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Thread: NTs and God

  1. #261
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Could somebody else please point out the fallaciousness of this thinking? I'm getting tired of pointing out the same thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    I'm not sure it's worth it anymore in this thread. Either one recognizes that statement as fallacious, or one doesn't, and if one doesn't...I don't know how much hope there is in trying to explain it. We might have more luck trying to convince a brick wall.

    It's interesting to me how many people who 'believe', and who have posted in this thread, feel the need to use logic to defend their belief. I asked it before but didn't get a satisfactory answer - why isn't faith enough? Isn't that the special or wonderful thing about faith? Isn't that the *point*, in a way? That one has it regardless of empirical evidence? The most serious religious people I know are always the ones who have a quiet faith. It's those people I envy, in some ways. And it's those people I am able to have long, detailed conversations with in which neither party gets worked up or shouty. I respect religious faith and I don't like it when believers get attacked or ridiculed for believing. But faulty logic *does* bother me, and there is a crapload of it floating around here.
    I don't see how that is fallacious, unless you're arguing that nonbelievers or empiricists are always totally objective. For that was all I was addressing at that point. And you all are just as human and prone to that as anyone else. I see a lot of unobjectivity in the antitheistic side of the debate, perfectly illustrated by the fact that every time it is even pointed out, the other side gets totally frustrated like this. While everyone can have a field day citing religious people's unobjectivity (such as how "worked up" they get), I see your side doing it too, sometimes even worse with some people.

    The reason "faith" is not enough is because of those who try to totally trash it as nonsense because of lack of enough hard evidence. They not only believe that their view is right, but with many, that they're supposed to convince others as well; so if others insist on logic and evidence instead of faith, then they will try to find evidence for those people. (And I also like how people who disclaim belief try to box up the "ideal" ("serious", "true", etc) religious response).
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  2. #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    I don't see how that is fallacious, unless you're arguing that nonbelievers or empiricists are always totally objective. For that was all I was addressing at that point. And you all are just as human and prone to that as anyone else. I see a lot of unobjectivity in the antitheistic side of the debate, perfectly illustrated by the fact that every time it is even pointed out, the other side gets totally frustrated like this. While everyone can have a field day citing religious people's unobjectivity (such as how "shouty" they get), you cannot remove yourself from the human equation.

    The reason "faith" is not enough is because of those who try to totally trash it as nonsense because of lack of enough hard evidence. (And I also like how people who disclaim belief dictate how relgious people should express their beliefs).
    I see both sides as doing it.

    When I identified myself more publicly with the "religious" end of things, I took a lot of crap like this from the anti-theists. Now that I don't toe the line with the conservative theologians, I get the same crap from -them-. That experience has given me a good understanding of how it's more of a "human" thing, rather than a position-based one. People are either open to new ideas and approach each other in loving and fair ways, or they're to some degree self-justifying and willing to impose on others. (Or some variation of those strategies.)

    Logic is just useful as a triangulation method, in terms of faith issues. It can't prove anything on its own, and more often it's just used after the belief has been invested in, to ward off antagonists or to justify one's choices.

    When people have a belief they are willing to invest in, it's usually been reached for other reasons aside from "logical conclusion." Bottom-line, people just want to believe it's true, and have had life experiences that they feel support what they want to believe. NTs can try to pretend that "logic" drove their search, but really, logic comes into play later for the majority of people; that's why we see a variety of stances supported by "logic" in the NT crowd.

    I guess it only gets to be an issue when we're debating group dynamics or the application of group resources, where individual beliefs conflict with each other and people feel infringed upon.
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  3. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I see both sides as doing it.
    Exactly!(my point).
    When I identified myself more publicly with the "religious" end of things, I took a lot of crap like this from the anti-theists. Now that I don't toe the line with the conservative theologians, I get the same crap from -them-. That experience has given me a good understanding of how it's more of a "human" thing, rather than a position-based one. People are either open to new ideas and approach each other in loving and fair ways, or they're to some degree self-justifying and willing to impose on others. (Or some variation of those strategies.)

    Logic is just useful as a triangulation method, in terms of faith issues. It can't prove anything on its own, and more often it's just used after the belief has been invested in, to ward off antagonists or to justify one's choices.

