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View Poll Results: What Religion Do You Practice/Not Practice and Why?

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  • I'm an atheist

    36 27.48%
  • I'm agnostic

    25 19.08%
  • Buddhism

    6 4.58%
  • Hinduism

    1 0.76%
  • Islam

    2 1.53%
  • Christianity

    39 29.77%
  • Other

    22 16.79%
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  1. #191

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDog View Post
    Religion, so far as I can tell, is inherently not testable. We can't really know if something real is going on or not, not in the same sense as we can with a physical experiment.
    It depends, what sort of evidence are you looking for? Psychoanalysis is attacked in the same ways as religion because it doesnt conform to the falsifiability framework for science set by Popper, or Einstein who Popper said he was inspired by, but there are alternatives and sometimes the evidence which is required of someone of certain things is greater or unfairly different from others.

    I'm not dodging the question there, if it appears that way I'm sorry and I could add something to it.

    So far I've not found a satisfactory methodology for approaching religious questions; I've just succeeded in ruling out all the methodologies I've come across, except accepting its truth as an axiom, rather like Euclid's axioms.

    The results I get when I construct my worldview with a religious axiom are . . . interesting. I prefer the worldview that includes the religious axiom because it is more symmetrical and intellectually complete, but I don't think that is a good enough reason to assert that it is true. So I just have faith that it is.
    There are axioms involved, I can understand anyone preferring rigor to axioms, I can understand why Russell wasnt satisfied with maths and physics but even he had to confess that at the end of his magnum opus that he'd just discovered another more rigorous set of axioms.

    What would you consider an objective criteria?
    I dont think everything is social construction, if that's what you're driving at, its an interesting idea but I think it suffers from some of the things which abstract reasoning did in the conservative criticism of liberalism back at the time of the enlightenment and french revolution.


    I don't think all systems bring equal results, but positing that good results are the criteria is a problem because our definition of good results is subjective unless you go with a naturalistic pseudo evolutionary definition, but that in turn leads you back around to the extreme agnosticism which has the problems I outlined above.

    If good results are not the criteria, what are?
    I think you've lost me.


    See, I don't think that faith in the context of religion is at all similar to faith in the context of other things. My faith in regards other people just means I have no reason to believe they are fakes, and I might have some evidence that they are not. But that would change if new evidence came up. So I wouldn't call that faith, just my best estimate of the situation.
    I dont agree with you then.

    On the other hand, religious faith should be unshakeable; at least in Christianity, repeatedly this is emphasized. The disciples who believed without seeing Jesus resurrected are praised above 'doubting Thomas' who needed the evidence. To take one example.
    That's one school of thought, there are others which suggest that the simple belief or untested faith is not as useful, valuable etc. as that which has experienced plateaus and doubt, there is an entire monastic order based upon that. Also in relation to Thomas what they said specifically was happy the man who has not seen and yet believes, I'd say that's true, even Russell, an athiest thought that was true but he called it the "fool's paradise".

    So if religious faith should be unshakeable, the logical conclusion to me is that it should be totally divorced from any evidence. But if that's the case, what caused you to believe in the first place?

    I am not certain on whether my idea of faith is a sound concept; I have the sense something is missing . . .
    I'm not sure I'm articulate enough to explain my understanding of just exactly how and why religion and God defy evidence in many conventional senses, also I think its important to define evidence too.

    I haven't concluded that God doesn't exist, on the contrary I firmly believe that He does on the basis of faith. I just don't have a good system to justify that belief because I think my current conception leaves much to be desired.

    My basic trajectory is inspired by this thought experiment: "What if in a thousand years science found this or that. Would it affect my belief?" And if the answer is yes, then I conclude that I can't have found an unshakeable basis for religious belief. If my basis is not unshakeable, then how can it be intellectually satisfying? How can I be willing to put my life on the line for something that the jury is still out on?

    Does that make sense?
    Well for me its precisely that the jury is out that it matters that I could put my life on the line for it, I wouldnt put my life on the line for anything merely human and all too tangible and human, all too human if you know what I mean.

    This is why I think its important that philosophers of religion such as Maimonides have stressed the point that God is non-corporeal, although I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that God is exclusively conceptual and a projection of unconscious humanism as some philosophers have (although its an interesting idea as far as it goes and progressive in comparison to some schools of superstition and mysticism).

    If you'd like a reference there's a book by Hans Kung called What I believe or something along those lines and he talks about his own faith in God is unshakeable but that he has at different times considered different evidence as valid in forming that belief, sometimes he no longer believes in a particular evidence even but that his belief in God overall is uneffected, it sounds a little like what you are talking about.

