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Thread: God Speaking...anyone listening?

  1. #106
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    Rules are mostly made to be broken. The originator of the thread didn't specify a text, so why shouldn't we proceed to argue without quoting texts? This is a free-for-all forum not a scholastic journal.If the moderators think this thread has broken the spirit of the rules then they will soon shut it down. But why does it bother you so much? Why should we quote chapter and verse when having an argument? Obviously we are all affected by the texts we have read, why do we have to make them explicit in a thread? If you don't like the thread ignore it!

  2. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntShecky View Post
    And as far as "starting a thread of "The Will to Believe":

    William James Redux
    Thanks for the long summary of “The Will to Believe.” Now I no longer feel the need to read James on religion and will avoid a lot of bad philosophy. I’ll present some arguments against James here. The quotes in the following are from James.

    “The Will to Believe” is “a defense of our right to adopt a believing attitude in religion matters, in spite of the fact that our merely logical intellect may not have been coerced.”

    How can he dismiss the logical so easily?

    “If I say to you ‘Be a theosophist or be a Mohammedan,’ it is probably a dead option”.

    He's certainly wrong there (unfortunately!)

    James finds fault with Pascal’s wager, “. . .We feel that a faith. . .adopted wilfully after such a mechanical calculation would lack the inner soul of faith’s reality.”

    What on earth is the “inner soul of faith’s reality”? If we assume it is a strong, emotional belief, why wouldn’t Pascal have this? By all reports he seemed rather passionate about his faith, however mechanical his wager.

    James quotes Clifford, the British mathematician, who said: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

    At last some sense

    After quoting that, and declaring it “healthy”, James then tries to argue against it (!) Objective evidence, he declares, is “never triumphantly there,” it is a “mere aspiration. . .marking the infinitely remote ideal of our thinking life.”

    So he’s denying the usefulness of evidence, which is really very silly. We take the pragmatic view that the sun will rise tomorrow, so plan for work. We don’t need total evidence, just good evidence.

    Now he decides to take Pascal’s wager anyway, ”When it comes to eternal truths – the ultimate question as to whether or not God exists – we do not have the luxury of waiting around “

    “We ought . . .delicately and profoundly to respect one another’s mental freedom: then only shall we bring about the intellectual republic; then only shall we have that spirit of inner tolerance without which all our outer tolerance is soulless, and which is empiricism’s glory; then only shall we live and let live, in speculative as well as well as in practical things.”

    Why should I tolerate James’ bad arguments? We should, of course, respect others rights to mental freedom. But we shouldn't be so delicate as to stop all argument. If was good arguments that defeated the slave trade and other evils that came to us as the legacy of our many dark ages. Of course we should let Christians live, and let them get on with their irrational practices, just as long as they don't try to revive practices like the Spanish Inquisition or Calvinist persecution. That is, just so long as they let us live, and get on with what we are doing.

    I’d always wondered why Bertrand Russell heaped scorn on James as a philosopher, when pragmatism appears to be a fine philosophy. I guess he was thinking of documents like ‘the Will to Believe”.
    Last edited by mal4mac; 10-05-2013 at 04:31 AM.

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Rules are mostly made to be broken. The originator of the thread didn't specify a text, so why shouldn't we proceed to argue without quoting texts? This is a free-for-all forum not a scholastic journal.If the moderators think this thread has broken the spirit of the rules then they will soon shut it down. But why does it bother you so much? Why should we quote chapter and verse when having an argument? Obviously we are all affected by the texts we have read, why do we have to make them explicit in a thread? If you don't like the thread ignore it!
    Because, as it says in the rules for the "Religious Texts" forum, there are more appropriate places on this site for the arguments such as the ones in this particular thread: "Serious Discussions," for instance. The word "texts" means texts to me, but you have a right to the contrary opinion.

  4. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I'm no atheist and I hope I don't get struck by a thunderbolt for sticking up for them, but when have you seen an atheist trying to use force to convert others to atheism, or murdering blasphemers and heretics in the belief that it will send them straight to atheist heaven in a golden chariot?
    They don't send them to an "atheistic heaven" since atheists don't believe in that. Given the political opportunity, they just kill them.

    Atheists in states with civil liberties have to behave just as everyone else. They have to restrict their actions to defamation.

    However, if an atheist wants to hold religion in general responsible for events such as 911 or events in Northern Ireland, as my earlier quote of Dawkins showed, atheists need to assume responsibility for North Korea, the Khmer Rouge, Stalinism, and Maoism to name a few. After the 20th century atheists have not only lost on the scientific front, but also on the ethical front.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    However, if an atheist wants to hold religion in general responsible for events such as 911 or events in Northern Ireland, as my earlier quote of Dawkins showed, atheists need to assume responsibility for North Korea, the Khmer Rouge, Stalinism, and Maoism to name a few. After the 20th century atheists have not only lost on the scientific front, but also on the ethical front.
    False equivalence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    They don't send them to an "atheistic heaven" since atheists don't believe in that.
    My point exactly. An atheist may do evil because he's an Evil Atheist and there must be just as many of those as there are evil religious people, but at least he will not do evil in the belief that God told him to do it. Also, I'm not talking about murderous psychopaths like Pol Pot or Stalin. Such wackos can spring up from any ideological or religious background. Religion and atheism are both equally powerless against pure, irrational hatred, megalomania and destructive impulses gone berserk.
    Last edited by mona amon; 10-06-2013 at 03:28 AM.
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  7. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    ... atheists need to assume responsibility for North Korea, the Khmer Rouge, Stalinism, and Maoism to name a few.
    You just keep stating that without any justification. I pointed out earlier how it is Stalinist ideology that leads to "the killing fields", but you just keep repeating "it's atheism at fault", without providing any reasoned justification. Can you explain exactly how it is atheism that is responsible for these Stalinist atrocities?

