Research on Belief in God

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Oct 23, 2011
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BigMac said:
I have a question to the religous people here.

Something that bothers me (which by the way I think it proves to be extremely arrogant) is the fact that religion ignores the dimension of the Universe. Do you actually believe we're that special? What makes you think (apart from an holy book), that we're, ultimately, different from other living beings? What makes you think that we're alone in the Universe, when it comes to intelligent life forms?

How does that make sence to you?
Well, for me, it feels rather pointless to speculate about other intelligent life forms. If they exist, sure, God created them and I'd have to think about how they relate to humans and God's plan with His creation, but I certainly wouldn't just assume humans are somehow suprior to these hypothetical intelligent life forms. So, I don't think that we are necessarily alone, but I don't see any reason to believe that we arn't.

So really, for me personally, it seems to be a rather irrelevant question, since I don't have any way of knowing whether these life forms even exist, nor does it look like I'm going to have a way of knowing that anytime soon. I'd rather worry about how I relate to things that actually currently affect my life. :)
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
Well, for me, it feels rather pointless to speculate about other intelligent life forms. If they exist, sure, God created them and I'd have to think about how they relate to humans and God's plan with His creation, but I certainly wouldn't just assume humans are somehow suprior to these hypothetical intelligent life forms. So, I don't think that we are necessarily alone, but I don't see any reason to believe that we arn't.

So really, for me personally, it seems to be a rather irrelevant question, since I don't have any way of knowing whether these life forms even exist, nor does it look like I'm going to have a way of knowing that anytime soon. I'd rather worry about how I relate to things that actually currently affect my life. :)
What about other beings that you do relate to - animals. Do they go to heaven or hell? If not, what do you think happens to them. Is it the eternity of nothingness that religious people seem to find so difficult to imagine for us?
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I see the religious posters here always refer to god as "he". However I have heard of certain movements, mainly in the United States, that try to not refer to god as "he" anymore, because they say god could be a woman, or both, or neither. It seems to me there is even a gender-neutral version of the bible in that sense, that was adapted recently.

I am interested in the take of our religious contributors - do you believe that god is a man? Do you think it is possible that god could be a woman? Do you think of god as having no gender?

Linguistically of course we have the words god and goddess - so if god is indeed a woman, why didn't they use the word goddess in the bible?

Don't get me wrong, I do not care either way, I was just wondering about the linguistic aspect of the question.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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The Hitch said:
What about other beings that you do relate to - animals. Do they go to heaven or hell? If not, what do you think happens to them. Is it the eternity of nothingness that religious people seem to find so difficult to imagine for us?
I don't have any particular belief about what happens to animals after they die either. But I do certainly think humans are superior to animals, as, barring a few very dedicated vegans, I guess everybody does - though some might feel the need to say 'other animals'.

Christian said:
I am interested in the take of our religious contributors - do you believe that god is a man? Do you think it is possible that god could be a woman? Do you think of god as having no gender?
I think practically all Christians would agree with me that God transcends categories like 'male' and 'female'. Traditionally - and I don't see any reason to change this - Christians have always talked about God as a 'he', because not only is the word for 'God' masculine in both Hebrew and Greek, but also terms used to describe God in the Bible like 'father' and 'king' are masculine. The word for 'spirit' is neuter in Greek and feminine in Hebrew, though. So at least the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, isn't described exclusively in masculine terms. :)

Also, I'd have to look it up for you, but I think in some psalms or other poetical texts, where Gods loving care for Israel is described, some more feminine terms and imagery is used, more remiscent of a mothers care for a child.

But for me, I do feel the need to stay close to the terms that God has used to reveal himself in the Bible, which means I'm never going to refer to God with a 'she' and most certainly not an 'it'.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
But for me, I do feel the need to stay close to the terms that God has used to reveal himself in the Bible, which means I'm never going to refer to God with a 'she' and most certainly not an 'it'.
God may be almighty, but he was constrained by the grammar of Biblical Hebrew, after which later Greek texts followed. If he had revealed himself in another language, the choice could have been different. It's completely irrelevant, from a theological point of view. The prevalence of traditional terms like "father" or "lord" makes it kinda silly to switch to another gender at this point, but sticking to the masculine is by no means a "need".

Interestingly, the Germanic word *guðan was originally neuter until early Christian preachers made it masculine. In Old English, god was masculine when referring to the Christian god, but neuter (usually in the plural, godu) when referring to pagan gods.
 
Here I am, hijacking and derailing my own thread...

The Hitch said:
Come back to me when you figure out a way to stop 7 billion people from eating meat.
You're being purposefully dense.

Changing the whole world upside down from one day to the next is impossible on pretty much any issue. That does not mean that making an impact is impossible.

A single person in the West going vegetarian would save the lives of more than thirty animals every year, more than 2,000 in an average person's lifetime.

