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Thread: Atheists are cowards!

  1. #1 Atheists are cowards! 
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    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I consider the atheist's desire to generalise about religion to be a case of intellectual cowardice. The intellectual coward is one who chooses simplicity over complexity and difficulty. The militant atheist chooses to uphold a worldview of Animal Farm crudity: atheist good, believer bad. He has to believe this; it is his claim to the moral high ground. Christopher Hitchens sounds like a man who is desperate for a big cause, for an agenda that will give him one last chance of some high significance, a last stab at prophet status. By seeking his grand purpose in atheism he exhibits the sort of intellectual timidity he claims to despise.
    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.


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    I always love it when someone on one side of an argument "explains" why someone on the other side holds their position. It's pretty much a guarantee that this "explanation" will not paint a good picture of the opposition.


    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    The guy has no idea what he's talking about.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  5. #4  
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    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.

    But not in the message of people like Theo Hobson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    It is a very useful procedure for keeping oneself on the straight and narrow (obeying the law works too).

    A pity ,though that religion is built on sand (and comes in competing flavours)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.
    The ads aren't based on the content of the webpage; they're based on your browsing history.
    You've over-shared.
    This space for rent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    I always love it when someone on one side of an argument "explains" why someone on the other side holds their position. It's pretty much a guarantee that this "explanation" will not paint a good picture of the opposition.
    Textbook strawman fallacy.
    This space for rent
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.
    The ads aren't based on the content of the webpage; they're based on your browsing history.
    You've over-shared.
    That is simply not true. I have never clicked on any ad for women or evangelists. So where do they get it from?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    I constantly remind myself that Christianity is based on the principle that if you don't believe in Jesus you burn in hell. That is clearly stated in Revelation. To turn the offer of heaven down suggests anything but cowardice.
    Hobson is assuming that atheism applies only to those who do not believe in his god. Christians are atheistic to all other gods than their own. In which case they are atheist to only one less god than me.
    I see John Gray has a new book in which he discusses 7 different types of atheist, so there is no easy definition of what is an atheist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    I constantly remind myself that Christianity is based on the principle that if you don't believe in Jesus you burn in hell. That is clearly stated in Revelation. To turn the offer of heaven down suggests anything but cowardice.
    Hobson is assuming that atheism applies only to those who do not believe in his god. Christians are atheistic to all other gods than their own. In which case they are atheist to only one less god than me.
    I see John Gray has a new book in which he discusses 7 different types of atheist, so there is no easy definition of what is an atheist.
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.All the ontological and moral questions addressed by religious doctrines can be dealt with by observing ones social (and other) environment.

    Our assessments are imperfect but there is no need to attack the intellectual integrity of those who take different approaches.One thing I agree with with religious teachings is that we are all imperfect (but I see that as a potential strength)
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
    If a premise is wrong then conclusions based on it can surely not be relied upon.

    If the faulty premise is accepted however then these conclusions may seem reasonable to those who accept it.

    I am sure we all have faulty premises in different areas and our own conclusions will seem outlandish to those not "in the club"
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
    If a premise is wrong then conclusions based on it can surely not be relied upon.

    If the faulty premise is accepted however then these conclusions may seem reasonable to those who accept it.

    I am sure we all have faulty premises in different areas and our own conclusions will seem outlandish to those not "in the club"
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    Those in the club will regard themselves as heroes or individual saviours. They are the true believers.

    Those outside the club can then be viewed as cowards. It takes strength to defy science, atheism and other religions. But the number of different churches appears to be somewhere between 28,000 and 33,000, each regarding themselves as the one true church. When I ask if Catholics, Protestants, Evangelists and all the rest will share Heaven I do not get an answer.

    A Catholic may view biblical stories as either real or allegorical, a Protestant as mostly real, an Evangelist as all real. In fact they appear to agree on very little, so how can they all end up happy in Heaven?Ask them about recent earth creation, a flat earth, whether dinosaurs made it into the Ark, evidence for angels, demons, Heaven, Hell, miracles.
    Emphasise the word 'evidence'. They will change the subject and declare all to be a matter of faith, the very thing that blinds them. Tell them that science is about finding the truth whether we like it not (David Bohm).
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    fossils are what God destroyed.
    Not like fossils are a recent phenomena. I wonder how much of a role fossils have played not only in legends & mythology but the in the formation of religions, or at least in their holy texts?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    fossils are what God destroyed.
    Not like fossils are a recent phenomena. I wonder how much of a role fossils have played not only in legends & mythology but the in the formation of religions, or at least in their holy texts?
    I heard something about how (on one of the Greek islands) they found fossils of large animals (mammoths?) which it has been surmised could have led to some of the Greek myths concerning races of giants....
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    "It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in. " Not really. Religiosity in Europe and the US is in steep decline, particularly over the past generation. And while Islam is still growing strongly, it's mostly due to high fertility where most Muslims live which is bound to change as women's rights and economic freedom assert itself even in places like Saudi Arablia.
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    "It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in. " Not really. Religiosity in Europe and the US is in steep decline, particularly over the past generation. And while Islam is still growing strongly, it's mostly due to high fertility where most Muslims live which is bound to change as women's rights and economic freedom assert itself even in places like Saudi Arabia.
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    Christianity in the UK is decline, especially in the Anglican Church.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...titudes-survey

    Yet I see an increase in the number of street preachers, and Islam. Where I live there are an astonishing number of different churches, but I guess the congregations are not getting younger. But there are new bases for the Mormons and Scientologists, trying to fill the void. I'm not sure why this is. It could be that so much negativity is broadcast about religion by the media. It could be that people turn back to religion in only very hard times.

    In Africa, religion is not a choice. It is mandatory. On visits to Australia I was surprised at the strength of religious feeling there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Christianity in the UK is decline, especially in the Anglican Church.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...titudes-survey

    Yet I see an increase in the number of street preachers, and Islam. Where I live there are an astonishing number of different churches, but I guess the congregations are not getting younger. But there are new bases for the Mormons and Scientologists, trying to fill the void. I'm not sure why this is. It could be that so much negativity is broadcast about religion by the media. It could be that people turn back to religion in only very hard times.

    In Africa, religion is not a choice. It is mandatory. On visits to Australia I was surprised at the strength of religious feeling there.
    Is religion not just another form of tribalism?If we get our wish and banish it to the periphery it will just reemerge under a different guise as people find safety and consolation in "us versus them"

    Let's look for the best in people whilst not fooling ourselves to our weaknesses.

