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Drix D'Zanth

Faith and Reason (No, really)

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[quote name='Sabrina'][FONT="Tahoma"]So considering what you said in this next part here, and I'm going to paraphrase you on this since I think it's apt:Then, please forgive me if I remain [I]deeply skeptical[/I] of [I]anyone[/I] who claims upfront that someone's belief in one avenue or potential truth on the matter makes them a fool and a brute because, they themselves think it must be so. [/FONT][/QUOTE]I see little I could say here that I didn't already mention in my previous post. A clarification: I intended to insult nothing but a reading of the scripture which I thought, and still think, approaches the bible irresponsibly and without due consideration (and please do not correct me on what I myself intended to say). I have said, in my last post, why I think so. Many otherwise unfoolish and unbrutish people have held to this reading, although I think wrongly. Of course, I can't change your mind if you insist on believing I have insulted [I]you[/I] specifically, but please notice that so far your [I]only[/I] response to my attempts to point out problems with such an interpretation has been to play up your (supposed) victimization. You are, as far as I read, basically saying that you won't take me seriously because I've said such nasty things (the idea being that hateful people have no good arguments to make). I only respond to this by noting that even if I'd said things a million times worse, even if I'd really intended a personal insult (when I did not), it wouldn't matter a bit to whether I was right or even whether or not I've said things worth considering.

We are not children; we shouldn't need to have our hands held and reassuring words passed around every time something potentially hurtful is said. If you think I'm wrong, make arguments about why. If you think my judgment of the creationist reading has been premature, make arguments about why. But I see no point in participating in this if a serious question about how to read scripture is turned into a referendum on whether I've been adequately respectful or not.

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[quote name='Fasteriskhead] Of course, I can't change your mind if you insist on believing I have insulted [I]you[/I] specifically, but please notice that so far your [I]only[/I'] response to my attempts to point out problems with such an interpretation has been to play up your (supposed) victimization. You are, as far as I read, basically saying that you won't take me seriously because I've said such nasty things (the idea being that hateful people have no good arguments to make). I only respond to this by noting that even if I'd said things a million times worse, even if I'd really intended a personal insult (when I did not), it wouldn't matter a bit to whether I was right or even whether or not I've said things worth considering.[/quote]She's not the only one who thought you were being condescending [[SIZE="1"]I did as well even though I don't believe in God[/SIZE]] she's just the one who's been the most vocal about it. Personally I think that wasn't your intent. However, online, one only has the text to go by instead of talking directly with the person. So you can stop calling it victimization since you're only driving the wedge even deeper my friend. All she's saying is that you called her a fool and a brute, it's not that hard to back up and be clear in your reasoning that, [I]hey... that's not what I meant[/I].

Religion is a touchy subject and as such, wording is very important. You're never going to convince someone to openly discuss something if you're not willing to find neutral ground or fess up to being a bit abrasive. Don't expect others to approach it with the same level of what you might consider frankness. The moment you do that, you've moved into [[SIZE="1"]pardon the vulgarity here[/SIZE]] philosophical masturbation of the subject as you're unwilling to concede any point towards the other person who has a point to share. You're too busy focusing on what you see as important and dismissing what others see as important. [[SIZE="1"]in this case clarifying what you are calling a fool[/SIZE]]

So really is it that hard to say... [I]sorry, let me be more clear on that... I'm referring to the theory/concept not you directly.[/I] Honestly, that's not that hard to do at all.

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[quote name='Rachmaninoff']So really is it that hard to say... [I]sorry, let me be more clear on that... I'm referring to the theory/concept not you directly.[/I] Honestly, that's not that hard to do at all.[/QUOTE]You're right, I should do that. Okay, then: I apologize for not being sufficiently clear. In the passage you quote I meant the creationist reading, not the readers themselves. I'm sorry if I caused offense with my vague formulation, as none was meant. Hopefully folks have a better idea of what was behind that statement (imprecise though it was) from my previous two posts.

So, shall we continue the conversation? I've given my own reasons, and I hope to get some good ones in return on why I may be wrong.

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It?s been fun seeing the intellectual discourse on this thread, a lot of great opinions out there and perspectives. I?m actually pleased to see the more superstitious worldviews are starting to withdraw into more realistic, skeptical perspectives.
Unfortunately, this may be my last post unless this thread can survive into mid-June as I?m going backpacking through Europe until the 9th. Hopefully I?ll be able to post at internet-wired hostels.

[quote name='Fasteriskhead']
You write in response to Raiha: "Which of [Thomas Aquinas'] ?proofs? are still valid today?" I assume you're referring to the "five ways" in Summa Theologiae 1a question 2, which have since been called "cosmological arguments." My objection is that if you read Thomas carefully, he doesn't seems to understand these arguments as [I]positive proofs[/I] in the sense that we would take them today. What Thomas attempts to show with his proofs is that there is, e.g., some being which conditions others but is itself is unconditioned, without [I]specifying[/I] in a positive way what such a being might be (in fact, by his own "via negativa" this would be impossible). The only knowledge learned in such demonstrations is negative; it only says what a certain being [I]cannot[/I] be (see [URL="http://www.diafrica.org/kenny/CDtexts/ContraGentiles3a.htm#39"][U]this text[/U][/URL] from the earlier Summa). And the proofs in this stripped-down form are still fairly widely accepted in terms of soundness (although I have my own objections which are a bit too technical to voice here). The most well-known criticisms (Hume and Kant) aren't against the proofs' [I]validity[/I], but simply point out the fact that they can't go far enough on their own to prove the existence of God. But I don't think that was what Aquinas intended. The point, as I read him, wasn't to rationally prove the truth of the Christian gospel, but to show that it could be [I]defended[/I] in the court of natural philosophy.
[/QUOTE]

I might be remiss if I didn?t mention that the Dawkins rebuttal to Thomas? five arguments are both comprehensive and entertaining. No, I don?t misinterpret the method that Thomas used to argue for the existence of a God (e.g. ?via negativa?). However, examine the argument from first cause where Thomas seems to assume that there must be an end to an infinite regression; and so he assumes that God is an ?uncaused cause?, which essentially contradicts the preceding argument that every effect must have a cause (this is also re-interpreted as something called the Kalaam Cosmological Argument). I realize that I?m only quickly addressing Aquinas, but I think that given the basic understanding of the universe modern science has given us we are able to see that none of Aquina?s proof would hold up in such a court.

[quote name='Fasteriskhead']
You're correct to point this out; I should have been more clear in my examples. However, I don't think the difference is quite as crucial as you assume. Now, it's true that a statement like ∃x ("at least one being x exists") is logically quite different from Px ("x is P"). The latter predicates a certain fact of a thing, while the former simply posits it existentially (Kant famously pointed out that the ontological proof of God by Anselm and Descartes rests on a confusion of these two kinds of statement). Nevertheless, both kinds of proposition are quite sensible: they are alike in this respect.

The question is whether it's still sensible to talk of [I]God[/I] in this way, and (by way of how God was previously defined) I don't think it is. The problem doesn't even occur when we talk about God (or, indeed, Haruhi) as being "invisible" or somesuch. We can very easily say ∃x(Hx & Ix). The basic difficulty is not that God is spoken about in a way which makes it very difficult to verify whether God exists or not. The real problem, which was also the great medieval question of "divine names," is that [I]anything[/I] which can be properly predicated of God will have to escape and surpass all creaturely understanding (if it doesn't, then what was named wasn't really God). And at that point our language breaks down.

