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Discussion in 'The OT' started by DonLandis, Aug 26, 2006.
Santa Claus isn't going to visit YOU this year. :lol:
But Santa is simply made up.
NO PRESENTS FOR YOU EITHER!!! My kids know better than to make such a statement. FOOLS!!!
You will notice I make no such assertion. I ask "what god?" and wait for the evidence.
I don't believe in gods, I'm not a theist, that makes me an atheist.
Nice try, tho.
Now I KNOW the world's gonna end... I agree with Bogy! My oldest asked about Santa this past Christmas. My wife gave her the same answer her parents gave her "you want presents, you better believe in Santa"
Jews have Santa Cohen! He wears a Santa suit and a red hat with a matzo ball on the top. He rides in a sleigh led by Ruben the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and he comes down the chimney with all our Chanukah presents when we're asleep, and has schnapps and kichel with the grownups.
I try. What amazes me is the folks who believe I'm going around saying "THERE ARE NO GODS!" when all I ask is for proof of other people's assertions.
It was your question of "what god?" that I'm talking about. I made reference to God in some capacity, which was totally irrelevent to the discussion at hand. Again, I was responding to those wonderful statements that I believed the earth is 6000 years old. Your response was a question that was just begging for argumentation. That's fine if you want to do that, but it was totally ancellary.
Let me give you an analogy. Let's say you bring up some point about global warming (which is where, I THINK, all this came from). To which I reply "what's this 'global warming' to which you refer?" That would be an example of me being a smart ass just asking for an argument. That's what was goading about it. Then we get totally side-tracked, where you asked if I could prove the existence of God. My belief in God was totally ancellary and you asked a question that just begged for an argument. I have a hard time believing that that WASN'T your intent.
Pesonally, that's fine. I really don't mind getting into these discussions, but don't play mr. innocent in this regard. You asked that question, not to get a serious answer, but to goad me.
No, I ask that question of someone like Bogy to goad him. I asked it of you to see what you'd say, how you'd discuss it, etc, because I found your other posts to be intelligent, well thought out, and generally spot-on.
Well, you could have just asked It would have saved my keyboard some serious ware. And thanks for the complement... now back to our regularly scheduled argument
Hey, I tried. My second question to you was about how you define faith and when you engage in it--you blew right by it for the other stuff.
To be honest, I saw that question as another attempt at a trap, so I avoided it. I'm not trying to sound elusive, but faith is a very difficult thing to define. I can give you how I view it. I do view it very personally. To me it's an acknowledgement that there's something greater out there than just us. That we're not here by accident. More concretely I do very much believe in God... I believe that Jesus was his only begotten son, and that he died for our sins and was raised from the dead.
Others define faith differently, to be sure, but I don't believe it should be something ethereal - when people tell me that they're "spiritual" but they shun all organized religion, I just cringe. Sorry, but that sounds like a cop-out to me. Likewise people who tell me "I've tried that religion, and it didn't fit me." I've had someone in my family tell me "I've tried a number of religions, including Catholocism, and they didn't just fit me..." I was nice - realizing that if I had gotten into a discussion about that, and saying what I really feel with that regard, it would have gotten ugly. Personally, I find that attitude, again, a cop-out. Religion is not just some clothes that you can try on (I really didn't like the look of those pants...). To me organized religion very much has a role to play. They give you the "how" with regard to living a life a faith. They have their own doctrines and rituals. Those are designed to really give you a way of putting your faith into action. What does it mean to live by faith? What does it mean to be a Christian? Well, there are lots of very smart folks who've spent their entire lives mulling those very questions out. Some start out as not believing in much of anything, and then become very strong believers, and, through their writings and teaching, become extremely influential.