    When people have a belief they are willing to invest in, it's usually been reached for other reasons aside from "logical conclusion." Bottom-line, people just want to believe it's true, and have had life experiences that they feel support what they want to believe. NTs can try to pretend that "logic" drove their search, but really, logic comes into play later for the majority of people; that's why we see a variety of stances supported by "logic" in the NT crowd.

    I guess it only gets to be an issue when we're debating group dynamics or the application of group resources, where individual beliefs conflict with each other and people feel infringed upon.
    I myself have seen both sides basically elevate themselves above human fallibility (including lack of objectivity), and that's one reason the disputes go nowhere. the old school creationists used to do the same thing. They claimed that the evidence was all in their favor (for stuff like young earth, or global flood geology), and the only reason people believe in evolution is because they're blind, or even because it was some Darwinist-Marxist conspiracy or something. Now, it seems the tables have turned, and science is responding with a vengeance, yet doing some of the same kinds of things.

    I would say the Christian side should know better, because of the doctrine of the sinfulness of mankind. But they will tend to use this on the other side, and exempt themselves; after all; they were "changed" by believing. However, that has not stopped Christians from sinning (as they will also point out in others), and there are many groups like this who cannot even agree with each other on what exactly the true faith is.
    On the other hand, those rejecting religion in favor of science should know better also, because if they can so easily see the human frailty in religious people ("fears, a crutch to get through life, makes them feel better about death, etc), then they should realize that they themselves never stopped being human either (And unlike the christians, they do not even claim any supernatural enlightenment to override that )

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yes, I tend not to lump notions of "God" in the same category as unicorns, that seems a bit sloppy intellectually. There's enough evidence and reason to entertain the possibility of deity, since the answer of origin is still ambiguous and highly relevant to life; meanwhile, there's not even real ambiguity about whether unicorns existed en masse, nor would it ever matter to in terms of the human race developing into what it is now.

    My questions, skimming through this:
    - What does it mean, practically speaking, to be "in a relationship with God?"
    - What does it mean, practically speaking, to be "in love with God?"

    Those are highly anthropomorphic terms that are thrown around as if they have relevance, but they don't really say anything concrete or definable. They also are fairly "new" on the event horizon of religion, which leads them to seem more like a filter for westernized culture, rather than any sort of universal standard that would have been relevant for every human being who has existed.
    I always had problems feeling emotions for God, since you can't see him like another person. Then, they tell you it's "by faith", and give you a list of things to do like pray and read the Bible everyday, and it seems like basically mustering up feelings. Many people will also define the "relationship" in terms of "time spent with god" in prayer and Bible study. Since I have also had problems concentrating to do that regularly, I even had one say I was "lukewarm" and Christ would spit me out of his mouth. That was one of the last straws that got me reevaluating the whole evangelical framework.
    I looked up concepts like "relationship" and saw that it was not defined like that (So ironic that they say you must read the Bible every day, but then what are they even bothering to read it for when they read stuff into it, instead of out of it? The actual information travels backwards!)

    "Know"ing God was simply an act of receiving (his grace, that is). Thus the recipient would naturally love him for what he did for us. This seems harder now because the church has added all sorts of works and conditions to it.
    Grace is somethign we receive, but much of Christianity had made it virtually something we give in return. And no one can even agree as to what that is (outside of "time with God" which is about the only thing they agree on), as they all try to one-up each other.
    So now, I no longer struggle with having to try to feel emotions, like all those people singing and praying in church.
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  4. #264
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    Just like people have subjectively used God for bad purposes; people in reaction then don't want him to exist, and thus will bend the evidence against him.
    Eric B, this was the statement Mycroft was referring to as fallacious. It *is* fallacious, because it assumes things that aren't necessarily true - that people who argue against god are doing so because they *don't want god to exist*. Now, this may be true for some non-believers, just as the whole crutch argument may be true for some believers, but writing an entire argument off based on an assumption about the person making it is incorrect, because your assumption might be wrong. Basically, because any given side in an argument might have a few eedjits on it, it's not correct to write off the entire argument based on these eedjits. Write them off on an individual basis, sure, but not the larger argument. Because some religious people use their religion as a crutch, doesn't make it correct for me to write off ALL religious people as simpletons who need/use religion as a crutch.

