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Unbelief, the world’s third-largest religion

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#136    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:33 PM

View PostArbenol68, on 02 January 2013 - 03:10 AM, said:

I don't believe that any atheist can logically make the statement "God does not exist". This is because it is impossible to exclude the possibility, no matter how small it may be. An atheist can make statements describing the existence of a god as unlikely, implausible or unnecessary. But not impossible.

For a believer it's different. They can logically make statements of certainty. I can't remember who posted it, but another member here put in some quotes from believers that sum this position up. I've spoken to many believers - in person, on the internet and read books - and have come across statements of certainty in god's existence many times. The reasons can vary. I've heard people say that they are certain of God's existence because "he speaks to me", "I feel his presence" or that they have actually met God (you don't have to spend too long on these boards before seeing that). The accuracy of these statements is irrelevant. People who claim to be in direct communication with god may be mistaken, but it's their subjective certainty that I was referring to.

In summary, if a believer states that they know beyond any doubt that god exists, this is not necessarily an illogical statement. However, an atheist cannot logically say that they know for certain that a god does not exist. In fact, I don't know any that have. Certainly not Dawkins.

I'm not sure I agree with you here, Arbie; I'm unclear why "it is impossible to exclude the possibility, no matter how small it may be" doesn't apply equally to a believer as to an atheist from a logic standpoint.  I do think that both can 'logically' be absolutely certain in their beliefs if 'logical' is just confined to mean, 'proceeding logically/validly from the premises'.  It is the premises that I think are the issue and are not wholly rational for some believers, and if believers can proceed logically from bad premises and still be considered 'logical', then I'm not sure why atheists should be excluded.

I do think you're right on point though concerning any atheists saying they know with certainty there is no god, I'm not aware of any but I wouldn't doubt they exist.  I'm trying to come up with an example, it's difficult, perhaps someone 'believes' based on their understanding of science or physics that they've had some personal insight and believe that those laws definitively exclude anything but this physical realm.  That would be a terrible premise of course, but I'm not sure how much better, 'my strictly internal, personal experiences confirm the validity of something in objective reality' is that much better for instance.

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#137    Mr Walker

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

View Postscowl, on 02 January 2013 - 05:19 PM, said:

I think it's entirely the opposite. The God in the Bible is a ruthless creature who destroyed life indiscriminately and treated humans as if they were worthless. Jesus based his religion on a doomsday scenario which never happened and terrified people with the promise of eternal suffering after death if you didn't follow his platform.

Churches these days dance around the many horrifying stories in the Bible, highlighting all the feel-good quotes about peace and love and leaving out the parts that showed that God killed for fun and Jesus hated anyone who wasn't poor. They want you to believe that God is your big buddy in the sky looking out for you and Jesus is that forgiving brother you never had.

This is your interpretation of that god. If you deconstruct the story as a disinterested observer and seek the nature of god as revealed by those writing about him, (whether he is real or not) you get an entirely different version of god. A god who is loving like a father loves his children, but just. A god who is judgemental but merciful. A god who gives people many chances to stop commiting evil/harm .Basically a god whose motivations are based on love justice and logic.
Modern people tend to be weaker and less driven by logic more by modern values (hence the abolition of capital punishment and hthe weakening of discipline in alll parts of society)  and so the bible story, like all old stories of gods,   makes them think of such gods as evil and destructive.

But was odin evil? was zeus evil? Were the egyptian gods evil ? No. They represented the values of their times They had human motivations. Hence people worshipped and loved them even if they feared them a bit Today a father is not allowed to discipline his children and childen are not expected to fear their father even a little, and so we also tend to frown on god doing this,  but for all of history the two principles went together Born In the mid twentieth century i loved honoured and respected my father but certainly feared his discipline and his punishments for wrong doing he loved me so much that he was able to bring himself to discipline me and punish my bad behaviour Before long i stopped such behaviours .

Zeus, odin, ra and jehovah, are all modelled on father figures and refered to constantly as such.
People loved and respected their fathers back then just as much and perhaps more than today. I dont think you can truly love someone you cant repspect, even yourslef. And so the writers were constructing god based on a loving but powerful and authorative figure as fathers were seen in those days.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#138    scowl

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:27 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 02 January 2013 - 10:26 PM, said:

This is your interpretation of that god.

That is the God in the Torah that I was taught. It is not the God that you have claimed is visiting you in your living room.

Quote

If you deconstruct the story as a disinterested observer and seek the nature of god as revealed by those writing about him, (whether he is real or not) you get an entirely different version of god. A god who is loving like a father loves his children, but just. A god who is judgemental but merciful.