  2. #192
    Senior Member BlackDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    It depends, what sort of evidence are you looking for? Psychoanalysis is attacked in the same ways as religion because it doesnt conform to the falsifiability framework for science set by Popper, or Einstein who Popper said he was inspired by, but there are alternatives and sometimes the evidence which is required of someone of certain things is greater or unfairly different from others.

    I'm not dodging the question there, if it appears that way I'm sorry and I could add something to it.
    I think frameworks like psychoanalysis can be useful, but I think they are just mental constructs convenient for categorizing a range of otherwise disparate observations. I do think that there is a 'real' way to tie these observations together, but right now we don't have access to it, so a mental framework that sometimes runs parallel to the real framework is a good temporary solution.

    The difficulty is that a framework like that is okay for something like the human psyche, but only until we get something more direct. I don't want to view religion the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    There are axioms involved, I can understand anyone preferring rigor to axioms, I can understand why Russell wasnt satisfied with maths and physics but even he had to confess that at the end of his magnum opus that he'd just discovered another more rigorous set of axioms.
    Exactly, that's the trouble. "This is unknowable, but I must act as if I know something." And you do know something, or you couldn't operate effectively. It's just unclear if you know stuff directly, or only by very indirect parallels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I dont think everything is social construction, if that's what you're driving at, its an interesting idea but I think it suffers from some of the things which abstract reasoning did in the conservative criticism of liberalism back at the time of the enlightenment and french revolution.
    No, I don't think everything is social construction. I do think that it is a mistake to suppose that individual humans are the basic unit to be analyzed; I think the 'network' is the basic unit and the individual humans are just interchangeable parts. Though of course not from our perspective . . . We exist to benefit the network, but the network exists because it is the most successful way to ensure the survival of the individuals who take shelter in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That's one school of thought, there are others which suggest that the simple belief or untested faith is not as useful, valuable etc. as that which has experienced plateaus and doubt, there is an entire monastic order based upon that. Also in relation to Thomas what they said specifically was happy the man who has not seen and yet believes, I'd say that's true, even Russell, an athiest thought that was true but he called it the "fool's paradise".
    May be true, but only after we assume that the faith is in something real. You're working backwards there from the conclusion, which would be fine except that we haven't established yet why the conclusion is what it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I'm not sure I'm articulate enough to explain my understanding of just exactly how and why religion and God defy evidence in many conventional senses, also I think its important to define evidence too.
    I am satisfied with that. But not in the long run. Just as a placeholder.

    Evidence is a vague term. To me, it would need to show that religion is more than just a natural phenomenon, special or not, beneficial to certain human networks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Well for me its precisely that the jury is out that it matters that I could put my life on the line for it, I wouldnt put my life on the line for anything merely human and all too tangible and human, all too human if you know what I mean.
    Oh, I agree. Because if there is no possibility of God, then there is no possibility I've seen of meaning in life, at least of the kind I want.

    All the same, I want clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    This is why I think its important that philosophers of religion such as Maimonides have stressed the point that God is non-corporeal, although I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that God is exclusively conceptual and a projection of unconscious humanism as some philosophers have (although its an interesting idea as far as it goes and progressive in comparison to some schools of superstition and mysticism).
    Exactly, what if God existed in some sort of 'collective unconscious' created by human networks, somehow . . . I don't think there is anything to that, but it would be incredibly depressing if so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    If you'd like a reference there's a book by Hans Kung called What I believe or something along those lines and he talks about his own faith in God is unshakeable but that he has at different times considered different evidence as valid in forming that belief, sometimes he no longer believes in a particular evidence even but that his belief in God overall is uneffected, it sounds a little like what you are talking about.
    I'll have to look into that. Because it's exactly the sort of process that informs my belief in God, and right now I believe that process to be invalid. I've cut the limb from underneath me . . . and am searching for another one although I wonder if even that is legitimate.
    Formerly Lion4!5

  3. #193
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamain View Post
    Can you please give me the verse that indicates they found preexisting cities full of people?

    Thank you!
    It appears I was misremembering the part in Genesis 4 (line 17), where Cain is building a city after killing Abel and being cursed by God to be a wanderer. There are only four other humans at this point in Genesis: Adam, Eve, Cain, Cain's mysterious and unnamed wife, and Enoch, who Cain names the city after. So why's Cain building an entire city -- apparently alone, and despite being cursed to wander the Earth -- for fewer than a half-dozen people? I can think of a couple theories and I'm sure you can too, but there are all kinds of these details in religious texts everywhere.

