Research on Belief in God

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Maaaaaaaarten said:
I'll have my freedom of religion. If I were a doctor, who would not want to perform, say, euthanasia, and some patient wanted me to do euthanasia, I'd redirect the patient to another doctor who would be willing to perform euthanasia.
And birth control? No one's freedom of religion is being called into question here.

My thinking, though, is that nobody's religious beliefs have the right today, in our secular democracy, to infringe upon, or inhibit, the legal rights of a citizen. If one is unable to accommodate them in the fullest in one's chosen field, because of one's moral outlook as stipulated by the doctrine of one's faith, then he or she should seek another profession not in conflict with one’s religion.

Of course I realize the religious don’t see things that way, however, this is my position.
 
Master50 said:
I keep looking in these threads hoping I will find the post that removes my doubts. For or against? Believer or not? I don't care either way but the debate is tedious and a source of constant antipathy between otherwise civilized people. If we actually need a deity and hell to motivate people to be civil toward each other and recognize everyones equal right to fairness and opportunity then whether or not there is a god it is irrelevant. Isn't it possible to set a standard of moral behaviour based on our own best interests without also trying to convince us that after we die we get out of the sweat shop? In the dark religion served to light the way toward civilization. It created a structure and order in social engagement. It served to explain unexplainable things like the day and the night. It explained stars and fish in an age when we did not know where we came from or what place in the universe we occupy.
If life can exist in every corner on this one little tiny spec of sand in a universe full of planets then we are not alone. Can you imagine the problems we will have with aliens if they don't accept ??????? as their saviour?
As a confirmed agnostic atheist, I have no problem with others having religous beliefs. There is therefore no reason for antipathy, I think this only comes about when those who believe in one set of religous doctrines are intolerant of those who believe otherwise. There are numerous examples of this around the world, in fact look no farther than the US elections thread.

I am also a firm believer of the separation of state and religion, and don't see how this should be the basis for any conflict.

One can also have a fully developped system of values without being religous in any way.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
And birth control? No one's freedom of religion is being called into question here.

My thinking, though, is that nobody's religious beliefs have the right today, in our secular democracy, to infringe upon, or inhibit, the legal rights of a citizen. If one is unable to accommodate them in the fullest in one's chosen field, because of one's moral outlook as stipulated by the doctrine of one's faith, then he or she should seek another profession not in conflict with one’s religion.

Of course I realize the religious don’t see things that way, however, this is my position.
I don't believe in a secular democracy.

Every government will make laws based on some sort of ideology, whether religious or not. As a result the moral freedom of some citizens will be impaired. Whether it be religious doctors, or atheist patients, somebodies moral freedom wil be impaired, in the scenario's we've mentioned. On what grounds does the government pick who's moral freedom to support and who's to impair? You say, religious beliefs don't have the right to infringe the freedom of any citizen? But then why do secular beliefs have the right to infringe upon the freedom of some religious citizens?

Of course we do need to infringe upon people's freedom. We cannot allow anybody to do whatever he wants. We don't give people the moral choice of whether to murder, steal or whatever. We infringe upon their moral freedom to decide these things for themselves. And it good that we do. But how do we decide what moral choices to give to the citizens to make for themselves, and what moral choices to make for them? We do this based on certain ideologies.

Thus whatever ideology a government adheres, be it 'secular' or religious, it will in some way impair the freedom of some citizens.

In this age of moral plurality and moral relativism, lawmaking has become a most difficult thing, and I'm glad I'm not responsible for it.:D
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Polish said:
The Vatican has a top notch Observatory and a priest (Georges Lemaître) was among the first to think up the Big Bang theory. Top notch scientists. (history shows many scientists were religious....Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, William Thomson Kelvin, Max Planck, Albert Einstein.)

So finding evidence of extra-terrestial life should not be too much of a problem....

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-11-10-vatican-aliens_N.htm
This may be true today but a few devout christians have died as heretics for proposing such things as the earth goes round the sun.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
I don't believe in a secular democracy.

Every government will make laws based on some sort of ideology, whether religious or not. As a result the moral freedom of some citizens will be impaired. Whether it be religious doctors, or atheist patients, somebodies moral freedom wil be impaired, in the scenario's we've mentioned. On what grounds does the government pick who's moral freedom to support and who's to impair? You say, religious beliefs don't have the right to infringe the freedom of any citizen? But then why do secular beliefs have the right to infringe upon the freedom of some religious citizens?

Of course we do need to infringe upon people's freedom. We cannot allow anybody to do whatever he wants. We don't give people the moral choice of whether to murder, steal or whatever. We infringe upon their moral freedom to decide these things for themselves. And it good that we do. But how do we decide what moral choices to give to the citizens to make for themselves, and what moral choices to make for them? We do this based on certain ideologies.

Thus whatever ideology a government adheres, be it 'secular' or religious, it will in some way impair the freedom of some citizens.

In this age of moral plurality and moral relativism, lawmaking has become a most difficult thing, and I'm glad I'm not responsible for it.:D
I do not agree with your analysis. If a secular democracy doesn't exist today (and, here, I don't necessarily fully disagree with you), then we have failed all of those enlightenment philosophies that pulled our civilization out of the darkness and, all too frequent, cruelty of religious obscurantism and the oppression of both lay and ecclesiastical aristocracies.

