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bejjinks

We cannot choose what we believe

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Ceka Cianci wrote:

i don't believe that parents brain wash their kids..

i believe they raise thier kids..

cults and governments and society are what try  to brainwash the kids..

a christain or whatever religions parent is not looking to brainwash their kids..they are doing what they feel is the right way to raise their kids..just as someone that does not believe in a higher power would..

parents just try to do the best they can do and hope that when it's time for the kids to move on that they keep some of what they have learned..

sure there are extremists in the mix..but for the most part i believe their intentions are meant as the best they can give for their kids..

be it any sort of family value system..

 

I agree with you

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Deja Letov wrote:

Something you should also know in your industry, is that brainwashing does not only happen through tiredness or hunger. It also happens quite frequently through the use of propoganda, torture or just manipulative tactics. And to say the average person is IMPOSSIBLE to brainwash is  very inaccurate. Perhaps you should read up on the Korean War before making that statement. Some were brainwashed through hunger and sleep deprevation but some where also simply brainwashed by means of guilt, social pressure or just plain old psychological harassment.

I agree. One needn't do anything out of the ordinary to pin a belief to the corkboard of someone's mind. I can't count how many times I've offered up a completely absurd explanation for something, only to have it believed completely. All it takes is for my explanation to map reasonably well onto someone's already existing world view. I could take a young child out into my yard on a beautiful sunny afternoon and convince them that blue balloons float and green balloons sink because colors like their own kind. Absent any other explanation, and delivered with sufficient sincerity (I can fake sincerity with the best of you), why wouldn't the child believe me?

It's not hard to imagine a child raised in a loving, nurturing enviroment filled with absurd explanations for their experiences. In fact, I don't have to imagine it at all, I was raised in that environment. Fortunately, those absurd explanations, which delight me to this day, were often accompanied by experiments showing that another explanation, in this case buoyancy and the density of various gases, is also delightful, and can be verified.

My SL friends believe I own a tractor, simply because I have told them so. My RL friends believe I have a tractor because some of them have helped me fix it, watched it dig up their yard, or been induced to mow my lawn with it. Notice that the evidence available to each group of friends is vastly different, but their beliefs about my tractor are not.

During WWII, natives of isolated South Pacific islands were awed by the visitations of military cargo ships preparing supply bases in the region. To secure the cooperation of the natives, the ships brought amazing gifts, the likes of which they had never seen (Manhattan for $24 in beads!). The technologies possessed by the military were so advanced as to seem like magic (Clarke's Law).

When the war ended and the supply ships vanished, the natives began performing rituals, such as painting themselves to look like soldiers and marching on the beaches, hoping for the return of the "Cargo Gods". Cargo Cults were born. I don't think the US set out to indoctrinate the island natives in some sort of religious worship, it just happened naturally. We were witness to the creation of religions from nothing over a very short period of time. Although most of the cargo cults have faded, one or two remain to this day.

And so belief systems spring from our evolved ability to see patterns and associate effects with causes. In ancient times, these mechanisms were sufficient to protect us from the perils of the day (predation) and to allow us to plan complex strategies (astronomy based agriculture). The reduction in stress offered by associating cause and effect (and thereby being able to anticipate and avoid harm) offers an explanation for belief in things, even if they may not be true, so long as the danger of the false belief is less than the benefit of the stress reduction.

But, when the peril of false belief outweighs the benefits, harm comes. The resurgence of infectious disease due to rejection of vaccines for their imagined role in Autism is just one example. And so we must be ever vigilant for the errors in judgment that are so natural for us to make, and the ability of people to exploit that weakness, regardless of intent.

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bejjinks wrote:


when you say..if people would be honest and look at evidence that they would come to believe as you..then you have strayed from most of what you have said..you have ignored their beliefs as even being in the equasion of being true..

 

You are quoting me out of context and therefore misquoting me.

no..i am reacting to what you said..i shouldn't have to quote to you what you wrote..

that was me showing the section of your post i was referring to that caught my attention...

my post was a reaction to the area i was pointing to..

my whole post..

if i meant to quote you i would have used the quote button..

no matter how you read that section of your post by adding the dogma and other things..you still more or less in so many words said ..

if people would be honest with themselves and truely look..that you believe they would believe as you do..or in other words finally see the real truth..

but i will put the whole thing here  just to save on the argument that i somehow didn't understand what you were saying..

"bejjinks wrote:

But I will only stand against coercion because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have."

so now that the misquoting is set to the side ..what do you think about what i said in my first post rather than what i did?

