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  1. #41
    Junior Member flame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonJT View Post
    Just my 2 cents:

    If you can look death in the eye and face it alone, I am of the opinion you are that you are very brave yet foolish. It takes quite a person to believe that we all cease to exist after the physical death.
    Well, holidays and travel have put me very much behind in the conversations, but I'll step into the party late and just say that I do not know that NT's "embrace" religion. We may not completely dismiss it, either.

    Historically, we humans have used religion to help cope with that which we cannot explain or control. Way back when, it was just about everything - the weather, food, sickness and disease, etc... Now, we have enough science to undertand the weather, how to grow crops, and how to prevent and cure many illnesses. The one thing that we still cannot explain or understand to some extent is what happens after death. And no, there is no verifiable, unfalsifiable "proof" for what happens after death. So, to use a term such as proof in an argument about religion is futile. Some indiviudals may have experiences that they claim to be evidence, but nothing about any man-made religion has been proved.

    And yes, it can be very frightening (and disappointing) to accept that we actually cease to exist after death. So, religious beliefs help many of us psychologically - they help us cope with all fear and uncertainty, includind death. Most man-made organized religions sell certainty, especially those versions of religion that we practice in the western world.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonJT View Post
    Jennifer, why did you lose your faith?
    Well, it's not like I "lost" my faith. I didn't just one day wake up and realize I had a hole in my purse and somewhere along the way my faith fell out and now it's gone. And as I said, it's not as if I have NO faith or discount religious experience altogether. I am simply no longer going to tolerate a muddying of the lines between what can be intuited and what can be shown.

    I don't care what people want to believe, because strong philosophical cases can be made for belief; but I'm tired of hearing religion essentially say their intuitions are "proof" or are "more correct" than intuitions that disagree with them. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to those insinuations, but that is where I am at right now.

    I grew up in a conservative Christian environment. It was not abusive in the sense we often hear of "religious abuse" nowadays... but my personality and upbringing left me very sensitive to displeasure or disagreement. I did not want to disappoint people. I never felt "safe" enough to ask my questions openly, and the times I did, I felt as if I was ignored or dismissed. So really, any faith I had was much more internal and personal rather than traditional, although I wore more traditional trappings in order to not make waves.

    [If you want more specifics, I have been involved with: Methodists, Lutherans, Baptist, Mennonite, Evangelical Free, non-denom, Intervarsity, Young Life, and Brethren in Christ... maybe more, over the years. It is not like I haven't examined a wide range of Christian culture.]

    The entire time I was part of the "conservative Christian" community, I had many intellectual questions that were never answered. Most I suppose could be blamed on the Bible and the approach the Christian community I was immersed in took towards it. For those who claimed it was infallble and delivered to earth in the same breath essentially, straight from the tongue of an all-powerful God -- well, that was promoted as the only reality, but the truth is that there are different frameworks to approach the Bible in, and even the translators understand the reality of this. Yet this information never seems to filter down to the average layperson, who views their perspective as the only valid approach.

    During those years, I was taught to doubt my own intellect and perception. I was also taught that my heart was evil. I was taught that emotions could not be trusted. I was stuck into a framework that depowered me, removed mystery from God, and tried to bend and cram what data it could find to support its tortuous beliefs.

    I find myself angry at how dismissive Christians were towards concepts such as evolution and how they shut down conversation on such topics with bad science. Evolutionary science is the standard in the scientific community, not because "scientists hate God or have bad hearts" but because, in terms of the quantifiable, the process actually works and has been mirrored in laboratory settings as part of our technological advancements. Most Christians don't want to know any other viewpoints; they simply want to cling to anything that supports their beliefs... Josh McDowell-type apologetics. Evolution is rejected not because it doesn't make sense, but because it leaves people feeling like they're just part of a deterministic framework; it's a "feelings-based" decision, not an intellectual one... but it masquerades as an intellectual one and that lie infuriates me.

    Every four years, when a presidential election rolls around, I watch the bulk of Christians treat other people like dirt... or at the very least, place themselves on some sort of moral high ground and not just disagree with but dismiss the values of others. The attitude is very dismissive... because Christianity as a faith in this country is politicized. If you don't vote for the right candidate, you are aligning with the forces of darkness... but my eyes just see a group of flawed human candidates who usually want to do something important for the their country... just like everyone else does.

