrassingly amateurish and hopelessly biased. This is not to say it is necessarily wrong, but it is akin to asking Rush Limbaugh for analysis on Obama and pretending Limbaugh's analysis is factual truth. For instance, when Jesus says children that curse their parents should die, in context he is merely doing so to tell the pharisees that they are hypocrites. This is very obvious to a fairly neutral observer like me, but apparently not to the pathetic and mendacious standards of evilbible.com.

There is of course the key element of Christian theology is that Jesus dying for human sins (etc.) fulfilled the temporal punishments of The Law. Thus whilst God's Laws have not changed, the penalties for breaking them are reserved for God and there is no need for men to carry out the punishments on Earth.

See above. Jesus was just as backwards and immoral as anyone in the Old Testament.

There is clearly a wide range of moral conduct observable in characters from the Bible. Whilst Jesus might not be to everyone's tastes, I would suggest that for most 'live and let live' minded people he's clearly something of an improvement over just about anyone from the OT.

Milk:
I personally see the hippie/moderate kinds as equally bad.

They're the type of person who preaches a bastardised version of Christianity that is more palatable for the common man making it more likely for people to warm up to it, thus making it more memetically viable and thus allowing it to spread further.

The more you allow it to spread, the more difficult it gets to beat out the irrational thoughts from the social consiousness.

Truth be told the hippy type are almost worse in the sense that they carry a more contageous version of the disease.

I'm so sorry that people with a different belief system are sharing it with other people. It really must kill you every day. I weep for you.

And why exactly do you keep using the word bastardised as if they're teaching some bad form of Christianity?

Why is it that Christianity is seen as HAVING to remain constant and can't shift and change?

I mean, it's not expressly stated I don't think, but some of the comments have been along the lines of 'Christianity always has to believe you have to stone the gays and if you don't believe that you're not really Christian'.

People have been editing the bible of Christianity since day one; change is inherit in all systems.

I'll point out again that the only base for being a christian, with all other ceremonies and beliefs stripped, is a belief in Christ the Messiah. Not even belief in his doctrines, but belief that Christ was the Messiah, son of god. I don't believe this, therefore I'm not a Christian.

Everything else is window trimming; circumcision, communion, baptism, et alii, are major parts in many christian sects but NOT the core of Christianity.

We have in here pronouncements that 'hippie Christians' who want to embrace some of the better messages as they interpret them are somehow as bad.

But how so? They still fulfill the basic core of being Christian. If their interpretation became mainstream wouldn't it be a net 'good' as far as most people are concerned?

My point is, why isn't Christianity allowed to redefine all the trimming around it self, why is it being judged by the worst of its proponents or the worst of its 'beliefs' (worst in this case being the ones you disagree with the most), why is it being judged on the actions of people long dead, and why is their an insistence on applying scientific methodology to something that can be construed as a philosophical or social construct at most? Scientism is just as much a dogma as any fundamentalist christian if you're not willing to move one inch on anything.

The right to freedom of thought and religion is one of the universal rights of man, as set down in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As is the freedom of expression. So you can express these views, I just want to know why.

Shadowstar38:

I'm so sorry that people with a different belief system are sharing it with other people. It really must kill you every day. I weep for you.

It is unfortunate that people continue to ignore the beauty of critical thinking in favour of wallowing in some primitive ideology that glorifies ignorance, dogmatism and superstition.

And why exactly do you keep using the word bastardised as if they're teaching some bad form of Christianity?

There's no such thing as a good form of Christianity

Because that is the correct word to use.

Can't say I share the sentiment.
Sure, some of the more annoying and arrogant people I've met are atheists, but so are most people I've met.

Bentusi16:

My point is, why isn't Christianity allowed to redefine all the trimming around it self, why is it being judged by the worst of its proponents or the worst of its 'beliefs' (worst in this case being the ones you disagree with the most), why is it being judged on the actions of people long dead, and why is their an insistence on applying scientific methodology to something that can be construed as a philosophical or social construct at most? Scientism is just as much a dogma as any fundamentalist christian if you're not willing to move one inch on anything.

The right to freedom of thought and religion is one of the universal rights of man, as set down in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As is the freedom of expression. So you can express these views, I just want to know why.

I personally massively prefer (and date from) the hippie christians.

