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31-12-2013, 04:54 PM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 11:01 AM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(31-12-2013 10:55 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  @kingschosen
Hmm. Most of the time I debate in public forums and do consider the audience. I don't usually expect to change the theist's mind, but I hope that the audience is making judgements about the validity of the arguments on each side.

I don't usually discuss God's existence in real life... even when I was a Christian. If someone brought it up, I'd defend my beliefs.

If I was debating one on one, with no audience, I suppose I'd ask the theist to consider where his beliefs came from in the first place. I'd him to define his God and ask him to consider exactly why he does believe what he believes about this God.

Yeah, it's a whole different debate when you change to a one-on-one encounter. But it seems that you are handling group debates the way you should. Not everyone's personal evidence can be considered evidence because it varies; therefore, that isn't valid evidence and only things that can be tested and retested are considered evidence.

The downside is that the theist has no real leg to stand on in this type of debate because the belief in God isn't rooted in empirical evidence. So you're going to get a lot of red herrings and strawmen from theists reaching to try and defend their beliefs when their ability to defend is invalid. I'm not going to say it's unfair, but it just seems like a loaded debate.


I also would suggests that Christians... Look into the history of belief in deities. Read up on the history of world religions. Look into the number of extinct Gods. Observe the incredible shrinking God. Look into the fact that nothing in any world religion suggests communication with an actual all-knowing deity, but rather that they all suggest the authors knew exactly as much about the world, and had the same morals, as anyone else living during that time period.

What reason is there to believe that the idea of deities is anything more than an invention of men?
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02-01-2014, 08:34 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:17 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 07:56 AM)morondog Wrote:  It's not a research level article, nor intended that way, as far as I can see. Simply someone making a point on the net...

A valid point, although I would argue that any attempt to educate an audience, or at least utilize a historical theory to make a rhetorical point, ought to be based on solid research. The post on this website begins, however, with the comment, "I also would suggests that Christians... Look into the history of belief in deities." It does not appear to me that the author of the post has done that to an adequate degree themselves. The "shrinking god" post doesn't appear to me to serve as a legitimate pillar on which to build the original author's case.

(02-01-2014 07:56 AM)morondog Wrote:  And it's a decent point IMO. Gods used to be *powerful* beings who directly interfered with peoples' lives. Propitiating the Gods wasn't a matter of feeling good, it was life and death stuff. Nowadays, without exception, Gods are these weird creatures who hide out where they can't be detected and command that one shall for example hate homosexuals, with the reward for following the precepts and not doubting them being eternal life.

Yeah folksy... now refute ?

First, it is simply not true that gods are "nowadays, without exception" gods of the gaps, and to suggest otherwise is, again, to take fundamentalistic religions as metonyms for all religion. There are numerous, numerous examples of religions that still promote views of deity as directly involved in everyday life, and not in such binary and simplistic terms as the sovereign Santa Claus you appear to think is the only way to think about deity. Additionally, I find the notion promoted by hobbyists that detection of the supernatural means scientifically predictable and repeatable to rest on a gross mischaracterization of what theists understand the supernatural to be. I suggest you and others here take some time to get to know religions (and academic research of religions) beyond those belonging to the idiots who promote young earth creationism and hate homosexuals. If you do so honestly and sincerely, you will not be able to help but be surprised what you find.

Generally we find high levels of cognitive dissonance where they force a disproven system into place and wish away anything that fundamentally disproves the whole shebang. Aren't you a Mormon despite being a well versed biblical scholar? LDS is an obvious fraud by a known conman yet there are a lot of people that will ignore those facts rather than face up to them. Having read some of your work it appears top notch for the most part but yet even when all evidence is pointing at the fact that the Hebrews were not a special god chosen people but rather just one of many many desert dwelling sects that had a large pantheon and choose 1 god to be the main protector of their tribe you add either special pleading or hand washing to the problems that arise from these facts.

As to your point about theists don't go for god of the gaps, that is not my experience. Day to day you don't think about it but when pressed to explain yourself that is the place they all go. God is unknowable is usually the first red herring tossed out, and then the longer the conversation follows the further their god flees from being the single greatest thing in the universe to being so far away and untouchable that Science can never find him, for now. God used to live on the top of the Mountain, then we climbed the mountain and found he was not there. So god moved to the sky but alas when we reached the sky No god. So now he lives somewhere "out there" in the far reaches of space or possible not in this universe. The incredibly shrinking God.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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02-01-2014, 09:28 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:52 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Have you read any Robert Price? He's a theologian, Biblical scholar, former fundamentalist, former pastor, and now an atheist who believes that Jesus may be a complete myth.

I have, and I'm always puzzled by the way some people highlight the fundamentalist background of converts to mythicism or atheism. I see that as more of a liability than an asset, as the brittle absolutism of fundamentalism isn't that commonly converted into sensitive and judicious academic approaches. From what I have seen, and I'm happy to be corrected, it more often produces equally brittle absolutism in the opposite direction.

Having said that, I find too much Frazer and parallelomania, and too little first century Jewish ideology, in his reconstruction of the development of the Christ tradition. In his more measured moments, he acknowledges that there may have been some historical figure behind the Jesus tradition, although we're quite unlikely to ever find any direct evidence of his existence. I can respect that, but it's not characteristic of his overall rhetoric.

