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Thread: Does faking it count?

  1. #1 Does faking it count? 
    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    I feel like I already know the answer, but I'm wondering what the religious would say.

    I am an atheist (raised protestant christian). There are few things I'm as sure of as there is no God. But say I wanted to be religious just for the "eternal insurance policy." Does faking it count?

    Say from my current position I pick Judaism, Islam, or Christianity and just fake it, acting like I have faith and belief where in fact I have none. Does it count?


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    Option 1: Of course it does. It will imbue you with a subliminal sense of security and consequent wellbeing. This will produce positive results in your day to day life, leading to enhanced success and less acne.

    Option 2: You will be condemned to an eternity of torment for such flagrant disrespect for religion and for your hypocrisy. God will see what is in your heart and punish you for it.

    Option 3: If you follow the ritual while simultaneously seeking true enlightenment your spiritual wellbeing will benefit in this life and your soul will benefit in the afterlife.

    Option 4: If God has a sense of humour you will be condemned to five thousand years of reincarnation as punctuation marks in Zelos's posts.


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    Sort of damned if you do and damned if you don't!
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  5. #4 Re: Does faking it count? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    I feel like I already know the answer, but I'm wondering what the religious would say.

    I am an atheist (raised protestant christian). There are few things I'm as sure of as there is no God. But say I wanted to be religious just for the "eternal insurance policy." Does faking it count?

    Say from my current position I pick Judaism, Islam, or Christianity and just fake it, acting like I have faith and belief where in fact I have none. Does it count?
    I would say right now, there are many men/women of faith who are faking it. some for fear of injury, others to keep the peace.
    it is sometime wise to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself.
    but as for you, I think you would feel a bit of a fraud, and your conscience would get the better of you.
    but as theres no god would it matter one way or the other.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    Perhaps it would be wise for me to a bit more clear.

    For, "Does it count?" I mean, if as an atheist I do feign being a christian (I do claim belief, I do accept Jesus Christ, do all the things that christians are supposed to do, etc.) but the entire time I don't really believe any of it (which isn't my choice) would I still get the "eternal benefits" of being a christian or would I be punished because I honestly didn't believe any of it?

    And how can someone like me, who really doesn't believe any of it and has been exposed to a lot of christianity, who in all honesty is an atheist at heart earn salvation? Is it possible? Assuming of course that I never reach an honest belief in anything about christianity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    Perhaps it would be wise for me to a bit more clear.

    For, "Does it count?" I mean, if as an atheist I do feign being a christian (I do claim belief, I do accept Jesus Christ, do all the things that christians are supposed to do, etc.) but the entire time I don't really believe any of it (which isn't my choice) would I still get the "eternal benefits" of being a christian or would I be punished because I honestly didn't believe any of it?

    And how can someone like me, who really doesn't believe any of it and has been exposed to a lot of christianity, who in all honesty is an atheist at heart earn salvation? Is it possible? Assuming of course that I never reach an honest belief in anything about christianity.
    well then in that case sure, an all good god would only see you as doing the right thing for you and your loved ones it would not matter how you lead your life, however a good and evil god, would expect you to repent and ask forgiveness, which I would assume you would do. but a totally evil god would get great pleasure out of torturing you, heck he would even torture his own believers.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Is this a TRICK QUESTION??? seriously, if you are atheists and don't believe in God how the F____? are you worried about HIM punishing you???
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    Quote Originally Posted by SealOtter
    Is this a TRICK QUESTION??? seriously, if you are atheists and don't believe in God how the F____? are you worried about HIM punishing you???
    Ever heard of insurance? :wink:
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    i can tell you right now God would like you to believe. It would be wonderful if you gave him your faith. Does he care if you fake it?? NO, that is your choice. If that is the best you can do. Is that the best you can do? Well than fake it.
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  11. #10 Re: Does faking it count? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    ...Does it count?
    Nope. It doesn't. Bottom line..... If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God then your out.

    However, you can fake it all your life but if you truly change your mind at the last second, then your in.... The keyword though... is "truly".

    So, Silkworm. I will see you in the burning place....

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  12. #11 Re: Does faking it count? 
    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    ...Does it count?
    Nope. It doesn't. Bottom line..... If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God then your out.

    However, you can fake it all your life but if you truly change your mind at the last second, then your in.... The keyword though... is "truly".

    So, Silkworm. I will see you in the burning place....

    Bettina
    Yeah, the "truly" part is what I'm getting at.

    I wonder how many people there are out there who are in the same boat we are, although they try so hard not to be.

    I do hope that if there is something wrong with us, say that our "God receptor" was broken, that God will be kind to those who lie to themselves, although instead of being atheists these people are "lying atheists."
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  13. #12 Re: Does faking it count? 
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    Oops I really screwed up... I accidently deleted my first post. Lets see if I can remember some of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    For, "Does it count?" I mean, if as an atheist I do feign being a christian (I do claim belief, I do accept Jesus Christ, do all the things that christians are supposed to do, etc.) but the entire time I don't really believe any of it (which isn't my choice) would I still get the "eternal benefits" of being a christian or would I be punished because I honestly didn't believe any of it?
    It is a common sermon in Christian churches that many if not most Christians are doing exactly what you suggest, and that this will not avail them at all. For the mask you wear does not change what you are and it is what you are that really counts. The only purpose for such a pretense is the influence with others that you can buy with it. To change what you really are requires a sincere search for the truth.

