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Thread: Meaning, Purpose

  1. #1 Meaning, Purpose 
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    Religion, or faith, is supposed to fill a hole we humans have. And that hole is supposedly meaning. With meaning we get purpose, but does really religion provide us with that? If our fate is set by some dictator in Heaven and we see all the bad (and some good) in this world, how can this give us meaning or purpose? If we are meerly slaves (sheep) in a game created by some sick all-powerfull being, how can we have meaning? He's going to watch over us? Test us? Toy with us? And this what we find meaningful? If you at least try to look closer at the real world you must find more meaning than that, right? Are we - as human beings capable of logic, reason and concept - intentionally dense? I've tried asking my religious friends how their God gives them meaning, the answer I get is "It's a hard question", "He knows me and watches over me" etc.

    Does religion/faith at all give purpose? Or is it an illusion?


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    I guess faith does provide a purpose.
    But this faith means you don't question or know what it is. you just have to trust god.

    Perhaps faith seems a bit paradoxial (that a word?).


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    Is it not submission to a meaning, that there is some plan or that you have a fate or destiny decided by a superior being?
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    Everything is done to be meek and content. I accomplished that where God was concerned, and all of a sudden I did that. I stopped believing. WTF?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    Is it not submission to a meaning, that there is some plan or that you have a fate or destiny decided by a superior being?
    The meaning being we're all slaves of an experiment or something?

    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    Everything is done to be meek and content. I accomplished that where God was concerned, and all of a sudden I did that. I stopped believing. WTF?
    Maybe God wants you to be an atheist?
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    Everything is done to be meek and content. I accomplished that where God was concerned, and all of a sudden I did that. I stopped believing. WTF?
    Maybe God wants you to be an atheist?
    Who knows why. Its a wierd thing to do to me if thats true .
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  8. #7 Re: Meaning, Purpose 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Religion, or faith, is supposed to fill a hole we humans have. ...

    Does religion/faith at all give purpose? Or is it an illusion?
    You might want to have a read through the discussion that's been going on in another thread, that is sort of about this.

    I think it started here. Look for my post about halfway down.
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  9. #8  
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    Looking at a pshycological perspective though, religion is an escape from death. It worships death, it prepares for death, hell, religion is obsessed with death. So the reason we have faith is because we fear death (obviously). We should look a little closer on that, does death bring purpose? Wierd... Sarcasm, sorry The purpose of religion is so that we should not fear death. We refuse to accept we're mortal... That's so human, why can't we accept things the way they are?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Looking at a pshycological perspective though, religion is an escape from death. It worships death, it prepares for death, hell, religion is obsessed with death. So the reason we have faith is because we fear death (obviously). We should look a little closer on that, does death bring purpose? Wierd... Sarcasm, sorry The purpose of religion is so that we should not fear death. We refuse to accept we're mortal... That's so human, why can't we accept things the way they are?
    You are going to die, everyone is going to die. Its a fact. I personally don't plan on doing so. I'm thinking of a way to live forever. Seriously.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  11. #10  
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    The fact that religion came into existence in the first place is due to the very human concepts of meaning/purpose. Humans have a built-in desire to assign meaning to everything. Couple that with the fear of our own mortality and voila - you have religion! With religion, we now have a way to impart meaning to our lives. Now, when men are killed in battle, or when children in third world countries die of starvation, or when a car accident kills a recent high school grad, or when a relative dies of cancer, it has meaning! You see, humans can't accept that they are just a mass of thinking protoplasm on a speck of a planet in a Solar system in a Galaxy in an infinite universe that has been here long before us and will be here long after we're gone. Furthermore, the universe is indifferent to our thoughts, hopes, and desires. It's pretty sobering. It's downright depressing! Religion fixes that.
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    "I most certainly have purpose without any religion. I'm looking forward to having a very good lunch." -James Watson
    A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron
    The fact that religion came into existence in the first place is due to the very human concepts of meaning/purpose. Humans have a built-in desire to assign meaning to everything. Couple that with the fear of our own mortality and voila - you have religion! With religion, we now have a way to impart meaning to our lives. Now, when men are killed in battle, or when children in third world countries die of starvation, or when a car accident kills a recent high school grad, or when a relative dies of cancer, it has meaning! You see, humans can't accept that they are just a mass of thinking protoplasm on a speck of a planet in a Solar system in a Galaxy in an infinite universe that has been here long before us and will be here long after we're gone. Furthermore, the universe is indifferent to our thoughts, hopes, and desires. It's pretty sobering. It's downright depressing! Religion fixes that.
    But if depressing and tragic things have meaning, does that mean we don't care about it? Perhaps the reason why we always seem to fight is because it has meaning (even though it has not), isn't this a problem then?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reidar
    "I most certainly have purpose without any religion. I'm looking forward to having a very good lunch." -James Watson
    Good point. Seems like meaning and purpose has to do with perception (like many other things).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    But if depressing and tragic things have meaning, does that mean we don't care about it? Perhaps the reason why we always seem to fight is because it has meaning (even though it has not), isn't this a problem then?
    Good point. Yes, it's a problem.
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    well, after thinking so much about the eternal nothing after life, how little what we do in life actually matters, i'm kinda looking forward to not existing anymore. not that i'd jump off a bridge or anything. it just doesnt matter whether i live or die anyways, and so i don't mind living or dying myself either. i'm still working out whether theres a probability of, well (not reincarnating) but living again.
    its mostly on how the conciousness is bound to this thought process, making me who i am.
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    There's another possibility to this dilemma as well...