In fact if we don't continue to burn "heretics" and "witches" at the stake, or have the right to be critical of the power structure without risking our own skins; it is precisely because of the secular values these luminaries instilled in our culture and our Western tradition.

Though it is a both a culture and a tradition that I do not take for granted, for which they must always be kept under guard and looked after to ensure that recrudescence of the worst kind don't flare up. For this reason we have a state of laws, which, like them or not, are applicable to everyone; and which are no longer the dictats of a priesthood or aristocratic ruling class, but the legislation of a constitutionally elected body politic. Of course the laws emitted by the State must constantly be placed under the scrutiny of the citizenry (unfortunately, this doesn't always take place). However, when the state says a certain behavior or treatment is acceptable, except within rare, though logical, instances; it does so without making it compulsory to anyone. For instance the State has legalized abortion, yet it doesn’t force anyone to have one. Consequently for someone whose religion prohibits the procedure, they have every right to not have an abortion.


This is the subtle distinction, which needs to be kept in mind when critically evaluating whose rights are being infringed upon and whose aren't. However, as is all too often the case with some religious, for whom it isn't enough that their rights aren't being violated by the State; they would further want to prohibit others from having access to those possibilities against which they protest (take the abortion example). So, beyond having their beliefs respected, they would also want the state legislation to impose upon the rest of society, whether of their same faith or not, or even whether religious or not, their moral worldview: because it is claimed to be based on an incontrovertible Truth, of which, however, there are no verifications. Furthermore they even form voting blocks to try and make sure their desires become legal reality. So it is a case of toleration and permission versus intolerence and prohibition, while in our society today the affiliations have been clearly delineated.

The secular state came about precisely for this reason: to protect those from having what they believe to be just and correct for their lives, so long as within the legal parameters, being denied them by someone else's religion (while at the same time defending a freedom of religion). The true secularist is never a threat to someone else’s religion, therefore: in the sense that he constrains no one to certain actions in conflict with one’s religion and religious beliefs. Certain options may be legally available, but they are not obligatory. This is a distinction which, however, certain people of faith aren’t willing to make, when considering the freedoms and rights of people without any religion or of a different kind.

Unfortunately, then, the same can't be said when the roles are switched. For this reason, there is a firmly drawn line in our democracy that the religious must not cross. They have every right to live as they see fit, provided not illegal (take the Mormons and polygamy, for example), while here there are also obvious coincidences between the religious laws and those of the State (though shalt not murder, steal, corrupt and so forth); but that line must never be crossed. So as Frenchfry said, the problem is when religious intollerance either negatively affects, or attempts to, the lives people of other pursuasions, not the secular state forcing the religious to live in ways contrary to their faith. This is simply not the case.

As I’ve said before, the other option, of course, for those inclined toward theocracy, is to go live in Iran.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
I do not agree with your analysis. If a secular democracy doesn't exist today (and, here, I don't necessarily fully disagree with you), then we have failed all of those enlightenment philosophies that pulled our civilization out of the darkness and, all too frequent, cruelty of religious obscurantism and the oppression of both lay and ecclesiastical aristocracies.

In fact if we don't continue to burn "heretics" and "witches" at the stake, or have the right to be critical of the power structure without risking our own skins; it is precisely because of the secular values these luminaries instilled in our culture and our Western tradition.

Though it is a both a culture and a tradition that I do not take for granted, for which they must always be kept under guard and looked after to ensure that recrudescence of the worst kind don't flare up. For this reason we have a state of laws, which, like them or not, are applicable to everyone; and which are no longer the dictats of a priesthood or aristocratic ruling class, but the legislation of a constitutionally elected body politic. Of course the laws emitted by the State must constantly be placed under the scrutiny of the citizenry (unfortunately, this doesn't always take place). However, when the state says a certain behavior or treatment is acceptable, except within rare, though logical, instances; it does so without making it compulsory to anyone. For instance the State has legalized abortion, yet it doesn’t force anyone to have one. Consequently for someone whose religion prohibits the procedure, they have every right to not have an abortion.


This is the subtle distinction, which needs to be kept in mind when critically evaluating whose rights are being infringed upon and whose aren't. However, as is all too often the case with some religious, for whom it isn't enough that their rights aren't being violated by the State; they would further want to prohibit others from having access to those possibilities against which they protest (take the abortion example). So, beyond having their beliefs respected, they would also want the state legislation to impose upon the rest of society, whether of their same faith or not, or even whether religious or not, their moral worldview: because it is claimed to be based on an incontrovertible Truth, of which, however, there are no verifications. Furthermore they even form voting blocks to try and make sure their desires become legal reality. So it is a case of toleration and permission versus intolerence and prohibition, while in our society today the affiliations have been clearly delineated.

