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Thread: Is God Evil?

  1. #131
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    People don't like having their "proof" taken away; hence, the culture should be viewed as hostile, and since academia and higher thinking is partly responsible for their "proof" being taken away, let's brand them as an enemy as well. And entertainment is just a bad influence and is corrupting people to believe immoral things are okay... although we keep spending our money on it.

    .
    I don't think it's proof, the dismantling of it, or the absence of it that is the cause. It's just that the customs people have been used to are changing, and one thing people despise most is having their customs abolished. And who can blame them, especially at our moment in time? A good deal of the cultural conservatives are the elderly, who in the 20th century went through the Depression and the War, through terrible suffering and hard work and sacrifice, and they understandably don't want that all to be for naught (all the talk about the country going down the tubes). This segment isn't listening to modern atheists' arguments, they don't care about proving their faith, they've already had it for 80 years and won't change. All they see is that the attention grabbing people are changing their customs, and that if more people followed Christian values the country would be better. What they do see is customs being removed and altered--Christian morals are just part of those customs.

    But there's not one answer, for some it is that there is too much stuff coming out that puts proof of Christianity in danger. I just don't think they (most people) fear Christianity being atttacked per se, as much as traditional America which happens to have Christian values.
    Johari Nohari

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    he is at least sadistic. Doesn't practice what he preaches, is omniscient yet he tests our faith in him behind an impenetrable array of smoke and mirrors, is omnipotent but never shows himself yet we are required to believe in him lest we be punished after we enter an afterlife we don't even know to exist (after the fact god could have just hard-wired us to know his existence or at least manifest every now and then). Yeah he created the universe but now he's just dicking around.

  3. #133
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNUGGLETRON View Post
    he is at least sadistic. Doesn't practice what he preaches, is omniscient yet he tests our faith in him behind an impenetrable array of smoke and mirrors, is omnipotent but never shows himself yet we are required to believe in him lest we be punished after we enter an afterlife we don't even know to exist (after the fact god could have just hard-wired us to know his existence or at least manifest every now and then). Yeah he created the universe but now he's just dicking around.
    it's been so long since someone gave an answer to the OP, i didn't realize who you were talking about until the word "omniscient"
    Johari Nohari

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  4. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    But there's not one answer, for some it is that there is too much stuff coming out that puts proof of Christianity in danger. I just don't think they (most people) fear Christianity being atttacked per se, as much as traditional America which happens to have Christian values.
    Yeah, I agree with that.

    I think those that daily consciously try to live out a particular brand of Christian faith, however, and especially those who remember a different culture, tend to see them both as the same thing, and so when the culture changes, Christian values are being lost. (re: the whole "prayer in school" debacle).

    Because they see them as synonymous, and because they consciously are trying to adhere to a particular faith standards in everything they do, this change ends up being tangibly anchored as a personal attack on their values rather than something else.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  5. #135
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Not trying to attack you here, but I would like to dissect some of the points.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    The idea that "Christianity is under attack" is not completely without merit, because there are real reasons why Christians might feel this way (which I'll explain below). In reality a Christian might see something that doesn't fit with their worldview and then have a vague feeling that something isn't right. Looking for an explanation for their feelings the only option they're given is the Fox News narrative that there is a vast left-wing conspiracy perpetrated by the "liberal media". :rolli:
    This is true. There's also a preoccupation with the way things are "supposed" to be, and it's easy to trigger defense reactions when reality doesn't jive with that vision.

    In reality there are two small but influencial groups that are out of touch with the majority of America: the entertainment industry and academia. These groups often say/show things that are out of line with mainstream values, but it's really because they are out of touch instead of some vast conspiracy.