    It is quite probably that would could simply not be advanced enough to figure this out, or to have earned the level at which we need to be to perceive the true meaning.

    Seriously, folks, who are WE to say that the human race has gotten anywhere yet? We haven't even made a dent in the record as a species, let alone anywhere else. So yeah, we got computers and quantum physics, and we can split the atom and we can think on a higher level than most animals...but how far from the "top" are we? As far as we know, we're still too far below the radar to even count.
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    Is there an answer out there [in the universe] or in here [the mind]?

    Is everything just a manifestation of consciousness? Or is there another actual level of existence? A dimension parallel to, or beyond the one we live in now?


    It's all part of the big illusion in which we perpetuate upon ourselves, which then in turn is perpetuated upon us.

    When we believe, we engage the illusion. When we stop believing, we shatter the illusion and shatter ourselves in the process because we are part of it.


    The mistake is in making distinctions. Out there, in here, life, death. It's all the same illusion.
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    If you believe in eternity, then life is irrelevant. If this world was a manifistation of the consciousness, we would/should be able to control it with will. We know this is reality because we don't always get what we want. If this wasn't reality, we would all be Gods. I'd say that because we don't like reality we rebel. The illusion of our own will. We fool ourselves to believe in something rediculous, then fool ourselves to believe there's meaning in it. Then we get confused since we all want it differently (different views emerges), we hate, we fight, all because we desire things to differently. We're not even aware over how lucky we are. As one guy once said, "no meaning is greater than false meaning."
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    It is also a fair guess that this reality is not a manifestation of our consciousness due to the existence of other autonomous intentional agents who exist within the [relatively] same constraining universe as we ourselves do.

    This doesn't make solipsism certainly false, as you could argue that our solipsistic state is fractured into multiple independent personalities, but it does significantly lower the probability of its being true, particularly when coupled with what Obviously said here:
    If this world was a manifistation of the consciousness, we would/should be able to control it with will. We know this is reality because we don't always get what we want.
    If by illusion you're referring to the mental construct of the external reality our brain gives to us, then this illusion is by far too accurately modelled on something that exists outside ourselves to be truly considered an illusion. There are also good methods of enhancing the accuracy of our models as well.




    If you believe in eternity, then life is irrelevant.
    Personally I'm amazed at the amount of grief that accompanies death by people who profess to believe in an afterlife. Why is death a bad thing if you're going to be sitting next to God and be able to meet up with your loved ones again in the afterlife?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    If by illusion you're referring to the mental construct of the external reality our brain gives to us, then this illusion is by far too accurately modelled on something that exists outside ourselves to be truly considered an illusion. There are also good methods of enhancing the accuracy of our models as well.
    But isn't what we conceive as reality really an illusion? The position of objects, the sensation of touch, the understanding of our senses...

