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Bible Study

 
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Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:
The simple fact of the matter is God creating everything. So naturally He takes credit for evil. He kind of has to.


Yes, but the question remains, why create Evil? Why not soften the Pharaoh's heart, instead of hardening it?
The way I see it, the Father was a great pragmatist and a moral relativist, -- he knew the difference between the right and wrong, but he believed there was time to cast stones and the time to gather them. The Son, on the other hand, was an idealist and a moral absolutist, -- he would simply not throw a stone, as it would clearly compromize his convictions of unconditional love for the people. Christ is simply a more perfect and mature version of God, a better God, if you will.
Here is a case to illustrate the difference. The Old Testament goes to great lengths to tell us that you will end up in hell if you eat fish that don't have not fins and scales. Why the fuck does it matter if the fish has fins? How can it possibly make a difference between a good person and a bad person? I think God simply set the rules of the game that he played with himself, -- whoever breaks the rule is labeled as a "sinner" and is sent to hell. A sort of a monopoly game. Compare that with Christ, -- "would you not work on the seventh day if your child falls into a well?", he asks? Of course you would. Jesus changed the rules of the game. What matters in this new game are not the rules set forth by God, but the rules of your own consciousness.
God played loaded dice, and Jesus played philosophy. How's that for a quote?
[ October 18, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
 
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This is a fun conversation, and one I'm willing to take a little time to participate in because, for once, I am not absolutely certain of anything .
Here is MY take on the whole issue of omnipotence and omniscience. It is my belief that God created the world entirely to allow human beings to exercise free will. The whys and wherefores of this exercise are beyond me; to know the will of God is to be one with Him (and thus dead). We don't get that knowledge until after we die, if then. And no, I don't want to discuss afterlife tonight.
So, God creates this wonderful tapestry of billions of interwoven souls, all with free will. I believe he cares about each and every one of us, and attempts to guide us to our best destiny. However, we can (and regularly do) choose to stray from this path. How far we stray depends on whether we're simply being stubborn, sinning, or actually being Evil (yes, with a capital E - I still think there's a difference between disabling the smoke detector in an airplane lavatory and flying that same plane into a civilian building).
So God spends His time trying to keep this tapestry in balance. I believe that there are acts of God that take people "before their time", but that in those cases it really is their time, we just don't understand it. For whatever reason, God calls those individuals home earlier than we expect. I have my own fuzzy beliefs as to why that happens, but in general it is my faith that God knows what He's doing.
At the same time, people can act in ways that disturb the tapestry. It is my belief that someone can kill someone else outside of God's design. This is the part that I am least comfortable with intellectually, and the part that most goes against the concepts of omniscience and omnipotence. How can you do something God doesn't want you to do, if He's all knowing and all powerful? By definition it would seem that this implies that God in effect causes all acts of Evil.
However, it is my belief that God has chosen to allow us, humans, to have free will, and he achieves His glory when we act in the ways He wants us to, even though we can choose not to. But because of this, we can and do act contrary to His will, and that is what imbalances the tapestry.
Finally, if you believe in God, the next step is to decide whether you believe in an anti-God, or Satan. I'd rather not address that particular point in this missive. However, I will point you to a set of books that might just bend your head a little if you have the time.
Piers Anthony wrote The Incarnations of Immortality, a series of books in which there were several "Incarnations" who took part in the balancing of the tapestry: Death, Time, Fate, War, Earth and Night. And they were all part of a greater ongoing struggle between God and Satan. The joy of these books is the twist that the jobs of the Incarnations are actually taken by humans. When one Incarnation passed on, a human was selected to fill that role, and the books tell about how a human being learns the ropes of being one of those Incarnations.
It's great fun reading, if simply to get a very personal look at one person's view of the Universe, and to realize that maybe the things we thought were so absolute aren't really thus.
Joe
 
John Smith
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Piers Anthony wrote The Incarnations of Immortality, a series of books in which there were several "Incarnations" who took part in the balancing of the tapestry: Death, Time, Fate, War, Earth and Night. And they were all part of a greater ongoing struggle between God and Satan.
I'll consider reading the book, but I am curious now: among Death, Time, Fate, War, Earth and Night, which ones are classified as good and evil? The designation may seem apparent for a few of these forces, but it's not clear at all for Time. Furthermore, the axes don't seem to be orthogonal. For example, everything on the list is a function of Time. That, of course, brings an interesting question, -- were there God and Satan before the clock started ticking?
 