No you do not!!! Read the Bible.

OK, that's probably asking too much of you. How about just reading Genesis and Exodus? The list of atrocities committed by your loving God in those two books alone should horrify you as it should any modern person. You will not find this loving just god you want to believe in. You will find a god that is constantly irritated by humanity, is constantly exterminating masses of them with plagues and other disasters for fun, and is only interested in using the Israelites as pawns to promote His glory in the universe.

The golden calf story in Exodus summarizes God perfectly for me. The Israelites stupidly want a fake god and the great idiot Aaron builds them a golden calf. God is once again steaming p***ed that these stupid Israelites can't follow any orders and tells Moses that He's going to exterminate them all like bugs and find some other people.

Where is the forgiving God you speak of, Mr. Walker? The forgiveness is found in the mortal, Moses, who convinces God that exterminating His Chosen People is not a good idea. Of course Moses wisely doesn't appeal to God's "morals" since God is the most ruthless and immoral character in the Bible. Instead he appeals to God's ego which for a god is oddly recognizable as a human characteristic. Moses tells God that exterminating the people He chose would look really really bad! God will look like a dummy! He doesn't want that! This supposed god buys the argument and decides to only make a random thousands suffer and die with a plague instead. Thanks, God.

In this story Moses showed mercy. God showed nothing but vanity. This theme of humans showing morality against God's brutality is repeated several times in the Bible.

Quote

A god who gives people many chances to stop commiting evil/harm .Basically a god whose motivations are based on love justice and logic.

Only when there's a wise merciful human like Moses around to talk God out of His sadistic tendencies.


#139    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

View Postscowl, on 03 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

That is the God in the Torah that I was taught. It is not the God that you have claimed is visiting you in your living room.

That line above was pretty funny ..Doesn't matter who it was aimed at, the line itself is just.......funny :P

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    the great idiot Aaron            

Flipping marvellous..I named my baby son  after some idiot in the bible  ..!!!

Edited by Beckys_Mom, 03 January 2013 - 06:40 PM.

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#140    scowl

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

View PostBeckys_Mom, on 03 January 2013 - 06:34 PM, said:

Flipping marvellous..I named my baby son  after some idiot in the bible  ..!!!

Anyone who has gone through Hebrew School would never name their son Aaron! We got real sick of this guy and his shenanigans. He constantly ran afoul of God which only resulted in people around him getting killed and persecuted. Aaron didn't get so much as a boil from it.

Aaron and his wife Miriam badmouthed Moses because he was married to a Nubian woman. God became very upset about this and came right down out of the sky to confront them. So what did God do? He gave Miriam leprosy. Once again Aaron played the jerk and God didn't touch him. :angry:


#141    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:46 PM

View Postscowl, on 03 January 2013 - 10:56 PM, said:

Anyone who has gone through Hebrew School would never name their son Aaron!

Anyone who would put down such a name all because they know  or have heard of a bad person with the same name, is being ( if you can excuse me ) a bit over the top and not very rational ..

I cannot stand Rebecca Loo's, and I know of a few bad women named Rebecca, but because I cannot stand them, it has nothing to do with the little person my daughter is...I loved the name and chose it regardless
When you think about it, I am sure  our own names match many bad eggs in the world...  

HOWEVER...I do understand that many people will choose names from IE - The Bible, or some famous inventor, actor or artist etc.. Just in the same way some will not pick names because they seem to hold some hate for a person with the same name.. In a way I found that silly, because I know that there are most likely a good number of people with  my own first name that are not that great, and I know that there are also great people with the same first name as me.. 6 to one, half a dozen the other..!!

The name Aaron has great meaning -
  • Your name of Aaron has made you practical, systematic, and thorough.
  • This name encourages the expression of leadership and organizational skills, shrewdness, and analytical ability.
  • You are mathematically adept and have great patience with work of a detailed nature such as bookkeeping, accounting, or technical research.
  • Particular about your material possessions, you keep everything you own in a good state of repair, and you budget your personal finances very carefully.
  • Because of its matter-of-fact influence, this name limits, to some degree, your ability to be flexible and spontaneous.
  • You tend to treat new and unfamiliar ideas with scepticism.
  • Because of the serious, responsible qualities of your name, you must recognize the importance of a sense of humour and optimistic perspective of life.
  • Although the name Aaron creates executive ambitions, we emphasize that it limits your versatility and scope, tuning you to technical details.
  • This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the reproductive organs, and elimination system. http://www.kabalarians.com/m/aaron.htm
My baby boys name was chosen by my daughter Becky, and my husband.. ...Aaron  was the middle name of Elvis Presley.( my young daughter is a massive fan ) ... My hubby likes an actor called Jensen, .... So we put the two chosen names together and came up with - Aaron Jensen Kerr  ( Kerr being surname )

Quote

Aaron and his wife Miriam badmouthed Moses b   

I do not like the character Moses.. Not after the stuff I have read about him.. I believe the character was mental and twisted..