    Even those sad street preachers are not dealing drugs on the street corners and are outside getting a bit of fresh air .

    Thanks for that NYT link btw.Great fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Is religion not just another form of tribalism?
    To be a member of the tribe you claim identity, feel safer, make friends. Things you may not get elsewhere. I remember Desmond Morris talking of the 'soccer tribe'. Oxford supporters who sang the same tribal songs, became excited when their team scored a goal, a substitute for the killing of an animal for food. There is little doubt that many people go to church out of loyalty to the tribe.

    If we get our wish and banish it to the periphery it will just reemerge under a different guise as people find safety and consolation in "us versus them"
    Again, comparisons can be made with team sports.

    Let's look for the best in people whilst not fooling ourselves to our weaknesses.
    I believe it's true to say that people have a good side and a bad one. How do you bring out the best and keep it there?

    Even those sad street preachers are not dealing drugs on the street corners and are outside getting a bit of fresh air .
    At least the dealers are not trying to get into my head. Fresh air in the centre of which town?

    Thanks for that NYT link btw.Great fun.
    Genesis 6:4. There were giants in the Earth in those days. Could be a reference to large fossils.
    Another idea put forward is that the ancient Greeks finding marine fossils on mountains assumed there must have been a catastrophic flood. This was then copied into the folklore of other nations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    e.



    I believe it's true to say that people have a good side and a bad one. How do you bring out the best and keep it there?
    Well my advice is for the sake of one's personal sanity.We can't let ourselves be dragged down to others' levels ,as we perceive it.

    Look at T today going on about "animals". Wasn't that an example of "first they came for....."?

    No I don't have a general prescription for cultivating the best in others but I doubt that it is an impossible problem and there are people who would be up for it. Small victories on the personal level and lets choose democratic leaders who have a clue as to how to achieve that on the societal level.
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    Genesis 6:4. There were giants in the Earth in those days. Could be a reference to large fossils.
    Another idea put forward is that the ancient Greeks finding marine fossils on mountains assumed there must have been a catastrophic flood. This was then copied into the folklore of other nations.
    Bible flood story seems to come from Gilgamesh story, which long predates Greek civilization.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh_flood_myth
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    deleted dup.
    Last edited by mathman; May 17th, 2018 at 05:05 PM. Reason: duplicate
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Bible flood story seems to come from Gilgamesh story, which long predates Greek civilization.

    However marine fossils found much higher than sea level are much older than Gilgamesh. I'm sure you're right that ancient myths were copied into different folklores.
    But you cannot convince a Christian that the Noah story is a recycled tale.

    Here's one that Christians believe confirms Genesis 6:4.
    https://www.thoughtco.com/giant-huma...greece-3299810

    It's one of several similar hoaxes of course. Christians will always believe what they want to believe.
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    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.
    I always thought the existence of God is something to be determined. In theory if God is a physical entity then it could be anywhere in the universe. Given that we haven't explored even a percentage point of known space I don't think we can yet determine if there is any being within the universe that would fit the concept of God. That being said even if we explored the universe in it's entirety there would still be theologians who say God is not found within the physical universe. It's a conundrum and it can not be entirely proven or disproved. I hate to see otherwise rational people jump to premature conclusions about what exists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I consider the atheist's desire to generalise about religion to be a case of intellectual cowardice. The intellectual coward is one who chooses simplicity over complexity and difficulty. The militant atheist chooses to uphold a worldview of Animal Farm crudity: atheist good, believer bad. He has to believe this; it is his claim to the moral high ground. Christopher Hitchens sounds like a man who is desperate for a big cause, for an agenda that will give him one last chance of some high significance, a last stab at prophet status. By seeking his grand purpose in atheism he exhibits the sort of intellectual timidity he claims to despise.
    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
    I have to believe that scientists are not deliberately looking for complexity. What they have found are simple rules to explain life and the universe.
    Life exists because of evolution by the simple process of selection. The cosmos exists because of natural laws that sometimes humans have difficulty understanding, but are still a simple explanation.
    On the other hand, religion is based on the supernatural which is baffling and unsupported and too complex for the human mind. Theists love to state that God is knowable even when there are things only God knows.
    Some theists have in recent times moved away from creationism, because of the ridicule it has inspired, and now favour intelligent design to 'prove' the existence of God. When of course, they cannot prove it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
    I have to believe that scientists are not deliberately looking for complexity. What they have found are simple rules to explain life and the universe.
    Life exists because of evolution by the simple process of selection. The cosmos exists because of natural laws that sometimes humans have difficulty understanding, but are still a simple explanation.
    On the other hand, religion is based on the supernatural which is baffling and unsupported and too complex for the human mind. Theists love to state that God is knowable even when there are things only God knows.
    Some theists have in recent times moved away from creationism, because of the ridicule it has inspired, and now favour intelligent design to 'prove' the existence of God. When of course, they cannot prove it.
    Yes and intelligent design has also been debunked - comprehensively in The Blind Watchmaker and elsewhere.

    What I find incredulous is that God's proof of his own existence - sending his "son" , burning bushes, parting waters, turning water into wine, healing a few lepers (and leaving the rest to rot and suffer), are NOT any way to prove anything -they are non sequiturs. God "himself" according to religion, does not actually know what proof is. His 'proofs' are like charlatan tricks, for the gullible. All these doctrines are tissues of lies.
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    What Christians are actually saying is that you are not allowed to challenge their beliefs. At best they will try to change the subject, at worst they become threatening.
    As a nominal Catholic myself I joined the debate on the Worthy Christian Forum. This is supposed to be for any denomination. There I learned that Catholics are not Christians.
    That makes me happy, but I'd have a problem with the Pope, the head of the biggest church not being a Christian. Other widespread views did include atheists being cowards, creationism, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Heaven and Hell.
    What eventually happened was that my posts were hidden and so I was effectively thrown out. If you stand up to bullies I don't think that makes you a coward.
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    Catholics are Christian, other denominations may not lime that, but they arw still worshiping the same base deity, with some changes, just as Mormons, merhodists, Lutherans, and orthodox do.
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    I think the point ox was trying to make is that to a lot of protestant loonies the pope is basically the anti-christ and in their opinion catholics are not "real " christians...
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    I thought the Protestant faith emerged out of the Catholic faith.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I thought the Protestant faith emerged out of the Catholic faith.
    Right. But almost every new religion is formed because "those other XXXers aren't real XXXers any more! So we'll create a church so that we can be the REAL XXXers."
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    Have to admit I'm a coward when it comes to walking down Main St. Baghdad carrying a sign that reads F**k Allah. However if all of Baghdad wants to parade down my street with placards saying F**k Atheism then I'm OK with that.. A Death to Atheists message might have me worried though.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I thought the Protestant faith emerged out of the Catholic faith.
    Right. But almost every new religion is formed because "those other XXXers aren't real XXXers any more! So we'll create a church so that we can be the REAL XXXers."
    Thanks for the clarification. What is the widely accepted definition of a Christian? Somebody who believes in Jesus?
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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Not exactly, Christians believe Jesus was the son of god (the Christ), belief in Jesus as a person does not mean you are a Christian, Muslims believe he was a prophet but not the son of god.
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    One god I'm not atheist to is Zeus.
    Aristophanes was supposed to have said "Open your mouth and shut your eyes, and see what Zeus shall send you."

