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#475671 - 10/11/01 03:29 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
columnist Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/01
Posts: 360
Loc: Evanston, IL, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Jesse Hamm:

Larry: The way I see it, atheism is to religion as 1776-style American democracy is to monarchy.


1776-style American democracy was founded in large part on a theistic base. A better analogy for godless government would be 20th Century communism. (In other words, those governments which used God's supposed non-existence to kill hundreds of millions of people, dwarfing the death tolls of any opressive religious regimes in history.)


I stand by my analogy, which balanced appeal to authority vs personal responsibility. I did not mean to imply that eighteenth century America was "godless government". It was "kingless government". I was drawing a parallel between the argument that God MUST exist because without Him there is no order/morality/meaning, and the similar arguments "proving" the rabble needed a king to rule them.

Your statement about communism seems disingenuous to me. Communist regiemes killed in the name of their own power as an end in itself. So did the Nazis. So did many religious based regiemes before them. People kill in God's name all the time, not the least of which happened on Sept 11. These events say as much about God as the excesses of communism say about atheism.

I'm always amazed at that line of argument that reasons "Communism shows what happens without God." Only if they are correct about His non-existence. If God really does exist, then communism happened WITH God.

Now that we know THAT, what do we know?

- Larry H

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#475672 - 10/11/01 05:52 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Elliot Kane Offline
Member

Registered: 08/17/01
Posts: 2337
Loc: London, England
Charlie...

Rawls' 'Ideal Observer' would have to be a super-computer, as no mortal is ever capable of setting aside their entire knowledge, experience, beliefs, personality etc in order to make a truly Objective decision.

Even then, this Observer could only make an Objective decision based on a specific - and highly Subjective - moral code.

A moral code could only conceivably be Objective if its author were an unquestionale authority.

In other words, for Rawls' model to be true, God would have to be the source of morality.

Education & Atheism: depends where you are educated as to what the various pressures are. A church school, for example, will push Theism wherever you are.

I'm based in England, where liberalism is a far more potent force in education than religion is. This system does encourage, if not Atheism per se, the view that religion is old-fashioned and has no place in the modern world. It certainly encourages an amoral worldview

I should have made clear I was referring to England, sorry.


***

Kal...

Don't be disheartened if you don't understand some of this stuff. No-one knows everything.

Charlie, Jesse & I have been studying this stuff for years, each in our own way, and it shows. I suspect Columnist has too, although he has yet to fully reveal his cards [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

In answer to your Zen question, yes, the tree does make a noise.

The answer to ANY Zen question is simple to find if you begin with the phrase "This proves the oneness of reality by..."

The whole point of Zen is to show that everything needs to interact with everything else, and thus that everything is dependent upon everything else and thus part of the same whole - "We are all one within Samsara (the dream of the world)"

It's pretty simple stuff, but they dress it up to make it seem harder than it really is.

As for observation of the future, look at it this way: if you watch a dog chasing a rabbit, are you forcing the dog to chase the rabbit?

If you know the dog is going to chase the rabbit, are you forcing the dog to chase the rabbit?

In short, does the act of observation change or force the actions of the dog?

If the answer is no, free will and God are compatible concepts.

Oh, and I think most things may be unknown, but very little - if anything - is ultimately unknowable. Just depends how hard you look.


***

Columnist...

Good analogies on the free will vrs predestination debate. Now we only have to work out which exists.

I tend to stand squarely with free will, but then I must admit to an absolute bias on the matter. My pride refuses to even allow the possibility of predestination.

Communism: if God exists, Communism would be proof of free will, wouldn't it? [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img] Yeah, OK, I'm joking... [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

How far a lack of religion plays a part in the brutality of Communism is open to question. Adding in religion may make it better or worse, with about equal probability either way.

Nazism: Hitler was trying to create a new religion based on a hodge-podge of mystical and religious beliefs garnered from many places. Given the fact that he still has adherents to this day, in some manner at least he seems to have succeeded.