I'm not quite sure what you mean; I only brought up Anselm to introduce the issue of "divine names." Could you clarify this a bit? [/QUOTE]
I think I?ll take a stab at both of them because they can be answered in similar respects. That is, I don?t think the believer including St. Anselm does not get away with the ?transcendent? argument.
First, it?s an easy card to play. ?My God is beyond understanding.? Well, how can the statement even come close to being true if you are able to [i]make[/i] that statement? Even if you describe an [i]aspect[/i] of God (if it is unknowable) you still encounter the same problem Heidegger faced when trying to identify existence: you can?t objectively define existence from without existence. And you can?t talk about non-existence in any positive manner, for in doing so you impose a contradictory state of existence on non-existence, rendering your argument logically invalid.
Second, no one worships a transcendent (unknowable) God. I made this point before, but through prophet, revelation, and personal experience?people claim to have physical, knowable interactions with the divine. These, I think are natural occurrences that are still subject to scientific inquiry. I think Hume gets it right when he critiques the occurrence of miracles. I don?t argue that one can know a transcendent divine ?God? if indeed it exists, but I do argue that it is implausible that some man named Jesus could turn water into wine without some sort of cheap parlor trick.

[quote name='Fasteriskhead']
Well, fair enough, but there is still a danger here that God's being "above" reason can just be taken to mean: one "believes" in the existence of a being called God regardless of a lack of proof. This (which is the way of taking "belief" I've been pressing against) is not Kierkegaard's opinion. So far as I can tell, faith, for him, just means the free decision to [I]obey[/I] in a pure and unequivocal manner. Which is, as you rightly note, something absurd. [/QUOTE]
Point taken, I can see how my comment may have misconstrued what Kierkegaard was talking about.
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']
Also, which Heidegger are you referring to? I can't recall where he might have said that, and I'd like to look at the text before I respond specifically. More broadly, though, I think the point you make is the same that was made against Thomas Aquinas by Duns Scotus: namely, that at the very least [I]being[/I] should be spoken in the same way for everything that is, including God. There is much that could be said about this (especially just what Scotus understood by "being"...), but for right now I think it's probably better to just note the point and skip over it. [/QUOTE]
I think this might be for the best.
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']

Well, the Jews have been doing highly interpretive, "esoteric" readings of such biblical events for several thousand years now. I see no reason why this option should be denied to everyone else. I tend to think that only someone very egotistical (or very naive) could believe that there's just a single way one could read such a bafflingly complex book.[/QUOTE]
Fair enough. I?m just advocating that we treat Jesus? resurrection the same way we treat Thetis dipping Achilles into the river Styx.

In all, I think we are agreeing with one another for the most part.

Especially here:
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']If an opinion is, in fact, foolish and brutish, I see no shame in pointing it out.[/QUOTE]

As far as I?m concerned Fasteriskhead may be jumping the gun when he identifies the [i]people[/i] as foolish and brutish, but he is [b]quite right[/b] when he calls the conscious refusal and willing ignorance of creationists a foolish and brutish position. No doubt the poor popularizing of science has lead to misunderstandings of evolutionary theory but I think it should be repeated in classrooms nationwide: [b] Evolution is a theory that explains the facts of life?s emergence and diversity, it explains correctly our origins as well as the origins of all other species, and it is the only theory compatible with all of the accurate and verifiable scientific evidence. Reconcile with your belief system however you like, but evolution is as ?true? as gravity.[/b] (I?ll also point out, interestingly enough, that we know more about evolution than we do gravity).


I haven?t taken my own survey, so I think I might before I depart for Europe.

1. If you believe in God, why do you believe?
I don?t.
2. Why do you think others believe in God?
According to surveys (I?m cheating, muahaha) the most common reasons people believe are: 1)The complexity and seeming improbability of the universe/life/our predicament, 2) The experience of God in everyday life, 3) The comfort, purpose, and meaning a belief gives to a person?s life, and 4) The Holy texts

3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?
I think there are certainly unscientific concepts in the bible (the stopping of the sun, walking on water, the parting of the [i]Red[/i] sea [note I didn?t say [i]Reed[/i] sea], flaming vortices from heaven) that just don?t follow what we know about the physical world. In these cases I think it?s wise to image them much like you would other colorful mythologies. However, the Genesis story [i]can[/i] be compatible with a scientific understanding of evolution.

4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to not believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.

for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don?t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief

Some people misunderstood the question, or didn?t bother answering it honestly. Take the argument from evil. There is evil and imperfection born from a supposedly omnibenevolent, perfect being. Typical response is ?free will? or ?sin? is why evil happens. Sorry, [u][b][URL="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/world/asia/15morgue.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin"]this[/URL][/b][/u] was no man?s fault (I think this is a legit point, so don?t misinterpret my example as an appeal to emotion). I think we should accept the bitter truth of the world and recognize that life is unfair, brutish, and short. Therefore, we should get off of our knees and try to better it.

5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?
I concur with Retribution. A ?reasonable? faith is a stretch and requires a decent amount of demysticism.

6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?

I?ve yet to hear any good arguments to change my opinion. But I remain open to the possibility I?m wrong.


I look at it this way. We?re all atheists to a degree. There are thousands of Gods, Godesses, and Idols which we could be worshiping. Thousands of revelations that suggest they are the ?truth?. But you don?t believe in [i]other[/i] Gods. You don?t believe in Thor or Mercury. Why is this? Think about the reasons you don?t. If you?ve given it honest thought, you might empathize with me when I say I?ve just gone [i]one ?god? further[/i] than you have.

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[SIZE="1"][quote name='Drix D'Zanth']However, examine the argument from first cause where Thomas seems to assume that there must be an end to an infinite regression; and so he assumes that God is an ?uncaused cause?, which essentially contradicts the preceding argument that every effect must have a cause (this is also re-interpreted as something called the Kalaam Cosmological Argument). I realize that I?m only quickly addressing Aquinas, but I think that given the basic understanding of the universe modern science has given us we are able to see that none of Aquina?s proof would hold up in such a court.[/quote]Okay, I'm going to nitpick here (sorry). Dawkins is missing the extremely important distinction made in medieval theology between being "self-caused" and being "uncaused." Every such theologian I am aware of, including Thomas, thinks that a self-caused being - something which causes its own existence - is incoherent (Descartes was the first one to take the idea seriously). Self-causation is a possibility Thomas denies right at the beginning of the "second way" (Summa Theologiae 1a Q.2 Art.3) - but he doesn't deny the idea that a being could have [I]no[/I] cause, i.e. that something could have always existed up to a certain moment. In fact, the existence of such a being is what he's trying to infer. The argument proceeds, so far as I understand it, like so:

1. No being can cause itself.
2. If there were no cause for a certain effect, the effect could not exist. (equiv. to: "all effects have causes")
3. Given at least one being which is an effect, we can infer that it had a cause. And if that cause is itself an effect, then we can infer that it too had a cause, and so on back.
4. No chain of causes and effects (like the one in 3) can be an infinite regression.
5. We are given at least one being which is an effect.
6. Therefore there must be some being which is a cause for others, but is itself uncaused (i.e. there must be some first cause for the causal chain).