Quote

  So what did God do? He gave Miriam leprosy.   

You actually believe this without actual evidence  ( other than what you have read in a book ) ?

Leporsy  is known to be caused by bacteria, and multiplies slowly.......If it is not treated, it can cause a lot of damage to the nerves, skin, limbs and so on...  In biblical times, many caught it do to poor sanitary living conditions not to forget it was in those days very contagious and they did not have the modern treatments what we do today..  So if this woman Miriam had the disease, she most likely caught it off someone else who had it..  It was a very common disease in those days, more common than it is today...People back then, some believed it was a curse from god, but I do not in any way feel that is correct, I don't believe god cursed anyone with the disease..   I find it amazing that in ancient times people believed that god did it, and STILL do  a couple thousand years later.......Unbelievable.. I feel like saying - Move on and look at reality, that is not how people catch the disease...

Edited by Beckys_Mom, 03 January 2013 - 11:53 PM.

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#142    Sherapy

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:45 AM

View Posteight bits, on 02 January 2013 - 11:12 AM, said:

Arbie



I'll bet it has been :) .



OK, that's fair. Dawkins and the "scale" didn't come up "in earnest" until after you posted. I didn't think you were commenting on him.



I would agree, insofar as I believe the question of God to be contingent and well posed. However, I have encountered atheists who find the question ill-posed in a variety of ways. I think that it is possible for some logically consistent person to assert with experienced certainty that "God," especially as the term is used by some specified opponent, doesn't exist.

However, I don't know whether that possibility is realized. Also, I don't know whether the key difference between Dawkins and this person would be that the person is "more confident" than Dawkins. It seems to me that the key difference is in the underlying reason for the conclusion. I believe that Dawkins has said that his atheism proceeds from an absence of evidence. This hypothetical other person might have logical grounds for her view, not shared by Dawkins.

Example: If you personally had never heard of the Pythagorean Theorem, you might nevertheless have noticed that 3-4-5 triangles often produce very nearly right angles. You might be "very confident" that the rule will work in the future. Somebody else, who knows the Theorem, is even more confident than you are: she strictly knows that the rule will always work, because she knows why it works, and knows it in a way that makes certainty possible.

I think that covers why I disagree with the distinction you make between the logical situation of believers and non-'s. So, I really do thank you for clarifying.

Happy New Year. And congratulations on agreeing with Mr Walker, too.

Likely Guy



I am very sympathetic to that renunciation.

For one thing, we end up with suspiciously lengthy debates around here about the boundary lines and distinctions among the stances, including where agnosticism fits in. We also end up with nonsense contructions like unitarian agnostic atheist deism, which is not to be confused, of course, with Unitarian agnostic atheist deism, with a capital-U.

At some point, I begin to suspect that the whole framework is inherently faulty. Correspondingly, I admire Pew for simply cutting the Gordian knot, and just asking whether the person affiliates themselves with some religious group.


Me? No. Next.
This made me smile ( Side note: Happy New Year 8ty!) the reason this made me smile is a few days ago I was in a 'debate' with Mklsgl and he said something to the effect, " Rizzle you can not be an atheist, you cannot disagree with something that has not been established," typically this debate would go on... (and has for a few years and counting) anyways I said something back to the tune of, "then come up with something for me that says I advocate a stance, that I have a clear position."  So we have settled on I am an agnostic who will most likely speak out about 'only' the religions that practice in a way that is harmful, e.g.to  suggest a healthy alternative. 8ty do not tempt me with a Dawkin's quote. LOL  You are bulls eye right some debates are never ending.

Edited by Sherapy, 04 January 2013 - 12:49 AM.




#143    Order66

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:58 AM

On this desk are a fan, a telephone, mouse and keyboard. These are not beliefs either. Are they included in this third-largest group of religions?

Edited by Order66, 04 January 2013 - 02:00 AM.

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#144    Hawkin

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:24 AM

If someone teaches their kids that god does or doesn't exist, then why do they say that santa clause, easter bunny and the tooth fairy
exist until they reach a certain age and say they don't exist?

Edited by Mag357, 04 January 2013 - 02:34 AM.