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02-01-2014, 09:37 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
I have a question for any of the theists on here. It comes from my position as an ex Mormon. When I was in the church, they were very definite about their 1 version of Christianity being the right one and to receive full reward in the next life you had to be all singing all dancing LDS. One of my best friends was raised Catholic and another one JW and I know it applies to their denominations too.

So, does your particular branch, denomination or church specify that only they have it right and none members are not going to be rewarded in the next life? If so/not so, do you personally agree/disagree with this?

When I was a practicing mormon I was pretty much agnostic theist, this question is one of the main reasons I became agnostic atheist, so I'm fascinated to know what you guys think?

I'll just play the 'can I help you' lick!!!
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02-01-2014, 09:57 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 09:37 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  I have a question for any of the theists on here. It comes from my position as an ex Mormon. When I was in the church, they were very definite about their 1 version of Christianity being the right one and to receive full reward in the next life you had to be all singing all dancing LDS. One of my best friends was raised Catholic and another one JW and I know it applies to their denominations too.

I think this is an oversimplification that relies more on characterization and rhetoric than on actual practice. It may accurately characterize many members of the LDS Church, but it's certainly not normative.

(02-01-2014 09:37 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  So, does your particular branch, denomination or church specify that only they have it right and none members are not going to be rewarded in the next life? If so/not so, do you personally agree/disagree with this?

I personally disagree with this, and I would feel sorry for someone who subscribes to such a soteriology.

(02-01-2014 09:37 AM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  When I was a practicing mormon I was pretty much agnostic theist, this question is one of the main reasons I became agnostic atheist, so I'm fascinated to know what you guys think?

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02-01-2014, 10:38 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
I've browesed the last 10 or so pages; hopefully this isn't too simplistic, but I've thought this way even when I was a Christian.

As a Calvinist, can't you picture God up there essentially playing doll house? I feel like that's what he is doing...

Like a little girl playing barbie....
Sending people to hell...
Certain ones going to heaven....

It just seems childish.
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02-01-2014, 10:48 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 10:38 AM)crazylikeyou Wrote:  I've browesed the last 10 or so pages; hopefully this isn't too simplistic, but I've thought this way even when I was a Christian.

As a Calvinist, can't you picture God up there essentially playing doll house? I feel like that's what he is doing...

Like a little girl playing barbie....
Sending people to hell...
Certain ones going to heaven....

It just seems childish.

Hmm, I'd say it sounds evil, but that believing it is childish. Drinking Beverage

It's hard to conceive of a worse theology than Calvinism. Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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02-01-2014, 11:00 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 10:48 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 10:38 AM)crazylikeyou Wrote:  I've browesed the last 10 or so pages; hopefully this isn't too simplistic, but I've thought this way even when I was a Christian.

As a Calvinist, can't you picture God up there essentially playing doll house? I feel like that's what he is doing...

Like a little girl playing barbie....
Sending people to hell...
Certain ones going to heaven....

It just seems childish.

Hmm, I'd say it sounds evil, but that believing it is childish. Drinking Beverage

It's hard to conceive of a worse theology than Calvinism. Consider

It's a sick, sick, theology.

I once saw a video by John Piper or somebody....basic talking about how heaven is like being invited to a banquet. Imagine you are feasting and there is a glass bubble surrounding you. Outside the bubble you see all these people who want in (the un-elect) they are sad and in misery (probably pain, because it's hell after all!) Then god tells you that you are chosen, and you are supposed to fall on your knees in gratitude because you know you should be out there with them.

Sick, sick, sick, sick.

In calvinism, god wants to feel dirty and unworthy and know that you could have just as easy been in hell with everyone else but because of his "great mercy" you are spared.

Again, sick, sick, sick sick!
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02-01-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 11:32 AM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  Perhaps I was rash to assume arrogance. Still, you're otherwise a seemingly clever and wise person. It surprises me you put such stock in beliefs that are based on one of the least reliable methods of acquiring knowledge a human has. But, I've been there myself, so I think I understand.

Thanks. And, it's just hard to not trust yourself. Especially when I know something happened.

Quote:You do realize there may come a day in the future when thoughts and feelings may no longer be looked upon as metaphysical. I suspect there are already numerous scientists who do not consider them as such. Emergent sensations or perceptions perhaps? But not metaphysical.

Metaphysical sounds like a copout to me, man. Hand wavy. Your Jedi Mind Tricks won't work on me!

I understand that. I'm trying to use God of the Gaps here. This is just how I feel. I'm not trying to convince anyone. It is perfectly understandable and acceptable if you don't believe me.

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02-01-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(31-12-2013 11:44 AM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  
(31-12-2013 10:56 AM)Chas Wrote:  Then you misunderstand the burden of proof. Whichever one makes a definite claim has the burden of proof.

In all honesty (not trying to be an ass) I've always thought the one making Extraordinary claim has the proof problem. The whole point is the extraordinary part....no????
If that isn't the case... Then I am misinformed....seriously so

Like Chas said, it's the person making the claim that has the burden.

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