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Old 03-23-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Really great post Matrix. It sure does depend on how you view things. And my, my how that view can shift considering on the circumstances. Many times to the point of complete hypocricy...How many wars have been fought in the name of theologies that revolve around the philosophy of a guy that preached "Love your enemy" & "Return evil for evil to no one"?

I find myself leaning toward an atheist viewpoint when I want to contemplate life in simple terms. It saves me from that pesky Judgment Day/Afterlife thing that seems to always coincide with the more popular theist models. Easy to be carefree about my transgressions when I'm going to be nothing more than fertilizer. To be a theist almost always seems hooked up to conforming with "THE RULES", whatever the associated theology deems them to be...and it's usually to the tune of an "OR ELSE" proposition. That may be a subconscious motivation for taking an atheist position...No associated fear or guilt-trip for not following the rules. I'm certain, if not for belief in a "Higher Power" that will have to be "answered to" the "might makes right" attitude that was held by the likes of G Khan, A Hitler, J Stalin, M Tse-tung, et al. would exist to a much greater degree than the once-in-a-while radical of their ilk. Hey, maybe that's how many of the theologies came to be in the first place--to act as a shield against persecution...not that it ever stopped the true ass-kicking superstars that have existed.

It is my opinion that it is best to consider and contemplate all the options, and look at it every which way. If for no other reason than it gives us all that much more to bite into mentally and emotionally, and makes life more interesting from that standpoint.
All the best to all.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:07 PM
 
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"How can everything come from nothing" is known as "attacking a straw-man" -- nobody said that, he was there attacking something he made up himself to promote his religion.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:51 PM
 
240 posts, read 336,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Well I don't know about that. First, you're treating faith as if it were merely a belief. But it's not. There is an important existential aspect to faith--faith is essentially trust. Faith is NOT simply "belief."
Do you understand the meaning of the word "trust"? Who are you trusting? Does it make sense to "trust" a book about an entity, because that is all you are doing! You aren't trusting God because you haven't seen such, and you aren't trusting someone who has seen God themselves, because who has, so all you are left with is a strongly held belief lacking proof. Trust is by definition belief in someone or some entity.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
maybe the atheist is the one who is insane, yet courageous.
How can an atheist be considered insane if they doesn't believe in anything irrational or unknowable or immoral that would give one cause to say they are insane. You tried to redirect the burden, but you failed miserably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
None of what I've said is meant to imply that faith has no evidence, as you seem to suggest.
Faith is based on belief; it is not interested in knowledge. You have two distinct human thought processes. You can sometimes investigate the claims of one's faith, though few religious believers care to. Faith is formed as the result of some desire one has. Knowledge is based on the ability to discriminate. If you were disciplined enough to base faith on knowledge, you would be left with nothing but doubt.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
I think it's highly disingenuous for atheists to say that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for a god (I'm not saying that you're making this claim--from previous posts, you seem like you might not be so hard line).
I'm not saying there is "absolutely no evidence", since that implies all knowingness, but I would say noone has in general been able to provide sufficient cause for rationally believing in the existence of a god. Honestly, I don't care if you think of me as "hard line", arrogant or whatever, theists like to spout out against who don't agree with them. In truth, theists are quite deceptive in their practice of calling atheists, and even agnostics, "hard line", "disingenuous", militant, arrogant, etc. in order to redirect the attention from their obvious failings.

I'm sorry; I haven't found any proof of God, which doesn't necessarily mean someone doesn't have it, but I've looked. All I've found are whispers, shadows, and allegorical ghosts fueled by desperation, hope, and faith. If any religion had proof, then there would only be one religion; and it would be indistinguishable from science. I've found that belief can have a powerful effect on one's psychological state; it can make one hear and see things if one repeats one's belief to oneself enough times, which may or may not be complete fabrications of one's own subconscious. People can be so desperate for validation of their beliefs that any kind of sensory outlier is usually interpreted as proof of God. If any kind of evidence had existed in this universe for God, it has been so mixed up that the original state cannot be derived. This world works mostly on automatic, i.e. determinism. If there is any indication of divine intervention in the world of humans, it is a dim light that couldn't even illuminate a tiny room; or to put it more bluntly, God has no interest in the affairs of humans.