    We can define reality by those things, but that only helps us separate the various shells of our consciousness. In effect, the "reality" itself is only a set boundary we choose to assign to a particular plane of existence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    Personally I'm amazed at the amount of grief that accompanies death by people who profess to believe in an afterlife. Why is death a bad thing if you're going to be sitting next to God and be able to meet up with your loved ones again in the afterlife?
    That's a big subject. I'm sure a big part of the "grief" is the actual remorse of losing the physical relationship with someone else, or even just the associated relation. I never knew Pavarotti personally, but I was grieved when he died because I know I miss his music, and his personality.

    Many religions teach that death isn't a bad thing. We still grieve because we don't want to lose the relationship with our friends and family, even though we may know it's not a bad thing.

    As for sitting next to God...I think that suggestion really depends on the person's outlook on the afterlife. When we die, is that it and we go to heaven and party with God? Or is death just the beginning of another stage in existence? What happens when we die? Some religions believe we are punished for our sins before we can reach the "pearly gates." Others believe we go to limbo until God decides what to do with us. Others believe that when we die, we get born again in another plane of existence (or even back into the same one).
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    But isn't what we conceive as reality really an illusion? The position of objects, the sensation of touch, the understanding of our senses...

    We can define reality by those things, but that only helps us separate the various shells of our consciousness. In effect, the "reality" itself is only a set boundary we choose to assign to a particular plane of existence.
    We don't choose to assign any boundaries. The physical reality is given to us as an already constructed whole through the pyschological process occurring in our brains.

    I'll grant that this reality is an illusion in the same way that millions of hydrogen and helium atoms compacted into a diameter of 1.392*10^9m gives the illusion of a sun rather than just a somewhat densely populated region of space.

    That's a big subject.
    Aye, I was being a bit tongue in check.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    I'll grant that this reality is an illusion in the same way that millions of hydrogen and helium atoms compacted into a diameter of 1.392*10^9m gives the illusion of a sun rather than just a somewhat densely populated region of space.
    It's not so easy of a subject when you think about it. I mean, we're discussing what the "reality" is of reality. What is what we see? It's a big subject, and a bit far too complex to sum up in a few paragraphs of text. What is distance? What is density? What are atoms? Are they merely constituents of our conscious exploration of detail? According to some, the atoms may not even exist, but may simply be a neat way of working with a phenomena of this illusion. What if there actually isn't any difference between the existence and non-existence of space? What if the only reason space exists at all is because our self-prescribed viewpoint demands differentiation between the objects we perceive in reality? Do I exist at all? Or do I simply believe I exist because my conscious function demands a frame of reference for which to associate my Self to that which is not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    Aye, I was being a bit tongue in check.
    S'all good.
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    It's not so easy of a subject when you think about it.
    Quite agree, probably better suited to the philosophy boards too :d

    I tend to just cut the gordian knot and state that the reality that we experience is only as real as the accuracy of the words we use to describe the various information we recieve from it. How much those words accurately portray the reality of reality is an open unanswerable question though, interesting to throw a few words at every now and again nonetheless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    I'll grant that this reality is an illusion in the same way that millions of hydrogen and helium atoms compacted into a diameter of 1.392*10^9m gives the illusion of a sun rather than just a somewhat densely populated region of space.
    It's not so easy of a subject when you think about it. I mean, we're discussing what the "reality" is of reality. What is what we see? It's a big subject, and a bit far too complex to sum up in a few paragraphs of text. What is distance? What is density? What are atoms? Are they merely constituents of our conscious exploration of detail? According to some, the atoms may not even exist, but may simply be a neat way of working with a phenomena of this illusion. What if there actually isn't any difference between the existence and non-existence of space? What if the only reason space exists at all is because our self-prescribed viewpoint demands differentiation between the objects we perceive in reality? Do I exist at all? Or do I simply believe I exist because my conscious function demands a frame of reference for which to associate my Self to that which is not?
    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    Aye, I was being a bit tongue in check.
    S'all good.
    No, reallity is quite easy to define. Infact, i can do it in one sentance. Reallity is what we make of it. If you truly believe god exists... Then he exists. However, for those of us who do not believe in him. It is hogwash.
    Reallity exists within every possibility to every extent depending on the capacity of your ability to think.
    If your an idiot, you can not comprehend that of a genius. It is not within your reallity. If someone tells the idiot that black holes exist. He will not believe it, because he can't comprehend it, and thus, it is not within his scope of reallity.
    That is why, no offense, the majority of athiests are very intelligent people while the majority of religious folk arn't very smart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    That is why, no offense, the majority of athiests are very intelligent people while the majority of religious folk arn't very smart.


