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Thread: Apocalypses, "prophets" and naive people

  1. #21
    Olympian God Violos's Avatar
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    Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed with Ben Stein, which discussed the virulent and vitriol-laden debate over Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
    I haven't seen it, though the deliberate double entendre of that title alone suggests a not so objective view.

    The problem I have with Creationists (or those I encountered) is that they do not talk about the possibility of a higher mind behind the universe as we know it (i.e. starting with the big bang), but rather about how Genesis is an accurate description and people lived next to dinosaurs. Pulling lowly tricks to confuse people with "logic" like "Science only has theories! Theory means it must be vague! No facts at all! Just as valid as any belief!".
    And what is worse, it even works to basically stall the discussion on such a level. Even though anyone with a mediocre education should know that in science, a theory is formulated to best describe what was observed in thousands of facts.
    They obviously and deliberately aim at the masses'... stupidity may be too harsh a word. But not at a honest discussion, in spite of all the "scientific" polish they put on.


    As for "things like heaven, hell and non-material influences that actively direct your actions in spite of overwhelming eveidence against them," the fact of the matter is that Christianity teaches the concept of free-agency, where we make our own decisions. God doesn't "directly influence" everything we do.
    Yet free-agency, as in having a soul instead of a predeterminded/chaotic system of neurons, requires exactly that.

    OT, but that's basically what modern neuroscience comes down to today, because the rest is known: Are the smallest electronic processes that trigger decisions clearly determinded by cause and effect ("cause" being any number of circumstances), are random processes involved, or can some force (soul) push them one way or another without being material itself?
    The latter is what was proposed by a christian cleric. Though he had little to say to back it up except that it would have to be that way in order for christian beliefs to remain a possibility.

  2. #22
    Wordsmith defboy99's Avatar
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    Medea, I couldn't agree more--"let each believe as he wishes and don't try to force your beliefs on others." If everyone held this philosophy to heart, the world would be such a better place. Good quote.

    I don't blame religion, per se, as much as I blame human nature. Whether or not any/all religions are valid, there's still the fact that we were busy killing each other long before religion came onto the scene. It's true that there are hard-core factions within many religions, and it's these factions that cause problems. Once again, the "fringe elements" of society are the dangerous ones, while most people simply want to live in peace with one another and enjoy basic human rights and freedoms. Where trouble begins is where power begins, followed by pride, corruption, greed, you name it. You don't just find this in religion, either, but in all things that involve large groups of humans. So when people blame religion for the world's woes, they're blaming a concept rather than focusing on the real issue, which is human fallibility.

    I've also pondered that perhaps man created God in an attempt to assuage his terror of the unknown. I mean, look at what happens when we die? Our corporeal form rots, stinks, is devoured by wild animals, etc.--this was the experience of early man as he watched his kinfolk die. Who in his right mind would want such an end for himself? It's entirely possible that, for this reason alone (not to mention your suggestion that man's curiosity regarding the universe might have caused him to "invent" religion as a way of explaining The Great Mysteries), religion came into being. Perhaps early man just couldn't live with the finality of corporeal death, having seen it up close and violently, so his fear of the unknown created a belief system wherein this mortal life is not the end, but perhaps the beginning. Perhaps there is something beyond the horrors of this life, and if we treat our fellow man with respect and kindness and compassion, maybe we can attain that great good reward at some point. Who can say? And therein lies the crux: no one knows for sure, so I believe it's best to be open-minded to the possibility, whether that leads to a spiritual conversion, agnosticism or atheism. For me, it led to spiritual conversion, something that changed my life.

    Also, many horrific things take place in countries where organized religion is banned or persecuted, so one really can't definitively assert that religion is the cause of all of humankind's woes. In fact, in America, we have freedom to believe any way we choose, and there are many, many good things that have come of this basic human right. In America, we don't see the horrors evident in other nations where religious despots rule with an iron fist and deny humans of basic rights because of their extremists religious views. Perhaps America gets the most press because of its status among the world's nations: it's constantly under the microscope, and countries that hate us look for any little thing to use against us. America isn't perfect by any means, but we have freedoms here that many people worldwide don't have. And because we have freedom of religion, we end up with cults, fanatics, weirdos, bad guys, extremists, just like in any other country, and these people give the rest of us a bad name, unfortunately.