However when youre going to tell me your book and teachings are ALL divinely inspired then change becomes illogical. Did god decide overnight owning/stoning another person was wrong? Was it morally just before? Its because once you declare a source infallable and then it changes all the time to fit with what YOU think rather than you think what the book says its akin to calling yourself infallable. Since you personally decide what bible teachings are good and bad you lose the ability to call the source divine, totally true or perfect. Perfect things dont change.

Change is inevitable in a system. However if you start with a system that has a basic tenet that "The one true perfect god inspired this" it makes change incredibly difficult to justify. Its a bit of a catch 22.

Milk:
It is unfortunate that people continue to ignore the beauty of critical thinking in favour of wallowing in some primitive ideology that glorifies ignorance, dogmatism and superstition.

Except for the fact that Christians use critical thinking all the time and it doesn't interfere with their faith.

Also, there's that atheist arrogance we've all been talking about. You're way of life is "beautiful" while anyone that uses religion in their life is "wallowing". It's actually no wonder Christians largely refuse to except the atheist side of things if they are met with this kind of hostility.

While you're off complaining about the evils of Christianity, Christians inversely tell people, "Hey. Lets all just live in peace" You're just as guilty as spreading this imaginary "sickness" as the Christians you detest so much.

Because that is the correct word to use.

AKA, you're just throwing words around without any purpose behind it. All you had to do was say so.

Shadowstar38:

Milk:
It is unfortunate that people continue to ignore the beauty of critical thinking in favour of wallowing in some primitive ideology that glorifies ignorance, dogmatism and superstition.

Except for the fact that Christians use critical thinking all the time and it doesn't interfere with their faith.

Also, there's that atheist arrogance we've all been talking about. You're way of life is "beautiful" while anyone that uses religion in their life is "wallowing". It's actually no wonder Christians largely refuse to except the atheist side of things if they are met with this kind of hostility.

While you're off complaining about the evils of Christianity, Christians inversely tell people, "Hey. Lets all just live in peace" You're just as guilty as spreading this imaginary "sickness" as the Christians you detest so much.

Because that is the correct word to use.

AKA, you're just throwing words around without any purpose behind it. All you had to do was say so.

Isn't that how you're supposed to do the verbs?

I have a deeper appreciation of the world based on rationality
You look at the world from a single perspective
They wallow in bias and ignorance

BiscuitTrouser:

Bentusi16:

My point is, why isn't Christianity allowed to redefine all the trimming around it self, why is it being judged by the worst of its proponents or the worst of its 'beliefs' (worst in this case being the ones you disagree with the most), why is it being judged on the actions of people long dead, and why is their an insistence on applying scientific methodology to something that can be construed as a philosophical or social construct at most? Scientism is just as much a dogma as any fundamentalist christian if you're not willing to move one inch on anything.

The right to freedom of thought and religion is one of the universal rights of man, as set down in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As is the freedom of expression. So you can express these views, I just want to know why.

I personally massively prefer (and date from) the hippie christians.

However when youre going to tell me your book and teachings are ALL divinely inspired then change becomes illogical. Did god decide overnight owning/stoning another person was wrong? Was it morally just before? Its because once you declare a source infallable and then it changes all the time to fit with what YOU think rather than you think what the book says its akin to calling yourself infallable. Since you personally decide what bible teachings are good and bad you lose the ability to call the source divine, totally true or perfect. Perfect things dont change.

Change is inevitable in a system. However if you start with a system that has a basic tenet that "The one true perfect god inspired this" it makes change incredibly difficult to justify. Its a bit of a catch 22.

Again though, saying that the bible is perfect is not a requirement of Christianity. It's why you have people who try to stick close to the bible, and people who don't. As long as that core belief that Christ was the messiah is there, you are christian.

And you have to stop taking the view that even if the source is divine, the medium through which it is told has to be divine as well. I have NEVER met a christian who has told me that the bible is 100% divine and accurate. Ever. This is anecdotal, but most if not all of them have stated something along the lines of 'it was divinely inspired, but it had to work through man, who is ultimately flawed, and mankind has evolved since then'.

In real life, I've never met a christian who advocates stoning gays, or that they have to marry their brothers wife if their brother dies. These are the arguments that are constantly trotted out on 'why Christians are the evils'.

Another point I'd like to make is that for Christians, it's a bout a personal god, e.g. a personal religion. Throw 10 Christians into a room and you'll have ten or more opinions on Christianity, and the various tenants, and sects, and beliefs, and sub beliefs, and ceremonies.