    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Reallity is what we make of it.
    I would have to disagree there, as my argument was that will alone doesn't change reality, therefore we know reality is real

    Reality follows the rules of cause and event/action and reaction. Our imagination doesn't make things real, but it can make it a possibility. But since we can't always get what we want and we're not Gods, I conclude reality must be real enough to ignore what we want and only follow the simple rule of action and reaction. Without action, you won't get what you want.

    But, of course, one might argue that it all depends on perception, but then it's only a subject of personal opinion, in other words, "reality is what you make of it."
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    The conclusion I came up with about athiests being smarter than religious folk. Take all athiests in the world and get their average IQ. Then take all christians in the world and get their average IQ. The athiests average IQ is greater than the christians.
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    The whole system of testing for IQ is so subjective that it doesn't actually prove anything. A person with a higher IQ score than another, isn't more intelligent than the other. It just means for that particular test they jumped through more hoops than the other person. Plus, there's a wide variety of IQ tests out there based on numerous theories of intelligence, few of which analyze intelligence, instead focusing on pure processing capabilities. Doing math and identifying points of grammar do not define intelligence. A single person can take several IQ tests and come out all over the place. Not to mention that the number of people who have actually taken a full-gamut IQ test more than likely greatly outnumbers those who think they've taken an IQ test because they filled out a little questionnaire online. Further, since most IQ tests center around people's abilities to do math, remember, and speak their native language, it's hard to see a correlation between IQ score and determining the existence or non-existence of faith, since none of that has anything to do with such a subject.
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    Most IQ tests out there determine how much you know. Not how quickly you can know it.
    But I worded my statement wrong. The average athiest is more intelligent then the average believer.

    (How brilliant can you be if you blow yourself up?)
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    I have come to the conclusion (at 38 yrs old) that apart from evidence and proofs in the natural world.
    When it comes to human mind and the meanings it attaches to things, we are making it all up!

    I don't think there is any higher being or super intelligence that exists out there who has a score sheet for right and wrong.

    The only thing which truly exists is our minds and different ways of thinking. The only superior being with the right answers exists in us.
    The right meaning or answer is the one which provides the best solutions and directs our best intentions.

    Giving meanings to things comes not just from the mind but from the body too.
    Feelings are much harder to deny, change or kill than thoughts in the mind.

    When we love somebody or something and they have meaning in our lives and we think about them we also feel it strongly in the body.

    When we are listening to our favourite song which we like because it 'means' something to us, we don't just hear it from the mind. We feel it in the body.

    Think about all the things in your life which have 'meaning' for you such as your loved ones, your passions and interests, the high times you've had as well as your bad times.
    Times you've learnt profound things and lessons, and i bet it won't exist just as a thought in your head, you will feel it most strongly in your body, somewhere specific or all over.

    Meanings come from experiences we've had, the effects they've had on us and the thoughts we've given them.

    I think meaning comes from the past and directs the now and the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Most IQ tests out there determine how much you know. Not how quickly you can know it.
    Hence the reason most IQ tests aren't really valid. Memory capacity is only a tool for the mind, not a function of it. In order to determine at least one aspect of a person's intelligence, you need to determine that person's ability to work with their memory and knowledge. Unfortunately, many IQ tests which include such a feature, simply use timed mathematics questions...which doesn't really help that much.

