Bridging the Gaps...
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24-08-2015, 05:11 PM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2015 02:36 AM by Matrim Cauthon.)
Bridging the Gaps...
...with the people that matter most - those around you.

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It's been a minute, sorry such a long one. It's all about the 'busybusybusy', right?

At any rate - wanted to post this to see what kind of thoughts anyone might have about it. It's a little long - but this channel said 'chats/discussions/debates/etc', so...here goes:

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*conversation started with Meme, quoting George Bernard Shaw, stating "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality of happiness, and by no means a necessity of life.".*

*Reponder #1*:
Trying to disprove God is like trying to disprove the universe. There is proof that Christ came and there is plenty of proof that there is evil. We get to choose, and I so hope and pray that you change your heart and mind.

*Me*:
Appreciate the sentiment Deb - however, I would never try to 'disprove God' - but simply rather wait until someone can "prove God". (hence the fact that 'atheism' isn't 'anti-god' - it's simply the lack of belief due to lack of evidence - thus lack of proof). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_(truth)

*Reponder #1*:
On probe.org there is an article about non-believers that wrote about Jesus. There is so much written about Jesus, and so many that have studied. Instead of trying to disprove all the time, why not study about Him? I truly hope you find happiness and love in Jesus Christ . Being separated from God is the worse thing that could ever happen for me, and I truly hope you find Him. I hope God blesses you throughout this time, and one day touches your heart and doesn't let you go.

*Me*:
Again, never intending to 'disprove'. If I mention to you that I have a unicorn locked in my garage - you asking me to prove it, isn't you trying to disprove it. Proof is a burden of the claimant, and those that do not believe due to lack of evidence cannot be said to be "trying to disprove it". Finally - I spent nearly 30 years studying religion and Christianity - so I've done my reading - and then some... Frankly - my assertions are garnered from that (near life-long) study - and since I did study to such a degree - I can usually quote and speak to more scripture and doctrine than 80-90% of the Christians I speak to (which doesn't help their cases much, that they believe something when they don't even know the details or history of their own belief system...which is, imo, the reason why it's easy for them to believe - not knowing more about it than they do...). Otherwise - I appreciate your always good intention Deb. Smile There's no lack of evidence that you care - that's for certain! Smile

*Reponder #1*:
I do care. Greatly. I also have studied, a lot longer than you as I am over twice as old. I have also had a lot of life experiences. I have experienced a lot of sadness as I know you have. I have had a few miracles. When I was 10 I had glomerulosnephritis.no cure at that time. I stayed in bed a year. 24 hour prayer vigil from church members and I cleared up. Nothing was given to me. No meds. I should have died. There was bleeding all day and it just stopped. Wasn't suppose to have kids as it could kill me and we know how that turned out. Right at stage 4 ovarian cancer and survived that too. But that isn't what makes me a believer. It came from seeking, and having God with me. I was alone in life, except for God. That's when you know. I had a mother with severe Alzheimers and in diapers, 2 little boys, and a cancer that should have killed me. But you know I knew God, and went to surgery knowing I had Him with me. No one else, but Him. I knew I would be ok. They said they lost me 4 times on the table. God just let me have a little more time to talk to you. I was a believer as a small child when my dad was beating my mom. My mom was a believer. My sweet grandparents who had absolutely no money were believers. My Uncle Bob was in Vietnam assigned to the tunnels with a dig was terrified, and my grandmother must have prayed him out of it. The day he was suppose to go into the tunnels with his dog they pulled him off and put him in a helicopter. So much proof I can't tell it all. God bless you Adam. I pray for a change of heart. Imust have woke up for you.

*Me*:
Love you Deb Smile ...however, all the above is still, by definition, conjecture - moreover, is also the same type stories provided by Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, etc (incl. ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, American Indians, etc) - all as 'supporting conjecture' for their gods as well - thus none of it can stand as 'proof' of anything other than luck, good fortune, coincidence, or good old quality human beings working hard and/or making good decisions. If you can use these arguments to convince me - then a Muslim should be able to use the same arguments to convince you...would it?

