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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:27 am 
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I don't believe we all need to answer to a 'higher power', and I don't believe that by not believing in God, the devil wins. That's like not believing in God but believing in the Devil. Same difference.

I just believe in living your life the way you want to, whether you believe in a god, or gods, or not. Good people don't want to do 'bad things' because they have a conscience. Harming innocent people is not something I want to do. To suggest I would want to because I have no beliefs or that the only reason I don't harm innocent people is because secretly, I do have beliefs, is nothing short of ridiculous. And if some guy done somethign terrible to say, my sister, I'm glad i've got the freedom to act on that the way I see fit without worrying about being judged. I only need to worry about getting caught.

I like to think of myself as having the same religion as animals. I don't have one, I don't NOT have one. I just get on with it. I think religion was created out of fear of the unknown. The nothingness of death is one of the most petrifying things to humans and that makes them WANT answers and that makes them biased. It's a coping mechanism. There's nothing wrong with that. If it keeps you sane, then i'm pro religion. One crucial aspect to that view is that I was brought up completely open minded and had no religion inflicted upon me by parents.

Quite often when this comes up, I get told the same "yeah I used to be naive like you and not believe in anything but that all changed when got older/had kids/killed someone/whatever". Well, my gran took her non beliefs to the grave. It wasn't a religious cerimony, by her demands and the only music that played was Frank Sinatra. My dads still the same. I guess the 'faith' will hit me the same time it hits them. I don't choose to not believe to be a rebel. I choose because religion literally has no relevance in my life. I don't dislike it or people that believe it, I respect people that believe it the same way I expect people who beleive to respect people who don't. I like a lot of the stories and quotes that come from the bible. They're quite moving and thought provoking. So are the stories quotes and wisdom that come out of The Godfather. Same difference for me.

I also don't understand why people get so sensitive with others believing something else (cough cough - Jebus) but I think that's just as bad as believers telling non believers that they're playing into the hands of the devil by not believing, hence my response. Both views are ignorant, in my opinion.


KPj


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:45 am 
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I respect that response KPj. I think that is one of the things that makes this country great. We can have a difference of opinion without one group killing another.

As stated earlier, I am not trying to convert or condemn anyone. Everyone has the right to their beliefs or non-beliefs as it may be. I am defending my position that religious people (no matter what religion) are not ignorant. We live by a different set of rules and truths. As I am a Christian, I can only speak from a Christian's set of rules and truths.

Bottom line, how do we know for absolute certain any of this is real? Prove to me that life isn't some sort of dream or thought. Prove to me our universe is not some proton of an atom on an infinitely larger universe and that our planets and solar systems are not some quarks where out atoms make up these quarks, etc.

Out of curiosity, what do you think your conscience is? Do you think a dog feels guilty after killing another dog in a fight? What about hippos? Are we humans the only animal to feel guilty after killing one of its own even when the killing was justified? I'll take murder out of the equation. If you could cheat on your wife and never get caught (that isn't a far fetched scenario) would you feel guilty and why? Nobody got hurt. Hell, sex even feels pretty good.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:01 am 
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woo Hoosegow, getting dangerously close to solipsism there.

My tuppence worth is that people can believe whatever they like, I'm a liberal kinda guy and would never in a million years try and change someone's religious views. KPj made a good point about people preaching anti-religion are just as bad as preachy religious types; both are trying to force their views.

Also to say religious people are ignorant is itself an ignorant statement to make.

What i think about the conscience argument: why bother doing the "right" thing if there is no higher power?, there is still the social contract that binds members of society. I am not religious, and so "Thou shalt not kill" has no particular resonance with me with regard to heaven or hell, but life in prison is a very real deterrant to me. Not that I'd kill someone anyway, but the same could be applied to any serious crime.

Conscience is a social construct, the same way good manners or dignity are. It's something you have been socialised into having.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:15 am 
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Sorry for making that blunt statement about ignorant people, I should have also said that I too am ignorant and so is everyone else. Unless of course you know everything...

Also, about reality, I think it it's an illusion.

for example, You never touch anything. If you put your hand on a table you'r not touching it lol. I know this sounds weird but everything is made up of atoms and all atoms have electrons on the outer rim. Since opposites attract and likes repel. Then Therefore the electrons on our hand repel the electrons on the table causing it to break.