    I feel like I have been lied to and crushed by a community I was willing to give everything to... and finally had to remove myself in order to get perspective and strength to stand on my feet again. I have the feeling that God is out there and that I will find him, and that he will embody the spiritual goodness I saw of him in Jesus.... but as far as venerating before a Bible (which is basically how it's treated nowadays) or entering conversation where one side claims they know the detailed truth of goodness in every situation... I'm not doing that anymore. It is bunk.

    Christianity is meant to be lived. It's in how we treat each other. Some people who are accused by Christians of being pagan live more like Christians than the Christians in question, and I think they're more aligned with the will of God in the process. If the words of Jesus are to be believed, God will say, "depart from me, I never knew you" to those for whom Christianity was all about having the right doctrine, to the point of crushing or ruining or damaging their brethren.

    All of these philosophical discussions are nice... but mostly irrelevant. They're just conjecture, not as meaningful as we pretend them to be. They are patterns of what could be.... but just that.

    I'll stop there, although it is really just a first draft and probably missed some things and mentioned other things I would have been better off cutting.

    Please also note that I am not necessarily including you [jon or anti] in the list of people who have bothered me... I haven't yet even worked completely through your posts yet. So please don't take it as an indictment of your belief.
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  3. #43
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Actually yours is the only post with proof in it

    (You, Bluewing, Jennifer and myself have mentioned prove or proven though )

    I should clarify, now that you mention it, that I refer to objective proof. Just in case.
    There is no one type of objective proof. The method of objective proof is determined by the context. In a mathematical or philosophical context logic is the standard of proof. In a scientific context data is the basis for proof. In a legal context the jury objectivelty proves what is true and what is false. In a social proof popular opinion determines what is true. In a religious context revelation determines what is true, although the authority of the revelation(s) differ depending on which religion you are referring to. (Christians might go to the Bible for proof, while adherants to other faiths might go to the Qu'ran, Tao Te Ching, Rig Veda, etc...).

    Furthermore Joseph Campbell (I believe) developed an objective way that you can judge the merit of a religion. In spite of all this there is no objective standard toward determining the existence of God (or any other type of deity). This is why there is no "proof" for the existence of God...because how do you do it? There is no commonly accepted standard. You can't prove God exists and you can't prove God doesn't exist either. If there was a commonly accepeted method, then we just apply the method and the whole argument is over, because we'd know one way or the other. But there is no method, and that is why there is no proof.

    Now frequently what a person is implying by "proof" is some type of scientific proof. I can't think of a worse medium to prove the existence of God than science. Why? Because the underlying assumptions of scientific inquiry are designed to keep God completely out of the discussion. And hey, that's great as long as you are asking questions of a scientific nature. But when you want to answer theological questions then it's not good at all. Science assumes away God before the first piece of data is collected. That is why scientific methods are great for answering scientific questions but awful for answering theological ones.
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  4. #44
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    it takes a whole lot more in the way of bravery to stand up to what could be a hundred people and tell them that you think they're talking rubbish than it does to stand with the hundred or to mute your message.
    Really? Try remaining unapologetically Christian in the typical gathering of ages 18-34.

  5. #45
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    There is no one type of objective proof. The method of objective proof is determined by the context.
    My apologies I should have further defined that by objective proof I mean proving something to be objectively true. I consider such impossible and hence never work on certainties only probabilities.
    Quote Originally Posted by htb View Post
    Really? Try remaining unapologetically Christian in the typical gathering of ages 18-34.
    That also is worthy of respect. See I do not side with the nay sayers any more than I do with the supporters of a thing in terms of who deserves respect or admiration. I'm just saying that it takes bravery to actually state what you believe to be true especially if you know that the reception may be hostile to that view point... well unless your uncaring about such things of course.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  6. #46
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    That also is worthy of respect. See I do not side with the nay sayers any more than I do with the supporters of a thing in terms of who deserves respect or admiration. I'm just saying that it takes bravery to actually state what you believe to be true especially if you know that the reception may be hostile to that view point... well unless your uncaring about such things of course.
    I don't think red13 expected the reception to be hostile.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  7. #47
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    ...Now frequently what a person is implying by "proof" is some type of scientific proof. I can't think of a worse medium to prove the existence of God than science. Why? Because the underlying assumptions of scientific inquiry are designed to keep God completely out of the discussion. And hey, that's great as long as you are asking questions of a scientific nature. But when you want to answer theological questions then it's not good at all. Science assumes away God before the first piece of data is collected. That is why scientific methods are great for answering scientific questions but awful for answering theological ones.
    Well, yes. I think that's my issue.

