Religion

Last updated on 10 years ago
madness_mechanic
madness_mechanic Posted 15 years ago
Shock
Oh no, the "R" word! a discussion topic that can release a broader assortment of emotions than any other. First, I'm not atheist. I don't worship the devil, and I don't agree with child molesting catholic cardinals or the use of religion to advance a political or money making campaign. I've just been curious as to exactly what others believe about the idea of the afterlife and the "one god". I personally don't believe that anyone who isn't a Judeo-Christian, an active member in the church, a member of one certain denomination, and every smoker on the face of the planet is going to burn in the lake of fire and brimstone. I also don't take every bible verse for its literal meaning. Just curious, what do you guys believe in?
Si-Shen
Si-Shen Posted 15 years ago
To me the bible is fiction, whatever truth it held was long ago destroyed by men who believed they knew what was best for humanity. I also do not believe in a single god.
Only in the tales of men, does the hunter catch the wolf.
SomeLowLife
SomeLowLife Posted 15 years ago
I don't see a point in believing in anything divine just because someone told you too.
Whatever your problems were, keep in mind that you die at the end of all this. Lets get out there brutalize ourselves and laugh at those certain pricks who take it seriously, like there is any way to win in all this.
-Doug Stanhope
markznghtt
markznghtt Posted 15 years ago
Madness, Your right, there is no point to believing in the divine bcause someone told you to! At some point you have to find a reason to believe because you believe yourself, you must experience the "divine" yourself, it is because of what you how found to be your own realization of the 'divine!"
Si-Shen
Si-Shen Posted 15 years ago
The only problem with finding the "divine" yourself is if you are heavily influenced by those around you, ie chistians (as it is one of the most common), what if you find something, but because of the influence you view it as they are correct and you stop looking. Now just for a moment, assume you found a bread crumb and cause you stopped you missed the entire loaf?

Forgive the food references.
Only in the tales of men, does the hunter catch the wolf.
Dante
Dante Posted 14 years ago
There's an interesting quasi-philosophical argument surrounding this. It's called by several different names, usually something like 'Pascal's Wager and the Atheist's Dilemma'. Most of us have considered it in one form or another, but it goes like this:

If I am religious, and believe in heaven/god, then there can be two outcomes:
1. I die and there is a heaven/god. I get to go into eternal happiness
2. I die and there is no heaven/god. Neutral outcome, since presumably I simply cease to exist.

If I do not believe in heaven/god, there are also two outcomes:
1. I die and there is a heaven/god. I do not go to heaven (that sucks)
2. I die and there is no heaven/god. Same as above, ostensibly neutral

Pascal's dilemma went that it was always, as long as the possibility of God > 0, no matter how small, more advantageous to believe than to not believe. If you believe Pascal's theory (in this context), then the safest bet is to find a church and get crackin' with god.


Of course, this isn't an endorsement of religion, either tacit or otherwise. I choose to live with the idea that faith is much like a pair of blinders, used to force people into beliefs and acceptance of actions that simply don't make sense. From the idea that bananas were made by god to fit our hands (I am not making that up), and the usage of a brand-new jar of peanut butter to 'disprove' evolutionary theory, to more mundane but still dangerous activities of the christian fundamentalist right, religion is nothing but trouble in the context of the world.

I don't believe that science and technology have all the answers, but consider the middle ages, when the church's power was at it's highest, and they did everything they could to keep the common man from learning and art, and freely changed the bible to meet their oppressive goal. Or the crusades, etc, etc. Right now, US states are dumbing down their science classes to teach 'Intelligent Design', which is by all accounts just a repackaging of creationism. If faith was just a means of fulfilling a need in people's lives, we wouldn't be seeing so much stifling of science and so many deaths in the name of various people's gods, either, or people like Pat Robertson managing to fill the White House with his cronies.

My intention is not to personally attack anyone who chooses to 'be' religious. You can have your faith and keep it too, but as a larger guiding idea, it is terribly flawed.
You know what we need? More bacon.
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 14 years ago
I wouldn't say that teaching a valid theory, such as intelligent design, as dumbing down science classes. The problems with both evolution and intelligent (as well as solid state if anyone still studies it at all) is that they are unprovable. There is a huge amount of research being done that can be used either way. Just this past year, a long study done on Radio Isotopes and the age of the earth was completed. The study seems to support the idea of intelligent design.