 

 

 

 

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To those of you who keep insisting that brainwashing is easy and especially to those who claim that parents brainwash their children into religious beliefs, here's my reply.

Boo hoo. Pity Pity. You can't take the responsibility for your own gullibility so you have to blame it on others.

"Yes judge, I let that mean old woman convince me that blue balloons float and green balloons sink. It's all that mean old woman's fault. We must enact laws preventing people from speaking because all they have to do is say something and I believe them without question. But it's not my fault. I'm the victim here."

Madelaine, you didn't brainwash those kids. Those kids chose to listen to you and believe you. But those kids will eventually figure out that you were lying and then they'll never trust you again.

And Deja, if you were brainwashed, why aren't you a Catholic now? Propaganda is not the same as brainwashing. Propaganda still leaves you with a choice of whether to accept it or not. If people accept the propaganda then the people who accepted the propaganda are at fault. They're not brainwashed. They're just blinding themselves to the evidence.

 

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Ceka Cianci wrote:

"bejjinks wrote:

But I will only stand against coercion
because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have
."

so now that the misquoting is set to the side ..what do you think about what i said in my first post rather than what i did?


I still believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have. But that's just my opinion and you are free to disagree and believe differently.

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bejjinks wrote:

And Deja, if you were brainwashed, why aren't you a Catholic now? Propaganda is not the same as brainwashing. Propaganda still leaves you with a choice of whether to accept it or not. If people accept the propaganda then the people who accepted the propaganda are at fault. They're not brainwashed. They're just blinding themselves to the evidence.

 

Because I took myself out of the situation the second I became an adult. I met people outside the Catholic church and saw that there was something else besides what I was told for 18 years was the only way to believe. That propoganda was stripped from my life, the influence from priests and from my parents, were no longer there so i was finally able to see outside the circle I was kept in. To say propaganda still you with a choice of wether to accept it or not can also be said of any other means of brainwashing, including hunger, torture, social pressure, manipulation, etc. And if you know anything about brainwashing, you also know that brainwashing isn't permanent and can be altered if taken out of the situation, taught new things, discover new things, experience new things. Call it whatever you want...brainwashing, manipulation, persuasion...it's all still influencing your thoughts over someone else to get them to believe what you want them to believe.

 

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bejjinks wrote:

To those of you who keep insisting that brainwashing is easy and especially to those who claim that parents brainwash their children into religious beliefs, here's my reply.

Boo hoo. Pity Pity. You can't take the responsibility for your own gullibility so you have to blame it on others.

"Yes judge, I let that mean old woman convince me that blue balloons float and green balloons sink. It's all that mean old woman's fault. We must enact laws preventing people from speaking because all they have to do is say something and I believe them without question. But it's not my fault. I'm the victim here."

Madelaine, you didn't brainwash those kids. Those kids chose to listen to you and believe you. But those kids will eventually figure out that you were lying and then they'll never trust you again.

And Deja, if you were brainwashed, why aren't you a Catholic now? Propaganda is not the same as brainwashing. Propaganda still leaves you with a choice of whether to accept it or not. If people accept the propaganda then the people who accepted the propaganda are at fault. They're not brainwashed. They're just blinding themselves to the evidence.

 

I don't think the parents on those south sea islands thought they were lying to their children when they explained the magic of the cargo ships. And having no other explanation, those children grew up believing the explanations and carrying on the traditions. Eventually some of them probably found evidence to contradict the explanations and the cults faded away, but the existence of one or two cargo cults, more than 60 years after the last magical visitation, suggests we are perfectly capable of carrying belief systems well past their expiration date.

As for children trusting me, my eighteen year old neighbor, who heads off to college this week, says I'm the biggest nut on his phone's speed-dial list.

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bejjinks wrote:


Ceka Cianci wrote:

"bejjinks wrote:

But I will only stand against coercion
because I believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have
."

so now that the misquoting is set to the side ..what do you think about what i said in my first post rather than what i did?

I still believe that if people would honestly look at the evidence without dogma, without bias, without coercion, than people would come to the same beliefs I have. But that's just my opinion and you are free to disagree and believe differently.

my whole point was i know you tried to miss the eggshells but it is hard to miss them all..that i thought you put a good effort in trying not to..and it wasn't meant to spark an argument..but just to show what  grabbed me..

and i pretty much wanted to point out that i have looked at all things with an open mind and do have different beliefs..

i'm not athiest..and i'm not really religious heheh..i'm somewhere inbetween..

i guess to explain i'll have to grab a post i made from another forum to give an example..

i'll quote them and then my response..just so you can understand my beliefs a little better..then maybe you will see what i mean by somewhere inbetween hehehe

 

THEM:

"Just a few comments. I have Faith in God. I honestly don't know how I could get through life without it.