    Besides, there is a matter of language involved. Obviously it doesn't matter whether you believe in God in French or English, right? Is it possible that from God's point of view, atheism (or other religions for that matter) is just like another language? I think there is a very real sense in which the atheist digs beneath the superficial veneer of religion to get at truths that lie beneath. I think that it is quite possible that if God sorted the human race into the two categories of theists and atheists the result may be rather different than our perceptions.

    I am not saying that their are many roads to God. I am not saying that what you believe does not matter. I am simply saying that human perception may not accurately represent reality.

    In the Christian "language" there are no paths to God. Salvation is not a matter of propitiating (or manipulating) God. Salvation is a relationship with God that allows Him to save you from yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    I do hope that if there is something wrong with us, say that our "God receptor" was broken, that God will be kind to those who lie to themselves, although instead of being atheists these people are "lying atheists."
    The only receptor for God is life itself and the only way that could be broken is if you are dead (now and forever). But remember this is not an either/or thing but a more/less thing, and in that sense what I am calling life is more like what is commonly called consciousness. We can make choices that diminish our life and consciousness and choices that expand our consciousness. And in the Christian language the things which diminish life and consciousness are called sin.

    God encourages life to make the choices that lead to greater life. It is what He does. It is the reason He created life. But according to the teachings of Christianity, the current situation with mankind has become a bit complicated and God's direct interference or help may actually do more harm than good. Thus to get past this difficulty it is required that we ask (possibly with some prerequisite understanding of what we are doing) for God's help, before that help can do any good.

    ------------------------------

    I have been thinking of an example of what I said above, a parable if you like.

    Suppose there is this fine upstanding Christian well respected in the community who loves studying the Bible and talking about God. But then there is someone who threatens to ruin the life he loves so much. Maybe it is something from the past or its a con man or maybe just a frivolous lawsuit that can ruin him. Anyhow it just seems like it would much much more convenient for our Christian if this threatening person would disappear. And since this Chrisitan is a clever man he thinks up and carries out a plan for the perfect murder and his problem is solved with no one suspecting a thing.

    Now suppose there is an atheist, who disgusted with the superficial people in Christianity just doesn't think it very likely considering the suffering he has seen in the world that the Christian God could make much sense. And suppose he found himself in a similar situation as the Christian previously discussed, and being a clever man and a little bit angry he too thinks up a perfect plan to eliminate the person who threatens him so that no one would ever suspect. Only this man, the atheist, does not carry out the plan because he just doesn't think it is the right thing to do.

    Now isn't it possible that from God's point of view, that it is the first man who is the atheist not the second. It is not the words that matter. It is not what we call Him. So perhaps it is what atheist believed in, that prevented him from committing murder, that is truly God and not what he says doesn't exist. And likewise, it is what the Christian did not believe in, that allowed him to commit murder, that is really God and not what he said does exist. Or maybe it is just that, in the eyes of God, what the second man does seems more like a belief in God than what the first man did. It does to me.

    I mean think about it. When a man tells you that he believes in God, how can you possibly know what the words really mean to him? Even if he defines this God that he believes in, perhaps it is what he doesn't say that is really important, and maybe he doesn't even believe what he says quite as much as he thinks he does. Ultimately what the words really mean only comes out when they are translated into action, if even then.
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    If I was the Judeo-Christian God, I would probably let you into heaven. I mean giving an honest effort to believe, and adhering to the morals of whichever religion you choose is probably about the best you can do. Lots of Christians have doubts about God at some point, anyways. Just pray a lot. And honestly if you are wasting your life trying to force yourself to believe in the religion, or adhere to all of it's practices, you probably find some kind of personal benefit from doing so, in which case you kind of believe. I think that counts.

    But with that said, I would make a pretty bad Judeo-Christian God...
    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." -Stephen F Roberts

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  15. #14 Re: Does faking it count? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    I have been thinking of an example, a parable if you like.

    Suppose there is this fine upstanding Christian.........

    In acordance with the bible teachings and not my personal views...

    Since the first person believes in God, he will go to heaven no matter what crime he commits. Pedophile priests, child molesters, serial killers, etc, will all go to heaven as long as they believe. God does not want to send anyone to hell and will forgive you of any sin or any doubt you may have, as long as you believe in Him. If your crimes are severe, you may not go directly as God may have you atone for those sins, but your in regardless.

    The second person can be as nice as Mr. Rodgers or Snow White but he is forever doomed. Your actions are not what counts here, its the belief part that does. The first man strayed from Gods path but the second man believes there is no path. Thats the difference.

    To me personally, I flat out refuse to believe in any God that causes pain and suffering to his children, or accepting a "sacrifice" like that girl in the recent school shooting and dare to call it free will...

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  16. #15 Re: Does faking it count? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    In acordance with the bible teachings and not my personal views...
    Well since people argue endlessly what the various passages in the Bible mean, "in accordance with the bible teachings" varies quite a bit from person to person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Since the first person believes in God, he will go to heaven no matter what crime he commits. Pedophile priests, child molesters, serial killers, etc, will all go to heaven as long as they believe. God does not want to send anyone to hell and will forgive you of any sin or any doubt you may have, as long as you believe in Him. If your crimes are severe, you may not go directly as God may have you atone for those sins, but your in regardless.
    I think that salvation is about ultimate destinations not immediate circumstances. When we speak of the wide road to destruction and the narrow one to salvation, the reason why most are on the wide road is because that is the one that looks like heaven whereas it is the narrow road that looks like hell for that is the road that requires us to change. The image of pearly gates with entrance requirements is a childish one, for silly people who think that there is such a thing as a ticket to heaven.