The secular state came about precisely for this reason: to protect those from having what they believe to be just and correct for their lives, so long as within the legal parameters, being denied them by someone else's religion (while at the same time defending a freedom of religion). The true secularist is never a threat to someone else’s religion, therefore: in the sense that he constrains no one to certain actions in conflict with one’s religion and religious beliefs. Certain options may be legally available, but they are not obligatory. This is a distinction which, however, certain people of faith aren’t willing to make, when considering the freedoms and rights of people without any religion or of a different kind.

Unfortunately, then, the same can't be said when the roles are switched. For this reason, there is a firmly drawn line in our democracy that the religious must not cross. They have every right to live as they see fit, provided not illegal (take the Mormons and polygamy, for example), while here there are also obvious coincidences between the religious laws and those of the State (though shalt not murder, steal, corrupt and so forth); but that line must never be crossed. So as Frenchfry said, the problem is when religious intollerance either negatively affects, or attempts to, the lives people of other pursuasions, not the secular state forcing the religious to live in ways contrary to their faith. This is simply not the case.

As I’ve said before, the other option, of course, for those inclined toward theocracy, is to go live in Iran.
It is seems as though we disagree indeed :).

Having laws being made by an elected government is better than having some absolute monarch make the laws. But now laws are determined by a majority vote, is that really secular? The only difference is that the laws are determined by the beliefs, be they religious or 'secular', of the majority, rather than that of the monarch. In the end, the morals that lead to the laws are still grounded in some sort of ideology, only now it is the ideology of the majority. I agree it's better to make laws based on the ideology and moral opinion of the majority, than on the ideology of some monarch, but I don't really consider that secular, because it is still founded in some belief, whether it's an atheist, an agnostic, a theist or a humanistic belief, or whatever else, doesn't really matter to me, the morasl are still based upon a moral system, which is derived from a certain worldview and beliefsystem, only now it is the moral system of the majority. Do we really want our laws to be decided by a majority vote? Many a tyrant has been elected by the people.

In general, I agree with you that religious people should be content to have the freedom to practice their religion, and not try to make laws to have others follow their reigious moral sentiment. For instance, in the case of euthanasia, or samesex marriage, or something like that, nobodies freedom is being harmed. As a Christian, I'd rather those things not happen, but I can live with the fact that other people, who adhere a different moral system, have the freedom to do these things.

So in general I agree with you on that, but in the specific case of abortion, which you mentioned, I don't. You say: nobody is being forced to have an abortion. But what about the fetus being aborted? Now, I don't intend to get in a discussion on whether a human fetus counts as a human being, and thus deserves the same rights, but, I hope you understand how abortion is different from many other moral dillema's faced in current politics, from the perspective of certain religious people, compared to say, legalizing soft drugs, euthanasia, same sex marriage or whatever, because some religious people consider the fetus to be a human being.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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This week is "Holy Week" for Christians, and today "Maundy Thursday" begins "The Still Days", a solemn time that lasts through Easter Sunday evening. One of the things that separate Holy Week from other observances such as Ramadan or Passover is that Holy week has been set to catchy 70's music by Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Time Rice & the New Testament.

Palm Sunday...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_oT9J3Siiw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Simon is such a good dancer....but does not understand
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPq_914s2Jw

Last Supper....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJxKtOwgLdw&feature=related

Garden of Gethsemane....as strong a statement as any Medieval painting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3mFBh2z9sc&feature=related

Jesus Christ Superstar.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AIRBpW1drE&feature=related

End Credits...Still Days
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4UUwjxtGXs


Another thing that separates Christianity from other faiths is the After Death Experience of Jesus. There have been many personal accounts of "Near Death Experiences", coming back after being declared legally clinically dead.
Some people report "spiritual experiences", other report "effing nothing there at all". Although no reports of fire and brimstone - which might be a dissappointment for the clinic gang lol:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience

But Christians believe that Jesus had an After Death Experience. That is the crux of the Christian faith. Father, Son, Holy Ghost trinity experience. Making it to the "other side" and back for Jesus. Islam appreciates Jesus as a great prophet - but there is only one God. Juddaism believes in the Father/Son of God combo, but Jesus was a prophet not The Son of God they are waiting for. Any many other Great Religions have many other Great Prophets.

But anyway, I look forward to Easter Sunday and a sloppy Paris Roubaix hopefully:)
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Polish said:
But anyway, I look forward to Easter Sunday and a sloppy Paris Roubaix hopefully:)
I always miss the finish of races on sunday, because my church has two services each sunday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon at 16:30. So hard turning off RVV last sunday with only a few kilometers to go :p.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
It is seems as though we disagree indeed :).

Having laws being made by an elected government is better than having some absolute monarch make the laws. But now laws are determined by a majority vote, is that really secular? The only difference is that the laws are determined by the beliefs, be they religious or 'secular', of the majority, rather than that of the monarch. In the end, the morals that lead to the laws are still grounded in some sort of ideology, only now it is the ideology of the majority. I agree it's better to make laws based on the ideology and moral opinion of the majority, than on the ideology of some monarch, but I don't really consider that secular, because it is still founded in some belief, whether it's an atheist, an agnostic, a theist or a humanistic belief, or whatever else, doesn't really matter to me, the morasl are still based upon a moral system, which is derived from a certain worldview and beliefsystem, only now it is the moral system of the majority. Do we really want our laws to be decided by a majority vote? Many a tyrant has been elected by the people. It would only make the practice cruel and inhumane.