Joe Pluta
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Uhm... I never said ANY of them were "Good" or "Evil" - I'm not sure why you bring those terms up. In fact, since the Incarnations were originally human, I would guess that none of them were ever wholly either Good or Evil; that is a state unreachable by most humans.
God and Satan, on the other hand, were pretty solidly in the Good and Evil camps, respectively .
Joe
 
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Uhm... I never said ANY of them were "Good" or "Evil" - I'm not sure why you bring those terms up.
Well you know, you're well known for dicussion of Plutonic absolutes. But I agree, the Incarnations have an interesting take on all this. I only read book 1 before college took over my reading time, and I never got back to the series later, but book 1 was pretty good. Memorable for taking a good hard look at the concept of death and how it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
Then again, part of why I was impressed with the book was that my opinion of him had been steadily lowering for several years (in retrospect, that's because I was reading the Xanth books, and it wasn't that they were getting worse so much as I was growing out of them). But when On A Pale Horse came out, I only read it because a friend twisted my arm - and was pleasantly surprised to see PA had written something much better than his usual fare. So I'm not sure how well the series would stand up in, ummm, absolute terms - but the first book sure looked great compared to some of his other stuff. Maybe that's not the greatest recommendation, but I thought some context was warranted.
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Well you know, you're well known for dicussion of Plutonic absolutes.


So you ignore my first statement where I specifically stated that for once I wasn't absolutely sure of anything? Man. I do hate being pigeon-holed. Have one 126-post argument with pretty much everyone in the room, and you're labeled for life...
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
Joe
(Reminds me of a very tasteless joke about a man and his nickname, but I'll pass on it for tonight. Well, maybe the first part of it...)
Anton is sitting morosely by the pier, when a young boy walks up and asks what is the matter. Anton replies: "You see all those ships in the harbor? I built all those ships! But do they call me Anton the Shipbuilder? No!"
 
Jim Yingst
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So you ignore my first statement
No, I was just explaining why Eugene ignored it. Welcome back, Joe - we missed ya!
 
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Satan is Lucifer, the Fallen Angel. I think you can safely assume God created Lucifer as he created us. I think free-will came into play in Lucifer's case also.
While books are being mentioned.
Quote from Amazon : The "Lucifer Principle" is freelance journalist Bloom's theory that evil-which manifests in violence, destructiveness and war-is woven into our biological fabric. A corollary is that evil is a by-product of nature's strategy to move the world to greater heights of organization and power as national or religious groups follow ideologies that trigger lofty ideals as well as base cruelty. In an ambitious, often provocative study, Bloom applies the ideas of sociobiology, ethology and the "killer ape" school of anthropology to the broad canvas of history, with examples ranging from Oliver Cromwell's reputed pleasure in killing and raping to Mao Tse-tung's bloody Cultural Revolution, India's caste system and Islamic fundamentalist expansion. Bloom says Americans suffer "perceptual shutdown" that blinds them to the United States' downward slide in the pecking order of nations. His use of concepts like pecking order, memes (self-replicating clusters of ideas), the "neural net" or group mind of the social "superorganism" seem more like metaphors than explanatory tools.
Isolation the ultimate poison
Superorganism

"a philosophical look at the history of our species, which alternated between fascinating and frightening. Reading it was like reading Dean Koontz or Stephen King: I couldn't put it down. ...masterful...."
Mark Graham, Rocky Mountain News
"You only thought you knew what you were until you read this book. I want to burn it. I wish I had never read it. I wish Howard Bloom had never been born. And it is now my Bible. It is undeniable. It is a force unto itself. Everything you believed before, it will rip from you. It will leave you a boneless jelly of confusion. It will be the voice of a new philosophical generation."
Nassir Isaf, an 18-year-old reader from Bainbridge Island, WA
The above extracts seem harmless enough. Some books are not meant to be read. Like John Fowles' Magus.
Fear and evil cannot thrive where there is love. Regarding isolation , a true Christian would never be isolated because Jesus asked God for the gift that the Holy Spirit of God would always be there , accessible through prayer.
And while the Pope beatifies Mother Teresa of Calcutta today in Rome, she once wrote , "Praying is very difficult when you do not know how. We must teach ourselves. The most important thing to learn is silence. People who pray are people who are silent. We cannot enter the presence of God before having submitted ourselves to an outer and inner silence. Therefore we must practise being silent: with our tongues,eyes and our attitudes".
regards
[ October 19, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
John Smith
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Joe Pluta: Uhm... I never said ANY of them were "Good" or "Evil" - I'm not sure why you bring those terms up. In fact, since the Incarnations were originally human, I would guess that none of them were ever wholly either Good or Evil; that is a state unreachable by most humans.
The way I read your comments about Death, Time, Fate, War, Earth and Night, is that they are the the opposite forces in the ongoing struggle between God and Satan. I guess you meant something else, so I'll take a look what Piers Anthony has to say.
Joe Pluta: So you ignore my first statement where I specifically stated that for once I wasn't absolutely sure of anything?
I commend you for the courage to doubt the absolutes, Joe, -- your heart has obviously been softened. Welcome to the Bible Study group, we are here to unite the faith and logic.
 