    P.S. Note, I've moved from suggesting these are communist atrocities as there is some room for arguing that there might be nice communists.

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    An atheist may do evil because he's an Evil Atheist and there must be just as many of those as there are evil religious people, but at least he will not do evil in the belief that God told him to do it.
    "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg

  9. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg
    wow a rather harsh take on what a person is. E. T would not approve.
    good people do not act evil because of religion. good people is a fabricated concept made up to create a division between people. it is a title given to some to make them feel special or beside others like them. some people however do evil things because it is readily in them to do so. they just need that ticking hand and they are off on a rampage.
    religion is that ticking hand besides the word GOOD needs a kicking and evil will come crushing down. There is no such a thing as GOOD what there is sensible and logical and the understanding that doing wrong to others is not characteristic to humans.
    so really religion is a breeding ground for a justified killing or destroying but it is not the reason why people do what they do. people are evil because they are ignorant. ignorance is the reason why many take religion for granted.
    Last edited by cacian; 10-06-2013 at 05:40 AM.
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  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    You just keep stating that without any justification. I pointed out earlier how it is Stalinist ideology that leads to "the killing fields", but you just keep repeating "it's atheism at fault", without providing any reasoned justification. Can you explain exactly how it is atheism that is responsible for these Stalinist atrocities?

    P.S. Note, I've moved from suggesting these are communist atrocities as there is some room for arguing that there might be nice communists.
    The justification goes like this: If a state promotes atheism and there are atrocities, atheism is responsible for those atrocities.

    Now, you need to provide justification for why someone should expect the current bunch of Dawkins-style atheists, given sufficient political power, would behave any differently than the atheists in North Korea or those in the Khmer Rouge. Listening to their self-righteous, fanatical defamation of religion in general, I can't see why they would be any different. I know they claim to be different, but I see no difference.

    Here is where the "bigotry" comes in. If someone creates a we-them social ideology where they engage in haranguing the "them"-group but excuse similar behavior for the "we"-group, you have bigotry. It doesn't matter what that person is bigoted about.
    Last edited by YesNo; 10-06-2013 at 09:51 AM.

  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    My point exactly. An atheist may do evil because he's an Evil Atheist and there must be just as many of those as there are evil religious people, but at least he will not do evil in the belief that God told him to do it. Also, I'm not talking about murderous psychopaths like Pol Pot or Stalin. Such wackos can spring up from any ideological or religious background. Religion and atheism are both equally powerless against pure, irrational hatred, megalomania and destructive impulses gone berserk.
    I think we agree except on one point: Doing evil on the belief that "God" told him to do it is no different than doing evil on the belief the universe or reason or whatever told him to do it.

    One of the ways to get to what atheists are actually saying is to skip the "God" part and talk about the "Universe". Then we don't get caught up in the question of existence.

    Just to make sure I understand your position, do the terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers in New York over a decade ago represent for you the Islamic religion or just their own wacko natures? In other words, to respond to that terrorism, is it enough to confront Al-Qaeda or was that a reason to be opposed to Islam itself?
    Last edited by YesNo; 10-06-2013 at 09:55 AM.

  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    The justification goes like this: If a state promotes atheism and there are atrocities, atheism is responsible for those atrocities
    That's nonsense though - a non sequiter. You could just as easily say that since the Soviet state supported socialist realist art, said art is responsible for the Holodomor. It ignores every single variable of a state except for one. Q.E.D.
    Last edited by Oedipus; 10-06-2013 at 09:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    The justification goes like this: If a state promotes atheism and there are atrocities, atheism is responsible for those atrocities.
    That's ridiculous, it's like saying, "If a state promotes gymnastics and there are atrocities, gymnastics is responsible for those atrocities."

    Now, you need to provide justification for why someone should expect the current bunch of Dawkins-style atheists, given sufficient political power, would behave any differently than the atheists in North Korea... Listening to their self-righteous, fanatical defamation of religion in general, I can't see why they would be any different. I know they claim to be different, but I see no difference.
    What's a Dawkins-style atheist? Atheists are found right across the political spectrum. I don't know what Dawkins' political views are exactly, he shows little inclination to pursue political power. He tends to argue against conservatives like Bush, and praise liberals like Obama, so I think he's fairly close to Obama in general (without the religious streak of course!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    What's a Dawkins-style atheist? Atheists are found right across the political spectrum. I don't know what Dawkins' political views are exactly, he shows little inclination to pursue political power. He tends to argue against conservatives like Bush, and praise liberals like Obama, so I think he's fairly close to Obama in general (without the religious streak of course!)
    The defamatory rhetoric atheists use against religion generates self-righteousness. It sets up an us-them, good guy-bad guy dichotomy. We have seen atheists do this before. The consequences are visible in North Korea and the Khmer Rouge. It doesn't matter what the underlying politics were in the past. All that matters is the power of this self-righteousness.

    Now I would like to hear a justification that the current atheistic self-righteousness and defamation of religion is any better than what fueled atrocities in the past.

  15. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    The defamatory rhetoric atheists use against religion generates self-righteousness. It sets up an us-them, good guy-bad guy dichotomy. We have seen atheists do this before. The consequences are visible in North Korea and the Khmer Rouge. It doesn't matter what the underlying politics were in the past. All that matters is the power of this self-righteousness.

    Now I would like to hear a justification that the current atheistic self-righteousness and defamation of religion is any better than what fueled atrocities in the past.
    Provide examples of this "defamation"

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