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“Evil” does not exist?
Posted: 21 August 2013 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 271 ]
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LilySmith - 21 August 2013 09:23 AM

As for having a cursory understanding of religions, I was simply talking generally, not specifically about you.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have used “you” when I meant “anyone.”

Atheists know more about religion than Christians.

Today the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released the results of a new “religious knowledge” survey that came to a discouraging — but not unexpected — result.

It discovered that, on average, atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than believers.

Participants in the survey (which controlled for differing levels of education) were asked 32 questions about religion. On average, atheists and agnostics gave the most correct answers, with 20.9 correct replies. Jews scored next highest with 20.5, followed by Mormons at 20.3.

Protestant Christians averaged 16 correct answers. Catholics averaged 14.7 correct answers.

I studied the Bible when I was much younger, and that is partially what led me away from religion. The other part was studying science and finding the answers I had been seeking, rather than the contradictions and fables I found in the Bible, in addition to the violence, misogyny, slavery and plain old silly stuff such as not wearing clothing of mixed fabrics.

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Posted: 21 August 2013 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 272 ]
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According to the survey, white Evangelicals know more about Christianity than Atheists and Agnostics, but less about other religions, although they do have a cursory knowledge of them.  The claim, “it discovered that, on average, atheists and agnostics are more knowledgeable about religion than believers” is misleading.  It depends of what religion you’re asking about.  “On questions about Christianity – including a battery of questions about the Bible – Mormons (7.9 out of 12 right on average) and white evangelical Protestants (7.3 correct on average) show the highest levels of knowledge. Jews and atheists/agnostics stand out for their knowledge of other world religions, including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism; out of 11 such questions on the survey, Jews answer 7.9 correctly (nearly three better than the national average) and atheists/agnostics answer 7.5 correctly (2.5 better than the national average).”  http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey/ 

I would imagine that atheist/agnostics which make up 4% of the US population probably, like you, left Christianity and perhaps looked into other religions which would give them a better understanding of those religions.  And Jews know more about the group of religions that include Judaism.  Gee, who would have thought that? 

In my view these kinds of surveys tell us little, especially based on some of the questions being asked.  Knowing that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist and Ramadan is an Islamic holy month doesn’t really tell us all that much about the religions themselves.

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Posted: 21 August 2013 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 273 ]
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Nice spin there, Lily. First you said you were talking about religion in general, then you moved the goalpost to Christianity. This seems to be one of your favorite tactics. Whenever someone shows where you are wrong you either deflect the discussion to a different focus or rationalize your thinking so you can be right, such as Jesus killing a defenseless fig tree because it was not bearing fruit out of season, or Jesus telling people they have to hate their families to follow him.

Arguing with you is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.

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Posted: 21 August 2013 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 274 ]
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Atheists see all Abrahamic (scriptural) religions in the same light. As long as any religion claims that the OT is the fundamental book on which their religion is based, they are all suspect.

The problem is that Jews only use the Talmud (OT), Christians just look at Jesus as the “son of the OT god” and Muslims just look at Muhammad as the one “true” prophet of the OT god. But no one touches the OT anymore, except to quote passages of universal truths (for which no god is required). The OT is factually incorrect and any religion that uses it as the fundamental Universal Truth is just wrong.

Again, the religious world would be a lot better off to disavow (or revise as the Catholic church has done) the OT and you will find many atheists who are willing to discuss the relative merits of the philosophical teachings by a “moral leader” as a guide for living.  But Christians have never been able to divorce themselves from the OT, as in their minds that would negate the holiness of the “son of God” or the “prophet” who “knew” the mind of god. 

But the statement of Jesus being the son of the OT god is scientifically impossible and everything that follows from this tenet becomes fruit of a poisoned tree. Moreover, each claims that their religion is exclusive and if you do not believe just as it says in scripture, you are doomed for eternity.

The problem is not that atheists do not understand believers in scripture, the problem is that “believers” do not understand atheists.