As such, Nazism cannot be considered a Godless system.
_________________________
Elliot's forum - The Chaos Cascade - welcomes all nice people.

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#475673 - 10/11/01 10:33 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Charles Reece Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/99
Posts: 10013
Loc: us of fuckin' a
Quote:
You arbitrarily rule out the possibility of honestly mistaken thinking. For example, I've been charitable enough to treat your views as mistakes, rather than leaps of faith or results of your upbringing, in spite of how embarrassingly irrational they appear to me to be.


No, I believe you to be honest in your mistakes. However, I think a lot of repression occurs when something so obvious is not seen. You're simply ignoring fallacies. That's what I meant by finding explicit fideists "more honest," not that you were intentionally lying. Faith can work mojo on a person's thinking, absolutism even moreso. (Another aspect I like about existential theology is the lack of absolutism.)

And wasn't it you that sensed an unhappy upbringing on my part?

Quote:
Although your "who knows" hypothesis did force me to question that charity.)


Whereas you pretend to know. Again, this what I mean by a lack of intellectual honesty in rationalist theology. Skepticism is the more intellectually honest position. We should work our way from there, not begin by asserting the Truth and working backwards.
_________________________
The Gospel, wherein much Truth is written.

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#475674 - 10/11/01 11:00 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Jesse Hamm Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 682
Loc: Portland, USA
Larry,

Quote:
Originally posted by columnist:
I did not mean to imply that eighteenth century America was "godless government". It was "kingless government".


A fair distinction, but in place of a king the founding fathers still had a monarch in mind -- namely God. Quoth the fathers:

"We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient...may His kingdom come."
~Samuel Adams, August 2nd, 1776

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
~George Washington

"Without an humble imitation of the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion... we can never hope to be a happy nation."
~George Washington

"The religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and His Apostles...to this we owe our free constitutions of government."
~Noah Webster

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
~John Adams

"[T]he birth-day of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour.... [T]he Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth [and] laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity."
~John Quincy Adams

"We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the builders of Babel..."
~Ben Franklin

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?"
~Thomas Jefferson

Etc.

So they were less like kids playing ball without an ump' than kids who traded their old ump' in for a better one. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

Quote:
Larry: Your statement about communism seems disingenuous to me. Communist regiemes killed in the name of their own power as an end in itself.


And they were freed to do so by a worldview which denied God and the moral base he provides. As the Communist Manifesto boasts:

"The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.... The proletarian is without property;.... Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests." [emphasis mine]

The Manifesto goes on to hypothesize objections to Communism:

"'Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.'"

And blithely dismisses these objections, saying:

"The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas."

Communist leaders well understood that without God, there is ultimately no basis for morality. The difference between the communists and the medieval Inquisitors is that the communists weren't acting contrary to the dictates of their views. Where Jesus condemned his apostles' hostility to those who opposed him (Luke 9:51-56), Lenin declared that "Everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old exploiting order."

Quote:
Larry: I'm always amazed at that line of argument that reasons "Communism shows what happens without God."


It's more like,"Communism shows what happens when we behave as though God does not exist."
_________________________
http://jessehamm.blogspot.com

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#475675 - 10/11/01 11:11 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Kal Offline
Member

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally posted by Elliot Kane:
Kal...

Don't be disheartened if you don't understand some of this stuff. No-one knows everything.

Charlie, Jesse & I have been studying this stuff for years, each in our own way, and it shows. I suspect Columnist has too, although he has yet to fully reveal his cards


Oh I think Iím big enough (and ugly enough) to accept that Iím not the world authority on all matters. I have heard it said that the more you begin to know, the more you know you donít know (or something like that). I think thatís very true.

The Universe is an amazingly complex thing ó heck a single human cell is an amazingly complex thing! Even if all the knowledge of the known Universe where spread out before us, no one could fully understand even a small fraction of it in a single life-time.

I personally believe that God (block your ears Charlie and Larry) created it all, making his wisdom and understanding so far beyond our own, that to him, something like the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy probably reads like a B-grade comic book.

