Theists: Why should I believe?

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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#111  Postby Agrippina » Feb 28, 2010 5:18 pm

Thanks for the responses, I'll come back to you later, if not tonight in the morning, this needs some careful reading. :cheers:
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#112  Postby Agrippina » Feb 28, 2010 5:58 pm

theidiot wrote:
Agrippina wrote:I don't agree that there is anything aesthetic in religion.

Most of the religious people I've met's interest in music and art has been limited to anything that doesn't offend their particular meme.


I used the term "aesthetic" to counter a vulgar sense of positivistic understanding of religion, for individuals who are inclined to buy into the really kool-aid of Dawkins 'memetics'.

What I'm pointing out is that religions don't work by individuals signing off on a list of propositions, our sense or morality, our values, all things that we are emotionally linked to don't work this way either. Religion shapes a person the way that music does, by provoking our emotions, inspiring us to dance in a particular string of movements (a way of life). Religion don't work in the same way we learn about calculus.

What they are more analogous to is music and it's shaping of culture. The way religion draws and shapes people, is the way that hip hop music often does. It's not surprising to see hip hop music attract non-blacks, white suburban teenagers, and in various parts of the globe, like the Maori in sweden, and various societies nearly everywhere from Japan, to India, to the Middle East. And that it inspires the formation of a culture (often a counter-culture), an imitation of the way of life the music conveys.


I can't entirely disagree with what you're saying but I don't agree that all religions don't expect people to agree to a list of propositions. I think that Islam is evidence enough for that. You have to agree to stand by whatever the particular branch of Islam demands, or you can get into a lot of trouble.

And in the world of fine arts, religious people are not inclined towards abstract art (in my experience anyway)


And you just drifted off somewhere else. Just because you like hip hop music, doesn't make you more likely to be drawn to Mozart.


Taken a bit out of context there. I was saying that my experience of extremely devout people is that they tend to be more conservative in their music taste. And if you're religious and drawn to Mozart, chances are you won't see Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody as classical music, however if you're not religious, you might like Mozart but not the religious stuff or the more popular pieces, if you have an interest in classical music and regard yourself as a purist, you'd probably go for more complex classical music. Just my opinion. It will be interesting to see how long hip hop and heavy metal last, unfortunately I won't be around in 30 years to see how long the individual pieces last.

Believers prefer 'family' type entertainment


And those entrenched in hop-culture prefer films that extol masculinity. Scarface, and Maximus are heros.

Yes, conservatism appears among non-believers too. I was generalising that believers tend to be more family-oriented, which is not a bad thing, unless the family values impinge on the rights of children to make up their own minds.

Again from my point of view, I don't see the people in my circle being 'obsessed' with science. It's merely that if we want an answer, we are more likely to accept a tested and proven method to obtain that answer rather than one based in mythology.


I don't know who your circle is, nor was I making a statement about all atheist, but rather the sort that's prevalent on internet forums. I've been an atheist for much of my adult life, and these sort of atheist seem so alien to me. I'm a literary minded man, and perhaps with very gifted inferential capacity.


Again, talking from personal experience, which is not science, I was defending the notion that non-believers are "obsessed with science. " All the non-believers I know, and I don't call them atheists because there's a lot of belief in things other than religion (like sport) are definitely not obsessed with science. They might not believe in religion, but they definitely worship sports stars and there are people I know who don't go to church but they do go to homeopaths. So there's not much science obsession. I'm certainly not obsessed with science, I do, however, like to research whatever I want to know, I don't just accept blindly. And yes, I do tend to make inferences. That was the word I was looking for this morning. Would you like to start a general discussion on how we can infer information from making deductions without employing science and without always using the scientific method. I'd like to talk more about that subject.

And you'll find a great divide in literary minded atheist like Nietzsche, George Santayana, Harold Bloom, Slovej Zizek, and etc.... than the sort of atheism one finds in the Dawkins, Sam Harris like. The difference to put it more simply, is the former' atheism is a product of the questions literature raises, and the latter' is a product of the questions science raises. The former' atheism revolves around questions of meaning and hope, the latter' atheism revolves around questions of mechanizations.

Understanding literature and hard science operates in two separate intellectual capacities, it's not surprising that autistic children who are impaired in one of these capacities, are still very comfortable, and often exceptionally so in the other intellectual capacity.

Religions operate in relation to one sphere of thought, that's shares commonality with aesthetic mediums over the non-aesthetics mediums revered by the hard sciences. It's not surprising that religious text are written as narratives, that religion served as the pervading inspiration of painting, art, music, and culture for most of human history. And it's not surprising that even the most fundamentalist christian sects, make horrendous meme receptors.