Wh@T Th3 Bl33p D0 W3 Kn0w?? lol


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:15 am 
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hoosegow wrote:
Out of curiosity, what do you think your conscience is? Do you think a dog feels guilty after killing another dog in a fight? What about hippos? Are we humans the only animal to feel guilty after killing one of its own even when the killing was justified? I'll take murder out of the equation. If you could cheat on your wife and never get caught (that isn't a far fetched scenario) would you feel guilty and why? Nobody got hurt. Hell, sex even feels pretty good.


I think what we define as a conscience is subjective. I think it refers to your morals or values but I don't believe the bible or a religion created morals. Or, I would be better saying - I have no reason to believe a bible or a religion created morals.

To answer though I think guilt is a result of what is regarded as socially acceptable and what isn't. I would feel guilty if I cheated on my current g/f. I would be quite mad at myself. Why? Well, we have an agreement - no one cheats. Trust. Once it's broken, it's broken, you know. I would hate to think that I was responsible for a lot pain she felt - that would make me feel guilty. Unless it was like, Jessica Beil or Megan Fox, in which case, I think an exception would be made. :wink: Who needs to go to heaven when you've already been?

Morals as created by society probably come from a variety of sources, including religion. I don't think 'primitive man' would think anything about cheating. I don't think he would even ask for a date. Primitive man was probably a serial rapist, but that was probably socially acceptable at that time.

YOu're right though that we don't really know anything. I agree with that. It's why I think people shouhld just get on with their life and it's also whyI think that belief in a god(s) is a coping mechanism. Everyone needs a coping mechanism - everyone needs someone or somewhere to turn when the sh*t hits the fan and most people fear the unknown. Some people need to search for answers and may find them in religion and some are fine knowing that they don't really know what they know. I'll re-iterate though that I don't think religion is a bad thing and I don't think religious people are ignorant. I also don't think that everything I say or think is correct - I think people really mix up belief and fact, as well as 'disagree and dislike'.

I should say though that I don't disagree with all that the bible and various other religions 'preach'. I genuinely don't believe in religion in the sense that i'm being judged, or there's a heaven and hell, a devil, or I answer to a higher power but I do see the value in good literature and philosophy ( mean that respectfully not cheekily). A lot of values that may have came from christianity are values that I live by myself.

KPj


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:07 am 
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I'll give the religious discussion a rest - though I keep waiting to be blasted (respectfully) by my buddy Ironman. I am intrigued by the whole conscience thing. So I am going to explore it further.

KPj, you said you will feel guilty for the pain you caused your g/f (agreed I would have a hard time telling Megan Fox no). Realistically, you could cheat and not get caught. Your g/f would never know about it an thus you wouldn't cause her any pain. Would you then still feel guilty? Why should you? No one got hurt. There are no negative consequences. The only guilt you should feel would be self imposed. If the answer is still you would feel guilty, then you feel you are being judged by something or someone, right? I don't think you can say you were judged by society because society doesn't know what you did. You could say you are judging yourself, but no one got hurt and what you did would have no negative consequences and it felt good. So why should you feel guilty for that?

robertscott, yah I know. I get dangerously close to a lot of stuff. I also understand the social contract concept and prison would be a deterrent to me as well. Ultimately though (and I'm going out on a limb so don't read anything into it), what is wrong with killing another human other than society has deemed it wrong? IF there was no negative consequence to murder, what keeps people from killing each other? There are over 6 billion of us. Would one life really be missed in the grand scheme of things? You say conscience has to be socialized. Do you think that if somehow you could raise a village of people with no outside influence they would have now qualms about killing or any other thing we consider a crime now? Men would go around raping women. People would steal from one another, etc.?

Jebus, thanks for the apology. I think the only true ignorance is being closed to other people's ideas. If I am not willing to entertain the thought that there is no God or that my God is the one true God, then I too am ignorant.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:16 am 
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hoosegow wrote:

So why should you feel guilty for that?


Because, correct me if I'm wrong but he broke thier trust by cheating.