    I don't claim to have read the Bible in detail, but I am one of the more open-minded people in this world, and the conclusion I've come to is this: At the very least, the Bible could really benefit from some editing. Well, more editing. I remember when I was interning at a science fiction magazine, and my boss had me reading short story submissions to weed out the bad ones. If I had read something that began with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopeless Sci-Fi Writer
    In the beginning, Bob the genetic engineer cloned himself and named the child Adam. Adam grew up and got lonely because Bob spent all of his time at the lab, so Bob cloned a sister for Adam from his rib. Bob left them home to play all day, but told them "Don't eat the candied apples that grow on the Tree of Wolverine Regeneration or the Tree of Batman Genius in my garden!" But one day a snake told Eve to eat a candied apple, so she brought one to Adam and they ate it together. When Bob got home that night and discovered an apple was missing from his Tree of Batman Genius, he said "Oh no, my children now have half of my powers! I mustn't let them become immortal too! So he kicked both Adam and his sister out of his home forever, and set flying robots to guard it in case they ever came back.

    So Adam named his sister Eve, and they set out to make their way through the nuclear winter. Soon Eve bore two sons; Cain and Abel. Abel grew talking potatoes, Cain raised tentacled sheep, and one day they both decided to honor the grandfather they never knew. Abel mashed a talking potato upon the ground, and Cain slaughtered a tentacled sheep for Bob. Bob complimented Abel on his potato, which made Cain angry, so Cain murdered Abel. Then Bob got angry and threatened to kill Cain with a nuke as soon as his GPS satellite could locate him, so Cain became a wanderer in the land of Nod.

    Cain's wife gave birth to a son named Enoch, so Cain named the city he was building at the time after Enoch...
    I'd stop reading right there, if not sooner. So to ask you a return question: Keeping an open mind, how long would you go on reading such a story? How many times would you fill in the unexplained gaps and inconsistencies? How seriously would you take a claim that it's a factual recounting of real people and events?

  4. #194
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    There's a scholarly study of the bible and other sources of authority with my own tradition, RRC, which is called exegesis which seeks to remove all the mythology and signs and wonderment writing to discern the message that remains and there IS a message that remains after that.

    The bible isnt the same as the arabian nights or things like that and I think Jefferson and others, like Kahil Gibran, have all erred as much as profited others by attempts to re-present the core of the stories again but it was a good idea so far as it goes.

    A lot of the central messages from the bible have been emerged over and over and over periodically, usually in poorer formats I'll be frank and say so in that respect, as each generation seeks to reinvent the wheel and record often its own experience as though no other experience pre-dates or will post-date it, the movie Memento is a perfect metaphor for our society over an intergenerational life span.
    But the mythology of the bible, as you call it, contains most of the meaning. In fact it contains the ONLY meaning that cannot readily be debunked by a closer historical or scientific analysis. Treat the bible as myth or allegory, and the contradictions mostly go away to leave behind the lessons and insights contained.

    As for "reinventing the wheel", some people believe that God so loves the world that he continues to reach out to humanity, in part through inspired and extraordinary people who bring us those new wheel versions every so often, much as a newer edition of a textbook, or operating system upgrade. Everyone learns differently, and cultural influences and biases can have a significant impact. The important thing is that people learn about God, in whatever way he is reaching them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    From Natural Selection we know there was no literal Adam and Eve. And there being no Adam and Eve there was no Original Sin and so no need for Redemption.
    Literally, yes. Allegorically, this story has clear morals, in this case rather unfortunate ones.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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  5. #195

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    But the mythology of the bible, as you call it, contains most of the meaning. In fact it contains the ONLY meaning that cannot readily be debunked by a closer historical or scientific analysis. Treat the bible as myth or allegory, and the contradictions mostly go away to leave behind the lessons and insights contained.
    Have you heard of the Jefferson bible?

    As for "reinventing the wheel", some people believe that God so loves the world that he continues to reach out to humanity, in part through inspired and extraordinary people who bring us those new wheel versions every so often, much as a newer edition of a textbook, or operating system upgrade. Everyone learns differently, and cultural influences and biases can have a significant impact. The important thing is that people learn about God, in whatever way he is reaching them.
    Yes, I am familiar with that view, I believe that Jung had a version of it too.

    Perhaps reinventing the wheel was the wrong analogy, perhaps memory serves as a better one, because that is what any tradition properly understood is.

    I do not see how the process which in an individual or on an individual scale of forgetting, of complete amnesia and relearning from scratch would appear patently absurd and ruinous or indicative of some powerful trauma when considered on a societal scale is progressive.

  6. #196
    Junior Member jamain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    If you lack the patience to wait until others have time to track down or recreate references to biblical contradictions, you can try the forum search function. It is much better than it used to be. Just type "bible" and "contradiction" or "discrepancy" as the search terms, and it should pull up some of the previous discussions.