Autistic children will never be able to understand religion, and those that only feel comfortable with truths that arise from questions such children are comfortable with, religion will continue to remain so obscure to them, or as a vulgar caricature.

You ever saw a child playing with one of those toys where you push these shaped objects, into correlating shaped holes? Much of what I find simple minded about the sort of forum atheist that I frequently encounter, is kind of like watching a child trying to squeeze a squared shaped object in to a triangular hole.

My use of the term 'aesthetic' is to point out to such atheist that the object doesn't fit into the hole they're trying to squeeze it into.

An atheist telling me that a religious mythology conveys an appalling explanation for the mechanics of life, is sort of like a child telling me in her frustration that the square is not fitting into this hole.


Yes, I understand where you are coming from. What do you think about expanding on this subject in a separate thread, you introduce your ideas, and I'll give you some of my own thoughts (and experiences). :cheers:
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#113  Postby Agrippina » Feb 28, 2010 6:04 pm

theidiot wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
I had this discussion with my fundamentalist s-i-l this week.She has a bottle of various medications that she takes for some undetermined health problems. I asked her what they were and she explained that they were herbal remedies for the normal aches and pains of old age. When I told her of my own medical conditions and the mainly one drug that I take every day, accompanied by vit B12 supplements, she was amazed. Then I explained that all she was doing was funding the lifestyle of her homeopath who was giving her nothing other than additives she could buy over the counter and water, she shrugged and said "I see" and continued to take her medication. I then downloaded some information from various websites, including the Mayo Clinic, which she's read and taken home to show to other members of the family who also believe in the woo. Whether she'll take any notice or not, I don't know but I'd like to think that science will show her that wasting money on woo merchants is just that and that other than perhaps some adjustments in her eating habits, she can enjoy good health. It's not obsession, it's common sense.


This raises all sorts of interesting questions, but they're not really related to much of anything I've said previously, so i didn't want to respond to it the same post as the other one I left for you.

But to give you some insight here. If someone is very dismissive of what you're trying to tell them, it's usually a sign that they really don't care about what you have to tell them, regardless of it's true or not. You should never look into the points of cognitive dissonance to understand the heart of why people believe the things they do. The points of cognitive dissonance reveals only the finicky aspects of it, the peripheral components of those beliefs.

Some years back Coke came out with a new formula for their soda, and they conducted taste tests that predominately showed that people liked the taste of the new coke over the taste of their old coke. When they came out with the "New Coke" is was met with public outrage, even Fidel Castro was offended, calling the 'New Coke' a sign of American capitalist decadence. It boggles the mind. You would think that people would want the better tasting soda. A friend of mine told her fundie neighbor about how the New Coke tastes better, and this neighbor said 'I see' and continued buying the old Coke instead.

The allure of the old Coke has little to do with taste and more to do with other things that are associated with it, the allure of homeopathy has less to do with it's effectiveness, and more to do with other things that are associated with it. She's not so much paying for a cure, but for the other things she's getting out of it. Just like a buyer of the classic coke over the new coke, is not buying it for the taste, but rather for the others things she's getting out of it.

An interesting thing to note is that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to use alternative treatments. And it's often the best indicator.


Actually your last sentence is not my experience. I find rather that the people I know who have medical problems and who are well-educated tend to make rude comments about alternative medicines. Of course I have no evidence to validate what I'm saying but my observation, even within my own family is that the amount of 'woo' employed is directly proportional to the amount of education. It is a source of much irritation to those of us who know the science, that the ones who employ the alternative medicines are the ones who have the least scientific knowledge about the medications.

Again, I'd love to chat on the subject of life experience, inferences, observation etc. :cheers:
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#114  Postby theidiot » Feb 28, 2010 6:36 pm

Someone wrote:theidiot: Isn't a good part of Christianity a belief that non-believers are condemned?


Sure. But this questions begs what it does it mean to be a 'believer', what does 'believe' mean when applied to God. Even the demons 'believe' in God, like we 'believe' Barrack Obama is the current US president, but they don't 'believe' in God the way a 'believer' does. They are not 'believers'.

Even the crudest of fundie's will agree that to be a 'believer', does not mean that we confer that certain events in history took place. But yet it becomes evident that they've never given too much thought to the meaning of the word they so frequently use, in such a privileged sense. The gospel writers convey a certain meaning to the term, that's get lost in certain everyday uses of it.