*Reponder #1*:
I think as long as you do not seek God, He won't be knocking on your door. The first step is to ask God to come into your heart.

*Me*:
Already done - 50,000 times - when I was younger. Again, done my reading, done my studying, done my seeking, done my hoping - all years ago. Please understand that I'm not a child, and the fact that I'm not 65, does not mean I'm 17... I'm two years from 40, and with a quite capable and above average set of reasoning skills...

If it makes you feel better - I would believe if I COULD - and I certainly wish I could - as this isn't anything 'emotionally related'. My assertions come from study, facts, and history - not from the places 'belief' is usually derived...

2 primary arguments used by members of any religion - apparently to attempt proof of said religion:

1. Stories of "miracles"
2. Stories of "churches doing benevolent social deeds".

...Neither of which speaks to the reality of any specific god, what said god might want of us, how we might or might not be 'saved', who god is, what race or sex god may be, whether he is a single individual or not, etc, etc, etc...

The question at hand is:

"Do you, or don't you - have PROOF that (your version of) God exists?"

Most attempt to answer this question using one of the two arguments above...simply because they know the same thing I do...there is no proof. Due to this reality - I cannot (even if I wanted to) believe in something so incredibly extraordinary (like me claiming to own a unicorn that will save mankind, but requires us to walk on our hands for an hour a day to do so).

Beyond simple 'disbelief' (which, by itself, is not a sufficient reason to even care) - a true 'reasonable' Atheist only cares about the following:

1. Negative impacts of religion the world over.
2. Separation of church and state
3. Rampant discrimination of non-believers


*Reponder #1*:
There is plenty of proof.

*Me*:
If we can agree on the definition of "proof" - then I'd be most happy to see some. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_(truth)

*Reponder #1*:
DNA alone is proof, the exact plan of the universe, all intelligent design

*Me*:
DNA is not proof of any of that. It may be 'suggestive' to you (and I can understand how that can be, certainly) - but again, "proof", it is not.

Would not the same observance of the same magnificent world - also be proof of Zeus? ...Even IF dna and other 'magnificent' phenomena did suggest that there was a 'God' - what links it to "Jesus", and not Allah?


*Reponder #1*:
Your focus is on religion only, man focused. Focus on God only and maybe there will be some peace there. Man centered things aren't important.

*Me*:
...and how do I make the transition? which god? what choices should I make in life? Do i shy away from pork like Muslims, or shellfish like Jews? ...Unfortunately - this argument is also very impractical. How does one 'focus on God' - when to do so, you need information on the subject first? ...Enter the rest of all 'religions' to answer these questions.

Short: the two are inherently inseparable.

...And if I DON'T consider 'religions', and do as you suggest - what if I come back to you later in the belief that God is actually a Viking woman, and to be saved, we must all pray in Norse?

I can appreciate your effort - AND your hesitance to believe in religion (this argument is usually the "I'm just spiritual" approach) - however, it is one of the more 'simple/elementary' arguments that one might hold if say, they lived a simple life on the prairie, and had no need of questions...

Wouldn't you say that - once one might focus on 'God', and simply be 'spiritual' over joining any of the 'man religions' - that they might also have use for knowing how they should live to return to such God? If people could get these answers on their own, simply by 'being spiritual' - then religions wouldn't exist, as people wouldn't need them - AND all their stories *should* end up being the same (if there is, in fact, one 'correct' God, speaking to all these 'spiritual individuals').


*Reponder #1*:
I do believe in Jesus Christ as my Saviour. The Bible is documentation of His existence and men have studied the proof of His existence . I believe He came for a reason, and that reason includes you.

*Me*:
Just so you know that I'm fair (haha) - here's what wiki says about "Scientific Proof" (an excerpt from the page linked above):

"...While the phrase "scientific proof" is often used in the popular media, many scientists have argued that there is really no such thing. For example, Karl Popper once wrote that "In the empirical sciences, which alone can furnish us with information about the world we live in, proofs do not occur, if we mean by 'proof' an argument which establishes once and for ever the truth of a theory..."