Jim Yingst
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we are here to unite the faith and logic.
We are? I'm just here because Eugene said he'd bring donuts.
The Lucifer Principle: I was looking at this in the bookstore; looked intriguing. I may have to carve out a space for it on my ever-lengthening "to read" list.
 
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Jim: Welcome back, Joe - we missed ya!
Welcome back, Joe! And I missed you more than they all.
Eugene: Welcome to the Bible Study group, we are here to unite the faith and logic.
Is this your plan? Are you sure it is possible?
American heritage Dictionary:
faith n. 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing. 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.
[ October 19, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Jim Yingst
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Are you sure it is possible?
I think Eugene really meant "untie" rather than "unite". Turns out that, contrary to rumor, letter order is somtimes pretty important.
 
Mapraputa Is
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LoL
Also, I missed your "dicussion of Plutonic absolutes" on the first reading.
Hope Eugene and Joe will not be ofended by these small nice linguistic atrocities.
 
Jim Yingst
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I missed your "dicussion of Plutonic absolutes" on the first reading
Oops. "Plutonic" was intentional, but "dicussion" was not. I probably shouldn't be talking too much about the danger of typos, as they creep into my posts all the time.
 
John Smith
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Map: Is this your plan? Are you sure it is possible?
The plan is, indeed, ambitious, but not as contradictory as it seems. Faith and rationality are just two different points of views, and while there is a high barrier between the two, all it takes is faith and rationality to remove the barrier.
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
The way I read your comments about Death, Time, Fate, War, Earth and Night, is that they are the the opposite forces in the ongoing struggle between God and Satan.


Wow! It's amazing that you read all that into my words! This time, try reading what I actually wrote, and it will go easier!

Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
I commend you for the courage to doubt the absolutes, Joe, -- your heart has obviously been softened. Welcome to the Bible Study group, we are here to unite the faith and logic.


Once again, I am dazzled by your ability to interpret my words so completely differently than what I actually say! I have never said I believe all things are absolute - there are very few absolutes in the world, and that position hasn't changed over the years. Also, I believe there's more courage in trying to find those absolutes, than in the very self-indulgent concept that everything is relative.
But hey, that's me .
On with the joke...

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
Anton is sitting morosely by the pier, when a young boy walks up and asks what is the matter. Anton replies: "You see all those ships in the harbor? I built all those ships! But do they call me Anton the Shipbuilder? No!"


Anton continues: "You see all those houses surrounding the harbor? I built them! I built all those houses! But do they call me Anton the House Builder? No!"
(...to be continued...)
Joe
 
John Smith
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Joe: Once again, I am dazzled by your ability to interpret my words so completely differently than what I actually say! I have never said I believe all things are absolute - there are very few absolutes in the world, and that position hasn't changed over the years.
I am dazzled by your ability to interpret my words so completely differently than what I actually say! I have never said I commend you for believing that nothing is absolute. Whatever, man, I really don't care to argue about semantics and linguistics here, although it is by itself a facsinating subject. My agenda is narrow and focused here, and I hope there is no need to start a new assumption thread to list the definitions of the words "some", "nothing", and "all".
 