    The truth is that no matter how good we are, without the help of God, sin will drag us down and destroy our integrity bit by bit until nothing is left. Asking for God's help sounds easy, but every road out of addiction (and sin is an addiction) that I have heard of is rather hellish, and God is not known for making things easy for anyone.

    The worst criminals are themselves the worst victims. Where do you think these people come from? I'll not say that victimization gives the criminal no choice or in any way absolves him, but I will say that unless we have been through what they have been through, we are in no position to judge their ultimate worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    The second person can be as nice as Mr. Rodgers or Snow White but he is forever doomed. Your actions are not what counts here, its the belief part that does. The first man strayed from Gods path but the second man believes there is no path. Thats the difference.
    No that is Gnosticism and I repudiate it. There is no special secret knowlege that will save you. There is no path to God. There is nothing you can do, nothing you can say, nothing you can think, nothing you can know, nothing you can believe, that will get you to God. You cannot appease or bribe God, you cannot manipulate Him, you cannot hold Him to a promise or contract, you cannot confine God to your definitions. God is not accessible to man, it is only man/woman who is accessible to God.

    Since you are going to make claims about the Bible, then how can you complain if I quote to the following written by Paul in Romans 2:2-11 "But we know that the judgement of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same that you will escape the judgement of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness of heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who 'will render to each one according to his deeds': eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness - indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God."

    Christians say salvation is by the grace of God and not by the works of man, NOT because works doesn't matter but because you cannot buy your way into the grace of God. Works are very much at the center of things. It is what you do that represents what you reall believe. It is what you do that defines you and makes you what you are. You just cannot uses works to make a deal with God on your own terms. Ultimately, however, spiritual life is not a matter of a balance sheet of good deeds versus evil deeds. It is a matter of what you are. Deeds certainly play a role in this, but the simple fact of the matter is that no matter what good deeds there are to your credit, without God you are nothing. Without a relationship with God you are eventually dead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    To me personally, I flat out refuse to believe in any God that causes pain and suffering to his children, or accepting a "sacrifice" like that girl in the recent school shooting and dare to call it free will...
    I do not ignore this, but neither do I answer, for it is unanswerable. It is for you to decide how you will cope with such things.
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    mitchellmckain.....

    For some reason the post you made that I replied to is different than the post I see now. Either there was an error or I missed a whole lot of what you said. I only saw the section that started with "I've been thinking"..... so I assumed you were asking a question.

    If your intention was to make a statement then disregard my reply. But, if you were asking a general question like I thought you were, then my answer stands as the way I was taught. If you don't believe in God, then your not going to heaven.

    Sorry for the mixup.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    mitchellmckain.....

    For some reason the post you made that I replied to is different than the post I see now. Either there was an error or I missed a whole lot of what you said. I only saw the section that started with "I've been thinking"..... so I assumed you were asking a question.

    If your intention was to make a statement then disregard my reply. But, if you were asking a general question like I thought you were, then my answer stands as the way I was taught. If you don't believe in God, then your not going to heaven.

    Sorry for the mixup.....

    Bettina
    That is my fault. I was attempting to post a follow up (the part you saw)to my first post, when instead I accidently replaced the first post with the follow up. It took me a while to rewrite the original post with the follow up tacked on at the end. Anyway I see no reason for an apology, although I must admit to a little confusion about where you stand in regards to a belief in God. I am not sure whether that last statement in the previous post was a repudiation or a clarification (or a test?).

    You know it occurs to me that you may not have read that Bible passage carefully and as a result got the wrong impression. The key portion was "God renders to each one according to his deeds". So if you interpreted my post as angry in any way, I assure you that you misunderstood. I was simply trying to counter your statement that in Christianity, what you do does not matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SealOtter
    Is this a TRICK QUESTION??? seriously, if you are atheists and don't believe in God how the F____? are you worried about HIM punishing you???
    I agree!!!
    Also, how exactly could you fake it?
    Maybe there is more to you than you think.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    mitchellmckain.....

    For some reason the post you made that I replied to is different than the post I see now. Either there was an error or I missed a whole lot of what you said. I only saw the section that started with "I've been thinking"..... so I assumed you were asking a question.

    If your intention was to make a statement then disregard my reply. But, if you were asking a general question like I thought you were, then my answer stands as the way I was taught. If you don't believe in God, then your not going to heaven.

    Sorry for the mixup.....

    Bettina
    That is my fault. I was attempting to post a follow up (the part you saw)to my first post, when instead I accidently replaced the first post with the follow up. It took me a while to rewrite the original post with the follow up tacked on at the end. Anyway I see no reason for an apology, although I must admit to a little confusion about where you stand in regards to a belief in God. I am not sure whether that last statement in the previous post was a repudiation or a clarification (or a test?).

    You know it occurs to me that you may not have read that Bible passage carefully and as a result got the wrong impression. The key portion was "God renders to each one according to his deeds". So if you interpreted my post as angry in any way, I assure you that you misunderstood. I was simply trying to counter your statement that in Christianity, what you do does not matter.
    Hi mitchellmckain.... Thanks for the explanation of your post and I didn't think you were angry... I thought I was seeing things.

    As an atheist I don't believe in the God of the bible but believe me, when I was younger I read the entire bible.... word for word. I still go to church every Sunday because I sing on the altar and my dad likes me to go with him. (He doesn't know how I feel) In those years, I have listened to many sermons and there is one thing I know for sure.. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God your doomed no matter what good deeds you do.

    The bible is very clear on this part and Jesus said it himself..... [i]"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"[/i] (John 14:6, NIV).