On a related note, have you ever seen Lord of War? There is a scene when 1 of the officers wanted to kill nicolas cage and said, "Who will know!?" But the other officer said, "We will know"

I really liked that part.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:43 am 
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hoosegow wrote:
KPj, you said you will feel guilty for the pain you caused your g/f (agreed I would have a hard time telling Megan Fox no). Realistically, you could cheat and not get caught. Your g/f would never know about it an thus you wouldn't cause her any pain. Would you then still feel guilty? Why should you? No one got hurt. There are no negative consequences. The only guilt you should feel would be self imposed. If the answer is still you would feel guilty, then you feel you are being judged by something or someone, right? I don't think you can say you were judged by society because society doesn't know what you did. You could say you are judging yourself, but no one got hurt and what you did would have no negative consequences and it felt good. So why should you feel guilty for that?


That's a good point. I think the guilt would come from not liking the thought my g/f cheating on me, too. I believe this is a christian value, but I don't like to treat other people in a way that I wouldn't want treated. I just think it's twisted.

It's interesting to ask me about cheating. I used to be a scumbag. I cheated on my last g/f several times. I never got caught, still haven't been, years later (unless she reads this). At the time, and even after splitting up with her, I felt nothing at all. I acted like I was single when I wasn't with her, and like a devoted b/f when I was with her. Best of both worlds. The first time I done it, I felt little tiny bit of guilt when she said "so, you have a good night last night". When I said, "yeh.. was ok". I had the tiniest bit of guilt. That faded in about 30 minutes, though. The problem was that I shouldn't of been with her, as I never cared about her, not properly anyway.

I've been with my current g/f for around 4 years (maybe more) and never even thought about it and I still wouldn't. I live with her now, too. The interesting thing is, it's only when I fell for my current g/f that I felt guilty about how I treated my ex.... Bizarre/twisted, I know, but that's what happened... Something just made me think, "man, what an a$$hole" and to this day I still feel a tad guilty for it. My ex cared a lot more about me than I did about her and now that i'm with someone that I would never cheat on, I have an idea of just how crap it would be if it happened to me.... And I think that's why I started feeling guilty about it.

I also have a theory that guilt is like a self imposed punishment. I think guilt is the price you need to pay for doing something that you didn't think was right. Something keeps reminding you how that person must of felt when you done that to them.. As for whatever that 'something' is... I don't know. What makes us talk in our sleep? Or dream about the things we dream about... Maybe it's the subconscious mind. Whatever that is...

KPj


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:18 pm 
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"Primitive man was probably a serial rapist, but that was probably socially acceptable at that time." - KPj

I have a very hard time believing rape was ever the norm. Firstly, sex is a lot more fun with a willing partner, and secondly just about every stone age woman or girl would have had a father, brothers, uncles, cousins, etc. who probably wouldn't have appreciated someone assaulting their loved one. The way I see it, dating for primitive man would have required a fair amount of diplomacy, otherwise one might very quickly find himself on the wrong end of a stone-tipped spear.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:45 pm 
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I can understand someone being skeptical of religion in general. For example, if someone were to say "I don't believe in God because nothing I've ever seen has convinced me of His existence" I would have no problem accepting that. After all, I feel the same way about ghosts, space aliens and most conspiracy theories.

However, I have a much harder time accepting someone who tells me that the existence of ANY higher power is an absolute impossibility, and further that anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant or stupid.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:39 pm 
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This is a very interesting conversation so I think I will chime in.

I will start by giving my take on some of the interesting questions you guys asked so far.

**What is the incentive to act morally.
Selfish interest in the form of reciprocal altruism. I act morally toward others in the hope (gamble) that they will do so to me in the future. If they do not, I will probably not act morally toward them. This to me is the social contract.

**Science vs. The Bible as basis for action
To me there is an enormous difference here. The bible is roughly speaking, a rigid document from a collection of human writings some 2000 years old, give or take, that, as some would claim, was divinely inspired. Science is a living hypothesis that if a thing can be measured, it can be studied and understood to some extent. The difference for me is that science, in my opinion, intelligently does not claim knowledge of all things past and present, only things that have been studied. A real scientist will not tell you something unless it has been rigorously studied and attempts to falsify have been made. No such tests are attempted, in the scientific sense, for the bible.

