26th March 2008

“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”

Thomas Jefferson1743 – 1826

47 Responses to “26th March 2008”

  1. Chris Says:

    With no proof but the context of his times and the daring way he ridiculed religion, I assert that Thomas Jefferson was in practice, and very likely in fact, an atheist.

  2. Nefari Says:

    I believe he was a deist, having gone so far as to create a deistic bible. It was basically a new testament with the miracles removed.

    http://www.amazon.com/Jefferson-Bible-Morals-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/1557091846/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206545312&sr=8-2

    Not a bad seller for Amazon, either.

  3. Tzuriel Says:

    He was most certianly a deist. TJ (he’s one of my favorites) was very religious and at the same time anti-religious. He believed in God, but hated most organized religion, as did most philosophers of the time, though I imagine he particularly hated the Church of England for the stranglehold they held on politics. I’m confused at this quote, though. I am not an atheist (don’t worry, I’m not a diehard radical Christian either), but subscribed to this quote thingy because I like to think and there’s few better ways to think then to pay attention to the minority group and what they have to say. But I’m curious – how come so much of atheism entails a sometimes radical hatred of Christianity particularly? Sure you don’t believe in God or higher powers or whatever, but why don’t you revile Buddhism, or Hinduism or animistic religions? Why is so much focused on Christianity? I imagine it has something to do with the fact that most of the people who hate and revile you are Christian, but notwithstanding, the system of thought atheism represents stands against all religion. So why do you focus so much on Christianity to the exclusion of other religions?

  4. Nefari Says:

    Tzuriel:
    I would not consider my speaking out against Christianity as hatred.

    However, I think there is a tendency to speak out against the current status quo. There are participants here that have a lot to say about the C of E. There are others who have a bone to pick with Catholicism. Likewise, if I were living under the yoke of the Southern Buddhist Convention, I’d probably address that more than the Oracle Cult at Delphi.

  5. Critic Says:

    how come so much of atheism entails a sometimes radical hatred of Christianity particularly? Sure you don’t believe in God or higher powers or whatever, but why don’t you revile Buddhism, or Hinduism or animistic religions?

    I also do not consider my disgust with religion a hatred. It is an aversion to ignorance and the purposeful promotion of ignorance.

    And, I assure you that I feel the same way for all religions; however, most of my personal experience is related to the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam so they get the most of my attention.

    Any belief system that depends on and promotes the belief in something that cannot be proven to exist will be equally derided.

    Let’s face it – Hinduism has to be one of the crazier religions ever conceived by the demented mind of man, but, when was the last time that the Hindu lobby tried to limit my freedoms here in the US? I know it has probably happened, just not as relevant as the xian nutters running rampant through our government and over our constitution.

  6. Renshia Says:

    “But I’m curious – how come so much of atheism entails a sometimes radical hatred of Christianity particularly? ”

    It is not that people of atheistic beliefs have a particular hatred towards christianity, but a hatred towards the results of religion as a whole. You see a north american bent towards chrisianity because it is the predominant religion on our continent. It is the one that is so in our faces. I would think that most atheists would be vehemently active against any religious practices they encountered. Religion is reductive, however the best way to stop religion is to destroy the foundation it is built on. The enslavement of our mental processes based on an belief that has no proof of it’s existence.

    For me I actively fight against religion because the entire structure is based on this god that in the past is claimed to have been extremely active in messing around in humanities affairs. Basically getting his point across to us dullards, as in old testament stuff. Even active in more modern times.. with new testament miracles. But then ever since man has developed the ability to group information together.. Poof no sign of god… Where are the blind healed.. where are the lame that walk…. where are the hungry fed with just a couple fish….
    Show me one person that was completely blind, crippled or on a death bed with cancer that was healed. One truly verifiable miracle. Why would god feel the necessity’s to send his son down to die and dispatch his disciples into the world to and then just disapear?

    In the bible in Mark V16:15-18 the bible states;
    “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
    Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
    And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues,
    they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

    Seems mighty fishy that as soon as we would all be able to witness this awesome power of our said Lord he retracts his influence and expects everything to be based on faith….

    I may not be an overly smart person, but he states the credentials of his followers, but alas we see none of this proof. I spent a number of years devotely following a chritsian faith… I never seen a miracle that did not have an obvious explanation. i never did see the blind healed. Hell never even met anyone that has or at least could prove it.

    So where the hell is your god, what is he doing take a holiday on Bazor?
    Really if people don’t use there common sense and see it for it’s fruit then you deserve to be slaves.

  7. Tzuriel Says:

    These are some very good answers, and I’m excited to read them. Remember, I did not sign on to this to antagonize. I only want to promote discussion. Some of the things I say can be taken very negatively, I totally understand that, but I hope you will remember I only wish to discuss, because it is the discussion that fascinates me.

    So, to continue our discussion:

    Nefari, I really liked what you had to say. I agree, speaking out against a system you see as evil does not necessarily equate hatred, though much of the interaction between atheists and christians has been with hatred on both sides (which is horribly unfortunate). However, if it is not with hatred that you act but with a desire to help the world, then I can only commend you and express my admiration for those who are willing to go against the status quo in order to fight against what they feel is wrong.

    Critic, you’ve got some excellent points. So, to you, I pose several questions. What if there is a religion that does not promote ignorance but actively seeks to educate it’s followers (and others) and encourages discussion, even allows open challenges to it’s tenants and authority? Would you follow such a religion? And tell me what is so wrong about believing in that which cannot be proved? In my experience (limited as it is) half of what men are and always will be cannot ever be proved. Our belief in purpose, in fate, among a million other things that many admit to believing, even if they vehemently deny the existence of a God. I wonder why it is so bad to believe in something that cannot be proven. I can see what you mean for something that has been disproven conclusively, but something still open for debate? What about string theory? It has yet to be proven and cannot be proven with what we currently have, yet there are many acclaimed scientists who would swear by it. Is this wrong? Is it reductive?

    I guess that ran a little into what I had to say to Renshia. First, Renshia, I am not trying to antagonize you nor do I represent Christian interests, or Buddhist interests, or anything else like that. I am simply trying to inspire discussion. I hope we can leave personal feelings out of it (as much as that is possible where religion is involved). First I liked your comment on religion being reductive, and I hope we can discuss that much more in the future, as I would love to hear what you have to say to explain that to me, as it sounds like a fascinating discussion topic. Anyway, you have some excellent points against Christianity, though if you tried to apply that to Buddhism or even Hinduism your argument would fail. However, I will meet you, as best I can, on Christian grounds. You’re right. Most churches claim there are no more miracles, as well as thousands of other miriad claims that contradict what is said in their Bible. I can only make one reply to your argument here. There is one church that could answer your questions if you decided to ask them (I am not proselytizing here) that I can think of at this time. That church is the much-maligned Mormon church. They have some very interesting beliefs, which, if one can overcome the prejudices against them (rather like those thrown at atheists), actually have a lot of sense within. I wonder what your reply would be to their answers? I have a considerable amount of knowledge concerning their beliefs, and so would love to hear what you have to say about them. Of course, I would love to hear any of your answers to my questions.