It is claims (like yours above) from religious people, that they "know" or that they have "proof" that usually spurs these kinds of arguments. If they said "I hope", or "I believe" (as a standard) - there wouldn't be much room to argue. However...per above, when faced with nearly 4.5 billion people all claiming different versions of 'God' - whilst also claiming both "proof" and "knowledge" supporting their own - it kind of makes it...well...silly (and also points out that there is a serious discrepancy between people's definitions of "proof" and "knowledge").


*Reponder #1*:
Well, I was led to this while drinking my coffee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsbj7EN1Uzs
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikxb09pyZwM

Lee Strobel was an atheist, and he set out to prove there was no God. He ended up through studying being a believer and wrote "The Case for Christ.


*Me*:
And I've met a couple smokers that have smoked all their lives and not gotten cancer - and more than a few millionaires who never finished college. When I want to feel hopeful, it is certainly possible to find exceptions to the rules I know to be true...that speak to the perspective I'd like to be believe... You'll certainly find some atheists who convert, and I cannot explain why...however, I could show you about 75% of the atheist community that used to be religious... Due to statistics alone, these two cases (nor the others, of which I'm sure there are) cannot hold any weight - unless they indeed have some new cosmic information...

*Reponder #2*:
What George says is exactly correct. One thing I have learned is that most people believe what they want to believe. And I don't intend that to mean I think it is entirely bad; that is their right, and if it makes them happy who am I to intrude... It is equally true of nominal Christians, atheists, and evolutionists alike. They find proof where they want to see it, and they will call it miracles, science, or something else and ignore the fraud that exists because they want to believe a certain thing. For evolutionists they do not want to feel accountable to a higher power so they make the choice to buy in to the biggest fraud ever perpetrated, because there are some smart sounding people that claim they have science to back up what they say... yes, it is all bogus, but it matches what they have already decided to believe beforehand. So-called Christians will say they believe in God and paint John 3:16 on various signs and body parts, without stopping to think about what it says, as is evident from the fact that most of them think Jesus is God, which he completely denied and instructed his followers not to worship him. So most people are credulous in one way or another. That said, I am a believer, but it is not because of some people receiving a perceived blessing while millions of others suffer, or because of seeing the blatant fraud in so much of the scientific community. It is because to me there is evidence of a Creator in what I see and it is foolish to deny the intelligence of everything around me. It is also because there is evidence of evil and wicked influence from an enemy who is much smarter than we are and is bent on destruction, which is exactly what the Bible describes. Yes religion for the most part has misrepresented the Bible and is responsible for more bad than good, (it's not even close), but that is not the fault of the Bible. Jesus life can help people to know the one who sent him and the Bible can tell us many things about the great scientist who did and does so many incredible things. I believe in prayer not because I think God will show me extraordinary love if I pray harder or get a million people to pray with me, but because I have come to know the Creator and have learned that he allows this means for me to make effort to communicate with him. This is what I believe because I want to..., and I happen to think it is right.

*Me*:
Very well put Sir...well put indeed. I could certainly argue it...but I won't. Wink There are two 'quotes' I'd respond with instead, that more or less mirror your sentiment that I've found quite applicable, in the same ways:

"...the problem is that most people, most of time, are desperate to believe ridiculous and divisive ideas, for patently emotional reasons..."

- Sam Harris

"...because people are mostly interested in having their biases confirmed and their values affirmed rather than learning new things about the world and how it works..."

- Kevin D. Williamson

Also...just for good measure, I found another quote that seemed very applicable, that for me (priding myself in being able to empathize and put myself in the place of others more effectively than most), really helps encapsulate some of the motivations involved, and why these 'issues' can be so divisive sometimes...