    It should be pretty clear that New York/Hollywood entertainment is out of touch. Here's an innocuous example: before the show "The Office" there was almost no comedy about an office environment even though this is a very common environment for Americans to work in. The movie "Office Space" was pretty much it, and the show "The Office" really only got started because it was a remake of a British show. The Entertainment Industry as a whole really has no clue what the life of the average American is like.
    You do have a point when mentioning that life in Manhattan or Los Angeles is different from that in Middle America. However, I don't think that media types are as out of touch as you assert. For one, there's the old vaudeville adage: "Does it play well in Peoria?" If you're going to get viewers' money, you're going to have to understand them at some level. There's a reason that for every Hollywood star, there's 20 niche actors scraping by on waiting tables - you only make the money when you have mass mainstream appeal.

    The flip side to this is that people aren't drawn to the mundane, but rather the unusual (but not TOO unusual). The Office works because it's an office filled with very warped, unhealthy people, but done in a way that they're still relatable. You can't do that unless you have some serious writing talent behind it (see the suckitude of Season 6). Same with Office Space. However, there have been plenty of workplace comedies beforehand: Just Shoot Me, Spin City, WKRP In Cincinnati, Sports Night, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show are all good examples of the genre. In the end, you've got to go with what sells.

    There's one more thing, though - when you hear a commentator go off about "New York media" or "Hollywood values", there's an element of code speech going on there. You can't really get away with saying "the Jews" outright in polite speech.

    Then there is academia, specifically college professors. They have always been far removed from the norm of society, but previously it wasn't as much of an issue. However during the past couple of decades college enrollment has really picked up. So now the majority of Americans are being educated by a group that really has little involvement with mainstream life (and mostly has no desire to be involved with mainstream life). And it should go without saying that a university is generally a highly secular environment where religion is tolerated at best.
    There are a few things going on here. First, anti-intellectualism has been a core component of American culture since the beginning. There's a couple of reasons for that; one, much of our immigrant population consisted of the outcasts of society, including criminals and political dissidents who would have reason to dislike the establish European elites, including the academics, and two, it runs counter to the peculiar brand of egalitarianism that Americans hold so dear. The modern "American Dream", that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and work hard, doesn't much tolerate what academia represents. No matter what, the average college professor is much, much smarter than the average person, and there is nothing that can change this.

    The second is that academics study things that are, of their nature, counterintuitive. Otherwise, they wouldn't be worth studying. So you'll have lots of instances of academic reports that run contrary to "common sense". This, understandably, can cause a lot of unpleasant emotions in people.

    The third is that while campuses aren't anti-religious, per se, they are anti-dogmatic. Everything is to be questioned, including the most firmly-held belief. Empiricism and evidence are the watchwords on campus, instead of faith and doctrine. This skeptical environment can seem hostile to very-religious people.

    On top of this, academics are usually the first to criticize a government's policies, which can feel disloyal to others.

    Finally, there are a lot of professors that are arrogant asses.

    So when people see both the TV and academia telling them things that don't gel with their values they know something is out of whack, but often they can't quite put their finger on it. Academia can't provide the solution, because they are part of the problem. The only explanation people have for this phenomena is Fox News. So they end up believing in the vast liberal conspiracy instead.
    The thing is that working and middle class Americans have a lot to be upset and confused about, such as the radical shift in our economy that we're currently undergoing. There are many things that are going wrong, and it's hard to make a cohesive narrative about why it's going wrong. There are few things that people respond worse to than uncertainty.

    Academia doesn't provide the solution, because that's not their jobs - solutions are the applied side, and not the research side. Academia does do a good job of what it's supposed to do: identify the problem, and the causative factors. Unfortunately, today, many of our problems are of our own causing, or are things that we have no control over, and those messages aren't comforting whatsoever. Humans have a slight tendency to want to shoot the messenger.

    Meanwhile, Fox News is in the business of selling advertising to make money. To do this, they must get eyes on screen, and to do that, you must appeal to people's emotions. Fox is absolutely expert at manipulating people's negative emotions, be it xenophobia, nationalistic fervor, scapegoating (liberals, blacks, immigrants, the poor, etc.), dread (missing white girl syndrome), and so on.

