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Athiests - Why is rejection better than acceptance? Why is No Hope Better than Hope?


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So tell me - What does the "faith of Atheism" offer that is not found in a "faith of theism".

Most forms of belief in God, particularly Judeo/Christian belief, whether right or wrong, offers the Hope of salvation and an eternal life of happiness. What can Atheism offer me except the grave?

 

Free Will.

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Free Will.

Thank you for your input. But I think you need to be careful to distinguish between "free will" and "free choice".

 

Free choice means that we can decide on apple pie or cherry pie.... I could be waaaaaaaay off track here.

 

The preference for cherry pie over apple pie is a matter of taste, and not something that involves a moral choice. The tastes that we have are in part due to cultural conditioning, and partly because God has created us to prefer certain things over other things. Differences in taste allow us to be unique individuals, and we would have differences in taste with or without the Fall.

 

Free will always involves a moral choice - taste never does.

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Thank you for your input. But I think you need to be careful to distinguish between "free will" and "free choice".

 

Free choice means that we can decide on apple pie or cherry pie.... I could be waaaaaaaay off track here.

 

The preference for cherry pie over apple pie is a matter of taste, and not something that involves a moral choice. The tastes that we have are in part due to cultural conditioning, and partly because God has created us to prefer certain things over other things. Differences in taste allow us to be unique individuals, and we would have differences in taste with or without the Fall.

 

Free will always involves a moral choice - taste never does.

 

Will is......The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/will

 

Choice is....The power, right, or liberty to choose; option. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/choice

 

I see no essential difference in the meaning of the two words in the context of my previous post.

 

If you quote somebody it is important to reference your Source (Post 4). It would have been perfectly ok to say (for instance): "I've found an argument that counters your position" and then provided a link to it or pasted it here in a conspicuous manner with a reference note but it's frowned upon to use other peoples words as though they were your own..

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Thank you for your input. But I think you need to be careful to distinguish between "free will" and "free choice".

 

Free choice means that we can decide on apple pie or cherry pie.... I could be waaaaaaaay off track here.

 

The preference for cherry pie over apple pie is a matter of taste, and not something that involves a moral choice. The tastes that we have are in part due to cultural conditioning, and partly because God has created us to prefer certain things over other things. Differences in taste allow us to be unique individuals, and we would have differences in taste with or without the Fall.

 

Free will always involves a moral choice - taste never does.

 

Please someone tell me that I'm not the only one who gets the irony here?

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Please someone tell me that I'm not the only one who gets the irony here?

 

 

Oh I do, needimprovement is on a mission to prove god is real and proselytize the message of the bible, nothing less.... I'd like to see some evidence to back up his constant claims other than just his assertions....

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my not believing is not so much as not believing in god as not believing in the existence of a heaven.

Christianity says that if you do x y z then you get an eternity of paradise. and deep down i know that no paradise would remain a paradise for eternity eventually it would either be torture or it would just be life. the idea of paradise is just naive and once I realized this it was not a choice, I COULD NO LONGER BELIEVE. it wasn't me choosing no hope over hope It was me realizing that there is no hope and that i could not lie to myself enough to make myself believe once again. and truly when I hear Christians talking about heaven i want it to be true but i can't force myself to believe that it is.

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  • 4 months later...

This is quite a topic, The bible was written by man and changed several times throughout history, it is presumed. So to me the credibility of the bible is lost from day one. The idea that a God commands people to kill their son's to show loyalty, to me is not a God. And when times are tough people dieing from starvation,plauge evil ruler's it's common to try and find comfort in stories of hope and a better life. Much like fantasising about winning the lottery, wishing for a better life. And in my OPINION it was an ancient tactic used to establish good and evil so the people would fear a unhurtable,undestroyable God-God's so that they obay and give money and services to the church. Much like the deabte of right and wrong if neither was established neither would exist. So i BELIEVE in early times these God's were in place and used as tools to control the people. Or used to give them hope in desparate times. So i choose to live my way i believe in no diety's God's etc... And i have a great life i dont break the rules not because im religous or fear religous prosecution but for the sake of just being a good person. I don't need a God to show my how to live. But again that's my opinion's Not to offend any religion or anybody.

