Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
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25-06-2014, 01:51 PM
Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
The following is a re-post of part of a boxing ring match between myself and Mr. Jeremy E. Walker. I have re-posted it here in order to spark a groups discussion on the topics that Mr. Walker and I are already discussing.

The main topic that I want to discuss is the emotional component of belief. All of the apologists I have debated at least attempt the use of evidence and argument (more so the latter), but those are not what convinced them to accept Christianity to begin with. When it comes right down to it, all of them were convinced by their own emotional needs and fears. Whether it be a desire to achieve promised rewards of peace and fulfillment, to avoid fabled punishments they fear, or the utter inability to mentally and emotionally picture a world devoid of supernatural explanations, it is all to do with emotion.

I am looking forward to reading your comments and criticisms.

When I asked him what arguments or evidence convinced him to become a Christian and abandon his former Agnostic Atheism he gave the following response.

Quote:Coming to a point in my life where I was convinced that I could no longer live without having an assurance about the veracity of my worldview.

I realized that each day that was passing was a day that I would never see again. That each moment that passed was irretrievable. Days became weeks and weeks became months and months became years and I searched for truth in many places. I became convinced that my worldview must be based on truth because up to that point I lived solely according to the dictates of my desires. So when my desires changed, I fell in line with them. My desire had now become one of wanting to know what was true. So I ordered my life around this pursuit.

This is how the process began. My mind did not change until I began entertaining the idea that God might actually exist. I assumed that I and the world in which I lived had an explanation. M-Theory, commonly referred to as String Theory was fascinating to me as a possible explanation. I studied the theories of physicists for a while but I noticed they would always say things like "maybe" or "it is possible that" or "if" or "it seems". They never really seemed "sure" of the theories they talked about.

My mind changed when I became convicted of the things I had done in my life and the way I had been living. I became convinced that the way I was living and thinking was not in accordance with truth and it was at this point that I became willing to abandon the way I was living, my views, and even my life so that I could obtain the truth. Only after my will became free was I able to choose to act on what I had already known about what Christ had taught.

So there was no argument or evidence that caused me to change my mind. I went from being an atheist to a Christian after my desires changed. When my desires changed, I simply acted on what I already knew and followed Christ's instructions and received what He promised.

Before knowing Christ, I had experienced and obtained all that I thought would fulfill me, and found myself paradoxically more unfulfilled than ever before. This drove me to search for truth for I determined that having truth would make it possible for me to know if there was that which could truly fulfill me or if I was destined to meander through life seeking fulfillment in mirages and illusions that could never really fulfill.

I gave the following in response to his post.

Quote:You and I share some characteristics. It is vital to me that I live my life with as much truthful information as I can. It would be such a shame for me to waste my life on ideas and pursuits that have no basis in fact. My limited time alive is so very precious to me, even more so recently. I share your desire for a sense of purpose and fulfillment in my life.

With so much in common it is almost bizarre that we have such different beliefs and values, but I think I might know why. We both have access to the same information, so this isn't a matter of one of us being more educated and informed than the other. It all comes down to the choices we make. You made the decision to become a Christian without any critical inquiry on the sole basis that it fulfilled your personal quest for emotional fulfillment, purpose, and "the truth". The irony is that the very same inadequacies natural to scientists are also present in religious leaders, preachers, and gurus. This is why there is Epistemology to begin with. We as human beings are only partly rational and have a tendency to make mistakes. Religion is anything but exempt from this. Religion doesn't offer knowledge, it offers belief without knowledge for its own sake. In the end it comes down to the needs and insecurities of the believer. After an early life "lived solely according to the dictates of my desires" I am skeptical that anything has really changed deep down for you personally.

Why does it matter to live based on evidence, logic, and reason? The short answer is that we make real progress as a species. We invent new technologies to improve the quality of our lives. We discover new worlds and satisfy our curiosity about the universe. We learn more about what we value and what makes us happy together. We have an opportunity to experience the journey of this life with at a bare minimum the certainty that comes from evidence and skepticism. What mistakes we do make, we can learn to correct. Others we may yet prevent. We each have to make a private choice. Do we want to be right some of the time and face the unknown with courage, or do we want to be wrong all of the time by believing fables and stories we invent out of fear and a longing to know.

My own experience living without belief in god or religion is very different than what you describe in your early life. I don't simply wander around doing exactly what I please. I have my own personal set of moral values which I use as a tool to help build fulfilling relationships with the people around me. I don't see the lack of evidence for god as a license to ignore the needs of others. It offends me when people ask me why I don't behave immorally or dishonestly without the possibility of a celestial punishment. I think that in order to grow up as a species we need to throw off the suspiciously parental ideas of god by taking independent responsibility for our actions.

