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General Chat Thread, Question for religious folk in General; I've listened to and watched a lot of debates on religion as it's something I was very interested in a ...
  1. #136

    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    I've listened to and watched a lot of debates on religion as it's something I was very interested in a while ago. I have less interest in the debates these days as the matter is fairly settled for me.

    If you're interested, may I suggest watching the debates involving William Lane Craig, Sam Harris, Arif Ahmed, Peter Millican, Christopher Hitchens.

    William Lane Craig is a master debater and one of the strongest debaters amongst the Christian apologists. If you're not familiar with the Lincoln-Douglass (LD) debating style, he's poetry in motion. I've heard his arguments many times, and in my opinion they are all dismantled by John Allen Paulos. He does blow a lot of smoke about the problems of infinities in several of his debates, which instead of illustrating his points, wastes a lot of his debating time on something that Cantor figured out centuries ago.

    Watch William L Craig, he doesn't forgive any 'drops' in the LD debating style.

    All of these debates are available on Youtube or Reasonable Faith site.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 22nd May 2013 at 11:01 PM.

  2. #137

    teejay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Perhaps you are saying most church goers don't give a hoot about god, the bible and aren't really religious in any meaningful sense? Injustice and discrimination are things done by people not institutions or religion - I get that. But it is people as individuals that have strong 'opinions' that their religion says women should be silent in church. Turns out that 'opinion' is not drawn from some old testament nonsense where bears kill children for making fun of ugly old men (like children do) or the favoured are told to submit their daughters to rape by a stranger, it's new testament stuff written by Paul. So these are people who go to church but don't give a hoot about the Bible! Yet apparently the best selling point so far of religion is that it offers a good guide as to how to live your life. Where is that guide if it is not the sacred texts?
    Ah yes, the 'women should be silent' passage, this again shows the error of quoting small passages without reading around it. He is actually rebuking the church for not allowing women to speak or use their gifts in church, it should actually have quotation marks around it as it is now understood to be a quote from Jewish oral law. There is a similar problem with the use of sections of Paul's letters to denounce homosexuality as there is a problem of translation of a specific word in the original text, which some Bible translations use the word sodomy, others use different words putting a completely different meaning to the verses.
    It is always difficult when people cherry pick parts of the bible, usually to condem and judge the actions of others, when especially with the New Testament the overall message is of love and tolerance of each other.

  3. #138

    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    That's a curious view of logic.


    Logic doesn't care about which axioms you choose. If your belief was that sinners are evil, can corrupt the innocent or (worse) other believers and be sent to god ASAP for judgement, then it would be logical to kill them. Theologians used pretty much that train of 'logic' to justify burning witches and other heretics. Logic is just a mathematical system of evaluating the truth of something but relies on axiomatic truths - which are the 'belief'.

    Being 'agnostic' is like pascals wager. The flaw is making assumptions about god/gods. Pascal posits that he might as well believe in god because if god doesn't exist his belief costs nothing and if god does exist, his belief then saves him from eternal damnation. OK, but that assumes he chose the *right* god to believe in. Perhaps believing in god X will make god Y very very angry indeed.
    Not at all - if you think that - you really don't know what being agnostic means - have a read of Agnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia if you think Russell, Kierkegaard etc are woolly thinkers and not able to take logic to its limits, I feel you might be erring to the conceited side.

    Being agnostic makes no assumptions about god/gods - it just says that there is no evidence either for or against that isn't completely subjective.

    Dogmatic beliefs either for or against are just that - beliefs - neither side can provide any evidence.

  4. #139


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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I struggle to get what you might mean by that. It is either so trivially tautologous as to be meaningless or it is just plain wrong. Obviously they are different words so there is a difference (trivial, tautology), but if I think of the institution that is (say) the Catholic Church, it is so closely identified with Catholicism as a religion that it becomes fairly meaningless to draw a distinction - there is no difference.
    ok then as simply as I can think of. Where the institutions leaders think the religion should go/do is not necessarily the same as what the "believers" think as the "top brass" are removed from the grassroots and we can all think of examples when people in a position of power do things their member s wouldn't approve of

  5. #140


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    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffMonkey View Post
    Not at all - if you think that - you really don't know what being agnostic means - have a read of Agnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia if you think Russell, Kierkegaard etc are woolly thinkers and not able to take logic to its limits, I feel you might be erring to the conceited side.
    Conceit, perhaps! I feel as Russell does that Agnostic has a rather specialist philosophical meaning, which is not the common understanding. In the 70 years since Russel said :

    "As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods."

    the common understanding of the word agnostic has moved further away from the pure sceptic root that Russell was grappling with.

    Being agnostic makes no assumptions about god/gods - it just says that there is no evidence either for or against that isn't completely subjective.

    Dogmatic beliefs either for or against are just that - beliefs - neither side can provide any evidence.
    No. Disbelieving when there is no evidence at all for a claim, is a rational sceptical view. There is nothing dogmatic about it. The onus for evidence is on those who are making fantastical claims for the existence of something, whether it is mystical super beings, aliens making crop circles, perpetual motion devices or magic wavy sticks that supposedly sniff out bombs.
    Last edited by pcstru; 23rd May 2013 at 08:09 AM.

  6. #141


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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    Ah yes, the 'women should be silent' passage, this again shows the error of quoting small passages without reading around it. He is actually rebuking the church for not allowing women to speak or use their gifts in church, it should actually have quotation marks around it as it is now understood to be a quote from Jewish oral law. There is a similar problem with the use of sections of Paul's letters to denounce homosexuality as there is a problem of translation of a specific word in the original text, which some Bible translations use the word sodomy, others use different words putting a completely different meaning to the verses.
    It is always difficult when people cherry pick parts of the bible, usually to condem and judge the actions of others, when especially with the New Testament the overall message is of love and tolerance of each other.
    And yet there are people - people who have spent years at university studying theology, who cite exactly those passages to support their view that women should not be priests. Who am I to believe?

