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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-26-2006, 09:30 PM   #41
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Re: The God Delusion

There is actually no Religious majority in the USA. Non-Religious are a very sizable silent minority of 30-millions (3rd largest denomination)
see this summary http://www.jcnot4me.com/Items/Misc%2...in_america.htm
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-26-2006, 10:35 PM   #42
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat

Today, he might even hang out with illegal immigrants!
Hmmmm....... Guess that means he wouldn't be seen in Minnesota...... "Lily White Land."
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-26-2006, 10:48 PM   #43
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Re: The God Delusion

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." - Jonathan Swift
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:49 AM   #44
 
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Re: The God Delusion

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Originally Posted by youbet
Hmmmm....... Guess that means he wouldn't be seen in Minnesota...... "Lily White Land."
Haven't been here in awhile huh?
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:50 AM   #45
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by astromeria
FM, when you're a member of a small minority (atheists), your best tack is working for equal rights for minorities, not proving the other 95% wrong. Just saying.
There are approximately 2 billion christains in the world. * *Conversely, there are approximately 800 million atheists in the world. *

Said another way, your math needs some work.

Also, dont forget the burden of proof lies on those who make fanciful claims (ie: powerful god(s) rule the earth), not on those subscribing to the default belief one is born with (aka atheism).

Azanon

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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 07:01 AM   #46
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by flipstress
Never have read the Bible in totality, but what I gathered (rightly I hope) from Catholic school was that the New Testament kinda "supersedes" the Old Testament with its violent practices and bizarre ritualistic demands.* Also from Catholic school, we were shown that Jesus' teachings in the Bible focused on love and forgiveness, rather than satisfying traditional worship practices.* He chose not to stress all the tomes of Jewish rules but summarized what we are to do:* Love God above all else and love others as you love yourself.

Or something like that... Anyway, Jesus certainly was not traditional--he didn't condone stoning, he associated with tax collectors and people of "lower" class, he did stuff on the Sabbath, etc.

Yes, I am picking the portions that appeal to me :-)* The Old Testament sure was weird with its proscriptions and demands for child sacrifice, etc.* Maybe that's why it's called "Old";* that stuff was what people did in the old days.
Christains realize just how horrible the OT really is, so they write it off by saying the NT "supercedes" it; which one is to read just pick out the nice bits and pieces from it, but if you find something offensive there, just say it was "superceded".* God was just having many "bad hair days" during that OT time, but its ok now that his son who isnt so volatile, jealous, and temper-tantrum prone came along.* *Well, then again, he did ransack the temple.

I find considerable humor with the christain religion.

Azanon
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 07:08 AM   #47
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Re: The God Delusion

I think that there is a difference between "Christians" and "Christian Fundamentalists." One may be a subset of the other, or not, I don't know.

But . . . fundamentalists believe the Bible in its entirety. Other Christians may, however, look at the Bible as a composite work. There is the OT and the NT. Within the NT are the teachings of Jesus, and the teachings of others, such as the Apostle Paul. Some people, who in my opinion have as legitimate a claim to Chirstianity as anyone else, believe in the teachings of Jesus, but not necessarily in the other stuff in either the OT or the NT. So . . . the nastiness of the OT is a problem mainly for fundamentalists, not necessarily for all Christians.

Personally, I can't remember the last time I sacrificed a goat or a child . . .
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 08:47 AM   #48
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon

I find considerable humor with the christain religion.

Azanon
Me too, but I mostly suppress it as my SIL is a Lutheran minister
(hard core) and the father of my 5 grandchildren. Tough spot for me
but I deal with it. I will say though he is a good guy and an
excellent father so there is something to be said for those old
time Christian values.

JG
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 08:55 AM   #49
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon
Christains realize just how horrible the OT really is, so they write it off by saying the NT "supercedes" it; which one is to read just pick out the nice bits and pieces from it, but if you find something offensive there, just say it was "superceded".* God was just having many "bad hair days" during that OT time, but its ok now that his son who isnt so volatile, jealous, and temper-tantrum prone came along.* *Well, then again, he did ransack the temple.

I find considerable humor with the christain religion.

Azanon
Well, Christ didn't appear in the Old Testament, right? *So to my simple mind, the New Testament is what counts 'cause that's when Jesus appears in the starring role. *Of course, he's God and man at the same time so his anger at the moneychangers in the temple came out of the man part. *It was "righteous anger", dude!

Anyway, I am being too simplistic and flip with Christianity--sorry. *I don't think I am a Christian, i.e., Christ-like. *It was just the religion I was exposed to and raised with. *I do admire Jesus but it is too hard to be like him and follow his teachings.

I read an interview with Uma Thurman once and she was asked if she were Buddhist. *She said something along the lines of not understanding how people can label themselves Buddhist or Christian when they are not really practicing in their life the teachings of the particular religion. *That is why I have problems saying I am a Christian-- because I'm far from Christ-like.

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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 09:40 AM   #50
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._johngalt
* I will say though he is a good guy and an
excellent father so there is something to be said for those old
time Christian values.
I know what you mean.* It's easy to bash religious groups and paint them negatively with a broad brush giving no recognition to the outstanding charitable work done by some.* Folks seem to do it with relish as they are easy targets.