Quote:
Originally posted by Elliot Kane:
In answer to your Zen question, yes, the tree does make a noise.

The answer to ANY Zen question is simple to find if you begin with the phrase "This proves the oneness of reality by..." ...

It's pretty simple stuff, but they dress it up to make it seem harder than it really is.


Not that I subscribe to Zen philosophy, but sometimes I agree that the answers are probably simpler than we like to make out. Thatís not a contradiction of my view that some things are beyond our understanding.

For instance, the old watch maker argument for creation is so simple even a child can grasp it ó and yet I still think itís a brilliant argument.

[This message has been edited by Kal (edited 10-12-2001).]

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#475676 - 10/11/01 11:12 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Jesse Hamm Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 682
Loc: Portland, USA
Elliot,

I disagreed with quite a bit of your last major response to me (10/20, 8:19AM), but in the interest of brevity and good spirits I decided to pass on addressing most of the issues. Thanks for your patience while I composed a response.

Quote:
Jesse: You are exactly the sort of critic you are decrying.

Elliot: Ah, Jesse... Do I really seem so terrible to you?


I don't think there's anything terrible about being the sort of critic you're decrying. In fact, I count myself among them. I just think you're being inconsistent. If it's ok for you too criticize religions you don't belong to, it should be ok for religious people to criticize religions they don't belong to.

Quote:
Elliot: To believe in a thing that has not been proved is illogical.


If something has been proved to a plausible degree of certainty, then it's not illogical to believe in it. Like, I don't know for certain that my car hasn't been stolen while I'm sitting here typing, but I have reasonable grounds for believing that it's still where I left it (past experience, the fact that it's locked, the relative safety of the area, etc.). And scientists have quite a bit more evidence for Absolute Zero than have for the notion that my car hasn't been stolen.

Quote:
Elliot: Isn't one of the favourite quotes, "If there were any evidence, I would not need faith"? Or something like that.


That certainly doesn't appear in the Bible, if that's what you mean. From a biblical perspective, faith without evidence would be considered foolish. Biblical faith is more about believing things by logical inference (as contrasted with believing what is seen), rather than by blind leaps into unreason.

Quote:
Elliot: "If God declares that there is only one correct way to worship him" I do not believe this is explicitly stated in ANY religion.


The Bible, for one, endlessly reiterates that there are very specific guidelines for worship. 1 Samuel 15 is a classic example of this concept, wherein God punishes King Saul for not killing livestock in the way God instructed. "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." We see this model in practice from the very beginning of the Bible (Gen 4:2-5 -- God frowns on the sacrifice of plants, smiles on the sacrifice of animals) to the very end (Revelation 22:14-15 -- Jesus promises heaven to those who "wash their robes," and hell to those who practice magic and worship idols [which in his parlance, btw, includes witches and polytheists]).

Quote:
Elliot: The phrase is "Love thy neighbour as thyself" not "Love thy neighbour as thyself unless he is a cursed heretic."


To be sure, I'm not defending inter-religious hatred, just each religion's right to assert that other religions are false. Calling something false and persecuting its adherents are two very different pursuits. While Jesus condemns to hell those who reject him, he advocates love for them while they are still living.

Quote:
Elliot: I do NOT hold social good to be arbitrary - that's Charlie's word, not mine


Then I'm not sure what meaning you ascribe to the word "arbitrary." If we define it as "coming about as a capricious and unreasonable act of will," your comments below indicate that your devotion to social good is arbitrary:

"It can easily be argued that the human race is not worthy of existence, and the rest of the world would be better off without us. The case is compelling, and impossible to refute, but I hate, loathe, despise and above all LOVE the human race. [...] My love of humanity is TOTALLY subjective. There is no possible rational basis for such of a blatant absurdity."

Cheers...



[This message has been edited by Jesse Hamm (edited 10-11-2001).]
_________________________
http://jessehamm.blogspot.com

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#475677 - 10/11/01 11:29 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Jesse Hamm Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 682
Loc: Portland, USA
Quote:
Kal: ...to [God], something like the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy probably reads like a B-grade comic book.