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The questions for you are are these.

 

1. What is it you are offering to us when you ask us NOT to believe?

2. What advantage(s) does belief in NO God offer?

3. Why is Rejection of God better than Acceptance of God?

4. Why is Hopelessness (No afterlife) better than Hopefulness (glorious afterlife)?

 

1. Truth, and your life depends on knowing the truth.

2. Rejecting Christian mythology does not equal complete denial of God which can be known through math, science and philosophy.

3. Rejection of false beliefs and acceptence of truth works better than holding false beliefs.

4. Again, rejecting Christian mythology does not equal complete denial of an after life.

 

The problem is with the religious mythology. It would be so nice if we recognized God without the mythology.

 

 

 

needimprovement, on 26 August 2010 - 01:20 AM, said:

 

Thank you for your input. But I think you need to be careful to distinguish between "free will" and "free choice".

 

Free choice means that we can decide on apple pie or cherry pie.... I could be waaaaaaaay off track here.

 

The preference for cherry pie over apple pie is a matter of taste, and not something that involves a moral choice. The tastes that we have are in part due to cultural conditioning, and partly because God has created us to prefer certain things over other things. Differences in taste allow us to be unique individuals, and we would have differences in taste with or without the Fall.

 

Free will always involves a moral choice - taste never does.

 

Please someone tell me that I'm not the only one who gets the irony here?

 

 

There is no irony in what needimprovement said. The problem is with your reasoning. The athiest argument that morals are simply a matter of choice is ignorance of the meaning of moral. Unfortunately, Christianity is the main reason we have this ignorance.

 

Moral begins a Greek concept meaning to know the law and good manners. To know the law, means to know universal laws. This knowledge began as philosophy and became science. This line of reasoning evolved out of math. The reason for not telling a lie, is because if one is known to be liar, than one is not trusted and this a relationship problem- that is just a matter of cause and effect. A moral is about cause ane effect. The effect of eating an apple pie is not different from the effect of eating cherry pie. This choice is no way equal to a moral choice.

 

A moral chioce is a matter of cause and effect. Telling a lie may seem like the best way to deal with the moment, but the consequences of lying are not good. The Lady of Justice holds a scale, because reality is not as simple as right or wrong, good or evil. There will be times when telling a lie is less hurtful than telling the truth., and also killing one person to save the lives of many, is a difficult moral choice. I regret the problem religion has caused with its division of good and evil, because this is so distructive of better reasoning. A moral choices is a matter of cause and effect, and this is not as simple as right or wrong thinking, or good and evil thinking.

 

Anyway, needimprovement did make a good point. There is an important difference between choosing cherry or apple pie, and choosing to kill someone to save the lives of others. I have been at this for a long time is seems religion is preventing people from grasping morals are a matter of cause and effect, even the athiest have a difficult time grasping the concept, because they are so completely hung up on the idea that God and morals are all about Christianity, instead of about our ability to reason.

 

Moontan man, are you going to argue with me?:P

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By your reasoning, there would be nothing wrong with murdering someone who was about to be killed by a blood clot moving towards his brain, an oncoming train, or a boulder rolling down a hill, provided these fates could not be avoided in time to save the person. But of course, this is neither how our law nor how our morality would view such a situation, since the act of murder -- which by hypothesis would make no difference -- would still be regarded as illegal and immoral.

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By your reasoning, there would be nothing wrong with murdering someone who was about to be killed by a blood clot moving towards his brain, an oncoming train, or a boulder rolling down a hill, provided these fates could not be avoided in time to save the person. But of course, this is neither how our law nor how our morality would view such a situation, since the act of murder -- which by hypothesis would make no difference -- would still be regarded as illegal and immoral.

 

Wait a minute, not so fast. What is the dying person's will? Under what conditions would it be right to violate this person's will? It is a violation of the law, to violate a person's body even after death. How can you argue it is more right to violate a person with a week to live, or a year to live, than to violate someone with 20 years to live? Are there not undesired consequences to making it okay to violate another, regardless of how long the person is going to live? Some will argue it is wrong to disturb the dead person's remains even centuries after the person's death. It is the principle of the thing. I do not see where my argument about morals equals your conclusion. It is not okay to violate another.

