1st December 2009

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.”

Bertrand Russell1872 – 1970

21 Responses to “1st December 2009”

  1. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. – Bertrand Russell

  2. tech Says:

    Have you ever heard of FAITH?

  3. Hypatia Says:

    Have you ever heard of FAITH?

    Have you ever heard of GULLIBILITY?

  4. John Says:

    Have you ever thought that your preachers might just feeding you a line of bull.

  5. Holysmokes Says:

    It seems to me that FAITH would, at the very least, require a significant amount of circumstantial evidence. How can one have faith without it? I have spent many years of my life searching for any evidence that would help me believe that faith in a higher power is at least plausible. Unfortunately I have discovered nothing to date.

    If it is true that god created man in his own image, then surely he must realize that we require more than a bunch of poorly written short stories, which have been handed down over the ages, to go on. Blind faith is illogical, and at least for me, impossible. I can sit here and make endless attempts to “have faith,” but my mind will always be full of doubt without evidence.

    Tens of thousands of gods have come and gone over human history. They all share one commonality, no evidence. If faith is the primary requirement, then this is a very weak god indeed. It seems inevitable that he will follow his predecessors into obscurity.

  6. tech Says:

    Preachers are human.

  7. Holysmokes Says:

    All the more reason to take what they say with a grain of salt. They compiled the bible.

  8. Brian Delrosario Says:

    Which would you rather prefer: faith or knowledge?

  9. dragonknight Says:

    ‘The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it, It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. the practical upshot of this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any language.

    Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that any thing so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes like this : “I refuse to prove that I exist”, says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”

    “But”, says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn’t it? it could not have evolved by chance. it proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.”

    “Oh dear”, says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

    “Oh that was easy” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

    Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation. ‘ – Douglas Adams ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’

    I’ve never really understood why, in the broadest of strokes, people seem to think that faith denies knowledge, or that knowledge somehow supersedes faith. But it’s a nice quote, goes well with the overall feel of the quote above.

    As far as what I would prefer, between faith or knowledge, I’d prefer a healthy blend of the two. Granted, ‘religion’ is not the best thing going, there’s a lot of inaccuracies, things bent and twisted over generations to meet the needs of a specific person or group. Some of it just plain hateful to begin with.

    But I generally try to split hairs and divide faith from religion. Can one have faith but not belong to any given religion? Can one be spiritual without being dogmatic? I think so.

    I’d love to know every little bit of the ins and outs of the universe. I’d like to know what happens to my conciousness when I die.

    Do I cease to be? (that’s a rather bleak outlook)

    Do I get to lounge about on fluffy white clouds? (that sounds comfortable)

    Am I reabsorbed into the world, my body nourishment for the natural world, my ‘spirit’ if you will, nourishment for the universe as a whole? (kind of an interesting take on things)

    I think spirituality is, generally, a good thing. It’s the construct of religion that’s dangerous, as any bureaucratic body is. Science has often been bent to perform great evils by governments, just as spirituality has been bent by religion.

    I really get the feeling that I’m not quite part of either camp on this subject. I can’t be the only moderate here am I? T.T

  10. Chris Says:

    I have faith…that the moral teachings of the bible are cruel and abhorrent.

    “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Psalm 137:9.

    For what possible crime could one view child murder as a just punishment?

    And Jesus, in a demonstration that he was deranged, is said to have erected these contradictory moral pillars:

    “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Matthew 15:4-7
    and
    “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” Matthew 10:21

    Prince of Peace?

    Tech – do give us all some examples of Jesus’ moral teachings. The stuff I read from him was either repugnant or derivative of earlier sources. What did he bring that was new and could ONLY have been brought by a GOD incarnate? Other than, of course, the fact that if you didn’t follow him you were destined for the lake of fire. Kind of self serving, if you ask me.

    Faith is not a virtue when it runs counter to all the available evidence.

  11. dragonknight Says:

    Certainly, taken from the context of the full passage I can see how these are particularly cruel passages. I don’t doubt that.
    But I just re-read these passages and I’m not sure their as cruel as those lines appear. Well, except matthew 15:4-7. that’s a bit over the top. I’m no theologian, and I don’t know any of the ‘history’ associated with the passages. But looking at them purely from a literary stance, these are my interpretations.