 

For me, looking up at the stars or looking at a sunset tells me there is a God. It

still fills my heart with awe.

 

It is very hard for me to understand how anyone could go through their lives and

believe the only thing that exists is this singular life that we all have. How

empty I would think that kind of life would be. To have someone you love dearly pass away and believing that you will never see them again? I can't fathom that."

Then i responded to them..

Ceka_cianci

"let me give you my impression of what happens to me..

i can look at the sun and be amazed by it..but also by the distance of it..and the moon as well..i don't onyl look at it as art but look at everything i can about it...not only just see it but get lost in thought about it..

 

i can walk over to any tree in my yard and become just as encased in thought..just thinking what all it took to make this tree grow..also what it was before it was a tree..

then bend down and pick up a rock right next to it and be off in thought about it..

 

when i get on my horse and get up in the mountains on a saturday or sunday or day off..i can be up there until dark just doing that all day long getting lost in how wonderful everything in nature really is..

and knowing that when i die i will become maybe part of this tree or rock or water or dirt right here where i am standing just because the wind decided to set me next to any of those things..

 

that just blows my mind how much i will become part of many kinds of living things after i die..not just one..

 

i will be part of a tree..part of the myst ..part of the rain and ground and air and all things that exist in nature..

i will be part of something way bigger than i am now..

and immortal always..with many more lifetimes than just one when it's all said and done for this body and soul..

 

just knowing that has me feeling much better about death...because i won't be dead..i'll be more alive than i ever was in this body..

this body just lets me enjoy knowing i am meant for bigger and better things..

i can't think of a better way to be after this life is over.."

 

 

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Arkady Arkright wrote:


16 wrote:

 

Genesis 3:22 : "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."

this the fundamental tenet of 3 of the greatest religions ever. don't know why when people who are followers of these seems to wants to make other reasons for why we might do the things we do. God didnt. he put the question to Man and Man choose to accept

I take it you can prove that claim, with scientific evidence ?  otherwise it's just another hypothesis...

 

 

why is it on the interwebz that whenever there is a debate about theology someone comes along and wants scientific evidence of a theological statement

the theological statement i give is the theological counter argument to the supposition put forward by the OP. that there is some other reasons for why people believe what they do and sometimes act on those beliefs. this supposition put forward by the OP is theologically provably false by Genesis 3:22

+

Genesis 3:22 is the confirmation of the test put to Man by the theological deity (God) in Genesis 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

that was the question. the test put by the theological deity. and Man decide to choose knowledge even when he was told that in doing so that death would be the price

the thing is that having chosen knowledge of good and evil then Man could distinguish between the two

the whole supposition of the OP is based on the idea that Man dont have any choice over some of the views he forms. an idea formed and supported by theological reasoning. his idea is provably false by the theological counter example shown

+

i take it that you do know the difference between theology and science.

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I think the main reason is most likely due to the fact that the OP used the word "evidence" in his first post numerous times, but is giving it a non-fact based definition. He has eluded that "evidence" doesn't have to be fact based and I think that may be where the problem is heading with this discussion. Religion and everything about it is belief based...even those against it. You can't throw around words like fact and evidence and in the same thought call what someone feels evidence unless of course you have something to back it up...other than just the way you feel about something. Religious discussions should always start with "I believe..." and not "I know..." because the truth is...nobody knows.

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bejjinks wrote:


Celestiall Nightfire wrote:

I agree!  So, you're now an atheist same as me right? 

Because, if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, with bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. 

 

 

(Do I even need to point out the failure of your logic?)

You BELIEVE that "if you would honestly look at the evidence, without dogma, without bias, without coercion, then you would come to the same beliefs I have. "

Don't forget the word believe. It's an important word. If I had neglected to say the word believe than I would have been making a statement and than you would be right to point out the illogic behind my statement. But I wasn't making a statement. I was expressing a belief and with beliefs, you are free to have a different belief.

I was only expressing the belief to explain why I don't feel the need to be coercive. I was not stating that you should believe as I do.