"...when we're arguing about teaching evolution in the schools, I would argue that we are really arguing about death. It seems to me, the only reason why any religious person cares about evolution, is because if their holy books are wrong about our origins, they are very likely wrong about our destiny after death. So when you say to someone, that "you're a fool for not believing in evolution" or "you're a fool for thinking our universe is six thousand years old", I think that gets translated as "you're a fool to think, that your daughter who died in a car accident, is really in heaven with God."...and that, is a very different communication. Before I can get to the end of this sentence, something unforeseen and terrible will happen to somebody somewhere, and we will read about it in the newspaper tomorrow. The question, is 'how can people close to these tragedies make sense of them?' - and religion provides an answer for that. It's an unjustified answer; it's a bad answer; it's an answer that comes with a host of other liabilities, because it has birthed many competing and irreconcilable answers, and therefore religious conflict and political tribalism seem impossible to overcome...but religion does provide an answer that most people think they need. The schism among secularists; the fact that so many people at this conference are regularly attacked for criticizing religion - follows from this point..."

- Sam Harris


*Reponder #2*:
Good points, and you touch on another belief system, not specifically named, that further misrepresents the Bible's author, namely, creationism... this, I think, is the catalyst for some doubting students of science to hold on to evolution.

*Me*:
Very true! That aside - if I'd left off the first half of the first sentence - this is why this quote speaks to me. Whether arguing evolution in schools, or 'general religion' in debate - it's the circumstance above that has been good for me to keep in mind...that 'Love' is one of the main driving forces in religious belief, and it's a very difficult aspect to carefully sidestep while keeping 'respect' intact... Short: No one can make someone love their deceased loved ones less (and arguably shouldn't even try) - and often this is at the core of someone's need to believe... Regardless of any feelings on religion - I certainly understand and believe in love - for those I love, and for all people everywhere...and it's something I wouldn't want to conquer, nor think it should be conquered, and that it would be catastrophic if it was conquered - and furthermost that it's a building block that humanity will need to survive, that indeed, religion is a huge player in propagating 'love' in the world (...of course, when it's not propagating molestation, manipulation, greed, tyranny, etc...lol - and of course "Fear" and "Grief" being the other two overall primary drivers, besides 'Love").

...Although "Wonderment" nor "Awe" makes this list, as answers are out there for MOST of the things that 'put people in awe' - these particular folks just don't have them yet, because they're out fishing, watching TV, or whatever else they've chosen to do with their time other than studying and building on the knowledge others HAVE INDEED already done.

You can't know something until you find out about it...and if you don't spend the time to do so, doesn't mean it hasn't been figured out already by someone who has. Transfer of information (especially of this kind) has YET to become effectively enabled - despite the ENORMOUS strides we've made in "information distribution"...

Apparently, ratings state that 'Housewives of New Jersey' or 'Americas Funniest Videos' is the kind of information people want distributed and prioritized - vs 'documentaries on the cosmos' - as well as the fact that many of the PHD's generating these studies and related knowledge - do not also have marketing degrees, talents for book writing, etc, etc...

Summary: even the science, history, and discovery channels host speakers that aren't actually the 'generators of knowledge'. If you really want to know - you'll need to look into areas that NBC/ABC/CBS/etc have all voted to be too boring, complex, or advanced for the masses of average TV viewers... To compound - all we know is that we get smarter as we go along. Light bulbs line a 50ft long shelf at HomeDepot - however these were just invented less than 200 years ago. It's the ego of humanity that seems to continue in the trend of thinking that "today is the day we know everything", and "people in the past were ignorant, while we today are smart". If this is how you believe - then sadly, you are part of the problem. We as a people were ignorant 200 years ago, and we'll be ignorant for another 200 more (ad infinatum) - and leaving this unrealized in trade for thinking that Netflix and iPads are the pinnacle of human knowledge development - is EXTREMELY folly. IF...once you can acknowledge the above...you can then also realize that the gods of our ancestors were present only to comfort our ignorance, and that we, as yet still developing intelligent species, still do the exact same thing (laid bare perfectly by obvious history) - as we are most certainly NOT finished learning, nor finished 'wanting' something to answer questions for us. The reality is that 'people' on the planet today, are still largely 'undeveloped' - and regardless of how smart many may feel we are - we are obviously still stuck in the same ruts inherited from our ancestors in these regards. It's an ugly truth - but the reality is that people (in general) still aren't to a collective level of intelligence to understand new advanced knowledge...and still do the exact same things our ancestors did - revert to a god explanation when they can't get a simple answer they can understand, from someone in their own trust circle. Once outside their individual social trust circle - only agreeable information is accepted.