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    But I worded my statement wrong. The average athiest is more intelligent then the average believer.
    How do you know that?

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    (How brilliant can you be if you blow yourself up?)
    Lack of intelligence is not a requirement for becoming a zealous fanatic.
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    I know that because most southern religious folk arn't very intelligent, thus lowering the average intelligence of religious people. Most Athiests are able to think for themselves and judge that a belief in god may not be possible do to the situation. Most people who are idiots believe something they don't understand do to everyone else believing in it. Thus, they are unable to think for themselves. Have you ever met a generally stupid athiest? I havn't. They are usually intelligent.. and most often look like mac user's on the mac vs PC commercial.. =P

    Like on the bus today. Some guy told me that following jesus is the only way to salvation... and wouldn't hear what I had to say. He kept saying that no matter what evil you have done, if you convert to christianity, then you will go to heaven. I don't agree with that line of thinking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    I know that because most southern religious folk arn't very intelligent,
    Nice to know the entire religious world is being judged by the actions of the Southern religious community (a relatively tiny fraction of the world's religious population...but that doesn't seem to matter).

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    ...thus lowering the average intelligence of religious people.
    By how much? This lowering of the average you speak of seems to be a pivotal part of your rebuttal here, so I'm sure you have some factual numbers on this, right? Or are you just making assumptions off of CNN news-mongering and Southern religious folks (a group notorious for their fair share of "odd" factions)?

    If we assume the current world population is 7-billion, then even if the entire United States (roughly 300-million) was comprised of religious zealots, they would make up for something like 4% of the world's population. I'm not sure how that drastically impacts anything, even if it were true.

    Again, if we take "religious community" as meaning only Christians, and the current estimate for the number of Christians in the world is somewhere around 2.1-billion, and we again assume that the entire US is comprised of 300-million religious zealots, that's still only 15% impact. Hardly tipping the scales here.

    I'm assuming that since this highly-conclusive evidence is probably concerning the Southern Baptists (since they are one of the largest church organizations in the US) their total population of followers is estimated at less than 10% of the US population. So now we're talking about a roughly 1.42% impact on the world Christian community...and we haven't even gotten to all the other religious folks out there in the world...

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Have you ever met a generally stupid athiest? I havn't.
    Then you haven't looked. They're all over the place, and are very easy to identify. You simply listen, and they will make themselves known. Some key clues are "God doesn't exist because I can't touch him," and "God doesn't exist because he doesn't appear when I say 'show up!'" or "the existence of stupid people proves the non-existence of god," or "all religious people are nutcases, because this one guy over here did something stupid..." or "only religious people do stupid things..." or "all religious people think and believe the same, therefore can be treated universally" and so on...

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    They are usually intelligent.. and most often look like mac user's on the mac vs PC commercial.. =P
    A wonderful example of intelligence (...or was that intelligence insulted?).
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    In the end, we're all humans. Nothing will change that, but... I'm a proud PC user! Don't underestimate the power of the PC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    I know that because most southern religious folk arn't very intelligent,
    Nice to know the entire religious world is being judged by the actions of the Southern religious community (a relatively tiny fraction of the world's religious population...but that doesn't seem to matter).

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    ...thus lowering the average intelligence of religious people.
    By how much? This lowering of the average you speak of seems to be a pivotal part of your rebuttal here, so I'm sure you have some factual numbers on this, right? Or are you just making assumptions off of CNN news-mongering and Southern religious folks (a group notorious for their fair share of "odd" factions)?

    If we assume the current world population is 7-billion, then even if the entire United States (roughly 300-million) was comprised of religious zealots, they would make up for something like 4% of the world's population. I'm not sure how that drastically impacts anything, even if it were true.

    Again, if we take "religious community" as meaning only Christians, and the current estimate for the number of Christians in the world is somewhere around 2.1-billion, and we again assume that the entire US is comprised of 300-million religious zealots, that's still only 15% impact. Hardly tipping the scales here.