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Athena: You said: "A moral choice is a matter of cause and effect. Telling a lie may seem like the best way to deal with the moment, but the consequences of lying are not good." By offering an example of morally significant choice where the ultimate, practical effects of that choice were the same no matter how it was made (i.e., the person in the example was about to die anyway, whether you killed him or not), I was showing how morality is not really "a matter of cause and effect."

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Athena: You said: "A moral choice is a matter of cause and effect. Telling a lie may seem like the best way to deal with the moment, but the consequences of lying are not good." By offering an example of morally significant choice where the ultimate, practical effects of that choice were the same no matter how it was made (i.e., the person in the example was about to die anyway, whether you killed him or not), I was showing how morality is not really "a matter of cause and effect."

 

I do not understand your reasoning. Everyone is going to die. Does that mean it doesn't matter if we kill people? Is there some agreement of which I am unaware? Perhaps some kind of time limit. We can kill peole who have less than 6 months to live? Less than a week to live? If my uncle is dying and I learn he is going to change his will and write me out of it, and I kill him before he can that, I am innocent of any wrong, because he was about to die anyway?

 

Oregon is one of the few states to make assisted suicide legal. Personally, I think we should respect the will of the dying, and if they want to end their lives that is between themselves and God, and government should stay out of it. But many people disagree with me, and most places make it illegal to kill oneself, let alone kill anyone else. That is because the effect of allowing people to kill others is not good, and some fear the effect of allowing terminally ill kill themselves would not be good. The moral really is cause and effect.

 

If you think a moral is something besides a matter of cause and effect, what would say a moral is?

 

The irony I was referring to is that having a religion and certainly the religion of choice is very much to do with cultural conditioning... There is a lot of evidence for this.

 

How does the fact of cultural condition make what needimproving said an irony? Choosing between cherry or apple pie, is not equal to a moral choice. When it comes to moral choices, the religions are in agreement, so it really doesn't matter what religion a person is, unless one is practcing a religion that includes ritual cannibolism. Now that would be a different moral standard.

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When it comes to moral choices, the religions are in agreement, so it really doesn't matter what religion a person is, unless one is practcing a religion that includes ritual cannibolism. Now that would be a different moral standard.

First you say that when it comes to moral choices religions are in agreement, but the very next sentence you say that religions can have different moral standards. Do they agree or can they diagree?

 

Because, if religions can disagree on moral standards, then morality is not absolute, not even when dictated by religion. In fact, there are many examples between high profile religions that very strongly disagree about what is moral or not. If not even religions can agree on what is moral, then this proves that morlaity can not be absolute, as each of the people in the religions accepts their morality and each is different.

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First you say that when it comes to moral choices religions are in agreement, but the very next sentence you say that religions can have different moral standards. Do they agree or can they diagree?

 

Because, if religions can disagree on moral standards, then morality is not absolute, not even when dictated by religion. In fact, there are many examples between high profile religions that very strongly disagree about what is moral or not. If not even religions can agree on what is moral, then this proves that morlaity can not be absolute, as each of the people in the religions accepts their morality and each is different.

 

 

:lol: What is with this absolutism and binary, either this or that thinking? I am guessing you were educated after 1958, when we literally changed how we teach our young to think. I have not been so blatantly aware of what a tragedy this is. I am not sure if meaningful communication is possible?

 

The biggest problem with religions is they are based on mythology not science. Another problem is good reasoning is dependent on learning the higher thinking skills and not everyone does. It seems obviously better to me to reject myth and focus on truth, however this focus is pointless unless the individual has learned the higher thinking skills. Education and training in the higher thinking skills, is essential to our ability to reason. Without that ablity humanity is doomed! Extremely few schools have made the effort to teach students how to think. Especially the No Child Left Behind Act, has teachers focused on teaching children to what to think, not how to think. We have mass produced a society that parrots what they learn, but can not comprehend the meaning. We have produce "group thinkers" because this is good for the rapid advancement of technology. This is not equal to being an indepent thinker.