Forget about going vegetarian: if we're talking about reducing animal suffering, the impact of every person in the developed world cutting their meat consumption by one meal per week (thereby contributing to protecting the environment and their own health) would be greater than getting rid of all circus, aquariums and zoo animals on earth.

Eshnar said:
Even if you do, afterwards you'll have to figure out how to stop the unnecessary sufferings of the most discriminated living beings ever, the vegetables.
I'm not sure whether you're being facetious. We have no reasons to believe plants are conscious or feel anything, which would be necessary conditions for them to suffer.
 
Jspear said:
On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness
The sun (which separates night an day) wasn't created until the fourth day.


God's first creation on day 1 was time (It is important to keep this in perspective.) He made the axis which the earth spins on (creating day and night.) On the 2nd day He created space, the 3rd day He created plants, and on the 4th day He created the sun, moon, and stars. So on day one, light was coming from a source other than the sun. The sun is now the source of light(giving us day and night) since day 4 of creation.

Tree's were created before man was created.
Man was created before trees were created.


Genesis 1 states that trees were created before Adam. Genesis 2 does as well. In verses 4-6 it says that because there was not a man to till the ground, God sent up a mist from the earth that watered everything. Verse 7 (after talking about how God watered all the plants) says, and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed life into him. Verse 8 says God planted a garden for man to live in. This isn't talking about the creation of trees and all other plant life. This was a special place God made for Adam.

Birds were created before man was created.
Man was created before birds were created.


Genesis 1 is giving the order of events in chronological order. The focus in Genesis 2:19 is on naming the animals, not on creating them. Genesis 2 does not contradict chapter 1 since is does not affirm exactly when God created the animals. It simply says that the animals God created, He brought to Adam for him to name them. Taken together the two chapters show a more complete picture of the creation events.
You win the gold medal in Mental Gymnastics.
 
Descender said:
Here I am, hijacking and derailing my own thread...



You're being purposefully dense.

Changing the whole world upside down from one day to the next is impossible on pretty much any issue. That does not mean that making an impact is impossible.

A single person in the West going vegetarian would save the lives of more than thirty animals every year, more than 2,000 in an average person's lifetime.

Forget about going vegetarian: if we're talking about reducing animal suffering, the impact of every person in the developed world cutting their meat consumption by one meal per week (thereby contributing to protecting the environment and their own health) would be greater than getting rid of all circus, aquariums and zoo animals on earth.



I'm not sure whether you're being facetious. We have no reasons to believe plants are conscious or feel anything, which would be necessary conditions for them to suffer.
Bingo. The discourse needs to be focussed in another direction: the costs in terms of both animal wellbeing and human health caused by the industrialization of meat consumption.

I have no intention of becoming a vegetarian, though I also don't consume a stone of meat a weak either.
 
Descender said:
I'm not sure whether you're being facetious. We have no reasons to believe plants are conscious or feel anything, which would be necessary conditions for them to suffer.
Kinda facetious but also kinda serious.
We actually have no real proof of animals having a conscience, other than them having a brain. Considering how little we know about our consciousness in itself (and this is probably the only subject of the whole thread where I know what I'm saying), we really can't say for sure they indeed have one. As we can't say with 100% confidence plants don't have any.
 
Jan 27, 2013
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Or people could shop locally. We're fortunate in having a local farmer/butcher. It's probably more expensive (I really don't know) but oh well, we don't gorge on meat anyway.
 
Jun 10, 2013
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Maaaaaaaarten said:
I don't have any particular belief about what happens to animals after they die either. But I do certainly think humans are superior to animals, as, barring a few very dedicated vegans, I guess everybody does - though some might feel the need to say 'other animals'.

No. I'm not vegan, I am vegetarian and I do think that ultimately, humans are on par with mice, insects, whatever. All of the fauna. It is extremely arrogant to think we are superior when we are made of the same matter. Just because we have developed intellectually as a species more than all the others, it doesn't make us special or better. Considering most of them were here before we did.

''If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish''.


Eshnar said:
Kinda facetious but also kinda serious.
We actually have no real proof of animals having a conscience, other than them having a brain. Considering how little we know about our consciousness in itself (and this is probably the only subject of the whole thread where I know what I'm saying), we really can't say for sure they indeed have one. As we can't say with 100% confidence plants don't have any.
We somewhat have proof animals have emotions, that is enough for me. You can observe it. Or do you think animals are restricted to physiology? Most of them (at least mammals) have been proven to feel empathy, or some cognitive biases for instance. That's enough for me. They feel sadness, etc.

Flora doesn't. They don't have the phyciological system which allows to process pain into any sort of feelings. So even though you damage them, they don't feel it. Imagine congenital analgesia.
 