In general, I agree with you that religious people should be content to have the freedom to practice their religion, and not try to make laws to have others follow their reigious moral sentiment. For instance, in the case of euthanasia, or samesex marriage, or something like that, nobodies freedom is being harmed. As a Christian, I'd rather those things not happen, but I can live with the fact that other people, who adhere a different moral system, have the freedom to do these things.

So in general I agree with you on that, but in the specific case of abortion, which you mentioned, I don't. You say: nobody is being forced to have an abortion. But what about the fetus being aborted? Now, I don't intend to get in a discussion on whether a human fetus counts as a human being, and thus deserves the same rights, but, I hope you understand how abortion is different from many other moral dillema's faced in current politics, from the perspective of certain religious people, compared to say, legalizing soft drugs, euthanasia, same sex marriage or whatever, because some religious people consider the fetus to be a human being.
Moral philosophy already existed among the ancient Greeks. Aristotle devoted an entire work to it.

My point was something else: namely, that the type of mentality that prevailed when the religious authorities had a direct say in the legislative process, had always been about prohibition and intolerance.

Secular culture, however incomplete it exists in its present form, has, with various degrees of success, legally and philosophically worked toward more accommodation and tolerance.

No I don't consider a fetus in such terms, at least not as having the same "rights" as the woman bearing it. Otherwise, we reduce the role of women to that of being no more than human incubators. There are times when not only is it not advisable for a woman to carry a pregnancy to term, which may be economic, social, cases of rape, incest, illness, and so forth, but absolutely necessary to terminate at once if her life is placed in mortal danger, or else the child is destined to be born with an incurable disease from which he or she would only suffer needlessly until premature death. To bring a fetus into the world under these circumstances because of one’s religious beliefs is to me an intolerable act of hubris, to say nothing of cruelness. It would also speak horrific volumes about a deity who should demand such a human sacrifice in either case.

Of course it is a delicate matter and emotionally traumatic too, but for various reasons women need to legally have the option open to them. Lest we revert back to the Dark Ages when a woman was forced to undergo the torture of taking matters into her own hands. While there are legal restrictions to when a women can or can not have one, for all the obvious reasons. But nobody is forcing the religious to have anything against their beliefs and as regards to those who don't share them, it isn't for them (the religious) to decide in their place. These should be the paramaters and limits regarding what the State guarantees under the law. Though to say that making it illegal would end the practice, is, like most biggoted moralistic campaigns, a hypocritical falacy.
 
Jun 9, 2011
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Maaaaaaaarten said:
I always miss the finish of races on sunday, because my church has two services each sunday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon at 16:30. So hard turning off RVV last sunday with only a few kilometers to go :p.
This reminds me of a predicament I faced back in 1973. My beloved Miami Dolphins were trying to complete a perfect season with a victory against the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I had church choir practice on Sunday evening and was loathe to ruin my perfect attendance record. So, what did I do? I made like a total t**t and left during the third quarter, thus missing out on poor Garo Yepremian's slapstick antics :D as well as a close Dolphin's victory. Of course, to draw a distinction here, I was an impressionable ten-year-old boy, while you are, presumably, a grown-a** man. :rolleyes:
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
My point was something else: namely, that the type of mentality that prevailed when the religious authorities had a direct say in the legislative process, had always been about prohibition and intolerance.
Intolerance hasn't prevailed amongst all religious authorities, nor has tolerance prevailed amongst all secular authoroties. Christians have crusades, burning of heretics, etc. etc. Atheists have Stalin, Hitler and Mao. And don't you forget Hitler was elected by the people.

During the 16th/17th century the Netherlands were relatively tolerant, eventhough they were strongly religious in that period. The theologians and preachers/theologians that were supported by the reformed state church in that era were the ones who preached against the enlightenment, and yet enlightenment philosophers would come to the Netherlands to publish their books because they were persecuted elsewhere. There was a good deal of tolerance in Spain when it was ruled by the Muslims, eventhough Muslims, Jews and Christians were living together in Spain in that time, they tolerated eachother.

You see, when we look back in history, we see many intolerant religious folks and we see many intolerant atheist/secular folks. Both use their worldview and ideology to persecute anybody who thinks differently. The reasonable conclusion is that being secular or religious doesn't have anything to do with whether you are tolerant or not.

Rouetheday said:
This reminds me of a predicament I faced back in 1973. My beloved Miami Dolphins were trying to complete a perfect season with a victory against the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I had church choir practice on Sunday evening and was loathe to ruin my perfect attendance record. So, what did I do? I made like a total t**t and left during the third quarter, thus missing out on poor Garo Yepremian's slapstick antics Of course, to draw a distinction here, I was an impressionable ten-year-old boy, while you are, presumably, a grown-a** man. :rolleyes:
Well, I'm 19 years old, not quite a grown-a** man, not quite a 10 year-old boy either :).

