Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
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26-02-2017, 01:09 PM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(13-02-2017 11:57 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  That's the thing right... it's seemingly often assumed that God is going to keep its word. Why would we assume that? Based on the fact that it is clearly salivating over torturing helpless beings for the most bizarre of reasons, and in fact writes a book so that it's impossible not to break its rules, I trust it as far as I can throw it.

Robvalue, this reminds me of this rather interesting video (might've been posted here already). In my absolutely lay (ha!) opinion, since religion is basically a comfort object (it might've been a means of explaining the world once, but only the most ignorant would claim it can serve as one nowadays), it makes sense that we'd choose a cute fluffy stuffed toy and not the putrid, maggot-infeste corpse of a rat, so we choose a good, all-loving, benevolent god and not an evil one.





Also (because why the hell not): “It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama. (Richard Feynman)

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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26-02-2017, 03:26 PM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(26-02-2017 09:11 AM)mordant Wrote:  
(25-02-2017 11:03 PM)Alla Wrote:  I don't know. May be because Muslim terrorists kill in the name of Allah and because it is their holly war against infidels?
Why do Christian terrorists kill?
The thing that makes Muslims easier to caricature is the middle-eastern garb and overtly different culture and religion and language (when it happens in the Islamic world) or the frightening covert nature of this alien ideology popping up in the West (when it happens in the West). When someone who both looks and generally believes like you and has a similar background does something evil, it makes more sense to say, well, he's not REALLY like me. It protects YOU and YOUR ideology. But when they are of an ALIEN religion, then it's easier to point at them and say, look how scary and evil and different that person was, we need to Do Something about this existential threat to OUR way of life.

So the only difference between a fundamentalist extremist bombing an abortion clinic or shooting an abortion doctor, and some guy born in Somalia doing it while shouting Allahu akbar, is the (dis)similarity to the dominant majority religion in the surrounding culture.

Of course that also prompts the Muslim to generally pick different targets, but in principle, a Muslim would be just as opposed to abortion. It just happens to not be a battle they pick. Sometimes I wish just once a Muslim would pick an abortion clinic to attack so we could watch the anti-abortion activists practically kill themselves not to publicly gloat over the Muslim being used as an instrument of god's judgment.

I totally agree with your arguments. Did I tell you already that I enjoy reading your intelligent and thoughtful posts?

I believe that those who kill in the name of Allah are Muslims.
I believe that those who bomb abortion clinic because of their Christian believes are Christians.
But the world has a problem. Many Muslims believe that Allah wants them to kill infidels.

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26-02-2017, 03:53 PM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(26-02-2017 03:26 PM)Alla Wrote:  But the world has a problem. Many Muslims believe that Allah wants them to kill infidels.
At various times in various places, Christians believed Jehovah / Jesus wanted them to kill infidels (the Crusades, the Inquisition).

Even if they don't want to violate their carefully constructed self-image by explicitly saying so nowadays, it is hard to escape the impression that they secretly wish they could just kill infidels. At least the fundamentalists. Look at how readily they embrace the self-ratifying nonsense that poor people are mostly poor because they are lazy and/or undeserving. Look at how eager they are to judge, otherize and condemn. Look at how, in their world, god's wrath is pervasive and his love confined pretty much to foregoing his wrath if you grovel before him.
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26-02-2017, 04:19 PM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(26-02-2017 03:53 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(26-02-2017 03:26 PM)Alla Wrote:  But the world has a problem. Many Muslims believe that Allah wants them to kill infidels.
At various times in various places, Christians believed Jehovah / Jesus wanted them to kill infidels (the Crusades, the Inquisition).

Even if they don't want to violate their carefully constructed self-image by explicitly saying so nowadays, it is hard to escape the impression that they secretly wish they could just kill infidels. At least the fundamentalists. Look at how readily they embrace the self-ratifying nonsense that poor people are mostly poor because they are lazy and/or undeserving. Look at how eager they are to judge, otherize and condemn. Look at how, in their world, god's wrath is pervasive and his love confined pretty much to foregoing his wrath if you grovel before him.

Oh, I totally can agree with you. But I probably should say that the problem that many Muslims not only believe this they actually kill thousands now.

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28-02-2017, 05:41 AM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(26-02-2017 01:09 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(13-02-2017 11:57 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  That's the thing right... it's seemingly often assumed that God is going to keep its word. Why would we assume that? Based on the fact that it is clearly salivating over torturing helpless beings for the most bizarre of reasons, and in fact writes a book so that it's impossible not to break its rules, I trust it as far as I can throw it.