As I read it, the argument in this form is perfectly valid and non-contradictory. One can, of course, deny any of the premises (4 is a popular target) or deny that the notion of an uncaused being is acceptable. It can also be pointed out that Thomas' proof can't successfully establish that this uncaused being (or beings - there could still presumably be more than one) is, in fact, God. As I said earlier, though, I don't think that's Thomas' goal (something Dawkins completely misses, albeit without being alone in doing so). This and some of the other "ways" are, even with all objections included, extraordinarily elegant little arguments - and despite what the "court of modern science" holds, I think even some scientists would find them convincing (even if they thought, for example, that the "uncaused being" was only the cosmos as a whole, this would in no way contradict Aquinas' proof in its basic form). Heidegger once wrote: "It is a prejudice of philosophers of religion" (or in this case, of biologists writing as such philosophers) "to think that they are able to settle the problem of theology with a quick sweep of the hand." No matter how many times crusty old theologians like Thomas are given such sweeps, they keep coming back. I can only wonder if they're somewhat more clever than we've been led to believe.

[quote name='Drix D'Zanth']?My God is beyond understanding.? Well, how can the statement even come close to being true if you are able to make that statement?[/quote]The traditional answer is that you don't run into the same sorts of language problems that I've been pointing out if the [I]only[/I] things you say about god are negative: "God is unknowable," "God is not finite," "God is not evil," etc. This is the thesis of so-called "negative theology." Your objection, which is a very good one, is to say: well, isn't it self-defeating to say that God can't be known? isn't that kind of statement itself knowledge of God? The traditional answer is that it isn't - that we only really have knowledge when it's a [I]positive[/I] predication of facts upon things. All a statement like "God is unknowable" does is deny God a certain "creaturely" predicate - that is, one which wouldn't be divinely appropriate. Ultimately I myself am not happy with this. It seems to me that ~Px ("x is not P") can't be just a denial, and has to be just as much a positive statement as Px ("x is P"). Granted that, even statements like "God is unknowable" would be self-defeating.

The sensible thing to say is: the only things that can ever [I]be[/I], are those things which can be [I]thought[/I]. This was the thesis of the great Karl Popper. And to this we can easily add: anything which can be thought can also be said, and said clearly. Thus, anything which cannot be thought or said, cannot [I]be[/I]. Nevertheless, something about this idea seems to me entirely baseless. Or, better: it seems like something of which we could never possibly [I]say[/I] whether it's true or not (from where, exactly, could we ever make such a decision?). If the whole of human thought were a house, the question of whether Popper's thesis is true or not would be a front door which always remains locked - so that we can never know whether it terminates in a brick wall (and isn't a real door at all) or leads to an outside. I believe, rather boldly, that we cannot assume the brick wall so quickly (humans are still finite, after all). Even so, we would have no way of reaching the God who (by the classical definitions I'm following) would lie outside of all possible thought - only faith, hope, or charity would remain. As I've said, this "door" is just as much the starting point of theology as it is the final conclusion of atheism; the two should really be considered old friends (and no one will squabble more than old friends).

[quote name='Drix D'Zanth']Second, no one worships a transcendent (unknowable) God. I made this point before, but through prophet, revelation, and personal experience?people claim to have physical, knowable interactions with the divine.[/quote]Sure, but lots of people also believe that the moon landing was staged and that Elvis is still alive - that doesn't make it [I]true[/I]. The truth doesn't need an army to be what it is, nor can an untruth ever recruit one large enough to force the issue. To make my point to that "army", I would say this: you can [I]always[/I] find other explanations for unlikely and seemingly divine occurrences, "religious experiences," and so on. Bring in the scientists and they will swiftly find other ways to explain them. [I]Faith[/I], on the other hand, is something that can never be taken away. If I write poetry in praise of the divine, I will never know whether it means anything - but no one can take away my [I]desire[/I] that, at some level, it will (absurd as it might be). This is also true for [I]hope[/I]. I may be told that things will continue exactly as they are, but I can still [I]wish[/I] for a change lying somewhere in the unforeseeable future. And it's true perhaps most of all in [I]charity[/I]: a single act done out of kindness, regardless of how it might be explained after the fact, can never be negated, removed, or taken back. It seems to me that these things are really the most solid foundation of Christianity. So I am admittedly confused when so many get so excited over things like potatoes with the Virgin Mary on them.

Heidegger once said of the so-called "god of philosophy": "Man can neither pray nor sacrifice to this god." I would say, in response: what other God could [I]really[/I] be prayed to? Of course, normally when we pray, we pray for things like the health of our children or (in our lesser moments) for a raise at work. But occasionally we pray for very strange sorts of things. We might pray for "world peace," for example - even though we can't say [I]what that would look like[/I]. Is it enough for there to be "no war"? But what constitutes a war? Would gang fighting be enough to be a war? What about "no violence"? But what's violence? Couldn't things as simple as eating or walking around be taken as a kind of violence? And so on. The point is, in those kinds of cases we don't know what we're praying for. It's as if we're appealing to God not just to listen to us, but also to make sense of prayers we ourselves cannot understand. And that, so far as I can tell, means praying to a God who completely exceeds us - exactly the so-called "god of philosophy." In cases where we want to win a lottery, we can make do with more civilized gods. But to pray for something we ourselves can't understand (which isn't so uncommon!), we need something entirely different.

[quote name='Drix D'Zanth']I look at it this way. We?re all atheists to a degree. There are thousands of Gods, Godesses, and Idols which we could be worshiping. Thousands of revelations that suggest they are the ?truth?. But you don?t believe in other Gods. You don?t believe in Thor or Mercury. Why is this? Think about the reasons you don?t. If you?ve given it honest thought, you might empathize with me when I say I?ve just gone one ?god? further than you have.[/quote]Someone more a believer than I might say in response: "Well, perhaps what you've really done is just eliminate one more [I]idol[/I]. And if so, good on you. You should consider, though, whether the 'One God' is really to be identified with some deity who literally created the Earth 4,000 years ago, literally appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and literally made a bet with the devil to see how obediant Job was. But couldn't the real God be something else completely? Isn't it possible that the real God hasn't yet appeared to face your judgment?"

I will leave it up to you to decide whether to take this hypothetical person seriously. Either way, given this as well as your first post in the thread, I suggest a motto for you to take up (which I borrow from Goethe): "There is nothing to which one is more severe than the errors that one has just abandoned."[/SIZE]

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[B]1. If you believe in God, why do [I]you[/I] believe?[/B]

I have no reason not to. God is real to me because I have experienced his grace through my faith, and felt his prescence. His guidance overy my own foolish thinking has also been a mighty blessing.

I have also come to an understanding of endtime prophecy through endtime ministries, and through seeing prophecy come to pass (real specific stuff once you understand it) It has steeled my belief that the Bible is the ubshakeable word of God.

Faith is also essentially good. Christianity is not only about personal salvation, it's also about mission. Help the needy, clothe the poor, do good to those who harm you and yes, pray for your enemies. True Christianity is counter-cultural to the selfish human position and when fully understood is more uplifting and inspiring than the critics paint it.

[B] 2. Why do you think [I]others[/I] believe in God?[/B]

Various reasons. Some people believe in God, simply because they believe it's a cushy ticket to a better life, others have a more substantial faith based on a true understanding of the gospel (which promises anything but a crutch to lean on, or breezy life.)

The sad thing about the former believer is, when the going gets tough and the storms of life roll in, it means God isn't there for them and they lose their faith.

