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10 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2008 - 10:12PM #51
Ken
Posts: 33,858

BlackWingBlueSky wrote:

You're going to have to explain how you came to that conclusion -- it seems to me that most of the religious accept God (and a lot of other things) on faith. In fact, doing so seems to be the whole point of most religions.

They talk about faith as an act of will to believe (which nobody can do) or as a form of knowledge derived from God. What they're really talking about is believing for bad reasons - usually, believing because they were brought up to believe, enjoy believing, and are so accustomed to believing that it never occurs to them to examine their beliefs.

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 21, 2008 - 11:12PM #52
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
[QUOTE=Simon Jester;707749]Well forgive me for posting something which was not 100% correct at 2:57 in the morning
less than 2 weeks after my wife gave birth to our 4th child.[/QUOTE]

Congrats, man!  Screw what I said.  I was just shoveling it from my end.  I'm glad to hear you spawned.  It's a great feeling.  When everything else in your life has run its course, including your hairline, you'll have the joy of watching your kid(s) grow up.
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10 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2008 - 12:00PM #53
mountain_man
Posts: 44,029

Simon Jester wrote:

That one can believe without knowing..


Then what would you be believing in? :confused:

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.   Isaac Asimov
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10 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2008 - 12:20PM #54
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,212

Ken wrote:

Nobody can accept God on faith.

You must live on a different planet than I do.  Accepting God on faith is the basis for the two major religions in the Western World on the planet I live on. 

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2008 - 1:43PM #55
Ken
Posts: 33,858

Simon Jester wrote:

Yes I do know that Jehova/Yaweh/Allah/Zeus/Odin/Shiva/etc. are all imaginary but just because all of those named gods are made up does not mean that some other diety who is unnamed exists.

But isn't it true that every conception of deity bears the telltale marks of human fabrication as surely as do Yahweh, Allah, Zeus and Odin? The Deist God whom you cited is a prime example of this. It was created by philosophers, and when we study its history we can catch them in the very act of creation. They didn't examine the universe for evidence of its existence and, having found such evidence, conclude that it existed. No, they concocted it entirely in their heads. They may have concocted it quite cleverly, but the fact that they invented it instead of discovering it is the strongest possible evidence against its existence. The same is true of every other "undisprovable" God - we have only to look at its origins to see that it is the product of human ingenuity, not an existing entity discovered after a disinterested search for truth. Such gods are the philosophical equivalents of fake Chinese fossils. They may be superbly crafted and very beautiful, but they're also completely bogus.

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2008 - 2:44PM #56
Ken
Posts: 33,858

jcarlinbn wrote:

You must live on a different planet than I do. Accepting God on faith is the basis for the two major religions in the Western World on the planet I live on.

As I've already pointed out, what they call "faith" is actually something else. It is not, as they claim, a willed act of belief or a divine grace. It arises from early indoctrination, inadequate critical skills, habit, and desire. If as a child you are told by respected persons that something is true, if you are rewarded for believing it, if you become so accustomed to believing it that familiarity creates an illusion of rationality, and if it never occurs to you to examine it critically (assuming you have the means of doing so, which you probably haven't), you will arrive at mature years firmly convinced that it is true. Then, if somebody raises rational objections to it, your feelings of certainty may be so strongly rooted that you will appeal to "faith" as an alternative source of knowledge. You will argue either that you choose to believe, even though you have done nothing of the kind, or that your God has bestowed this knowledge upon you, even though this lands you in circular reasoning.

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 22, 2008 - 5:09PM #57
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,242
[QUOTE=Ken;709372]But isn't it true that every conception of deity bears the telltale marks of human fabrication as surely as do Yahweh, Allah, Zeus and Odin? The Deist God whom you cited is a prime example of this. It was created by philosophers, and when we study its history we can catch them in the very act of creation. They didn't examine the universe for evidence of its existence and, having found such evidence, conclude that it existed. No, they concocted it entirely in their heads. They may have concocted it quite cleverly, but the fact that they invented it instead of discovering it is the strongest possible evidence against its existence. The same is true of every other "undisprovable" God - we have only to look at its origins to see that it is the product of human ingenuity, not an existing entity discovered after a disinterested search for truth. Such gods are the philosophical equivalents of fake Chinese fossils. They may be superbly crafted and very beautiful, but they're also completely bogus.[/QUOTE]