    The point is to get you mad, because when you're angry, you feel like you're right. It's how the Tea Party's also set up - a group of disparate people who don't necessarily have a cohesive philosophy, except that they're mad about things, and it's not their fault.

  6. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    it's been so long since someone gave an answer to the OP, i didn't realize who you were talking about until the word "omniscient"
    Yeah, he's talking about me.

    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the 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.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah, he's talking about me.

    You're not ENTJ!

  8. #138
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    When Christians bitch about Christianity being under attack, the bulk of it comes from feeling like one is in the middle of a moral avalanche as the cultural values in the world you interact with on a daily basis are shifting away from your own values... leaving you floundering and feeling unsupported and isolated as a minority.
    That is certainly something you get from the older generation, but I don't hear this from the younger generation. I've talked with a lot of younger to middle-aged conservatives (both religious and non), and I don't hear them complaining about moral decay. People watch Fox News because it is a closer representation of their worldview compared to most of what they see on TV.

    The problem is that culture is becoming something that many Christians don't want it to be, and they don't have any grounds to stand on if all faiths are equally unprovable. Considering that Christianity has long tried a modernist approach (until the 70-80's, when postmodern and pentecostal/emotive style faiths started to come more into vogue), losing the very certainty that made faith unnecessary is a pretty scary thing unless you truly have faith on something abstract (God) rather than on something tangible (like the Bible).
    I think I was mostly with you until here. Generally only intellectuals are concerned with proof. Most people are much more concerned with practice than proof. If you mean that the older generation doesn't like to see culture changing then that is true (and that has generally always been true for every industrialized culture). But there is something more going on here. Even younger to middle-aged adults feel disconnected from what the TV is portraying. The New York/Hollywood values portrayed in entertainment don't feel genuine to people in other parts of the country.

    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    You do have a point when mentioning that life in Manhattan or Los Angeles is different from that in Middle America. However, I don't think that media types are as out of touch as you assert. For one, there's the old vaudeville adage: "Does it play well in Peoria?" If you're going to get viewers' money, you're going to have to understand them at some level. There's a reason that for every Hollywood star, there's 20 niche actors scraping by on waiting tables - you only make the money when you have mass mainstream appeal.
    If you look at ticket sales rather than revenue, then you'll see the movie industry has been in decline for some time now. TV on the other hand has shifted a lot more toward reality TV during the last decade. These shows get ratings because the scripted stuff doesn't feel genuine to a lot of people. (And also they cost the studios a lot less money to make.)
    There are a few things going on here. First, anti-intellectualism has been a core component of American culture since the beginning. There's a couple of reasons for that; one, much of our immigrant population consisted of the outcasts of society, including criminals and political dissidents who would have reason to dislike the establish European elites, including the academics, and two, it runs counter to the peculiar brand of egalitarianism that Americans hold so dear. The modern "American Dream", that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and work hard, doesn't much tolerate what academia represents. No matter what, the average college professor is much, much smarter than the average person, and there is nothing that can change this.

    The third is that while campuses aren't anti-religious, per se, they are anti-dogmatic. Everything is to be questioned, including the most firmly-held belief. Empiricism and evidence are the watchwords on campus, instead of faith and doctrine. This skeptical environment can seem hostile to very-religious people.

    On top of this, academics are usually the first to criticize a government's policies, which can feel disloyal to others.
    The average university is as steeped in as much dogma tradition as your average old church (like Catholic, Episcople, Lutheran, etc...). This is easy to see when you attend any college graduation. There is enough pomp and ritual there to rival even your most traditional religious wedding. The only difference is that the dogma and traditions are of an academic nature rather than a religious one.

    Finally, there are a lot of professors that are arrogant asses.
    Well I've known a lot of professors, and I can't say I really disagree with this point.

    The thing is that working and middle class Americans have a lot to be upset and confused about, such as the radical shift in our economy that we're currently undergoing. There are many things that are going wrong, and it's hard to make a cohesive narrative about why it's going wrong. There are few things that people respond worse to than uncertainty.