[B] 3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?[/B]

They are compatible to an extent. Obviously there is some science out there that contradicts what God says, but there is science that does not. I see science which claims we came out of a big bang, and a Bible which says God spoke and light instantly appeared. I do not think that the big bang theory is necessarily anathema to "the God soultion" (instead of delusion, see? :p )

[B] 4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to [I]not[/I] believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.[/B]

The most challenging thing would be peoples perceptions of God. I often hear of people falling away because they "prayed for God to get them a job" or "a better social situation," they have this unbiblical notion that God is nothing more than a celestial genie who should grant their every whim, and that's dangerous. It is by no means the only reason why people fall out of faith, but it is the most common one I've experienced.


[I][quote]for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don?t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief[/quote][/I]

That's free will. A God who wants people, not robots. That's why we will be called to account for our lives ont he last day, and those who have accepted Jesus' sacrifice will emerge trimuphant.

[B] 5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?

[/B]I have reaosnable faith. A faith that's not blind to science which is compatible with my beliefs, a robust faith which is able to handle crit, without me having to resort to blind ignroance or insluting the opposite side of the debate.

[B] 6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?

[/B]Evidence is in creation. There is too many similarities between animals on this planet for it to be mere coincidence. All animals have eyes and ears, most have two of each, most have one nose. Evolution by it's nature should have thrown up more variety, I think.

Then there's DNA, this ultra-complex code completely unique to the individual that makes us who we are. Science, in discovering the DNA strand, has uncovered the artists signature.

You see, it's not in the Bible because the Bible is not here to give us the nitty gritty on how the earth turns, it's essential message is salvation. I believe that we were meant ot use our God-given brains and our creator intended us to uncover how he made this world work. It' more rewarding than knowing from the start!

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[COLOR="Indigo"]I'm bored, so... why not?

[B]1. If you believe in God, why do [i]you[/i] believe?[/B]

I do not believe.

[B]2. Why do you think [i]others[/i] believe in God?[/B]

In all honesty, I really don't care why someone believes in God, nor do I find attempting to guess why all that productive. Unless you're talking about forced belief, in that case it's usually some outside factor or influence.

[B]3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What’s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?[/B]

Since when was belief only central to faith and religion? All science starts with belief/faith. Belief/faith that things make sense and are explainable. Belief/faith that a concept or idea is correct.

Once the idea or concept is disproven or proven, that belief/faith is replaced with knowledge and the process starts all over again with the next thing you want to understand or make sense of.

So... which one do I accept? The one that has the most knowledge of course.

[B]4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to [i]not[/i] believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples’ faith.[/B]

I'm not interested in arguing why someone should not believe. But one of the biggest challenges is the lack of scientific proof... in my opinion. The believers are almost always left falling back on the "I just believe" argument/explanation.

[B][i]for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don’t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief[/i][/B]

People confuse evil with religion thinking it's applicable to that alone. Evil is nothing more than the word live spelled backwards. It is the opposite of what is living, whether it's physically or mentally in the sense of having one's will or liveliness crushed.

Everything dies, evil is natural and people seem to have some odd idea that it shouldn't exist in this world. Morally you could claim evil is wrong, but on some level, it's a part of life and has nothing to do with religion at all.

You could turn around and say there are people who are evil since they deliberately crush or kill others, and by evil it's usually killing that is not necessary for one's survival... but it is still not wholly a religious concept and that's what I often see people failing to grasp.

If someone like God did exist and removed "evil" as it were... :p

[B]5. Do you think there is such thing as “reasonable faith”? Or, do you think they are in conflict?[/B]

I have only one thing to say about that... lolwut?!?

[B]6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?[/B]

Does not apply.[/COLOR]

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[SIZE="1"]I second what [b]Jeremiah[/b] said.

I do believe in god, and the bible. I started to get more into my faith when I was seventeen, and its just progressed since then. Theres a lot more evidence than people think. For example, Daniel predicted Jesus' death 539 years before he was born. I'm not going to go on and on about it however, because I'm not going to start any heated debates. :p[/SIZE]

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[quote name='Fasteriskhead']So, shall we continue the conversation?[/quote]
[FONT=Arial]Ehh, still no. And here I'd like you to indulge me in a serious explanation as to the Why, since you're [I]quite[/I] missing the point. (As are you, [COLOR=DarkRed]Rach[/COLOR], though I appreciate your attempts at mediation.)

As I said earlier, I was planning on discussing. I wanted to discuss. I am all [I]for[/I] discussion, because I want to hear you, and hear the workings of your mind. But I find the discussion useless if you (and others) will not hear me back.

If you truly wish for a discussion, regardless of what the issue or what the stance, you must be willing to draw your opponent to you and make them feel as if they will be heard. You must also be very careful with your speech, and although your one flaw has been pointed out to you, you are also rather oblivious to the chain of missteps that keeps me away. So let's watch for a second, and forgive me for picking solely on you; you are not the only one I see this attitude from.
[quote name='Fasteriskhead'][COLOR=#EDEDED]Not quoted because of sheer length[/COLOR][/QUOTE]
Yes, there's nothing there. I know. :p I just want people to be able to backtrack easily.

Your entire third answer-bullet was [I]riddled[/I] with bias. (Although personally I think your conclusions about ID are correct, and I'm a Creationist.) Mind, I know bias is inherent; otherwise you could not truly say you believe one way or the other. However, at no one time did you say "I think _____ is bad" or "I think ____ is brutish". You said "_____ is bad" and "_____ is brutish". This automatically alienated you from that side for the simple reason that you stated a claim [I]as if it were fact[/I] instead of as if it were opinion.

I also recognize that the intent was to objectify the idea and not the person. However, in calling an idea Foolish and Brutish, you call any who hold to it Fools and Brutes, whether you intend to or no.

You attempted to address this:
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']We are not children; we shouldn't need to have our hands held and reassuring words passed around every time something potentially hurtful is said.[/QUOTE]
Absolutely true. However, you shifted responsibility. If you really want an opposing viewpoint, you never begin by ridiculing the opposition. It's simply bad diplomacy, and it will have three effects.
[LIST=1][*]From those who are immature and cannot handle such ridicule, you will receive either angry silence or stoic silence. This person is afraid of having their belief torn apart and destroyed, and so will simply wait for the perceived threat to pass before venturing out into their comfort zone again to discuss their beliefs with others who feel the same. Thus you will be partially responsible for planting a callous stereotype in that person's mind, and engendering in the process a person who believes with no real reason for believing—the very thing that stereotypes the Creationist side, and one which both of us find rather depressing.
[*]From those who are somewhat more mature, who can take such ridicule without injury but with moderate indignation, you will receive a hasty, heated defense with little thought given to proofs. These arguments are a total waste of your time, as they are easily torn apart and destroyed, and yet reasserted immediately because the arguer has no other recourse. This also may hurt your image, as in the process of you having to fend off idiocy you may become agitated and lash out yourself, which this person will then perceive as a small victory.

In the alternate case that the person of this maturity can take a hit and not resort to indignation, you are likely to be faced with the same level of thought going into their arguments, and so is still a waste of your time.
[*]From those who understand the intent of the argument and have the maturity to see completely beyond the slight, you will again receive silence, for this person knows that you do not discuss to hear, but that you discuss to prove yourself true; and so they see any attempts at fair discussion ultimately futile. They also feel no qualms at taking further subtle hits once they have declared their non-interference, and their silence then becomes mildly humored. Thus you have alienated the very people you wish to talk to, the people who might actually give you challenge and your ideas pause.[/LIST]

In summary:
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']You are, as far as I read, basically saying that you won't take me seriously because I've said such nasty things (the idea being that hateful people have no good arguments to make).[/quote]
No, actually. Quite the opposite; I am basically saying that I already know you will not take [I]me[/I] seriously, and so there is no reason to speak at all. Inasfar as I have watched, your arguments are mostly good, and mostly thought out, with a few exceptions.