    But here’s the big question – What if they prove God is real? I’m not posing the whole idea that it’s better to believe in God than not cause if he’s real and you die your screwed if you didn’t, cause that’s actually a load of bull. I’m just wondering, what happens if they prove God’s real? What will you do then?

  8. Critic Says:

    Critic, you’ve got some excellent points. So, to you, I pose several questions.

    I will be glad to discuss these topics with you.

    What if there is a religion that does not promote ignorance but actively seeks to educate it’s followers (and others) and encourages discussion, even allows open challenges to it’s tenants and authority? Would you follow such a religion?

    No, I would not follow such a religion. However, I would not have anything against such a religion until it tried to exercise control over non-believers through political or other more nefarious means. I fear that your phrase, “actively seeks to educate its followers (and others),” is a bit troublesome. Leave the “others” out of it unless they actively seek information from you.

    And tell me what is so wrong about believing in that which cannot be proved?

    Everyone has to draw the line about what the “believe” in and what they don’t. I choose to believe in cosmic forces that can be proven (gravity, electromagnetic, nuclear strong and weak) not pipe dreams for which there is no credible scientific evidence.

    In my experience (limited as it is) half of what men are and always will be cannot ever be proved. Our belief in purpose, in fate, among a million other things that many admit to believing, even if they vehemently deny the existence of a God. I wonder why it is so bad to believe in something that cannot be proven. I can see what you mean for something that has been disproven conclusively, but something still open for debate?

    As is commonly done by those of religious persuasion, you confuse the meaning of belief and are warping it to meet your needs. Of the items you mentioned,

    1) belief in purpose: I do not believe in purpose as you are probably using the word (correct me if I’m wrong). If you are suggesting that my existence has a predefined purpose determined by some god-like being, I simple cannot believe such a thing. I have no purpose other than what I decide my life should be about. In that regard, I have several purposes that I hold dear and strive to meet because I believe they will make me a better person, they will make the live of others better (admittedly in small ways), and hopefully make the world a better place (again in small ways).

    2) belief in fate: I do not believe in fate. Whatever happens, happens not because it is supposed to but because it does.

    What about string theory? It has yet to be proven and cannot be proven with what we currently have, yet there are many acclaimed scientists who would swear by it. Is this wrong? Is it reductive?

    I am not a very good string theorist – and have only a passable knowledge of physics, but I do see the rhetorical tool you are using. What you are saying is that since there is something we cannot understand, that leaves the possibility that a god could exist. The answer is that, yes, it is possible that god exists. However, the probability is extremely low. So low that consideration of god does not warrant effort.

    As I said, I am not a physicist, but string theory has been use to make accurate predictions that have been verified experimentally. String theory is not a fully formed theory, but that is how science works. Theories are proposed, tested, revised, retested, and revised as long as science progresses.

    Ultimately you are proposing a god-of-the-gaps argument that is a losing battle.

    I’m just wondering, what happens if they prove God’s real? What will you do then?

    If the reality of a god is proven, meaning that god’s existence is scientifically verifiable by independent, credible investigators, then I will have no choice but to believe that god exists. It certainly would be the most significant scientific discovery in the history of mankind. However, when dealing with the unknown, it is good to consider the possibilities, but better to dwell on things with the highest probabilities.

  9. Renshia Says:

    Hey, Tzuriel
    The discussion why i am here to. Please don’t misinterpret my responses in a personal way. I have no anger, although some passion about this subject. I do not show any level of respect for religion, but I do know each person does what they need to do to survive. I am not one to judge someone for that.

    so please be sure it is exploring the view I enjoy and look forward to hearing what you have to say.
    with out further ado..

    “what is so wrong about believing in that which cannot be proved?”

    It establishes limits to our capability to grow. If a person bows to a belief system that is final, it diminishes a person to continue learning and growing.

    For instance: once upon a time, it was commonly thought sickness was a result of evil spirits, punishment as such. Now if people had believed this was true.. final.. we would not have this medicine so available today. It was only because people refused to accept this that we have entered into an age of medical marvel.
    Now i realize that this is does not make my opinion definitive, but look at religious history and many times it due to the stringently held beliefs that whole societies have been stuck in limiting beliefs. At one time iraq was the center of higher learning, one of the most advance civilizations in the middle east. It was ransacked by christian zelots and has to this day never been able to recover.

    Almost in every aspect of society you see the poison that religion leaves in it’s wake.

  10. Renshia Says:

    ” It has yet to be proven and cannot be proven with what we currently have, yet there are many acclaimed scientists who would swear by it. Is this wrong? Is it reductive?”
    yes it is reductive, what if it is wrong, if they stringently believe it to be true then they have neglected other possibilities. That is reductive. Simply because it limits.

    like the old saying goes, if your not moving ahead, you may as well be going back.

  11. Tzuriel Says:

    Let me clarify and reply. First, I would like to say that I am not of religious persuasion. I have been raised religiously, but currently am unsure of what I believe in, if anything. The jury’s still out. However, I know that I love a good debate/discussion and am always interested in others views. So that’s why I’m here.

    By that theoretical religion educating others I meant something like a program that educates say people in Africa. Not something that says, hey our church is right and if you say so we’ll set you up. Just something that independently helps people no matter what. Why would you not follow such a religion? Say it doesn’t believe in God but believes in a concept like “Truth” or “Goodness.” What then?

    Not all evidence is scientific. See, there’s this thing with religious people v. atheists that has always perplexed me. Religious nuts completely discount science in light of the “truth” of God. Atheists completly discount everything but science because science, they feel, is the only thing that offers conclusive proof, and sometimes as a reaction to religious feeling around them (please correct me if I’m wrong). Both of these viewpoints I find to be wrong. There are problems with science and there are problems with religion, but that doesn’t mean that either should be discounted or ignored. To me, any good religion has at it’s heart the same goal that science has – to find the truth. This is of course stepping into all kinds of other things, but that’s my thoughts on that.