    For the record, yes, individuals on both sides are capable of faulty logic. Logic is not the problem - people who misuse it are, and, yes, they exist on both sides of almost any argument (especially arguments about god, on internet message boards! )

    The reason "faith" is not enough is because of those who try to totally trash it as nonsense because of lack of enough hard evidence. They not only believe that their view is right, but with many, that they're supposed to convince others as well; so if others insist on logic and evidence instead of faith, then they will try to find evidence for those people. (And I also like how people who disclaim belief try to box up the "ideal" ("serieous", "true", etc) religious response).
    I guess I still don't understand this then. If one has faith - if one believes in something - why does it matter who questions it, and how? Regarding my comment on 'serious' faith - that was a personal comment, I personally find it a lot easier to take that kind of religious person seriously. The people I know who fit that category wouldn't be in the least riled by being questioned about their faith - especially if the questions were aggressive and accusatory, it just doesn't touch them. That's what I was talking about when I said I envied people like that - they seem to have a peace and a certainty at the centre of themselves that I envy, definitely.

    Also, just to state it again, I am agnostic. I'm agnostic because *I don't know*. I don't know if there is a god or not. I don't see any logical reason to believe in god and I will comment on it if I think someone is misusing logic to somehow 'prove' the existence of god. Am I willing accept, on a basic level, that I might be wrong, and that god might exist despite there being no evidence? Yes. But so far, talk of sandcastles and miraculously healed ACLs aren't doing it.

    Headstrong - Your beliefs are so alien to mine that it's hard to believe we're the same species, but I just wanted to thank you for being polite and honestly trying to answer my questions. I will try to do the same.
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  5. #265
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    *pops popcorn* This thread is entertaining... This is what happens when closely held beliefs conflict. *eats popcorn*
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  6. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    Headstrong - Your beliefs are so alien to mine that it's hard to believe we're the same species, but I just wanted to thank you for being polite and honestly trying to answer my questions. I will try to do the same.
    You're welcome, and thank you for being respectful towards my beliefs, as well.
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  7. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    Eric B, this was the statement Mycroft was referring to as fallacious. It *is* fallacious, because it assumes things that aren't necessarily true - that people who argue against god are doing so because they *don't want god to exist*. Now, this may be true for some non-believers, just as the whole crutch argument may be true for some believers, but writing an entire argument off based on an assumption about the person making it is incorrect, because your assumption might be wrong. Basically, because any given side in an argument might have a few eedjits on it, it's not correct to write off the entire argument based on these eedjits. Write them off on an individual basis, sure, but not the larger argument. Because some religious people use their religion as a crutch, doesn't make it correct for me to write off ALL religious people as simpletons who need/use religion as a crutch.
    OK; I see what the problem was.
    I wasn't saying all nonbelievers fit that, but just cautioning that some (including here) might be. Especially when there's such fear of religion in politics. I would understand why there would be, but then it seems some people have allowed that to bias them against religion on the intellectual level. (And the religious influence has dropped off considerably in America, so religion is not the cause of our political problems. This is the type of clouded judgment I'm referring to).
    I guess I still don't understand this then. If one has faith - if one believes in something - why does it matter who questions it, and how? Regarding my comment on 'serious' faith - that was a personal comment, I personally find it a lot easier to take that kind of religious person seriously. The people I know who fit that category wouldn't be in the least riled by being questioned about their faith - especially if the questions were aggressive and accusatory, it just doesn't touch them. That's what I was talking about when I said I envied people like that - they seem to have a peace and a certainty at the centre of themselves that I envy, definitely.
    There's many different reasons; some of them not so noble (Like it's their "Christian culture', and they're trying to take it back, etc); some, while offensive to others are nevertheless sincere (like the need to try to fulfill the Great Commission, and who wants to have their faith ripped apart when they're the ones who are supposed to be gaining the converts); and again, the biggest problem in places like this, is the heated opposition coming from the other side. And it's not just "questioning", but outright trashing a lot of times, with all sorts of pejoratives. This again; is another tactic I see on both sides: we're allowed to be heated, because what we're opposing is "dangerous" or "offensive", yet when the other side reacts heated, it's proof that they're unobjective, or that their belief has no ground, or whatever. That's a fundamental attribution shift.
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    Headstrong: I can't explain your visions because I never had them nor have I ever know someone who had them him/herself.