I can't express how many times I've had religious people tell me "read this" or "look at that" or "hear this person speak" - while never intending on reciprocating effectively - and that's usually directly what it is - never even intending reciprocation...whether because they don't want to - or because they know as much as I do, that when they DO try, it usually takes about 15 mins for them to give up on even trying to understand the complexity of the information in front of them, and just recoil back into their simplicity... For example - which is easier: understanding meteorology...or believing god made it rain today? ...and it's well worth noting that until (professional) meteorologists showed they knew what they were talking about, and presented unavoidable and inarguable 'proof' they could track these probabilities - that prior to this, people were certain is was absolutely just god making it rain today... (*also note that these same people swapped their belief due to 'visible proof' - NOT because they now understand meteorology itself, any more than they did previously...). One day (hopefully) soon...even more undeniable truths will be presented in similar undeniable ways - just like it has progressively done over the last 2000 years.

Finally - I'd say that I'm NEVER actually 'opposing religious people' - and that IN FACT - I'm wanting the same thing they do...THE REALITY OF TRUTH.


*Reponder #2*:
If it is indeed truth one should not have to choose... my contention is that true science supports that it rains because of the science that was set in motion by an enormously intelligent and creative being who created man out of the quality of love that he himself has.

*Me*:
That's called the "God of the Gaps" approach (which, the 'gaps' continue to get smaller and smaller as time goes on)...which is where the 'gray' starts to take over... ..and truthfully can't be scientifically argued (just yet?). However, that's a bridge that can be crossed later...and I'd be more apt to concentrate on things much more able to be argued with info we have now...and that are much more worth arguing over (Catholicism 'imposing' bans on contraceptives in the name of 'God' in Africa [despite the AIDS epidemic]; extravagant neighborhood churches in obviously poor towns in America trading 'comforting conjecture' for money; etc...). I say, let's get past those, and the plethora of similarly 'humanesque' aspects of 'modern religion' - and maybe then we'll all be 'reasonable' enough to tackle the more 'scientific/frontier-esque' questions about 'God'... My thought is that we'll never get to those 'more real' questions, until we conquer the simpler ones that we haven't already...which until we do, we remain locked in a rather ill-fated condition of general ignorance and general dis-reason...

*I often feel that, less than an atheist (or even being concerned with what "I" am) - I'm just trying to be a referee between all the existing religions and their problems with each other...

--

"Why should they take offense that I don't believe in their god, or any other god? I'd say to them, 'Tell me the reasons you don't believe in all the other gods, and that's the reason I don't believe in yours'."

- Ricky Gervais


*Reponder #2*:
The Creator hates organized religion more than you do. He is waiting for his due time to fulfill his purpose of cleansing the earth of defilement and religion is at the top of the list...

*Me*:
I'd certainly join that team...if one day it proves itself to exist Wink

...As for now (as stated above), my 'outspoken' concerns are explicitly related to only:

1. Negative impacts of religion the world over.
2. Separation of church and state
3. Rampant (social, professional, and political) discrimination of non-believers
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24-08-2015, 09:38 PM (This post was last modified: 24-08-2015 09:47 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Bridging the Gaps...
You need to stick around here, for sure. That's an excellent argument, but you let the original responder get away with a lot of patently untrue things, like the list of unbelievers who wrote about Jesus. No one wrote about Jesus at his time, even his own followers didn't write about him until decades later, following the Roman destruction of the temple, and the non-Christian writers about him were not even close to being in his generation; it would be like me writing about the existence of a man who died in 1910, now, except that now we have average lifespans of 75+ years, and back then they did not, so even more generations had passed in the same time.