    Academia doesn't provide the solution, because that's not their jobs - solutions are the applied side, and not the research side. Academia does do a good job of what it's supposed to do: identify the problem, and the causative factors. Unfortunately, today, many of our problems are of our own causing, or are things that we have no control over, and those messages aren't comforting whatsoever. Humans have a slight tendency to want to shoot the messenger.
    Academics are both researchers and teachers. It is the job of teachers to provide answers about the world around us.
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  9. #139
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    If you look at ticket sales rather than revenue, then you'll see the movie industry has been in decline for some time now. TV on the other hand has shifted a lot more toward reality TV during the last decade. These shows get ratings because the scripted stuff doesn't feel genuine to a lot of people. (And also they cost the studios a lot less money to make.)
    I don't agree with this characterization. From what I understand, ticket sales are down because home theaters (big screen, surround sound) directly compete with the moviegoing experience. Reality shows became popular because they're cheap, like you said, rather than more-watched than scripted shows. Since there are so many channels available these days, it's hard to charge advertisers the same rates as back in the Big Three days, when you could guarantee advertisers a double-digit percentage of the country's population watching a popular show.

    Reality TV also represents "reality" far less than scripted drama. The only things "ordinary" are the participants.

    The average university is as steeped in as much dogma tradition as your average old church (like Catholic, Episcople, Lutheran, etc...). This is easy to see when you attend any college graduation. There is enough pomp and ritual there to rival even your most traditional religious wedding. The only difference is that the dogma and traditions are of an academic nature rather than a religious one.
    I think you misunderstood me when I said "dogma". I didn't mean pomp and ceremony as much as rigid adherence to certain principles as capital-T True. On campus, if you say something is True, someone is likely to challenge you on it. That can feel hostile.

    Well I've known a lot of professors, and I can't say I really disagree with this point.

    Academics are both researchers and teachers. It is the job of teachers to provide answers about the world around us.
    I disagree. It is the job of teachers to provide the tools and knowledge those on the applied side need in order to fix the problems around us. It's the difference between an architect and an engineer - an architect provides the vision and determines if things are possible, while an engineer figures out exactly how it's supposed to be done.

  10. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah, I agree with that.

    I think those that daily consciously try to live out a particular brand of Christian faith, however, and especially those who remember a different culture, tend to see them both as the same thing, and so when the culture changes, Christian values are being lost. (re: the whole "prayer in school" debacle).

    Because they see them as synonymous, and because they consciously are trying to adhere to a particular faith standards in everything they do, this change ends up being tangibly anchored as a personal attack on their values rather than something else.
    I think some sects of Christianity, namely Evangelicals, might view themselves as "being under attack" because of the secularism that permeates most of Western Culture. Some Christians perceive this to somehow be a threat to their religion, despite the fact that our secular institutions create a pluralistic platform for even their religion to flourish. On top of that, you have Christians who think that separate denominations of Christianity aren't "true" Christians because of the way they live their lives, the way they conduct themselves, and the values they have. It's not just religiously neutral institutions that some Christians have a problem with. There's also the fact that most of our media is religiously neutral, that our public schools are religiously neutral, so on and so forth. The small percentage of people who are a legitimate threat to the more Fundamental Christians are militant atheists - who, as far as I can tell, are more of a reactionary group against Fundamentals. You can see this in most of the arguments they formulate.

    Also - about the media - most of our entertainment revolves around the absurd. If you take a look at The Office (UK), and compare it to The Office (US), even then you can see that the UK version is much more toned down and grounded in reality, while the US version is more theatrical and dramatic.

    We tend to be enchanted by entertainment that, quite frankly, mocks our intelligence and attention span by making flashy flashies on the big screen. Most of the foreign films you find (disregarding Indian) are much lower in budget, therein becoming more focused on the quality of dialog and plot rather than cheap absurdities. If you can meld absurdity with quality, like Batman : The Dark Knight, then I applaud you.

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