RetroActive said:
Or people could shop locally. We're fortunate in having a local farmer/butcher. It's probably more expensive (I really don't know) but oh well, we don't gorge on meat anyway.
Happy downsizing and a return to local markets? How dare you! Don't say that to Tinkov.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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I agree, we need to cut down on meat consumption and shop more locally, as RetroActive suggested!

I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat, partially because it is expensive and partially because I don't care for it that much.

A vegetarian driving a Porsche is better than a meat-eater on a bicycle, CO2 wise, apparently.
 
BigMac said:
We somewhat have proof animals have emotions, that is enough for me. You can observe it. Or do you think animals are restricted to physiology? Most of them (at least mammals) have been proven to feel empathy, or some cognitive biases for instance. That's enough for me. They feel sadness, etc.
That's no proof of emotions nor suffering as we call it. Animals are surely aware of what happens to their bodies, and that's a physiological fact. But that's it, as far as we know. Do they feel "pain"? Surely they realize they're been attacked, or they're wounded, or they have a sickness, and react accordingly. That's not a proof that they feel what we feel, although it is surely a hint. It wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that one day (not even too far away) we'll have robots full of sensors able to be completely aware of their internal and external body state. Perhaps even able to "be scared", meaning being able to run from potential dangers. Or being able to care about humans and interact with them. Does that mean those robots would feel "pain", or "fear", or "empathy"? Surely not, by the very definition of what we mean by "feeling".
To be completely correct, there's no actual proof that we all have a consciousness either (this is the paradox of the "zombie" - not those of the movies though ;) ), although just the thought seems very silly. On the outside we can only see actions. There's just no way to tell, unless we really "crack" the mistery of consciousness at a physiological level.
 
Feb 23, 2014
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Descender said:
I wonder what it must be like to live in your world.
It's truly amazing. :) I wake up every morning knowing that God's mercy's are new every morning. I know that He loves me, that he cares for me, and I can trust in Him for everything in life. I know that I'm His creation, a human made in His image....I'm not some animal. Christians have a way higher value of human life than nonbelievers because we know where we came from. I have a soul and conscience(something animals don't have), and I have the ability to enjoy life to the fullest knowing that I will one day be in Heaven with my Creator. It's truly amazing being Saved(and it's a free gift).
 
Jun 10, 2013
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Eshnar said:
That's no proof of emotions nor suffering as we call it. Animals are surely aware of what happens to their bodies, and that's a physiological fact. But that's it, as far as we know. Do they feel "pain"? Surely they realize they're been attacked, or they're wounded, or they have a sickness, and react accordingly. That's not a proof that they feel what we feel, although it is surely a hint. It wouldn't be unreasonable to imagine that one day (not even too far away) we'll have robots full of sensors able to be completely aware of their internal and external body state. Perhaps even able to "be scared", meaning being able to run from potential dangers. Or being able to care about humans and interact with them. Does that mean those robots would feel "pain", or "fear", or "empathy"? Surely not, by the very definition of what we mean by "feeling".
To be completely correct, there's no actual proof that we all have a consciousness either (this is the paradox of the "zombie" - not those of the movies though ;) ), although just the thought seems very silly. On the outside we can only see actions. There's just no way to tell, unless we really "crack" the mistery of consciousness at a physiological level.
I don't get it. You think that, for instance, when animals feel sad when their human companion dies, it is related to something physiological? Or that they don't feel sadness at all? :confused:

I don't think your comparison with robots makes that much sence, because that is artificial intelligence, something faked, and we know it is faked from the very beggining. I think it is too extreme.

You don't believe in love (and please don't be so literal (of course they don't feel it they way humans do)) amongst animals? Is it just a physiological need that some animals want to spend some time together, or cry when their cubs die?

That is what I mean. You can't compare fauna to flora mainly because of this. Only their roots (pun intended) are the same.
 
Jan 27, 2013
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rhubroma said:
Happy downsizing and a return to local markets? How dare you! Don't say that to Tinkov.
I like to see the cows and sheep etc in the field before I eat them. It's more about how the animals live to me. Death is inevitable, hopefully it's as quick and painless as possible.

We get our eggs from across the street, they're more expensive too but they're cared about. She grows pigs as well, we've never bought these from her as she only sells them by the side. Her last batch of pigs all had to be slaughtered early as they got a bone wasting disease and all their backs broke under their own weight. She figures it was GMO feed, so that's disturbing.
 
Jspear said:
It's truly amazing. :) I wake up every morning knowing that God's mercy's are new every morning. I know that He loves me, that he cares for me, and I can trust in Him for everything in life. I know that I'm His creation, a human made in His image....I'm not some animal. Christians have a way higher value of human life than nonbelievers because we know where we came from. I have a soul and conscience(something animals don't have), and I have the ability to enjoy life to the fullest knowing that I will one day be in Heaven with my Creator. It's truly amazing being Saved(and it's a free gift).
This has got to be wonderlance.
 

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