    To reduce my last post to a basic statement (doh!), I don't have an issue with people following a particular faith in theory, I just have issues when they lay claim to their faith being the "objectively right one" as opposed to another. Yes, there are some "objective facts" we can discuss (like the Mormon history as a good example, where there's no record of civilizations in the US that it lays claim to), but it seems that religious people buy into a truth package that cannot be "proven" objectively, then feel uneasy because they feel animosity/challenged, and then try to claim they have the only objective reality.

    Growing up in a conservative Christian background where science is fabricated (e.g., Young Earth Creationism) so that the faith can claim "proof" that it's the truth. Not just overt claims, but how people interrelate to each other -- there is an attitude of "I'm right, you're wrong" or "I'm more 'mature' than you, so I can lecture you / one day you might get to where I am" in how people approach each other, boiling down to one believing that they have the handle on truth.

    As far as God being defined by science: If God could be defined by science, he would be subject to scientific law... which would seem to make him not-God. He should transcend it, if he created it.

    I have trouble telling anymore what the 13-19 year old culture is, in terms of "standing up for Jesus." A lot of kids don't seem to care, one way or the other anymore, as far as picking on Christians; and sometimes Christians trigger the response because they're trying to "stand up for Jesus" and thus again are setting themselves up as "more spiritual" than others who follow different faiths or have no particular faith. Many Christian kids also hang out with other Christian kids and avoid conflict altogether, insulating themselves.

    It really is a complex matter -- this issue of who is oppressing who, who is causing the tension, etc. It's a cycle/circle, not one-way linear.

    ... I should probably move some of these posts, we've wandered somewhat afield (partly my fault) from BW's original topic.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  8. #48
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I don't think red13 expected the reception to be hostile.
    I didn't think it was hostile. I thought it was more of a semantics argument than anything.

  9. #49
    Member Camelopardalis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Now frequently what a person is implying by "proof" is some type of scientific proof. I can't think of a worse medium to prove the existence of God than science. Why? Because the underlying assumptions of scientific inquiry are designed to keep God completely out of the discussion. And hey, that's great as long as you are asking questions of a scientific nature. But when you want to answer theological questions then it's not good at all. Science assumes away God before the first piece of data is collected. That is why scientific methods are great for answering scientific questions but awful for answering theological ones.
    In my opinion, religion and deities are kept out of science is because they are vague, most often times assumptions to 'fill in the gap of knowledge'. God does not require an explanation if you use him to explain everything. Any time there's a mystery, one can say: God triggered this. He has performed a miracle. By my standards at least, response like that is unacceptable logically (but we can't say otherwise until new, authentic evidence arrive, can we? What if we don't find them? So God definitely had a hand in it? Could it be that the evidence was destroyed? Any other reasons other than God?). Science looks for an explanation of things and more often than not finds a solution that makes sense. Another reason why science dismisses God before collecting data is because back then, when ignorance is strong, people use supernatural means to explain many things, such as mental illness. Most of them turned out to be natural, don't they? Science is merely applying a common pattern of causes to their investigation. Anything that we don't have an answer for, could it be that we don't have an answer, yet? Considering God before collecting data is like considering the possibility that the experiment or investigation is unnecessary because it's a miracle or divine intervention.
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  10. #50
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
    In my opinion, religion and deities are kept out of science is because they are vague, most often times assumptions to 'fill in the gap of knowledge'. God does not require an explanation if you use him to explain everything. Any time there's a mystery, one can say: God triggered this. He has performed a miracle. By my standards at least, response like that is unacceptable logically (but we can't say otherwise until new, authentic evidence arrive, can we? What if we don't find them? So God definitely had a hand in it? Could it be that the evidence was destroyed? Any other reasons other than God?). Science looks for an explanation of things and more often than not finds a solution that makes sense. Another reason why science dismisses God before collecting data is because back then, when ignorance is strong, people use supernatural means to explain many things, such as mental illness. Most of them turned out to be natural, don't they? Science is merely applying a common pattern of causes to their investigation. Anything that we don't have an answer for, could it be that we don't have an answer, yet? Considering God before collecting data is like considering the possibility that the experiment or investigation is unnecessary because it's a miracle or divine intervention.
    I'm pretty sure science doesn't include God is because science has no way of measuring God.
    God is a spirit and can only be perceived by a spirit.

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