    I do not confuse the meaning of belief. My thought on purpose is exactly that you say you believe in. I didn’t expect you to believe in purpose given by some divine being as you don’t believe in divine beings. But how can you say that, even as you put it, you have such a “purpose”? It is too easy to see things from the existential viewpoint, where we all must soon realize the lack of purpose in anything. My point is that even here, your thoughts on purpose are a belief. The examples I gave are just that examples – you don’t need to believe in God to believe in fate or purpose. There are other such things. Please consider all of them in your reply(s).

    Prove that the possibility of a God is so low. What if religion was taken in a way that science is taken? As a continuing process? And there are many who claim there are instances of religious faith that have been verified “experimentally.” What is your reply to these claims?

    I am confused by your phrase “god-of-the-gaps argument.” So I’m gonna need you to explain that one please (sorry I didn’t catch it).

    I have often wondered what would happen if it were discovered that God exists or doesn’t exist is a scientific, conclusive fashion. How would society fare? It is an interesting question. I like your last line, and it has a lot of sense to it. However, I would like to now just how the non-existence of God has a higher probability than the existence of one. And I don’t mean the Christian God (if you want we could talk about that too), but a God in general.

  12. Renshia Says:

    ” if you tried to apply that to Buddhism or even Hinduism your argument would fail”
    What part would… I know of buddism and hinduism. I will admit to not be deeply knowledgeable of all their beliefs, but from my reading and conversing with a few of each I believe i have enough understanding to grasp the basic structure.
    For instance, my understanding is that buddism in its shortest definition is learning to live life in a state of transformational growth. Centering on transcending our evil nature.
    Now this again is reductive. We become a slave to the concept that we are not good enough, Wasting valuable time and energy seeking to rid ourselves of who and what we are.
    Why not focus on what you are and seek to learn and become more. You may argue that that is what they do, but by way of reduction not growth in their learning.

  13. Tzuriel Says:

    Sorry, I hadn’t seen Renshia’s replies yet. So now I see them and will write in reply.

    I’m glad that we are all here to have a good discussion. I don’t mind emotion, it often is very important in our decisions and thoughts, I just don’t want to get personal. So I’m glad you don’t either. Debate is so much more fun and interesting and enlightening when you don’t have to get offended. That’s why I can’t stand this stuff on yahoo with their chat stuff. It just gets infuriating. No real discussion. Just stupid people being loud.

    You have excellent replies, most of which I’ll need to think about more before I can really give you a good reply. Which is good. I like thinking. Okay, consider this. Someone arrives at a belief in God after a long process of thought of consideration of the world today. They have faith in this belief but are always willing to listen to others and their viewpoints and consider them carefully. This person is not a zealot, just a believer, a humble man who believes in a higher power and treats all around him with respect. How is he not able to grow? And what sort of growth are we talking about here? To what end? Also, consider that this belief might just be a different vien of growth than yours. Does that make it wrong? Without trying to pick a fight, that sounds like the viewpoint of a zealot. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you meant? Also, I can’t help but think of a quote from Edward Abbey that states: “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

    I would be the last to say religion has been only good for this world. But I will also be the last to say it has only been bad. Consider the works of many great people, who out of “Christian” charity helped those around them, no matter what. Think of Mother Theresa. Gandhi. The Dalai-Lama. These people promoted peace and brotherhood, and were very religious. So what separates them from the Christians who ransacked Jerusalem and the Muslims who destroyed the World Trade Center? The more I think about it, the more I think that it has little or nothing to do with religion. It all depends on the person involved. Gandhi was a good person, and I can’t say that depends on his religion or not. I also can’t say that the evil of Osama bin Laden depends on his religion either. I think it depends on the people involved. Sure, religion plays a part and influences our thinking, but ultimately it’s our decision. Much as I try, if I kill people in cold blood, I can’t blame it on my religious upbringing or even lack thereof. The fact is I killed people with no provacation or real reason. And for that I deserve whatever the justice system decides I get. One big problem I have with the constant debate btw atheists and general religious peoples is that it avoids the real issue. I don’t think getting rid of religion would solve all the worlds problems, I’m not sure if it would help, and there’s quite a bit of evidence it would hinder. So why do we worry about it when we could be implementing real, non-divisive programs that really help people?

    Another thing this has me thinking on. Say you do accomplish what you want. You are able to eliminate every religion on the face of the planet. What then? I am confused as to the purpose of the goal. Arabs would still hate Jews unless something had been done to change that. Most of the world would still hate America. The hate in this world has less to do with religion and more to do with people being stupid and selfish, religious or not. I am not sure of the purpose.

    By all this do not misunderstand. I have no feeling concerning your personal religious (or non-religious) feelings. If a man wants to believe that all men are descended from donkeys and that we are reincarnated as such and then go to donkey heaven that’s fine with me. My concern is when he wishes to make everyone else follow the donkey. Then things become problematic.

    Your reply to string theory is intersting, Renshia. It is reductive simply because it limits. But are all limits bad? Like, for instance the limits on our activities. Like the one that says I can’t go kill you or my neighbor, etc. Is that reductive? I have a feeling you would say no (I hope so) and therefore I ask where the limits are good and where they are bad and why. Though I do agree that if you’re not progressing than you’re regressing. But is that bad? And is all progress good?

    A little side note for all. I have spent a considerable time studying philosophy and hope to make my career in it. As I can see it, there has no flawless system of morality been made that was divorced from religion (not to say that religion has a flawless system, but their system is grounded in an absolute). So, based on your atheist feelings, what system would you suggest and why (I know this is huge, but I am curious; if you want I can explain my thoughts on morality and all that to give you something to start off with)?

  14. Renshia Says:

    “There is one church that could answer your questions if you decided to ask them.”
    Ah yes Mormonism.. now this is a long discussion.
    I would just have to say that when you base your beliefs on a delusion you can easily throw unprovable speculation into the mix to make anything sound good.
    Have you ever search a non mormon approved history of there church, the founder and the mystery of the plates. Have you ever heard of even one verifiable, by outside source, artifact of their recorded history. Once facts of there history come to light and the lack of all evidence it is all based on. Every thing about mormonism spirals itself into a very non creditable mess.
    “I’m just wondering, what happens if they prove God’s real? What will you do then?”

    And if there was proof finally proof of a god.. okay. even if there was proof of a god, I would bet dollars to donuts that he ain’t nothing like religion make him out to be.

    Come on do you really think the supreme ruler of the universe this petty, jealous, vindictive, malicious, thing that religion makes him out to be?

    Do you really think he would create you in his image and then make all these rules to stifle our ability to learn and grow from the experiences you have.