Robvalue, this reminds me of this rather interesting video (might've been posted here already). In my absolutely lay (ha!) opinion, since religion is basically a comfort object (it might've been a means of explaining the world once, but only the most ignorant would claim it can serve as one nowadays), it makes sense that we'd choose a cute fluffy stuffed toy and not the putrid, maggot-infeste corpse of a rat, so we choose a good, all-loving, benevolent god and not an evil one.





Also (because why the hell not): “It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama. (Richard Feynman)

Just checked out this video. Really enjoyed it, thanks! A very interesting take on things. I hadn't thought about the flip-side quite like that. It shows that an evil and a good god end up being the same if they remove all of their responsibility.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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28-02-2017, 06:41 AM
RE: Something I've Noticed When Debating Theists
(28-02-2017 05:41 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Just checked out this video. Really enjoyed it, thanks! A very interesting take on things. I hadn't thought about the flip-side quite like that. It shows that an evil and a good god end up being the same if they remove all of their responsibility.

It is, isn't? But just try to ask a religious person to watch it with an open mind and consider it seriously and see what happens. Like I said, religion is the ultimate safety blanket (and its wearers are completely unaware it's actually straitjacket. And not just for the body, but for the mind as well. And the saddest part is, it's been strangling not just individuals, but humanity as a whole, for a long long time. But that's about to finally change Yes )

There's an interesting article by the rather good Godless in Dixie, about simething similar: "If whatever God does is good, then you can justify absolutely anything."

William Lane Craig famously argued that God was acting in mercy when he commanded the execution of those children because they would have grown up to be something awful, like child-sacrificers (Killing babies to appease a god? Anybody besides me see the irony there?) Craig went on to theorize that this was okay because these children would have gone directly to heaven when they died since they had not yet reached the age of accountability (still waiting to hear which Bible verse teaches that, btw). By this logic one could construct a justification for abortion which would make the typical evangelical sick to her stomach.
In the end it was a belief in Hell which enabled our Sunday School teacher to accept this story at face value because, as he reasoned, if God’s just gonna punish everyone who disobeys him someday anyway, then this mere physical destruction pales in comparison. He had a good point. In the end, the doctrine of Hell justifies absolutely any injustice we could imagine.

[...]

Not too long ago I read a comment from a woman attempting to reconcile a high view of inspiration with an acknowledgement of the obvious brutality of this story. She began by saying that God can kill anybody he wants because, you know, that’s one of the perks of being in charge of all things. He makes the rules.
But then two sentences later she turned around and suggested that those were “different times” and that it is hard for people today to conceive of how violent and brutish life was back then. In other words, don’t blame God for their brutality; that’s just how ancient tribes rolled.
Bless her heart, she can’t seem to make up her mind about who exactly is to blame for this atrocity. If you credit the Hebrews for this action, you’ve just admitted the Bible incorrectly attributed the decision to Yahweh. But if you credit God, you are stuck trying to justify the actions of a divine monster. Perhaps she is trying to argue that God behaved differently back then because it was a different time? Did he grow up and mature out of the temper tantrum phase?

Another great irony is that these same people have a habit of telling people like me that ethics without (their specific) God leads to moral relativism. But when I survey atheists I can’t find any who believe you can morally justify the kind of ethnic cleansing this story represents. I’ve never had one even try. They seem unanimous.* But then if I put five Christians in a room and ask them the same question, I will likely get five different answers even though they’re all working from the same religious text.
So which worldview really leads more to relativism? The ethical theory of most believers I know is what Craig and others call the Divine Command Theory, which says that “whatever God does is good.” This means that if at one point God tells a man to kill his son, that’s cool. I mean why not? God did that too, right? If God wants to drown millions of people with one massive flood, that makes it alright. Any action you can think of has a possible justification under Divine Command Theory. All you have to do is say “God told them to do it” and you’ve got your justification right there. You can’t get any more relativistic than that.

But I finally draw the line at Canaan. When something is so clearly wrong that even your kindergartner is thinking more clearly than a world-class physician, it’s time to say something out loud. No one benefits from reinforcing the kind of convoluted logic which can justify ethnic cleansing and territorial wars (even the fictional kind), much less eternal conscious torment.

And this in turn reminds me (again and I know I keep talking about him) of that great Ted Chiang's story, Hell is the Absence of God, where God is very much real and part of the world... but not necessarily a force for good. The story is a good take on the justifications religious people go to to explain away all the bad in the world (Ted Chiang's an atheist, so it's not apologetics or anything of the sort Yes )

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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