St. Paul was mentioned in this regard. But you could just as easily pick St. Augustin. Anyway, the doctrines and beliefs espoused by a particular religion give your faith structure. Without it, you're just a tree-hugger, in my opinion... not that there's anything wrong with that.... but that's not what I'm talking about. Religion requires that you live that faith. It's not enough to be a spectator... you need to be an active participant. One thing that one of our deacons mentioned once really stuck with me (this was during something known as a pre-Jordan class - a class desined for new parents to give them the low-down on Christening your kid): we have a very demanding faith. I agree with that. There's much that I've fought over the years. "Why do I need to go to confession?" "Why do I need to go to Mass every week?" "Why should I recite a daily rosary?" It takes alot to put all that you've known aside, and trust God, and trust the faith. It's also a tool - I don't know how I would have done as a parent without my faith.
What IS that about? You're not the only person to feel like I'm trying to "trap" them by asking for specifics. I minored in philosophy (and political science). I learned it's necessary early on in a discussion to agree on what a term specifically means so that when discussion ensues both parties are discussing the same concept. And yet, all I get is: "You won't trap ME by asking a question!" That's just weird.
How can you engage in using a concept which you cannot define? I find that unlikely. Have you actually tried?
I define faith as engaging in the belief of a conclusion or set of conclusions based on knowlege not gained from the data of sense experience but rather on whim or feeling; claiming a knowledge by ineffable means; a blind acceptance of certain ideas or conclusions, without evicence or in the face of contrary evidence, based on one's emotional state.
So do you assign faith as ONLY a religious concept? I don't think I can do that. I see people using faith to believe all sorts of things of religious and non-religious nature.
Well, neither of those were my questions.
Wow, you're a pain in the butt with this First off, yes, I saw that question in the same way as I saw your other question - namely that you were trying to goad me. Which is why I ignored it. Before this, no I don't think I ever tried to solidify what faith is. I understood it intrinsically, and found no reason to give it a hard definition. Defining it is tough, and I probably did a horrible job of it.
Do I consider faith as strictly a religious concept? Yes, I do. I think the term "faith" has come to be twisted out of definition. Give you an analogy. When I heard that pride is one of the seven deadly sins, I had a real hard time with that concept. So, if I was proud of my kids, I was going to hell? Then I realized, pride has a different meaning in that context. That kind of pride is not what the bible is referring to at all. I think "faith" has come to have an incorrect definition - or more precisely, like the word "pride" it has a very different meaning than how it was originally inteded. Having "faith" in government, e.g., involves a very different definition of what that word means. Faith, by my definition, involves having trust in, and believing in, God. Sound strict? I guess it is. I believe in using words precisely (or as precisely as I can muster) and "faith", to me, has a very specific, strict meaning.
Oh, and I know that you weren't asking what it means to be a Christian... but that's part of what "faith" means to me. Faith entails putting trust, not only in God, but in the religion to which you belong. Being a Christian, and figuring out what that means, is all part and parcel of the the whole "faith" thing to me. Faith is manefested in religious belief, which gives structure to your faith. Which means that faith, by extension, does have to do with what it means to be a Christian (in my case).
Theists seem to cling to the conviction, evidenced by many of the posts here as well as elsewhere, that no thinking person can come to the conclusion that gods simply do not exist. And that people who claim to be atheist or agnostic just haven't found their "god" yet. Or that particularly for atheists, that atheism itself has become their "religion". Figuratively of course, I guess you could make that analogy. It might be said for certain people that football or music or any number of things are their "religion". But in a literal sense, saying atheism or agnosticism is a religion is about the most counterintuitive, illogical statement one could make. Religion or faith, by definition, is the belief in the supernatural. Atheists, and generally agnostics as well, do not hold such beliefs.
IMO, the faithful hold this conviction because to admit to themselves that intelligent people can come to the conclusion that gods do not exist implies they could conceivably come to the same conclusion themselves. Knowing this, and knowing that there is no actual proof for gods, and that many of the stories for most faiths are usually rather fantastical to put it politely, it is easier to maintain that faith if you deny that anyone could possibly come to the other logical conclusion, that in fact there are no gods. It's sort of a psychological defense mechanism. Or in this case, a faith defense mechanism.
For what it's worth, to me the difference between atheists and agnostics is that atheists have come to a positive conclusion that there is no evidence for gods and therefore there is little use in wasting time looking for them. Agnostics OTOH, although not adherants to any particular, definitive faith are more open to the possibility that gods may exist and may in fact have a sneaking suspicion they do exist. Agnostics in general, are still looking!