You sound like you regret your choice :p

Gonna suck tomorrow with PR, though.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
Intolerance hasn't prevailed amongst all religious authorities, nor has tolerance prevailed amongst all secular authoroties. Christians have crusades, burning of heretics, etc. etc. Atheists have Stalin, Hitler and Mao. And don't you forget Hitler was elected by the people.

During the 16th/17th century the Netherlands were relatively tolerant, eventhough they were strongly religious in that period. The theologians and preachers/theologians that were supported by the reformed state church in that era were the ones who preached against the enlightenment, and yet enlightenment philosophers would come to the Netherlands to publish their books because they were persecuted elsewhere. There was a good deal of tolerance in Spain when it was ruled by the Muslims, eventhough Muslims, Jews and Christians were living together in Spain in that time, they tolerated eachother.

You see, when we look back in history, we see many intolerant religious folks and we see many intolerant atheist/secular folks. Both use their worldview and ideology to persecute anybody who thinks differently. The reasonable conclusion is that being secular or religious doesn't have anything to do with whether you are tolerant or not.
No I do not see the things in the same historical light. Furthermore, I wasn't speaking about whether or not one is intolerant based on religion, but addressing instances when that is precisely the case.

In any case, you should be most circumspect about citing the rare momments of relative religious tolerance as a demonstration of an inherent predisposition toward the worldview, let alone as a normative model, in epochs for which we have otherwise no alternative parameters against which to test the hypothesis. In other words, bar other models or examples we can't gauge the level of tolerance, or the means through which it was expressed. On the other hand in these ages dominated by religious fervor, what becomes abundantly clear is that they were also the ones dominated by religious brutality (because of a lack of balance of powers and since the authorities had not yet been brought to task): from the trials against heretics, to the crusades, to the Catholic-Protestant wars, to the conquistadores, Salem witch hunts and so forth. The predominating praxis, then, was not tolerance of other's beliefs, mores, etc., but prejudice and hatred, which clearly religion reinforced, not attenuated, in this apparent unshakable aspect of human nature: its propensity for ruthlessness. One need only to read history to imediately grasp this. Citing the case of medieval Andalusia, consequently, as the one fleeting instance of harmony between the three monotheisms, given their millennial history of conflict and crisis down to this very day is merely laughable. The moments of divergence, then, only confirm the rule. Moreover, to point out that there were brutalities perpetrated by and for other non-religious reasons in later times is anachronistic and apologetic at once, whereas to infer that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, as atheists, have anything in common with the secularism of which I spoke, is to be looking at the situation all too superficially.

The 20th century issued forth an age in which a new political persecution had attained a level that only once the religious institutions knew how to do, and this, apart from the fact that the power that religion once had over society was passing into the hands of ideology and political constructs; is because the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao operated politically precisely along the same doctrinal lines as those that were previously used to justify the religious massacres by the clerical leaders. In fact these despots merely replaced the sanctification of a dogma with that of an ideology. In either case it is evident the abuses of power that resulted and the crimes against humanity committed. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the two forms of conflict, because they both partake of the same principles of identity and control that are at the core of each.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Maaaaaaaarten said:
Gonna suck tomorrow with PR, though.
It didn't though, because Boonen is awesome and really really fast, so the finish was early enough for me to watch :D

Thanks Tom!
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
No I do not see the things in the same historical light. Furthermore, I wasn't speaking about whether or not one is intolerant based on religion, but addressing instances when that is precisely the case.
But then what is your point? Because earlier you said

rhubroma said:
My point was something else: namely, that the type of mentality that prevailed when the religious authorities had a direct say in the legislative process, had always been about prohibition and intolerance.
That kind of makes it sound as if religion is to be blamed for the intolerance of those religious authorities. But apparently that wasn't your point either, so I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here? :confused:

Nobody here is trying to have religious authorities get a direct say in the legislative process. I want a seperation of church and state, but I don't want to have a seperation of the actual religion and state. I'm trying to say that one can be secular in the sense that the clerical institutions don't have any direct political power, but one cannot be secular in the sense that the legislative process is free from influence of religion, or a certain worldview. The laws wil always be based upon someones religion/worldview, even though the authorities of that religion/worldview might not have a direct say in it.

So, I don't want my Church to run the country, but I do not mind having a government who's members are Christian, and will thus base laws on Christian moral philosophy. Now, I can imagine that anybody who is not a Christian, would feel a bit uncomfortable with that. But I feel as uncomfortable with a government, who's members support, say, socialism, or, liberalism or whatever, basing laws on their moral philosophy, which in this case would be socialist or liberal. I reckon it is exactly the same, that in one case it is based on the moral philosophy of a religion, but in the other case it is based on the moral philosophy of some secular school of thought, doesn't mean a thing to me. In the end, it is people basing their laws on what they belief, whether they are Christians, atheists, or whatever, they base their laws on a belief that is not shared by everybody. It will always be undesireable for the group that is not in power, but alas, we can't make everybody happy.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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ElChingon said:
snip...calvin and Hobbes cartoon.
Calvin and Hobbes has to be my favorite cartoon strip. And not just because Calvin's dad is a cyclist:) But because it makes you think sometimes. nd it is very funny.