The dumbing down comes when you expect students to accept without question the ideas being taught. For example, schools today teach evolution as a fact... or private schools intelligent design as a fact. Evidence is not weighed either way for either theory.

Now, as some of you may now, I am a pastor. I know you know it Dante. But, I always challenge my congregation to examine what I teach, to test it, to weigh it, and to see if what I teach is true. There are others who have done it; such as Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, and many many others. I think that is the wisest way to study religion. Challenge thoughts, check out the truth for yourself. That is how we learn.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
Dante
Dante Posted 14 years ago
Come now, Matt. ID is not a valid theory. A theory has valid, testable evidence to back it up, and ultimately the only evidence that is going to 'back up' ID is god himself coming down with a note that says 'I made this'.

You can't have a theory cornerstoned on faith in a creator.

Evolution as a theory is hardly perfect. It's likely that we will never understand all there is behind the mechanisms that make the creatures we see around us -- but that hardly implies nor suggests the evidence of a creator.

As for radio isotopes... I'll call shenanigans on that. ID proponents have been after us for radio-carbon dating since it was still called creationism. The truth is that radio-dating depends strongly on the elements being measured. Carbon-14 is only detectible for (well crap, I can't remember, but I think it's less than 250,000 years), then you need to move to longer-lived isotopes. Those radio-dating techniques have reaffirmed the earth to be approximately 5 billion years old.

I would be interested in seeing that study if you know the source, though. My scientific curiosity is piqued Wink

B
You know what we need? More bacon.
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 14 years ago
The study has been published in two volumes. The original proposed all of the questions that would be examined during the study and set forth the methods to be used, etc. The second volume is the publication of all of the results from those studies.

The books are simply: Radio Isotopes and the Age of the Earth Vol. I and II.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
Jake
Jake Posted 14 years ago
Cursory searching of google finds the study refuted again and again. I don't expect to get anywhere when debating someone who will ultimately fall back on faith, but it's telling to note that credible scientists observe and make their conclusions, while Young Earth(or creationists, or christians, or whatever you'd like to call them) "scientists" start with a conclusion, and try and mold the data to fit what they believe.

As an aside, Dante beat me to it, but calling ID a valid theory is silly. Debating this kind of thing is really a joke, because there's nothing to debate. There aren't two equal sides to the story, there is science, and then there is tom-foolery, hocus-pocus, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny. Maybe the sun "rises" every day because of the earth's rotation, or maybe Apollo drags it out every day, similar debate.
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 14 years ago
All studies will have refutations, but those refutations must be studied in light of the argument. To claim that ID is not a valid theory is to ignore evidence pointing toward it as a valid theory. Before one can make that assumption, one has to actually sit down and study the evidence and claims made by those who made the study. Also, to claim that those who hold to ID are involved in hocus pocus, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny is to ignore that there are highly educated and well known scholars and scientists who are studying this theory and hold this theory to be true, not through faith, but through empirical evidence.

To make a simplistic argument, once could say this. A person finds themselves in a city. For years, people believed that the city had designers. But then, someone states that it could not have been designed. Millions of years of evolution brought the city into existence. It is a fun new theory and many buy into it. Then it is taught as a "law" when it is still only a theory. Then, scientists come onto the scene with evidence that it was actually intelligently designed. Without being willing to look at that evidence, many decry it as hokus pokus and so forth.

The same is taking place here. To ignore a valid theory that has empirical evidence to support it (and I'm talking either way, whether one is unwilling to look at the evidence for evolution OR creation), because it does not fit with what one wants to believe or has been taught, is to set oneself up for a fall.

As for starting with a conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it, that is exactly what many old earth "scientists" do as well. Most science works that way, whether you want to admit it or not. Cool
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
Dante
Dante Posted 14 years ago

Quote

A person finds themselves in a city. For years, people believed that the city had designers. But then, someone states that it could not have been designed. Millions of years of evolution brought the city into existence. It is a fun new theory and many buy into it. Then it is taught as a "law" when it is still only a theory.


By itself, this argument is fundamentally flawed. Obviously the 'city' was created. I can, if I choose, spend 10 years or so learning architecture and building, then recreate the city myself, showing how when and under what circumstances it was constructed by man.

The whole crux that keeps the ID idea alive is that fundamentally, I can never, ever, ever, prove that a god doesn't exist.