    Sounds reasonable. Might give it a try.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Not exactly, Christians believe Jesus was the son of god (the Christ), belief in Jesus as a person does not mean you are a Christian, Muslims believe he was a prophet but not the son of god.
    Sorry, I should have been more precise and asked if a person can be considered Christian if they believe that Jesus was the son of God and not if they can be considered Christian by simply believing that Jesus lived.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    One god I'm not atheist to is Zeus.
    Aristophanes was supposed to have said "Open your mouth and shut your eyes, and see what Zeus shall send you."

    Sounds reasonable. Might give it a try.
    I've always liked the Ancient Greek Gods. They're so full of human flaws and desires. They weren't this prudish version of perfection like the Judeo-Christian God. I mean Zeus would pretty much bang anything with a pulse. They also didn't have this cutesy utopian idea of the afterlife, most people would just end up in the Asphodel Meadows.
    "For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled." Hunter S Thompson

    "It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down"
    - Yagyu Munenori

    "Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    They also didn't have this cutesy utopian idea of the afterlife, most people would just end up in the Asphodel Meadows.
    So much more appealing to spend eternity surrounded by flowers. I wouldn't want to end up in the christian Heaven or Hell because they are both extremely hot and Heaven is actually hotter.

    Heaven is hotter than hell
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    They also didn't have this cutesy utopian idea of the afterlife, most people would just end up in the Asphodel Meadows.
    So much more appealing to spend eternity surrounded by flowers. I wouldn't want to end up in the christian Heaven or Hell because they are both extremely hot and Heaven is actually hotter.

    Heaven is hotter than hell
    Well, you know this had to happen eventually. Can't have all that dark matter and energy just laying about. At 4%, our universe seems like the anomaly. The rest or the other 96%.... pretty obvious to this guy what it really is.... Supreme beings become more of a scientific study with each passing discovery.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    From the article -
    In order to explain the phenomenon of accelerated expansion in our universe, I propose that what astronomers now refer to as '"dark matter" could actually be the physical effects of Heaven and Hell.
    Despite the many problems with that statement (such as the confusion between dark matter and dark energy, and the laws of physics needing rewriting), it's quite inspiring, really. The God Lab could now have something to work off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    From the article -
    In order to explain the phenomenon of accelerated expansion in our universe, I propose that what astronomers now refer to as '"dark matter" could actually be the physical effects of Heaven and Hell.
    Despite the many problems with that statement (such as the confusion between dark matter and dark energy, and the laws of physics needing rewriting), it's quite inspiring, really. The God Lab could now have something to work off.
    Yep. They can solve their riddle as to where the energy goes when one croaks. I wonder where your 21 grams are going?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    One god I'm not atheist to is Zeus.
    Aristophanes was supposed to have said "Open your mouth and shut your eyes, and see what Zeus shall send you."

    Sounds reasonable. Might give it a try.
    I've always liked the Ancient Greek Gods. They're so full of human flaws and desires. They weren't this prudish version of perfection like the Judeo-Christian God. I mean Zeus would pretty much bang anything with a pulse. They also didn't have this cutesy utopian idea of the afterlife, most people would just end up in the Asphodel Meadows.
    I never studied the Greek Gods but they sound like something interesting to look into. Are the Greek Gods and Roman Gods related?
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    I am thinking that I should have taken that mythology class back in high school as a free elective. I would have learned plenty about the Greek Gods and their stories. Instead I took woodworking, accounting, graphic arts, and drama. I enjoyed those classes however.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I would have learned plenty about the Greek Gods and their stories.
    I don't know which way you lean, theist or atheist, but I think you just served up a reason why an atheist might fear theism. What can you actually learn about something that there is zero evidence for? Who's ahead of the game, a theist learning about a belief or an atheist who decides there's nothing to be learned here? Like zero knowledge versus negative knowledge. Possibly the fear is that knowledge of the imagined becomes greater than no knowledge at all (something like that)
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; October 22nd, 2018 at 08:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I would have learned plenty about the Greek Gods and their stories.
    I don't know which way you lean, theist or atheist, but I think you just served up a reason why an atheist might fear theism. What can you actually learn about something that there is zero evidence for? Who's ahead of the game, a theist learning about a belief or an atheist who decides there's nothing to be learned here? Like zero knowledge versus negative knowledge. Possibly the fear is that knowledge of the imagined becomes greater than no knowledge at all (something like that)
    I am totally undecided when it comes to being atheist, agnostic, or theist. I was raised Roman Catholic so naturally religion is part of my mind and story but I am beginning to realize believing in something when you have zero evidence it is true is futile. I think the thought of living in a world of delusion is the greatest fear of an atheist when it comes to getting involved in the religious world. There is noting wrong with believing in God or following a religion if it makes you happy and a better person but you have to reality check yourself sometimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I never studied the Greek Gods but they sound like something interesting to look into. Are the Greek Gods and Roman Gods related?
    The Romans adopted the Greek gods but changed their names. So Zeus became Jupiter, Hermes became Mercury and so on. The Egyptian pantheon is also similar.

