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Posted: 26 March 2008 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I usually avoid posting on silly threads like this one, but I have to say that Daisy nailed it.  Well done, Daisy. 

Occam

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Posted: 27 March 2008 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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thank you so much for your support Occam. I am no better than Kirk, I just wanted him to live up to his promise, he said he’d answer questions but from other posters’ comments, not just mine, he’s done nothing but deflect them.

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Posted: 27 March 2008 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Good work daisy and to think we’ve not gotten around to transubstantiation yet.  big surprise

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Posted: 28 March 2008 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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I was going to write a post to engage Kirk (which I end up doing anyway), but then reading through the posts on this topic I saw that Brennen had already written it (post 29). I add only that once we say that certain of the usual understandings do not apply to God, then there’s no longer a point to the endeavor. The entire theology becomes pointless as a means to understand literal and historical truths; its only purpose is that it may help someone feel better.

The cost of doing things that way is the integrity of the thought process, not only for the person engaging in the theology, but also to those to whom it is passed on, especially the children who are taught these theologies and these methods of thinking about things. This is profoundly damaging to the world, including human relationships. At the outset, Kirk did an excellent job bringing a point of view here that most members do not accept, but for me in some ways, that just makes the disconnect all the more maddening.

Bottom line: I don’t think we can divorce ourselves from the content of the world, or what Brennen has called the quotidian details of reality, and still maintain our integrity.

To take it from another angle, Kirk, the Christian/Catholic narrative (I grew up Catholic) is wholly unsatisfying to me, not just on emotional grounds, but also for objective and intersubjective reasons. Never mind that one does not imagine any particular group or person in hell; the very concept of a loving god engaging in a system of eternal torment is utterly repulsive. That alone imposes on me a moral, ethical and spiritual command to reject the theology. In the resurrection narrative, it is absurd to me that God would send his divine Son to save us, on condition that we believe, and then neglect to tell most of the world about it. One cannot say, as some apologists do, that a personal revelation would remove free will because biblically Jesus appears to Thomas and 500 others, apparently leaving their free will intact.

Then I read your post 32 and see the conflict between you and members of this group starting to bubble to the surface. If you’re think you’re “sheesh”-ing, just imagine what we’re thinking. I could accept what you’re saying if you weren’t taking any of it literally, but once you take any of it literally, it all collapses. (For example, the answer you give in post 34 is wholly unsatisfying. The mother is not omniscient, but to answer your question, if she was, and she knew her child would murder dozen people, she would be obligated to prevent it, even if it required strangling the little nipper, as you put it. Defense of the apologetic requires an alteration of at least one essential fact.)

Then I read your post 33, Kirk, and see you telling Kyu that he “ought to be troubled” by the question “did the first human beings live in some pre-fallen state.” Without reading any response to that statement, I can say that if Kyu is anything like me, he is not troubled by that question because he accepts the fact that we humans beings evolved from other species, became the kind of species we are largely because of sexual reproduction but also because of a collection of factors that led to the development of the most advanced brains in the animal kingdom. Our morality, ethics and spirituality is one large mixed bag, and we can’t answer the question by thinking about a “pre-fallen state.” That’s like trying to understand modern science by asking about essences.

The question posed by the fall of man story, taken literally, is not relevant for me. The story is a beautiful metaphor for our coming into being. The relevant question about the literal reality of our existence is: here we are, with all our evolutionary past, how are we going to lives our lives and bring meaning and purpose to them? When you say that Kyu “ought to be troubled” by the question in the same way that you are, you begin to lose me in a very important way. Shall I say that you ought to be troubled about that?

It’s at this point that the discussion falls apart, so I’m going to post this as though I’ve read through question 44, and then read what happens later. I won’t be surprised to see the discussion degenerate further, but maybe you and the group will have found a way to keep that from happening. I concur with Brennen, retrospy and others that you’re picking and choosing in a way that leaves no room for a truly meaningful dialogue.

So I’m put in the very difficult position of having no question to ask you, Kirk, except a dismissive one: don’t you see where this puts you? That’s not a satisfying place for me to be in with anyone, let alone someone of your obvious kindness and intelligence. Is there a way out, except for us to “agree to disagree” and essentially not talk to each other about it?

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Posted: 28 March 2008 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Occam - 26 March 2008 03:25 PM

I usually avoid posting on silly threads like this one, but I have to say that Daisy nailed it.  Well done, Daisy. 

Occam

I left my power cord at school - which is in a distant city, and gas being what it is, I’m on laptop battery until tuesday. So just a note or two today.

Occam, as a moderator, how can you make the thread less silly? What should it look like to you, one of the authorities and guides of this forum? If you prefer, let’s stop the thread.

Sure I deflect sometimes - but for only bad reasons?

By the way, I am NOT here to proselytize or evangelize. I’m still feeling this out, and I’m just not sure what to say a lot of the time - but obviously, Occam, you seem to know exactly what should be done. tell me.

Kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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mckenzievmd - 25 March 2008 08:56 AM

Kirk,

I think you’re missing my point, intentionally or not. I, of course, understand metaphor as an indirect way of making a point. What I don’t understand is why the particular point, which seems as unlikely as a talking snake to me, seems incontrovertably real to you even though you are just as capable of looking at reality in a logical and scientific way the rest of the time. Common sense is a cop out, since it means whatever anybody wants it to mean. It’s common sense that the supernatural doesn’t exist, to me, but clearly not to you. As for the Church and tradition, we can argue about why they are or are not reliable indicators of what is true. But my point is that you pick and choose what to view rationally and what to accept on faith, and that’s a process I have trouble understanding.

One picks and chooses at a buffet also - but you can have a principled basis for choosing (you’re on a diet; you dont’ want food poisoning). I disagree - common sense isn’t a ‘cop-out’ (vague term).

I really do use just common sense sometimes. Common sense *is* if not science then knowledge - tho’ it’s more like engineers’ lore, a not well organized mass of rules of thumb. I don’t pull out sharper tools unless I need to.

It’s common sense - the sense of the average person - that the supernatural exists, in some manner. Common sense isn’t private feelings to me. It’s what’s ‘common’ to us. (It originally meant the sense that we live in a 3D world, and there’s geometrical things surrounding us, and such basics - things which are rather obvious but about which we cna still be incorrect.)

If the average man needs to be a philosopher or professional freethinker to understand the things of God, then God would be a terrible elitist. Nay.

Kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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goodthink - 25 March 2008 01:43 PM

Kirk, I have to question why you think complexity makes any statement as to a creator.

I do NOT think that. I think that the sturcture of a mere hydrogen atom is indefinitely complex. The heavens don’t whisper or nudge or suggest God’s glory - to me at least. My views *contra* trying to measure complexity is my view as a philosopher; I think the complexity arguments on both sides make use of an incoherent idea, ‘complexity’ as applied to natural things, as a continuos, single number-line. My opinion would take some time to explain, and it’s not exactly about christianity. It’s how one Xtian takes cues from other fields like philosophy and science. Ask me in a different thread - maybe if there’s one about ID, which makes use of measurable complexity.

Kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 06:13 AM

It’s common sense - the sense of the average person - that the supernatural exists, in some manner. Common sense isn’t private feelings to me. It’s what’s ‘common’ to us. (It originally meant the sense that we live in a 3D world, and there’s geometrical things surrounding us, and such basics - things which are rather obvious but about which we cna still be incorrect.)

If the average man needs to be a philosopher or professional freethinker to understand the things of God, then God would be a terrible elitist. Nay.

Kirk

It is also common sense that if you drop a 1/4-inch ball bearing and a 12-pound bowling ball off a bridge they’ll hit the water below at the same time. Common sense tells us nothing of the universe. Common sense is only the information passed on necessary for survival. Common sense is very often wrong.

Now that you’ve brought up the supernatural all I can say is: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where is your evidence?

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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Daisy - 26 March 2008 11:26 AM

what sins did I commit for him to decide to die for them without asking me first?

What can be simpler? I don’t know you, so maybe you’ve failed to commit one damn sin. In one way, yup, the gods don’t consult us as to their decisions. But God does ask you - through people who do believe in HIm, generally in contemplation of the Universe and everything in it, and even - i’m told - He comes to each one of us individually - in person. And you have said or decided or feel ‘No thanks’. Again, there doesn’t really seem to be a question here - in my honest opinion. You really seem to be saying ‘I didn’t ask for it, and I haven’t done anything wrong enough to deserve damnation, so kiss off.’ Is this a fair re-casting of your question ma’am?

And let’s suppose you’re such a good person you don’t need saving. Then you would interact with God in a rather different way, but you can still interact with him. Belief in the gods isn’t just for people in trouble.

You’ve got a lot of questions - I’ll do a little more maybe this afternoon, when I’ll be helping a friend at his house - and then nothing much til tuesday.

Kirk

[ Edited: 28 March 2008 06:37 AM by inthegobi ]
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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Fotobits: Now that you’ve brought up the supernatural all I can say is: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where is your evidence?

On what matter? What woudl count as sufficient evidence to you? Here’s a thought-experiment: how many and what character of ghostly appearances of, say, Great-grandfather Fotobits would be enough to make ghost-like beings ‘likely’ to you?

If you need the real skinny, study. There’s a ton online; here’s a good forum that has a specific area for non-christians, and has an exensive library (which I’m having trouble finding just now): http://forum.catholic.org/

Kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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fotobits - 28 March 2008 06:18 AM
inthegobi - 28 March 2008 06:13 AM

It’s common sense - the sense of the average person - that the supernatural exists, in some manner. Common sense isn’t private feelings to me. It’s what’s ‘common’ to us. (It originally meant the sense that we live in a 3D world, and there’s geometrical things surrounding us, and such basics - things which are rather obvious but about which we cna still be incorrect.)

If the average man needs to be a philosopher or professional freethinker to understand the things of God, then God would be a terrible elitist. Nay.