  15. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia (to your 3rd reply):

    I meant if you applied the argument you used using the scriptures you found in Mark. The miracle argument wouldn’t work vs. non-Christian religions.

    However, you provided an argument for them, so that’s cool. Actually that’s not Buddhism at all. In it’s truest sense Buddhism is a philosophy not a religion. The feeling behind Buddhism is that man is fallen not because he is man, not naturally (like Christians believe) but because of his desires. Buddha wants us to live a simple life and to limit our desires. He knows we can’t and shouldn’t get rid of all of them (the desire to protect your family for instance) but we should get rid of those that limit us. Like an overbearing desire to be entertained. Or a desire for food when you’ve already eaten. Or a desire for something unhealthy. By limited these desires we reach a higher state, we grow. He calls this enlightenment. In the religious sense this is used to break out of reincarnation, but in the philosophical sense this simply means being enlightened and therfore a better person. A good portion of this journey is about treating people right and learning new things. I have a hard time seeing this as reductive. You have many excellent thoughts on religions potential to be reductive, but I don’t think that it is naturally so. For instance, our Renaissance. This happened because of the Christian soldiers going into Muslim lands and taking things back. The Muslim scholars discovered all this while at the same time being religious, even discovered it because they were religious. This is an instance where religion did a great good to the world, in the case of the Muslim scholars. We never would’ve risen from the Dark Ages had it not been for them.

  16. Renshia Says:

    As a believer in reason instead of rhetoric,

    I think it is easy to see that a life force permeates the universe.. but that is all it is.. power, force. Completely neutral.
    It is how we as manifestations of this life force live, learn and grow that matters. That is the power. The fact it exists is verifiable.. We exist, but this power is us, it is what we do with it that is the difference between good and evil.
    Our choices, this is why faith is ridiculous, and belief is irrelevant, because the only thing that proves anything is our actions.
    If it is our actions prove it all then what relevance is a god. What difference does it make.

  17. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia (fourth reply)
    I learned something very interesting from a comparative, world religion class the other day. There are three rules for learning about a religion, two of which apply to all people and one of which applies specifically to religious people, though I could see it working for you, too.
    1. When seeking to learn about a religion, go to the people of that religion, not their detractors (detractors will always give you false information).
    2. Compare best with best, or the best of your religion or belief with the best of theirs (this is primarily for religious peoples, but you could probably use it to I guess).
    3. Leave room for holy envy, meaning allow yourself to wish you had something that the other religion or belief had. For instance, were I a Baptist comparing myself to Catholics, I might wish my leaders had the supposedly unbroken line of succession from Peter that Catholics claim for their Pope.

    I find these to be incredibly profound rules and an excellent way to encourage discussion. Notice that none of the rules require you to convert. I hope you can use them as you look at religions in the future (you seem to have done that with Buddhism, which is good).

    What if the rules are for your good? What if God says don’t do that much like your father told you not to touch the hot iron after cooking? It’s not to limit you, but to protect you. Why would God put man on earth if it wasn’t to grow? And not all religions say God is mean and hates everybody but them.

    Again, with the Mormons I meant that they at least have answers. I would still like to hear your replies to their thoughts as they are quite fascinating.

  18. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia, 5th reply (whew! gonna be here all night!):

    Well said. You’ll rhetoric can be very useful too, though.

    “It is how we as manifestations of this life force live, learn and grow that matters. That is the power. The fact it exists is verifiable.. We exist, but this power is us, it is what we do with it that is the difference between good and evil.”

    That is exactly what I was saying concerning religion! It’s the people that make the difference.

    I agree that it doesn’t matter whether a murderer believes in God, he’s still a murderer. But the relevance of a God is that religion influences our actions. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. If someone truly deeply believes in a God that says be nice to people and eat your vegetables, then their actions will reflect that. Is someone truly deeply believes in a God that says kill everything of a different skin color and eat their hearts then their actions will reflect that.

  19. Tzuriel Says:

    Sorry, note on Buddhism. It’s actually selfish desires that limit us and cause us suffering. Buddhism is about eliminating these and being happy. Just wanted to make sure my facts were straight.

  20. Renshia Says:

    “someone arrives at a belief in God after a long process of thought of consideration of the world today. They have faith in this belief but are always willing to listen to others and their viewpoints and consider them carefully. This person is not a zealot, just a believer, a humble man who believes in a higher power and treats all around him with respect. How is he not able to grow? And what sort of growth are we talking about here? To what end? Also, consider that this belief might just be a different vien of growth than yours. Does that make it wrong?”

    I do not know if it makes it wrong… right and wrong are really just a matter of perception, as all of this is.
    in my opinion there are many levels this can be reductive. But really without intimate details, how is one to know.
    What I do know is that if you have a disease it doesn’t matter how trifiling the signs are it is still a disease.
    Maybe this guy is just a nice innocent guy, but he tithes to a church that then supports missionaries that force people into schools that are stripped then of their own cultures and beliefs, leaving them broken defeated victims… would this then be reductive.. to life and to humanity.. I think it would.

  21. Critic Says:

    There are problems with science and there are problems with religion, but that doesn’t mean that either should be discounted or ignored.

    The problem with science is that it has not yet explained all natural phenomena. The good thing about science is that it decodes the mysteries of the universe.

    The problem with religion is that it is based on false premises and there is no evidence that it is true. The good thing about religion is that it gives ignorant people false ideas……?

    I don’t see your point here.

    …you don’t need to believe in God to believe in fate or purpose. There are other such things. Please consider all of them in your reply(s).

    This makes no sense to me. I do not understand your usage of the words fate and purpose. Do you?

    Prove that the possibility of a God is so low. What if religion was taken in a way that science is taken? As a continuing process? And there are many who claim there are instances of religious faith that have been verified “experimentally.” What is your reply to these claims?

    I said probability, not possibility. You need to look these words up and use them appropriately.

    I agree that the existence of a god is possible.

    The probability that a personal god, as defined by any religion, exists is extremely low based on any available evidence.

    I am confused by your phrase “god-of-the-gaps argument.” So I’m gonna need you to explain that one please (sorry I didn’t catch it).

    A common false argument for the existence god is that there will always be something that science cannot explain. Within that gap in our knowledge is the realm of god. The problem with this argument is that through history the realm of god has shrunk considerably and what was once and act of god is now a known physical reality. So only a very naive innocent would expect that what we cannot explain today is unexplainable and therefore must be the realm of god.

    However, I would like to now[sic] just how the non-existence of God has a higher probability than the existence of one.

    What is more probable: some unverifiable deity has built existence and created humanity…or…..everything has a natural explanation based on knowable natural processes?