If I'm wrong, just tell me. If I'm right, what justification is there for saying that following other religions or none at all is inferior to Christianity and to such a degree that condemnation will have applied and will apply to people who have had and have very good human excuses for not having gotten your religion's so-called message?


Being a believer does mean you wear a cross lapel on your suit collar. The New Testament proclaims that Christ is the image of God, that all of us are created in, our inherent telos, it's in recognition of this purpose that we become believers, and the recognition is marked by our move in that way. The Gospels don't claim that a believer is marked by the propositions he subscribes to, but his love.

The New Testament use of the term 'believe' does not lend itself so easily to positivistic thinking. To 'believe', is something where the performative and propositional are inseparable. You may be ignorant of the lyrics of the song, doesn't mean you are not dancing to it's tune.

The Catholics recognize this, and Second Vatican Council uses the term "anonymous Christians". A person could explicitly deny Christianity, but in reality "existentially is committed to those values which for the Christian are concretized in God".

As a Christian I hold a claim as to what the explicit portrait of that reality is, it doesn't mean that I'm the best dancer, in fact you may even be a better one than me.

The Christian message is not something you acquire, but something you've always possessed, but just fail to recognize. The Gospel story is not a story about someone else, it is story about yourself. It ends in a tragic scene of a mutilated innocent, and asks where do you stand, with the victim, or the mob. Either you elevate his love as the supreme, or the indifference and cruelty of that mob. It's in the former that one is a believer.

It's to hold him as the model of human life, and not them.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#115  Postby Dennis Campbell » Feb 28, 2010 7:11 pm

Shaker wrote:
Why should intelligent people accept the god hypothesis as valid?

Bottom line? Because there'll be unpleasant/negative consequences for you if you don't. Whether that's an eternity being tortured and tormented in the most sadistic ways imaginable and unimaginable in the depths of Hell for all eternity without ceasing or respite - one end of the spectrum - or you're only living half of the life that you could be living, without ultimate meaning, purpose, satisfaction and joy - the other end - that's what it always comes down to. It would be better for you if you believe this, sonny.


In other words, forget any intelligence, believe because if you don't you'll be damned. Ah, such a wonderful god is so depicted.

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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#116  Postby sanja » Feb 28, 2010 7:22 pm

Someone wrote:sanja, sfaik=so far as I know. I can wait, too.

why do you point that you can wait too?
Did I miss to respond to some of your posts? :scratch:
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#117  Postby Someone » Feb 28, 2010 8:18 pm

sanja wrote:
Someone wrote:sanja, sfaik=so far as I know. I can wait, too.

why do you point that you can wait too?
Did I miss to respond to some of your posts? :scratch:


No. Sorry to confuse. Glib way of saying something about being interested in the debate. Please continue.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#118  Postby Someone » Feb 28, 2010 8:27 pm

theidiot: Well, if your position is that of sympathy with a metaphoric victim of a mob, fine; but this particular instance of semi-historically reported victimization is bogged down in historical realities that make calling oneself a Christian lend credence to the notion one supports the history of the religion vis a vis other peoples. One would tend to wonder about the actions of any real God that would allow belief in him (or whatever) to be destructive of the supposedly correct religion's reputation.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#119  Postby atrasicarius » Mar 01, 2010 2:55 am

Looks like my post got buried, here, but I'd still like to see some answers to some of the points I raised.

atrasicarius wrote:
theidiot wrote:I was just pointing to a particular sort of view that leads me to be a believer, of course there's far more to it, but it all relates to what i said previously.


So where do you draw the line on what you believe, then? You believe in the Resurrection, I assume, and the other miracles. Do you believe in the Parting of the Red Sea? How about the Flood? If not, how come? They've got the exact same evidence as the stuff Jesus did.

theidiot wrote:All religions serve to convey a certain way of life. Their function is more like music than science books. They serve to inspire an imitation of an art form, that embodies all of life's celebration and woes. They serve as the aesthetic foundation for those communities to hold what they find beautiful and sacred at the center of life. What Gospels claim is that all aesthetics that are contrary to the christian picture are all false understandings of reality, a distortion of the truth.


How about gays? Are two men or two women in a loving, caring relationship a distortion of truth? How about other religions? Even if they've got similar values, they're pretty obviously contrary to the Christian picture, since "No one comes to the father save through me." And anyway, how do you decide what's in line with the christian picture and what isnt?

theidiot wrote:What atheist here might have a hard time getting their head around, is that here there in no division between the performative and the propositional. The meaning of a portrait we convey in words, and how we are provoked by it are not two separate truths.

