Greeting from a Christian
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28-02-2013, 05:43 PM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 03:43 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  A bit, but not to my satisfaction. So, I'll ask a bit more if you'll indulge me Big Grin :

Do you recall when you began relying on this "easier path" to knowledge? Do you recall why? To what aspects of your life do you apply it? Are you satisfied with the answers you believe it gives you? Why?

Also, and perhaps more importantly, how does it work?
Sorry, I was unclear: I meant "hard" as in "hard science" as opposed to "soft", not as opposed to "easy". I'm not sure I can recall when I "began" this kind of thinking, as if I had previously only thought in terms of scientific inquiry. If anything, I have gotten more skeptical as I've grown older.
(28-02-2013 04:17 PM)Vosur Wrote:  Now I'm curious:
1. How did you expect me to answer your question?
2. Do you want me to elaborate on the reasoning behind my response or are you satisfied with "no"?
1. I don't think I had an expectation. That was why I asked.
2. No, that's fine.
(28-02-2013 04:55 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Ditto, my fine young German friend. If anything I'd go even further and say that even if I knew for sure supernatural entities existed, I still wouldn't live any different.
I would say it depends on the entity. Deism carries few (if any) implications for how you live; most religions carry many.
(28-02-2013 04:55 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Aye, thar's the rub, DeathMatch. For me it is based on that exclusively. That's the fundamental difference between us. And it ain't as large a gulf as we tend to make it out to be. Many atheists prefer to discover, develop, and refine their own moral and ethical code instead of blindly following some herd mentality or groupthink. In the end, our systems tend to converge more than diverge and the atheist has the satisfaction of knowing they are following their own individualized code for all the right reasons, the Christian has to trust that the moral and ethical code spoon fed to them by the Church is sound. That said, the Red Letters of the New Testament had a profound influence on Girly's code, every bit as much as the nihilists and existentialists and rationalists. I just think that Christianity totally misses the point of The Word. Dude was showing me how to be my own personal Jeebus, how to save myself.
Yeah, I wouldn't describe my approach to morality as "groupthink" or "spoonfeeding". Christian ethics aren't as much about what to do as they are about who to be, and what to value. There is exploration and critical thinking involved. Christians who don't appreciate this are, in my view, cheating themselves.

"Know that we own minds that could devour the sun/And what we've done will remain although it's gone" - Scar Symmetry
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28-02-2013, 06:00 PM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 05:43 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  
(28-02-2013 03:43 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  A bit, but not to my satisfaction. So, I'll ask a bit more if you'll indulge me Big Grin :

Do you recall when you began relying on this "easier path" to knowledge? Do you recall why? To what aspects of your life do you apply it? Are you satisfied with the answers you believe it gives you? Why?

Also, and perhaps more importantly, how does it work?
Sorry, I was unclear: I meant "hard" as in "hard science" as opposed to "soft", not as opposed to "easy". I'm not sure I can recall when I "began" this kind of thinking, as if I had previously only thought in terms of scientific inquiry. If anything, I have gotten more skeptical as I've grown older.

Well, OK. But, how does it work as a means of acquiring knowledge? What knowledge have you acquired through it?

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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28-02-2013, 06:50 PM (This post was last modified: 28-02-2013 07:07 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 05:43 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  
(28-02-2013 04:55 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Ditto, my fine young German friend. If anything I'd go even further and say that even if I knew for sure supernatural entities existed, I still wouldn't live any different.
I would say it depends on the entity. Deism carries few (if any) implications for how you live; most religions carry many.

I can't see how "My Own Personal Jesus" can be any clearer.

(28-02-2013 05:43 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  Yeah, I wouldn't describe my approach to morality as "groupthink" or "spoonfeeding". Christian ethics aren't as much about what to do as they are about who to be, and what to value.

I'm an atheist, with a moral and ethical code I developed and continue to refine for myself, albeit with a little help from my friends. The Christ included.