    What is more probable, god made it rain today or the rain today was the result of natural processes?

    The simplest explanation is the default explanation without extraordinary evidence for a complex explanation.

  22. Renshia Says:

    I fully agree with the first rule.
    My belief is that a person should always immerse himself in a subject to fully understand it. and that the information should always come direct from the source first.”

    I disagree with the second. If you only compare parts.. the best to the best, or the worst to the worst, the vision is to limited to grasp the totality. I prefer to look at what the overall fruits are. because that is really all that matters.

    I completely miss the relevance of the third. However, if I was trying to compare religions to pick the best, for me, my family, or something like that, then it might have merit, but to critically analyze them, that point seems irrelevant.

    But the relevance of a God is that religion influences our actions.”

    but it is the overall fruit that it bears is what is most relevant.

    What religion teaches is that ultimately we are inferior, god is superior. that some how we as we are is not good enough. But by who’s standard. and by what right. That we need to strive to reach for acceptance. we need to purge our evil selfish desires. this is reductive. this centers our life to focus on purging our selves of what we are, not to try and grow to become more.
    But lets look at this selfish desire.. this desire helps ut to survive. it helps us improve the quaility of life, to sustain our lives and those around us. If we had no selfish desires, and just gave all abundance away. how would we survive in time of famine? how would our kids, our family survive?

    secondly, I know that to survive, I must to a degree help those around me. but, I also believe that ultimately I am solely responsible only for myself.. to survive I selfishly help those around me earning the right to help in return.
    now lets take the bum in downtown anywhere. lives on the street doesn’t save his money. or doesn’t work enough to accumulate enough to survive. Should I help this guy.. if I blankly follow the bible, it is expected that I should be the good sumaritian. But why should I be responsible for some one who is not responsible for themselves.
    It is not our responsibility to shed our selfish desires and help every tramp that puts his hand out or It is our responsibility to help ourselves so we do not end in that same state. Giving hand outs to the tramps, is only allowing those not willing to accept responsibility to burden those that do. Is it really helping.

    As stated by you this is even a integral part of buddhism.

  23. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia’s comment yesterday at 2:45 (this is getting exhaustive. we should have a button that lets us reply to specific comments, putting it under the comment we are replying to with an indent)

    You ultimately had nothing to say to that, and your argument here is fundamentally flawed. You claim that right and wrong are based on perspective, and then say that reductive thinking is wrong. Well, prove to me that it is wrong, especially if wrong is all based on perspective and changes so easily. See the problem here? This argument cannot win. You have to take a side, and if you do, you lose something either way.

    There are many levels it CAN be reductive, but my point here was to establish a scenario in which it wasn’t reductive. If the faith of this man is not reductive in any fashion, then how is it bad just by virtue of being religious?

  24. Tzuriel Says:

    Critic:

    We have some serious misunderstandings going on here. Let me try to clarify:

    My point with science is that it isn’t perfect, and that isn’t because it has yet to know everything. Science tends to look down a defining scope: this is the way I’m looking at things, no other way. In a sense, a belief in science can be reductive, as there are things we simply cannot and will not ever know with current tools or any tools that we have the capability of making. Science, for one thing, is limited especially to what is identifiable by experience and empirical evidence. But who says that all there is is what’s empirically verified or able to be empirically verified? Here you’re falling into the classic Cartesian problem, demonstrated very well in the Matrix: what if you’re controlled by, in Descartes’ writing, an evil demon? This evil demon determines what you see, don’t see, hear, don’t hear, anything and everything that you perceive with your senses. How do you know you can trust your sense with the possibility of this being the case? How can anything be empirically verifiable if your senses are lying to you? One way of looking at it is to ask, how do you tell a colorblind person was color is? A blind man the shape of a mountain? A deaf man music? See where this becomes a problem?

    Religion has many good aspects that you purposefully choose to overlook. For instance, there are few things that bring a community together like religion. Also, many working, efficient legal systems are based on religious principles. Many things that keep you alive were initially based on religious thought – like thou shall not kill. Religious feelings have brought about some of the greatest discoveries of our time. Gutenberg invented the printing press because he wanted the Bible to be read by the people, so they could see how it was different from the Catholic religion. He didn’t do this because he thought there was no God. He did this because he thought the Catholic religion was wrong and the people needed to meet God for themselves. This is perhaps the most quintessential moment in Western history. And it happened because of one man’s deep and abiding faith in God. However, religion does have many problems. Just like science does. There have been many terrible things commited in the name of science, too. You ever heard of eugenics?

    I fully understand my use of the words fate and purpose. I used existentialism against you, a philosophy that holds that there is no purpose to anything, and, in the end, we’ll all realize it. I used that against your saying that you find purpose in your actions for others, etc. An existentialist would say that you have really found no purpose there, just a way of trying to hide from the fact that nothing, NOTHING, has a purpose. Your actions for others are meaningless because they themselves and everything around them is meaningless. I am not an existentialist, but that is what they would believe. Fate does not require a God. Neither does purpose, as you said. There can be Fate as one big thing that orders things around. Who knows why. But this entity wouldn’t be God. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be an entity. You ever see Pi? In that movie, it was a mathematical equation that can be read in all things, from people’s actions, to the way smoke curls when you blow it from your lips, to the billion other seemingly random things that happen all around you. This is what I meant by belief. A man can believe there is something guiding human events without believing in a God. In fact, that man could believe that there is only a Satan, or believe that vampires have been secretly manipulating us all along. It doesn’t matter. Belief ranges from the most nonsensical crap to something that no one can reasonably deny.

    Probability, then. The request still stands, and you haven’t answered it. Tell me what makes the existence of God so improbable? Because, according to you, we currently have no evidence of it? I’m sorry, but that’s an incredibly backward way of looking at things. Back 300 years ago, they had no notion of dark matter, and yet here we are. How can you judge something like that on what you don’t have? You don’t know what you don’t have. You can only make claims like this as an omniscient being. Well, it’s going to be a long time before any of us reach that state, so I want to hear what makes the probability so low, especially when compared to the probability of God’s non-existence, because you haven’t given an answer to that question as of yet.