Those that are too infatuated with the hard sciences, may be puzzled by what this means, because this medium they are obsessed with requires very little contemplation of their own emotions to understand it's claims. Here we need inferential capacity, and less autism, more exposure to life beyond the laboratory.


The existence of god isnt subjective. Reality doesnt change according to how you feel about it, only your interpretation of it. Even if you interpret reality to mean that you're unaffected by gravity, you're still gonna fall if you jump off a cliff.

theidiot wrote:
There's just one point I'd like to bring up. How come you identify as a Christian in particular? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you disagree with standard Christian tradition on a lot of points.


No i don't disagree with the standard Christian tradition on a lot of points. I consider myself a standard christian, since most christians do not belong to the fundie evangelical camp.

You dont have to be a Christian to follow the teachings of Jesus.


Well, that would be sort of like an oxymoron. You don't have to be a christian to find what Jesus has to say is pretty, but to follow him, to be empowered by his message, well that's what it means to be a believer, 'a christ follower'.


Well, in my understanding, being a christian means accepting the message of salvation and believing in the resurrection, etc etc etc. You dont have to do all that just to live your life according to what Jesus said, or at least according to some of what Jesus said.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#120  Postby ray » Mar 01, 2010 3:26 pm

Spearthrower wrote:


Give it your best shot through logic and reason...

Why should intelligent people accept the god hypothesis as valid?



Wow. Very good question.

Ok, I will have a go:

Because if God does exist, then its pretty stupid to reject the golden oppertunity of establishing ties with the most intelligent and powerful ally you can possibly have.

Would any rational person ever not want to be pals with, say Obama, or whoever you they think is the good President?

Thats just my simple logic.

Maybe you have good reasons to be not interested in Boss of the Universe?

.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#121  Postby UnderConstruction » Mar 01, 2010 3:54 pm

ray wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:


Give it your best shot through logic and reason...

Why should intelligent people accept the god hypothesis as valid?



Wow. Very good question.

Ok, I will have a go:

Because if God does exist, then its pretty stupid to reject the golden oppertunity of establishing ties with the most intelligent and powerful ally you can possibly have.

Would any rational person ever not want to be pals with, say Obama, or whoever you they think is the good President?

Thats just my simple logic.

Maybe you have good reasons to be not interested in Boss of the Universe?

.


In other words, you just wrapped Pascal's Wager in cheap, brown paper and drew on it with your crayons.

Do you also believe in dragons because you would have to be pretty stupid to reject the possibility that you might on day tame one and use it to fight crime?

On the flip side though, if God turned out to be a petty tyrant, would you want to have this being as an ally?

Edit: By the way, the president example is especially dumb I'm afraid. One does not have to have faith that Obama exists in order to believe they can converse with him. Barriers that might be erected by the Secret Service aside, he is a living, breathing human being with who can be spoken to, interacted with and his friendship and support sought or rejected as you see fit.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#122  Postby sanja » Mar 01, 2010 3:57 pm

ray wrote:
Wow. Very good question.

Ok, I will have a go:

Because if God does exist, then its pretty stupid to reject the golden opportunity of establishing ties with the most intelligent and powerful ally you can possibly have.

what would ally mean in this case?
ray wrote:
Would any rational person ever not want to be pals with, say Obama, or whoever you they think is the good President?

yes.
me.
I consider myself pretty rational.
(That's why I do not believe in such thing as "good politician" :mrgreen: A non-beliefe based on expirience :mrgreen: )
ray wrote:
Thats just my simple logic.

Maybe you have good reasons to be not interested in Boss of the Universe?

.

in what way is god the boss?

(to be clear, this is one theist asking another one)
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#123  Postby SpiritualNotReligius » Mar 01, 2010 8:01 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Give it your best shot through logic and reason - no regurgitation of dogma though, if you please, I have heard it before and it didn't convince me.

Why should intelligent people accept the god hypothesis as valid?


You shouldn't unless you find evidence that is for you unshakeable. Many theists are like myself who believe all paths lead to god including atheism. So live your life and be happy without god. If you really want to believe in god, it will happen and it won't be because of something a theist on here says :)
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#124  Postby ray » Mar 01, 2010 11:08 pm

sanja wrote:

in what way is god the boss?

(to be clear, this is one theist asking another one)


In which way is God not the Boss?

Did you see the news yesterday about Chile and France?


My replies in BOLD:

UnderConstruction wrote:

Do you also believe in dragons because you would have to be pretty stupid to reject the possibility that you might on day tame one and use it to fight crime?

On the flip side though, if God turned out to be a petty tyrant, would you want to have this being as an ally?