Goodwithoutgod is a user here who has a HUGE amount of information on that subject, and there are quite a few others as well. Kudos for being willing to take on their nonsense.

If you want to know more about how to refute the "intelligent design" crap they were pushing, I am a former biologist, and we have a couple of other biology degrees floating around here.

You held your own and I commend you for it, but you let a lot of stuff slide that will leave them convinced they "hit you with The Truth™ that you cannot deny", which is in a lot of ways counterproductive, and worse than not arguing with them at all.

I do love your comments about "yes, that is proof for every other religion, in exactly the same way".

Lee Strobel is an ass. He's a lawyer, and his books aren't even in the upper half of the bad apologist materials. I have one of his books, The Case for Faith, in the next room, sent to me by someone I was friends with. I asked them if they had read it and they said they had... I asked if they thought it was an accurate portrayal of their beliefs about the world, and they said it was... so I told them I couldn't be their friend anymore. I'm a pretty open-minded guy and engaged to be married to a Christian with whom I have been exclusive for a decade, to give you some idea of how bad Strobel is.

(Edited to correct a word-altering spelling error and some syntax.)

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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24-08-2015, 10:50 PM
RE: Bridging the Gaps...
Clarification:

I went and pulled Strobel's book from the shelf. He claims to be a "journalist" on the cover (the subtitle is "A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity"), not a lawyer, but in the book he talks a lot about law and courtroom level "evidence", and the back describes him as:

LEE STROBEL, a former atheist, holds a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School and was the award-winning legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. A former teaching pastor at two of America's largest churches, he is the author of numerous books, including The Case for a Creator and the Gold Medallion winners The Case for Christ and Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary. He and his wife live in California.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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25-08-2015, 01:42 AM
RE: Bridging the Gaps...
These fucking people... Dodgy

Where the fuck do they think they get these diseases from that their god supposedly saves them from? A lifetime of ignorance does not trump a moment of rational skepticism.

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25-08-2015, 02:03 AM
RE: Bridging the Gaps...
(24-08-2015 10:50 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Clarification:

I went and pulled Strobel's book from the shelf. He claims to be a "journalist" on the cover (the subtitle is "A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity"), not a lawyer, but in the book he talks a lot about law and courtroom level "evidence", and the back describes him as:

LEE STROBEL, a former atheist, holds a Master of Studies in Law from Yale Law School and was the award-winning legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. A former teaching pastor at two of America's largest churches, he is the author of numerous books, including The Case for a Creator and the Gold Medallion winners The Case for Christ and Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary. He and his wife live in California.

Thanks very much! Also, I'd already seen some GoodwithoutGod posts, and I totally went on a chase to see if it was actually Epstein, judging by the awesome input. I don't think it is?? ...but maybe?? heh...

Otherwise - thanks a mil for the feedback...most importantly your point about leaving parts out making it possibly more counterproductive than not arguing at all...that makes a dent for sure.

Thanks for the reference material and notations as well. ...After all - this is indeed a search for truth ("at any cost" and "pursuit of ideas for their own sake", as my ultimate hero used to say...RIP) - and I certainly don't want to undo myself by my very efforts to succeed...

I'll keep studying around in here; bound to pick up plenty. Thanks again for the feedback (I was convinced that I'd end up posting the wrong thing in the wrong place, or it was too long, or trolls would pounce...seeing your feedback was a really refreshing discovery, hehe...
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25-08-2015, 02:07 AM
RE: Bridging the Gaps...
There ain't really no wrong place - well, other that triple q posting his ludicrous tripe in the science section - and trolls get smacked up with alacrity. Thumbsup

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