It's good to have some skepticism so you won't be gullible & naïve. But to much of it can make you arrogant & egotistical.

#145    Mr Walker

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:55 AM

View Postscowl, on 03 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

That is the God in the Torah that I was taught. It is not the God that you have claimed is visiting you in your living room.



No you do not!!! Read the Bible.

OK, that's probably asking too much of you. How about just reading Genesis and Exodus? The list of atrocities committed by your loving God in those two books alone should horrify you as it should any modern person. You will not find this loving just god you want to believe in. You will find a god that is constantly irritated by humanity, is constantly exterminating masses of them with plagues and other disasters for fun, and is only interested in using the Israelites as pawns to promote His glory in the universe.

The golden calf story in Exodus summarizes God perfectly for me. The Israelites stupidly want a fake god and the great idiot Aaron builds them a golden calf. God is once again steaming p***ed that these stupid Israelites can't follow any orders and tells Moses that He's going to exterminate them all like bugs and find some other people.

Where is the forgiving God you speak of, Mr. Walker? The forgiveness is found in the mortal, Moses, who convinces God that exterminating His Chosen People is not a good idea. Of course Moses wisely doesn't appeal to God's "morals" since God is the most ruthless and immoral character in the Bible. Instead he appeals to God's ego which for a god is oddly recognizable as a human characteristic. Moses tells God that exterminating the people He chose would look really really bad! God will look like a dummy! He doesn't want that! This supposed god buys the argument and decides to only make a random thousands suffer and die with a plague instead. Thanks, God.

In this story Moses showed mercy. God showed nothing but vanity. This theme of humans showing morality against God's brutality is repeated several times in the Bible.



Only when there's a wise merciful human like Moses around to talk God out of His sadistic tendencies.

I came to the bible after a  four year full time university education and twenty years as a secular humanist atheist.  The story of the bible, and the god therein, in the old testament, simply is not as you portray him; and why should the ancient hebiru construct or worship such a god? The answer is, they did not construct or worship an evil god, but a loving, just, merciful, god.  True logical and non emotive justice, however, means consequences, often quite harsh consequences. In nature the consequence of wrong/inappropriate behaviour is often death.

The bible is a morality tale and it teaches the reader the morality of the time. Some of that morality still applies even today . I have read the bible and the koran and many other religious texts, The bible i have studied in depth,  reading it in total a dozen times and parts of it more often than that, Today i dont read or study it but keep half a dozen copies available for reference with maps concordances etc. i have studied it academically including its arcahaeology, historicity, sociology  life and times etc and socially as a study in theology and belief, prophetic nature, and the evolution of christian belief over 2000 years, with half a dozen differnt groups of differing theologies and some with none.

  I dont see the god you see portrayed in it, and such a god would not have made sense to the writers and readers and worshippers of a god 4000 years ago. A good book to show the evolution of the hebrew god from egyptian babylonian beginings through a unique transformation of understanding about the nature of god is "the gift of the jews" by thomas cahill
Try judging such a god through the eyes of the sumerians babylonians egyptians or any other civilizations of the time. They would not see the god of the story as you do. It is very similar to their own gods but formed into a montheistic and ever present personal god The god i  am connected with is js tthe same god  and teaching the same ethics and moralities as he did then They Are NOT the ethics and pnoralities you see Humans do tend to be less absolute than god i am not sure tha tis a good thing Too remove a cancer one has to cut deep to remove evil ne has to oppose it sometimes strongly  God does listen to people and in part this is a teaching tool but he listens to yus because we are humans and have a say in how god deals with us

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#146    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:48 AM

View Postscowl, on 03 January 2013 - 05:27 PM, said:

That is the God in the Torah that I was taught. It is not the God that you have claimed is visiting you in your living room.



No you do not!!! Read the Bible.

OK, that's probably asking too much of you. How about just reading Genesis and Exodus? The list of atrocities committed by your loving God in those two books alone should horrify you as it should any modern person. You will not find this loving just god you want to believe in. You will find a god that is constantly irritated by humanity, is constantly exterminating masses of them with plagues and other disasters for fun, and is only interested in using the Israelites as pawns to promote His glory in the universe.

The golden calf story in Exodus summarizes God perfectly for me. The Israelites stupidly want a fake god and the great idiot Aaron builds them a golden calf. God is once again steaming p***ed that these stupid Israelites can't follow any orders and tells Moses that He's going to exterminate them all like bugs and find some other people.