[ Edited: 21 August 2013 03:08 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 21 August 2013 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 275 ]
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Write4U - 21 August 2013 02:56 PM

Atheists see all Abrahamic (scriptural) religions in the same light. As long as any religion claims that the OT is the fundamental book on which their religion is based, they are all suspect.

The problem is that Jews only use the Talmud (OT), Christians just look at Jesus as the “son of the OT god” and Muslims just look at Muhammad as the one “true” prophet of the OT god. But no one touches the OT anymore, except to quote passages of universal truths (for which no god is required). The OT is factually incorrect and any religion that uses it as the fundamental Universal Truth is just wrong.

Islamic teaching views the Hebrew Scripture as corrupt and has never accepted it as is.  The Talmud is commentary on what the Hebrew Scripture teaches and presents two differing views.  The Christian NT quotes the OT extensively since Christianity claims that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT.  The OT isn’t about universal truths in general.  For the Christian, it’s about illustrating Christ.  In my opinion to believe Jesus was just a good moral teacher is the rejection of him as Christ.  I don’t think his moral teachings would be workable without the supernatural element.  They would have no point because they are a teaching for a specific time.

The bible teaches that man is created by God.  Unlike man, however, Jesus had his body fashioned for him, but was filled with the Spirit of God.  He obeyed God and this is why he’s called the Son of God.  Son, in this context, indicates source and obedience.  That’s why those who rejected God’s Christ in scripture were said to be sons of the Devil—because that’s who they acted like and obeyed rather than God.  So it’s not simply an issue of human reproduction.

Atheists are a bit difficult to understand when they say they have no beliefs, but they clearly do have understanding concerning religion and have made choices.  Is it a matter of wiping the slate clean and starting new with only those things that can be proven scientifically in the material world?

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Posted: 21 August 2013 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 276 ]
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LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

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Posted: 21 August 2013 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 277 ]
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LilySmith - 21 August 2013 04:39 PM
Write4U - 21 August 2013 02:56 PM

Atheists see all Abrahamic (scriptural) religions in the same light. As long as any religion claims that the OT is the fundamental book on which their religion is based, they are all suspect.

The problem is that Jews only use the Talmud (OT), Christians just look at Jesus as the “son of the OT god” and Muslims just look at Muhammad as the one “true” prophet of the OT god. But no one touches the OT anymore, except to quote passages of universal truths (for which no god is required). The OT is factually incorrect and any religion that uses it as the fundamental Universal Truth is just wrong.

Atheists are a bit difficult to understand when they say they have no beliefs, but they clearly do have understanding concerning religion and have made choices.  Is it a matter of wiping the slate clean and starting new with only those things that can be proven scientifically in the material world?

You just stated the problem by saying “Atheists are a bit difficult to understand when they say they have no beliefs” 

Atheists only say that they do not believe in a god (along with his angels, demons, and minions as depicted in the OT, which is scientifically just as probable as Zeus, Athena, and all the rest of the gods which seem to be everywhere in history, but always in the disguise of a human (or a swan, or a goat), which you yourself reject as highly improbable if not impossible. But then, “why a single god who exclusively demands adulation and worship?”

We are talking about the concept of a god and the rejection of religions based on a god, rather than respect for the way the Universe works, which is majestic, awesome, and fearsome and above all, infinite in it’s expressions.  That is not enough for you?  There is no Master to be worshipped but only the Universe which has one fundamental function. Cause and Effect. You break Universal laws and you may expect chaos. And no one wants chaos, least of all atheists.

[ Edited: 21 August 2013 05:30 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 22 August 2013 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 278 ]
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Write4U - 21 August 2013 05:28 PM

We are talking about the concept of a god and the rejection of religions based on a god, rather than respect for the way the Universe works, which is majestic, awesome, and fearsome and above all, infinite in it’s expressions.  That is not enough for you?  There is no Master to be worshipped but only the Universe which has one fundamental function. Cause and Effect. You break Universal laws and you may expect chaos. And no one wants chaos, least of all atheists.