    I am totally undecided when it comes to being atheist, agnostic, or theist
    Christians are atheists, too. They are atheist to all gods apart from their own, the God of Abraham, who they share with Muslims and Jews, but don't always like to be reminded of this. Zeus is the God of gods, the one the other gods worship.
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    . the God of Abraham, who they share with Muslims and Jews, but don't always like to be reminded of this.
    Has to be one of the more stranger relationships in the history of religion. Monotheists who can't agree they worship the same god.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    I gave the problem some thought and I decided that I am a Christian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I gave the problem some thought and I decided that I am a Christian.
    My philosophy has been this; believe in whatever you want . Don't necessarily want to poke into your private thoughts but since this is a science forum and this subforum is the science of religion, do you have any scientific reason to believe in Christianity?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    . the God of Abraham, who they share with Muslims and Jews, but don't always like to be reminded of this.
    Has to be one of the more stranger relationships in the history of religion. Monotheists who can't agree they worship the same god.
    Not really strange considering humanity's proclivity for grouping people into two classes: "Us" and "Them"
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I gave the problem some thought and I decided that I am a Christian.
    My philosophy has been this; believe in whatever you want . Don't necessarily want to poke into your private thoughts but since this is a science forum and this subforum is the science of religion, do you have any scientific reason to believe in Christianity?
    I honestly have no scientific reasons to believe in Christianity. I am unsure whether to be theist or atheist. Maybe you guys could help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I gave the problem some thought and I decided that I am a Christian.
    My philosophy has been this; believe in whatever you want . Don't necessarily want to poke into your private thoughts but since this is a science forum and this subforum is the science of religion, do you have any scientific reason to believe in Christianity?
    The issue with the "believe whatever you want" philosophy, is that people act on their delusions. Religions are NOT harmless. ISIS for example would happily behead you for disagreeing with them. You might object that this is an extreme, but it is not, there are numerous other examples, history is littered with them. Religions abuse people's trust all over the world, taking their money and feeding them BS in exchange for it.
    Deluded people don't just sit around and fantasise, when they act they act from delusion and have a sense of justification with "God on their side". Religion abuses power. Those that are their leaders are completely wrong in so many of their assertions, but they expect respect for their pseudo "authority".
    Leaving religion alone is like not poking a stick in a hornet's nest. Sometimes it is necessary simply because the hornets will overwhelm you. In many countries criticising the accepted religion is punishable by death and in others (even the UK) it is met with ostrasization from your community and family. Many times people in the third world who dare to question are beaten and executed even before they reach the kangaroo courts they call Sharia.

    The problem with leaving religion alone is that you still have the hornet's nest, if you just leave it the hornets will breed and will attempt to dominate all reasoning.
    Even in the UK we allow religions to indoctrinate young minds and feed them BS. Here we have at least a modicum of free speech and we should be allowing young minds to learn how to reason and weigh evidence before feeding them this nonsense
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    I always love it when someone on one side of an argument "explains" why someone on the other side holds their position. It's pretty much a guarantee that this "explanation" will not paint a good picture of the opposition.
    Maybe that is true sometimes but religion's explanations for all sorts of assertions are bogus. A main argument, common to many religions, is the argument from "faith", i.e. when you believe only then will you truly understand. Often until you are a "believer" your opinions count for nothing. Islam is a classic example. In order to become a Muslim you must declare the Shahadah. You must state that you accept that Allah is the only God and Mohammed is the final prophet as revealed in the Quran. After this any questioning is expected to be answered in final analysis by the Quran. No other authority can contradict it and be correct. If you dare to say the Quran is wrong, in many countries you will be lucky to get away with your life, at the very least your family will be expected to shun you and you will bring shame on everyone that associated with you. As a disbeliever, you will go to hell, where you will be tortured forever by Allah the Merciful who will instruct his angels to burn of your skin and feed you molten metal. To be someone who criticises the Quran, even after "believing", is the most despicable thing that a person can do. Muslims are specifically instructed not to befriend such people. In an Islamic country (and even in the UK in Islamic communities) you will be spat upon, despised, ostracised and never forgiven. In many countries you will be killed even before reaching the courts.
    So much for "explanations" and dialogue.
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    Just been reading that report. It seems that the religious mob (the cowards) can accuse who they like with blasphemy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I honestly have no scientific reasons to believe in Christianity. I am unsure whether to be theist or atheist. Maybe you guys could help.
    While it's true that many science graduates with a lower degree will be theists, most scientists with any status will not.
    Science doesn't always tell you what you want to hear. It is the role of religion to tell you about gifts in Heaven, while unbelievers are condemned to Hell. The Bible is also cherry-picked to reveal only what you want to hear. You won't hear about the God inspired genocide of the OT. You won't hear about the side of Jesus who wanted his enemies brought to him and slain. This is conveniently described as a parable by the faithful, but you'll never hear it in church. Nor will you hear about Jesus using his great power to curse a fig tree or send animals to drown. You certainly won't hear about the lost gospels, copies of which were eventually discovered in the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt. And you won't hear anything about the Infancy Gospel of Thomas where the young Jesus is described as a murderer.
    It's what gets you through life. Live the fantasy or the reality. I prefer the latter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876 View Post
    I gave the problem some thought and I decided that I am a Christian.
    My philosophy has been this; believe in whatever you want . Don't necessarily want to poke into your private thoughts but since this is a science forum and this subforum is the science of religion, do you have any scientific reason to believe in Christianity?
    I honestly have no scientific reasons to believe in Christianity. I am unsure whether to be theist or atheist. Maybe you guys could help.
    I would say check out Humanism. Here are some points I would make.

    1] You don't have to believe in God to be a moral person, frankly you would be better off without many religions.

    2] If you read the Bible or the Quran, or many similar texts you will find God acts in a petulant, vengeful and domineering way which reflects the author's of the texts mentality. God often offers "proof" of his existence but close analysis shows that God himself does not understand what proof is, these are non sequitur - the consequence not following from the proposition

    3] Stand back and look at the central claims. Usually a successful religion will demand your credulity, insist you must believe wild claims, isolate and condemn you if you disagree, expect obedience and surrender (why would God insist on this), attempt to isolate you from non believers and gloss over original text that prove inconvenient (ie. the blble's insistence that one should stone homosexuals to death = Leviticus) or the Quran's casual acceptence of Mohamed's pedophilic marriage, his murders, use of slaves etc.

    4] The whole enterprise (common to most religions) of "God" revealing his message to one man or a series of "prophets" is tantamount to madness. It is common in psychosis for people to hear voices, see visions which are culturally related, insist they are messengers and can understand knowledge that is only "revealed to them. Nowadays this comes in non religious forms too. I know, for example, a person that insists that the three coloured dot's used by newspaper printers contain some hidden code and that news announcers on TV communicate lip reading secret messages from aliens on mars (when he does not take his medication). In the past the only form of explanation of these phenomena was a religious one there was no mental framework where one could think "psychologically"

    5] Consider this. why on earth would God think that child sacrifice by him would prove a point? We find this in the old testament in Isaac but also in the tale of Jesus. Seriously, if you were God would you think that allowing your son to be tortured abused and mutilated proves some kind of lesson for humanity? Would there not be better ways?

