[split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
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02-01-2014, 07:00 AM (This post was last modified: 02-01-2014 12:14 PM by kingschosen.)
[split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(31-12-2013 04:54 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I also would suggests that Christians... Look into the history of belief in deities.

I'm curious: what research have you read on the history of belief in deities?

(31-12-2013 04:54 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  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?

I would suggest that people who want to criticize religion as a whole not use fundamentalist Christianity as a metonym for all of Christianity, or for all of religion, for that matter. I'd also suggest you find blog posts by authors that have some exposure to research into the psychology and evolution of religion (insofar as they're going to be pontificating on those things, anyway). Rather naive conventional wisdom about the development of the notion of the divine isn't all that impressive.

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02-01-2014, 07:35 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 07:00 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Rather naive conventional wisdom about the development of the notion of the divine isn't all that impressive.

Share with us your unconventional (possibly divine) wisdom on this topic then ?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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02-01-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 07:35 AM)morondog Wrote:  Share with us your unconventional (possibly divine) wisdom on this topic then ?

Nothing unconventional or divine about it, it just doesn't appear to me that the author of that blog post has read much of the research for which they're advocating. Boyer, Guthrie, Bellah, Tremlin, and numerous others have been publishing on the evolutionary and psychological provenance of religion for decades, and it's quite a lot more complex than Ug and Og making up gods with chariots to explain the sun. To appeal to such reductive folk explanations tells me the author's just doing lip service to the need for actual research on the topic. Like so many here who appear to have a very deep-seated need to feel smarter than people with whom they disagree, the author of the blog post appears comfortable with the conventional wisdom passed around the ranks of the hobbyist atheist faction.

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02-01-2014, 07:56 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 07:40 AM)maklelan Wrote:  Nothing unconventional or divine about it, it just doesn't appear to me that the author of that blog post has read much of the research for which they're advocating. Boyer, Guthrie, Bellah, Tremlin, and numerous others have been publishing on the evolutionary and psychological provenance of religion for decades, and it's quite a lot more complex than Ug and Og making up gods with chariots to explain the sun. To appeal to such reductive folk explanations tells me the author's just doing lip service to the need for actual research on the topic. Like so many here who appear to have a very deep-seated need to feel smarter than people with whom they disagree, the author of the blog post appears comfortable with the conventional wisdom passed around the ranks of the hobbyist atheist faction.

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...

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 ?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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02-01-2014, 08:17 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(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.

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02-01-2014, 08:31 AM (This post was last modified: 02-01-2014 08:44 AM by anonymous66.)
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.

The article about shrinking Gods does make a valid point. But, if you'd like a more a more scholarly approach to the history of religions. I'd recommend Richard Carrier.

I don't mind admitting that mainstream Christian denominations do a lot of good. One problem I have with them is that they suggest there is a deity behind Christianity and the creation of the Bible, when in reality, all the evidence points to a man-made Bible, man-made Gods and man-made religions.
For the most part, I'm okay with a live and let live mentality, as long as religions keep out of politics and schools.
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02-01-2014, 08:41 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:31 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  The article about shrinking Gods does make a valid point. But, if you'd like a more a more scholarly approach to the history of religions. I'd recommend Richard Carrier.

I've read plenty of Carrier, and I'm pretty disappointed in his tendentiousness, particularly regarding his mythicism (his argument about "James, the brother of Jesus," for instance, is laughable).

(02-01-2014 08:31 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I don't mind admitting that mainstream denominations do a lot of good. One problem I have with them is that they suggest there is a deity behind Christianity and the creation of the Bible, when in reality, all the evidence points to man-made Gods and man-made religions.
For the most part, I'm okay with a live and let live mentality, as long as religions keep out of politics and schools.

I would agree with you.

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02-01-2014, 08:52 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:41 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 08:31 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  The article about shrinking Gods does make a valid point. But, if you'd like a more a more scholarly approach to the history of religions. I'd recommend Richard Carrier.

I've read plenty of Carrier, and I'm pretty disappointed in his tendentiousness, particularly regarding his mythicism (his argument about "James, the brother of Jesus," for instance, is laughable).

(02-01-2014 08:31 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I don't mind admitting that mainstream denominations do a lot of good. One problem I have with them is that they suggest there is a deity behind Christianity and the creation of the Bible, when in reality, all the evidence points to man-made Gods and man-made religions.
For the most part, I'm okay with a live and let live mentality, as long as religions keep out of politics and schools.

I would agree with you.

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.
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02-01-2014, 08:52 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

That kind of sophomoric rhetoric doesn't really inspire confidence in your objectivity or your background regarding these topics, so you know. If you'd just like to bark at me until I get scared and go away, that's one thing. If you want to engage my concerns, and have me reciprocate, you'll have to show me you've bothered to think critically about both of our worldviews.

(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

Where do I do that, specifically?

(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  As to your point about theists don't go for god of the gaps, that is not my experience.

I didn't say theists don't do it, I said not all theists do it, and that it's not particularly insightful to treat the god of the gaps approach as a metonym for all religion. It represents a segment of the religious whole. To suggest otherwise is basically to subtitle all your claims with "I don't really have any idea what I'm doing."

(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Day to day you don't think about it but when pressed to explain yourself that is the place they all go.

They all go to that place? And you base this conclusion on what? Please don't tell me your own "personal experience" and anecdotal evidence. Rumor has it that "personal experience" isn't very popular around here. Perhaps you have empirical data that back up this assertion that all theists don't really think hard about God, but when they do, they're all forced to appeal to a God of the gaps. If so, I'd love to see it.

(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

Note the irony that you deify "Science" while at the same time denigrating deity. Have you ever read Midgley on this?

(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

And again, this is only true for a segment of the global religious community. If you'd like me to take your objections seriously, please stop challenging my arguments by appealing to the very fallacies my arguments highlight.

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02-01-2014, 09:37 AM
RE: Ask a Theist!
(02-01-2014 08:52 AM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

That kind of sophomoric rhetoric doesn't really inspire confidence in your objectivity or your background regarding these topics, so you know. If you'd just like to bark at me until I get scared and go away, that's one thing. If you want to engage my concerns, and have me reciprocate, you'll have to show me you've bothered to think critically about both of our worldviews.

Sophomoric in what way? Calling out LDS theology as absurd and the founding of it an obvious fraud is simply stating the facts. The LDS worldview is absurd.

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(02-01-2014 08:34 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  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.

Note the irony that you deify "Science" while at the same time denigrating deity. Have you ever read Midgley on this?

Science is only being 'deified' in your mind, no one here is doing so. Science works, revelation does not.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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