I think I understand what you meant when you say it, but as Celestiall stated, her argument is valid is well. But here is the only problem I see with this thought. As a Christian, you don't have to use any coercion type tactics to try and sway people into believing what you believe because you have the bible to do it for you. It's a main reason why people who are debating religion always quote the bible. The bible is one of the biggest methods of coercion known to man. It uses fear and punishment to coerce and has since it's inception.  It's probably the single biggest reason why religion has survived as long as it has.

 

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There was a time when religious beliefs caused tribal rivalries.  Now causality is reversed.

Watching the GOP convention, I'm convinced the same reversal is now happening in US politics.

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yes. can accept what you saying Deja

+

is just a bit frustrating really when science people wants to bring science into theology. can understand why some people of faith who not have much in the way of theological schooling try to bring science in. like somehow automagically the rules of hard science can be applied in this field

other place in this thread Maddy and VProf have good discussion about the separate roles of the respective disciplines

so if you read this far Arkady then am sorry i vent on you

 

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16 wrote:

yes. can accept what you saying Deja

+

is just a bit frustrating really when science people wants to bring science into theology. can understand why some people of faith who not have much in the way of theological schooling try to bring science in. like somehow automagically the rules of hard science can be applied in this field

other place in this thread Maddy and VProf have good discussion about the separate roles of the respective disciplines

so if you read this far Arkady then am sorry i vent on you

 

I can understand that. Theology is a great topic and fun to discuss, I am a huge fan of greek theology in fact and love to discuss it. It's funny though, because in discussing greek theology I've never really had anyone debate it as fact versus fiction, I'm assuming because most people don't live their day to day lives believing in a greek God. Most people typically just read the information out there and consider it a fantasy based system and discuss it based on that. I think the reason you will see so much "prove this" or "show me scientific evidence", is because when it is a part of every day life and people are treating as a part of their reality, it's no more so much the study of theology as a fact of life. Once it reaches that point, a lot of people want that proof because we are growing and evolving humans and we thrive on science and always want proof to be sure we are making good decisions.

 

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It`s funny that they all claim "look at the truth and you will believe my believes"

 

Ok, lets try this another way,
Why do nearly all anchient civilisation portray their "kings/gods" with weird heads as if they weren`t from this world?

 

Bibbbless, lets have a good sanely argument for fun:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_creation (no, not that sort of dating, sheesh :))

"Creation according to the Bible
Two dominant dates for creation using such models exist, about 5500 BC and about 4000 BC|

 

There are even more anchient civilisations then we know, lets start with the most obvious one, the Egyptian Sphynx,

Body of a lion and a tiny head wich would have fit a lions head perfectly if it wasn`t eroded away over a span of about 12,000 BC when egypt had a milder climate befor the ice age of 10,970 to 8810 BC, ofcourse, no one can prove the egyptian date (4500 BC) or the pre-ice age date. Adam&Eve must have been really busy!

Then we have this wich is quite interresting:
http://www.squidoo.com/ancientcivilizations

Some say it`s natural, some say it`s man made, some say it`s 2000-3000 years old or +5000 years when the sea level was below the structure hight during the last ice age.

I just can`t resist to throw this in aswell to blow away all religion "creation dates" out of the books:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_islands_by_first_human_settlement

Lets top that by a few more hundreds of thousands of years:
http://news.discovery.com/history/oldest-human-israel-101228.html

 

Looking at the facts, if a story has a major plothole from the beginning, how many holes are pressent/added/lost in translation for it to be just a scifi story? i believe more then enough
Good film script tho :-)

 

bejjinks wrote:


when you say..if people would be honest and look at evidence that they would come to believe as you..then you have strayed from most of what you have said..you have ignored their beliefs as even being in the equasion of being true..

 

Looked, simple google, nope, still don`t believe it
No matter how many holes people find in any bible, it`s allways "good" and they find an "out" clause...

Speaking of "out" clauses, remember this? 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7399661.stm

Now if "men" was created in god`s image and we find humanoid aliens (or they finally just stand still for a "cheese" picture instead of doing 10,000kmh flyby`s), that would prove that there are more "gods" and really blow the bible out of the water, were they created in "his" image aswell?

Unless we get a trip offerd to DS9, tour trough the wormhole (poor science geeks) and meet the shape shifters, tho, that would make this way to complicated.

 

Could go on for some time, but i think when you take everything and throw it on a big pile, the hebrew bible has the best name to avoid all possible terrestial conflicts regarding the multiple religion god(s)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_that_I_Am

 

"I Am that I Am" <= only a sentient being can say such a thing, each of us or any out "there" in any shape or form

 

 

ps: touch_start(integer i) { llSay(0, "I Am that I Am"); } does not count xD

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Can`t resist :-)

Antarctica without ice: http://www.ancientdestructions.com/piri-reis-map-of-antarctica/

"Who was here 4000 years BC, being able to do things that NOW are possible with the modern technologies?"