Joe Pluta
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I am not going to let this slide, Eugene.
You said the following: "I commend you for the courage to doubt the absolutes, Joe, -- your heart has obviously been softened."
The assumptions that can be drawn from this simple statement are:
A. Something happened (to soften my heart)
B. After this having happened, I now have the courage to doubt the asbolutes
Thus, by corollary, PRIOR to the softening of my heart I did NOT "have the courage" to doubt the absolutes.
This implies the following:
1. It takes courage to question the absolutes
2. I never questioned the absolutes
3. My heart was hard and/or I lacked courage
4. I have more courage now
Do you see how many negatives and judgmental statements you make in one simple sentence, Eugene? And it might not be so bad if so many weren't just plain wrong:
1. I have ALWAYS doubted absolutes
2. My heart was not hard, and nothing has softened it
3. I have plenty of courage - AND moral conviction
4. I think it takes more courage to search for absolutes than to hide behind relativism, which leads down the slippery slope towards situational ethics
You see, because your statements carry so many tacit and implicit judgments, many of which are wrong, I have to spend most of my time correcting those mischaracterizations. This is what makes talking with you so very wearying at times.
Joe
 
Joe Pluta
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And, to finish the joke:

Originally posted by Joe Pluta:

Anton is sitting morosely by the pier, when a young boy walks up and asks what is the matter. Anton replies: "You see all those ships in the harbor? I built all those ships! But do they call me Anton the Shipbuilder? No!"
Anton continues: "You see all those houses surrounding the harbor? I built them! I built all those houses! But do they call me Anton the House Builder? No!"


Anton throws his hands in the air in exasperation, shouting, "But make love to just ONE goat..."
Joe
 
John Smith
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Ok Joe, my assumptions about your assumptions were assumptious (although you never explained what you meant by "to realize that maybe the things we thought were so absolute aren't really thus"). Can we assume now that this exchange is over and move on to discussing the scripture, instead of each other's assumptions? (I assume that the further assumptions can be assumed in the "Bible Study: Assumptions" thread).
 
Joe Pluta
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I guess that's as gracious a reply as I can expect. I'll have to accept it as such and move on.
As to the phrase about absolutes, I was simply commenting that Time is not necessarily unidirectional, Fate is not necessarily unchangeable and War is not necessarily bad, at least in the Anthony Universe.
Joe
 
Joe Pluta
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Oh, and as to using the Bible to discern the Mind of God, to me it's roughly akin to using a fax of a Xerox of a copy of a print of a photo to determine da Vinci's painting technique.
That is, by the time the Word has been diluted through the hand of Man, it by necessity has lost that which makes it Divine, and so arguing points of God based on words in the Bible is an interesting but ultimately fruitless endeavor. Instead, I believe you're better off trying to identify the Grace of God by reviewing His work here on Earth and trying to understand it within the framework of a benevolent deity.
Of course, that requires a leap of faith that God is indeed benevolent, but there is no way in my opinion for the mind of Man to be able to grasp the true nature of God, at least not while we're in this human form.
Joe
 
John Smith
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Oh, and as to using the Bible to discern the Mind of God, to me it's roughly akin to using a fax of a Xerox of a copy of a print of a photo to determine da Vinci's painting technique.
Well, the same argument can be made in reference to the entire science. After all, we don't ultimately know the laws of nature, -- all we can do is to study their manifestations and apply our models to them. And while the models are continuously changing and are not definitive by any means, we have achieved some progress in our understanding of how the nature works. So, studying the Bible is not neccessarily a fruitless endeavor in a sense that you can get closer to understanding God's intent.
Perhaps a more relevant questions is how to study God's word. Maybe a traditional scientific method is not applicable here, and a purely spiritual approach should be taken instead. If you come to understanding of something by faith and meditation, I would say that faith is as valid as a rigid scientific analysis when it comes to methodology of pursuing the knowledge. That's what I meant when I said that we are here to unite the rational and the spiritual. But I will bring the donuts, too, if that will help.
 