    I guess even if I'm wrong and there is no God, at least my Christian upbringing and beliefs have created in me a compassionate heart and a willingness to be kind and helpful to others, especially those less fortunate than myself. The proof is in the pudding, they say, which is why we all mustn't judge others by anything other than the integrity of their character, not by religion or skin color or income bracket or nation of origin, etc.

  3. #23
    Olympian God Violos's Avatar
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    I've also pondered that perhaps man created God in an attempt to assuage his terror of the unknown. I mean, look at what happens when we die? Our corporeal form rots, stinks, is devoured by wild animals, etc.--this was the experience of early man as he watched his kinfolk die. Who in his right mind would want such an end for himself? It's entirely possible that, for this reason alone (not to mention your suggestion that man's curiosity regarding the universe might have caused him to "invent" religion as a way of explaining The Great Mysteries), religion came into being.
    Exactly. Actually, this is very likely. And natural.
    Some people say the emergence of religion in so many independent places and cultures is a proof for an all-present god known by different names. I think it's simply a result of people all developing a conscience, which had to deal with its own limits.
    That's how we moved from weather gods to extra-terrestrial gods to extra-universal gods, along with the limits of our understanding.

    Perhaps there is something beyond the horrors of this life, and if we treat our fellow man with respect and kindness and compassion, maybe we can attain that great good reward at some point.
    And that is the paradox which speaks for religion: The great reward is the better life you have right now in a society which acts by those values. But it often takes more than this simple reasoning to get people to do it.

  4. #24
    Olympian God Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
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    I agree defboy99, it's just as much about human nature if not more. Part of that problem lies in trying to make out that we are not animals or above the animals and, therefore, outside the natural order of things. Let's face it we aren't vegetables or minerals so we must be animals. We are perhaps the highest of the animals (my opinion changes depending on what atrocities, etc., may be happening in the world at any moment), but animals none the less with animal instincts of which one is to fight. It's man's continuingly evolving intellect and various religions' input that has made us attempt to overcome this and live more peacefully together. This, perhaps, could be religion's greatest gift to humans, if only we would heed its voice more. Imagine what it would be like if everyone in the world was squabbling over something.

  5. #25
    Wordsmith defboy99's Avatar
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    @ Violos -- The documentary I mentioned is actually very balanced. You should check it out before you judge it by its title (the old "Don't judge a book by its cover" thing, you know?).

    I should state my personal perspective on something because there seems to be quite a bit of generalizing going on here. I am a Christian who believes in the geological record according to what the scientific method has theorized--I believe the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. Many people misinterpret obviously figurative passages in the Bible to infer that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, but I don't subscribe to that theory. Too much evidence supports an Earth age of 4.5 billion years. This does not contradict the Bible which, as I stated, uses figurative language to describe creation. Any good Biblical scholar worth his salt will tell you that the Earth is extremely old, nowhere near the 10,000 year mark posed by certain fundamentalist zealots. I also believe in the Big Bang Theory of the creation of the universe--I believe God created everything using the laws of nature & physics--it makes sense that a logical God would do this, and it even fits with the "something out of nothing" paradox that scientists have been arguing over for decades. I do NOT believe that man and dinosaurs coexisted--nowhere in the fossil record has this ever shown up. The whole point is this: people generalize and use broad brush strokes to categorize other people into stereotypes which most of the time are erroneous. I keep coming back to this fact because it seems that people are still saying "Christians this..." or "Religion that..." It's important for one to get to know the human being, then make one's judgment. It's important for one to get to know the religious belief system before making one's judgment. It seems the less a person knows about something, the more critical he is, and this is a shame. I'm not trying to convert anyone here. Just stating my opinion. So, no offense intended.

    I've had run-ins with fanatics, too, who tried to jam down my throat the same junk you mentioned. There are always a few bad apples in the barrel, it seems. My advice is, don't judge us all by a handful of crackpots. There are many Christians who believe what science has found to be factual. Not all Christians are stupid, weak-minded, fearful puppets who believe in superstition and hide from scientific facts.

    And, you're spot-on regarding The Great Reward and how society would benefit from a world based on love and respect rather than fear and hatred. It really is too bad that this ideal seems so hard to come by because this world could really use it right about now. If only more people knew how good it feels to do something for another person without regard of what they might get in return, everyone would benefit.

