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  1. #231
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    I recently decided to read the Bible because I have never actually read it through, so I shouldn't have the right to decry Christianity like I do. I made it to Genesis 20 before I just couldn't take it anymore. It's the most offensive text I have ever read. Many of you know my thoughts on Original Sin, which is how Genesis begins... (and if you don't, I can sum it up with a wonderful quote from Ayn Rand)

    "To hold, as manís sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold manís nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code."

    Plus, the beginning of Genesis is basically about God fucking up over and over, which results in him killing everyone.

    In Genesis 19, Lot, a man who I remember from Sunday school was praised highly for his holiness and whose life was even saved through divine intervention (I think), invites a huge crowd of angry people to gangrape and sodomize his two virgin daughters. I put the book down.

    To Christians and Jews alike I ask: Are you holy enough to invite a mob to rape your virgin daughters in similar circumstances? No? Sinners.
    An inscription above the gate to Hell:
    "Eternal Love also created me"

  2. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    I recently decided to read the Bible because I have never actually read it through, so I shouldn't have the right to decry Christianity like I do. I made it to Genesis 20 before I just couldn't take it anymore. It's the most offensive text I have ever read. Many of you know my thoughts on Original Sin, which is how Genesis begins... (and if you don't, I can sum it up with a wonderful quote from Ayn Rand)

    "To hold, as manís sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold manís nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code."

    Plus, the beginning of Genesis is basically about God fucking up over and over, which results in him killing everyone.

    In Genesis 19, Lot, a man who I remember from Sunday school was praised highly for his holiness and whose life was even saved through divine intervention (I think), invites a huge crowd of angry people to gangrape and sodomize his two virgin daughters. I put the book down.

    To Christians and Jews alike I ask: Are you holy enough to invite a mob to rape your virgin daughters in similar circumstances? No? Sinners.
    The Bible is not a pretty work done by pretty peoples./ It's just overall really bad. I have read it through too, and I wanted something cool and nice, but it just ain't that. It is angry and jealous
    and mean spirited to put it even somewhat nicely. I have zero use for such a god image as that projects.

  3. #233
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayflow View Post
    The Bible is not a pretty work done by pretty peoples./ It's just overall really bad. I have read it through too, and I wanted something cool and nice, but it just ain't that. It is angry and jealous
    and mean spirited to put it even somewhat nicely. I have zero use for such a god image as that projects.
    It's a political screed meant to assert the superiority and dominance of one Levantine tribe of the 5th century BC, not to mention assert the legitimacy of the clerical class. Only later was it combined with the Roman Mithraic mysteries to produce something more modern and palatable to the ruling classes of the time.

  4. #234
    Senior Member Into It's Avatar
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    I'm sure no one will answer the question I posed in my previous post, as if it is somehow unfair.

    I want to point out a couple contradictions that every Christian should be aware that his beliefs necessarily encompass.

    1. The Christian God is infinite.

    Infite means NO boundaries. If you don't think the gum on the bottom of my shoe is your God, then you have admitted a boundary to him. Infinite means no boundaries. There cannot be an infinite God and a gap between you and him. It's a contradiction.

    The second contradiction applies not only to Christians, but to all monotheists, as well as any scientist who is anything other than atheistic or pantheistic. Nearly everyone on the planet harbors this contradiction within their rationalization of reality, but strangely I have never heard anyone be called out on it, nor have I called anyone out on it myself. It is a statement of reality that the vast majority of everyone on the planet would deem ridiculous, yet that same majority claim to believe it, and so much of our science has been built upon it.

    Matter cannot be created or destroyed.

    Think about this, folks. Everything around us that we ascribe a symbol to, such as buildings or plants, can be created or destroyed. All actions are merely results of other actions, which are merely results of other actions, ad infinitum.

    I STRESS: AD INFINITUM!