Kirk

It is also common sense that if you drop a 1/4-inch ball bearing and a 12-pound bowling ball off a bridge they’ll hit the water below at the same time. Common sense tells us nothing of the universe. Common sense is only the information passed on necessary for survival. Common sense is very often wrong.

Something’s wrong here just in the wording - you write that common sense tells us nothing, then write that we can discover that different weights can fall with the same speed. That’s an important little fact about the Universe, and so not nothing. There must be a phrase missing somewhere.

But my [oint would be that all science came from common sense. Some of that common sense was rejected, but some was incorporated. I’m a historian of science, and it’s pretty obvious from the history. Your objection seems to argue something like: ‘religious stuff is at best common sense, common sense has been superceded in totum by scinece, so no common sense and no beliefs about the gods.’ Is that fair?

I would reply to that argument (maybe it’s not yours) that no, common sense has not been superceded in toto by any science, and it’s incumbent upon the skeptic about all common sense to tell me why I have to reject the religious stuff - in general - when no particular science disproves it. At the worst, they don’t talk about religious stuff, and that’s just what I want (I don’t want my car to declare the glory of the Lord, I want it to get me to work; if it declares His glory on the way, fine.)

Kirk

[ Edited: 28 March 2008 02:43 PM by inthegobi ]
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Posted: 28 March 2008 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Does a particular science disprove the existence of Sagan’s invisible dragon?

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Posted: 28 March 2008 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Something’s wrong here just in the wording - you write that common sense tells us nothing, then write that we can discover that different weights can fall with the same speed.

You re correct, something is wrong in the wording. I posted this before my coffee kicked in. I should have written “It is also common sense that if you drop a 1/4-inch ball bearing and a 12-pound bowling ball off a bridge the heavier bowling ball will hit the water below before the ball bearing.”

That is what common sense tells us. Your statement that “It’s common sense - the sense of the average person - that the supernatural exists, in some manner.” is pointless. Common sense does not explain the universe. Common sense tells us nothing about gravity, how light propagates through a vacuum, or why the universe is accelerating. Common sense leads to absurd beliefs, such as the creator of the universe caring so much for us that he sent his son to die for our sins, the original sin being knowledge. That, in itself, says much about the Christian belief system. Knowledge is a sin.

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Posted: 28 March 2008 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 06:13 AM

One picks and chooses at a buffet also . . .  Kirk

Kirk, that statement does not add to, but diminishes the conversation. This is not a buffet, and the kind of picking and choosing is very different. Selecting a set of beliefs for a belief system requires internally consistent criteria. What several of us are saying is that you’re picking and choosing in a way that is internally inconsistent.

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Posted: 28 March 2008 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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You say common sense is somehow intrinsic to all of “us,” yet this denies the reality that what seems intuitively obvious to individuals differes greatly between people and between historical eras and between cultures. That the supernatural does not exist seems like common sense to me, yet not to you. That there were thousands of gods each responsible for different aspects of the material world was common sense to most cultures for a long time before the monotheistic religions developed. When I say it’s a cop-out, what I mean is that it simply justifies your particular beliefs by arguing that “everyone,” or at least lots of other people, intuitively believe the same. This is both factually inaccurate in regard to many things you state as your beliefs, and also intellectually weak, substituting popular opinion for logic, evidence, and rigorous thinking.

Popular opinion has been and is so often wrong that it cannot be seriously viewed as strong evidence for the truth of a proposition. You yourself would probably reject many ideas justified this way historically (the therapeutic value of bloodletting, the inferiority of women and people of color, the widespread belief among evangelical protestants that the Catholic Church is the tool of the Devil, etc). You are clearly capable of rigorous thought, yet you choose to suspend it in favor of intuition with respect to the core issues of human life, and then you support your case by making arguments you would never tolerate in a different context. That is the issue many of us here have trouble with. Faith supercedes reason, not just for the generally unreasonable (mystics, wild-eyed zealots, etc), but for those who otherwise rely heavily on reason in areas not touching their religious faith. I think I understand the phenomenon as a psychological one, but being either luckily free of such an glaring intellectual flaw or, as you might say, bereft of the grace and revelation of God’s truth, it seems bizarre to me.

I think it is an unbridgeable chasm in the way we see the universe and the nature of truth. Certainly, there are many things (most, I suspect) that religious and non-religious people share, and I prefer to emphasize the commonalities rather than the differences so that we can function harmoniously together in the real world. But there is this core difference that seems insurmountable, and that seems especially problematic for the religious since it leaves them convinced the rest of us (as well as the religious of faiths other than their own) are hopelessly in error and, in many cases, doomed to some kind of eternal torment (the terrible but passive torment of the absence of God that Dante came up with for “virtuous pagans,” or the more active torment of the cliche Hell). Does it bother you that you must see anyone without your particular intuition about the nature of God as benighted, lost, perhaps sinful even unintentionally, or in some other perjorative light regardless of evrything else hyou may know about them and their deeds and character? I would think it would bother me to imagine that the caprice of circumstances that gave me a true understanding of God’s will and denied it to others would be the key to the most important truth out there.

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