    Psalm 137:9, taken in the context of the whole passage, it’s talking about captives, taken away, probably after a conflict who are told ‘sing us a song and make us merry’. To me, the passage is sad, these captured minstrels singing songs about their homeland while trying to praise those who took them by force. The last line, to me anyway, is almost sarcastic.

    Matthew 10 is talking about the apostles going into other towns, and trying to convince people to convert. He tells them to go in to a new town, be smart, alert wary, but ever gentle and passive, like a dove. The line ‘brother shall deliver brother to death….’ is his warning them that this might not be well recieved, there might be conflict. But that it needs to be weathered and that the apostles need to be aware that this could happen. he’s not saying ‘okay go kill your brother now’

    Matthew 15:4-7 is apparently jesus talking to others about the merits of their religions versus his. much like we are doing now. Now the line about how you should honor your parents or else you should die is a bit extreme I admit, but the rest of the passage is about how the things we say, the words and feelings we speak from the heart are what defile a person, not whether or not he eats with his hands.

    Not once, in the full of these passages, do I see evidence that Jesus condoned murder, death and destruction. I think he was probably aware these things were likely outcomes to trying to change peoples minds on things. is this evidence of him being a divine being? certainly no, but i also don’t think that it’s evidence that he was a muder-loving psychopath

  12. PEB Says:

    I’ve just re-read Harry Potter and I can’t see any evidence that Dumbledore is gay. Please don’t treat the bible as anything other than a collection of stories with heroes, villains and a lousy plot.

  13. tech Says:

    Lots of grains I need plenty of salt.

  14. John Says:

    Now… Harry Potter! That would make a more believable bible, cult and something I could have faith in. Live Long and Prosper… and may the force be with you, PEB.

  15. tech Says:

    There sure is lots of truths to be mulled over on this alright.

  16. John Says:

    tech:

    Humans wrote the bible.

  17. Holysmokes Says:

    The most difficult word surrounding religions and belief is the word, “faith.” I see no reason why faith should be a necessary requirement for humans to believe in an all-powerful being. Why wouldn’t a genuine god simply show evidence? There is no logic in faith, nor is there any in requiring it. I’ve noticed that “people of faith” seem to bask in the word or concept. To me, and I think most logical people, it is an extremely poor substitute for facts. Can anyone out there explain why it MUST take faith to believe in a god?

  18. John Says:

    Holysmokes:
    Here is kind of an answer:

    I guess it is like when a child discovers that its parents lied about Santa Claus. When the truth is discovered about the lie, does the child hate its parents? No, a child discovers the world of make believe is just that; make believe and some carry it into other beliefs as well as adulthood.

  19. Chris Says:

    Faith is necessary for god-belief because there has never been a shred of verifiable evidence for the existence of the supernatural. The only evidence proffered is “testimony”, usually in the form of a book written by credulous and self-interested people decades after the supposed events they document. A court of law would throw it out as here say.

    It’s amusing to note that while the superstitious like to tout their faith as all they need to support their belief, they’re also very eager to have their superstitions borne out by science. That’s why they did a massive, and well designed double blind study on the effectiveness of prayer. The result of the study was that the group that knew they were being prayed for actually had slightly worse outcomes. Proof of a malicious god? Heh heh.

  20. Chris Says:

    P.S. – still waiting on those moral teachings from Jesus that could only have come from a god. If he was such a great teacher, it ought to be easy to point to numerous ways in which Jesus improved our innate morality. Here, for example, is an example of a moral teaching:

    “This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you.”
    — Mahabharata 5:1517, from the Vedic tradition of India,
    circa 3000 BC

    Maybe Jesus was a Buddhist?

  21. Holysmokes Says:

    Hi John, thanks for the reply, but I’m not altogether sure that you can compare Santa to a god like that. I think kids automatically “assume” that Santa exists because they were told so. They simply lack the analytical skills to question it. I doubt “faith” plays much of a part. Of course one could easily make the same argument about kids regarding a god. The fundamental difference is that, as they get older, they are never told god is a fable. But as they age, the thought must cross their minds. Perhaps this is when the “faith” decision begins. Since they have a complete lack of evidence, a choice must be made.