So it boils down to a lack of tact. You have already demonstrated—and again, you are not alone in this—that you have decided where you stand and are only interested if I can prove you wrong. I would rather start over from the complete beginning, take one assumption, and follow both paths to their logical conclusion. It is far easier and less prone to fallaciousness than attempting to divine outward from the center in all directions at once. So although I think a discussion between us would be rather interesting, I see it with your current attitude as ultimately useless.

Make me believe you want to hear me, and I will speak.

[CENTER]------------------------------------------[/CENTER]

Final note (and completely unrelated):
[quote name='Fasteriskhead']Well, the Jews have been doing highly interpretive, "esoteric" readings of such biblical events for several thousand years now. I see no reason why this option should be denied to everyone else.[/quote]
Ehh. Has it also occurred to you that perhaps they're doing it wrong? In my experience (in literature in general), interpretation is the only recourse of those who miss the statement right before them. Attempting to divine hidden meanings is to me highly presumptuous, and it assumes that the author intended their literature to be interpreted in the first place—an assumption no one has the right to make. To make such an assumption at all is in [I]my[/I] opinion highly egotistical, denoting that [I]you[/I] somehow know the author's intentions where others cannot.[/FONT]

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[FONT="Tahoma"][QUOTE=Fasteriskhead]You're right, I should do that. Okay, then: I apologize for not being sufficiently clear. In the passage you quote I meant the creationist reading, not the readers themselves. I'm sorry if I caused offense with my vague formulation, as none was meant. Hopefully folks have a better idea of what was behind that statement (imprecise though it was) from my previous two posts.

So, shall we continue the conversation? I've given my own reasons, and I hope to get some good ones in return on why I may be wrong.[/QUOTE]In all honesty, I'm not really looking for an apology per se, but as Rach said, getting clarification from you as to what you are trying to say. Because if someone really thinks you are a fool... then there really is no reason to have a discussion is there? ^_~ So, with that out of the way... I'll move into answering the questions and to tackling a bit of what you brought up. I won't be covering all of it for the simple reason you have made references to things I have not read, but I will at least try to make my own standpoint more clear.

[B]1. If you believe in God, why do [i]you[/i] believe?[/B]

I do and explaining that belief isn't simple in the sense that my belief is not based on proof. As others have rightly pointed out, proving God exists isn't something that is very doable. At least not with our limited understanding, something I will get to later on in my post.

[B]2. Why do you think [i]others[/i] believe in God?[/B]

I think Jeremiah covered that one well enough so I'll not bother to repeat it.

[B]3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?[/B]

I have no problem accepting both. And before you say "what?" stop and think about it. We are supposedly talking about someone who understands all of this and how it works. So with said knowledge, why couldn't that someone, in this case God, create life and yet leave things to take the process of evolution or even set things up so that they would do so without any further guidance on their part?

Like question one, I will be answering this one a little more in a bit when I answer one of Fasteriskhead's points.

[B]4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to [i]not[/i] believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.[/B]

I don't see any compelling arguments to not believe, at least not from my standpoint. Obviously a fair challenge is the lack of proof as Indi pointed out, but faith is the belief in things that cannot be proved.

[B][i]for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don?t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief[/i][/B]

Ironically I think Indi covered that one the best too. It's too easy to think that evil shouldn't exist when I honestly find the idea that bad things shouldn't happen rather silly. SunfallE touched on that briefly since she use to be a member of the same faith I belong to. Evil, in all forms, whether it's what we consider morally wrong or the more natural process of death, is something that attempting to remove would in my opinion create an unbalance in the world.

If we really are here to be tested and learn, then what kind of test would it be if the very thing that would "try" you the most was removed? It wouldn't be one at all and our purpose here would be rather meaningless. So in the end, it's only something that would lead one to disbelief (in my opinion) if they were looking for that easy road that had no challenge to it.

[B]5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?[/B]

I find this concept a bit silly really, at least from what I've read up on it (which isn't a lot).

[B]6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?[/B]

I already touched on this, faith is a belief in something that cannot be proved, at least not yet. We aren't to a level of understanding that would theoretically open the gates to understanding God. So, like many others who believe, I go by my faith instead of treading down the scientific path in an attempt to get there.

Anyway, time to tackle this again, but in a different manner this time around. [quote]Please forgive me if I am even [I]more[/I] skeptical of someone claiming not only to have [I]the[/I] reading, but also that no other interpretations are even [I]possible[/I]. [/quote]I'm not sure if I completely get what you are talking about in the claiming to have the only reading possible. Perhaps others might be saying this is how it is and there is no other possible meaning, but logically something should only have one meaning if it's to have any serious claim to truth. Anyway...[quote] For this, it seems to me, is what I'm hearing (and please correct me if I'm misunderstanding). Forget about the question of whether it agrees with science; forget even about whether it's [I]true[/I]. To hold that the scripture "just says" that the Earth was created by God in exactly seven days (meaning: exactly 168 hours, or 10080 minutes, or 604800 seconds, etc.) some 4,000 years ago, and that that's the only possible way to read the section, seems to me to [I]willfully ignore[/I] all problems of biblical interpretation.[/quote]I only have one thing to say to this, though I will at least attempt to give some form of analogy to explain my answer... which is... Why not? Why couldn't it have literally been just like that? Let me try to clarify a little.

For this particular analogy I want you to pretend that you have been tasked with explaining the Internet to someone from back in that time frame (never mind that time travel is unlikely). How would you do this? How would you explain how such a thing even works? Do you honestly think they would even begin to grasp just what is going on? Chances are, they just won't get it, period. They would lack the basic foundation or rather knowledge necessary to even begin to grasp it. A good percentage of even people today don't fully understand how it works, myself included.

So someone from that time frame who didn't understand electricity or communications or other forms or technological advances that we take for granted, would most likely be baffled and even frightened by the idea of some web that essentially covered the world and let people talk to one another within a matter of seconds (like one does when they use something like AIM).

So what would you do? If you were someone like God, isn't it possible you'd explain it in simple terms or use an analogy that they could grasp? Yes it would be highly inaccurate but at the same time, there isn't an explanation that they would have understood. The idea would be to at least let them have a means to understand it to the best of their current ability. I mean look at us today, we don't get it either since the only thing we seem to be capable of doing is attempting to force our understand of someone like God into our own limited understanding. And realistically, that just won't work, we lack the knowledge to do so (in my opinion).

Anyway, I hope that at least clears up why I choose to believe the way I do. [/FONT]

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@Fasteriskhead
Dude, I would just not bother with Allamorph. He spends more time with polite ad hominems than with the actual topic. I did not follow your back-and-forth, but I bet the unfluffed gist of it was along the lines of "you seem capable and make valid points, but I'm just better than you because I don't do the following faults or have the following flaws you do."

That's my guess and recommendation. Maybe he might be worth responding to... I could be wrong that he isn't pulling some holier than thou BS, because like I said, tl;dr. lawlz

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[COLOR="RoyalBlue"][FONT="Lucida Sans Unicode"][SIZE="2"]And at this point, going to remind people to[B] NOT[/B] continue the snipping that I've been seeing going on here.