Joe Pluta
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Well, the same argument can be made in reference to the entire science. After all, we don't ultimately know the laws of nature, -- all we can do is to study their manifestations and apply our models to them.
And exactly how do you apply the Scientific Method to researching God? I'm interested in what a definable, repeatable theological experiment would look like. How about giving us an example of the hypothesis, experiment and conclusion for a theological theory?
(I guess I'm just trying to discern what you mean when you say studying God is the same as studying science. My position is that they are not at all the same, and that is what makes theological discourse an act of faith, not of logic. Scientific Method is perhaps the single greatest invention of man since the written word, and it shapes the underlying fabric of the rational side of our being. However, it is completely useless in addressing issues of faith, and attempting to bind the two is not likely to succeed.)
Joe
[ October 20, 2003: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
John Smith
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And exactly how do you apply the Scientific Method to researching God? I'm interested in what a definable, repeatable theological experiment would look like. How about giving us an example of the hypothesis, experiment and conclusion for a theological theory?
I specifically stated that the scientific method may not be applicable to the study of God's intent, and that some other method may be needed. What it is, I don't know. Perhaps fasting for 30 years in the desert can do, or maybe concentrating on the image of yourself in the mirror, or perhaps taking hallucinogenic substances. All I am saying is that if in the process of applying this alternative method you will come up with the ultimate truth, then this method is as valid as a traditional scientific method. What's more, the experiment doesn't need to be repeatable by other people in order to be considered valid. That is, if you become one with God (or perhaps God himself), would you really need a confirmation that God exists?
 
Mapraputa Is
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I came across this book in bookstore:
How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God
His thesis is that we are "pattern-seeking creatures" and this is how our brain works -- it sees patterns everywhere. The book has some interesting statistics on why people said they believe in God (the main reason that the world is too complex and too beautiful for them to accept any ordinary explanation of its creation), but I am not sure it has to offer something profound on philosophical or psychological fronts. But I can be wrong, I only flipped through it.
 
Joe Pluta
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I specifically stated that the scientific method may not be applicable to the study of God's intent, and that some other method may be needed.
The problem is that you play both sides of the fence, Eugene. You insist that finding God is the same as finding the underlying laws of the physical universe, and I say it is not. I say that we can use definable, repeatable experiments (the Scientific Method) to determine physical laws, but that we cannot do the same for God, thus there is a fundamental difference between the two.
In one breath, you say that finding the nature of God is not scientific, and yet, it seems the whole concept you are trying to achieve is some logical way to explain God, without faith. This is where all agnosticism generally ends up - I know, I was agnostic for a long, long, long time.

What it is, I don't know. Perhaps fasting for 30 years in the desert can do, or maybe concentrating on the image of yourself in the mirror, or perhaps taking hallucinogenic substances.
I don't know, but I guess anything can cause a leap of faith. In some cases it comes as a blinding epiphany, in others a simple gradual sense of "knowing". Whatever it is, faith is not something that can be reasoned. You CAN reason the POSSIBILITY of faith - or more appropriately, the possible existence of something to have faith in. But by its very nature, that which requires faith cannot be proven.
The nature of God, in my estimation, is one of those things. If it were not, if it were something that could be comprehended by human thought, then it would not be Divine. This is arrogance at its most masterful - the belief that you have the ability to understand everything.

All I am saying is that if in the process of applying this alternative method you will come up with the ultimate truth, then this method is as valid as a traditional scientific method. What's more, the experiment doesn't need to be repeatable by other people in order to be considered valid.
If it is not repeatable, then it is valid only for the believer, and that is the thing of which religious wars are made. If you want to believe that God is a turnip, that's valid for you, but don't try to tell me it's as on the same level of validity as the laws of gravity.

That is, if you become one with God (or perhaps God himself), would you really need a confirmation that God exists?
Only a man with a monumental ego would even suggest his own godhead.
And please note the specific and purposeful lack of capitalization.
I come to believe more and more that it requires quite a remarkable bit of arrogance to be a true atheist.
Joe
 
Joe Pluta
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The book has some interesting statistics on why people said they believe in God (the main reason that the world is too complex and too beautiful for them to accept any ordinary explanation of its creation)
And why is a belief in God not "ordinary", Map? Since some 90% of the known world tends to practice some sort of theism, it seems to me that proposing the LACK of God is the less ordinary state.
Interestingly, it seems that the percentage of atheism is higher the higher the formal education level. This is an interesting correlation, and implies some very interesting things about formal education.
Joe, an Unabashed Former Agnostic
 
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
I come to believe more and more that it requires quite a remarkable bit of arrogance to be a true atheist.
Whoo-hoo!! A God fight's a brewin'!
 