I do not want to discuss the strip, however, but instead explore the "preposterous delusion" Calvin refers to. When you read the entire strip, you realize the preposterous delusion is "Gravity".

And the humour, at first blush, is that someone would consider Gravity a preposterous delusion. But on a deeper level, and that is where Calvin and Hobbes shines in many cases, you realize Gravity is as much a presposterous delusion as God is.

Yes, the "Concept of God" and the "Law of Gravity" as we understand them are both man made ideas. Of course they are. How could they be otherwise lol. That does not mean they do not exist or are not real, using the man made ideas of "real" and "exist" for what that is worth.

My dog has a grasp of gravity and god too. Although nowhere near as developed as our human grasp of those concepts. But I can catch a glimpse of my dog's understanding of gravity when she hesitates before jumping off a high piece of furniture, and can catch a glimpse of her understanding of god when she exudes love during a belly rub.

Her grasp of gravity and god are dog made. Our grasp of gravity and god are man made. And don't go and try to say gravity existed for us humans before Newton, a bit of a religious nutjob btw, thought the idea up. For us humans, god is a much older idea than gravity. By thousands of years.

It would be interesting if "extra -terrestials" visited us humans. Their understanding of gravity would be so much more advanced than ours, would have to be. They would have a very tough time explaining it to us. Same with their concept of god. They would try to explain it in our lanquage or math system. Like us trying to communicate with dolphins or chimps?
 
Polish said:
Calvin and Hobbes has to be my favorite cartoon strip. And not just because Calvin's dad is a cyclist:) But because it makes you think sometimes. nd it is very funny.

I do not want to discuss the strip, however, but instead explore the "preposterous delusion" Calvin refers to. When you read the entire strip, you realize the preposterous delusion is "Gravity".

And the humour, at first blush, is that someone would consider Gravity a preposterous delusion. But on a deeper level, and that is where Calvin and Hobbes shines in many cases, you realize Gravity is as much a presposterous delusion as God is.

Yes, the "Concept of God" and the "Law of Gravity" as we understand them are both man made ideas. Of course they are. How could they be otherwise lol. That does not mean they do not exist or are not real, using the man made ideas of "real" and "exist" for what that is worth.

My dog has a grasp of gravity and god too. Although nowhere near as developed as our human grasp of those concepts. But I can catch a glimpse of my dog's understanding of gravity when she hesitates before jumping off a high piece of furniture, and can catch a glimpse of her understanding of god when she exudes love during a belly rub.

Her grasp of gravity and god are dog made. Our grasp of gravity and god are man made. And don't go and try to say gravity existed for us humans before Newton, a bit of a religious nutjob btw, thought the idea up. For us humans, god is a much older idea than gravity. By thousands of years.

It would be interesting if "extra -terrestials" visited us humans. Their understanding of gravity would be so much more advanced than ours, would have to be. They would have a very tough time explaining it to us. Same with their concept of god. They would try to explain it in our lanquage or math system. Like us trying to communicate with dolphins or chimps?
No it is not.

Gravity has been proven to exist. It has been not only observed, but shown to exist and explain by scientific means. There are surely still questions to be answered with regard to gravity (the biggest of them being probably why it is so weak when compared to the other universal forces), but gravity itself is a demonstrated reality.

Try saying the same about God's existence.
 
Polish said:
The Vatican has a top notch Observatory and a priest (Georges Lemaître) was among the first to think up the Big Bang theory. Top notch scientists. (history shows many scientists were religious....Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, William Thomson Kelvin, Max Planck, Albert Einstein.)

So finding evidence of extra-terrestial life should not be too much of a problem....

http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-11-10-vatican-aliens_N.htm
Let it be remembered that Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God. Neither did Max Planck.

And how many of those scientists lived after Darwin published his Theory of Evolution (considered a turning point with regards to the religiosity of scientists)?
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
But then what is your point? Because earlier you said



That kind of makes it sound as if religion is to be blamed for the intolerance of those religious authorities. But apparently that wasn't your point either, so I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here? :confused:

Nobody here is trying to have religious authorities get a direct say in the legislative process. I want a seperation of church and state, but I don't want to have a seperation of the actual religion and state. I'm trying to say that one can be secular in the sense that the clerical institutions don't have any direct political power, but one cannot be secular in the sense that the legislative process is free from influence of religion, or a certain worldview. The laws wil always be based upon someones religion/worldview, even though the authorities of that religion/worldview might not have a direct say in it.

So, I don't want my Church to run the country, but I do not mind having a government who's members are Christian, and will thus base laws on Christian moral philosophy. Now, I can imagine that anybody who is not a Christian, would feel a bit uncomfortable with that. But I feel as uncomfortable with a government, who's members support, say, socialism, or, liberalism or whatever, basing laws on their moral philosophy, which in this case would be socialist or liberal. I reckon it is exactly the same, that in one case it is based on the moral philosophy of a religion, but in the other case it is based on the moral philosophy of some secular school of thought, doesn't mean a thing to me. In the end, it is people basing their laws on what they belief, whether they are Christians, atheists, or whatever, they base their laws on a belief that is not shared by everybody. It will always be undesireable for the group that is not in power, but alas, we can't make everybody happy.
At which point is the order no longer to be exonerated though? 500 years? A thousand? Two thousand?