@ Hoosegow, As a personal opinion aside, what I find most irksome about your line of thinking is that you admit to rejecting facts but happily use/love the happiness those facts indirectly bring to your life (I am perhaps guessing with that last bit). The two largest being medicine and most technology. You can't rationally accept genetic theory when it tells you to take some medicine and then deny it when it tells you we evolved from apes. It is one theory, cohesively assembled by many scientists over many years and the theory is self consistent.

I am not saying religious people have to be ignorant, but as you readily admitted in one of your posts, you must reject fact. That seems strange to me.

I am interested in your response to this.

One main thing I noticed from reading the last 10ish posts is that where I am very different from the rest is, I want to be convinced one way or another. I find it your duty and my duty to come to some agreement on the way the world works, by discussing and sharing ideas. The truth must be out there somewhere and I want to know what it is. In fact, the people I get the most upset with when discussing religion are the ones who don't care or think it is not PC to discuss it.

Man is lucky to be able to guess the future with reasonable accuracy and use that information to succeed. Ponder this, no other species as any chance of predicting an extinction and preventing it; we could. This seems to give rise to the also unique desire to know ones origin and place amongst the stars(or heavens if you'd prefer). I think losing that desire is rather disastrous for humanity so I always encourage debate about these kings of matters. If the humans in a society don't talk about what they think is right/wrong in that society, how can it ever improve? I am more than happy to shoulder the responsibility for someone converting to my way of thinking because I am confident that, to the best of my knowledge, it is correct. If I did not have that confidence, I would not think what I do.

On this note, I would recommend, The Secular Conscience by Austin Dacey, whose main point is that all of the religion/atheist turmoil has come about through the removal of discussion of such issues in the public eye. He argues that placing the views under public scrutiny would help weed out beliefs that are unfit for a modern society and discover some beliefs that we are perhaps not quite ready to address and encourage more thought about those issues.

@KPj I can immediately understand why people are sensitive about disagreement. We are talking about the fundamental underpinnings of human origin and place in the universe. If you don't get upset about that, I am not quite sure what would upset you. People want to know they are living the right way, whatever right means, but when other people continually boast to have a superior right way, one begins to question the correctness of his position, and that become highly emotional, rapidly.

**As to conscience, and souls, and even consciousness.
I would say my current understanding of the brain, and evolution is to see the brain as an evolutionary artifact designed for success in highly complex social scenarios that humans (and other primates but to a lesser extent) routinely engage in. All of the above things are devices to help understand the complex ways the brain interfaces with our bodies and the environment to create an incredibly successful genetic vehicle. I am not saying such devices are not useful, but sometimes they need to be dissected and I think they have a common root in the complexity of the human brain. If, ever in our evolutionary past, it was helpful for us to feel guilt for the abuse of another, the guilt nervous and chemical pathways would be favored in a population of humans and selected for in following generations.

As a closing remark as this is getting long, is that I agree everyone has the rights to their thoughts/beliefs. Nowhere under any basic freedom statutes that I have ever seen is it said those individuals also have the right to be respected for having those beliefs. I will respect someone's beliefs if I feel they are well reasoned and thoroughly thought out. If there reasoning falls apart in an area that is correspondingly difficult to address by all other systems, I would also respect them in the sense that they struggle to explain what everyone else struggles to explain, which is hardly a fault of any rational man. If the above criteria are not met, that person will expect a lot of resistance and rebut from me, whenever matters involve these questionable lines of thinking. Ultimately, I would rather leave things unsettled and open than make the wrong decision and move on.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:43 am 
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@ Hoosegow, As a personal opinion aside, what I find most irksome about your line of thinking is that you admit to rejecting facts but happily use/love the happiness those facts indirectly bring to your life (I am perhaps guessing with that last bit). The two largest being medicine and most technology. You can't rationally accept genetic theory when it tells you to take some medicine and then deny it when it tells you we evolved from apes. It is one theory, cohesively assembled by many scientists over many years and the theory is self consistent.


I thought I explained this already Ryan, but I'll try again. It all depends on your fact base. I don't reject facts. My facts are found in the bible. Remember I said that this was the whole key to me changing the way I thought. It is an easy concept, yet one that was hard for me to do. Your fact base is one where the facts are constantly changing (science). If I remember correctly Steven Hawking has recently proved that even the theory of relativity is incorrect.