The idea of a monolithic christian belief beyond the very basic tenant of 'You believe in Christ the Messiah' is a falsehood that gets thrown around a lot.

ClockworkPenguin:

Isn't that how you're supposed to do the verbs?

I have a deeper appreciation of the world based on rationality
You look at the world from a single perspective
They wallow in bias and ignorance

"Bastardization". He kept using it without any explanation for it.

But ignorance would also be the wrong word to use. There are theist on this forum that have discussions with us, learn, and still hold onto their beliefs. Not sure how you'd find such people to be ignorant.

Oh. And, "You look at the world from a single perspective" You assume a lot with that statement.

Shadowstar38:

ClockworkPenguin:

Isn't that how you're supposed to do the verbs?

I have a deeper appreciation of the world based on rationality
You look at the world from a single perspective
They wallow in bias and ignorance

"Bastardization". He kept using it without any explanation for it.

But ignorance would also be the wrong word to use. There are theist on this forum that have discussions with us, learn, and still hold onto their beliefs. Not sure how you'd find such people to be ignorant.

Oh. And, "You look at the world from a single perspective" You assume a lot with that statement.

Yeah, I was struggling to think of a fairly neutral one for the middle sentence, it ended up being negative. Jokes are hard.

Bentusi16:

Another point I'd like to make is that for Christians, it's a bout a personal god, e.g. a personal religion. Throw 10 Christians into a room and you'll have ten or more opinions on Christianity, and the various tenants, and sects, and beliefs, and sub beliefs, and ceremonies.

The idea of a monolithic christian belief beyond the very basic tenant of 'You believe in Christ the Messiah' is a falsehood that gets thrown around a lot.

I think you make some good observations, here and the last post.

I would suggest religion is by its nature, with its contradictions and complexity, necessarily a highly subjective thing. The eternal temptation for anyone is to take their subjective opinion on a thing, and argue it as objective reality. As you rightly point out, the monolith stands only as something as vague as belief in Christ the Messiah. Anything more complex tends to fail because the variability of what a religion is and says - by individual, society, era - means that a detailed objective analysis is usually going to be an exercise in futility: it cannot encompass this variability.

The response to differences must be to abandon the monolith, or tell other people they are wrong: wrong on scriptural interpretation, wrong in their subjective views, wrong that it can change, wrong generally. People will generally stick with their constructed monolith for two reasons: firstly it facilitates their root emotional motivations, and secondly that it is more psychologically comfortable to believe that other people are wrong. They will do so even though it is fundamentally flawed.

Agema:

Bentusi16:

Another point I'd like to make is that for Christians, it's a bout a personal god, e.g. a personal religion. Throw 10 Christians into a room and you'll have ten or more opinions on Christianity, and the various tenants, and sects, and beliefs, and sub beliefs, and ceremonies.

The idea of a monolithic christian belief beyond the very basic tenant of 'You believe in Christ the Messiah' is a falsehood that gets thrown around a lot.

I think you make some good observations, here and the last post.

I would suggest religion is by its nature, with its contradictions and complexity, necessarily a highly subjective thing. The eternal temptation for anyone is to take their subjective opinion on a thing, and argue it as objective reality. As you rightly point out, the monolith stands only as something as vague as belief in Christ the Messiah. Anything more complex tends to fail because the variability of what a religion is and says - by individual, society, era - means that a detailed objective analysis is usually going to be an exercise in futility: it cannot encompass this variability.

The response to differences must be to abandon the monolith, or tell other people they are wrong: wrong on scriptural interpretation, wrong in their subjective views, wrong that it can change, wrong generally. People will generally stick with their constructed monolith for two reasons: firstly it facilitates their root emotional motivations, and secondly that it is more psychologically comfortable to believe that other people are wrong. They will do so even though it is fundamentally flawed.

I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean by the second paragraph. Would you mind expanding on it?

Milk:
snips

Can you please try to be more civil?

Stop calling people 'primitive' calling their faith a 'disease' and suggesting only atheists can see 'the beauty of critical thinking'.

All this prejudice leveled towards all Christians is exactly what I was talking about in my OP. :(

Edit: I suppose it could be said I was doing similar in my OP but against atheists, perhaps I didn't stress that I meant a minority enough and for that I apologise. The vast majority of this thread has been very insightful and civil, I originally posted as it had been a topic I had never really seen discussed (as I had meantioned previously).