    I'm assuming that since this highly-conclusive evidence is probably concerning the Southern Baptists (since they are one of the largest church organizations in the US) their total population of followers is estimated at less than 10% of the US population. So now we're talking about a roughly 1.42% impact on the world Christian community...and we haven't even gotten to all the other religious folks out there in the world...

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    Have you ever met a generally stupid athiest? I havn't.
    Then you haven't looked. They're all over the place, and are very easy to identify. You simply listen, and they will make themselves known. Some key clues are "God doesn't exist because I can't touch him," and "God doesn't exist because he doesn't appear when I say 'show up!'" or "the existence of stupid people proves the non-existence of god," or "all religious people are nutcases, because this one guy over here did something stupid..." or "only religious people do stupid things..." or "all religious people think and believe the same, therefore can be treated universally" and so on...

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    They are usually intelligent.. and most often look like mac user's on the mac vs PC commercial.. =P
    A wonderful example of intelligence (...or was that intelligence insulted?).
    The majority of religious people in general have no idea what they are talking about. If you cannot find the awensers yourself and think for yourself, in my book, your an idiot. The majority of religious people I have met went and said that harry potter was evil. Why? Because his/her pastor/minister/priest said so. They also go on to say the golden compass is evil and that magic the gathering is evil. Thus, since I play magic the gathering, I must have evil controlling my actions as well...
    OR they are like that one guy who said homosexuallity is wrong because it leads to incest.. somehow.
    OR they tell you that god is real without any proof and they are getting their informaiton from a book without looking at the facts. I would get about as much truth as looking in Robert Hubberts scifi book... oh wait....
    OR they say that gavity doesnt exist and that sin weights down everything.

    If I read a history book and I read about how brutal bloody mary was... thats an innacurate and biased history book written by the victors. Elizabeth was JUST as brutal as mary... But since Mary lost, she got the title. History is VERY innacurate and is only written by the victors, or the people who wanted to put in all of the good and none of the bad. So if you want to treat the bible like a history book, I say go ahead. Because only an idiot couldn't tell that the scribes wrote the book based on biased opinions of the situation. I doubt any of it is true.
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    In the end, we're all humans. Nothing will change that, but... I'm a proud PC user! Don't underestimate the power of the PC!
    Your PC is God! RETURN and SUBMIT!!!

    :P

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    The majority of religious people in general have no idea what they are talking about.
    That's funny...'cause I could say the same thing about the "majority" in general...

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    If you cannot find the awensers yourself and think for yourself, in my book, your an idiot.
    You do realize that that very statement can apply to much of your non-religious subjects, too, right? Anyone who doesn't know the answer to a question, or chooses to believe the answer of another person rather than finding the answer themselves, is in your book an idiot. Tell me, when are the people of the world supposed to drop all education and teach themselves everything they need to know? And what are we going to do with all the people who have ever come up against a problem they don't know how to answer?

    It's less easy to rate someone's actions when you consider the subject they're responding to. This isn't the "people against cinnamon pop-tarts" organization or the world organization of origami.

    Think about the subject at hand. Religion (as a facade to the exploration of faith) has powerful implications to a person. If you're trying to determine your own self worth and the existence (and future) of your soul, what impact do you think that has on a person?

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    The majority of religious people I have met went and said that harry potter was evil. Why? Because his/her pastor/minister/priest said so. They also go on to say the golden compass is evil and that magic the gathering is evil. Thus, since I play magic the gathering, I must have evil controlling my actions as well...
    I'm not going to disagree that those people don't exist. I fight with them too. One group you forgot was the PTA, but that group of idiots can be said to be affected by the idiots within it, so it's probably not as valid.

    Either way, you're not talking about a majority. Maybe in your area, but not everywhere. The majority of religious people I've talked to around here, think the opposite. Do I suddenly get to start saying that the world thinks that way, too? Hardly.

    Quote Originally Posted by verzen
    OR they say that gavity doesnt exist and that sin weights down everything.
    You know, no one ever said that the world didn't contain idiots. We're talking about a global population of about 7-billion folks, and they aren't all the same. They've had different experiences, different upbringings, different cultures, backgrounds, situations, lived under different governments, and all effected by the multitudes of people that came before them (some of which were idiots too). Lack of knowledge can be a powerful motivator in any society or group. When you consider the lack of access people have to gain knowledge over the centuries, it's not surprising how the various groups of the world have turned out.