Later this afternoon, I'll be picking up my oldest grandson, who is afflicted with cerebral palsey,* and taking him to his weekly speech therapy session provided by a religion-based organization.* These folks are great and I'm glad to say so publicly despite the fact that DW and I have not been active at church in some time.


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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 10:20 AM   #51
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azanon

Also, dont forget the burden of proof lies on those who make fanciful claims (ie: powerful god(s) rule the earth), not on those subscribing to the default belief one is born with (aka atheism).
Azanon.....serious question for ya.......

I've always struggled understanding what atheists believe in as opposed to non-believers.* Do atheists have beliefs that can be expressed in terms other than stating what they do not believe?

In my own life, I've always had doubts and questions concerning the specific doctrine of the religion in which I was raised.* But, I haven't felt compelled to throw the whole thing out as its infrastructure has provided humanitarian, social, charitable and philosophical frameworks within which to live.

I'm a fan of singer-songwriter Iris Dement.* I like the way she says it in the words of her song "Let the Mystery Be."

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Some say once you're gone you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour if in sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're comin' back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Instrumental break.

Some say they're goin' to a place called Glory and I ain't saying it ain't a fact.
But I've heard that I'm on the road to purgatory and I don't like the sound of that.
Well, I believe in love and I live my life accordingly.
But I choose to let the mystery be.

Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from.
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done.
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.





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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:08 PM   #52
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Re: The God Delusion

There IS a middle ground...


Main Entry: 1ag∑nos∑tic
Pronunciation: ag-'nšs-tik, &g-
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek agnOstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnOstos known, from gignOskein to know -- more at KNOW

1 : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:27 PM   #53
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Re: The God Delusion

Or one could be a "Deist"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:42 PM   #54
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
I've always struggled understanding what atheists believe in as opposed to non-believers.* Do atheists have beliefs that can be expressed in terms other than stating what they do not believe?
hello youbet,

Atheists believe any number of things. *The only common trait is the lack of belief in a diety or dieties. *Some believe in supernatural creatures other than "gods/goddesses" like ghosts or djinn, others may reject the supernatural entirely.

There is no "atheist dogma".

Everyone starts off as an a-theist. *If a person has never had a "god concept" to consider, they can't decide to accept or reject it.

Most people with some sort of theistic religious belief are a-theists about any number of gods other than the one or more they happen to believe in. *I suppose that there is someone somewhere who believes in every god concept they've ever been exposed to. *The Hindu pantheon seems pretty welcoming to adding any newcomer deities that come along.

I've seen estimates that there are 1000+ different Christian Protestent faith groups/divisions just in the USA and *somewhere in the 25-30K range worldwide, and they all have one or more things that they disagree about with their co-religionists. *What do they all believe in? *Something different it seems - and they've actually got some sort of common dogma.

There are different types of atheism. *Some people are "non-cognitivists" - basically, they say "I hear you talking but I can't derive any sense from what you are saying so how can you expect me to agree to believe what you are proposing?" *Others may take the time to get someone to define their terms to the point where they can understand the proposition (and I think this is a big thing that many people fail to do, as there sure are a lot of different meanings of "god" out there, and you've got to nail down just what god concept someone may be referring to) and then they'll say "sorry, but for this particular proposition you've failed to make a sufficiently strong case for me to be able to accept it at this time", but they'll remain open for someone to make a case about some other concept.

Others get to the point where they say "I've not heard a believable case made for any diety concept so far, reality (as we know it) doesn't seem to require any of them, and for all practical purposes I'm just going to say that I don't believe in any god concepts". *They may remain open to evaluating new evidence (something that most religions I'm familiar with definitely aren't open to considering) but until that should happen the operating policy is "I don't believe in any gods as they are just too unlikely to bother worrying about".

To my way of looking at it, an agnostic is actually an atheist, as they lack a god belief. *There really is no middle ground. *"Do you believe in X?" *The answers are generally "yes, no, I don't know". *"I don't know" is not a "yes". * If you don't know, then you don't believe.* If you lack a belief in a particular diety, you are an atheist in reference to it.

Are there in your face jerk atheists? *You bet (pardon the pun). *Are there in your face jerk theists? *You bet. *Are there going to be humans who are jerks no matter what they do or don't believe? *No doubt. *

A thing I like about many (but not all) of my fellow atheists is that they are open to re-evaluating things in the light of new evidence. *Give them evidence of a god/goddess that meets their standards of proof and they are ready to be believers. *But extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. *One individual's personal revelation is just that - personal - and isn't proof to someone else. *

The burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim. *If a person wants to claim there is a god, then they need to provide the support for that claim. *It isn't up to the non-believer to disprove every god claim that someone can come up with. *If it were, then all the believers need to get busy working up the case against every other deity but the one they believe in. *And when they get done they'd better get ready to disprove any new concepts too. * They are going to be so busy 24x7 disproving all the other claims they aren't going to find time to bother anyone else with claims about their own favorite diety. *Which actually doesn't sound like such a bad thing.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:50 PM   #55
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Re: The God Delusion

Interesting. I don't have any issues with the basic beliefs of constructive deism:

Quote:
constructive deism ó the belief that rational consideration of features of the natural world leads us to some basic religious truths. The small set of basic deistic religious truths generally included:

* God exists and created the universe.
* God wants human beings to behave morally.
* Human beings have souls that survive death, i.e. there is an afterlife.
* In the afterlife, God will reward moral behavior and punish immoral behavior.
But it all becomes sort of muddled after that starting place. I'm not sure how one behaves morally without some guide that is unwavering.