    But, since we are discussing your beliefs anyway, I might as well throw in a couple more questions :

    - Why do you follow a religious doctrine? What is your motivation? Even if I thought God existed I don't think it would be clear cut as far as "changing my lifestyle accordingly" goes. Do you believe in punishment for those that don't follow His word?

    - Why do you think church is important as opposed to doing what you think God wants you to do without "choosing sides" if you will. There are hundreds of different churches out there, why do you think God chose yours as the "true" one?

  9. #269
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Bottom-line, people just want to believe it's true, and have had life experiences that they feel support what they want to believe. NTs can try to pretend that "logic" drove their search, but really, logic comes into play later for the majority of people; that's why we see a variety of stances supported by "logic" in the NT crowd.
    When it comes to belief in God I actually didn't want to believe he existed. However my experiences have lead me to believe otherwise. You are right though that I didn't conclude God existed through logic. (Logic is simply how I try to explain things to other NT's, but it doesn't work too well with atheists because we are operating under different axioms.)

    I can't speak for other NT's though, but personally I don't really conclude anything with logic. I always lead with intuition, and then use logic to check if my conclusion is correct. However there are some instances where logic is virtually useless, and a person must rely on perception alone. For example how does a person conclude the grass is green? They simply see it is green. No thinking is involved, only perception. That is the best analogy I can give for why I believe God. I believe in God, because I perceive that He exists. There is no way to logically prove perception especially if someone else has a different perception. The best I can do logically is simply provide evidence, but evidence is not the same as proof, so ultimately God's existence cannot be proved.
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  10. #270
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    - Why do you follow a religious doctrine? What is your motivation? Even if I thought God existed I don't think it would be clear cut as far as "changing my lifestyle accordingly" goes. Do you believe in punishment for those that don't follow His word?
    Well, in the beginning stages of my relationship with God, I felt like I didnt need to go to church or read the Bible. Nor did I think it was grounds for others to judge me as less of a Christian. Once I found my current church, I realized how much I loved it and wanted to go. Going otherwise is pointless. Go because you want to go. I hold the same personal mindset with the Bible.

    I have tried numerous times to start reading through the Bible. It didnt work. I just wasnt into it and it wasnt my time. One day, someone just said something that really stuck with me and I have been reading it a few times a week ever since, when I want to or feel the need.

    I follow it because I realized that I cant just rely on talking to God. I need to read his Word and learn it. My motivation? To grow closer to him. As far as changing ones lifestyle, I didnt really have to do much. Ive upheld the same standards I established for myself before I even knew what things like sex were. Some of those decisions may have been influenced by being raised a Christian, but I didnt chose to, for example, abstain from sex because the Bible told me to. I did it because I knew that was best for me and my lifestyle. This is not to say that I didn't struggle in other areas. My father has sworn for as long as I can remember. Eventually, I gave into it and that has been a struggle for me to completely avoid for years now. My dad still swears and my mom is becoming more lax in that department. Its not easy. But I know it is something I need to rid myself of. I don't feel attractive when I say those things...just trashy and ignorant.

    I do believe that God punishes those who reject him or choose not to follow him. He says that in his Word. Just like parents punish their children for not following their word, God does the same.

    - Why do you think church is important as opposed to doing what you think God wants you to do without "choosing sides" if you will. There are hundreds of different churches out there, why do you think God chose yours as the "true" one?
    I covered this a bit in my earlier response. I do believe church helps to propel faith, but I dont think its a sin if you dont go. I think its important because it causes you to set aside time for him and there is usually some personal relevance in the message that is to your advantage. I find myself walking out of church, changed every time. I dont think God chose my church as the true church. I know it is the church for me, but I know it is not the church for others.

    Im a bit unclear as to what you mean by the importance of church versus doing what you think God wants you to without choosing sides. By choosing sides, do you mean being a Christian and not going to church? Or solely having no religious affiliation? Gosh, I hate the word religion. In other words, being agnostic, atheist, etc.

    If I have failed to address anything or you want more clarification, please tell me.

    Some of the things I said may have caused offense (referring to my bit on swearing and perhaps sex), but know that these are personal experiences and opinions and I do not intend to offend. While I disagree with them, it does not give me authority or right to judge those who engage in such. Nor would I blatently attack someone on those grounds.
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