 

The part i like:

PIRI REIS MAP OF ANTARCTICA

In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydro graphic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him. After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used. To check out the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw map of such accuracy was the aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth? And this was Antartica ice free. The Hydro graphic Office couldn’t believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps! The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use the spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century. Hapgood has proved that the Piri Reis map is plotted out in plane geometry, containing latitudes and longitudes at right angles in a traditional “grid”; yet it is obviously copied from an earlier map that was projected using spherical trigonometry! Not only did the early map makers know that the Earth was round, but they had knowledge of its true circumference to within 50 miles!

 

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Deja Letov wrote:


16 wrote:

yes. can accept what you saying Deja

+

is just a bit frustrating really when science people wants to bring science into theology. can understand why some people of faith who not have much in the way of theological schooling try to bring science in. like somehow automagically the rules of hard science can be applied in this field

other place in this thread Maddy and VProf have good discussion about the separate roles of the respective disciplines

so if you read this far Arkady then am sorry i vent on you

 

I can understand that. Theology is a great topic and fun to discuss, I am a huge fan of greek theology in fact and love to discuss it. It's funny though, because in discussing greek theology I've never really had anyone debate it as fact versus fiction, I'm assuming because most people don't live their day to day lives believing in a greek God. Most people typically just read the information out there and consider it a fantasy based system and discuss it based on that. I think the reason you will see so much "prove this" or "show me scientific evidence", is because when it is a part of every day life and people are treating as a part of their reality, it's no more so much the study of theology as a fact of life. Once it reaches that point, a lot of people want that proof because we are growing and evolving humans and we thrive on science and always want proof to be sure we are making good decisions.

 

is interesting what you say about the ancient greek gods. back in the day some/most of the ancient greeks did believe in them and acted on them as well. same like other peoples and their deities. same like today

today in western countries it just happens to be biblical Jesus and God. is possible in 2000 years from now will be another deity. 2000 more years then maybe another one. and on and on

what hard science there was wayback then didnt actual apply. same like now. same in the future

+

if this is true then we have to use other constructs. is why i think we ended up with philosophy as a discipline (like a soft discipline compared to the discipline of hard science) is mental exercise and for it to work we ended up formalising how we have to think about stuff like theology which falls within this field

 

 

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16 wrote:

why is it on the interwebz that whenever there is a debate about theology someone comes along and wants scientific evidence of a theological statement

Because without real provable evidence it's just your opinion - no more or less valid than anyone else's baseless assumptions.

 


16 wrote:

i take it that you do know the difference between theology and science.

Yes - theology is a set of fables designed to enslave otherwise free minds, whereas science is an attempt to describe the world as it is, not as whoever indoctrinated the 'believer'  wishes it to be.

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Arkady Arkright wrote:


16 wrote:

why is it on the interwebz that whenever there is a debate about theology someone comes along and wants scientific evidence of a theological statement

Because without real provable evidence it's just your opinion - no more or less valid than anyone else's baseless assumptions.

 

16 wrote:

i take it that you do know the difference between theology and science.

Yes - theology is a set of fables designed to enslave otherwise free minds, whereas science is an attempt to describe the world as it is, not as whoever indoctrinated the 'believer'  wishes it to be.

looks like you maybe missed the point again. but is ok

when you say what you have then you seems to be mixing theology and religion. they not the same thing

theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths as they influence and impact on human society. is a discipline of soft science falling within the broader school of philosophy

can find out more about it here on wikipedia if you like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theology

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16 wrote:

 

looks like you maybe missed the point again. but is ok

 Nope - my point is :


16 wrote:

 

 the nature of religious truths


 What is a 'religious truth' ?  How does it differ from any other 'truth' ? Truth is simply a hypothesis supported by evidence. Anything else is mere supposition - how can there be a serious field of study of such a nebulous thing ?

 

 

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Arkady Arkright wrote:


16 wrote:

why is it on the interwebz that whenever there is a debate about theology someone comes along and wants scientific evidence of a theological statement

Because without real provable evidence it's just your opinion - no more or less valid than anyone else's baseless assumptions.

 

16 wrote:

i take it that you do know the difference between theology and science.