Where is the forgiving God you speak of, Mr. Walker? The forgiveness is found in the mortal, Moses, who convinces God that exterminating His Chosen People is not a good idea. Of course Moses wisely doesn't appeal to God's "morals" since God is the most ruthless and immoral character in the Bible. Instead he appeals to God's ego which for a god is oddly recognizable as a human characteristic. Moses tells God that exterminating the people He chose would look really really bad! God will look like a dummy! He doesn't want that! This supposed god buys the argument and decides to only make a random thousands suffer and die with a plague instead. Thanks, God.

In this story Moses showed mercy. God showed nothing but vanity. This theme of humans showing morality against God's brutality is repeated several times in the Bible.



Only when there's a wise merciful human like Moses around to talk God out of His sadistic tendencies.
Well, that's exactly the thing. You're basing your ideas entirely on the Old T. That's the whole point; the New T revises the old ideas that were held (and a lot of them were very old). One may be able to find one or two carefully selected quotes that might appear on face value to say that Jesus believed that anyone who did not believe in him would not be Saved or whatever, but nearly everything he said was in the form of metaphor or allegory), but the idea of God held by, and promoted by, Jesus was very different to the tribal god of old.

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#147    eight bits

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:44 PM

Hi, Sheri

Happy New Year, and thank you for the kind words. I'm always glad when I can bring a smile to your face.

Greetings to Michael, too. For what it's worth, I've always thought that when you described your beliefs at any length here at UM, you seemed more agnostic than atheist to me. On the other hand, self-descriptions are deserving of repsect, since there's always more to them than any "dictionary definition" can dictate.

By whatever name, you have always been constructive in what you say about the pious, more inclined to point out the positive path, rather than complain about folks straying from it.

Still, it is nice to have you now formally enrolled in the Only True Faith ® :) .

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#148    Sherapy

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:21 PM

View Posteight bits, on 04 January 2013 - 01:44 PM, said:

Hi, Sheri

Happy New Year, and thank you for the kind words. I'm always glad when I can bring a smile to your face.

Greetings to Michael, too. For what it's worth, I've always thought that when you described your beliefs at any length here at UM, you seemed more agnostic than atheist to me. On the other hand, self-descriptions are deserving of repsect, since there's always more to them than any "dictionary definition" can dictate.

By whatever name, you have always been constructive in what you say about the pious, more inclined to point out the positive path, rather than complain about folks straying from it.

Still, it is nice to have you now formally enrolled in the Only True Faith ® :) .

Thank you dear sir, and I will tell Mkl you send greetings. I agree beliefs are a bit more involved then the dictionary would have us think.




#149    Mr Walker

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:47 AM

View PostOrder66, on 04 January 2013 - 01:58 AM, said:

On this desk are a fan, a telephone, mouse and keyboard. These are not beliefs either. Are they included in this third-largest group of religions?
God is like those objects. Religion is how we relate to them. I know many adolescents for whom ther mobile phone is a religious item, to be venrated worshipped etc. Others make a cult of their computer via games, online pornography, or relationships; or even, dare i say it, forums like this one.

How and what we believe about each of those objects, and how we chose to relate to them, establishes the nature of the connection we have with them. I am an atheist when it comes to  the use of mobile phones. I dont believe in using them, and I so I don't own or use one. To own one is often to become the slave or servant of one. I even turn my home phone off when i dont want to be bothered by callers.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#150    Order66

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:39 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 05 January 2013 - 12:47 AM, said:

God is like those objects. Religion is how we relate to them. I know many adolescents for whom ther mobile phone is a religious item, to be venrated worshipped etc. Others make a cult of their computer via games, online pornography, or relationships; or even, dare i say it, forums like this one.

How and what we believe about each of those objects, and how we chose to relate to them, establishes the nature of the connection we have with them. I am an atheist when it comes to  the use of mobile phones. I dont believe in using them, and I so I don't own or use one. To own one is often to become the slave or servant of one. I even turn my home phone off when i dont want to be bothered by callers.

So God has commonality with these things, but what separates God from my computer? When you refer to God, what unique feature are you referring to which distinguishes God from a computer? If the answer is nothing, then everyone has beliefs, in which case you aren't really arguing against anybody except yourself.  

The point I was getting at is that saying 'my belief is defined by the fact that it's not a belief' is like saying that 'my humanity is defined by the fact that I'm not human'. It doesn't make sense. People will say 'my belief is not a belief' so that they can argue in the arena of religion, but escape the trappings of it when its convenient. It's a way to say my belief has some special status which makes it immune to the arguments you would stupid religious people would throw against each other.

Edited by Order66, 05 January 2013 - 02:42 AM.

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