Most people of faith have no interest in evidence, which is why they loathe science or certain sciences so much. I don't know if there is any evidence for God in the general sense, but I certainly haven't for want of trying and desire and previous belief to find evidence. I don't think any ordinary human being is capable of finding evidence of God; it seems an impossible thing to accomplish and maybe we are asking the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking who is asking the question and why are they asking it. I think we don't know what humans are expecting, so even if we find the right path to our destination, we probably wouldn't even recognize it.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Well I don't know about that. First, you're treating faith as if it were merely a belief. But it's not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Think of a soldier who valiantly and alone continues to fight against an overwhelming enemy. His death is a certainty. But he fights with the hope that he can still survive. He fights against the odds, against what "reason" tells him is inevitable. Or a person who is stranded alone fighting against the elements, struggling to make it back down the mountain, even though he has every reason to believe he will die. Why no give up if "reason" dictates you will die anyway? That is after all the "reasonable" thing to do. We can all admire people who do not give in, who continue to have courage in the face of overwhelming odds--I know I do. And faith can be similar to this. Faith isn't simply "belief," even though so many people on this forum, and elsewhere, equate it with belief. Faith is standing alone--and we all stand alone--to face the fear and despair of life and to hope for and act according to a higher meaning. Faith is deeply existential.
You can be "courageous" and an insane fool at the same time. But faith is in most cases just "merely a belief". It all comes down to belief in a book, because who has seen God? Even if Jesus knew God, he isn't around anymore, and to think otherwise is delusion. But the basic premise of Jesus's teachings was to know God while you were still alive, because there certainly isn't any guarantee you will know God once you're dead, but that is what most believers live for is to die, crossing their fingers that things will be better after life, and that is a sad way to live.

As far as your soldier, it depends on what you are fighting for, whether you should continue fighting knowing you are going to die. If you are fighting to save your family or fighting against some evil tyrant who has killed many, then the reasonable thing to do would be to keep fighting, and simply put, you can't know for certain when you are going to die. Killing is a naturally repulsive human activity and in order to justify it, it must be in defense of oneself or others and there must be an immediate danger, or if there isn't an immediate danger, then the villain must present a clear and definite danger to society in terms of killing or harm and they must be incapable of being reasoned with. Selfless love is the only sane justified reason for action.

I don't see what is courageous about being a theist anyways, which is what you are implying, that is usually what people are raised with. It takes real courage to go against the crowd when you are told you will go to hell for your belief in atheism or agnosticism or rather disbelief in theism, their specific brand of, usually of the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim variety, and be ostracized from the community, persecuted for their beliefs, jailed, and potentially even killed for them. So no, in general I don't consider theists all that courageous, but rather cowards for bowing down to the opinions of men and women, and having the audacity to call it following the will of the creator, and ignoring their own inborn ability to reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
And faith can be similar to this. Faith isn't simply "belief," even though so many people on this forum, and elsewhere, equate it with belief. Faith is standing alone--and we all stand alone--to face the fear and despair of life and to hope for and act according to a higher meaning. Faith is deeply existential.
Faith is a kind of "belief" by definition. This whole rant speaks "existential" crisis; or in other words I desperately must believe in something, so the more desperate my need, my desire, the more outlandish my faith in something, incredible or epic, must be in order to fulfill the obvious emptiness.

When you want to be convinced, it doesn't take much to convince you. But when you want to know the truth and to be certain there isn't a sliver of misunderstanding, then you have to know all the tricks, all the lies, no matter how subtle. I know better than to desire to be convinced. I know enough of the tricks and the lies to ultimately be completely certain of nothing, in the absolute sense. To me, understanding reality is about understanding the relationship between objects, and not about understanding truth in some absolute direct sense.

It isn't really about how you look at things, but how you define God, and what limitations you place on it and how desperate one is to make two puzzle pieces fit that don't belong together. And people believe that any tiny sensory outlier, which may indicate the existence of a God in an indirect sense, is proof of their particular God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Nature itself is evidence of God.
Nature itself is evidence of nature. God itself is evidence of God; you should ask yourself can you see God, and if so how? Nature can only be "evidence of God", if you can establish a casual link between nature and God, but to do that, you'd first need evidence of God, and therein lies the predicament.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
So, I don't really think there is anything to the atheist claim that "there is no absolutely no evidence for God." It all depends on how you look at things.
First of all obvious strawman, and a repeated one at that. Atheists aren't claiming "that there is" "absolutely no evidence for God"; they are claiming "that there is" "no evidence for God". You are using a qualifier that atheists don't think in terms of, which is in absolute terms, i.e. I know 100% that such and such is true, which in order to do so, one must know all that there is to know, which is absurd. Strawman are for the birds, so I say burn it.