Joe Pluta
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Whoo-hoo!! A God fight's a brewin'!
Hee hee!
Hey, I don't even know that Eugene is an atheist, agnostic, or perhaps a pantheist (I think that was what Map last labeled herself as). It's just my belief that it takes more hubris to believe there is NOT a God than to believe there is.
To think that perhaps this Universe just came into being due to some mathematical formulas that we can express with some squiggles of ink... that's pretty unbelievable to me.
Joe
[ October 20, 2003: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Eugene, I've got questions.
1) do you believe in God?
2) if not, do you want to believe in God?
3) do you feel it is necessarily to support your faith with rational arguments, or you just would prefer it, if possible?
[ October 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Mapraputa Is
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Joe: This is where all agnosticism generally ends up - I know, I was agnostic for a long, long, long time.
May I ask what changed your perceptions, if it isn't too personal?
And why is a belief in God not "ordinary", Map?
"ordinary explanation" is an ambiguous construction, sorry for that. I used the word "ordinary" as a synonym for "natural" and as an antonym of "supernatural". In my understanding, the essence of the concept of "God" is that it is some kind of supernatural force, not ordinary. You can use any other name if you like them better. I meant "ordinary explanation" in the sense "explanation that doesn't mention any unordinary, supernatural reason or forces".
Interestingly, it seems that the percentage of atheism is higher the higher the formal education level. This is an interesting correlation, and implies some very interesting things about formal education.
What are they?
Since some 90% of the known world tends to practice some sort of theism
Not to argue with your statistics, but among developed countries only the USA has a high percent of believers. European countries, for example, are far less religious.
 
Joe Pluta
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Joe: This is where all agnosticism generally ends up - I know, I was agnostic for a long, long, long time.
Map: May I ask what changed your perceptions, if it isn't too personal?

Miracles

Joe: Interestingly, it seems that the percentage of atheism is higher the higher the formal education level. This is an interesting correlation, and implies some very interesting things about formal education.
Map: What are they?

Drawn your own conclusions. I think it depends on your view of the value of formal education. Me, I'm a self-taught computer architect, so my views are probably skewed.

Joe: Since some 90% of the known world tends to practice some sort of theism.
Map: Not to argue with your statistics, but among developed countries only the USA has a high percent of believers. European countries, for example, are far less religious.

Actually, the US is probably closer to 95%, depending on the study you use. The 90% is for the world, according to the stats I was able to find. If you have other statistics, please share them. I have a hard time believing that, Italy, for example, is highly atheist. But in any event, far more than half the people are theists of some type, if you allow for multitheism.
Joe
 
John Smith
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1) do you believe in God?
2) if not, do you want to believe in God?
3) do you feel it is necessarily to support your faith with rational arguments, or you just would prefer it, if possible?

I'll try to address all 3 questions with one answer.
For the purposes of this discussion, it really doesn't matter what I think -- I believe that both atheists and theists have an equaly valid point of view (just by the virtue of being the observers), and perhaps they are both right, even though it sounds impossible. There is also a possibility that neither side is right, in a sense that the answer to the question "Is there God?" requires a different context. That is, whatever answer is given, it would be wrong.
The question that I entertain is not "Is there God?", but how to become God, which would mean the complete harmony with the Universe, with the intent of the nature becoming your intent, and vise versa. The way I see it, the leap to that state requires both spiritual and rational capacities merged into one. If there is God, it is unlikely that it has a rational mind and the emotions. In all likelyhood, it is a ball of concentrated consciousness where all thruths converge, where logic is emotional and the emotions are logical.
With the above in mind, what I want to know for now is this: are shrimps considered to be a kosher food? Or to put in slightly differently, can whatever covers a shrimp be considered "scales" and can a shrimp's tail be considered a "fin"?
 
Mapraputa Is
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If you have other statistics, please share them.
1. Among Wealthy Nations … U.S. Stands Alone in its Embrace of Religion
2. [Disclaimer: highly unscientifical content]: AOL had a poll a couple of days ago:
How relevant do you consider your religion?
It's more relevant now than ever - 48%
I can't get into the rituals, but I still live by most of the core beliefs -18%
I don't have a religion - 15%
It seems behind society on some issues, so I pick and choose what I want to follow - 11%
If it doesn't change soon, it will become obsolete - 8%
[ October 20, 2003: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Jim Yingst
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[Joe]: I come to believe more and more that it requires quite a remarkable bit of arrogance to be a true atheist.
Oh dear. Will I be able to qualify as a true atheist I wonder? Maybe if I come up short in the arrogance deparment, I can borrow some from some other rancher here who has a surplus he could afford to lose. :roll:
I'm not going get heavily into this right now, but Joe may wish to check out this recent discussion which featured atheism and agnositicism heavily. Also here and here for some related topics.
As for questions on the number of believers and nonbelievers, again, check out these stats on world religions. I'm sure other conflicting stats can be found elsewhere. For more specific country information, one source is the CIA World Factbook, which lists these stats for the US:

Protestant 56%, Roman Catholic 28%, Jewish 2%, other 4%, none 10% (1989)


And here is their summary of each country's data. Unfortunately the nature and quality of the stats varies from country to country; some have detailed breakdowns, while others just say things like "most" and "some". Though I suspect that the latter may actually be more accurate. I would agree with Joe that that Europe in general probably has more believers than Map suggests. From the stats I see she's just quoted, Europe has a lot of people who are believers, but not deeply committed, while the US has more hard-core fana... errr, believers. Sounds like a substatial overstatement to say "only the USA has a high percent of believers" though. Intensity of belief was not previously the topic, was it?.
As for the AOL poll... well, it's an AOL poll. Next topic...
[Joe]: Interestingly, it seems that the percentage of atheism is higher the higher the formal education level. This is an interesting correlation, and implies some very interesting things about formal education.
If we're making vague innuendos, I could just as well say that it implies some interesting things about religious belief and believers. :roll: I wouldnt consider either statement to be very useful however.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Eugene: The question that I entertain is not "Is there God?", but how to become God, which would mean the complete harmony with the Universe, with the intent of the nature becoming your intent, and vise versa.
It's funny that you used this word, "harmony". I was thinking today that if I ever had any religious experience, it was the sensation of harmony -- I was using the same word to think about it. If we define "God" as "harmony", then your plan to unite the faith and logic looks promising. The laws of nature as manifestations of this harmony, oh my. I just had an epiphany that your harmony might share a room with Plutonic absolutes Joe is boldly looking for.
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"I'd like to persuade you, if I can, that any such disagreement might be more apparent than real" -- Chris Date
 
HS Thomas
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Elaborating on what Joe says:
JP: it takes more hubris to believe there is NOT a God than to believe there is
A sequence the Greeks noticed thousands of years ago: Koros (stability) to Hubris (arrogance, moral blindness) to Ate (a kind of "madness") to Nemesis (destruction). One of the problems of the afflicted is that they never know what is happening to them.
Confirming, and expanding on, ancient wisdom , a school of modern psychology , Object Relations Theory postulates that all of us are born with a "grandiose" self and a "devalued" self which remain with us all our lives.
Object Relations Theory has added two things to the sequence the Greeks wrote about: paranoia and splitting things into "all-good" and "all-bad" (or grandiose and devalued). Both paranoia and splitting fall right in between Hubris and Ate. People who are afflicted with Hubris become grandiose. They then also become paranoid and split people into groups of "all-good" and "all-bad."
Hubristic people, since they have become grandiose, see themselves as immensely important. Since they are so important, they can't be wrong (the grandiosity). Therefore, all problems are projected onto other people (the devaluation). Hubris then leads the afflicted to become paranoid about all these "bad" people, since they have now become the cause of all problems. They have to be ferreted out and destroyed.
Interesting! From Hubristic to Venegistic to Ballistic.
I'd agree with this:
" NO�S--transcendent or intuitive insight and perception of myste-- ries beyond and higher than reason; it is not a faculty but an energy--the normal mode of reasoning among the Angelic Beings but among humans used to approach God through Grace and eventually to behold the uncreated Light."
Patristic Psychology

regards
[ October 21, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
1. Among Wealthy Nations … U.S. Stands Alone in its Embrace of Religion


I'm going to get out of this conversation as well. Already we've started with irrelevant statistics. Map, this URL says NOTHING about whether people believe in God, only whether they consider religion important. Those are different questions.
I don't know why I bother.
Joe
 
Joe Pluta
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
If we're making vague innuendos, I could just as well say that it implies some interesting things about religious belief and believers. :roll: I wouldnt consider either statement to be very useful however.


Jim, can you name ONE instance in any of my over 500 posts where I've EVER made a "vague innuendo"? You are the first person who has EVER accused me of making veiled comments of any kind! <laughing>
I have too much respect (and frankly too little energy) to waste your time or mine with innuendo. I think my particular viewpoint is probably heavily biased, which is why I SPECIFICALLY asked folks to make their own judgment. It is a fascinating correlation, though... more formal education, less God. What does it mean? I dunno, but it's interesting!
Joe
 
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