I understand your point, however, it is always something trying to exact control of something else, doesn't it seem?

The moral aspect is something which both the philosophers and the religious prelates have always tried to define, and later the ideologues. In fact, people chasing their laws. No? Well, not quite. For philosophy doesn't work within a doctrinal framework and dogma. It merely seeks to indicate the possible paths to wisdom, however nebulous and ephemeral.

The difference being, then, that the religious and the ideologues (interesting combination) profess to know the Truth in an absolute and irrefutable sense. This is because humanity needs to be reassured and/or manipulated (made to fear?).

And it is a decisive one.

Morals exist as a human construct beyond that of religion or ideology, but coexistance; it is enough for us to live them, with no promise other than civility. No? This is what the modern State of law tries to establish, however imperfect. Whereas spirituality has many forms.
 
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Descender said:
No it is not.

Gravity has been proven to exist. It has been not only observed, but shown to exist and explain by scientific means. There are surely still questions to be answered with regard to gravity (the biggest of them being probably why it is so weak when compared to the other universal forces), but gravity itself is a demonstrated reality.

Try saying the same about God's existence.
Hey, it was Calvin who called Gravity a "preposterous delusion".
Take it up with him. Look out for Hobbes though. Sneaky.

As far as proof of God's existence - take that up with Newton. He viewed God as the Masterful Creator and the Universal Law of Gravity is PROOF of God's existence. Hard to argue that fact lol. Do the math.

Of course Albert's Relativity updated Newton's Universal Law. Universe changed a bit after Albert came along. And yes, Albert viewed God as the Creator. Non-Dice Playing God.

Do you think Sir Isaac's and Albert's spirituality helped inspire their ideas?
I would argue yessiree. No doubt about it.
 
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Turtles All The Way Down

Descender said:
Let it be remembered that Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God. Neither did Max Planck.

And how many of those scientists lived after Darwin published his Theory of Evolution (considered a turning point with regards to the religiosity of scientists)?
Max and Albert believed in God.
And a huge chunk of Modern Scientists do too.

And why would the concept of evolution change how many scientists believe in God? Although Darwin's "Origin of the Species" is a bit dated, the concept of evolution is beautiful and wonderful if not a bit cruel. Consistent with God don't you think? Major religions and spirituality are drenched in the concept of evolution. Hinduism hello. And Christianity has a kid who grows into a man hearing voices who grows into a Man Becoming One with God. The Ultimate Evolution don't you think?

Anyway, here is a LA Times piece on the subject:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/24/opinion/la-oe-masci24-2009nov24

LATimes said:
Today, a century and a half after Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," the overwhelming majority of scientists in the United States accept Darwinian evolution as the basis for understanding how life on Earth developed. But although evolutionary theory is often portrayed as antithetical to religion, it has not destroyed the religious faith of the scientific community.

According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%) say they believe in God or a higher power, while 41% say they do not.
 
Polish said:
Max and Albert believed in God.
They did not believe in a personal God, so certainly not in the judeo-christian God. Their quotes about this are easy to find with a google search.

Their definition of God doesn't correspond to the idea of God most people have.

And a huge chunk of Modern Scientists do too.

(...)

Anyway, here is a LA Times piece on the subject:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/24/opinion/la-oe-masci24-2009nov24
Smart of you to pick the one survey that best fits your views.

Wikipedia lists a comprehensive summary of the different surveys made about the religiosity of scientists here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science

This paragraph exposes the situation pretty well. Bolding is mine.

Many studies have been conducted in the United States and have generally found that scientists are less likely to believe in God than are the rest of the population. Precise definitions and statistics vary, but generally about 1/3 are atheists, 1/3 agnostic, and 1/3 have some belief in God (although some might be deistic, for example).[66][90][91] This is in contrast to the more than roughly 3/4 of the general population that believe in some God in the United States. Belief also varies by field: psychologists, physicists and engineers are less likely to believe in God than mathematicians, biologists and chemists.[92][93] Doctors in the United States are much more likely to believe in God (76%).[94]
And why would the concept of evolution change how many scientists believe in God?
What I said is that the publication of the Theory of Evolution in 1858 is often seen as the turning point, in that people (including scientists) before that were mostly religious, while their religiosity dwindled after it.

The reason most usually given for that fact is that, before Darwin, it was hard to explain the enormous complexity of life without resorting to a higher being.

As to your point, I am well aware that millions of people around the world find no incompatibility between evolution and theism. I myself accepted evolution and believed in the Christian God for 20+ years.

Nowadays, having researched more about evolution, I find it hard to figure out why a supreme higher being would choose evolution to create life.

Although Darwin's "Origin of the Species" is a bit dated, the concept of evolution is beautiful and wonderful if not a bit cruel. Consistent with God don't you think? Major religions and spirituality are drenched in the concept of evolution. Hinduism hello. And Christianity has a kid who grows into a man hearing voices who grows into a Man Becoming One with God. The Ultimate Evolution don't you think?
Exactly how much subjectivity is to be found in those sentences?