    Also, who says that everything having a natural explanation based on knowable natural processes rules out the possibility of a God? Here we’re stepping into deist thought (the irony!), which was that God exists, but he doesn’t mess with us anymore. He created the world, set up the natural processes, and then let it do it’s thing. He might look down every now and then, but he doesn’t do much else. So, here we have a group who believed in God and yet also believed in natural explanations based on knowable natural processes. Where did they go wrong? Before you answer consider that this group included people like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and even David Hume, one of the most brilliant philosophers ever to walk God’s green earth (lol). And what makes God “unnatural” and not a part of these processes? Just because we don’t know if he’s real yet doesn’t mean we won’t ever. There are all kinds of scientific arguments that we know to at least be mostly true, but which are constantly being refined everyday as we discover new things. Evolution for example. So, I ask again, how is God so improbable, and remember I just mean God, I’m not talking about the Christian God or about Allah or about the Great Spirit. How is God so improbable?

    I never used a god-of-the-gaps argument. That is a stupid argument. I was saying that string theory is something that we don’t know and in many ways can’t verify, even for a long time (unless we find some way to prove or disprove the existence of 18+ dimensions…good luck). I said that many scientists would swear that this is true. I asked if that was reductive of them to do, if that was bad because they believed in something that hadn’t been fully empirically verified. You answered saying that string theory has been used to make accurate predictions that have been verified experimentally. My reply to this is that there are people in the past who have prophesized events that were impossible to have known at the time, and those events came to pass (several of these being verified by several historical sources and proven to have been written at a sufficiant time before the event). So how do you accept, or at least not out-and-out dicount, string theory based on these things, but not God? And what if you saw a “miracle” before your very own eyes? Would you accept it, and I want you to think carefully about that, because there are many who would say yes but really wouldn’t.

  25. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    The first rule is a good rule. So my question then is, why then did you not go to the Mormons instead of anti-Mormon websites? You should well know that anti-atheist websites almost never tell the truth. Why would anti-Mormon ones?

    The second rule is best if you have a religion. However, I see your point and I agree, you should compare the whole. What the rule attempts to address is the fact that many people will take the worst thing about a religion (“the Catholics had inquisitions and started wars”) and compare it to the best thing about another (“the Buddhists believe in peace”). This is a bad idea and will never give you accurate answers. However, you should look at the fruit of a religion as well. You’ll find the Mormons have some of the best fruit around. Which is astounding considering all the crap they get. Some atheists have poisoned your fruit. I hope you’re not like them.

    The point of the third is to think about something good concerning that religion. Again, this is best if you have a religion, as people tend to say that this religion is all bad (because it’s not theirs). So here I’m just recommending you think about something good the religion has given the world and keep that in context.

    Concerning God being relevant and fruits: Agreed. But the relevance here is that God influences our actions and therefore influences our fruits. If a man believes that Jesus is real and wants him to donate his kidney for charity, then does it, that shows a direct influence of God on his actions, and therefore his fruits. The fruits here being that someone gets a kidney they need, he’s in pain for the next 3 weeks, then has no kidney if someone else needs it. But he saved someone’s life.

    Dude, how can you believe that we are good enough? Look around you at the world. If man were good enough, then there wouldn’t be the problems there are now. There wouldn’t be so much stupid bullcrap that could be solved if people would just get over themselves. How can you say we are good enough? The standard is the standard of sense. Man doesn’t have to live like this. But he does. Religion attempts to give man the hope to see how he doesn’t have to live like this. I’m really confused here. You say religion is bad because it limits growth, and yet here you are denying that growth is necessary or even a good thing. You claim it should be how we are, not how we can be. Where’s the sense in that? Where’s the purpose? And why would you want to believe that? You don’t need God to believe that man can and should be better. The purging is the growth. You grow into a better person by eliminated those things that hold you back, that are reductive. I guarantee you selfish desires never did a good thing for anybody, especially the one being selfish. You can hurt yourself far more than anyone else can hurt you. It’s by freeing yourself of selfish desire that you grow and allow yourself to reach new and greater heights as a person.

    Well, any desire to do good must be tempered by reason. If we had people running around trying to do good without being reasonable, we’d have a lot of problems. You’d have people going vigilante everywhere (you stole the candybar! face death!). You’d have people bankrupting themselves and starving their families so the guy next door can feed his drug habit. Of course it must be tempered with reason, not to mention based on a heirarchy. You try and take care of your family first. You decide what your priorities are. If you see this bum on your way home and you’ve got money but it’s going to go to buying dinner, than of course you need to keep the money. But if you have an extra 5 dollars that’s not going to go anywhere in the identifiable future, or anywhere useful, then you should give it to the bum. It doesn’t matter if he’s going to be stupid with it. You did your best. In the end, you can only be accountable to you. You can’t worry about everybody else. But you can do everything in your power to help them. That’s your responsibility and your duty as a human being. And I don’t need to believe in God to say that. You must act with reason and love, balanced if need be.

  26. Critic Says:

    Tzuriel:

    I see that this is devolving into a morass of random ideas. I will reply for the last time on this thread. And, just so you know where I’m coming from, I am a metaphysical naturalist and a monist.

    In a sense, a belief in science can be reductive, as there are things we simply cannot and will not ever know with current tools or any tools that we have the capability of making.

    This is silliness. Evidence suggests that with enough time we can know everything. Whether we have enough time is the question.

    As for the dualist mind games you propose, not interested.

    Religion has many good aspects that you purposefully choose to overlook. For instance, there are few things that bring a community together like religion.

    True enough. Nothing like religion to get the community out to burn witches on a Saturday afternoon. Nothing like religion to get the army all fired up to cross the mountain and kill those nasty heretics in the next valley. Nothing like religion to get our little group motivated to fly passenger planes into buildings.

    Fate does not require a God. Neither does purpose, as you said. There can be Fate as one big thing that orders things around. Who knows why. But this entity wouldn’t be God.

    I’m afraid you have lost me with this discussion. Whatever name you chose to give this cosmic power that you are trying to invent, there is no evidence for it. Prove it exists or quit rambling.

    Also, who says that everything having a natural explanation based on knowable natural processes rules out the possibility of a God? Here we’re stepping into deist thought….

    I was talking about a theist god. As a metaphysical naturalist I rule out all forms of divine intervention and , by definition, I assert that all things are knowable based on understanding the natural world.

    I am not at all interested in anyone’s ideas of a deist god. By definition, a deist god does not care about me and in return, I don’t care about it.

    I was saying that string theory is something that we don’t know and in many ways can’t verify, even for a long time (unless we find some way to prove or disprove the existence of 18+ dimensions…good luck). I said that many scientists would swear that this is true.

    I am afraid that you are wrong. Any scientist that swears that all aspects, even unproven aspects, of a theory are true, is not being scientific. However, if the scientist says, “Yes, all aspects of this theory, even the unproven aspects, fit the overall theory and all predictions we have made with this theory,” then they are being scientific in their thought processes. Surely you see the difference.