    @ Medea -- I, too, wonder at times just how "far above the animals" humans really are. A quick glance globally can sometimes be enough to make me want to hide in a cave somewhere. Recently, my nephew and I were talking about global events and I said I wondered what would happen if all the world's leaders were flown up to the International Space Station and were made to stand at a window, viewing Earth. What would go through their minds, seeing that small blue ball floating in space? Would they realize that we're all brothers (and sisters) on this planet and that we should stop bickering and killing each other? Would that unique perspective suddenly change their minds and, therefore, change our future for the better? My nephew thought for a second, then said, "Nah. They'd all say 'I want that!' and then start killing each other on the space station." Probably right. However, regardless of what anyone says (and Violos, I truly respect your comments--very educated and thought-provoking), my faith gives me a little something called Hope, and sometimes it's the only thing that can get you through a difficult time. Without hope, where would anyone be, believer or non-believer? I like to think we humans are better that what we usually see on the 10:00 news, you know?

    Anyway, in closing, I appreciate the opportunity to share my opinions with you good folks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Let's all do something today to make the world a better place.
    Last edited by defboy99; 05-25-2011 at 12:49 PM.

  6. #26
    Forum Ranger bonobo4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by defboy99 View Post
    ....
    Thanks for this. You actually sound like the kinda guy this world needs, not a religious zealot raving about death and hell. And Violos, you are educated clearly. I like to think I am, but there's not enough in my head I can really say on this topic, apart from basic facts and opinions.
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  7. #27
    Damn that logic!!! Laurrrr's Avatar
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    Well I didn't expected to see so much opinions here and I am glad this didn't turned into a religious war. I didn't even expect to see a post here. Thanks guys.
    The Book thread
    The Poetry thread


    "The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish."
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  8. #28
    Administrator yerkyerk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medea Fleecestealer View Post
    And why does it seem to be only the Western based religions?
    Lol, there's only one major Western based religion, I'll give you a hint; the Islam is not Western based.

    Furthermore, Mercedes Lackey didn't get it. Only if you truly feel that there is no true way, than you can say that kind of stuff - but even than forcing people not to force - is hypocrite.
    What's more, if someone is convinced that his friends will end up in a bad position in the afterlife; wouldn't it be selfish to just sit idly by?

  9. #29
    Olympian God Violos's Avatar
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    @Defboy
    Don't judge a book by its cover
    I wouldn't if the cover was ambiguous. Just saying that a title that could be mistaken for "scientists oppress the intelligent" is unfortunate in that regard.

    And I didn't mean to imply that you believe in or do that kind of wacky stuff. It's just that those who do - and that's who I mean by Creationists, fighting Darwinism and all - like to masquerade as "scientists promoting intelligent design" these days. And even officially, the term is used for those who promote "intelligent meddling" throughout the ages.

    If by ID you just mean the possibility that some higher intelligence created this huge system we call nature with all its laws, and then hit the start button, then we're exactly on the same page.
    - Except that you chose to believe in it, while I say we cannot know and it practically doesn't make a difference.

    Just curious how exactly you define your "relationship" then. Figuratively speaking, how do the contents of a program relate to their programmer while it's running?


    And about me being educated... meh. I'm not trying to preach "the truth" here. Humanity knows so very little.
    It's just people who try to oppose what we already do know for silly personal reasons who get me on the fence.
    And yes, it really is nice to talk about this with all of you in such a respectful manner.


    As for provoking tohughts...
    I wondered what would happen if all the world's leaders were flown up to the International Space Station and were made to stand at a window, viewing Earth. What would go through their minds, seeing that small blue ball floating in space? Would they realize that we're all brothers (and sisters) on this planet and that we should stop bickering and killing each other? Would that unique perspective suddenly change their minds and, therefore, change our future for the better?
    They should play Fate Of The World. And/or watch Symphony of Science.

    If only more people knew how good it feels to do something for another person without regard of what they might get in return
    Actually, everyone does nothing but things where he gets or at least expects something in return. The "good" people are those wired in a way that this kind of action gives them a positive inner response. But that's another philosophical subject.

  10. #30
    Wordsmith defboy99's Avatar
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    @ bonobo – A sincere thanks. This is me; it’s who I really am, and honestly that’s all I can be. You know, the sum of all parts of our lives create who we are at the present, including all the hard times and good times. I’ll be the first to admit I have a lot of problems in my life, but I do the best I can.