You see, you can twist things in any way that fits you. All major Christian denominations denied evolution for decades. The literal interpretation of the bible was the way to go. But then evolution was proposed and proved... but fear not! Now it turns out that evolution feats God to a T, don't you see!

That is the thing with unfalsifiable, unproved hypothesis. You can bend them any way you want.

But that is not the way you go about acquiring knowledge. You don't start with the hypothesis and then try to make the facts fit that hypothesis.
 
Polish said:
Hey, it was Calvin who called Gravity a "preposterous delusion".
Take it up with him. Look out for Hobbes though. Sneaky.
You said gravity is as much as a preposterous delusion as God. Who's being sneaky here.

Polish said:
As far as proof of God's existence - take that up with Newton. He viewed God as the Masterful Creator and the Universal Law of Gravity is PROOF of God's existence. Hard to argue that fact lol. Do the math.
Newton lived in the 17th century. Virtually everyone back then was religious.

Newton, and everybody back then, did not have nearly as much knowledge on which to base his judgement as we have today. He knew nothing about evolved life, nothing about relativity, nothing about quantum physics and quantum mechanics. He knew nothing about the modern research on the historicity of the bible. Etcetera, etcetera.

Polish said:
Of course Albert's Relativity updated Newton's Universal Law. Universe changed a bit after Albert came along. And yes, Albert viewed God as the Creator. Non-Dice Playing God.
Einstein on his religious views, shortly before his death (Planck's quote in my earlier post is also uttered shortly before his death):

Albert Einstein said:
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
Now about this particular bit:

Polish said:
And yes, Albert viewed God as the Creator.
This is an outright lie.

Polish said:
Do you think Sir Isaac's and Albert's spirituality helped inspire their ideas?
I would argue yessiree. No doubt about it.
And how would you argue that? Not saying it isn't true, but I'd be curious to hear your arguments for that. Note I have nothing against spirituality, I just don't think it has to resort to the supernatural.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Descender said:
You said gravity is as much as a preposterous delusion as God. Who's being sneaky here.
The "Universal Law of Gravity" and "God as Creator" are both man made ideas. They are both "preposterous delusions" in the humourous way Calvin implied. "Unicorns" and "Rainbows" are also man made concepts. Of course, there are differing levels of evidence. Many scientists believe in "God as Creator" but very few believe in "Unicorns".

And I don't want to get caught up in differing definitions of "God"...personal god or nonpersonal or life force or spirit. I think we both agree Alert would have ticked off choice #3 in your thread poll.



Newton lived in the 17th century. Virtually everyone back then was religious.
I am not sure if that is true. Or good or bad.

Newton, and everybody back then, did not have nearly as much knowledge on which to base his judgement as we have today. He knew nothing about evolved life, nothing about relativity, nothing about quantum physics and quantum mechanics. He knew nothing about the modern research on the historicity of the bible. Etcetera, etcetera.
Neither did the Pope or Dalai lama. They did not know about that either.
But today the Vatican has a world class astonomical observatory (and it is NOT being used to find remains of Jesus orbiting the earth lol) and a priest came up with the Big Bang Theory (Not the TV show)
 
Polish said:
The "Universal Law of Gravity" and "God as Creator" are both man made ideas. They are both "preposterous delusions" in the humourous way Calvin implied. "Unicorns" and "Rainbows" are also man made concepts. Of course, there are differing levels of evidence. Many scientists believe in "God as Creator" but very few believe in "Unicorns".
What do you mean the law of gravity and rainbows are man-made concepts?

The Law of Gravity is the explanation for a proven fact: gravity.

Rainbows are phenomena of nature that arise when the light of sun passes through the condensed droplets of water in the atmosphere.

God and unicorns have never been close to being proven.

Polish said:
And I don't want to get caught up in differing definitions of "God"...personal god or nonpersonal or life force or spirit. I think we both agree Alert would have ticked off choice #3 in your thread poll.
Don't think I'm going to let you run away that easily...

You mean you're not interested in making clear what we are talking about? You mean you don't want us to really explore the topic in-depth and get an understanding of the truth that is as accurate as possible?

I fear you might be content with ambiguous generalisations because they will make a casual reader interpret them the way you would want them to interpret them.

We should, however, care about the factual truth. I couldn't care less about what box Einstein would have ticked in a current poll (although I don't agree with your assumption that Einstein would have ticked the third option). The fact of the matter is Einstein did not believe in God as a creator as you claimed he did, and he did not believe in any sort of personal God like the Christian one. I'll let Einstein himself explain his views further:

It is always misleading to use anthropomorphical concepts in dealing with things outside the human sphere—childish analogies. We have to admire in humility and beautiful harmony of the structure of this world—as far as we can grasp it. And that it all.

(...)

It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.
Polish said:
Neither did the Pope or Dalai lama. They did not know about that either.
But today the Vatican has a world class astonomical observatory (and it is NOT being used to find remains of Jesus orbiting the earth lol) and a priest came up with the Big Bang Theory (Not the TV show)
I'm sorry but this is irrelevant, isn't it?
 

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