Would that mean He has several long-boxes of the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy stacked next to his He-Man toys? (Uh-oh...I've admitted too much...)
_________________________
http://jessehamm.blogspot.com

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#475678 - 10/11/01 11:51 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Kal Offline
Member

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally posted by columnist:
I'd say that if a mechanism exists whereby someone CAN see the future, then it is determined, whether or not someone actually DOES choose to look. So it is not the act of observation which forces the predetermination. It is the AVAILABILITY of such an observation.


Okay, you believe there is a contradiction between the potential observation of the future and the notion of free will.

Something I mentioned in an earlier post was the tendency of people to interpret the same evidence in different ways based on their preconceived beliefs ó or their biases. The example I gave, which I donít believe was commented on, was:

ď...if someone said they had a vision of a future event that was subsequently fulfilled (and I know a number of people, both Christian and non-Christian, who have had such experiences) a Christian might say that God gave the revelation, while an atheist might say that it was a coincidence, or that there is some as yet unproved scientific explanation for the occurrence.Ē

Now as I said, I have known a number of people (at least 4 that I remember) who have had a premonition of a future event which then happened. Each of you may know of similar occurrences. Is this proof (by your argument) that free will does not exist?

[This message has been edited by Kal (edited 10-12-2001).]

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#475679 - 10/11/01 11:54 PM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
Jesse Hamm Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 682
Loc: Portland, USA
Charlie,

Quote:
No, I believe you to be honest in your mistakes.


Thanks; that's good to hear. As far as it goes. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

Quote:
Skepticism is the more intellectually honest position. We should work our way from there, not begin by asserting the Truth and working backwards.


Oh, I agree. Trust me -- I wouldn't hitch myself to God before checking him out first. "I'm not that kind of girl."

Even now, I move slowly from skepticism to deeper belief. (Yet I can't deny that my movement has been Aided.)




[This message has been edited by Jesse Hamm (edited 10-11-2001).]
_________________________
http://jessehamm.blogspot.com

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#475680 - 10/12/01 09:26 AM Re: TERRORIST COMICS: Time to Take a Stand!
columnist Offline
Member

Registered: 04/22/01
Posts: 360
Loc: Evanston, IL, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Elliot Kane:
Columnist...

Good analogies on the free will vrs predestination debate. Now we only have to work out which exists.

I tend to stand squarely with free will, but then I must admit to an absolute bias on the matter. My pride refuses to even allow the possibility of predestination.


I think we are best off assuming we have free will, and acting from there. If we're right, we're right (self evident), and if we're wrong then by definition what we assume or do really doesn't matter.

Quote:

Communism: if God exists, Communism would be proof of free will, wouldn't it? [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img] Yeah, OK, I'm joking... [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]


My world view allows that possibility: God exists, but He lets us get ourselves into trouble. It means (to me) that ultimately we better take responsibility for doing no harm to ourselves and others WHETHER OR NOT God exists. In other words, if there is a God, He's not going to necessarily protect us from our own stupidity and/or evil.

Quote:

How far a lack of religion plays a part in the brutality of Communism is open to question. Adding in religion may make it better or worse, with about equal probability either way.

Nazism: Hitler was trying to create a new religion based on a hodge-podge of mystical and religious beliefs garnered from many places. Given the fact that he still has adherents to this day, in some manner at least he seems to have succeeded.

As such, Nazism cannot be considered a Godless system.


I wasn't considering it such. My point was that excessive abuse has been performed by governments across the spectrum of religiosity, including Communism (athiest), Medieval Europe and Asia (Christian/Muslim), AND ALSO Nazism (somewhere in the spectrum, although I'm not sure where).

What I was trying to say was that picking one example, Communism, and saying it proves atheism leads to those excesses is wrong. What leads to those excesses is "power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely."

- Larry H

Edited to correctly include quotes


[This message has been edited by columnist (edited 10-12-2001).]

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