You raise an interesting point.  I was recently looking at the Jefferson Bible when it hit me that Jefferson was infatuated with the fact that he could rewrite the Bible, through a simple process of editing out the supernatural, to create an account of Jesus that fit his worldview.  What Jefferson failed to see was that, in order to cut out the parts he didn't like, he actually had to ignore the very point of such narratives.  For example, when Jefferson tells the story of Christ's birth, he snips away all the supernatural stuff to make Jesus's birth read more like a birth announcement in the paper.  Doing so "cleverly" reimagines a very human Jesus.  It creates a more believable, digestible, account - at least for Deists.  But neither Matthew nor Luke wrote what they wrote about the birth of Jesus in order to create a birth announcement.  Discussion of Christ's birth - by itself - was an embellishment specifically designed to cast Jesus as divine (Nobody cares where Gandhi was born). 

As a parlor trick, I have to give Jefferson a round of applause.  The Jefferson Bible adds nothing.  It simply uses careful edits to present a version of the Bible that looks more reasonable, and perhaps more modern.  But that's all it is, a parlor trick.  Jefferson could not see that what he was doing to the Gospels was every bit as manipulative as what he accused the Gospel writers of doing.  Deists, even on their best days, are doing just what the ancients did.  They just have a different sense of fashion.

Of course, I wonder if the same criticism couldn't be made of the atheist or agnostic who prides himself on his admixture of rationalism and empiricism.  He isn't creating God in his own image.  By definition, he isn't creating God at all.  But is his denial just another tip of the hat to what amounts to just another "different sense of fashion?"

I guess we can rebut that argument when somebody, on the other side, is smart enough to come up with it.
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10 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2008 - 10:18AM #58
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,212

Ken wrote:

As I've already pointed out, what they call "faith" is actually something else. It is not, as they claim, a willed act of belief or a divine grace.

Redefining faith to suit your prejudices may defend your faith in atheism, but is not going to change the fact that faith based concepts are the driving force in theism and frequently in atheism.  By faith based concept I meas a concept which is accepted as true based not on evidence, but a "feeling" a mental state that says the concept is valid for action without further support.  Faith is a mature version of the childhood acceptance of all parental directives as valid without support.  It is a very short step from "Mama says" to "God says."

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2008 - 10:49AM #59
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,212

BillThinks4Himself wrote:

What Jefferson failed to see was that, in order to cut out the parts he didn't like, he actually had to ignore the very point of such narratives.  For example, when Jefferson tells the story of Christ's birth, he snips away all the supernatural stuff to make Jesus's birth read more like a birth announcement in the paper.  Doing so "cleverly" reimagines a very human Jesus.  It creates a more believable, digestible, account - at least for Deists.  But neither Matthew nor Luke wrote what they wrote about the birth of Jesus in order to create a birth announcement.  Discussion of Christ's birth - by itself - was an embellishment specifically designed to cast Jesus as divine

I have spent much time with the Jefferson Bible frequently side by side with the KJV.  I agree that Jefferson missed the point of the Synoptics which was to sell Jesus as godlike to comply with the god worship paradigm of the culture of the Romans.  But it seems to me Jefferson was attempting to strip all this marketing gloss to get to the reality that was Jesus.  Sure the birth announcement was reduced to the legal notice, not because it was needed as a legal notice, but to strip the traditional gloss which is intimately associated with Jesus. 

I do not share the common atheist bias to jump through hoops to deny the existence of Jesus.  Occhams razor says there was a popular charismatic preacher who took on the Political and religious establishments and preached a message of respect for all people. 

I also think that this message of respect for all people flew in the face of most religions before and since, including the one sold by Paul based on the charisma of this preacher.  I think it is a very important message for the modern world where global interdependence is the reality of living.  Modern "Progressive" Christianity is doing the same thing Jefferson did, with a few more miracles for flavor, and stripping the Christian message to the Great Commandments.  They do not give up God, or the divine Jesus, they are theists after all, but they do give up the exclusiveness and hatred that are part of the Abrahamic tradition. 

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10 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2008 - 11:56AM #60
Ken
Posts: 33,858

jcarlinbn wrote:

Redefining faith to suit your prejudices may defend your faith in atheism, but is not going to change the fact that faith based concepts are the driving force in theism and frequently in atheism. By faith based concept I meas a concept which is accepted as true based not on evidence, but a "feeling" a mental state that says the concept is valid for action without further support. Faith is a mature version of the childhood acceptance of all parental directives as valid without support. It is a very short step from "Mama says" to "God says."

Then you're ignoring how theists define faith when they describe their religions as based on it.

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