You find it irksome? Is it any different when non-believing people readily take advantage of religious holidays or ask for help when they are in need? I'm sure you have heard the phrase, "There are no athiests in a fox hole." Many a person has turned to God when the chips are down and their lives are in danger. Would you not pray if your child was diagnosed with a life threatening disease while at the same time getting medicine developed by science?

I still maintain this discussion wasn't about the existance of God (or any god). This discussion was about how religious people are or are not ignorant. Some are, yes, but the most part, we are not. We operate under a different set of facts.

Perhaps I should explain the rejecting fact. It depends on what you see as factual. I'm not asking you to do this, but contemplate this idea. Pick the religion you are most familiar with. Take the rule book of that religion. Entertain the thought that everything in that rule book is the absolute truth. You then must reject facts from other relgions or thought lines.

I'll try to use the creation of the world from a Judeo/Christian viewpoint. There are two competing facts. One, the world was made in 6 days by a devine spirit that for some reason got bored and wanted to create something. The other, it has been around for billions of years and came from one giant ball of mass that exploded for some unknown reason then countless atoms came together to freakishly create a single cell organisms and through an almost infinite series of freakish accidents they came together to form you.

This thread is officially hi-jacked.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:37 am 
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The theory of relativity is still intact as far as I know although it has been adapted to accommodate other circumstances but Stephen Hawking had nothing to do with that.

I don't take advantage of religious holidays and I definitely do not ask more from religious people than I would ask of any other person. And I definitely would not pray if my child or some one near me were dying.

I agree religious people are not ignorant. I think there are other more appropriate descriptions. I think "there are no theists in a fox hole" is more appropriate." You don't stand there praying the bomb won't go off, you jump the hell out of the way because you are pretty confident the engineers that designed the bomb did a good job.

I agree about how you define factual being very close to how most religious people proceed, if not entirely, part of their belief system occurs in that fashion.

Your use of the word fact seems a little off to me

1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences: an account based on fact; a blur of fact and fancy.
2. a) Something demonstrated to exist or known to have existed: Genetic engineering is now a fact. That Chaucer was a real person is an undisputed fact.
b) A real occurrence; an event: had to prove the facts of the case.
c)Something believed to be true or real: a document laced with mistaken facts.
3) A thing that has been done, especially a crime: an accessory before the fact.

To get back on topic, I do not really find either the left or the right worth much these days. Everyone seems like they want to push systems on people so they can feel good. Consideration of what is best for the people seems like it comes very near the end of all thought for many politicians. I think religion is just one example of something that has crept into the political spectrum via the candidates that should not be present.

If I could elect an alien who could run a perfect Earth but was an atheist, I would. I think few would do so. The sense of nationalism and theism are too dominant in the minds of others. Biologically, those sentiments make some sense, but we also have a brain, which for better or worse, gives us the ability to circumvent some of these impulses through training and reflection. I think we should spend more time doing that.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:01 am 
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hoosegow wrote:


This thread is officially hi-jacked.


Damn! I was going to say that. lol

I think it was Albert Einstein who said, "Buddhism is the only religion that can cope with modern science."
Because the buddha teached letting go of attachments
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." - Gautama Buddha

If i'm a scientist I must realize that with future improvements in technology, that everything I have learned to be true, Can possibly be proven wrong.

Many buddhists that practice thier religion are not even buddhists, from my knowledge. Like tibetan buddhism, there are so many random beliefs and traditions that they still will not let go of. Also the dalai lamma is a Hypocrite (that's a seperate post). I can't say I approve of monks leaching off thier peasants.

Anyway, the teachings of the buddha have actually been agreed by modern science:
That all things are impermanent.
That the perception of a constant "self" is an illusion.
Also Buddhists do not believe in a god.(Though many believe in other weird things.)

Also Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't an atom 99% Void?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:11 am 
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Sorry about the Steven Hawking reference. I remember reading it in his book but didn't remember that he was referencing someone else.

I am officially retired from this thread. It is no longer hi-jacked and I apologize for doing so.


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