    Sorry, but thats about it...

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    my question isnt why should i NOT believe jesus is son of god but

    why would i want TO believe jesus is son of god?

    if he is he is if
    he isnt he isnt.

    you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God your doomed no matter what good deeds you do.
    i know u didnt right this but it still made me mad. im stumped on that one.
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  22. #21  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SealOtter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God your doomed no matter what good deeds you do.
    i know u didnt right this but it still made me mad. im stumped on that one.
    Oh but she did say this.

    Bettina seems to be an sort of half Christian half atheist. Indoctrinated in the beliefs of Christianity, Bettina feels confident that she can speak for Christianity and represent its beliefs even why denying her own belief in it. On the one hand there is a kind of honesty in this, in that Bettina states the beliefs as they have been taught to her without defense. I can and do the same for the moonies, having been a member of that group for over ten years. In some ways I can do it better than most members having studied it longer and more deeply than most. Yet in truth I do not see myself as a spokesman for the moonies and would not argue with a Moonie over what Moonies believe in. I am not half and half. I know what I have been taught and what I have understood but I am far from convinced that these things are what today's moonies, let alone Moon himself, really believe.

    So, on the other hand, Bettina is putting up an interesting (and effective)kind of strawman in herself with the superficial beliefs that have been taught to her without the rational of a person who would believe them. Christianity has and requires a kind of layered theology, because it puts forward a highly paradoxical belief system with no requirement of real understanding of these paradoxes in a believer. The believer can simply accept these paradoxes on faith or dig deeper into the theology to try to understand them as Christians have done for the last two thousand years. However, we have become a fast food society addicted to one line newspaper headlines and with little tolerance of complex ideas. Perhaps it is a reflection of this state of our society that so many Christian churches stick to the superficial level of Christianity and dig no deeper, even though it requires them to be stubborn, close minded and superficial.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by SealOtter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God your doomed no matter what good deeds you do.
    i know u didnt right this but it still made me mad. im stumped on that one.
    Oh but she did say this.

    Bettina seems to be an sort of half Christian half atheist. Indoctrinated in the beliefs of Christianity, Bettina feels confident that she can speak for Christianity and represent its beliefs even why denying her own belief in it. On the one hand there is a kind of honesty in this, in that Bettina states the beliefs as they have been taught to her without defense. I can and do the same for the moonies, having been a member of that group for over ten years. In some ways I can do it better than most members having studied it longer and more deeply than most. Yet in truth I do not see myself as a spokesman for the moonies and would not argue with a Moonie over what Moonies believe in. I am not half and half. I know what I have been taught and what I have understood but I am far from convinced that these things are what today's moonies, let alone Moon himself, really believe.

    So, on the other hand, Bettina is putting up an interesting (and effective)kind of strawman in herself with the superficial beliefs that have been taught to her without the rational of a person who would believe them. Christianity has and requires a kind of layered theology, because it puts forward a highly paradoxical belief system with no requirement of real understanding of these paradoxes in a believer. The believer can simply accept these paradoxes on faith or dig deeper into the theology to try to understand them as Christians have done for the last two thousand years. However, we have become a fast food society addicted to one line newspaper headlines and with little tolerance of complex ideas. Perhaps it is a reflection of this state of our society that so many Christian churches stick to the superficial level of Christianity and dig no deeper, even though it requires them to be stubborn, close minded and superficial.
    I'm sorry cutie but no strawman. I answered the opening post in the context of "faking it".... or in other words... can you be an atheist and still go to heaven if you do good religious deeds and the answer is still no.

    You can try to smooth this over, go to different religions, listen to different preachers, and finally arrive at an answer that your comfortable with, but in Christianity, the bottom line still stands that I posted in bold text.

    If I was a communist quoting the U.S. Declaration of Independance, my affiliation wouldn't take anything away from the meaning of those words.

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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    From a free-thinking and rationalist point of view, a lot of the arguments presented in this thread have a common flaw: they rely on the assumption that the arguer's religious cult or sect is the correct one.

    The Christian texts have been cited in this thread that proclaim its doctrine the true one (presuming others to be false) and its gods to be the true ones (presuming others to be false).

    Interestingly enough, nearly every religion past and present that I can think of has made similar proclamations. Certainly Islam and Judaism say much the same. Neither of the Abrahamic cults in these religions believe in Jesus as a savior or son of Yahweh/Allah.

    Extant religions aren't the only ones that proclaim their gods to be true & others to be false. Extinct religions also make it known that their gods are to be followed over the gods of other cultures (usually competing and neighboring cultures).

    So, with hundreds, if not thousands, of gods to choose from, why should free-thinkers give a rat's butt about the superstitions of Christianity, Islam or Judaism? Just because they have large memberships doesn't mean they aren't just cults of humanity with gods created by humanity. Their strongest advantage of extant cults over extinct cults is propaganda. They flourished best with the advent of the printing press and attempt to dominate each other in an era of audio-visual communication where their propaganda can be spread around the world at the speed of light.

    I've no reason to believe in religious superstition nor have I a reason to pretend to believe. If there is a god in the universe, the likelihood of it being one of the thousands of gods man has created in his image is unlikely and if there is a reward it would be in ignoring the superstitions of humanity and following the path of reason.
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    Hypocrisy is always wrong in my opinion, no matter what religious affiliation one may have.
    <i8b4uUnderground> d-_-b
    <BonyNoMore> how u make that inverted b?
    <BonyNoMore> wait
    <BonyNoMore> never mind
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    From a free-thinking and rationalist point of view, a lot of the arguments presented in this thread have a common flaw: they rely on the assumption that the arguer's religious cult or sect is the correct one.
    The wild baseless accusations in your post is a little lacking the quality that I have come to expect from your posts. The first post by silkworm asked the question that presumes the truth of any one of three religions that he does not believe in. How can any Christian address the question in regards to Christianity without this presumption? Bettina who is atheist used her knowledge of Christianity to answer the question in that regard, so what presumption is she making?