Well for 2000 years most humans could pull the "Yeah but I got Jesus on my side!" to win most arguments, conflicts, I think the arrogant atheists are just getting a bit of their own back these days, as the threat of Hell doesn't work the magic it once did.

Bentusi16:

The idea of a monolithic christian belief beyond the very basic tenant of 'You believe in Christ the Messiah' is a falsehood that gets thrown around a lot.

You make a lot of good points. However ive, anecdotal i know but hey we are both sinking down here lets just play on the same field, encountered many christians who talk of the divinity of the bible. If the bible is a bunch of people just guessing about god everything that isnt DIRECTLY what jesus said is pretty much moot. And some people like the stuff from those parts so its important to them that they have authority. Agema actually phrased my counter argument best.

I mean hell for example: Lets just say that im a sextist asshole. Coincidentally several bible verses support my backward opinions. EVEN if i didnt personally believe the bible was 100% infallible it would be INCREDIBLY tempting when confronted to claim it was and hide behind sexist passages and use them as an unmovable shield. I can see why people would want to do that.

Agema:
The eternal temptation for anyone is to take their subjective opinion on a thing, and argue it as objective reality.

The response to differences must be to abandon the monolith, or tell other people they are wrong: wrong on scriptural interpretation, wrong in their subjective views, wrong that it can change, wrong generally. People will generally stick with their constructed monolith for two reasons: firstly it facilitates their root emotional motivations, and secondly that it is more psychologically comfortable to believe that other people are wrong. They will do so even though it is fundamentally flawed.

Its difficult when a source is said to contain objective truth, somewhere, anywhere even if it isnt perfect that it contains objective truth nestled within. When someone who says that then follows with "But i decide what parts of that book count and dont" you basically have a person saying "ALL the things i believe are objective truth and cannot be argued with". Its a touchstone, a fallback for all occasions and it makes rooting opinions in stone very easy. Its not something i find so easy because i have no "written in stone" commandments which appear( sometimes literally) in the bible. Everything i have is amenable to reason and accessible from ALL faiths. I hold no opinion which another person, leaving their faith aside for a moment, couldn't reach and possibly understand. I feel being an atheist gives me a lovely opportunity to LIVE in the common ground between religions. The rules we ALL agree are solid and right. That are based on reality that we all agree with.

ClockworkPenguin:
Thank you for the polite tone of your debate and good night to you also.

And thanks to you also. It's nice to be reminded that you can have a civil conversation about religion on an internet forum.

Agema:

Arakasi:
Houston, we have a mistranslation: http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

That's a interpretation of ancient Hebrew.

Really? I didn't notice that at all when I read it, then posted it. /sarcasm off

Agema:

But Jesus spoke after several thousand years of linguistic development, in Aramaic not Hebrew, and some of the Gospels were initially written in Greek.

Perhaps you didn't notice that I was talking about when the Old Testament was talking about it. Why else would it be in Hebrew?

Agema:

The Old Testament is vastly contradictory of the New Testament when you really get down to it. People try to smooth over it, but to be blunt, they simply don't mesh.

To some extent. But in this particular instance, so what?]

Because there's a large difference between telling someone to love everyone and telling someone to love only specific people?

Agema:

Jesus contradicted himself left right and centre, if you take the Bible to be true. Here's some examples of him refuting exactly what you said there: http://www.evilbible.com/do_not_ignore_ot.htm

I am not particularly compelled by the opinions of a site that exists purely to characterise the Bible in a way injurious to Christianity. It is embarrassingly amateurish and hopelessly biased.

So you say it's biased without actually reading the material provided and judging it independantly based souly upon its content?
One of the most hypocritical things I've had the pleasure of reading.

Agema:

This is not to say it is necessarily wrong, but it is akin to asking Rush Limbaugh for analysis on Obama and pretending Limbaugh's analysis is factual truth.

If Limbaugh were to quote parts of Obama's speech that I disagree with, and it turns out that they are in fact actual quotes, then he has a valid case. As does the quotations provided on the website.

Agema:

For instance, when Jesus says children that curse their parents should die, in context he is merely doing so to tell the pharisees that they are hypocrites. This is very obvious to a fairly neutral observer like me, but apparently not to the pathetic and mendacious standards of evilbible.com.