 

Moontan man, you can jump at anytime and argue my understanding of God and morals is wrong.

 

When people reject religion, they are rejecting the mythology. This does not mean rejecting God and morals. From the one came the many. That is, the whole of manifest reality comes out of chaos, a soup of quarks and the like. This soup was organized by laws into the manifest reality we sudy today, and before organized religions, studying manifest reality and universal laws, first through math and then physics, ect. was also inferring something about God. The Hellenist were doing this and they pursectued Judaism terribly, trying to stamp out this false notion of truth built on mythology, much later the church used Plato and Aristotle to prove their mytholgy is true :o. When religion is not trying to suppress science, it is using it to prove its mythology is truth :(.

 

Now we have anthroplogist and archeologist, and related sciences tracing Hebrew mythology back to Egypt and Summer, and Christian mythology is the previous mythiology plus Zorastarism and Hellism. But we still have people who think theology and philosophy are the same thing, and do not realize God and morals are not exclusively a theological debate.

 

Not all non believers are atheist and the reason for rejecting religion is the mythology and superstitution and what it has done to our abiltiy to actually think. My Christian friends reject history and science and cleave to their mythology and insist this is knowing truth. :huh:

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:lol: What is with this absolutism and binary, either this or that thinking? I am guessing you were educated after 1958, when we literally changed how we teach our young to think. I have not been so blatantly aware of what a tragedy this is. I am not sure if meaningful communication is possible?

Yes I was educted after 1958 :rolleyes: .

 

However, what I was pointing out was that you made two statments that are logically inconsistant with each other. The first staement was that religions agree with each other about morality. But then the next stament was about how they don't agree with each other's morality. Both can not be logically true.

 

Put formally:

 

B is not equal to A

A is not equal to B

 

Both A and B can not be true. However, if you wish to abandon logic, then you can make the claim that they are both true, just that it is not a logical or rational statement.

 

The biggest problem with religions is they are based on mythology not science. Another problem is good reasoning is dependent on learning the higher thinking skills and not everyone does. It seems obviously better to me to reject myth and focus on truth, however this focus is pointless unless the individual has learned the higher thinking skills. Education and training in the higher thinking skills, is essential to our ability to reason. Without that ablity humanity is doomed! Extremely few schools have made the effort to teach students how to think. Especially the No Child Left Behind Act, has teachers focused on teaching children to what to think, not how to think. We have mass produced a society that parrots what they learn, but can not comprehend the meaning. We have produce "group thinkers" because this is good for the rapid advancement of technology. This is not equal to being an indepent thinker.

Actually, I wouldn't say that the biggest problem is that they are based on mythology and not science, I would say that it is they reject reality over authority.

 

This is what leads to a lack of thinking, that one just accepts something as true, or right or good because someone in authority says so. It is a "don't think" mentality.

 

If God/s created us, then they gave us inteligence. This would be for a reason. In virtually every religion there is some kind of trickster God/Entity that tries to trick us have us believe their lies (or divert us away from worshiping the true God/s). Our inteligence and ability to use logic would be a form of protection against such manipulation, so a loving God/s who wished to give us a way to protect ourselves from this would give us inteligence.

 

When people reject religion, they are rejecting the mythology. This does not mean rejecting God and morals. From the one came the many. That is, the whole of manifest reality comes out of chaos, a soup of quarks and the like. This soup was organized by laws into the manifest reality we sudy today, and before organized religions, studying manifest reality and universal laws, first through math and then physics, ect. was also inferring something about God. The Hellenist were doing this and they pursectued Judaism terribly, trying to stamp out this false notion of truth built on mythology, much later the church used Plato and Aristotle to prove their mytholgy is true :o. When religion is not trying to suppress science, it is using it to prove its mythology is truth :(.

I disagree. rejecting a religion is only a rejection of the reality of the mythology. Now, I am being carful of my language here because there is an important, but subtle difference between reality and truth.