Yes - theology is a set of fables designed to enslave otherwise free minds, whereas science is an attempt to describe the world as it is, not as whoever indoctrinated the 'believer'  wishes it to be.

I think your assessment of theology sounds a bit harsh, Arkady. No doubt theology has been used as you describe, but it's not always so, is it? If our irrational predilection for thoughts of the supernatural, particularly in the form of overseeing, caring gods and eternal life after death, evolved as a coping mechanism, then aren't we slaves to our own evolution? Once we recognize this in ourselves (and I believe we have for ages), it's not unthinkable that people will work others for their own advantage (or the advantage of the species), but also not unthinkable that people will develop irrational belief systems simply because that's what we do.

So, knowing that we like to think of stuff like this, my concern arises not so much over our doing it, but over harm coming from it. Of course, that opens up another can of worms. Who defines what harm is? This becomes even more problematic when there is scientific evidence that mental state affects physical health. So, challenging someone's belief system can induce stress that's ultimately unhealthy. I don't think we're going to keep an impenetrable firewall between science and theology for this reason.

Thankfully, the complexity of these issues and my uncertainty over them don't stress me, so I'm able to admit this is a huge hairball without losing sleep over it. I do, however, hope to attain the health benefits that "faith" seems to bring by doing the sorts of social things that often accompany religion. My recent experience hosting a potluck dinner has left my refrigerator filled with food rich enough to clog my arteries. So, even these efforts leave me uncertain of their benefit.

;-)

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Deja Letov wrote:

I think I understand what you meant when you say it, but as Celestiall stated, her argument is valid is well. But here is the only problem I see with this thought. As a Christian, you don't have to use any coercion type tactics to try and sway people into believing what you believe because you have the bible to do it for you. It's a main reason why people who are debating religion always quote the bible. The bible is one of the biggest methods of coercion known to man. It uses fear and punishment to coerce and has since it's inception.  It's probably the single biggest reason why religion has survived as long as it has.

 

It depends on how you use the Bible. I admit that some people use the Bible in a coercive way but that doesn't make the Bible coercive. People can  and do use sticks in a coercive way. Should we ban all sticks because of how they can be used?

Those that use the Bible in a coercive manner are often people who pick and choose certain verses and take those verses out of context. They are fond of certain passages that they can use to prove their biased view. They frequently search the Bible looking for passages that support what they already believe blinding themselves to any scriptural passage that they disagree with. They are as bad in the way they handle scripture as they are in the way they handle evidence.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

There was a time when religious beliefs caused tribal rivalries.  Now causality is reversed.

Watching the GOP convention, I'm convinced the same reversal is now happening in US politics.

That's a bold statement to make. What evidence do you have "There was a time when religious beliefs caused tribal rivalries.  Now causality is reversed."

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You used the same phrase used in the title to start two paragraphs, one of which I used as a quote in my first response.  Don't try to back away from that statement by asking if your responder had read the whole OP.

I said we CAN choose what we believe. I wasn't necessarily referring to religion.

In the Balkans some people are taught from the earliest age that their neighbors, who are Muslims, are vile murdering traitors. Why? Because 700 years ago those neighbors' ancestors decided to align themselves with the conquering Turks. In my country some people are taught from the earliest age that black-skinned people (you may substitute white, yellow, red, or what have you; I am merely going with the most common manifestation) are inferior, evil, hardly more than vermin. This sort of thing happens worldwide—nation to nation, village to village, clan to clan, tribe to tribe.

The children who grow up being taught these things believe them, I'm sure. Those same children will almost certainly, at some point in their later lives, see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears and deduce with their own brains that their belief is manifestly bogus. Some, (most, in my opinion, but my view of humanity may be more optimistic than yours) will realize their earlier belief was wrong, and begin to believe something else.

Once again, you've posted a sermon. You're a preacher, as I've told you before. I respect other people's religious beliefs. I don't pretend to share them but I fully respect that they have them and do not argue with them in any way. I don't respect preachers. Never have. That which can not be known is for me to decide upon, not for you or anyone else to explain to me.

Now, if you want to suddenly appear before me bearded, floating in air and slightly larger than life-size, casually lounging and wearing nothing but that oh-so-carefully draped length of muslin and with a flick of the hand toss out a lightning bolt that knocks the cupola off City Hall—well then, Zeus, I'd be pleased to meet you.

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You really misquoted me. You have me saying what someone else said, attributing their words to me as if I said them.

I don't want to debate you and I don't appreciate you introducing a debate into this thread. I was talking about coercion not creation. Please don't hijack this thread and change the subject.

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