Actually, I cut that out of my post. Didn't even look at the source before demonising them, my my.
"Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment" is what preceeded that quote.

Agema:

There is of course the key element of Christian theology is that Jesus dying for human sins (etc.) fulfilled the temporal punishments of The Law. Thus whilst God's Laws have not changed, the penalties for breaking them are reserved for God and there is no need for men to carry out the punishments on Earth.

So God's still an evil bastard then, who still changed his mind. One century he wants it punishable on earth, the other he doesn't. Perhaps he should have made up his almighty mind before even intervening. Even if he felt like changing the 'Law' he merely could have snapped his fingers rather than get his 'son' horrifically tortured for it.

Agema:

See above. Jesus was just as backwards and immoral as anyone in the Old Testament.

There is clearly a wide range of moral conduct observable in characters from the Bible. Whilst Jesus might not be to everyone's tastes, I would suggest that for most 'live and let live' minded people he's clearly something of an improvement over just about anyone from the OT.

So what you're saying is that because Jesus is better than most in the Old Testament we should follow what Jesus says? Fuck no. He's still a dick, that's my point. He still justifies slavery, all the bigoted laws of the Old Testament, all that pointlessness. Why not follow someone from outside of the Bible with a resaonable modern view and some actual evidence to back up their ideology?

Shadowstar38:

Milk:
It is unfortunate that people continue to ignore the beauty of critical thinking in favour of wallowing in some primitive ideology that glorifies ignorance, dogmatism and superstition.

Except for the fact that Christians use critical thinking all the time and it doesn't interfere with their faith.

Because they don't apply it to their faith. They are being intellectually dishonest.

Also, there's that atheist arrogance we've all been talking about. You're way of life is "beautiful" while anyone that uses religion in their life is "wallowing".

I didn't say my "way of life" I said the beauty of critical thinking. These types of subtle changes are what give us all these silly Christian sects.

It's actually no wonder Christians largely refuse to except the atheist side of things if they are met with this kind of hostility.

It shouldn't matter. If they are smart they'll look at what's being said and think about it critically. Instead they just toss away anything that fucks up their delusion.

While you're off complaining about the evils of Christianity, Christians inversely tell people, "Hey. Lets all just live in peace" You're just as guilty as spreading this imaginary "sickness" as the Christians you detest so much.

More accurately, while I'm off complaining about the evils of Christianity, Christians are using their ideology for hate and bigotry, to mock, shun and ostracize, to block social changes to withhold rights from others, as justifications for murder, torture, execution and even use it's power/influcence to operaate above the law and destroy the lives of others etc, etc.

The rest of the Christians simply keep their head firmly in the ground for fear of dealing with reality.

Because that is the correct word to use.

AKA, you're just throwing words around without any purpose behind it. All you had to do was say so.

Oh wow, I'm going to have to explain what the word means.

To bastardize something is to corrupt, perverse or change its original form. When you try to do away with the more unfavourable parts of Christianity and simply keep the parts you like than you're bastardizing it.

Demon ID:

Can you please try to be more civil?

I am being civil.

Stop calling people 'primitive'

I didn't call the people primitive, only their ideology. Which it is primitive by definition.

calling their faith a 'disease'.

If I find belief in Christian doctrine to be a negative quality and if this negative quality is something that spreads it is accurate for me to describe it as a disease.

All this prejudice leveled towards all Christians is exactly what I was talking about in my OP. :(

Can't say I sympathize.

Bentusi16:
I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean by the second paragraph. Would you mind expanding on it?

I mean that people create a flawed, subjective idea of what religion is, and attempt to impose it on others irrespective of what the others believe and their justifications; it is an exercise in fallacy and futility, but occurs for the following reason.

This is cognition and psychology. I hold that people frequently have beliefs based often in irrationality or emotion, and that rationalisation is frequently a post-hoc process to make their beliefs fit in the wider picture of the world. We "invest" in these beliefs: they mean a lot to us, we may identify with them so they feel part of us, they allow us to feel secure by understanding the world. Evidence our beliefs may be wrong or unsafe is psychologically uncomfortable. This investment in belief causes a drive for us to favour what we already believe, and support a pre-existing belief beyond - in some cases well beyond - the point it becomes objectively unreasonable by the "balance of evidence". The point at which someone changes their mind is therefore when the failings of their initial belief becomes more psychologically uncomfortable than abandoning the investment in it. And some people can believe in things astonishingly unreasonable without reaching that point.