    It is a fallacy to apply the law of causality to the Universe as a whole. There is no REASON to suppose that it had a "beginning." When it is claimed that "God created the universe" the question that naturally follows is "Who created God?" The only reasonable answers (and I use the word "reasonable" LOOSELY here) are "God created himself" or "God has always been there." To say God created himself requires retardation on an immeasurable scale, so I will skip replying to that response. To say that God has "always been there," implies that you really are privy to what "infinity" means. For the Christian, it is easy to apply something like infinity to a being that can't be sensed. But when we say that what is all around us may be infinite- what we can really sense may be EVERLASTING, God becomes all too real, and the notion is dismissed.

    They would have us believe that it is more likely for something that cannot be sensed AT ALL to be infinite than for something that we already know can not be created nor destroyed to be infinite.
    An inscription above the gate to Hell:
    "Eternal Love also created me"

  5. #235
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Says who?

    If God's existence is not maximally clear, then his character has likewise the possibility of not being maximally clear, and neither you nor I can possibly understand God (as his ways "are past our finding out"). So why does it matter what you want to assume is "just"? God's justice is beyond us, even if we can try to generalize beyond ourselves.

    What I dislike about religious talk is that it insists on codifying and creating certainty where anyone can clearly see that there cannot be... based on what doctrines one wants to hold. You are human. I am human. Neither of us are perfect. Even if God exists and is perfect, we still will misunderstand and not totally grasp him, her, or it.

    And when you read scripture (such as what Journey deleted) saying that God's existence in nature makes all of the Bible as assembled over centuries of writing to be 100% evident so that men are without excuse, but then have to consider the disagreements not only between religions but within Christianity itself (not even varying between the sects but within the act downflow of the mainstream beliefs of Christianity from the time of Christ to the time of today -- the faith keeps mutating as it goes), then you're left with either: (1) this verse is wrong, it's NOT self-evident, or (2) this verse is misunderstood and means something other than what you are suggesting it means, or (3) some other possibilit(ies) I'm missing right now, or (4) a small minority of people have a 100% clear sight of God and the rest are just rebellious and going to hell, no matter the quality of their lives or beliefs. This little verse snippet alone condemns them and makes any deviation from your version of the Christian faith a death sentence.
    Perhaps God's existence isn't maximally clear.

    But is nothing clear?

    Either the nature of the is real is clear, or it isn't. If the nature of the real isn't clear, then all thought and dialogue ends, as there would be no way to determine what actually is the case, and therefore there'd be no way to determine that the way you go about determining meaning is the way meaning is actually determined, because in saying that your preferred method of determining meaning is how meaning is actually determined, you are saying that your preferred method corresponds to some feature of how the world really is, but this would be impossible if the nature of that which is real weren't clear.<-- I love this sentence! Have fun unpacking it!

    As for interpreting the meaning of this or that scriptural passage, I don't think we could even go there: we've too many disagreements of more basic issues. But think of this: if it were clear that God existed, yet you failed to believe in God, what would that say about the seriousness of your spiritual condition?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Just because it throws a wrench into what some Christians would like to believe about God and how they would want to interpret the Scripture(s) they consider valid (as opposed to others) has no bearing on what is actually true.

    It raises interesting questions like this: Does the world need a savior because it's inherently evil, or is the world [cast as] evil because it's been decided that it needs a savior? Which drove which?
    Internal coherence has a lot to do with what is actually true, and I'm restricting this to how Christianity has been historically conceived. This includes the canon of scripture, etc. Perhaps historic Christianity is false, but if it's true, my chain of reasoning is valid, as you agree immediately below.

    Of course, I'd say the world needs a savior because the people actually need to be saved. If the people didn't need to be saved, there'd be no need for a savior.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I don't think it can be avoided. If we can know God clearly 100%, and if the world is inherently evil and needs a savior (and the rest of the beliefs that come with that), then you're going to have to preach on hell... and in fact it seems quite sensible to focus on preaching on hell if you're worried about someone being eternally separated from God. Because of the style of case being made, then everything is firmly interlocked and you can't and shouldn't back away from the "hell" thing, it's a necessary part of salvation ("people are inherently evil and hate God") theology.