Your search for "the truth" is an impossibility. You have expectations of science that are not considerate of the process and that cannot be satisfied. There are still glaring gaps in human knowledge. I think you could safely say that all we have learned is the depth of our current ignorance. The appeal to you of Christianity is a much too obvious emotional solution for your uncomfortable attitude towards the unknown, which all humans share with you. The price we pay for collectively deciding that religion has already provided all the answers we could ever need or want is that we forfeit all progress and discovery from here on out. Perhaps we would regress to a state where once again we believe sickness is due to demonic possession and not to microscopic bacteria. How many such discoveries would not have been possible without further inquiry than the pages of the bible?

The price of converting yourself is a surrender of your unique value. You expressed a willingness to give up your past life, your personal views, even your life in its entirety. For what? For a chance to be a slave to a supernatural being who hasn't even been proven to exist at all. You are so deeply converted in this way that when questioned about it you express only a desire to continue your servitude. You praise your master and his supposed goals and actions as if they are all that truly matter to you. You describe this ultimate surrender as "free will" which literally makes me want to cry. Not for you (I can at least muster the respect necessary not to condescend and pity you), but for those who are indoctrinated to think this way while they are young, who will not be offered the opportunity to choose as you did.

I don't respect your faith. I don't respect why you chose it. The only things I can respect are you as a human being, with everything that entails, and your right to believe whatever you wish. Your freedom to hold faith is my freedom to obstain. However, I respect your efforts of evangelism even less than your beliefs themselves. You have often been accused of approaching the discussion on false premises. I think now I understand why. You often present what you consider evidence and logical argument as a means of vindicating your religion. You know enough about Atheists to know that they respect real evidence and reason, so you don't bother with the emotional angle that is actually the entire reason for your faith to begin with. You present "proofs" and "logic" that defy gravity in their attempt at acrobatic explanation, yet lack the core of facts to really make a difference. After learning more about you, I am inclined to agree with some of my fellows. You are not being honest with us.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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25-06-2014, 02:06 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
M-theory is only a particular formulation of a subset of string theory, and oh god why am I bothering to note JEW's complete ignorance yet again...

I also like the part where his faith journey has apparently gone from such beginnings as "I'm unsatisfied with actual science, as it does not claim to know things with absolute certainty" all the way to such destinations as "rape is okay if they deserve it".

But enough about the poor guy.

I think that's a sentiment a lot of us have seen before. The church of "wouldn't it be nice". Very fallaciously consequential, of course; "I like the idea, therefore it's true". Or, "unless X were true, I would be sad, therefore X is true".

I just wish such people would be honest enough with themselves and others not to regurgitate so many idiotic and flawed "proofs" of something they'll ultimately admit are ineffective and immaterial.

... this is my signature!
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25-06-2014, 02:57 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
I understand people who believe because their parents, and their neighbors, and their church leaders believe. I understand and appreciate how it is possible for a person to be unable to consider the alternative because it would mean the complete collapse of their entire worldview. For some people imagining a world without god is like imagining sight for a bland person. I understand why these people continue to believe despite all evidence to the contrary.

I do not understand people who believe out of fear. It is utterly, completely, unrepentantly pathetic. People who lack the fortitude to see the world for what it really is will get none of my sympathy and deserve no one elses. It is the childhood equivalent of hiding your head under the covers in the hopes that the monsters will go away. This kind of willful, weak spirited, and spineless delusion completely disgusts me. I don't understand, or maybe I do, but I got over it a long time ago like everyone else that has the courage to face the world for what it really is.

I fly into a rage just thinking about it. I just want to grab them around the neck and slap them until they grow the fuck up.
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25-06-2014, 03:11 PM (This post was last modified: 26-06-2014 12:32 AM by pablo.)
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
Jer Wrote:
Quote: I studied the theories of physicists for a while but I noticed they would always say things like "maybe" or "it is possible that" or "if" or "it seems". They never really seemed "sure" of the theories they talked about.

The reason science uses terms like these is because they are not lying to you. They are not making things up to make themselves look good or, to convince you of anything.
It does not mean that they couldn't know in the future or, that they are not working toward an answer.

Religion likes to say they know things with absolute certainty when, if fact, they do not.
Claiming to "know because god did it" is not certainty. It is a weak attempt to explain things they do not understand.

If you'd rather be lied to so you can feel better about your life, then religion is the way to go.
If you want rational explanations, go with science.
If you want 100% certainty in your life, it will never happen. ETA: I'm 99.99% certain it will never happen.
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25-06-2014, 04:03 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
Totally aree it is all driven by emotional needs and satisfaction. When you need something so bad, you want it to be true so bad. To me, the religious view provides a nice package of various cures for all of one's ailments and stresses. It is like an app store for life: need to feel special - there's an app for that; need to know why people suffer - app for that; need to have guidance - app for that; death too scary - app for that too!

I am always wondering why it is not as obvious to the believer, when they describe their reasons and journey to faith. Listen to yourself and just be honest and leave all the science bashing out of the discussion.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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25-06-2014, 05:00 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
Attempting to show a belief to be false by appealing to how it originated is to commit the genetic fallacy.

