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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Posted 1/27/08

MidnightZorya wrote:


Stickmania wrote:


MidnightZorya wrote:


Stickmania wrote:


MidnightZorya wrote:


Stickmania wrote:

Nah its not pointless to debate about, cos he might not exist in the first place and such matters must be discussed with religious hardliners who wish to kill people in his name.


You mean to prove them(radical believers) that all their theories and excuses are based basically on nothing?
Well, I don't see how you can convince an orthodox that there is no God...or something of that kind....they would just go on denial...as they always do..

Flo~


While you won't convince them completely you might keep some of the extremists in check though.


Don't you think it is better to eradicate them right away?....I mean you won't ever be able to control their actions...or would you?


All men can be influenced and appeased to some extent. (For example no-one is immune to propaganda, it will always have some effect) So while you can't control them completely you can to an extent change how they think and hence act to one that more suits society. Of course this isn't foolproof but it is effective. Eradicate is far too strong until they are almost in the process of something like a terrorist attack, where there is no time for them to be changed beofre they take action.


I think it is by far easier to kill them off. Why spend your time in convincing them, when your chance of persuading them is so low? I know I sound cold and radical. But well, why even bother? If someone is unable to bow to the system, then they should shut it, or just get killed off. LMAO...Wow, I think now I went too far.
Anyways I mean that in a hypothetical way.

Flo~


Well as I said its not to change their beliefs but to tone them down, which has a decent chance of success. And yes killing them would work BUT then you can't just leave it at that cos you will have to treat others the same and pretty soon its the government who are the extremists.
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Posted 1/27/08

Stickmania wrote:

Nah its not pointless to debate about, cos he might not exist in the first place and such matters must be discussed with religious hardliners who wish to kill people in his name.


If people understood what my OP said, there would be no religious hardliners.
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Posted 1/28/08

excalion wrote:

Meh, I'm trying to find a better understanding of religion. Basically, I'm trying to find a place where atheism and religion can sit comfortably with each other. I guess you could call that agnostic, but I'd rather discover it on my own than read about it in a book.


I don't think you'll get any farther with that than you already have. Synthesizing belief and non-belief can't work because it violates the law of identity. However, God does exist in our minds, as you have said before, whether we believe in it or not. Since the religious presumably have no genuine knowledge of God, you could say that their conception is of precisely the same nature as that of the atheists, though of course they regard it differently. As Eros said, it's playing with words, but I think there's something to it.

But no Hegelian solution for you on the religion+atheism, sorry.

EDIT: Oh yeah, Hume. He's kind of like me in the 'nature of existence' thread in that he uses reason while criticizing it, though that's not apparent in the quotes you provided. Perception > rationality, non-identity > identity, etc.

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Posted 1/28/08

Regulus133 wrote:


excalion wrote:

Meh, I'm trying to find a better understanding of religion. Basically, I'm trying to find a place where atheism and religion can sit comfortably with each other. I guess you could call that agnostic, but I'd rather discover it on my own than read about it in a book.


I don't think you'll get any farther with that than you already have. Synthesizing belief and non-belief can't work because it violates the law of identity. However, God does exist in our minds, as you have said before, whether we believe in it or not. Since the religious presumably have no genuine knowledge of God, you could say that their conception is of precisely the same nature as that of the atheists, though of course they regard it differently. As Eros said, it's playing with words, but I think there's something to it.

But no Hegelian solution for you on the religion+atheism, sorry.

EDIT: Oh yeah, Hume. He's kind of like me in the 'nature of existence' thread in that he uses reason while criticizing it, though that's not apparent in the quotes you provided. Perception > rationality, non-identity > identity, etc.



You never know till you try. =P

I think I might have something actually, we'll see how it plays out.
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Posted 1/28/08 , edited 4/18/08

magnus102 wrote:


excalion wrote:


Stickmania wrote:

Nah its not pointless to debate about, cos he might not exist in the first place and such matters must be discussed with religious hardliners who wish to kill people in his name.


If people understood what my OP said, there would be no religious hardliners.

First of all thats arrogant in assuming that all true intellectuals will agree with you. Second its false as there are many people who have read Hume and understood it but remain religious. There is for instance a Jesuit preist I know whom lent me some of Humes writings and discussed them with me around the time I became an atheist. Of course the term hard liners is not well defined. Perhaps he would not qualify but thats because what constitutes a hard liner is subjective. On most points Hume is correct in my opinion but like his thoughts that negroes are inferior he is wrong in assuming that it is pointless to debate god. My view is that seeking to understand what is unknowable is something that raises our understanding of ourselves. To think and discuss is a great gift. We should take advantage of it. Not to mention we can aid those who suffer from what many of us feel is dangerous nonsense.
Also belief and unbelief will surely conflict one another. I do not think you can merge the the two are diametrically opposed into a coherent world view but you are free to attempt it. It just seems that surely that would conflict in your mind.