    6] Of course God, of whom it is claimed is omnipotent and omniscient, can't actually prove this as he does not actually exist. For example he never really shows that he can actually predict the future or have any understanding deeper than a human being of the relvent time. For example, he could of explained DNA, or microbiology and the nature of infectious diseases, he could have explained about the true nature of physics, or the size of the universe - instead he makes stupid claims, in keeping with his times - like the earth was created in 7 days, or the sky is held up by four pillars. These claims are supported by "Angels" who allegdly have wings (but could never get airborne. Why on earth should Angels need wings? Unless you think that God lives on a cloud somewhere. Much better to give angels Iphones so that they can communicate... come to think of it why did they not have them? The whole thing is absurd a fiction of (understandably) ignorant minds

    7] The idea that God created humans then spends all his time admonishing them for their "sins" and seemingly ineffectively failing to prevent them from acting in evil ways he does not approve of (whilst committing these very same acts himself) is a fools errand. If one were an omnipotent God, surely there would be a way of sorting out these issues more effectively?

    8] Jesus allegedly healed lepers to "prove" the power of his "father". God of course invented leprosy, a host of other diseases and has ignored all the other lepers that did not come into contact with Jesus at a convenient time. Every day, creatures all over the world, from babies to innocents suffer terribly with God simply standing by and not intervening. Each one of us faces the prospect of dying in horrible suffering - could God not havve worked out something better? The "problem of evil" has no solutions from God or from his followers. If you catch leprosy - go see a doctor and forget your faith healers. At Lourdes there are many crutches, but no false legs. it appears God is only capable of repairing minor injuries


    9] Read the Bible and Quran objectively. See the nonsense of the various cults and sects for what they are - propaganda designed to manipulate the gullible
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    John Gray on Humanism in Straw Dogs:

    As organized religions decline, in its stead we take on the religion of Humanism, Morality, Truth, Goodness, Progress, Technology and Science.
    Almost all cultures and societies sought salvation by one means or another, and the modern culture is no different.
    Liberal humanism has the pervasive power that was once possessed by organized religion. Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world, but their core belief in moral progress is a “superstition”, further from the truth about the human animal than any of the world’s religions.
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    On the question of the Bible and the Quran and Holy Books

    If one were God, why on earth would one choose to dispense your message via a book. Glossing over the fact that if God created humans he did a really bad job of it given the faults we have and then seemingly only tries to rectify it by ordering us around. Does God not know that all the peoples of the earth do NOT speak one language? Does he not know that the meaning of words changes over time and gradually becomes almost indecipherable?
    What happens to all the other human beings that do not speak the language and/or have no contact with the so called message bringer?Are these people simply ignored by God? Usually they have their own "God" who makes contradictory claims, does the "real" God know how conflicted he is?
    Then there is the problem of translations and verifications of texts. Translation is an imperfect art - words from one language do not always have exact equilvalance in other tongues, there are many ideosyncratic terms which are highly misleading.

    In England for example, the Bible was only cited in Latin until the time of Henry the Eighth. It was forbidden to translate it into English on punishment of death (presumably God was OK with this), so most of the population had no idea what was being preached to them and could neither read nor write. William Tyndale was murdered for translating the bible.
    Even so, the bible as we know it today is only part of the original text. Many other documents claiming to be records of Jesus's works (and old testament documents exist, but are not included. Not only was the bible "improved" during translations, by eagerly pious scribes, but whole gospels were ejected. a fuller list can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gospels

    A similar situation exists in Islam. Mohammed was illiterate and died without leaving any book behind. Only decades after his death were fragments of his sayings collected on old camel bones and from his warriors which suddenly seemingly developed photographic memories once they realised that his words were being lost. A similar purge of documents were undertaken in the Hadith (records of Mohamed's deeds and words) well after his death. Even so, Muslims regard the Quran as the "perfect" word of God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    John Gray on Humanism in Straw Dogs:

    As organized religions decline, in its stead we take on the religion of Humanism, Morality, Truth, Goodness, Progress, Technology and Science.
    Almost all cultures and societies sought salvation by one means or another, and the modern culture is no different.
    Liberal humanism has the pervasive power that was once possessed by organized religion. Humanists like to think they have a rational view of the world, but their core belief in moral progress is a “superstition”, further from the truth about the human animal than any of the world’s religions.
    I consider myself a humanist. I run a humanist group. I do however mostly agree with you. I feel that humanism needs to learn a lot about self observation and identity. To be a humanist one must necessarily know what it is to be a human.

    Here are some points i would make:

    Our consciousness modern "human" (as distinguished from animal) is inadequate, it has evolved only in the past few thousand years. We are full of prejudices, in fact our brain acts as a probability engine, it could not function without bias. Here is a partial list of our biases:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias

    When we refer to "I" that is when we describe to ourselves our own identity, we only refer to the events from birth to death. However, any true account of our identity must, by necessity include our lives before birth (what you say?) By this I mean a person's biological and social inheritance. Our biological inheritance goes back at least 3.8 billion years and it shapes and conforms all of our behaviours including our intimate thoughts. It is involved in all of our decision making through non- conscious processes. Yet we are barely aware of ti

    Only when a humanist begins to understand this, that his very identity is not only his own, but is shared by the communal efforts of evolution, can the humanist then begin to understand himself.
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    Humanism, theism, atheism crave some sort of utopia which is unattainable.
    Humans are animals and just like them unpredictable. I think you need to read Straw Dogs, The Silence of Animals, 7 Types of Atheism by John Gray. Get the point of what he is saying. He also takes quite a potshot at Dawkins, but not at Darwin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Humanism, theism, atheism crave some sort of utopia which is unattainable.
    Humans are animals and just like them unpredictable. I think you need to read Straw Dogs, The Silence of Animals, 7 Types of Atheism by John Gray. Get the point of what he is saying. He also takes quite a potshot at Dawkins, but not at Darwin.
    Humanism is not Utopian. Humanism is about realising our failings and working together. It is not a theology
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    Humanism is not Utopian. Humanism is about realising our failings and working together. It is not a theology
    Do you mean it is not argued over, not reinterpreted for the times, not a faith system?
    Does it ever debate that we are a nasty form of ape, an apex predator and other things that humans are in denial of?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    Humanism is not Utopian. Humanism is about realising our failings and working together. It is not a theology
    Do you mean it is not argued over, not reinterpreted for the times, not a faith system?
    Does it ever debate that we are a nasty form of ape, an apex predator and other things that humans are in denial of?
    Most definitely I mean that. It is argued over and constantly redefined as it should be. Science is like that, evolution has been redefined by genetics and then epigenetics.