 

A mythology, although not a representation of reality might still hold some truth. For example, the parable of the Hare and the Tortoise. I don't for a second (and I think most people too) think that there really was a Hare and a Tortoise that had a race as stated in the parable. Howver, there is some truth to it: That patience can succeed where haste will fail.

 

So even though it reject the Hare and the Tortise as "Reality", I can still accept that it is in some sense "True".

 

Actually, you criticised me for an "absolutism and binary, either this or that thinking", but then you yourself have done it here with the rejection of religion also rejects its mythology.

 

Now we have anthroplogist and archeologist, and related sciences tracing Hebrew mythology back to Egypt and Summer, and Christian mythology is the previous mythiology plus Zorastarism and Hellism. But we still have people who think theology and philosophy are the same thing, and do not realize God and morals are not exclusively a theological debate.

I agree, God and morality are not just a theological subject. If God is real and wants our worship, then there will be proof (either through deliberate acts or out of necesity of the universe), and if He/She/They/It exists and don't wnat our worship, then we probably won't find any proof, but then we loose nothing by not worshiping.

 

So if God/s exists and want our worship, then we should be able to find He/She/They/It existance by looking for enequivocal proof of God/s existance. In otherwords, if God/s wnat our worship, they will have left hard evidence of existance.

 

Morality has already gone beyond religion, through psychology and a branch of mathematics called "Game Theory". My favourite game theory example is one called "The Ultimatum Game", because when played in a social network, or with repeated encounters, morality ends up being the best solution, but played normally morality is not the best solution (it shows how because we are a social species morals are the best solution and gives it a mathematical framework to prove it).

 

Not all non believers are atheist and the reason for rejecting religion is the mythology and superstitution and what it has done to our abiltiy to actually think. My Christian friends reject history and science and cleave to their mythology and insist this is knowing truth. :huh:

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You could reject both the religion and mythology, but this would be that binary either/or thinking you were not happy about. I think the mythology is important, even if the religion is false because it gives us a window into how our ancestors thought, or how different cultures behaved. It gives us insight into what it means to be human and where we came from (as in culturally).

 

At worst, the quote: "Those that fail to learn form the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them", is appropreate. If all we learn from them is what not to do, then that is worthwhile keeping these mythologies alive, but just as myth, not reality.

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Now I am really impressed. That was some awesome reasoning, and I can see I have logically undisciplined. Rarely does anyone even attempt to argue with me in these debates and you have taken everything to a higher level. I very much appreciate that.

 

I so have to continue my efforts to grasp math. It would be so cool if I could use B is not equal to A

A is not equal to B to work through this problem of religious cannibalism. Christians begin with an of cannibalism, eating of the body of Christ and drinking his blood, but this ritual is symbolic. The Aztecs literally practiced ritual cannibalism. Christians have a God who wants the first born sacrificed to him, and later have to make a point of God saying he does want fathers to literally sacrifice their sons to him, and finally, everyone stops sacrificing animals including the Jews who do not consider Jesus their savior, and yet a religion that revolved around such rituals continues as though nothing has changed. :huh: How does one get this to fit into B is not equal to A and A is not equal to B formula?

 

I think the basic morality of religion is the same, but now we have a taboo on cannibalism, unless it is completely symbolic, using a wafer for the body and a sip of wine for the blood. Yes, we are cannibalizing someone but we are not cannibalizing someone. How different is this from the reasoning of cannibalism?

In all cases of cannibalism, the desired goal is to be better people and maintain law and order. So the morality is the same, but Christians who discovered the cannibalism of the Aztecs, did not appreciate their method of maintaining this morality. And today Christians object to Muslim honor killings, although they are very effective in maintaining morality, and Muslims object to the liberalness of Christians and the lack of morality in Christian dominant countries. Perhaps my logical error was not separating out the method for maintaining a shared moral code, but then, this is also about sanctioning cannibalism or honor killers, or holding both as taboo. How does the B does not equal A and A does not equal B formula work here? Serious, I really want to know. And is there a multidimensional math, the is different from the a and b math, that might perhaps work better? For sure using math for such problem solving is a great discipline in logic. I just don't know how to do it.