    Answering the question in regards to the other religions of Judaism and Islam, should naturally be left to someone with the required knowledge of the beliefs of those religions. Trying to answer the question objectively without regard to the beliefs of these religions would be meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    The Christian texts have been cited in this thread that proclaim its doctrine the true one (presuming others to be false) and its gods to be the true ones (presuming others to be false).
    The only times Christian texts were cited were once by Bettina and once by myself to contend over issues of Christian belief and no more. These issues of Christian belief were highly relevant to the question asked. My first citation was in response to Bettina's claim that what you do (good or evil) played no role in God's judgement according to Christian belief. The second citation was made by Bettina (who I repeat is an atheist) to back up her claim that authentic belief in Jesus was required for salvation in Christian doctrine.

    No one including myself, the one Christian speaking for Christianity, made any claim that their religion was the true one. Not one person. So you are rambling way off topic for no reason whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    So, with hundreds, if not thousands, of gods to choose from, why should free-thinkers give a rat's butt about the superstitions of Christianity, Islam or Judaism? Just because they have large memberships doesn't mean they aren't just cults of humanity with gods created by humanity. Their strongest advantage of extant cults over extinct cults is propaganda. They flourished best with the advent of the printing press and attempt to dominate each other in an era of audio-visual communication where their propaganda can be spread around the world at the speed of light.
    I don't even think that this answers silkworm's question because I don't think he is suggesting that he should "give a rat's butt about the superstitions of Christianity". I think his real question is whether these religions are as superficial as they seem to him such that he could satisfy their apparent requirements without real belief, for no other reason than, why not?

    The answer has been a unanimous no (with a possible exception of Ophiolite). The disagreement between Bettina and myself has been a rather peculiar one in which I have defended the merits of an atheists honesty, while Bettina has argued that my claims have no basis in traditional Christianity.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I've no reason to believe in religious superstition nor have I a reason to pretend to believe. If there is a god in the universe, the likelihood of it being one of the thousands of gods man has created in his image is unlikely and if there is a reward it would be in ignoring the superstitions of humanity and following the path of reason.
    To be kind we could say that your answer to the discussion of this thread is simply a repudiation of the question as irrational or frivolous? But I am also tempted to say that it is, in fact, you who are the first person in this thread to come close to what you are accusing others of doing, by proclaiming the religious beliefs of others to be irrational "superstitions" and "propaganda". Is it possible you are just venting your fustrations with people of these religious persuations, experienced in some other discussion(s) in which you have been involved?
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    Okay, anybody like to tell me where I fit into all this?

    My mother was a devout catholic, dad was church of England for the first 10-11 years there was a heavy religious influence on me at school and in my leisure time. Since the 2nd World war was from around my 3rd to 9th birthdays it was religion most days of the week in some form or another. Today I say I am an atheist, I gave up believing in God at about 14. Yet I still find myself in odd moments saying things like "Oh God, Don't let this or that happen" My next thought is always 'why the hell did I say that?' Is this because of the bombardment I received during my early years[not from any axis action..]? Am I religious but kidding myself? If I go on just being myself and trying not to harm anyone is that a ticket?...

    I want to be left to R.I.P when I die, Rot in Peace, if you like, I hope as the eylids finally slam shut there is nobody there with a red or brilliant white suite, If I'm wrong and you are there God, and you Devil, Promise me you'll both leave me alone - please!. I don't want or desire an afterlife, the atoms and molecules that constitute my physical self will live as long as any other.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Okay, anybody like to tell me where I fit into all this?

    My mother was a devout catholic, dad was church of England for the first 10-11 years there was a heavy religious influence on me at school and in my leisure time. Since the 2nd World war was from around my 3rd to 9th birthdays it was religion most days of the week in some form or another. Today I say I am an atheist, I gave up believing in God at about 14. Yet I still find myself in odd moments saying things like "Oh God, Don't let this or that happen" My next thought is always 'why the hell did I say that?' Is this because of the bombardment I received during my early years[not from any axis action..]? Am I religious but kidding myself? If I go on just being myself and trying not to harm anyone is that a ticket?...
    Just a habitutal verbal expression is all, I would say.

    But I would also say this is a good example of why I do not believe in the religious indoctrination of my children. Though, of course, I am only one of two parents to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    I want to be left to R.I.P when I die, Rot in Peace, if you like, I hope as the eylids finally slam shut there is nobody there with a red or brilliant white suite, If I'm wrong and you are there God, and you Devil, Promise me you'll both leave me alone - please!. I don't want or desire an afterlife, the atoms and molecules that constitute my physical self will live as long as any other.
    My vision of reality after death is for everyone the realization of their heart's desire. This horrible vision is a significant reason why I am a Christian.
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    Do you think my perception of death is horrible?

    It it based on 15 billion years of personal nothingness then being priviliged to be a human for a few decades, then it will be back to nothing.
    My genes shall live on through my children and their children. What's so 'horrible' about that? - I tend to think of humanity as like a large beast, the odd 'cells' or us if you like, fall off, but the beast moves on.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Do you think my perception of death is horrible?