Your entire post [B]AzureWolf[/B] had absolutely [I]nothing[/I] to do with the topic other than to dismiss/bash a member's point without even bothering to read it. That kind of stupidity belongs in pm's so lets start taking things there please.

Especially when you're going to do nothing but trash another member in your post without even bothering to address the topic of the thread.[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

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[SIZE="1"][quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial]Ehh, still no. And here I'd like you to indulge me in a serious explanation as to the Why [why the conversation should go on][/FONT][/QUOTE]Because what you say in response might be [I]true[/I]. What other reason could there be?

[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial]So it boils down to a lack of tact. You have already demonstrated?and again, you are not alone in this?that you have decided where you stand and are only interested if I can prove you wrong. I would rather start over from the complete beginning, take one assumption, and follow both paths to their logical conclusion. It is far easier and less prone to fallaciousness than attempting to divine outward from the center in all directions at once. So although I think a discussion between us would be rather interesting, I see it with your current attitude as ultimately useless.

Make me believe you want to hear me, and I will speak.[/FONT][/QUOTE]All I can do is repeat again:

[quote]
[SIZE="1"]For this, it seems to me, is what I'm hearing (and please correct me if I'm misunderstanding).
...
f you think I'm wrong, make arguments about why. If you think my judgment of the creationist reading has been premature, make arguments about why.
...
I've given my own reasons, and I hope to get some good ones in return on why I may be wrong.[/SIZE][/quote]I don't see what I can reasonably grant that I haven't already. If by saying that you'd rather we "start over from the complete beginning" you mean that I'll have to completely drop my own opinion on the subject before you're willing to join in, I don't think I can do so. I've given some thought to the topic, and through that thought I've reached certain conclusions (or "biases," if you wish). These are conclusions which I'm perfectly willing to alter or drop if I'm given good reason to. It isn't about "proving me wrong," it's about [I]clarifying[/I] for my benefit any aspects of the subject in question which I've misunderstood or skipped over without reason, and which have pushed me in the direction of error. It's about [I]seeking the truth[/I]. And after all, if all discussion amounted to talking to people who themselves hold no biases, it would be very boring indeed (I'm thankful that I've never had a discussion that happened that way).

I've clarified what I meant and apologized for my poor choice of words. And, if what you'd like the people on these boards to learn is how to be tactful and diplomatic, I think the point's been made well (after all, I've been chastened even by the folks who seem to be on my side). But I, at least, would enjoy learning other things. So I hope you will take me seriously when I say: I swear, by my honor as a thinker, that I will take seriously any points you make.

[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial]In my experience (in literature in general), interpretation is the only recourse of those who miss the statement right before them. Attempting to divine hidden meanings is to me highly presumptuous, and it assumes that the author intended their literature to be interpreted in the first place?an assumption no one has the right to make. To make such an assumption at all is in [I]my[/I] opinion highly egotistical, denoting that [I]you[/I] somehow know the author's intentions where others cannot.[/FONT][/QUOTE]Wonderful! Now I have something to talk about.

If I read you fairly, you hold to something like the following understanding of how people read:

1. Someone reads a text.
2A. They get the meaning of the text (what it's saying), OR
2B. If they don't understand the meaning of the text (or, perhaps, if they think it might say "more"), they have to "interpret" it.
3. The meaning of the text found in situations like 2A is always correct, while "interpreted" meaning always risks being false.

In other words, interpretation is something that happens if we're not satisfied with the meaning we already have. The thing is, I don't think interpretation works this way. It doesn't seem to me to be true that we first naively get the meaning of the text, and [I]then[/I] decide (presumptuously or otherwise) whether or not to begin an act of interpretation. Rather, reading [I]just is[/I] interpreting - or, to put it better, how we read is [I]by[/I] interpreting.

I'll try to justify this by one of my favorite examples, from Genesis 3:15 (where God is speaking to the serpent). In the King James translation, this passage reads: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise [or crush] thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This verse is usually cited as the first reference to Christ in the bible - the "it" (here clearly meant to indicate the "seed" of the woman) in the passage is taken to indicate the one who will crush the serpent, that is, Satan or sin. The problem is that the Hebrew isn't so clear. Basically, the key pronoun "it" could refer to [I]several[/I] things since the Hebrew is ambiguous and ungendered. The Greek Septuagent translates the key phrase as "he shall strike thy head? - a translation which makes it even more clear that the figure being referenced is to be Christ. But the Vulgate, in contrast, translates it "she will crush your head" - the "she" here being the [I]woman[/I] from the previous clause. In this translation (and it's not alone), it isn't the woman's seed which crushes the serpent's head, but the woman [I]herself[/I]. Taken theologically, this means: the one who destroys sin isn't Christ, but [I]Mary[/I]. Taking either reading as [I]the[/I] reading will thus have have severe theological consequences. But, there's no way to validate or invalidate [I]either[/I] reading by the text itself: the pronoun just isn't clear. To this day there are divisions on how to read the passage. And this sort of thing is by no means uncommon.

Why bring this up? Well, first off, don't trust the translations (but you should already know that). But my deeper point is that if two people read this passage in Hebrew, they could both pass over it quite quickly without ever stopping to "interpret" it in a conscious, reasoned kind of way, and yet they could both take the [I]meaning[/I] very differently ("the woman's seed will crush your head" versus "the woman will crush your head"). In other words, we would have two "naive" readings that contradict. This leads me to conclude that such readings can't be trusted without further ado. The implication (this is my main thrust) is that [I]any[/I] reading, even one which doesn't involve the deliberate act of considering what something means, has to make certain assumptions about what words mean, how they relate, and indeed "the author's intentions" for the text. And if a naive reading makes these kinds of choices, then there can be no [I]strict[/I] division between it and deliberate "interpretation" of a text. So all readings are basically interpretive. They are all, therefore, equally at risk of being not only wrong but also "presumptuous" and "egotistical" (as you put it).

Now, please don't take me to be saying that any way of reading something is equal to every other way (relativism! head for the hills!). Please don't take me to be saying that there's never any reading which is the one and only correct one. My point is that there's no way to get to [I]the[/I] meaning "for free" (so to speak) just by reading without "presuming" anything deliberately. There is no way out of the work of interpreting. And that means, with scripture above all else, that you have to [I]justify[/I] your reading (or, as math teachers like to say, "show your work"). This means providing good reasons for your reading or reasons why other possible readings are unacceptable.

You could object here: "It's fine to say that some passages, like Genesis 3:15, require more thought than others. But Genesis 1 and 2 seem pretty straightforward in what they say. Why would should anyone depart from the most obvious meaning to something else?" Well, I grant that if a reading seems very obvious, that says a lot in its favor. Nevertheless, I think Erasmus' warning should be taken seriously here. We are told that the Earth was created in seven days. But we are also told elsewhere (2 Peter 3:8) that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (this is why I exaggerated the idea of taking these days as [I]exactly[/I] 24 hours in the modern sense). If Peter's to be taken literally (and we could, of course, also take him figuratively), then this means a 7,000 year long creation is quite biblically justifiable. I think I could find other things to look at, but this is enough to show my point. Mind you, I'm not trying to absolutely invalidate the creationist reading here. My point is just that if it's going to assert itself as [I]the[/I] reading, it has to be able to provide reasons why it should be believed or why all others shouldn't.