    @ Laurrrr – You’ve begun an interesting thread here, and I, too, am glad it didn’t devolve into an all-out religious war. Nothing good ever comes of that. It’s good to expose ourselves to differing opinions—how else can we learn as humans if we think we already know everything? Lots of good opinions and information here.

    @ yerky – Yes, if a Christian is convinced that his friends or family members might end up in a bad situation in the afterlife, it is a responsibility of that person to do what he can, but it has to be done in a loving, respectful manner. Jamming food down a person’s throat when he’s not hungry will cause a gag reflex. Trying to force one’s opinion on another person this way will also cause a gag reflex and will usually result in an argument with bad feelings on both sides. The best someone can do is sit down with that person and just talk to him, find out exactly how he feels, exactly where he’s at in his life, and then share his own personal experiences with him. Perhaps something in one’s life will resonate with the other person and a deep connection will be made. The thing is, regarding faith (at least in Christianity; other religions can differ wildly), it’s a choice to believe. You will or you won’t, based on your own desire. Some folks choose to believe based on what a life of faith has wrought in another person’s life, how a spiritual conversion can change a person for the better. Others choose not to believe. An important thing to consider, though, is that at least the person has more information and can see where the Christian person is coming from. Too many “religious” people go on the attack and really give the rest of us a black eye, and it’s unfortunate. So, this really applies to any and all situations: get to know the person, understand each other, show mutual respect, and share. This needn’t only apply to someone’s spiritual future, but to all things humans experience in life, be it drug abuse/addiction, alcoholism, physical/mental illness, poverty, the death of a spouse/family member, loss of employment, homelessness, etc. Any human with a good heart will feel a responsibility to help his fellow man, no matter the situation. It’s a very good point you brought up.

    @ Violos – Actually, I think you and I are fairly close regarding your Intelligent Design idea—“the possibility that some higher intelligence created this huge system we call nature with all its laws, and then hit the start button”—although I do differ in that I believe in a “hands-on” God. Too much is still unknown about so many things, as you said. The Bible has never purported to be a science textbook; rather, it’s a spiritual guide. So, while I do believe that an Intelligent Being created everything, I also believe that this Creator is still active in the lives of his creations. Not in a puppeteer sense, where He dictates our every thought and every motion, but out of a love for what He’s created, which is how The Programmer interacts with His “lines of code,” to borrow your metaphor. After all, if a programmer writes a program and it’s got an error in a line of code and the program doesn’t function properly, doesn’t the programmer dig around in the code until he finds the problem and then fix it? Metaphorically speaking, humans are lines of code or sub-routines that The Programmer searches for in order to try to remedy any problems so the program will run smoothly and harmoniously. To a Christian, God actively “seeks out” His creations out of a sense of love and a desire for a relationship with us. There’s no force of will applied here; no one is made to do anything against his will; it’s all a personal choice. A better metaphor would be a parent whose children have run away. Any good parent will search relentlessly out of love to find his children and make sure they’re safe, sound, and back home. I don’t have to describe the current state of humankind here—it’s all over the news 24 hours a day—so it goes without saying that humans can be considered “lost” to a great degree. The God I believe in loves us and therefore seeks us out in the hopes that we will accept Him of our own volition and be reconciled with Him. That’s how The Programmer interacts with his sub-routines or lines of code while the program is running. Once again, it’s my belief, and others are completely free to have other/no beliefs.

    In regards to doing something in an altruistic way and not expecting a reward, you can look at it this way. Some folks might help someone but demand payment/trade of some sort. If a transaction is made, goods or services change hands and both people move on with their lives. However, sometimes one person will help another person for free, out of the goodness of his heart, even refusing payment of any sort, and afterwards both people will move on with their lives, but things might just be a little different for both people from that point on, you know? The smallest act of kindness can change the entire world for someone else. And yes, there is a payoff for the helper: a warm feeling inside for having done something for a fellow human. My point was that too many people insist on some kind of reward for doing anything, be it goods, money, recognition in the press, fame, glory, etc. To me, there’s nothing quite as fulfilling as doing something nice for a complete stranger who’s down on his luck and not expecting anything in return. It’s humbling and well worth the effort, but yes, I get a good reward, too.

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