This does have a positive: humans also need to just get stuff done, and can't be in a constant state of doubt, existential angst and gullibility because they are constantly forced to reassess their lives every time a new fact comes along.

Although, of course, the above applies to any beliefs generally, not just why people hang onto religion despite its innumerable problems or why atheists think shit arguments are enough to prove religion is wrong.

Shadowstar38:

Also, there's that atheist arrogance we've all been talking about. You're way of life is "beautiful" while anyone that uses religion in their life is "wallowing". It's actually no wonder Christians largely refuse to except the atheist side of things if they are met with this kind of hostility.

Hey now, no generalizing and blanket statements please.

On the other hand, you just said that (it's no wonder that) Christians largely refuse to accept the atheist side of things out of spite. I'm pretty sure you did not mean for it to come across that way, that's why I'm just going to say that maybe you want to amend that paragraph...while I understand one would react negatively to being flamed for their point of view, and a refusal to discuss it, it's still worth considering even if you don't want to talk about it with a particular unpleasant person...but well, that's just me.

Arakasi:

Perhaps you didn't notice that I was talking about when the Old Testament was talking about it. Why else would it be in Hebrew?

Well, I made the mistake of assuming you would do the sensible thing of maintaining the context in which the quote "Love thy neighbour" was introduced, which was Honeyvision (or whatever the name) citing the Gospel of Matthew. That's New Testament, in case you hadn't noticed.

As you saw fit to reference the OT version, you can therefore take full responsibility for talking about something irrelevant and misleading people. But don't worry, I forgive you for your misdirected snarkiness. This time, anyway.

Because there's a large difference between telling someone to love everyone and telling someone to love only specific people?

See above.

So you say it's biased without actually reading the material provided and judging it independantly based souly upon its content?
One of the most hypocritical things I've had the pleasure of reading.

evilbible.com's bias is plain even by the name of the site, the snarky introductory paragraphs; I know from prior experience it has minimal scholastic standards (you are hardly the first or even tenth person I have seen cite it - many atheists enjoy weak, cheap and lazy justifications to slag off religion). From a rational, goal-orientated perspective, however, I have to balance the fact I do not have the time or inclination to research every last quote, nor even if I did the inclination to derail a discussion thread with metadebate about the reliability of a two-bit internet site. Thus I very reasonably tell you to supply better source material. You're also getting away from what I'm looking at - see below.

So God's still an evil bastard then, who still changed his mind. One century he wants it punishable on earth, the other he doesn't. Perhaps he should have made up his almighty mind before even intervening. Even if he felt like changing the 'Law' he merely could have snapped his fingers rather than get his 'son' horrifically tortured for it.

I think you are confused here. I am not discussing the degree of objective truth or external morality of the Bible, or whether there are contradictions in it (there are plenty). I am simply discussing the case for what beliefs seem more reasonable (from my perspective, at least) within the Bible's own internal logic. Externally, God is not evil because he doesn't exist. From the Bible's perspective, he is good.

So what you're saying is that because Jesus is better than most in the Old Testament we should follow what Jesus says? Fuck no. He's still a dick, that's my point. He still justifies slavery, all the bigoted laws of the Old Testament, all that pointlessness. Why not follow someone from outside of the Bible with a resaonable modern view and some actual evidence to back up their ideology?

That's appalling reading comprehension. No, I clearly did not say anyone should follow Jesus.

Agema:
Yo

I think this boils down to the arrogance of both the arrogant religious and the arrogant atheist, in that they take a system they cannot know is true and apply it universally.

I think the biggest example of that that I can name is probably Imperator_DK. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.403122-Pakistani-mob-torches-dozens-of-Christian-homes?page=1 shows off all the bad points of atheist all in one go.

And of course the biggest thing is that the technique being used in this case is the exact same as they accuse religions of doing, e.g. reducing people to less then people for having a certain belief system that doesn't line up with theirs.

But I'd rather judge people as individuals rather then in broad strokes, which is rather the point isn't it. But the number of atheist in this thread alone popping off with 'religion is stupid and believing a religion makes you ignorant' is surprisingly high, and not even in a subtle way in some places.

Milk:
Because they don't apply it to their faith. They are being intellectually dishonest.

They do apply it. The more moderate ones listen to all the evidence you have to tell them yet still concluded they are still believers. That's not dishonesty.