Your flip side does not exist. Its just your irrational fear of God that is speaking.

As for dragons, are you saying they exist?


One does not have to have faith that Obama exists in order to believe they can converse with him. Barriers that might be erected by the Secret Service aside, he is a living, breathing human being with who can be spoken to, interacted with and his friendship and support sought or rejected as you see fit.

You have never met him though. How do you know Obama exists, and is meetable.

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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#125  Postby UnderConstruction » Mar 01, 2010 11:36 pm

First of all, I would make the (I think) reasonable request that you use the quote function properly and make your replies more readable.

ray wrote:My replies in BOLD:

UnderConstruction wrote:

Do you also believe in dragons because you would have to be pretty stupid to reject the possibility that you might on day tame one and use it to fight crime?

On the flip side though, if God turned out to be a petty tyrant, would you want to have this being as an ally?

Your flip side does not exist. Its just your irrational fear of God that is speaking.


On what do you base the claim that the "flip side" does not exist? You have gone from suggesting that we believe in God just in case to making assertions about his character. Slow down boy! One step at a time.

However, the actions of the Abrahamic God as described in the various "holy" scribblings about him, they do not speak of a nice person. They describe a genocidal maniac.

Incidentally, what "irrational fear of God"? How well you know me after such a paltry amount of communication. :roll: Once again you are getting ahead of yourself. How about you demonstrate that belief in this genocidal skyfairy is rational to begin with, then we can talk about the irrationality of with holding such belief. You will have to do a hell of a lot better than repackaging Pascal's wager in a veneer of wishful thinking to accomplish this, however.

As for dragons, are you saying they exist?


No, I am not. However, your logic that boils down to "wouldn't it be cool if it did exist and wouldn't you be sorry if you did prepare for that?" can be used to justify belief in anything and everything that might have uses if it existed and consequences if one did not prepare for that eventuality.

One does not have to have faith that Obama exists in order to believe they can converse with him. Barriers that might be erected by the Secret Service aside, he is a living, breathing human being with who can be spoken to, interacted with and his friendship and support sought or rejected as you see fit.

You have never met him though. How do you know Obama exists, and is meetable.



Oh come now, you are just being silly. Do you really want me to present you with evidence for the existence of Obama and are you really putting this on the same level as demonstrating God's existence? OK then, I'll make a deal with you, if you think the two are comparable. I present evidence for Obama and you present the same sort of evidence for God. How about it? I promise not to use anything to obscure so how about we start with photographic evidence? Are you game?
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#126  Postby ray » Mar 01, 2010 11:50 pm

You have never met him though. How do you know Obama exists, and is meetable.

UnderConstruction wrote:

Oh come now, you are just being silly. Do you really want me to present you with evidence for the existence of Obama and are you really putting this on the same level as demonstrating God's existence? OK then, I'll make a deal with you, if you think the two are comparable. I present evidence for Obama and you present the same sort of evidence for God. How about it? I promise not to use anything to obscure so how about we start with photographic evidence? Are you game?


Sure, but not here. Let me settle down. I dont want to derail Spearthrower's excellent thread.
I dont even know how this damn quote function works. Until I do, I will place my replies in BOLD BLACK.

Also,

Come on....

Are you really serious?
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#127  Postby UnderConstruction » Mar 01, 2010 11:57 pm

ray wrote:Sure, but not here. Let me settle down. I dont want to derail Spearthrower's excellent thread.


You mean, you don't want to "derail" the thread by answering the question asked in the OP? :eh:

Also,

Come on....

Are you really serious?


About what? You providing evidence for God? Yeah, I'm damn serious. Put up or shut up, as the saying goes. But since you are the one who put Obama on the same level as God (or did you drag God down to his level?), at least in terms of evidential support, I think it wholly reasonable to ask for comparable evidence for each. It's not like I am expecting a birth certificate for God though.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#128  Postby ray » Mar 02, 2010 12:10 am

hahaha. Funny.

I meant are you serious about giving me proof for the existence of a person you have
never personally met, seen, measured, weighed, and all sorts of other scientific standards.
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#129  Postby atrasicarius » Mar 02, 2010 12:13 am

ray wrote:hahaha. Funny.

I meant are you serious about giving me proof for the existence of a person you have
never personally met, seen, measured, weighed, and all sorts of other scientific standards.

Image

Care to give me a picture of god?
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Re: Theists: Why should I believe?

#130  Postby ray » Mar 02, 2010 12:19 am

Come on, you really expect my to swallow that?

How do you know thats Obama in the picture?

Prove it.
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