    It it based on 15 billion years of personal nothingness then being priviliged to be a human for a few decades, then it will be back to nothing.
    My genes shall live on through my children and their children. What's so 'horrible' about that? - I tend to think of humanity as like a large beast, the odd 'cells' or us if you like, fall off, but the beast moves on.
    No you misunderstand. It is my vision which I think is horrible. I believe that everyone will get exactly what they want. And that is cause for considerable fear.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    From a free-thinking and rationalist point of view, <strike>a lot</strike> at least one of the arguments presented in this thread have a common flaw: they rely on the assumption that the arguer's religious cult or sect is the correct one.
    The wild baseless accusations in your post is a little lacking the quality that I have come to expect from your posts.
    They're neither "wild" nor "baseless" and the remainder of your post fails to demonstrate so.

    Regardless of what Bettina actually believes or doesn't believe, the argument still stands: xianity and other religions both extant and extinct believe that their gods are the correct gods and to follow other paths are wrong.

    I care not what the beliefs of the participants of the thread actually are, my focus was on the argument(s) presented. I can see how my use of terms like "cult" might be taken to be pejorative from a believer's perspective, (but I assure you they are not) perhaps riling you up a bit, but I'm dealing strictly with the argument here and not the specific arguers.

    The argument that "my religion is the right one because my text/dogma says it is" is one that is frequent and worth looking at. My "accusations," therefore were not "wild" since they dealt with the matter specifically. Nor were they "baseless" since the argument, regardless of the individual's personal beliefs, was presented.

    I concede a single flaw in my earlier post: I used the words "a lot" when I should have said "at least one." Sue me.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    They're neither "wild" nor "baseless" and the remainder of your post fails to demonstrate so.

    My "accusations," therefore were not "wild" since they dealt with the matter specifically. Nor were they "baseless" since the argument, regardless of the individual's personal beliefs, was presented.
    You made these claims:
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker

    a lot of the arguments presented in this thread have a common flaw: they rely on the assumption that the arguer's religious cult or sect is the correct one.

    The Christian texts have been cited in this thread that proclaim its doctrine the true one (presuming others to be false) and its gods to be the true ones (presuming others to be false).
    These claims are baseless until you demonstrate it with a quote of someone "presenting" them as you claim they have. I don't see how my previous post could possibly "demonstrate" the negative? What shall I do? Quote every single portion of every post made to show that it does not claim that their religion is the true one. What for? What everyone posted is there for everyone to see. My post does however demonstrate this attitude which you accuse others of in your post with the words "superstitions" and "propaganda" which I quoted from your post.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I care not what the beliefs of the participants of the thread actually are,

    ...and not the specific arguers.
    Well that is completely inconsistent with the following claim which you made:
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker

    a lot of the arguments presented in this thread have a common flaw: they rely on the assumption that the arguer's religious cult or sect is the correct one.
    so I continue to insist that you have made a baseless claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    my focus was on the argument(s) presented.

    but I'm dealing strictly with the argument here and not the specific arguers.

    I concede a single flaw in my earlier post: I used the words "a lot" when I should have said "at least one." Sue me.
    Quote the "argument presented" and name the "one" you are talking about. I challenge you to justify your claims because I have read all the posts looking for anything to justify your accusations and find no basis for them. Do so or admit to a misunderstanding as I do all the time. It is no big deal that we all often misread what someone is saying and get the wrong impression. Such admissions are very helpful in furthering communication. If the accusation was actually meant to be aimed at religions in general as your most recent post suggests then say so, and that will help clarify what you are saying.

    And no I will not sue you, I will simply lower my expectations. And I think the more you continue in this refusal to base your claims in facts, the more everyone in this forum will likewise lower their expecations of your posts. I thought you cared about this since other of your posts did seem to aspire to a scholarly approach, but perhaps I was wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Regardless of what Bettina actually believes or doesn't believe, the argument still stands: xianity and other religions both extant and extinct believe that their gods are the correct gods and to follow other paths are wrong.

    The argument that "my religion is the right one because my text/dogma says it is" is one that is frequent and worth looking at.
    I have certainly noticed that every group of people no matter how open minded, eccumentical, or honest that group tries to be, invariably has members who make the self-righteous claim that their group represents the one and only truth. Certainly many groups in the major religions seem to be particularly prone to this universal human fault, and less inclined to aspire to the ideals opposed to this self-righteiousness. If you want to see this behavior as justification for your atheistic world view, that is fine by me. But your arguement does not work for me because I do not see religions as claiming the supremacy of their god among lots of other gods but only making the rather natural claim that their point of view is the correct one. If they did not believe they had the correct point of view then they would not exist, would they?

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I can see how my use of terms like "cult" might be taken to be pejorative from a believer's perspective, (but I assure you they are not) perhaps riling you up a bit,
    I am not riled up only disappointed and I have no objection to the term "cult" for I use it myself refering to Christianity as the "cult of the Nazarene" as it was once historically refered to. I think the term is more properly applied to a new religion untested by time but I do not think of it as pejorative.

    I am a Christian but I have suggested that different religions are like different languages and that the difference in statements of belief may be somewhat irrelevant for only actions speak to their true meaning. Bettina, however, has rightfully challenged whether this is a proper answer to silkworm's question in regards to Christianity, since according to her experience of Christianity, what I said was not an accurate representation of the beliefs of Christianity. I just don't see what it is in this discussion that has created such a hostile reaction on your part. In the past, it seemed like you wanted to make an objective study of religion. But now I see no objectivity but only pure intolerance.
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    I am an Atheist but I lead a very Christian like life. I never swear or do any bad things. Heck, I'm still a virgin even though I've had countless offers. What I want to say is that I gave my answers based solely on the teachings of the Christian bible and I understand that other religions have different views about who gets into heaven. Pick the one that your comfortable with.