(28-02-2013 05:43 PM)DarthMarth Wrote:  There is exploration and critical thinking involved. Christians who don't appreciate this are, in my view, cheating themselves.

People who don't appreciate this are cheating themselves. We start from a different basis, MarchOfTears. You see the promise of a postmortem preservation of identity as a self-evident premise. Girly don't even admit his own existence as a self-evident premise. I'm working from a clean slate, you're not. ... You accept some spoonfeeding I don't. I mean I got that spoonfeeding from K-9 in a parochial Lutheran school, but a little ipecac in the form of reason was enough to purge me of it.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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28-02-2013, 07:09 PM (This post was last modified: 28-02-2013 07:34 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Greeting from a Christian
There is no real set or group of ideas whcih can be called "Christian Ethics". People who call themselves Christians have codes, and the last time I looked, no one had ever polled any of them. There are 55,000 Christian cults/sects, and they all think they are the correct one. 99.9 % of the adherents of these cults know virtually nothing about the actual history of their cults. 50 % of Lutherans cannot say who Martin Luther was, (according to the Pew Research Poll). 50 % of Catholics cannot correctly state what their church means by "transubstantiation". In fact there are as many sets of "Christian Ethics" as there are Christians, so it's really a meaningless term. There is no significant element of "Christian Ethics" which is not a part of culture. It's the same fallacy of the Bible "speaking to culture", when in fact scholars find it was from the current general culture that every single element in the Bible came from. There is nothing unique about Biblcal concepts, "ethics", or "Christian" ethics. In fact a case can be made that the currect "god is love" business is more a product of Hollywood than the gods. The ethic, as preached by the Ancient Near Eastern Apocalyptic, (Yeshua ben Josef), was radical, (as he thought the end was immanent, as did most of the Apocalyptics of his day), and practiced by virtually none of those, who today, call themselves "Christians".

Actually the general underlying "ethic" of most Christians is rather horrific, i.e. an ancient pissed-off deity REQUIRED his son to die, so he could feel better, (ie the "salvation" paradigm), and thus make humanity better. Of course there is not a shred of evidence that "Christian" cultures are any better or in any way more "humane" or enlightened than those who aren't, so apparently it didn't "take". But then Jebus never preached "salvation" or that he was or meant to be the content of his belief system. That was all cooked up in the years after he was executed, for causing his ruckus in the temple.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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28-02-2013, 07:34 PM (This post was last modified: 28-02-2013 07:38 PM by Lion IRC.)
RE: Greeting from a Christian
...yes, I am a Christian. I was considering keeping my beliefs a secret as I explored this forum, but that would have been dishonest.

...What is a Christian doing on a forum for atheists?

...Well, I learned about TTA by reading Seth Andrews' new book and decided to check it out.

...Why was I reading Seth Andrews' book? Because I've had serious doubts and questions about Christianity myself, the kind that probably led many of you to reject your faith.

...decided to read Deconverted (and also Godless) both to look for why this was so--how my story differed from Seth Andrews' or Dan Barker's

...as well as to gain a better firsthand understanding of some prominent atheists' perspectives.

...the books were challenging and eye-opening.

...I realized just how hollow and wooden so many Christian apologetic arguments, birthed and grown in the echo chamber of the "Christian bubble", must sound to skeptics.

...I realized just how badly Christianity at large is failing both at answering honest doubts and questions in the church

...engaging in real dialog (not debates and conversion attempts) with the growing atheist community.

...I don't consider myself some kind of "ambassador" of Christianity, and certainly not a missionary.

...I'm not here to argue or try to convince anyone to "see the light".

...I'm just here to talk, listen, and, hopefully, to understand better

...if you'll have me.



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Near , DLJ , GirlyMan , morondog , Anjele , Cardinal Smurf , bemore , EvolutionKills , Aseptic Skeptic , Vosur

Greetings DarthMarth. You will be very welcome here indeed!
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28-02-2013, 07:36 PM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 07:34 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(27-02-2013 11:53 AM)DarthMarth Wrote:  ...yes, I am a Christian. I was considering keeping my beliefs a secret as I explored this forum, but that would have been dishonest.