    Assumptions about God and assumptions about the nature of humanity drive our behavior and attitudes towards others and what we think they "need" to make them happy and healthy. It's unavoidable. Literalist doctrine drives the need for hell-preaching.
    I agree: it can't be avoided. Preaching and teaching about hell is necessary, but it has been over-emphasized by Literalists who conceive of hell as a literal lake of fire that is future and imposed, the consequence of failing to obey the commands of God; whereas hell, as has been said, is eternal separation from God, the result of not seeking to know God, and as such this consequence is inherent and present; it starts in this life and continues without end.

    The literal lake is stressed in such congregations because their hope has no substance--hope does not keep them going, fear does.

    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Can you explain the way the universe works without the existence of a supernatural being? If so, why is said being necessary?

    It's rather self-centered to believe that one's personal desires or utility is the primary purpose for the universe's existence. Why is my question that of utilitarianism to you?

    Why is what is "real" and what is not even relevant? One cannot measurably operate in potentially superreal existence, so what reason is there to even assume it is there in the first place?

    What need is there for "understanding" beyond that which can be provided by empirical study and evidence? Why does that provide any sort of advantage beyond that caused by social and political factors?

    Why does the burden of proof not fall on the person positing the existence of a higher power? Why is the non-existence of a deity considered a position rather than the null hypothesis?
    I would argue that you can't explain the way the universe works without a supernatural being. But this hinges on what one takes to be an adequate explanation.

    I went off on utilitarianism in order to draw attention to epistemological issues. You used the word "workable" which signals a concern for usefulness, not certainty.

    You asked why God's existence is necessary for a workable model. My response is that God's existence becomes necessary when one looks for certainty instead of workability or probability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Into It View Post
    I'm sure no one will answer the question I posed in my previous post, as if it is somehow unfair.

    I want to point out a couple contradictions that every Christian should be aware that his beliefs necessarily encompass.

    1. The Christian God is infinite.

    Infite means NO boundaries. If you don't think the gum on the bottom of my shoe is your God, then you have admitted a boundary to him. Infinite means no boundaries. There cannot be an infinite God and a gap between you and him. It's a contradiction.

    The second contradiction applies not only to Christians, but to all monotheists, as well as any scientist who is anything other than atheistic or pantheistic. Nearly everyone on the planet harbors this contradiction within their rationalization of reality, but strangely I have never heard anyone be called out on it, nor have I called anyone out on it myself. It is a statement of reality that the vast majority of everyone on the planet would deem ridiculous, yet that same majority claim to believe it, and so much of our science has been built upon it.

    Matter cannot be created or destroyed.

    Think about this, folks. Everything around us that we ascribe a symbol to, such as buildings or plants, can be created or destroyed. All actions are merely results of other actions, which are merely results of other actions, ad infinitum.

    I STRESS: AD INFINITUM!

    It is a fallacy to apply the law of causality to the Universe as a whole. There is no REASON to suppose that it had a "beginning." When it is claimed that "God created the universe" the question that naturally follows is "Who created God?" The only reasonable answers (and I use the word "reasonable" LOOSELY here) are "God created himself" or "God has always been there." To say God created himself requires retardation on an immeasurable scale, so I will skip replying to that response. To say that God has "always been there," implies that you really are privy to what "infinity" means. For the Christian, it is easy to apply something like infinity to a being that can't be sensed. But when we say that what is all around us may be infinite- what we can really sense may be EVERLASTING, God becomes all too real, and the notion is dismissed.

    They would have us believe that it is more likely for something that cannot be sensed AT ALL to be infinite than for something that we already know can not be created nor destroyed to be infinite.
    Infinite doesn't mean no boundaries.

    If matter were eternal, it would be self maintaining.
    Matter is not self maintaining.
    Therefore, matter is not eternal.

    I'd be very interested to see if you can get around the problem of entropy without appealing to an unknown.

  6. #236
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    I would argue that you can't explain the way the universe works without a supernatural being. But this hinges on what one takes to be an adequate explanation.

    I went off on utilitarianism in order to draw attention to epistemological issues. You used the word "workable" which signals a concern for usefulness, not certainty.

    You asked why God's existence is necessary for a workable model. My response is that God's existence becomes necessary when one looks for certainty instead of workability or probability.
    Why is that? Or more importantly, why is it important that there be a supernatural being in your model of a universe? What vital function does it serve that is non-observable?