    I run a humanist group and I am constantly re-enforcing our biological inheritance which extends into a depth of time which makes even the oldest religions like short term memories.

    Religion is a mostly a set of bogus promises based on delusions and designed to control and transfer power.

    I do not think the current model of Humanism is adequate, but it is a step in the right direction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    evolution has been redefined by genetics and then epigenetics.
    Evolution underpinned by natural selection is not redefined by genetics but rather supported. Epigenetics may be a pseudoscience.

    I run a humanist group
    How many people participate in this group?

    I am constantly re-enforcing our biological inheritance which extends into a depth of time which makes even the oldest religions like short term memories.
    Animism (the first religion) is probably nearly as old as our species.

    Religion is a mostly a set of bogus promises based on delusions and designed to control and transfer power.
    I think you'll find it's more detailed than that.

    I do not think the current model of Humanism is adequate, but it is a step in the right direction.
    Ah, so it's inadequate. How many historical and contemporary divisions does it have?
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    "Evolution underpinned by natural selection is not redefined by genetics but rather supported. Epigenetics may be a pseudoscience. "

    Reply: Redefined/Supported, semantics really. Methylation for example is not pseudoscience. It redefines how/when genes are expressed. There are many other mechanisms - before epigenetics our idea of gene expressions was too simplistic and there is still a long way to go before we understand properly. Granted the pseudo-scientists are making wild claims about epigenetics, I would not be surprised to find "epigenetic" beauty products, but there is a wide established body of bona fide epigenetic studies (Nessa Carey would be a good read)

    "
    I am constantly re-enforcing our biological inheritance which extends into a depth of time which makes even the oldest religions like short term memories.
    Animism (the first religion) is probably nearly as old as our species."

    Our biological inheritance extends long before our speciation. Our cognition has developed along with our brains which are at Cambrian, and in some senses go back to even earlier forms.

    "How many members" We have over two hundred members, about a dozen or more turn up each meeting.

    Animism needs language. We do not know how long ago language has taken to evolve (some say 200 million years, I think this is naive). My view is that modern studies of animal communications is revealing sophisticated verbal and behavioural (non-verbal) signals for (for example) warning packs of specific types of prey - snakes, birds etc. In my (unsubstantiated view) this is probably the origin of natural language and animism which got enhanced over time. We see these icons in early 'religious' sites, like Golbeki Teki.


    "
    Religion is a mostly a set of bogus promises based on delusions and designed to control and transfer power.
    I think you'll find it's more detailed than that."

    Probably, I did say mostly. Sometimes I think of religious texts like a soup. Yes there are some nutritious components, but also a lot of toxins. On the whole don't drink. Yes, many elements, in modern form, are worthy of consideration, Christian "Love" for example (the god of the Bible is by no means loving though) . Buddhist "compassion", but this does not mean one needs to swallow all the stuff about reincarnation. respect for elders in Confucianism has some merit, though it is still true that many parents should not be respected.

    I have no idea how many "components" Humanism has, some claim Epicures was the father, but I think this is murky. It's developing. We can live moral lives without religion or the need to be constantly told what is right and wrong by some fictitious God. Yet simply to be an atheist is not enough to be a humanist - Stalin was an atheist and he was no humanist.

    I do think humanism has a duty to debunk the bogus claims of religion, but there is more, we are only just beginning to grasp the congintive defects which make our behaviours bias and bring us into conflict with eachother. Our conscious minds have developed more than other animals (in some respects) but there are still glaring hypocrisies and pitfalls in how we think and how we react to others (e.g, the bystander effect, Zimbado). We must understand and acknowledge these failings and then find ways to work together to lessen their effects. For this skills in self observation are required. We think we are "conscious" of our behaviours, but in reality we are not

    we are NOT rational beings. Sometimes we can reason, to a very limited degree, but most often we are not acting in any rational manner. Reasoning, is a skill to be learnt, though it is innate in a fragmentary way, we too often fall into fallacy.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    "It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in. " Not really. Religiosity in Europe and the US is in steep decline, particularly over the past generation. And while Islam is still growing strongly, it's mostly due to high fertility where most Muslims live which is bound to change as women's rights and economic freedom assert itself even in places like Saudi Arabia.
    I would agree, religious groups and cults often stoop to tactics that rational societies would not engage in. In Islam few women get control over their bodies, they are expected to obey their husbands and produce children. Often they are not even allowed out of their houses without permission of a male guardian. Catholics are the same, by forbidding contraception more Catholics are guaranteed. One poor woman from my childhood had 23 children.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    I would agree, religious groups and cults often stoop to tactics that rational societies would not engage in.
    Rational societies? I can't think of one. Please provide a list.

    In Islam few women get control over their bodies, they are expected to obey their husbands and produce children. Often they are not even allowed out of their houses without permission of a male guardian. Catholics are the same, by forbidding contraception more Catholics are guaranteed. One poor woman from my childhood had 23 children.
    This is a poor generalisation which only stereotypes Muslims and Catholics. Having travelled in several Muslim countries what used to surprise me was their diversity. It depends where the hard liners have been allowed to dominate.
    Catholics promote the family. They do not deliberately promote over population. If there are some nuts out there, you might expect that. The biggest nuts are the fundamentalists who regard the Bible as the literal truth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    I would agree, religious groups and cults often stoop to tactics that rational societies would not engage in.
    Rational societies? I can't think of one. Please provide a list.

    Fair point - I should have said more rational societies

    In Islam few women get control over their bodies, they are expected to obey their husbands and produce children. Often they are not even allowed out of their houses without permission of a male guardian. Catholics are the same, by forbidding contraception more Catholics are guaranteed. One poor woman from my childhood had 23 children.
    This is a poor generalisation which only stereotypes Muslims and Catholics. Having travelled in several Muslim countries what used to surprise me was their diversity. It depends where the hard liners have been allowed to dominate.
    Catholics promote the family. They do not deliberately promote over population. If there are some nuts out there, you might expect that. The biggest nuts are the fundamentalists who regard the Bible as the literal truth.
    Isn't the whole point of these religions to regard their books as the literal truth? Thankfully many don't, they just profess to do so.
    There are whole countries where almost all women are not allowed out of the house because of Islam - Saudi and Afghanistan come to mind. All over the world young women, often children are forced into marriage in Islamic societies, these marraiges are consumated on puberty and sometimes before.