I dont really see where I assumed all true itellectuals will agree with me.

And I do not deny that people will remain religious after reading Hume, I did not really reflect on Hume's ideas completely here anyways, I only took excepts out to reflect what I believe. I only stated his name to give him credit as not to plagiarize.
As the word 'hardliners' is used here (by previous posts and by mine) you should be able to tell from context that it means religious extremists. And I will hold the fact that if people understood what my OP(and several later posts) were saying, there would be no religious hardliners.

I also promoted discussions and striving to understand that which is not understandable in this thread, I'm going to assume you havn't read all the posts in here, and I do implore you for future posting. Read all the posts in a thread (especially since its this small of a thread) before you post, as making people repeat themselves is not a good way to start off a discussion.

I also have a major beef with 'aiding others with a lesser of an understanding than ourselves' I know I might sound like a hypocrit but the idea of that disgusts me. There is no absolute proof that we are better off in the first place. Refering to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, the one 'enlightened' may have been just seeing himself being 'enlightened' as mere shadows on the wall. Therefor he has no responsibility, nor the RIGHT to return to the cave and seek to 'enlighten' others unless the others wished to be enlightened by him.
Unfortunately, that is idealistic, in the realistic world we live in, you either be an asshole and forcibly make everyone else see what you mean, or die.(metaphorically) But that is a form of self-interest, we should not try to make ourselves feel good by convincing ourselves we're 'helping others', in the end we're only helping ourselves.

And I'd like to finish with the saying:
"all is vanity" that vanity excites us, and for a brief moment we live, but only an instant later to return to nothingness.
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Posted 1/28/08 , edited 4/18/08

magnus102 wrote:
To start off yes I should have read all the posts. I admit that was my error. I think that are plenty of religious extremists who are capable of understanding Hume. It is nonsense to conclude that someone who understood him could not be an extremist. They will not lose their extremism simply because they understood what you were tying to say.You should not assume someone who understands what Hume and the posters here mean is going to stop being an extremist. If anything they would hate you for it and see it as poison. That in my view was a mistaken assumption. Thats what I meant before and I still feel that way.

You are correct in thinking that you sound like a hypocrite but I am an arrogant bastard so lets call that even. True there is no absolute proof we are more enlightened. I did not claim there was. Since there is no proof of anything in reality it matter little to me if I can prove it or not. I see religious people as holding a mistaken view and that will not change merely because I can not prove myself correct. If ones see ones arguement as logical it can be argued if it can be proven or not . Other people may disagree with you of course but in matters like this no one has proof of shit.

Are we only helping ourselves? Why cant self interest and the desire to aid others both be motives? It seems to me that both can be reasons to want to convince someone of an idea. Much in the way someone who joins the Peace Corps to see the world may also truly desire to help others. We are not fooling ourselves if we truly posses the desire to lead others to our view on enlightenment whatever that may be. So yes I will be an asshole to get my point across for me. This does not imply I lack the desire to help my fellow man.


Perhaps 'understood' wasn't an accurate word, change that to 'believed'.

You are correct in stating that there are no absolute proofs of anything. You are also correct in believing what you want to believe. I personally see this world in two different lights. One light is a world of probabilities, some things are more likely to be right and true while some others are more likely to be wrong and false. This is the practical world, this world is where all ideas and opinions and judgements come from. The other world I see is completely blank, this is the idealistic world, where nothing is true or false, nothing is right or wrong, its just what people hold to be true/false/right/wrong. The practical world is one I use most often, seeing as its..practical, but I use the idealistic world as a backdrop. As such I usually dont get into very heated debates out of anger, its mostly just for fun, because I can see that its just beliefs of people and it doesn't really hold any real meaning. Its a good way of not becoming an extremist.