...What is a Christian doing on a forum for atheists?

...Well, I learned about TTA by reading Seth Andrews' new book and decided to check it out.

...Why was I reading Seth Andrews' book? Because I've had serious doubts and questions about Christianity myself, the kind that probably led many of you to reject your faith.

...decided to read Deconverted (and also Godless) both to look for why this was so--how my story differed from Seth Andrews' or Dan Barker's

...as well as to gain a better firsthand understanding of some prominent atheists' perspectives.

...the books were challenging and eye-opening.

...I realized just how hollow and wooden so many Christian apologetic arguments, birthed and grown in the echo chamber of the "Christian bubble", must sound to skeptics.

...I realized just how badly Christianity at large is failing both at answering honest doubts and questions in the church

...engaging in real dialog (not debates and conversion attempts) with the growing atheist community.

...I don't consider myself some kind of "ambassador" of Christianity, and certainly not a missionary.

...I'm not here to argue or try to convince anyone to "see the light".

...I'm just here to talk, listen, and, hopefully, to understand better

...if you'll have me.

The following 10 users Like DarthMarth's post:
Near , DLJ , GirlyMan , morondog , Anjele , Cardinal Smurf , bemore , EvolutionKills , Aseptic Skeptic , Vosur

Greetings DarthMarth. You will be very welcome here indeed!

Hey Pussy Cat IRC. Ever gonna get us that "evidence" ?
(I think you have a twin here. Her name is PleaseJebus).

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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28-02-2013, 07:50 PM (This post was last modified: 28-02-2013 08:19 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 07:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  But then Jebus never preached "salvation" or that he was or meant to be the content of his belief system. That was all cooked up in the years after he was executed, for causing his ruckus in the temple.

Dude actually was showing how to be the content of my own belief system, Fullerene, just not yours ... Thumbsup ...We all find our own way fuckers, it's kinda like obligatory for even fucking being.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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28-02-2013, 10:24 PM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
Ooh! I knew what transubstantiation was without using Google...as a lapsed Catholic, I know more about the faith than the half the active Catholics currently waiting for the white smoke.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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01-03-2013, 12:46 AM
Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 10:24 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Ooh! I knew what transubstantiation was without using Google...as a lapsed Catholic, I know more about the faith than the half the active Catholics currently waiting for the white smoke.

And I knew what it was because I learned it from PZ Myers...an atheist. He rally showed that cracker who was boss.

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
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01-03-2013, 10:59 AM
RE: Greeting from a Christian
(28-02-2013 06:00 PM)Cardinal Smurf Wrote:  Well, OK. But, how does it work as a means of acquiring knowledge? What knowledge have you acquired through it?
Well, it's more holistic than the "look at each piece of evidence and construct a rational argument for your theory" approach. For example, I identified seven pieces of evidence of why I believe in God:


1. The existence of something rather than nothing.
2. The ordered nature of, well, nature/its explainability with mathematical laws and human thinking.
3. All the unlikely chances that led to our existence (both abiogenesis and the "fine tuning" of physical constants that allowed the universe to develop as it did).
4. The existence of a moral law external to ourselves (obviously you will dispute this).
5. Human consciousness.
6. The nature of the Bible--from my studies of it I feel that it can't just be a human invention. (This is obviously subjective).
7. The historical evidence for Jesus and the origins of the Christian church (yes, it's possible to argue convincingly against the historicity of Jesus, but I have also seen that it's possible to argue convincingly for it).

Obviously these are at least as much philosophical as scientific and highly subject to interpretation and many well-known atheists have debunked most, if not all, of these at some point. You probably each have your own reasons for why each of these points is not true or doesn't constitute real evidence for God; for most of them, I could provide my own if I wanted to. But that is not how I see them, even if it is how others do. You could say I "want to believe" and so I "see" God in these things; it's highly intuitive and not unbiased.