  7. #142

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Who am I to believe?
    Nobody. Make up your own mind.

  8. 2 Thanks to X-13:

    E_G_R2 (23rd May 2013), soveryapt (23rd May 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    And yet there are people - people who have spent years at university studying theology, who cite exactly those passages to support their view that women should not be priests. Who am I to believe?
    but the problem is the arnt coming at it from a blank slate. Pretty much by definition anyone capable of doing theology has preconceived ideas coming in and being an emotive subject will probably go with what they were taught when re-evaluating rather than from a neutral perspective. Also if you too heavily concentrate on a few verses and don't give equal weight to context then you again can define an answer by the question

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    @sted - the problem seems to be that people can use the Bible to support pretty much any position they like. Your have one view, others have another view. Some of those views are ones that I'm sure you would find quite repugnant (I'll can dig out some musings from an extreme right wing southern baptist preacher that will have most moderate Christians reaching for the sick bag), but the call is that we respect others views. The reason I took this digression is to examine that. You and teejay are simply saying those views are wrong interpretations. Well, of course, that is YOUR opinion. You don't seem to be according other views much 'respect' if you just dismiss them as 'wrong'. So what exactly does respecting other views entail?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    @sted - the problem seems to be that people can use the Bible to support pretty much any position they like. Your have one view, others have another view. Some of those views are ones that I'm sure you would find quite repugnant (I'll can dig out some musings from an extreme right wing southern baptist preacher that will have most moderate Christians reaching for the sick bag), but the call is that we respect others views. The reason I took this digression is to examine that. You and teejay are simply saying those views are wrong interpretations. Well, of course, that is YOUR opinion. You don't seem to be according other views much 'respect' if you just dismiss them as 'wrong'. So what exactly does respecting other views entail?
    im not saying they are wrong Christian values are on the whole a good way to live your life BUT anyththing that is believed with such force and without "thought" is a very dangerous thing indeed

  12. #146


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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Nobody. Make up your own mind.
    The problem isn't my mind. If I respect others views, my own views don't really come into it. If I respect my own views, then those views say the views of (arbitary) others are mad, bizzare, nonsense at best and discriminatory, unjust and possibly dangerous at worst.

    I gave some examples of what Christians profess to believe. Other (I presume) Christians then tell me those views are wrong / misinterpretations. My point in bringing them up wasn't to discuss the minutia of the belief itself, but what 'respecting' such a belief actually means.

  13. #147

    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    I gave some examples of what Christians profess to believe. Other (I presume) Christians then tell me those views are wrong / misinterpretations. My point in bringing them up wasn't to discuss the minutia of the belief itself, but what 'respecting' such a belief actually means.
    It means agreeing to disagree.

    You can question each others beliefs and present your reasoning for what you believe and/or why you think they're wrong, but at the heart of it you accept that however wrong they may be, they're still allowed to believe the things do.

  14. Thanks to X-13 from:

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  15. #148

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    It means agreeing to disagree.

    You can question each others beliefs and present your reasoning for what you believe and/or why you think they're wrong, but at the heart of it you accept that however wrong they may be, they're still allowed to believe the things do.
    Only thing I would add to that sentence is "accept that however wrong you think/believe they may be".

    Considering the OP, I think that this has gone significantly OT and also, moved away from that simple sentence - with suggestions that people who are religious are illogical, without thought, unintelligent fantacists. To be honest, I find that downright insulting - to call anyone on a forum which is for those who work in IT illogical is an insult to our trade, and don't get me started on unintelligent. And fantacists - I would have thought the majority of us have also spent time on MMORPGs, pretending to others we're something we're not, creating characters in the likeness we would wish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    It means agreeing to disagree.

    You can question each others beliefs and present your reasoning for what you believe and/or why you think they're wrong, but at the heart of it you accept that however wrong they may be, they're still allowed to believe the things do.
    I'm a little uncomfortable with that. I think you need to look at the implications of the meaning of a belief. If I say I believe X but I consistently act in a way that shows I don't believe X, then in what way can I be said to believe X. The issue is that a professed belief is rather meaningless without action. A true belief influences action, you base your actions on your core belief.

    So should I 'respect' someone's 'right' to believe that Women are inferior and should be kept out of certain jobs. That belief, if it is a belief of any consequence will see them discriminate against women. Should I 'respect' someone who believes that black people are inferior and should be sent back to their own country. What if they are a policeman or teacher - should I respect their belief then?

    Agreeing to disagree is OK up to a point. The problem is that religion is not a passive player in the society in which I live, it is an active, coercive force that actively tries to mould social values to it's own ends. Some of those ends I might agree with "thou shalt not kill" seems like a good rule to live by, but when I don't agree with the values they seek to impose (or continue), I don't think just sitting back and "agreeing to disagree" is necessarily the way to go. The opposite end of the spectrum from that is "fighting for my rights" and "taking up arms to defend my freedoms". I don't think either of those are compatible with "respecting" others views.

  17. #150


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    Quote Originally Posted by Willott View Post
    Considering the OP, I think that this has gone significantly OT and also, moved away from that simple sentence - with suggestions that people who are religious are illogical, without thought, unintelligent fantacists.
    Willott and anyone else. I apologise unreservedly if you take my opinions in that light. However an honest and frank discussion/exploration of views necessarily means exploring those opinions. My feeling is the discussion is being conducted quite politely without malice but that the range of opinions will necessarily involve views you do not agree with and actually cannot agree with - which is part of my point.

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