    How do you define certainty? Via mathematics (the language the universe is written in) and observation, we've discovered that the universe is by its very nature uncertain at the quantum level. Why is that not enough?

  7. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    Either the nature of the is real is clear, or it isn't. If the nature of the real isn't clear, then all thought and dialogue ends, as there would be no way to determine what actually is the case, and therefore there'd be no way to determine that the way you go about determining meaning is the way meaning is actually determined, because in saying that your preferred method of determining meaning is how meaning is actually determined, you are saying that your preferred method corresponds to some feature of how the world really is, but this would be impossible if the nature of that which is real weren't clear.<-- I love this sentence! Have fun unpacking it!
    Truly you have a dizzying intellect. *rofl*

    Well, okay, my thoughts here:

    I think what you're doing here is the "all or nothing" case... which is similar to the slippery slope fallacy in that it only posits two binary extreme outcomes.

    I think it's pretty clear that life is not like that. Our two options are not, "Either we know everything with certainty" or "We know nothing and cannot make any educated guesses."

    My quibble in religious conversation is that I see many people saying, "I know all this is true," when the fact is that (hopefully) it's an "educated guess" based on their best understanding on the data.

    With the former, there is no need to accept any more outside data; there is no need to listen to another human being's insights (except as a hollow gesture); there is no need to continue to learn or grow or keep searching. This sort of mentality also automatically drops into a "defend the borders" approach to outsiders and dissenters, where the "truth" must be defended, xenophobic fears have fertile soil to grow within, authoritarian government rules, and interactive community can't help but break down. These negatives are implicitly enabled and encouraged by holding a position of certainty in a world that is diverse and often ambiguous.

    With the latter, one can hold an opinion but is still able to engage others meaningfully and learn from them and not calcify one's position. Because the understanding is that we might hold a particular view currently, but that we accept that -- even if the general patterns might seem to be true -- there is much that we might not understand, and anyone is capable of providing us more insight that could lead to our understanding becoming more accurate and fruitful. This approach necessitates and fosters communication (it's the primary medium of information exchange and growth), inclusion, preservation of variety and imagination, and so forth.

    So I think it's possible to live life on the basis of "educated guesswork" that can constantly be updated upon need, rather than being forced to hold a very specific set of doctrinal beliefs that are by nature inflexible, certain, and immutable. I think fallible human beings trying to hold to infallible beliefs is a recipe for disaster, long-term; if we were perfect, then our understanding might be perfect, but we are not perfect, so our understanding is imperfect.

    So my quibble is not that religious make claims at all, that's fine, but it's with the basis for the claim(s) coupled with the degree of granularity that is even possible in an imperfectly understood world by intellectually limited human beings that bothers me. I mean, there are people's lives and happiness and expression of self being irrevocably impacted by people laying claim to religious values that really cannot be shown to be true but supposedly give permission for interference/intrusion by others, and that's where it this all hinges.... not in the theoretical but in the tangible impact of self-contained and imposed religious beliefs upon the welfare of other human beings.

    /As for interpreting the meaning of this or that scriptural passage, I don't think we could even go there: we've too many disagreements of more basic issues. But think of this: if it were clear that God existed, yet you failed to believe in God, what would that say about the seriousness of your spiritual condition?
    The problem really is what case can be proven.

    If it was clear that God existed but you couldn't perceive him,then that would mean you were really screwed up... and to the very same degree that, if God didn't exist but you DID claim to perceive him, you would be really screwed up.

    Which is it?
    We don't know.

    So why do some people insist they do know, and feel justified in imposing themselves on others... just because they "believe" something? This is how people are violated in the world: One person believes something that isn't true, and not only follows it themselves but feels compelled to somehow force another to comply with it as well.

    Of course, I'd say the world needs a savior because the people actually need to be saved. If the people didn't need to be saved, there'd be no need for a savior.
    Yup. it's quite the conundrum.