And before you start them, no, I am not terribly interested in getting into seven separate debates, one on each reason. I'm not expecting you to be convinced by them, only to understand how I don't see my belief as "blind faith with no evidence".
(28-02-2013 07:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  There is no real set or group of ideas whcih can be called "Christian Ethics". People who call themselves Christians have codes, and the last time I looked, no one had ever polled any of them. There are 55,000 Christian cults/sects, and they all think they are the correct one. 99.9 % of the adherents of these cults know virtually nothing about the actual history of their cults. 50 % of Lutherans cannot say who Martin Luther was, (according to the Pew Research Poll). 50 % of Catholics cannot correctly state what their church means by "transubstantiation". In fact there are as many sets of "Christian Ethics" as there are Christians, so it's really a meaningless term. There is no significant element of "Christian Ethics" which is not a part of culture. It's the same fallacy of the Bible "speaking to culture", when in fact scholars find it was from the current general culture that every single element in the Bible came from. There is nothing unique about Biblcal concepts, "ethics", or "Christian" ethics. In fact a case can be made that the currect "god is love" business is more a product of Hollywood than the gods. The ethic, as preached by the Ancient Near Eastern Apocalyptic, (Yeshua ben Josef), was radical, (as he thought the end was immanent, as did most of the Apocalyptics of his day), and practiced by virtually none of those, who today, call themselves "Christians".
Does the hypocrisy and ignorance of people who claim to adhere to "Christian ethics" mean that they don't exist? I don't think so any more than I think humanity's continuing inability to find the "right" form of government means we should give up on political philosophy. I believe the driving force behind how Christians live is not doctrinal arguments but the unchanging nature of God (admittedly not the best parallel with political philosophy). It's because this system is seen as deriving from a being who is greater and more complex than humans that Christian ethics are able to be applied today just as much as they were 2000 years ago (and also why no one can quite seem to agree on them). You may recoil at the idea of an ethical system that can't be fully explained or understood; I won't stop you, but I prefer exploring it to building my own system from the ground up. Both exploring and building require critical thinking and a healthy dose of skepticism, and neither guarantee that everyone will come to the same conclusions.
(28-02-2013 07:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Actually the general underlying "ethic" of most Christians is rather horrific, i.e. an ancient pissed-off deity REQUIRED his son to die, so he could feel better, (ie the "salvation" paradigm), and thus make humanity better.
This is a bit of a caricature of the "penal substitution" view, which is not the only paradigm for salvation, or the first. It's actually one of the more recent ones, largely codified in the 16th century by John Calvin, who, being a former lawyer, gave it a very legal tone that resonates in modern, western culture but was foreign to the 1st century.
(28-02-2013 07:09 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Of course there is not a shred of evidence that "Christian" cultures are any better or in any way more "humane" or enlightened than those who aren't, so apparently it didn't "take". But then Jebus never preached "salvation" or that he was or meant to be the content of his belief system. That was all cooked up in the years after he was executed, for causing his ruckus in the temple.
I don't think there are any "Christian" cultures, at least not on a large scale. The closest thing to a counterexample would probably be the early church, which grew explosively among the underclasses of the Romans empire because it was willing to treat the poor, the underprivileged, and the oppressed like actual human beings when no one else would. They saw this as a direct application of the teachings of Jesus. When Constantine adopted Christianity as the religion of the empire, it started growing more all over the social ladder, but now people started calling themselves "Christians" because their liegelord converted or the like rather than a personal conversion.

Actually, I think that "Christian" cultures are, in a sense, self-defeating. Once a culture is explicitly identified as "Christian", people in it will start considering themselves to be "saved" Christians because of where or to whom they were born, or (more recently) because they read Christian books and listen to Christian music and eat Christian breath mints instead of holding a personal belief that actually affects how they live. I'm sure this is the kind of church culture that many of you grew up in and left behind.

"Know that we own minds that could devour the sun/And what we've done will remain although it's gone" - Scar Symmetry
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