As for the paper (Radioisotopes and the age of the Earth), I actually read the whole thing. I don't claim to be a geologist, so my refutation of the items inside is purely amateurish, but it's clearly obvious that in more than one case these authors neglect established scientific knowledge to 'prove' their points, especially as concerns the use of certain isotopes of Pb in their claims against dating methods.

It's also worth nothing that the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) that performs this and other so-called scientific studies has never submitted their publications for full-scale peer review in an established scientific journal, while there are thousands of reviewed and acknowledged papers surrounding the guidelines of evolution.

For example, they sequentially attack U-Th, C-14, and other methods of dating, but provide little concrete evidence of these providing -consistent- results that they claim (mainly within the supposed 5000yr span of the Earth's existance required to fit the creationist timeline); for each of the specific errors they state, there is a well-known causation, either there is less C14 in that specific body of water (the reservoir effect is documented and scientifically backed-up, in the case of C14).

Also, there is no evidence (none whatsoever) that cosmic rays have any effect on radiocarbon or radioisotope dating..

I could go on forever and ever. The truth is that the creationists arguments always focus on abberant results -- if I only focused on the small amount of abberant data in a theory, I could tear ANY of them down. I could prove that gravity was actually the result of the great janitor flushing a giant toilet and pulling the entire universe towards the drain.

See for yourself:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/ (for example, this one has a great deal of info)

Go to the library and do a primary literature search, too. The ICR is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo pseudoscience and the wider community has called them on it several times. If their work is so sound, why won't they peer review it in the community? Whether or not I believe a theory, when I get a paper to review, I will read it honestly and openly and then critique it - whether or not I like what they're saying. In this case, they won't do it because they know it doesn't stand up.

As a scientist, I'm trained to ignore my own predispositions and look at the information in light of what is available. The problem with ID and creationism (yes, they are the same thing), is that someone who believes in these things is unwilling or unable to put aside 'god'. Even just for ten minutes, and really look at the data they have before them clinically. Once you throw an omnipotent mystery being into the equation who has ultimate power over your and your eternal damnation, it's got to be a bit harder to see the forest for the trees.

D
You know what we need? More bacon.
last edited by Dante on 18-04-2007 19:51
Scott Bolger
Scott Bolger Posted 13 years ago
To me, the bible is a story book and no more. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of good in many religions, and the bible has its fair share of good morals. What's wrong is those who worship it as if it is the final word on everything. Much of what is written in the bible just doesn't apply to today, and the idea that the whole world was created by God is foolish. The world is far to random and complicated to be a creation planned out by someone.
"We know the sound of two hands clapping, but what is the sound of one hand clapping?"
-A Zen Koan
kt6550
kt6550 Posted 13 years ago
One interesting observation on human life. It seems, at least to me, that many religious people are lacking in spirituality. And very spiritual people do not practice religion. Of course, Jesus and Buddha are two excellent examples of the latter. Any one else notice this, or am I just fantasizing?
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 13 years ago
I don't know. It seems that the ones who are focused on for teasing, criticism, and insults are Christians. There is no other religion that is so much the focus of such vitriol and hatred as Christianity. Just take the time to watch TV, go to a movie where a pastor or his congregation are portrayed, listen to the radio, and so forth. People who are not Christians tend to place false stereotypes on those who are and they also hold Christians to a double standard at which they themselves would balk if held to the same standard.

Granted, there are a few groups that call themselves "christian" and live lives of hatred and malice. I question whether they truly believe or even understand what Christianity is. The ironic thing is that most people look at those few and assume that the majority are like them. That would be like saying that all people in the southern U.S. are rednecks, that all canadians are weak, that all people from England are stuck up, that all blacks are criminals, that all Asians are great at math, that all Muslims are violent, and the comparisons could continue.

Christianity is not a call for one person to judge another. That judgment is left in the hands of God. Rather, it is a lifestyle of worship that should be and is different from the accepted norm of the world. It should be something that is attractive and, at the same time, can be offensive. Why is it offensive? Because it strips away our illusions of who we are and shows the truth. It shows that we cannot do it "my way" as Franky sings and people don't like that. They also don't like hearing that they are held accountable for their actions. Christianity is all about God's sovereignty and our responsibility. However, that is not a call for someone to go thumping their bible at another person. They should share their faith, but they should leave it to the listener to make his or her choice. That choice is between them and God.