And I suppose your feelings on 'helping others' is an optimistic view, while mine is a pessimistic. I dont think people genuinely wish to help others. I believe that all the feelings of compassion and the wish to help others are true, but they all stem from the desire to help oneself. Are they still admirable? Yes of course, but it makes them somewhat less admirable and perfect...and perhaps more realistic.
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Posted 1/29/08 , edited 4/18/08
So, is David Hume’s argument saying that because God is the pinnacle of perfection, we can’t know or understand him because he is so separate from us? If so, the thing I don’t get is, if God is totally perfect and everything, shouldn’t he have the ability to reveal himself to us?
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Posted 1/29/08 , edited 4/18/08
Well from my experiences with religious discussions and events, I've come to the point where I agree that people probably won't be able to conclusively prove or disprove god's existence. Or rather people won't be able to prove or disprove the other party's argument since it involves faith and logic as I've stated before and I don't think humans have enough understanding (or ever will, perhaps) of how we understand or perceive things. So, yea; I find it distasteful when people insult or attack another person's beliefs whether it be: Islamic, Catholic, Buddhist, scientific logic, etc. You can't prove that the other person is wrong and you're only attacking someone else for what they believe is right (especially in good moral conscience). So, you're only going to build a bigger wall between the two sides.

The quotes in the thread imply that you can't really discuss the existence or the nature of religion (or the lack thereof). Since people believe in different things and we are always searching for more answers to truth; I think we should eagerly discuss important things such as: life, death, religion, human existence, etc. We can always give our reasons for why we believe this and come up with more support as we gain more and more wisdom on what we believe. We can also question the other person on a specific idea in their belief if we think it to be wrong. If they choose to, they will give you their reasons as to why they believe it is right and provide their own support to answer your question. We should discuss religion in search of a better understanding of our own beliefs and as well as the other person's. And if you happen to convince the other person of your beliefs or vice versa; then good for you. You probably presented your ideas very well or was very convincing. but knocking someone else's beliefs aren't going to do anything but create more hostility and ignorance between people.
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Posted 1/29/08 , edited 4/18/08

Holyspark wrote:

So, is David Hume’s argument saying that because God is the pinnacle of perfection, we can’t know or understand him because he is so separate from us? If so, the thing I don’t get is, if God is totally perfect and everything, shouldn’t he have the ability to reveal himself to us?


I am not David Hume, I only quoted excepts of him. On what I myself believe though, God is not really an 'entity' he is more of an 'event'. So showing himself is not really possible, events cant decided whether to show themselves or not.

Of course, since he is so spectacular are perfect and all that crap, no one will ever understand him. I'm just illustrating a possible way of approaching the meaning of God. Saying he is an 'event' might be completely untrue, but hey, it makes sense to me so far, I'll run with it.

But then I'm looking back and I see myself just trying to answer your question without first questioning you. How exactly does being perfect relate to having the ability to reveal himself to us? And how does having the ability to reveal himself to us make him want to reveal himself to us?
All this is assuming that God is even a being and not an event. If you have not noticed, I'm simply playing devil's advocate...lol no pun intended.
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Posted 1/31/08 , edited 4/18/08

tobydiah wrote:

Well from my experiences with religious discussions and events, I've come to the point where I agree that people probably won't be able to conclusively prove or disprove god's existence. Or rather people won't be able to prove or disprove the other party's argument since it involves faith and logic as I've stated before and I don't think humans have enough understanding (or ever will, perhaps) of how we understand or perceive things. So, yea; I find it distasteful when people insult or attack another person's beliefs whether it be: Islamic, Catholic, Buddhist, scientific logic, etc. You can't prove that the other person is wrong and you're only attacking someone else for what they believe is right (especially in good moral conscience). So, you're only going to build a bigger wall between the two sides.

The quotes in the thread imply that you can't really discuss the existence or the nature of religion (or the lack thereof). Since people believe in different things and we are always searching for more answers to truth; I think we should eagerly discuss important things such as: life, death, religion, human existence, etc. We can always give our reasons for why we believe this and come up with more support as we gain more and more wisdom on what we believe. We can also question the other person on a specific idea in their belief if we think it to be wrong. If they choose to, they will give you their reasons as to why they believe it is right and provide their own support to answer your question. We should discuss religion in search of a better understanding of our own beliefs and as well as the other person's. And if you happen to convince the other person of your beliefs or vice versa; then good for you. You probably presented your ideas very well or was very convincing. but knocking someone else's beliefs aren't going to do anything but create more hostility and ignorance between people.


Except attacking beliefs doesn't have to be attacking the very concept of a divine being that can neither be proven nor disproven. Some religious views, including definitions of God itself, contradict themselves, and these should be torn down immediately. Just imagine a world where no one pointed out illogical thinking...
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Posted 1/31/08 , edited 4/18/08

Regulus133 wrote:


tobydiah wrote:

Well from my experiences with religious discussions and events, I've come to the point where I agree that people probably won't be able to conclusively prove or disprove god's existence. Or rather people won't be able to prove or disprove the other party's argument since it involves faith and logic as I've stated before and I don't think humans have enough understanding (or ever will, perhaps) of how we understand or perceive things. So, yea; I find it distasteful when people insult or attack another person's beliefs whether it be: Islamic, Catholic, Buddhist, scientific logic, etc. You can't prove that the other person is wrong and you're only attacking someone else for what they believe is right (especially in good moral conscience). So, you're only going to build a bigger wall between the two sides.