To Sabrina: I think this should also answer your own questions (but please tell me if I've not done so). I'm not clear one one part, though:

[quote name='Sabrina'][FONT="Tahoma"]So what would you do [/FONT][if trying to explain the internet to someone from the past][FONT="Tahoma"]? If you were someone like God, isn't it possible you'd explain it in simple terms or use an analogy that they could grasp? Yes it would be highly inaccurate but at the same time, there isn't an explanation that they would have understood. The idea would be to at least let them have a means to understand it to the best of their current ability. I mean look at us today, we don't get it either since the only thing we seem to be capable of doing is attempting to force our understand of someone like God into our own limited understanding. And realistically, that just won't work, we lack the knowledge to do so (in my opinion).[/FONT][/QUOTE]If I understand you correctly, then we aren't disagreeing here (at least not on the question of whether interpretation is needed). If you're saying that these sections of the scripture are to be read as a kind of analogy, and were written that way so that we could get a decent idea of something which we couldn't otherwise conceive, it reasonably follows that the way we're supposed to read the text is to try to figure out what was [I]really[/I] meant in it (the "mystery," as Erasmus puts it). In other words, it requires very careful [I]interpretive[/I] work, in the same way that my past person would have to rack his imagination in order to understand the internet. And this is, so far as I have understood it, [I]exactly[/I] what the creationists wish to deny. They claim that the most obvious reading is the [I]only[/I] one we should ever consider. It's as if I were to describe the internet as "like a kind of unembodied writing or drawing which can be called to appear on any sheet of papyrus in the world, and be instantly erased to call up more whenever the owner wishes," and the person who heard this then denied any possibility of monitors or keyboards because I had specifically said "papyrus."

So, to be clear: I'm not denying that we should read Genesis 1 and 2 as a creation of some kind. I'm saying that the particular group of readers called "creationists" are limiting how we should understand these passages without good justification.

[quote name='AzureWolf']@Fasteriskhead
...I did not follow your back-and-forth...[/QUOTE]Well, thank you for your support I suppose, but I honestly prefer when people read what I say and disagree with it far more than when they pick a position without having read. I don't care about being right so much as I care about producing a better understanding of the problem. tl;dr - thanx but plz read.[/SIZE]

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[quote name='Allamorph'][FONT=Arial] This automatically alienated you from that side for the simple reason that you stated a claim [I]as if it were fact[/I] instead of as if it were opinion. [/FONT][/QUOTE]

[color=deeppink][b]No.[/b]

We are not children, we should be able to have a discussion without someone holding our hands with some placating disclaimer.

And I know what you're getting at and this is purely semantic, but saying something like "I think ponies are cool," is pharasing the sentiment a lot more like a fact then just saying "Ponies are cool. I mean, it's an absolute fact that I think ponies are cool. [/color]

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[FONT="Tahoma"][QUOTE][SIZE="1"]In other words, it requires very careful [I]interpretive[/I] work, in the same way that my past person would have to rack his imagination in order to understand the internet. And this is, so far as I have understood it, [I]exactly[/I] what the creationists wish to deny. They claim that the most obvious reading is the [I]only[/I] one we should ever consider. It's as if I were to describe the internet as "like a kind of unembodied writing or drawing which can be called to appear on any sheet of papyrus in the world, and be instantly erased to call up more whenever the owner wishes," and the person who heard this then denied any possibility of monitors or keyboards because I had specifically said "papyrus."

So, to be clear: I'm not denying that we should read Genesis 1 and 2 as a creation of some kind. I'm saying that the particular group of readers called "creationists" are limiting how we should understand these passages without good justification.[/SIZE][/QUOTE]Well obviously not everyone who believes in the theory of creationism is so rigid as to think it has to be 100% literal. That's probably where the root of the confusion over the first statement on your part came in. Many of us are most definitely not so literal minded when it comes to understanding how we ended up on Earth in the first place. I think this is a case of perhaps those you are use to dealing with, giving the impression that all of us think like that. Which is far from accurate. [quote name='Nerdsy][color=deeppink][b]No.[/b']We are not children, we should be able to have a discussion without someone holding our hands with some placating disclaimer.[/color][/quote]Uh I disagree, you've missed the point completely. The very heart of the discussion [I]is about semantics[/I] or at the very least some of the semantics involved in reading and understanding the Bible.

I really don't care if someone thinks I'm a fool or a brute, but it is pointless (in my opinion) to waste my time talking to someone if they've decided before I even state my opinion that it is foolish.

We are not children and therefore should have the intelligence and the maturity to take a step back and realize that we not infallible and incapable of wording things in a manner that would be misunderstood. And someone who is mature has no problem with clarifying their point as Fasteriskhead already did.

What [I]is childish[/I] is thinking that it's okay to question the semantics of the Bible and yet not the wording of the other person who is discussing it at well. I want the discussion to continue, but if there's something I'm not agreeing with, I am going to try and get that clarified before I continue.[/FONT]

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Gay marriage and a religion thread, all in the week that I'm gone... there should be some sort of OB rule against that. :animesigh I really don't have the patience to go very far into this, other than to point out that Jeremiah's answers are fairly close to my own. Except for the bit on evil, I tend to lean more towards what Indi was talking about instead of free will. Or rather a combination of the two is more what I see.

If you stop and think about it... if there was no evil, there would be no concept of right and wrong. Just as there is light, there is shadow. Free will can be tied into our ability to make that choice, but evil in a much broader sense is far more than just what one would consider morally right or wrong. Anyway, that's about all I'm interested in covering right now.

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[quote name='Sabrina'][FONT="Tahoma"] Uh I disagree, you've missed the point completely. The very heart of the discussion [I]is about semantics[/I] or at the very least some of the semantics involved in reading and understanding the Bible. [/FONT][/QUOTE]

[color=deeppink]I know what the discussion is about. Fasteriskhead said something in a way that other people took offense to, and they wanted him to explain himself. I was not addressing the discussion at large, merely that particular strain of logic.

To use a word that gets thrown around here an awful lot, it's [i]nitpicky[/i]. And really, this PC insistence on "clarifying that it's an opinion" is just annoying.

And for the record, I'm not saying that people shouldn't question the wording; no where in my post did I say that. I'm saying that that particular point holds no real merit. To use your argument, how can somebody think that it's okay to question somebody's wording but you can't question that question?

And by all means, question my questioning of the question.

EDIT: This is getting too off topic for my tastes. If you do care to respond, I suggest moving to PMs.[/color]

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1. If you believe in God, why do [i]you[/i] believe?:
Well I started believing because I was TOLD to believe. I never questioned it once until a friend of mine. (Who was and still is an athiest) Had a discussion about his belifs (he started it, I never once questioned his beliefs). He said something to me when we were around 17 that has stuck with me ever since. "Wouldn't god be happy just knowing that I've actually searched for answers all my life. Instead of just believing because I was told to?" Ever since then I've asked myself every day if I do. And Just him saying that was enough to give me affirmation as to Gods existence.

2.Why do you think [i]others[/i] believe in God? I do think some people believe because of fear (which is sort've sad) Others beleive because they've been taught it all their lives.

3.The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?:
I believe evolution and religion go hand in hand if you look at it right. Why wouldn't god change his creations the slightest bit to allow for easier lives. Just like people with an ant farm. You get tired of looking at the same thing so you switch it up. You get different ants and throw in, or you change the enviroment in which they live. Why couldn't god do the same?