Quote

Just curious, what do you guys believe in?


To go back to the original question: I am a Christian. I believe in one God in three persons (the Trinity) who created the world in six twenty-four hour days. I believe that, on the sixth day, he made man (man and woman) and that he made them in his image. I also believe that man chose to disobey God and thereby be eternally separated from Him. I believe that Jesus came, died, was buried, and rose again so that man's relationship with God could be restored. I believe that belief in Jesus saves and restores that relationship. It is the greatest gift imaginable, albeit one people often turn down. As a believer, I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with God and that one day I will, in His power, rise physically from the dead just as Jesus himself did. I believe the Bible is the inerrant and authoritative word of God. I also believe that God never forces himself on anyone. He makes himself readily available and leaves the choice to follow him in our hands.

Quote

Why can't we all get along?


We can...to a point. However, that point ends when it comes to belief in who God is. Then Christians must stand firm on their belief that there is one God and that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. And, I will continue to teach the truth of who he is. But, I have no problem with someone choosing not to worship Him. That is between that person and God. If they wish to worship the moon, Allah, mother earth, Diana, Zeus, or choose not to worship or, in fact, believe that there is a God at all, then they are free to make that decision.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
grayhair
grayhair Posted 13 years ago
Hello all,
It is a positive vibe for me to read your comments and learn that many of you have liberal views about the "R" word. On the the question of what do I believe, my answer is that I agree with the beliefs of my Unitarian Universalist Church. As described by our Unitarian Uiversalist Association, "this faith is a theologically liberal religious movement characterized by a belief in the value of religious pluralism and respect for diverse traditions...the diversity is considered a strength since the emphasis is on a common search for meaning rather than adherence to any particular doctrine...".

How does my Unitarian belief of "religous pluralism" translate into my life? Well, this pluralism belief leads me on an inspiring, continual quest to learn about the meaning of beliefs of many different religions and to follow beliefs which hopefully will make me a better human being. I especially respect some Buddhist beliefs and some humanist beliefs. Examples of the grand diversity of beliefs of my fellow Unitarian Universalists are that many members consider themselves humanists, others Buddhist,some Jewish, some atheist, and some agnositic.

Peace to all of you.
Dnavarre
Dnavarre Posted 13 years ago
Some of those things in the Bible are just plain wierd. Jesus walked on water? If he can do ANYTHING then what's so special about it? I mean, really.

I want to belive, I want hope, but only time reveals all. The only thing I belive in is Astral Projection (which to me is a serious subject that I don't want ANY scientists to prove, because then everyone would do it and it wouldnt be special)
Mythbhavd
Mythbhavd Posted 13 years ago
I wouldn't say that religion is stupid. That would be like making the statement that philosophy is stupid. It's not so much a matter of opinion as a matter of belief. Because most religions have a defined moral code, it is indeed a way of life. A person's religion can touch many areas of their life from they way they eat and dress to the choices they make in everyday life.

I think what you're arguing is that there are people who act stupidly who are considered religious. That's an entirely different matter and one that I don't think anyone would argue.
Matt Coiner
Administrator, husband, dad, avid reader, sometimes writer

"The secret to writing is to write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head." - William Forrester in Finding Forrester
kt6550
kt6550 Posted 13 years ago
Dante, I have a MS in Math. Have you ever seen the number 1? No, of course you haven't. It is merely a symbol to express a concept or an idea, much like the number 2, 3, etc. And, I know just how shakey mathematics is. And it is the foundation of all of our technology, business, and, in some cases, even religions. I won't dwell on politics; that is a religion in and of itself. This has caused me to accept the existence and to acknowledge a Supreme Being. Do I practice a religion? No. I prefer to explore myself. There was a fellow once named Siddhartha who did that sort of thing.
NightEyesDesecrator
NightEyesDesecrator Posted 13 years ago
Yes, 1 does represent an idea, and originally there was only one character that meant 1. Now, with thousands of languages and numerical systems, there are many forms of 1. The world changes: nature, government, people. Between tectonic plates and the orbit of the earth, EVERYTHING moves, and signals that change. There are two things in our existence that don't change. The Truth, and History. Would anyone agree with that?
Love, is like grammar. Easy in elementary school, because not much is expected, but if you don't learn fast, you will be considered "held back."
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