    But it definitely impacts one's view of the universe and humanity. What does it mean to REALLY believe that every human being is essentially depraved at heart? Incapable of any good whatsoever? Always out to appease their own motives? (Which is what Romans Roads Christians claim to really believe. Our righteousness is filthy rags, our throats open graves, we're given over to sin and licentiousness on our own, we are murderers and liars and thieves and gluttons and whatever else you'd like to name... and yup, it's all in there in great detail in Romans and Psalms and wherever else.)

    I don't think anyone truly believes this, or the world would be far crazier than it actually is and we'd each be holed up in our own private bunkers and not coming out for anything. We might LIKE to think we believe this, and people in church constantly quote and read these verses... but isn't the truth really that we think other people are "okay" but just a bit misguided, or dumb, or selfish at times, etc? That's how we interact with them. Not as the former, but as generally reasonable but just imperfect people.

    And that's not the scriptural position, nor is it the position I see inherent in what you are arguing (with insisting that the world needs a savior). We claim to believe one thing, but if you watch how we behave, then our actual beliefs are obvious.

    And I think not taking one's beliefs to their logical conclusions is a cop-out, because it muddies down the intellectual conversation and lets us cobble together half-truths that obfuscate the natural ramifications of certain beliefs. Which leads back into the "hell" thing... Either we believe people need a savior and are going to be suffering eternal torment, so we're working endlessly and tirelessly to get other people to believe the way we do... OR we have to accept that maybe we really don't believe that (OR we're unloving OR uncommitted to the faith). To claim to believe in original sin, human depravity, the need for a savior, and whatever else, and then not be out there tirelessly confronting people and trying to win them out of damnation --as far as I can see -- is a moral/rational failing.

    Either change our doctrine or change our behavior.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    ‚ÄúPleasure to me is wonder‚ÄĒthe unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.‚ÄĚ ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #238
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    ^ Wow. Nice post.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  9. #239
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    ^ Wow. Nice post.
    They're running just like you
    For you, and I, wooo
    So people, people, need some good ol' love

  10. #240
    Senior Member Journey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post

    But it definitely impacts one's view of the universe and humanity. What does it mean to REALLY believe that every human being is essentially depraved at heart? Incapable of any good whatsoever? Always out to appease their own motives? (Which is what Romans Roads Christians claim to really believe. Our righteousness is filthy rags, our throats open graves, we're given over to sin and licentiousness on our own, we are murderers and liars and thieves and gluttons and whatever else you'd like to name... and yup, it's all in there in great detail in Romans and Psalms and wherever else.)

    I don't think anyone truly believes this, or the world would be far crazier than it actually is and we'd each be holed up in our own private bunkers and not coming out for anything. We might LIKE to think we believe this, and people in church constantly quote and read these verses... but isn't the truth really that we think other people are "okay" but just a bit misguided, or dumb, or selfish at times, etc? That's how we interact with them. Not as the former, but as generally reasonable but just imperfect people.

    And that's not the scriptural position, nor is it the position I see inherent in what you are arguing (with insisting that the world needs a savior). We claim to believe one thing, but if you watch how we behave, then our actual beliefs are obvious.

    And I think not taking one's beliefs to their logical conclusions is a cop-out, because it muddies down the intellectual conversation and lets us cobble together half-truths that obfuscate the natural ramifications of certain beliefs. Which leads back into the "hell" thing... Either we believe people need a savior and are going to be suffering eternal torment, so we're working endlessly and tirelessly to get other people to believe the way we do... OR we have to accept that maybe we really don't believe that (OR we're unloving OR uncommitted to the faith). To claim to believe in original sin, human depravity, the need for a savior, and whatever else, and then not be out there tirelessly confronting people and trying to win them out of damnation --as far as I can see -- is a moral/rational failing.

    Either change our doctrine or change our behavior.
    Jennifer, you build a straw man. If you were truly "in the reformed tradition" for many years as you claim, then you know the doctrine of common grace. How God restrains the evil in man by His grace so that we are not as evil as we can be. You pick and choose the doctrines you want to expose to make a mish mash of the faith you rejected. I laugh at your renditions of the doctrines of the reformed faith.
    "My Journey is my Destination."

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