    My personal views are different. On my left hand I ask myself what would happen if after I die, I find out there really was a God after all and I was about to meet him to be judged. Do I really think this God is going to judge me based on what religion I picked? Or, whether I believed in Him or not while throwing everything else away? How vain would that make him. The only sensible God would be one who judged you solely on how you behaved in His universe. To me, thats the only God that makes sense.

    My right hand, however, doesn't believe the left hand at all and thats where I am now. An Atheist. When I die, I will not go to heaven, hell, or anyplace in between but unlike Billco I don't believe your dead forever. The universe is a very strange place and I believe those strange forces that brought our universe into existence and eventually giving way to "you", will repeat itself infinitely without end.

    Bilco, your DNA and other unknown particles of "you" are everywhere. Your all over the universe so anything can happen, and no... I'm not crazy. I just have an open mind.

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    Forum Senior silkworm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    I am an Atheist but I lead a very Christian like life. I never swear or do any bad things. Heck, I'm still a virgin even though I've had countless offers.
    Please, don't rub it in. I still remember the "No" quite well.

    The universe is a very strange place and I believe those strange forces that brought our universe into existence and eventually giving way to "you", will repeat itself infinitely without end.
    That sounds horrible, and unrealistic.

    I had to ask the question in this post based on 2 conversations I've had over the past few weeks. Recently people have come out of the woodwork to take me to task for being an atheist, and what these people don't seem to realize is that I don't have a choice.

    In the first conversation, this pretty liberal West coaster I know was talking to me about Carl Sagan, scientist and noted atheist. He said that he saw an interview with Sagan's wife after he died. She was asked, "Where is Carl now?" And he said, "She said, 'Carl is dust now.' I was like, wow, that's hardcore, but he stayed true to the end."

    The only response I could offer is, "He wasn't an atheist because he was some sort of weird protester or he was in it for the shock value."

    Where he said, "Yeah, wow." I know it's the first he'd ever thought about it.

    I was walking a devout muslim girl home and it's Ramadan. The sun was setting and she pulled out her water to take a sip, commenting, "I'm breaking my fast." She knows me, so she asks, "What do you do about temptation? Don't you feel it?"

    I said, "Yeah, sure, but I'm free to be a drunken slut as long as I don't lie about it. I have no "morals," but honesty is one of my values because without it there is no chance for progress, everyone will just lie to each other and there will only be smiles and drama."

    That whole statement was foreign to her, and she thought I was joking. I continued to tell her that I grew up a Christian, believing in a God that for some reason hated me but still believing he was there, but after awhile I came to the conclusion that there is no God. She was nice about it then but sort of lashed out against me for saying it. I explained to her that I have no choice but to be an atheist. It would be socially beneficial for me to lie about it here, but that goes against my value... honesty. She accepted that.

    But, what should I do, lie to God/Allah and tell it I believe in it when I don't? How stupid is that? If there is a God, and he's the God I've heard so much about, wouldn't it know that I'm lying to it?

    So all of this pressure that evangelicals like to put on atheists, making them look like baby-eaters and trying to get them to repent, is it because they want this person to lie to their God? That they think they're faking it? Or is it because they haven't thought about the fact that you can't believe what you think is a lie, and faith isn't just being faithful for some sort of payoff?

    Religious contributors to this board, is it really acceptable if someone fakes belief in your God for whatever purpose?
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  35. #34  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    Religious contributors to this board, is it really acceptable if someone fakes belief in your God for whatever purpose?
    I have already said that as far as your spiritual destiny all that really matters is what you are and so pretense gets you nowhere. However you have slightly changed the question this time. You know not all cultures view honesty as the highest virtue as does Western secular society. In oriental culture harmony, beauty and loyalty have a higher priority. So it is quite possible that in other cultures, the answer might be yes.

    Now that I have heard your motivation for this thread another observation occurs to me, and that is that a society makes a decision on this question as a whole when they choose between theocracy and religious freedom. It seems to me that by choosing a theocracy they are saying that it is not only acceptible to fake belief, if you must, but actually a duty of citizenship. I guess they consider dissent to contribute to chaos and "confusion" so that many are led astray by this. And thus it is your duty to at least pretend to belief in order to uphold the moral order of society. It seems to me that this thinking is neither 100% correct nor 100% false, but somewhere in between. In any case, people in the west have found the sacrifice of honesty to be too high a price to pay for this no matter how correct it is.

    In choosing religious freedom, however, I think a society is saying that unless you really believe in the religion you profess then it is meaningless. There does seem to be some conflict between this and the practice of the indoctrination of children. If we really believed in religious freedom and that only authentic belief has any meaning then it would seem that we would not pursue the religious indoctrination of our children so fanatically as many religious people do. However the situation is more complex than this for it is impossible to separate religious belief and practice from the ideals of parenthood. Religious freedom must include the freedom to raise ones children according to the ideals that one believes in.

    Ultimately in a free society, no matter what the religious indoctrination there comes a time when everyone must make there own decision. Anyway decisions are not made in a vacuum and there is a ambiguous difference between religious indoctrination and religious education. The second can be quite valuable in helping someone make an informed decision. Ideally, however, religious education should be an introduction to the spectrum of ideas in world religions and philosophy and not the exclusive exposure to single religion which is almost always the case.
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    Faking it?