Christians may believe in God for any number of reasons, fear, love, adoration, some fulfillment of emotional need.

But appealing to how the belief in God originated to argue that it is false is a genetic fallacy.
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25-06-2014, 05:14 PM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2014 05:39 PM by Taqiyya Mockingbird.)
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
(25-06-2014 05:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  Attempting to show a belief to be false by appealing to how it originated is to commit the genetic fallacy.

Says the asshole who commits every fallacy in the book INTENTIONALLY, hoping no one will notice.

DP is analyzing HOW you got to your batshit-crazy position, not claiming that your batshit-crazy position is false SOLELY because of how you got there.


Quote:Christians may believe in God for any number of reasons, fear, love, adoration, some fulfillment of emotional need.

But appealing to how the belief in God originated to argue that it is false is a genetic fallacy.

IT does much to explain why you hang on to what is clearly superstitious bullshit. It's sure ain't because you got there by sound reasoning.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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25-06-2014, 05:46 PM (This post was last modified: 25-06-2014 05:53 PM by Luminon.)
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
Good response. Disciplined.
In my life, I have experienced this thing called God's love, that Christians speak of. And quite regularly for a long time. Maybe it was a annual "bipolar" episode, whatever that means, for all I know? But it was totally content-free, dogma-free, theology-free. So I know that people can have transcendent and mystical experience of love that change their life, without adopting iron age Palestinian mythology. Such experiences come with no historical strings attached!

Why does it matter to live based on evidence, logic, and reason? The shorter answer is, only such things have existence. Everything else is either an unknown and unnamed thing, or a fairy-tale scenario, with changing actors.

Yes, faith is a lapse in honesty. Yet I find JEW difficult to judge. With my mystical experiences, I would in theory fit the Christian rules, even though I refuse to go through the official hoops. If I was an entirely honest Christian, which I in theory may be, I must say there are things difficult to know and name. To talk about these things is to express them inadequately - and thus create an idol. I can understand this religious rule, why to say "God" is blasphemy or why making a graven image is idolatry. These deep experiences are so indescribable, that expressing them only blocks access to them. That's why Christians are supposed to pray in private...

On the other hand, the rule of logic and reason is no different in its demands for honesty. Just as we are supposed to keep silent about things we can't express honestly, we are supposed to talk logic and reason in the public. (not absolutely I hope, I sometimes break both)
I have found that the pursuit of logic and reason with absolute honesty had put me at odds with the societal and cultural rules, even with my own family. Logic and reason is not just that thing that we use to invent iPods and get videos from Mars. It's also the thing we can use to judge our own parents, by honestly saying what is our experience of life with them and never denying reality of this experience. We must respect our empirical experience of authorities more than cultural standards of respect towards authorities. Then I will believe we value reason and logic more than faith.
Until then I will think that most of the self-proclaimed skeptics of today are iPod listeners and Mars video-watchers, the same way that Christians are blasphemers and idol worshipers, neither truly living up to their own standards. And that is all right - we all have to start somehow! After all, loss of one belief is all the minimum difference between a Christian and an atheist.

Now that I look at it, this post must insult everyone equally, atheists and Christians Sad I'm not sure if it gives sense to anyone else, or if I get complaints Bechased
My inner Deepak Chopra is verbose today.
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25-06-2014, 05:55 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
(25-06-2014 05:00 PM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  Attempting to show a belief to be false by appealing to how it originated is to commit the genetic fallacy.

Christians may believe in God for any number of reasons, fear, love, adoration, some fulfillment of emotional need.

But appealing to how the belief in God originated to argue that it is false is a genetic fallacy.

I disagree. If the basis of your faith is, "jesus said or did such and such", and then I ask, how do you know, and you reply, "because in the bible it says it in blah blah:14". Then the natural question is how do we know that is true? who wrote that? who was the witness that jesus said this or did this? uhoh, wait a minute, the guy who wrote that down wasnt even alive when this happened. SO that means the basis of your faith is belief that something happened, or an alleged son of god said blah blah blah but upon close inspection that isn't true...thus the faith is based on an allegorical writing. Which is fine, but then don't make a knowledge claim by saying this is the irrefutable truth when it is just a story.

SO the question is Why do you have faith.... Preconditions of intelligibility? Cosmological argument? Argument from design/complexity? etc etc if you say you believe because the bible says so, that is pretty weak for the basis of ones faith ESPECIALLY when you consider all writings of jesus are based on heresay, written by people who didnt know jesus, and who waited 200ish years on average to write about it.....

but i digress

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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25-06-2014, 06:18 PM
RE: Mr. Walker and The Dark Phoenix: The Emotional Factor
(25-06-2014 05:46 PM)Luminon Wrote:  My inner Deepak Chopra is verbose today.

And what is the fucking change?

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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