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Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
...
To conclude, your whole diatribe is basically an attempt at justification of faith, in and of itself, which is an logical impossibility.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:12 AM
 
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Default Faith in Faith

JustNobody:::What you are not considering is that man is much more an emotional creature than he is a logical creature. The absence of emotion would make a person void of what makes us human...It's what made the "Spock" character so compelling, with the premise that "Vulcans" had no emotional component to them.
Not every activity of the human brain is based on logic and reason. Our feelings and emotions motivate us much more than logic and reason. Faith is like love or hate. It is more of a feeling or perception. It needs no logic, or proof, to be real...just as one needs no logic or basis in proof as to why they love something or somebody. I don't "believe" I love somebody...I just know that I do. It requires no "proof". It just "is". And THAT is what makes it "real". And that is all that is required to elevate their status to the "object of my affection", and not just another person. Such is faith. You don't need proof, just the feeling...and then what you have faith in is elevated to something that is real rather than conceptual.
It is my opinion that faith has it all over logic and reason. Facts are based on knowledge...and we may very well find out we were wrong about what we thought we knew. But faith...now you have something! Faith isn't bogged down by unreliable information...it proves itself by its existence. Belief is to faith, as like is to love. Faith has it's basis in belief, but it is so much more than that.

The person that has faith is not diminished, but enhanced...and it is the person that requires proof before they can make a determination that lives the sad life. A person of faith can realize more than just what they behold, and that opens them up to a greater, richer, much enhanced life experience.
All the best....and, as they say, "Keep the faith"!
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:39 AM
 
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GldnRule, Pretty sure you just admitted to wishful thinking that allows you to delusion about reality.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
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I concur Konraden.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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Default Faith

Konraden & Rafius:::Very deep feelings and perceptions are something you have to be capable of to experience...and the only way to fully understand it is to be able to experience it. Frivolous "wishful thinking" that results in "delusions about reality" is nothing like what I'm talking about. It is an actual mental process (that has nothing to do with intellect), just like logical reasoning is a mental process. Some get very deep into it like the practitioners of Zen Buddhism. Scientists have done brain wave tests on the Zen masters when they meditate and can actually chart when they reach what they call "nirvana". So, as you guys would say, "science" has "proved" it. It's not about being delusional, it's about being enlightened beyond just basic thinking and reasoning...enabling the person of faith to realize things beyond what they are able to behold.

It is an additional mental capability to critical thinking and deductive reasoning, not a flaw in the ability to think and reason. Like I said, you have to be capable of it to be able to experience it and understand it fully. But just because I am not capable of some mental process that doesn't mean I dismiss it as "delusional thinking". Just as, although I don't know how Kreskin does what he does...he has obviously found a way to tap into mental powers few others are able to access...I wouldn't say he is nothing more than a "wishful thinker". I think you both know all this, but for whatever reason don't like it, so you lobby against it.

I am not a person of deep faith. I wish I was. You can dismiss faith all you want, but it exists (and thus the object of faith is validated in the mind if the fathful)...and it is waaaaaaay more powerful than logic and reason---If you are looking for facts, try that one.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GldnRule View Post
Konraden & Rafius:::Very deep feelings and perceptions are something you have to be capable of to experience...and the only way to fully understand it is to be able to experience it. Frivolous "wishful thinking" that results in "delusions about reality" is nothing like what I'm talking about. It is an actual mental process (that has nothing to do with intellect), just like logical reasoning is a mental process. Some get very deep into it like the practitioners of Zen Buddhism. Scientists have done brain wave tests on the Zen masters when they meditate and can actually chart when they reach what they call "nirvana". So, as you guys would say, "science" has "proved" it. It's not about being delusional, it's about being enlightened beyond just basic thinking and reasoning...enabling the person of faith to realize things beyond what they are able to behold.