I agree the universe is majestic, awesome and fearsome—also infinite in its expressions.  I also believe there is an intelligence behind it all who set the universal laws, not just chance, cause and effect.  Such an intelligence would be even more majestic, awesome and fearsome who would deserve respect and dare I say worship.  I don’t believe the intelligence of men and animals is the only intelligence that exists in the eternal creation, but was designed by a presence with far more intelligence.  But I also believe that the Creator gave you the ability to choose not to believe as I do, and so I wouldn’t dare to presume to interfere with your beliefs.  I hope atheists can do the same for Christians.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 279 ]
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DarronS - 21 August 2013 05:24 PM

LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

You may get mad at me for this, but sometimes evidence doesn’t tell us the whole story.  David Hume also wrote that he believed “all the other species of men” were inferior to whites.  Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 280 ]
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LilySmith - 22 August 2013 09:50 AM
DarronS - 21 August 2013 05:24 PM

LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

You may get mad at me for this, but sometimes evidence doesn’t tell us the whole story.  David Hume also wrote that he believed “all the other species of men” were inferior to whites.  Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

I expect, based on my experience, that this will get rebuffed, or ignored.  If you’re right (I don’t know David Hume), I predict you still won’t get credit for the point. I would be happy to be wrong about this.

[ Edited: 22 August 2013 11:52 AM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 22 August 2013 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 281 ]
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LilySmith - 22 August 2013 09:50 AM
DarronS - 21 August 2013 05:24 PM

LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

You may get mad at me for this, but sometimes evidence doesn’t tell us the whole story.  David Hume also wrote that he believed “all the other species of men” were inferior to whites.  Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

Whatever David Hume said, each statement should stand on its own. We (that is anyone) quotes people because they were known to be influential and have other valuable works and have evidence and logic backing up their statements. BUT, that doesn’t mean that everything they said was right or valuable. Likewise, one thing they said does not automatically negate the quality of something else they said. The two statements in question are not in direct contradiction. One has value, the other does not.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 282 ]
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Lausten - 22 August 2013 02:06 PM
LilySmith - 22 August 2013 09:50 AM
DarronS - 21 August 2013 05:24 PM

LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

You may get mad at me for this, but sometimes evidence doesn’t tell us the whole story.  David Hume also wrote that he believed “all the other species of men” were inferior to whites.  Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

Whatever David Hume said, each statement should stand on its own. We (that is anyone) quotes people because they were known to be influential and have other valuable works and have evidence and logic backing up their statements. BUT, that doesn’t mean that everything they said was right or valuable. Likewise, one thing they said does not automatically negate the quality of something else they said. The two statements in question are not in direct contradiction. One has value, the other does not.

“Evidence doesn’t tell the whole story” about what? It tell us what evidence we have for fact claims. If we have no evidence to support a fact claim, then that’s the whole story insofar as we know it.

Of course, there may be more to the story. That’s what scientific discovery and progress are about. But we don’t know more of the story by the methods of theology. In the thousands of years of theological history, not once has theology itself contributed to an expansion of knowledge.

So yes, there is much more to the story than we know today. But the overwhelming evidence is that we uncover that “more” through science, not theology.

Of course, there are other categories of knowledge. But even there, theology and theism haven’t done anything we can’t do better by looking honestly and carefully at the human condition.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 283 ]
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brmckay - 22 August 2013 11:48 AM
LilySmith - 22 August 2013 09:50 AM
DarronS - 21 August 2013 05:24 PM

LilySmith, as David Hume said, “A wise man apportions his beliefs to the evidence.”

You may get mad at me for this, but sometimes evidence doesn’t tell us the whole story.  David Hume also wrote that he believed “all the other species of men” were inferior to whites.  Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

I expect, based on my experience, that this will get rebuffed, or ignored.  If you’re right (I don’t know David Hume), I predict you still won’t get credit for the point. I would be happy to be wrong about this.