    As to prophesy, miracles, and the fact that there has to be a god because we can’t prove that there is not a god, again I’m not interested. I will say that I would not believe a miracle even if I saw it with my own eyes. If the miracle was reproducible and confirmed by independent scientific (non-religious) experts, then I would have to change my mind.

    The probability of the existence of a theist god is extremely low. Mankind has been claiming they exist and killing each other to prove they do for all of recorded history. Still, no reproducible scientifically valid evidence that these gods exist. Therefore, the probability that they will show themselves tomorrow is infinitesimal. I have other things to deal with and will leave those of infinitesimal probability to others with more free time.

    I’ve enjoyed the discussion and I end it here.

  27. Renshia Says:

    “The first rule is a good rule. So my question then is, why then did you not go to the Mormons instead of anti-Mormon websites? You should well know that anti-atheist websites almost never tell the truth. Why would anti-Mormon ones?”

    Your making the assumption I didn’t and in the days I studied mormons there were no web sites.
    I asked if you had ever looked at non mormon based history because you obviously know of the history directly.
    After spending months studing with them I then sought out other sides of the story.

    If you only examine the truth from one side you often miss facts that are relevant. Although rule one is a good rule, only a fool would use only one side of a story to decide what is truth.

  28. Renshia Says:

    ” You’ll find the Mormons have some of the best fruit around.”
    Bullshit.!!
    the Mormons spew the same shit as any other religion. it is just another religion seeking to control and suppress. And I know this for a fact. I have seen there attempts to control their people.. their sheep.
    Everything from mysteriously missing plates to funky holy underwear. Give me a break. Even there book of mormon is nothing but babbling contradictions.
    No the mormons are just another religion. with sweet words that tickle your inners with nice feeling and then control your mind and destroy your ability to reason.
    so if you want to learn about mormons you need to grasp a little larger picture.
    It is part and parcel no different than any other religion… the most destructive force of any of mans inventions.

  29. Renshia Says:

    ” So here I’m just recommending you think about something good the religion has given the world and keep that in context.”

    You need to sit down and take a different perspective. If you wallow in the shit all you will ever see is the shit… if all you know is shit, you won’t even know thats what you wallowing in.

    Religion gives nothing of any meaning that is good. For every mother Teresa out there religion has had it’s hand in creating the 5,000 that need her help. If we were to eliminate religion then we would not need the mother Teresa’s. And yes I do truly believe that on a global scale religion is full responsible for the continual disgregation of mans ability to accept responsibility for his actions.

  30. Renshia Says:

    ” that God influences our actions and therefore influences our fruits”

    where is this influence then…. because the fruit sucks…
    this is one reason why there can be no god.. where is this influence, there is none.. nothing that could not be stacked up to the fact that there are good people in this world regardless of religion.
    If there was a God, if religion held any validity the religion would not be able to constantly spew out the hate filled segregation that drives it.
    it would be impossible… it there was a god like the bible lays out.. for religion to be the mess it is.
    but when there is no one guiding a ship it is capable of going anywhere.. even to it’s own destruction.

  31. Renshia Says:

    ” If a man believes that Jesus is real and wants him to donate his kidney for charity, then does it, that shows a direct influence of God on his actions, and therefore his fruits.”

    or it is just the control of guilt. Or maybe the guy was just a decent guy and was willing to make the sacrifice.
    It is a hell of an assumption to attribute his actions on god… did god show up pushing him in a wheel chair.. i will bet he didn’t.

  32. Renshia Says:

    ” But he saved someone’s life.”

    or he may have just cost him his own.
    or he may have just messed up gods plan to let the other guy die…
    if it was gods will to save the guy why didn’t he grant the guy a miracle.

    If god would have wanted us to save each other with kidney transplants he would have thrown the dialysis machines in with the garden of eden to.

  33. Renshia Says:

    “how can you believe that we are good enough? Look around you at the world. If man were good enough, then there wouldn’t be the problems there are now.”

    And if religion did not teach mankind to rely on an outside sources, and man was taught to accept personal responsibility for them selfs then that would not be true..
    It is only because we are taught and preached at to look to some god for answers instead of learning to be responsible.
    This is the teaching of religion… this is the basis of the most destructive force known to man.

  34. Renshia Says:

    “how can you believe that we are good enough”
    easy… tell me the truth is the only thing that keeps you from being a raving murderer the fact that you “know” god exists.

    By the sounds of things you seem like a decent chap, i doubt the only thing holding you back is your knowledge of god. I know it does not hold me back… Hell i don’t believe in god at all. but i do believe in love kindness and that helping the world to grow helps me…

    so once again are you just making assumptions that this belief if helping. but if you look at the fruit… over 70% of people believe in some kind of god, but look at the fruit… you only assume a world without god would be worse… I wonder how it could be.

  35. Renshia Says:

    ” Religion attempts to give man the hope to see how he doesn’t have to live like this.”
    but when 70% of the population has some religious affiliation and it is all the mess it is.. why

    hell after 6000 years if the shit ain’t helping maybe it is time to try something else.
    It is not like religion is a new thing were trying it has been a fundamental part of society for thousands of years.. and this is the best it can do…

    Where is this influence.. what rock is this god hiding under….

  36. Renshia Says:

    “I guarantee you selfish desires never did a good thing for anybody, especially the one being selfish. You can hurt yourself far more than anyone else can hurt you. It’s by freeing yourself of selfish desire that you grow and allow yourself to reach new and greater heights as a person.”

    This is a lie…
    1′ selfish desire helps us to stay alive.
    2. selfishness teaches us that to survive, to flourish we must selfishly go forth and help those around us so that as a community we can grow and be strong..
    A lack of selfishness weakens us is destroys our ability to do what is best to survive.. the we become weak defenseless victims.. and it is this teaching that is part of what is destroying mankind.

    to teach the removal of selfishness is fool hardy and destructive.
    to teach personal responsibility for all actions is way better.

    one is reductive, the other teaches us to grow.

  37. Tzuriel Says:

    Critic:

    I’m sad that you’re leaving this thread. It’s been fun.

    Evidence does not suggest that with enough time we’ll know everything. Evidence doesn’t even suggest that we can trust our senses to know what we do know (if indeed we know it, lol). Here you’re relying on the idea that everything that there is to know is learned through our senses, through empirical evidence. While it’s possible that’s true, we simply don’t know if it is. In fact, there’s an entire school of philosophy that holds that we can’t trust the senses and that the only real way to learn anything is through reason and logical calculation. While they’ve come up with some wierd stuff, like empiricists, they’ve got a point.