The quotes in the thread imply that you can't really discuss the existence or the nature of religion (or the lack thereof). Since people believe in different things and we are always searching for more answers to truth; I think we should eagerly discuss important things such as: life, death, religion, human existence, etc. We can always give our reasons for why we believe this and come up with more support as we gain more and more wisdom on what we believe. We can also question the other person on a specific idea in their belief if we think it to be wrong. If they choose to, they will give you their reasons as to why they believe it is right and provide their own support to answer your question. We should discuss religion in search of a better understanding of our own beliefs and as well as the other person's. And if you happen to convince the other person of your beliefs or vice versa; then good for you. You probably presented your ideas very well or was very convincing. but knocking someone else's beliefs aren't going to do anything but create more hostility and ignorance between people.


Except attacking beliefs doesn't have to be attacking the very concept of a divine being that can neither be proven nor disproven. Some religious views, including definitions of God itself, contradict themselves, and these should be torn down immediately. Just imagine a world where no one pointed out illogical thinking...


I do agree with your statement to an extent and made sure to state it in my post in the 2nd paragraph.
"We can also question the other person on a specific idea in their belief if we think it to be wrong." We can question some ideas within their system of beliefs if we find it to be illogical, immoral, unbelievable, etc. Not merely because we think that they are wrong but in order to understand why they feel that way and perhaps to show us why that might possibly be right. If you question things, not only can one person benefit; both parties can benefit from figuring out something or by being brought to consider/think about something they haven't up until then. The fine line between questioning and attacking one's belief is that questioning it while gauging the line between what's proper and improper is very important. There are a few people who responsibly question other people's beliefs as ideas as well as their own. But the mass majority of online forums, articles, and street conversations you hear deal with people attacking other people's ideas. Often people go as far as not attacking their beliefs but attacking the people. (ie. "People who believe in something so illogical are morons.") I don't believe in god nor am I religious. But aside from churches and broadcasts; I see more people on the street and internet make fun of religion and its people while the average religious person doesn't really attack "non-believers". That's one thing that personally does get on my nerves. Attacking/ridiculing people and their beliefs aren't going to solve anything since only more animosity will be created between the two sides. When you try to convince someone of anything on a personal issue, you don't call them an idiot to solve it. You try to give your points and engage in a considerate, open-minded discussion. People argue too much to win a discussion rather than to find an answer themselves and/or the other person. <- That's essentially what I was getting at.
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Posted 1/31/08 , edited 4/18/08
Back to god again?

"Basically, I'm trying to find a place where atheism and religion can sit comfortably with each other."
What? Thats been your goal?
If so, you are better going about it politically, or socially, rather then trying to solve some kind of epistemological problem of whatever sort.
And we call that place a secular society with religious freedom. Thats were the godless and all sorts of faiths can sit together best.
But of course you are going to have people pushing particular agendas, and so on.
And then you can look at all sorts of particulars of how they get along if you choose...


Also, if you are going to use Hume's writing to try and support some conclusion of yours, you should at least know his positions. You do realize he was a notorious atheist? Note that yes, atheist as regards to a personal God as out there in the world (if you would prefer, call him irreligious). But, if you want to strip god all the way down to just some kind of intelligence that created the universe, he was simply skeptical, as pretty much everyone is, even ardent atheists like Dawkins. This is because empiricism cannot reach that far, or at least, has not yet. This important distinction of what sort of god he was considering was lost in your narrow outlook and interpretation.
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Posted 1/31/08 , edited 4/18/08
It seems to me that if he couldn’t reveal himself to us, then he wouldn’t be perfect. As to whether he would want to reveal himself to us…I guess you have a point. However, if we’re assuming that God created us (or at least planned for our existence in the case of a deistic view), why would someone so perfect waste his time if he doesn’t plan on being involved with us in the first place. Why bother making life?

Also, if he didn’t want us to be curious about him, in his perfection he would be able to plug the curiosity of our minds. I figure he would do this because he would know that he had no intention of revealing himself, thus we would have no hope of understanding him. I think that he wouldn’t have allowed for the concept of God to come up in our minds. However, from what I've heard and read, there isn't a single people group in the world who doesn't understand the concept of God. This includes even present, primitive tribes that have been isolated from the international community.