It is an additional mental capability to critical thinking and deductive reasoning, not a flaw in the ability to think and reason. Like I said, you have to be capable of it to be able to experience it and understand it fully. But just because I am not capable of some mental process that doesn't mean I dismiss it as "delusional thinking". Just as, although I don't know how Kreskin does what he does...he has obviously found a way to tap into mental powers few others are able to access...I wouldn't say he is nothing more than a "wishful thinker". I think you both know all this, but for whatever reason don't like it, so you lobby against it.

I am not a person of deep faith. I wish I was. You can dismiss faith all you want, but it exists (and thus the object of faith is validated in the mind if the fathful)...and it is waaaaaaay more powerful than logic and reason---If you are looking for facts, try that one.
I'm well aware that people are emotional thinkers: We rarely use logic and reason when we should use it. However, that doesn't make faith and belief more valid or, as you suggest, better than logic and reason. I would and continue to do argue the opposite. Emotions are part of our ancient evolution. They are great to experience, but they should not govern our judgments. For them to do so is dangerous.

Likewise, faith and beliefs, specifically those based on no evidence or sound reasoning, should not govern our judgments. One such faith, obviously, is religious faith, which should not govern out judgments.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:28 PM
 
6,637 posts, read 3,858,410 times
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Default Have Faith in it!

Konraden:::I never said, or even suggested, faith was "better" than logic and reason--I said it was much more powerful to motivate. I also never suggested that faith was MORE valid than logic (to determine what is, and what isn't) but that it IS valid. What is "better" is to have both--information through logic and reason, and enlightenment through faith.

I submit that faith is just as useful a tool to make factual determinations as logic, reason, and hard evidence. Especially useful when the "smoking gun" is not visible or apparent. It's a whole other arsenal of mental power. It doesn't demonstrate a diminished capacity to reason, but an enhancement to it. I drew an analogy to love in a previous post::I can try to determine what girl is "the one for me" based on a factual analysis of factors concerning her abilities/physical attributes meeting my "standards", or I could just go with "blind love" and faith that it will "all work out". It would be best to blend both, would it not?

I align with you that decisions based on faith alone can lead to harmful action/inaction. But so can action/inaction based only on facts...because the facts we THINK we have can be just as erroneous as what we thought was true based on faith. In the course of an unfortunately heated exchange I was having with him in the "Did Jesus ever exist?" thread, Rafius put up argument about how at one time it was almost categorically held that the earth was flat...but that a lot/many/most people considered to be a "given" didn't make it any less false...and it was later discovered that EVERYBODY WAS WRONG about the earth being flat. But in his attempt to disprove my point, he actually bolstered it. Everybody thought the earth MUST be flat because "science" had "proved" that water seeks level and the oceans, lakes, and rivers couldn't possibly sit on a sphere the way they did. They didn't know about gravity or that they were on a big spinning ball...so they came to the wrong conclusion. And this wasn't all that long ago. They were warning Columbus not to sail just 600 yrs ago. On a side note--If they had read the Bible they would have found the right answer. It tells of "God...dwelling above the CIRCLE of the earth...that he is HANGING UPON NOTHING". I wonder how those people writing about that thousands of years ago got it completely correct in the face of contrary "evidence"?...Hmmmmm, it leads one to at least wonder. Rafius' noting that "scientific fact" was BIGTIME wrong, bolstered MY contention that "proof" and "evidence" isn't all it's cracked up to be. So, though I never said faith is better than logic and reason when trying to figure out what course of action/inaction to take, or how things really are, it is at times superior to the "facts" as we know them based on the "hard evidence".

My point is, in many situations a good way to come to a conclusion as to what is and what isn't is to use our "gut feeling", "the heart", and our "intuition". I other words::HAVE FAITH IN IT.

All the best.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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Before I get flamed to a crisp---What I "said", what I "suggested", and what I put out as "my opinion" is not the same. What I state as my opinion is nothing more than that--my opinion. After all, who am I and what is my opinion worth? If I put something out as my opinion such as, "faith has it all over logic...", that is not what I state, or suggest to be the way it actually is...just my opinion as to how I myself feel about it.
All the best to all.
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