    Understand, however, that being open-minded to the study of the bible is not the same as willingly suspending one's disbelief in its contradictions and inconsistencies. True open-minded study does not indulge in wishful thinking, or hold the subject of one's study to any lesser standard than other source material. There was a point in my life when I was very uncertain about my Christian faith. I did exactly as you suggest and made an intensive study of the bible with a study group at church. I realized at the end that I simply could not belive it any longer. I could not have rejected my old faith without having done this, however. It was just due diligence.

    Edit: I see you have no comment on incent in the garden of Eden. That is typical of what happens when people do make a good-faith effort to document the contradictions in the Bible. I have read a good reference about the "other people", a better source for wives for the first sons. Will try to track it down when I have time.
    There are many examples of people in the bible marrying siblings. Even evolutionist don't believe entire civilizations of people instantly occurred. It is logical to conclude that siblings married. It was not until later that this practice was forbidden. Leviticus chapter 18.

    It is important to remember that those who claim contradictions, are very good at misleading people. Taking things out of context, etc.

    Here's an example:
    One of the favorite alleged contradictions that Web sites like to use is the death of Judas. In Matthew 27:5 we find: “He [Judas] threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). But what about Acts 1:18 that reads, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out” (Acts 1:18). So which was it? Did Judas hang himself, or did he fall headlong and burst in the middle? Atheists point at these two different scenarios and boldly proclaim that the Bible is not inspired. However, a closer look reveals that both instances could (and did) occur.

  7. #197
    Junior Member jamain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passacaglia View Post
    It appears I was misremembering the part in Genesis 4 (line 17), where Cain is building a city after killing Abel and being cursed by God to be a wanderer. There are only four other humans at this point in Genesis: Adam, Eve, Cain, Cain's mysterious and unnamed wife, and Enoch, who Cain names the city after. So why's Cain building an entire city -- apparently alone, and despite being cursed to wander the Earth -- for fewer than a half-dozen people? I can think of a couple theories and I'm sure you can too, but there are all kinds of these details in religious texts everywhere.

    I don't claim to have read the Bible in detail, but I am one of the more open-minded people in this world, and the conclusion I've come to is this: At the very least, the Bible could really benefit from some editing. Well, more editing. I remember when I was interning at a science fiction magazine, and my boss had me reading short story submissions to weed out the bad ones. If I had read something that began with:



    I'd stop reading right there, if not sooner. So to ask you a return question: Keeping an open mind, how long would you go on reading such a story? How many times would you fill in the unexplained gaps and inconsistencies? How seriously would you take a claim that it's a factual recounting of real people and events?
    If I had the desire to understand, I would study it and try to read things in context, as well as consider the culture of that time.

    What makes you conclude that there are only 4 people at this time? Are you aware that the bible doesn't typically list the birth of female children?

    Do we know much about this city? You probably envision it as we would describe a city now, but do we really know what is meant by city in this passage?
    Genesis 4:17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

  8. #198
    Junior Member jamain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    From Natural Selection we know there was no literal Adam and Eve. And there being no Adam and Eve there was no Original Sin and so no need for Redemption.

    @jamain
    What is Fact?
    • Natural Selection - YES (micro evolution)
    • Subatomic particles to people – NO, A Theory!
    • Big Bang to the earth – NO, A Theory!
    • Life from non-life – NO, A Theory!
    • Simple life to higher order life – NO, A Theory!
    • Apes to men – NO, A Theory!
    • Textbook examples of “evolution in action” are
    illustrating natural selection or “Micro-evolution” only

  9. #199
    Junior Member jamain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Here is a list. Maybe you can clear up its errors with open-mindedness and understanding.
    I just noticed this and will be happy to look at it. I hope the open mindedness goes both ways. I don't have time to get into it this evening but I will when time permits. I have probably seen many of the alleged contradictions before.

  10. #200
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamain View Post
    What is Fact?
    • Natural Selection - YES (micro evolution)
    • Subatomic particles to people – NO, A Theory!
    • Big Bang to the earth – NO, A Theory!
    • Life from non-life – NO, A Theory!
    • Simple life to higher order life – NO, A Theory!
    • Apes to men – NO, A Theory!
    • Textbook examples of “evolution in action” are illustrating natural selection or “Micro-evolution” only
    Do not confuse theory with hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess, used to guide scientific investigation. A theory, on the other hand, is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. It must have repeatable predictive power to be considered a theory. Theories are not facts, but rather conclusions drawn on the basis of facts.

    So, all your "NO, A Theory"s above should rather be "YES, A Theory!" These are the explanations that fit available facts and observations, and are used successfully to predict future outcomes.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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