    As for having children Muslim women ARE encouraged to have many children: https://islamqa.info/en/answers/1349...ot-of-children. A Saudi women told me this too.

    For Catholics it is more subtle, but I believe this is part of the reason why contraception is forbidden, even though it is not said. Less contraception = more Catholics.
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    You mention Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. You do not mention other Muslim countries which have a more liberal approach. I could mention Malaysia and Indonesia.
    The reason I can just about stomach Catholicism is that generally they are not fundamentalists. As for contraception look at the fertility rate in Italy at just 1.35.
    In my experience the reason why most Catholics go to church is partly out of loyalty, partly because it is their social club, and also because they like the music and the well engineered Mass.
    What they believe is personal to them. At least nobody spouts out the controlling language found in many other churches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    You mention Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. You do not mention other Muslim countries which have a more liberal approach. I could mention Malaysia and Indonesia.
    The reason I can just about stomach Catholicism is that generally they are not fundamentalists. As for contraception look at the fertility rate in Italy at just 1.35.
    In my experience the reason why most Catholics go to church is partly out of loyalty, partly because it is their social club, and also because they like the music and the well engineered Mass.
    What they believe is personal to them. At least nobody spouts out the controlling language found in many other churches.
    Yes there are more "liberal" Muslim countries, but they are very very far from Human Rights. In Malaysia for example, key jobs are reserved for Malays (Muslims) and the country operates two legal systems one "secular" and one for Muslims (Sharia) where non Muslims have no legal standing. A friend of mine - an ethnic Indian, told me that if you are seen with a Muslim women in a secluded place, and are male, you can expect to be lashed.

    Sharia is of course responsible for many abuses of human rights especially for women and non Muslims

    As for catholics going to church. I thiink they are inculcated with guilt from an early age and make some kind of Pascals wager
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    In Malaysia for example, key jobs are reserved for Malays (Muslims) and the country operates two legal systems one "secular" and one for Muslims (Sharia) where non Muslims have no legal standing. A friend of mine - an ethnic Indian, told me that if you are seen with a Muslim women in a secluded place, and are male, you can expect to be lashed.
    That one made my laugh, as I must have got away with it. I had a Muslim girlfriend from Malaysia and we found secluded places. I was told KL is okay but not in a more rural traditional area. Had a bit of suspicion in Malacca, but still no religious police.
    There is no doubt still some discrimination against Chinese and Indians, but I've never heard of any lashings.

    As for catholics going to church. I think they are inculcated with guilt from an early age and make some kind of Pascals wager
    I don't think so. They don't talk about Heaven and Hell in the same way as fundamentalists, rather they mention Purgatory. I think you mean superstition which is usually harmless.

    What I would like your opinion on is the Price Equation, as this is a big challenge to Humanism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    In Malaysia for example, key jobs are reserved for Malays (Muslims) and the country operates two legal systems one "secular" and one for Muslims (Sharia) where non Muslims have no legal standing. A friend of mine - an ethnic Indian, told me that if you are seen with a Muslim women in a secluded place, and are male, you can expect to be lashed.
    That one made my laugh, as I must have got away with it. I had a Muslim girlfriend from Malaysia and we found secluded places. I was told KL is okay but not in a more rural traditional area. Had a bit of suspicion in Malacca, but still no religious police.
    There is no doubt still some discrimination against Chinese and Indians, but I've never heard of any lashings.

    As for catholics going to church. I think they are inculcated with guilt from an early age and make some kind of Pascals wager
    I don't think so. They don't talk about Heaven and Hell in the same way as fundamentalists, rather they mention Purgatory. I think you mean superstition which is usually harmless.

    What I would like your opinion on is the Price Equation, as this is a big challenge to Humanism.


    My wife came from Malaysia, and I have been there. She was Chinese and it was clear the Malays and Islam dominated the country. My friend was a catholic from Malaysia - Indian ethnicity. He told me.

    I am not qualified to discuss the Price equation. I simply don't have the statistical skills to analyse it. If you are discussing altruism, I do not base my view of humanism on a biological theory of altruism. Firstly I don't think evolution gives a damn about saving individuals from suffering as long as they procreate. Nature is full of obscene suffering, pain, sickness and so forth. Therefore I hold humanism is against nature. It is also against "God" simply because he is a fictional being.
    Nature does not require organisms to be aware of the truth about their situation on earth. In fact it does not require consciousness at all, or even a brain. Many living things exist without any brains.

    Human's have become partially conscious of our predicament. Where we are conscious we can make choices to work together to enhance our conditions of living in such a way as to be mutually beneficial, possibly with minimal impact on the planet and other species. This is a conscious decision rather than an order from God, or a biological imperative. Biologically, nature does not care if we become extinct and it is probable that life as a whole would benefit if this was to occur.

    As you are probably aware modern human consciousness is very young in evolutionary terms. Until the last few hundred years, and even until today in many parts of the world, it is animistic, rather than rational. we are only just emerging into an objective understanding of ourselves and the limitations (see cognitive biases https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases ) of our consciousness and our exercise of our powers of reasoning (such as they are) are feeble to the point of mockery in many cases. Those that think we (wholly) reasoning beings are mistaken, and lack self observation. First "innate reasoning" (if I can invent a term) is very feeble and easily outrun. It is far too easy to fall into fallacy. One must educate oneself in the skills of logic and evidential analysis before one can stand a chance of making (some) sound judgements, but reason alone is not enough.

    For me, humanism is, in part, the pursuit of "objective consciousness" by which I mean seeing the world as it is. This is a big deal, most people are asleep, deluded and hence their actions are "out of tune", misplaced in reality. Only one who has an objective grasp of reality can make actions that have consequences with the intended impact. This is very deep and takes years to begin to grasp.