I completely agree with that statement (bolded). But it means the opposite of the conclusions and reasoning that there must be a god.

a) we have no knowledge of god except as a subjective experience. All we know that according to scripture “In the beginning was the Word”.
b) we have no evidence (truth) on which to base our reasoning that an intentional super being (the Word) must exist or indeed that a being named Evil (another Word) must exist.  They are assumptions which have been thoroughly investigated and no evidence has ever been found that these Words have any meaning on which to base any form of reasoning or conclusions that they MUST exist separate from the Universe.

Thus our lack of knowledge and the suspect truth of that knowledge cannot be used to come to a reasoned conclusion based on reliable knowledge.
That is contrary to the scientific method. 

The argument that science is always revising their truths and reasoned conclusions are always changing and being updated is proof that science does not stubbornly cling to discredited ideas. OTOH, regardless of the evidence, theists do cling to the notion of the infallibility of scripture, written thousands of years ago by people who’s knowledge consisted of superstitions, even if we assume that they were able to reason.

[ Edited: 22 August 2013 03:39 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 22 August 2013 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 284 ]
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Write4U - 22 August 2013 02:38 PM
LilySmith - 22 August 2013 09:50 AM

Conclusions can only be as good as the knowledge we put into them; reasoning can be only as good as the truth of what we know.

I completely agree with that statement (bolded). But it means the opposite of the conclusions and reasoning that there must be a god.

I accept my belief in God is based not on factual knowledge, but on faith.  The question is:  Can the atheist also admit that he has no knowledge based on fact concerning the existence of God?  Yes, I know, since I’m making the claim there is a God, it’s up to me to prove it.  The very notion that you will not entertain the idea without proof, however, is a facet of your belief system, not mine, as you said, “Thus our lack of knowledge and the suspect truth of that knowledge cannot be used to come to a reasoned conclusion based on reliable knowledge.  That is contrary to the scientific method.” 

However, the scientific method can produce incorrect results as you admit scientific understanding must continually be revised.  For example, a Christian living 70 years ago is mocked by the scientist who tells him he’s ignorant for not accepting the scientific theory that the universe is eternal—without beginning and without end.  The bible tells the Christian the universe had a beginning and will have an end.  Years go by, telescopes are improved and observations reveal the universe is expanding—it had a beginning and will have an end. My faith in God may some day be proven wrong, but scientific theories are proven wrong every day.  Why should I give up my faith in God for a belief in man trying to figure out our awesome existence but getting it wrong time and again?  I have no problem accepting scientific fact, but understand science is the work of fallible and biased men and women.

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Posted: 22 August 2013 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 285 ]
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Not quite correct.
In science there are some truths which are proven beyond reasonable doubt. Yes, in theoretical science people have been proven wrong because they neglected or purposefully chose to ignore evidence which did not fit their “propositions”. But theoretical science deals with that which is still unknown.

If a “proposition” (paradigm) is accepted by consensus, only then has it earned the title “scientific theory”. But this is after confirmation by experiment and falsification. No such rigor exists in theism. The “notion’ of a god cannot be tested and therefore must remain in the state of “proposition”, a primitive attempt at theoretical science without any foundation in reality.

No one can disprove God, true. But after hundreds of years of research into the nature of the Universe no honest scientist can say that the absence of proof or falsification (lack of knowledge) leads to the conclusion that a god must exist.  But theists do this and this is where reason breaks down.

However if we change the word “God” to the word Potential we have a truth, because the word Potential and it’s properties are known and functions exactly as defined by every scientific discipline.

We know how Potential works, it is a latent excellence which may become reality. This applies to all things, including the beginning of reality itself.
But how does God work?  In mysterious ways? Yes, and to a theist it shall remain ever thus. To a theist the word God means Creator (unprovable), but it is only a different word for Potential (provable).

[ Edited: 22 August 2013 04:23 PM by Write4U ]
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