Cap and I don't think very alike on much of anything, least of all how we should present our atheism, if at all. But he, and I, and Douglas Adams, and a host of others, have all come to the conclusion that maintaining a belief in gods is at best a waste of time. And we have probably come to this conclusion via widely varying experiences and thought processes. Some of these methods may be flawed, but probably no more so than the methods by which people come to "faith".
I used to call myself an agnostic. Partially because for many it was less shocking. But I then realized this did not reflect my true opinion, and if nothing else to be more truthful, particularly to myself, I decided to call myself what I really was, an atheist!
Once you exhaust your data to reach a conclusion, but still have a need to conclude- you then make a guess, a gut reaction, an intuition and you feel this is the right conclusion, this is faith outside of religion. Some would call it a sixth sense.
While I am not a religious person since I have a difficult time with mortals telling me I am wrong with God because I don't practice certain ritual they feel is required, I do have faith that all things that happen in the Universe is brought about by some great designer with a plan far too advanced for me to know, this is what I call God or the supreme designer of the universe. I don't have a problem in believing the great universe was planned the way it is. I do have a problem accepting that given a Universe full of energy and misc. matter that life just came out of this mix and some of that life is so well built that people were just the random outcome. People with the ability to build what they do. So, given the logical choices with the mix, I have faith that all this was designed by a great power. Religion recognizes this great power in the name of God but then religion tries to define what is expected of us in order to believe in God. Sorry, but I don't buy that extention of my faith in God.
It seems to me that for a person to believe he is an athiest, he has to deny that the Universe was planned and that it all just happened by some coincidence that they cannot explain.
Dude, you gotta be kidding! We have all either been trapped by you, or have seen you trap someone else. You love to trap people through semantics when they don't adequately define something to your specifications. Then you act hurt when people don't willingly spring into your trap. :lol:
Your argument then comes down to "why is there something rather than nothing?" And that is a hell of a good question and a valid line of inquiry.:goodjob: But there are no easy answers.
But a "Universe full of energy and misc. matter" produced other miraculous structures. Galaxies, stars, planets, quasars, black holes, comets, and probably lots of other things we haven't discovered yet and cannot even begin to imagine.
If the Universe had produced all these wonders through the laws of physics and chemistry but hadn't produced "life", would a "great power" still be necessary? Or is it just the presense of "life" that demands a "creator"?
If you're going to conclude that the Universe and life required a creator, then you must also ask the next obvious question, where did that creator come from? If you conclude that this creator is eternal and has always been there, then why not skip a step and just conclude the Universe is eternal and has always been there? It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing except we have absolutely no proof the chicken is or ever has existed.(or the egg, take your choice)
If there were some tangible proof for God(s), it would be a question worth pursuing. But there's not! And by assuming gods, you answer no questions and simplify nothing. You have made an already complex and difficult to understand problem even more complex and difficult to understand, perhaps infinately so.
Why is there something rather then nothing? It may be an unanswerable question. There are only two possible conditions, something or nothing. As it turns out, there's something! And a similar deduction can be made about the question of life. Of the two possibilites, life or not life, it turns out there's life.
We can even extend this to the question of gods. Again, there are only two possibilites, that there are gods or there are not. But while we have tangible proof for "something" and "life", we have nothing of this nature for gods. What we have is feelings and emotions and wishful thinking. And no matter how hard we'd like to, we can't wish gods into existence!
BTW Don, you're an agnostic!:lol:
Now I KNOW I gotta give this up... I agree with Bogy over Cap on something. That's exactly where I saw this going. And if you don't believe that you can trap someone with asking specific questions, you most definitely can. And sorry, Cap, but I saw this as the "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" variety. I'm not a professional debater, and even though I attempt to be precise in what I'm saying, I don't always succeed. If I give one answer that can be construed as not being consistent with what I said earlier, than I'm seen as believing in a lie. That was my sense of where the discussion was heading. I finally decided to answer the question because I got your assurance that that's not what you were doing, and I believe you.