    Would you lie to save your life? If you were visiting a country where it's religious people were fanatics, and you suddenly found youself surrounded by a mob demanding to know if you believed in God what would your answer be?

    If you said 'no' you might incur such wrath as to be beaten to death on the spot, I think I'd say "Of course I believe in God, how else could I explain the miracle of life?". irrespective of whether I had one or not[a God].
    There are plenty of examples of this throughout history. It's called self-preservation.

    How many people in deeply religious countries profess belief through fear[of reprisals]?

    For me 'when in Rome do as the Romans 'springs to mind here as well as your own ethics it is essential to consider the feelings of others around you in order to survive, so modify your outward behaviour.

    At the end of your life?

    That's your choice, if you truly believe in a deity then it may give you some comfort, if you do not then you will have long since prepared yourself to accept that before you were born there was nothing, after you die you just go back there.

    'Faking it' at the end of the day will hurt no-one, to me that means it is not a punishable crime. If it is done to 'keep the peace' or to preserve life then I submit that in such circumstances,it is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    but unlike Billco I don't believe your dead forever.
    I have no doubt that some of the atoms of my physical body will form parts of other lifeforms in the future, I merely do not expect my 'consciosness' to ever exist again with a memory of this life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Faking it?

    Would you lie to save your life? If you were visiting a country where it's religious people were fanatics, and you suddenly found youself surrounded by a mob demanding to know if you believed in God what would your answer be?
    This is a bit of a different scenario. Of course any sane man would lie to these fundies to stay alive, but the question is whether or not faking it is acceptable to "God." If you can like your way into Heaven, even if you don't feel it.

    How many people in deeply religious countries profess belief through fear[of reprisals]?
    The question is, why are these reprisals coming? Do the people who are hunting for the nonreligious believe that if a person claims a belief in their God that the person doesn't have that it is just as good as an honest belief?

    'Faking it' at the end of the day will hurt no-one, to me that means it is not a punishable crime.
    Sure it will. In this instance it could lead to generations and generations of people faking a belief that they honestly don't have, stifling human progress in favor of outdated tradition.
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    Silkworm,

    What real harm does faking it have? even if future generations are faking it where is the problem? Newton believed in God as did many other early scientists, so I'm not sure it would stifle anything.

    If the question is "Will God accept [into heaven] a person who has 'faked it' then either the answer lies only in the hands of God or taking the bible as literal would indicate[as far as I remember] that even on one's death death bed one may repent, accept God and thereby 'get a ticket'.

    Billco
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    Silkworm,

    What real harm does faking it have? even if future generations are faking it where is the problem? Newton believed in God as did many other early scientists, so I'm not sure it would stifle anything.
    That's true. There are many great scientists who were also religious, and science is designed to attempt to eliminate one's own bias, including bias of religious origin. There is an issue though where so much effort has to be made to explain to a scientifically illiterate public that science is not out to kill their God, energy better spent solving real scientific problems. (I have quite a bit of personal experience there.)

    However, I wasn't talking about science, I was talking about other aspects of everyday life. I find it to be a bad thing when a group of religious people act as a mob. A theocracy was mentioned earlier, but there are also issues with reproductive rights, civil rights, etc. that are constantly in a struggle where it's one side against the religious factions. That's where the problem lies. If these people don't even believe in what they claim to believe in, it makes their actions seem even more problematic. It's also a problem when people make decisions based on what they claim a being that we can't measure in any way, shape, or form tells them. Having so many people trapped in this tradition makes it difficult for us to develop socially.

    If the question is "Will God accept [into heaven] a person who has 'faked it' then either the answer lies only in the hands of God or taking the bible as literal would indicate[as far as I remember] that even on one's death death bed one may repent, accept God and thereby 'get a ticket'.

    Billco
    That is the question. But even if you don't mean your repent. What if you're just throwing it out there for the "eternal insurance." What if you don't really believe. Does it still count?

    I'm asking because I'm honest enough to say that I have no belief in God, and many people take issue with this. They act like I'm attacking them by not being religious, however it's not my choice. I can't choose to believe in God any more than I can choose to have an entirely different sexual orientation.

    And honestly, I'd rather there be a God so I could at least have something to complain to. Unfortunately, from my perspective, the "suggestion box" will never be consulted.
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    If someone is faking, say catholicism then surely there is no moral dilemma if that person wanted an abortion?

    As for mobs, they will always find an excuse, religion, football, music, dress code...

    It does not 'hurt' the public that some believe creation as opposed to evolution in my humble opinion.

    I'm not sure there is any real harm or at least enough to outweigh the benefits of [some] religions. These I see as being a comfort to those who cannot accept death as being the same non-existence as that before their life began, and providing a basic set of rules for a community to live by.
    Such as outlawing Killing, Incest, and also preaching tolerance. THe problem comes when some jackass hijacks the thing for their own ends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billco
    It does not 'hurt' the public that some believe creation as opposed to evolution in my humble opinion.
    It certainly does when they're trying to force it into a science classroom, as one of those is not a belief only an acceptance based on overwhelming scientific support and the other is merely a belief based in tradition, which does have merit in its appropriate place.

    THe problem comes when some jackass hijacks the thing [religion] for their own ends.
    I certainly agree with that, and I wish religious people would be more critical of charlatans who make them look stupid with persecution claims, really bad science, odd Third Reichish statements, etc. instead of rallying behind them.

    I don't understand any of the rest of your post.
    "I would as soon vomit over him as buy him a hamburger."-Ophiolite about Richard Dawkins

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