    Idiots are not focussed into any one particular group. You'll find idiots everywhere. The problem is that it only takes ONE idiot to cause a lot of problems, and what are the chances of there being ONE really stupid idiot among 7-billion people?

    Take all the media coverage for a day and figure out what the actual world impact is. Take suicide bombers. One guy here, one guy there...ten people dead here, twenty there, a single bus of TNT over there... Yeah, it's tragic. Yeah, you wish that stuff didn't happen. But it's not a global epidemic. One dude blowing up some folks in a cafe, ain't exactly a cataclysm event. Nor does that one dude represent a cross-section of the world population.

    It's estimated that over 80% of the world's population at leasts claims to be of a religious group, yet there aren't 5.6-billion suicide bombers walking around...

    It's difficult to grasp the real impact of the stupid based on news broadcasts. They're going to show both the good, and the bad. The Golden Compass was a hit, yet some people claim it's anti-religious. In the camera they appear to be a big deal...but are they really?

    How many people does it take to cause a sensation across the world?

    Okay, so yeah, there's some stupid people in the world, and they are easily lead astray. It's the foundation of just about everything social, from governments to pop-culture. But those little groups of stupid people, the ones who go strapping bombs to themselves or throwing bottles of acid at fishermen, aren't representatives of the majority.
    Wolf
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    Another way of defining reality is:

    Reality: The information as delivered to our senses.

    To go all metaphorical on you guys, our consciousness is placed at a peak of a mountain and we're looking down through the cloud and distance onto the land of reality, it's understandable if things are gonna be murky and ambigious.


    Wolf,

    (as a facade to the exploration of faith)
    Faith i've always understand as an adjective, i.e. having faith in something/body. So you're not exploring faith as such, rather you're using faith as a method of exploring something/body.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip McWho
    Faith i've always understand as an adjective, i.e. having faith in something/body. So you're not exploring faith as such, rather you're using faith as a method of exploring something/body.
    I suppose it could be considered the same as topics of love, anger, joy, fulfillment, etc. You can explore the topic of love, but you can't actually put love in a test-tube and poke it.
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    Though you can set up an experiment on it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    Though you can set up an experiment on it
    That's the point.

    You can use science to explore any subject, but a good scientist knows you have to use experiments that fit and will have effective results. It's all nice and easy when you've got a physical block of something sitting on the lab table, letting you poke it with a stick, but that doesn't work for everything.

    I don't have any problem with people choosing to avoid the subject of faith because they don't know what to do with it or how to explore it. But when they claim it doesn't exist because they couldn't use a thermometer on it, or touch it with a probe, or because it didn't obey their commands, that's when the stupidity shows through. What's worse is when those people start labeling other people as "stupid."


    To get back to the example at hand, exactly what experiments can you run on love? There's some things that we can detect and understand, and still some parts we can't. It's relatively easy to tell if there is a physical attraction between two people, but how about love? It gets a lot harder.

    Unfortunately, there's many things in our universe that we don't understand yet (and I know that's very frustrating or absurd to some people). Whoever said this was all supposed to be conveniently easy? :P
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    With faith though, it is prefixed with the word religious. So faith in this context is more to do with religion than faith itself.

    You don't prefix love with gay or straight for example. Love, presumably is the same across the board, though the intensity of Love may change. Faith on the other hand is different depending on the context in which it is used. I have faith that my partner is not cheating on me, I have faith that my mother loves me. I do not have faith in a supernatural being.

    It appears to me and please correct me if I am wrong, that you consider religion to be about faith. Whereas I would think of religion as being about supernatural ontologies and faith acts as the epistemology.
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    I suppose that's true. I don't believe that you have to be of a particular religion to have faith. However, it may hold true that if you have faith, you probably have some set of beliefs and methodologies surrounding that faith, even if those beliefs don't align with any known religion. In that sense, you do actually have religion and faith inexorably tied together.
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