One of the things on my RE to-do list is to read the great texts of the major religions. This year I started reading the Bible. It has been an elightening experience. While many claim the Old Testament is all about begetting, beheading and animal sacrifices, I found this interesting quote from God in Isiah:

"I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
...Stop bringing me meaningless offerings!
...Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow."

There's a lot in the OT that I'm stumped by, but this makes sense to me as part of a moral code.
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 06:55 PM   #56
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Re: The God Delusion

Morality is seperate from religion. Morality is simply doing what is right without pressing your own agenda. Much like the "Golden Rule". The bible does not have it all wrong. Much of it was derived from human experience, not handed down from God on high.
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 07:26 PM   #57
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Morality is simply doing what is right without pressing your own agenda. Much like the "Golden Rule".
Maybe I'm not understanding exactly what you mean here. But what does the non-religious moral person do when he sees someone else doing something morally wrong? Cheating, stealing, raping, robbing, oppressing others, etc.? Isn't that applying one's own morality, or agenda, on another? I guess I'm asking, who decides what is moral in any situation and what gives one the right (absent some higher authority declaring what is good or bad) to interfere with another's application of what they think is moral?
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 07:31 PM   #58
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
constructive deism ó the belief that rational consideration of features of the natural world leads us to some basic religious truths. The small set of basic deistic religious truths generally included:

* God exists and created the universe.
* God wants human beings to behave morally.
* Human beings have souls that survive death, i.e. there is an afterlife.
* In the afterlife, God will reward moral behavior and punish immoral behavior.
A lot of our founding fathers were professed Deists - it was the "religion" du jeur during the Enlightenment. But if you looked under the hood I bet most of em were really agnostics or atheists.
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 08:09 PM   #59
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Re: The God Delusion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
Maybe I'm not understanding exactly what you mean here. But what does the non-religious moral person do when he sees someone else doing something morally wrong? Cheating, stealing, raping, robbing, oppressing others, etc.? Isn't that applying one's own morality, or agenda, on another? I guess I'm asking, who decides what is moral in any situation and what gives one the right (absent some higher authority declaring what is good or bad) to interfere with another's application of what they think is moral?
Well I certainly donít have all the answers. Or probably any of them for that matter. Your post is a very hard question for me to answer or probably anyone. I just try to let others live their life the way they want as long as it doesnít impact me. If it does I have to think about the relative value of what they want verses what I want. I donít always optimize in favor of myself.

I think absolute rules are as much as a problem as trying to decide what to do in any given situation.

No easy answers here. I just try do my best based on my experience and trying to be fair to others. I guess we all just try to make the best decisions we can in the situation we find ourselves in. A rule book for every situation in our changing society would be difficult to get agreement on.

So am I moral or not. Probably depends on who your ask and what their interest in the situation is.

At least I think about it and donít just do what I want at the time.
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Re: The God Delusion
Old 09-27-2006, 08:27 PM   #60
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Re: The God Delusion

Leonidas, you might want to do some reading about humanism, for example http://www.americanhumanist.org/3/Hu...spirations.php which is the latest version of the Humanist Manifesto.

I like to draw a distinction between ethics and morality.* To me, morality is typically an enforced set of guidelines, and is typical of religions.* So most of the "my religious text says this is bad" stuff tends to be morality.* Why is it bad?* Because that religious text says so.* It may actually BE bad, but that often doesn't seem to be all that important.* Morality seems to change with whatever lines in the religious text a particular person wants to emphasize at the moment.*

Ethics, on the other hand, tends to be more study of a "let's look at what human behavior is and how it interacts with the world, and figure out what practices tend to enhance the happiness of people or work towards the betterment of people in general".

Lying is generally a poor ethical action, as it can promote distrust among people who need to cooperate to survive or otherwise improve their lot.* Many cultures have come to that realization, and you don't have to have a supernatural being allegedly telling you that there are problems with that practice.* Same with killing the person next to you - unless that person has proven to be a threat to the greater society and you can't come up with any better way to prevent him or her from harming others you probably shouldn't just off your neighbor on a whim.

There tend to be good (or at least reasonable) reasons why some things aren't ethical.* Morals often are commandments - "kill the unbeliever" gives a believer free rein to kill.* Why?* Because their diety says so, who needs any other reason?

I find it very perturbing when someone says "but if I didn't believe in <insert favorite supernatural being or beings here> what would stop me from raping, looting, and littering?" Boy, if you can't see any reason for not doing that without having someone say "NO" to you, please keep on believing!

cheers,
Michael
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