4.What do you think are the most compelling arguments to [i]not[/i] believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.

[i]for instance; some people think the existence of evil, in light of an all-powerful, all-good God, is a tough question that theologians don?t have a clear answer to and may lead people to non-belief[/i]:
I honestly think that some people (sadly enough) Don't believe or question their beliefs because of the society they live in. Like hte first question, I do believeyou should search for your own answers. But alot of people just "go with the path of least resistance" and do what everyone else is doing. Or they don't like religion because of what it does to the world today.

5.Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?: No I belive in resonable faith

6.Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?

First of all I don't like this question because if you have proof for evidence. You don't believe you know. That sort've says well I don't need "Faith" Iknow. Not that its a bad thing, but in the bible the term "faith" is used alot. I think that sort've knicks any thoughts of god dropping Jesus at the local mall out of the window. But if any naysayers stillthink they need proof. Think about the next time you forget your keys, and as you pull up to a red light you know dang well you wouldn't have had to stop at if you wouldn't have forgotten your keys. And a truck goes flying through the intersection right where you possibly would have been.

Or the next time you just happen to think "boy I left the stove on"and you get up and sure as shoot you left it on. Maybe its the fist time in ages...but isn't it odd you just happened to think you did?

If you want more of a....visable reason to believe I have a couple small examples. In the "evoutionary ladder" Why are we the only animals to develop so many things. I know you'll be thinking "well apes communicate through sign language, live in communities, and use tools." Well that is true I won't deny. But when was the last time you saw an ape drive a car? Invent electricity? Or build/fly a plane (And I can hear the smart ***' now. And no, being seated at a rocket that we as humans build and launch does not count"

Now in the naysayers defense Somebodys going to say. "Why would god make us the only planet with intelligent life?" And I have an answer to that too. We don't know we are the only planet with intelligent life. So that can neither be a for or against religious question.

And lastly the "Big Bang theory" Common. Where does that logically make any sense. Spontaneous Generation was proved falls hundreds of years ago.

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[QUOTE]1. If you believe in God, why do you believe?[/QUOTE]
I believe in God for a couple reasons. Ever since I have been born people have been telling me his is real and that I should follow him. They say the bible is the ultimate authority from him and I should follow it too. However once I got old enough to question these people they really haven't been giving me answers that make sense. So now I have a pretty simple relationship with God. I ask him to help me and when he does I thank him. And 9 times out of 10 the things I ask him for happen for me. So that's basically my reason. Maybe it's luck, or Karma. But I prefer to think it's God.



[QUOTE]2. Why do you think others believe in God?[/QUOTE]
For a great man reasons. A powerful emotional response to a sermon. The fact that they have nothing left. They grew up with it. That's just a few of the million of reasons people choose.

[QUOTE]3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?[/QUOTE]You can mix evolution and creationism together to have some sort of mesh sure. I personally don't believe in evolutionism because It just doesn't make sense to me. That said I haven't looked into it that deeply and I doubt I would understand all the scientific stuff that's in it. I think the creationist theory is easier to beleive. A God we don't understand created the world. You can completely disprove it. But you can't really prove it either. You need faith but not a large leap of faith. So I will take the smaller leap of faith.

[QUOTE]4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to not believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.[/QUOTE]I Don't really know. The biggest reason I stepped away from the majority idea of Christianity was because of the hypocrisy of my fellow "Christians." I figure if heaven is full of these people I'd rather not go.



[QUOTE]5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?[/QUOTE]Sure. I know lots of people who are perfectly normal who have faith in God. It's a fairly easy to accept the idea a lot of the ideas of the bible.

[QUOTE]6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?[/QUOTE]My own peprsonal expirience. That's pretty much it at this point.

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[QUOTE]1. If you believe in God, why do you believe?[/QUOTE]

I don't believe in a god. And by that, I don't mean 'I'm not sure.' or 'I'm waiting for more compelling evidence to turn up.' I believe that there is no god.

[QUOTE]2. Why do you think others believe in God?[/QUOTE]

For the same reason that people believe anything; because they're told to. You can indoctrinate someone to believe [I]anything[/I]. We live in a world where nonsense is thought of as fact by the vast majority - depending on what culture you're born into, you'll be exposed to a certain brand of nonsense near-constantly. People believe it because it's what their friends believe, what their family believes, and because its what their culture believes.

It's that simple.

[QUOTE]3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy. What?s your take on the issue? Can science be compatible with belief? Do you accept evolutionary theory?[/QUOTE]

Evolution is, by far, the most plausible solution we have. It's the one we have the msot evidence for, and its the one that answers the most questions. Therefore, until something else comes along, I'm gonna go with it.

[QUOTE]4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to not believe in God? Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith.[/QUOTE]

There is no proof of a god. Therefore, I do not believe in one. I'm down with whatever makes the most sense. There are massive amounts of evidence which refute organized religions, they're not even worth argueing over anymore. And as for some unspecified 'force', well, we have no reason [I]to[/I] believe it at this point.

[QUOTE]5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?[/QUOTE]

Faith is for the blind. Reason is for the seeing. How can they possibly co-exist?

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[quote name='Room Service']


Faith is for the blind. Reason is for the seeing. How can they possibly co-exist?[/QUOTE]
[color=royalblue][size=1]

I'm both logical and reasonable, but I believe in God, just as much as I believe in evolution, the big bang, and every other scientific principle. What does that make me?

If you are wondering, I answered this thread some time ago and no one ever took a moment to read my response.[/color][/size]

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1. If you believe in God, why do you believe?

Because I gave up trying to create one, and returned to the one I'd already met.

2. Why do you think others believe in God?

Because eternity is familiarly foreign concept to all of humanity. We can't give it up, but we can't understand why.

3. The most popular conflict between faith and reason is usually on the evolution/creationism controversy.

--What?s your take on the issue?

My take is simple: From a spiritual and relational perspective, it doesn't matter. I imagine you know well the various theories of evolution, creationist evolution, and pure creationism.

But really, if it is a God that transcends the concept of religion that I believe in; one who is not interested in our walls, but rather in us, then who gives a damn how he did it.

--Can science be compatible with belief?

God transcends science, just as he transcends us. There's nothing wrong with science, and reason is a necessity to live this life well.

However, we can't wrap our minds around God. If we could, he wouldn't be worth worshiping.

Do you accept evolutionary theory?

I think there are some holes in it, but there are holes in every explanation of life--scientific or religious. So I'll read the theories, but I don't care enough to try to stand for one flawed theory vs. the next.

4. What do you think are the most compelling arguments to not believe in God?

If one judges God by those who speak in his name, then that would be a pretty compelling reason not to like him. Belief in him, I'm quite convinced, is a relational thing. It's just like loving someone. You can't just decide one day you do or don't.

--Or, what do you think are the greatest challenges to peoples? faith?

Their egos.

5. Do you think there is such thing as ?reasonable faith?? Or, do you think they are in conflict?

Reason is a human tool. It exists within us, was given to us, and we should use it. But God transcends all perception, let alone our fragile reasoning. That must be kept in perspective.

6. Lastly, if you believe in God. What evidence do you have in favor of your belief?

None that would make much difference to any of you. But I chased "reasonable faith" and a "reasonable God" until I, also, threw much of faith out the window.

But God, the unreasonable one, chased me even as I thought I was chasing him. And when he reintroduced himself to me, I left the pieces of "reasonable faith" on the ground.

-Justin

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