I didn't say my "way of life" I said the beauty of critical thinking. These types of subtle changes are what give us all these silly Christian sects.

Critical thinking is beautiful, yet Christian sects are silly. Straight up bigotry.

It shouldn't matter. If they are smart they'll look at what's being said and think about it critically. Instead they just toss away anything that fucks up their delusion.

Delusion? Nope. Their reality. Because they choice to still believe does not make them any less intelligent.

More accurately, while I'm off complaining about the evils of Christianity, Christians are using their ideology for hate and bigotry, to mock, shun and ostracize, to block social changes to withhold rights from others, as justifications for murder, torture, execution and even use it's power/influcence to operaate above the law and destroy the lives of others etc, etc.

Ideology of love and peace. Now you're just trying to make it sound as vile as possible, and its just sort of boring.

The rest of the Christians simply keep their head firmly in the ground for fear of dealing with reality.

Except for the ones that speak out against it. GENERALIZATIONS EVERYWHERE!

Oh wow, I'm going to have to explain what the word means.

To bastardize something is to corrupt, perverse or change its original form. When you try to do away with the more unfavourable parts of Christianity and simply keep the parts you like than you're bastardizing it.

As said earlier in this thread, their are different interpetations of the same book.

I am being civil.

Hahahahahahahaha! No.

If I find belief in Christian doctrine to be a negative quality and if this negative quality is something that spreads it is accurate for me to describe it as a disease.

And this is the same for all sects? Even if they refuse to partake in all the evils of Christianity that you go on about? Ignorance.

This has become

Agema:
SNIPPITY

I'm going to bow out after one tangential question. I had a whole post written, but screw it, it's not worth it. Particularly with the aggression. If our argument is simply over why god is implausible, rather than over whether he is, that's a disagreement I can live with.

May I ask; you say God is "implausible" above, but disagreed at length when I said he was of "negligible probability". There's little difference of importance.

Bentusi16:

I think this boils down to the arrogance of both the arrogant religious and the arrogant atheist, in that they take a system they cannot know is true and apply it universally.

I think the biggest example of that that I can name is probably Imperator_DK. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/528.403122-Pakistani-mob-torches-dozens-of-Christian-homes?page=1 shows off all the bad points of atheist all in one go.

If a man wants to seethe with hate he will do so. You're unlikely to convince him that the reasoning he is trying to justify it with is bad, because the reasoning isn't the point.

And of course the biggest thing is that the technique being used in this case is the exact same as they accuse religions of doing, e.g. reducing people to less then people for having a certain belief system that doesn't line up with theirs.

It's mindset or attitude, really, that can be expressed in anyone. Intolerance, prejudice, excessive self-conviction, etc. And in an extreme form, wanting people with different views violently oppressed.

For the most part, atheism has grown in relatively enlightened, tolerant, secular and free societies where violently oppressing people is considered largely unacceptable. However, I suspect this is coincidental: I don't see that atheism and tolerance are necessarily strongly associated (where secularism and tolerance are). Thus an atheist society could readily also be intolerant and oppress the religious (historically, this has already occurred on a few occasions). I think the way plenty of my fellow atheists talk about the religious is consistent with such conjecture.

Perhaps I am an arrogant atheist. I make try not to assumptions of someone's character based on their spirituality, I won't shun them or discriminate against them.

I feel sorry for them though. Especially those who follow the religion their family forced on them. It seems to me like a type of brainwashing. And even if they are perfectly happy with their religion, I still pity (what I see as) their wasted potential.

Is that arrogant? I suppose I can't make an accurate judgement.
It comes from a place of concern though, not from a sense of superiority.

Silvanus:

May I ask; you say God is "implausible" above, but disagreed at length when I said he was of "negligible probability". There's little difference of importance.

This started because you said the existence of God was improbable under the principles of scientific method; I say the scientific method is irrelevant and inappropriate because the existence of God is not scientifically testable (re. Karl Popper, amongst others).

Your concept of negligible probability initially arose via an attempt at explanation via scientific methodology; consequently I rejected that too as it is still erroneously applying science to what science has no data to measure.

What I think reasonable is the existence of God is defined as implausible (or if you prefer "negligible probability") through logic / philosophy instead of science. In terms of end result re/ the existence of God, it is much the same; but I think it is important to be right for the right reasons rather than right for the wrong reasons.

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