    The human mind functions on bias - to put this another way it is a probability engine. Dendrites deliver charge to a neuron and eventually it reaches a potential and it fires.
    Non-consciously we constantly make actions on the basis of probability. Consider a man running. He must accept that the floor beneath his foot is solid and all his psycho-motor functions, his balance mechanisms, assume this.
    Without warning the ground gives way and he finds he is in a hole, a trap, he has injured himself. Constantly we make similar probability judgements. Tomorrow morning you pick up the kettle to fill it, surprisingly you burn your hand. You did not expect that you wife got up a minute earlier and made her tea, she "never" does this. Your psycho-motor script, (laid down without your conscious awareness) which usually worked flawlessly, could not cope with this unpredicted occurrence.

    What i am leading to is that we are all bias, we are all hypocrites, we all lay down unconscious prejudices even those that philosophise and are part of the intelligentsia. To deny this is to simply lack the power of self observation

    So, here we are, living and breathing, God has let us down by not even existing despite what other's have told us, and quite clearly nature is "red in tooth and claw". Humanism is therefore, not to rely on either, but, where possible, to make a collective agreement to work for each other.

    Finally I would say that consciousness itself did not evolve to conduct philosophy, science, or even to seek the truths about life's purpose. It evolved to enhance survivability. We are the only species we know that has co-opted consciousness in these ways. Consciously working for the sake of others, is, on many occasions, to work against our own natures. This takes self control and awareness (and is not always possible). I call this taking on "obligation". It is a conscious decision.
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    Okay, so what about this article.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...igion-atheists

    Atheism is not a god religion. It is a denial of a god religion. But the atheist and humanist Dawkins does appear to want to inspire a cult, a bit like an early religion.
    But I do believe in Darwin, who did not inspire a cult. Darwin was totally impartial.
    Price turned to the Bible when he realised the meaning behind his own equation. He died alone in a squat in London, down to his last 15 pence. They had to call on Bill Hamilton (Dawkins' mentor) to identify his body. No wonder Dawkins mentions little about Price.
    We are at the mercy of our genes with altruism and war two sides of the same coin. Nothing can be done about this. The war of nature is a war at the molecular level.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Okay, so what about this article.
    It's mostly boll*cks.


    Atheism is not a god religion. It is a denial of a god religion.
    Only if "religion" is redefined so as to be meaningless.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Okay, so what about this article.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...igion-atheists

    Atheism is not a god religion. It is a denial of a god religion. But the atheist and humanist Dawkins does appear to want to inspire a cult, a bit like an early religion.
    But I do believe in Darwin, who did not inspire a cult. Darwin was totally impartial.
    Price turned to the Bible when he realised the meaning behind his own equation. He died alone in a squat in London, down to his last 15 pence. They had to call on Bill Hamilton (Dawkins' mentor) to identify his body. No wonder Dawkins mentions little about Price.
    We are at the mercy of our genes with altruism and war two sides of the same coin. Nothing can be done about this. The war of nature is a war at the molecular level.
    The article is very weak. I can't see any evidence that Dawkin's wanted to inspire a cult. You would have more of a case for Trump.

    I do not think Dawkins wanted to inspire a cult. I have said above that God does not exist, in a factual way this is true, but as a fiction of the imagination "he" does have an impact as a vehicle or representations of collective prejudices and delusions. A useful concept for corralling the vulnerable and the gullible, often for the purposes of handing over their wealth.
    Many claims about God's powers are wrong (since he does not exist). Every day people pray for God's 'just' interventions, where innocents are struck down with horrible sufferings, and "God" does nothing. The modern interpretation of a "loving" God, simply does not square with the cavilling vengeful petty God of the bible.

    I do however differ from other humanist in that I believe we have a soul (!) of sorts. Not I quickly add a religious soul, but one much deeper, which Darwin called our inheritance. What I mean is we have a connection with each other, through our biological inheritance.

    Even the oldest religions extend back no more than 7000 years. If we include collective animistic belief systems we can extend this back perhaps to 60,000 years BC. Collective belief systems are not sustainable without language systems and we do not know when humans began to have languages more articulated than those of apes and other animals. Our biological inheritance extends back far further than homo sapiens, and the configuration of our behaviours (both group and individual) extends back Eons, even to the behaviours of the first prokaryotes.

    It's really easy to shoot down religious claims (and I do) because they come from a belief system that does not know how to distinguish fact from fiction, a belief system based on argument's from authority - basically you should believe because I am telling you, or I know someone important that is telling you. This is a foolhardy course that millions have taken. At one time, if you lived in Egypt, every person you met would insist that Ra took his boat across the sky every day.

    However this does not mean that athiesm has the right view of the world and our identities. It is in some ways a no mans land. I do not class myself as an atheist or a theist. To understand this properly one must understand the way we use the concept of indentity and age. This is a whole new perspective
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    The article is very weak. I can't see any evidence that Dawkin's wanted to inspire a cult. You would have more of a case for Trump.
    I don't see the point of bringing Trump into this. Did you read the link to full article? Ruse is clearly irritated by The God Delusion, the smart manual for a better world without religion.

    Today is Armistice Day and while I don't want to be in the middle of the commemoration, I have paid my respects. Is war inevitable? It has to be. We are coded to protect our genes and war will continue to happen.
    Walking back through the middle of town I reminded myself of how the set of people there should in all probability be a different set. Had my parents not met then I wouldn't be there, either. Someone else could be in my place.

    With this reality I don't see the point of theism, atheism, agnosticism, humanism or whatever you call it. None are a true reality.
    We are products of a war that has been going on for 4 billion years - the war of survival best described by Darwin. Humans are not the final product. Human evolution may be going backwards. Weak people are artificially kept alive by medical science to reproduce.
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    Don't conflate Humanism or Atheism with theologies. They are not. Humanism begins with accepting reality, not with a dogma.
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    Atheism is NOT a theology ox, anymore than a like of liking football is a sport.


    And there is no "backwards" in evolution.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Atheism is NOT a theology ox, anymore than a like of liking football is a sport.
    Where did I say atheism is a theology? What is a like of liking football?

    And there is no "backwards" in evolution.
    While it's unlikely we'll return to the waters, humans have influenced the natural processes of selection. The post human is not far away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    Don't conflate Humanism or Atheism with theologies. They are not. Humanism begins with accepting reality, not with a dogma.
    Which Humanists - the Renaissance ones? Just like theism and atheism, Humanism is constantly redefined. The only reality is Darwinism which is wholly impartial.
    Theism, Atheism, Humanism are all man made.
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    You made that assertion when you lumped atheism in with theism.


    Large species often influence the path of evolution. That is not "backwards" evolution. And there is no evidence at all that rhe human species is becoming not the human species.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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