Can you explain what you mean by God being an “event?” Is this off topic? I hope not. I’m really curious. :)

Oh! Do you mean that fate is God?
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Posted 2/1/08 , edited 4/18/08

Eros wrote:

Back to god again?

"Basically, I'm trying to find a place where atheism and religion can sit comfortably with each other."
What? Thats been your goal?
If so, you are better going about it politically, or socially, rather then trying to solve some kind of epistemological problem of whatever sort.
And we call that place a secular society with religious freedom. Thats were the godless and all sorts of faiths can sit together best.
But of course you are going to have people pushing particular agendas, and so on.
And then you can look at all sorts of particulars of how they get along if you choose...


Also, if you are going to use Hume's writing to try and support some conclusion of yours, you should at least know his positions. You do realize he was a notorious atheist? Note that yes, atheist as regards to a personal God as out there in the world (if you would prefer, call him irreligious). But, if you want to strip god all the way down to just some kind of intelligence that created the universe, he was simply skeptical, as pretty much everyone is, even ardent atheists like Dawkins. This is because empiricism cannot reach that far, or at least, has not yet. This important distinction of what sort of god he was considering was lost in your narrow outlook and interpretation.


I think you misunderstood. When I say 'a place where atheism and religion can sit comfortably with each other' I meant that place as a mental state, inside my own mind. I'm not really concerned as to whether society, both politically and/or socially, is able to accept that. Posting on here and reading criticism is merely a way for me to structure my own thoughts clearly so I can derive some sort of belief from them. I suppose this is what you meant by solving some kind of an epistemological problem, so I wont deny it, that's exactly what I am trying to do.

The purpose of me choosing to quote Hume here is because in those quoted words I found something that's been lingering on my mind recently. As I have stated before in this thread, his name is there only for the sake of giving him credit and not plagiarize. Seeing as you are adequately well informed, I suppose you already know that the passages I'm quoting specifically are exerpts from his criticism against the Teleological Argument. I never claimed my views reflected his.

As for stripping God down to just some kind of intelligence that created the universe, I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to say here. I never once claimed directly that God has intelligence, in fact, the quotes in my original post suggest that he doesn't have intelligence. If God, through all the improbabilities, actually exists, he is most likely something we cannot give any kind of attributes that we are accustomed to. (like intelligence, wisdom, kind, generous etc.) That is the essence of my first post in here, and I do not believe Hume or Dawkins would refute that.

Any discussion or beliefs regarding God is a juggle of probabilities based on our knowledge and experience, it is not absolute, but we do our best to find the 'most probable'. A long time ago, the Europeans used an example in a logic analysis, as a premise it was stated "All adult swans are white". Was that true? To the best of their knowledge, yes it was. Unfortunately for the Europeans however, the swans in Australia were not white. For centuries Europeans believes that all swans were white, were they wrong? Yes they were wrong, but they made a valid inductive deduction from their experience.

On that respect, arguing that empiricism does not reach God is pointless, as all things we speculate about God are inductive. What should be looked at, indeed the only thing we can look at at the current time, is the validity of the argument, not the truthfulness.

Maybe it was your own 'narrow outlook and interpretation' and overlooked such a simple...practicality.
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Posted 2/1/08 , edited 4/18/08
Well, its already been pointed out that things are not going to be worked out ideologically to the satisfaction of the members involved. So that leaves politically. Another point to make is on the word "religion", that it is about a set of beliefs, practices, and rituals. That definition leads to a kind of response that does not simply lie in an abstract corner of someones mind, but rather something that actually takes into account said practices and rituals. Lastly, Its more useful and practical to consider their intersection politically.

Alright, on Hume, to restate myself again, though in a different manner, in order to make my position more clear. This would have hardly been an extended discussion thread without those quotes from Hume. And if you are going to quote him, it is good to set straight his position on the matter of god. I simply wanted to point out to others that Hume's position is not nearly as generous towards god/religion as it might seem from reading your opening post.

And again, I find it important to point out to others the distinction that cropped up in the last thread. Most people's conception of god is one as out there in the world -- a personal god. So when you typed "God is beyond our abilities of comprehension", many religious may agree with you, but again, you are likely to have different notions of what you are agreeing on, that is, god. Empiricism very much shows that there is no good reason to believe that there is a god such as this out there in the world. Thus, this notion of god is pushed farther and farther back, to the recesses and limits of our understanding. At this point, such a thing is not really the popular notion of god at all anymore. And at that point is best to remain skeptical, sure. In some vague sense, once this point is reached, I might agree that there is little point to even bothering to talk about the matter in the standard ways...so why bother dealing with the loaded term "god" at all.

No more chewing the rag for me, thanks.
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