    This isn’t dualism. I’m talking about rationalism. Dualism is very different, and not of interest to me right now. So address rationalism.

    Nothing like religion to save people from a life of drugs and violence. Nothing like religion to form a community bond strong enough for the entire community to come over and help rebuild after a fire, to offer the family a place to stay, to give them their possessions. Nothing like religion to bind a family as one. Nothing like religion to inspire people to hope for a better world and strive to create it. I can match you word for word, Critic. Actually address the argument instead of slinging rhetoric.

    With the whole fate discussion, my point was that the belief doesn’t require a belief in God. I wasn’t trying to prove it was there, but to prove that God isn’t necessary for it to be there. It’s really not that hard to understand.

    I don’t care about your definitions. I’m here to argue the basics with you, not to be told what this group you belong to thinks. I don’t care what you think, I care what you prove is the case. You can’t toss aside an argument by saying I don’t believe in that. You address the argument. If I say God can be a part of natural processes, you don’t say well I don’t believe in that, you say no, he can’t, because etc., etc., etc.

    Your point on string theory is well said, and I’m not sure I can address it. I think I’ll have to secede that to you, mainly because I’m not nearly versed enough in that field to lock horns with one who is. Maybe another day.

    I never said there has to be a god because there’s a possibility of there being one. I said that there’s a possibility, and that it’s not small. It’s like the man who thought the world was flat because he saw no evidence to the contrary. He might’ve spent all his days thinking that, even though he was wrong. Just because, as you see it (though I believe there is evidence), there’s no evidence for God’s existing doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist, just as the fact that the wrong appears flat doesn’t mean it actually is.

    You should take a look at anthropology. You might see a lot of intersting stuff.

    Well, goodbye Critic. I don’t think we’ll ever see eye to eye.

  38. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    Concerning rule one. You’re right. You’ve got me. I did make the assumption, and I’m pissed at myself for it. I really hate making assumptions like that. I have looked at anti-Mormon stuff. I agree that one should always look at both sides, and, being raised a Mormon, I have spent time looking at anti-Mormon stuff. Most of it’s foolish, and a good deal don’t know what their talking about. I am more than willing to address an argument, but not an insult that does nothing more than attempt to hide the truth. Also, evidence has changed recently. Many of the arguments against Mormonism have fallen apart in light of recent discoveries. I don’t think you could prove Mormonism wrong without proving God doesn’t exist.

  39. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    Wrong. The Mormon church is the single largest charity on this planet. If that’s not good fruits, I don’t know what is. What Mormons did you spend your time with? I fear they gave you a bad impression. You should spend some time with my family. They are very good people. There are Mormons, as there are in any group, that attempt to use social strictures to control others. I know that better than most. But these people are doing things that are against the beliefs of that church. And what’s wrong with funky underwear (besides being uncomfortable)? I find nothing wrong with it. If you subscribe to Mormon belief, that funky underwear saved my grandpa’s life.

  40. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    Yes and no. Religion has caused problems, though I have a hard time believing that’s the fault of the religion. It’s like the hammer analogy I used in another post. You can’t blame the hammer when someone swung it to kill someone else. I think this is the fault of the people in the religion. They’ve simply used that to do what they want. This is not something that is only in religion. It’s also in politics, and used for great evil. People are good or evil (mostly somewhere inbetween), and they’ll use the religion according to what they are. Getting rid of religion wouldn’t solve our problems. If you wanted to get rid of abuse of power and prejudice, you should dissolve society and kill everybody. Otherwise, we’ll have to do this the slow way.

  41. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    The fruit is man-made. It won’t be perfect. There are those, however, who have been saved by religion. Because they were good people? Possibly. But, either way, religion was the vehicle for their redemption or destruction. Again, the hammer. You don’t destroy the hammer cause someone did something bad with it.

    Your point about religion being a ship: yes, I agree, and that is one of the major concerns Mormonism addresses. However, many religions feel they follow God, and so their ship is, to them, not without a helmsman.

  42. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    Well, the assumption is that the man is a good person. Yes, he would’ve done good things regardless (hopefully) but religion performs a shaping role in many peoples lives. Sometimes, when choosing between a wrong and a right, they choose the right because they feel God will bless them. It might start out selfishly, but people develop into good people from that. For this man, it could be that his pastor last sunday talked about the virtues of those who were willing to give of their body. The point is is that for many people it starts with religion. It is the vehicle to them becoming good people.

  43. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    Not if God wanted us to grow and discover these things for ourselves. If God, being omnipotent for our purposes, had wanted the donee to die, he would’ve died, for whatever reason. That’s not important, and a distraction. It’s an example, take the meaning behind it.

  44. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    That’s wrong. I’ve been raised religiously, and my religion always emphasized self-reliance and taking responsibility for one’s choices. Always. Heck, we even do the whole food storage thing. The idea is that’s why we’re here, is to learn and to take responsibility for our actions. Most religions don’t teach you to blame everything bad on God. Particularly Christianity. It’s corrupt preachers and lazy followers who believe that.

  45. Tzuriel Says:

    Renshia:

    I actually don’t assume a world without God would be worse. It’s something I’ve spent a long time thinking about, and I haven’t come to an answer. Maybe I will someday. Then we can talk about that.

    Btw, I don’t necessarily believe in God. I don’t know. So it obviously isn’t the only thing keeping my back because I haven’t killed anybody. But for some people it does stop them. This gets less and less the more “modern” we become, but it’s deterrence can be very powerful. For others, it’s just the hope of a plan and purpose that keeps them from descending into apathy. It means a lot of different things to a lot of people, and, for some, is the only thing keeping them back from the brink.

  46. Tzuriel Says:

    I don’t know where God is. But I don’t believe the world is a mess because of the religions. I think it is because of people. People create these problems, Christian people, Buddhist people, Voodoo followers, atheists, everybody. It’s the flaws in people, not their systems. You can’t judge things based on one system. You have to look at the component parts. And they’re all flawed.

  47. Tzuriel Says:

    Selfishness has it’s place. You have to think about surviving. But it gets out of hand, very often. People become overly selfish and only do something if it very direcly helps them, often at the expense of others. This was the point – controlling selfish desires leads to a better society and a happier you. It’s like a man’s sex drive. This is good, cause we have kids cause of it. But you can’t just screw everything. That’s bad.

    “to teach the removal of selfishness is fool hardy and destructive.
    to teach personal responsibility for all actions is way better.”
    Wrong. These two statements contradict themselves. A selfish man won’t take personal responsibility for a bad action because he knows it will hurt him. Someone who is selfless will take responsibility because he knows it is for the best. To teach both is best.