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Now for the point you made about the difference between reality and truth. That is beautiful as it forces me to think, but I am not making the deisred progress with that thinking. I want to just give up and agree with you, without doing the necessary thinking, as you have said Christians might do. But_

 

Robin Willians once said, "Reality, an interesting concept". Religion defines reality for religious people. What possible redeeming truth is there in that, when it means rejecting history and science as the work of Satan? Religion is about at least two supernatural beings, one of good and one of evil. It leads to all kinds of ideas about reality that are far from truth, such as believing there is special power in a finger bone, or silver cross, or rabit's foot, and that there are witches who can defy the laws of nature by casting spells. It begins with a God who can rule by whim depending on if he is pleased or displeased, and capable to violating any law of nature he chooses to violate. For many people this is reality, and what is reality? How do we define it? For a religious person it is not history and science that defines their reality, but their holy book.

 

If you doubt that religion defines reality, shall we consider Israel and Palistine and Islam and the condition of China. All these are people have created Internationally important realities based on their religious understanding of reality. The Jews were told they would be hated for their love of God and sure enough this has been their reality. Now the Christians have taken up the cause of God, and some of them also believe they will be hated because of their love of God, and they know an evil power has turned some from the true God, and we have a criminal justice system based on this belief in a punishing God and evil supernatural being. Please, religious mythology is not harmless and but leads people to believe things that are not true and from their they create a reality based on a faulted perception of reality.

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As another example of conflict between morals in various religions, Islam forbids alcohol and some sects of Christianity require actual wine for communion, not to mention worshipers of Dionysus. Satanists have yet other morals based on their religion, if you think the other example was just about details. In the Bible god was always complaining about the Jews turning to the other gods and doing evil deeds, like sacrificing children to Moloch. Pick any two religions, and they will have different morals anywhere from the level of details to core principles.

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As another example of conflict between morals in various religions, Islam forbids alcohol and some sects of Christianity require actual wine for communion, not to mention worshipers of Dionysus. Satanists have yet other morals based on their religion, if you think the other example was just about details. In the Bible god was always complaining about the Jews turning to the other gods and doing evil deeds, like sacrificing children to Moloch. Pick any two religions, and they will have different morals anywhere from the level of details to core principles.

 

Dionysus brings up an interesting aspect to this discussion. When reading of him, my first thought was his importance as foreigner with exotic animals, and a following of women. Sounds like a very charismatic person who is traveling like the master of a circus and really enjoying life. I thought of Homer's Odyssey and concern for how the stranger is treated. Homer was writing during the Trojan war, and at first his peoms were used to teach children how to read, and later became as the Greek bible. His work was based in history and he was telling stories. This was not understood as a revelation from God, as the Torah, Christian bible and Koran are assumed to be revelations from God. Socrates objected to turning these stories into religion and he asked questions, such as, are the gods good? Everyone answers yes. Is adultry good? Everyone answers no. Then is Zeus good? Zeus was an adulter, and Socrates said people should be careful about their stories of the gods they tell, fully aware of how they were used by schools to trainsition children into good citizens.

 

Duinysus, was probably a real person, and in part his story tells us how to treat a foriegner. Following the Persian wars, Athens uses the wealth it gained through war, as an investment to increase wealth. Two major investments were rebuliding Athena's temple with murrals portraying the new relationship of the gods, and principles of democracy. The second investment was a university. Both invited foriegners to come and learn and spend their money in Athens. This could not happen without first having a positive attitude towards foriegners.

 

Ritualized freedom is a great safety valve, and the explanation of Duinysus, mentioned ritualized excesses. Today you can get drunk and get wild, but tomorrow we return to law and order. I think Islam could benefit from this. On the other hand, the West has something to gain by realizing a limit to freedom.

 

Religious myth is not all about god. It is mostly about humans. How can we convey the necessary lessons when we have only one God to talk about? Seriously, why do any of us care about stories of Jews? It was said Greek theatre comes through Duinysus, and as good as it was, it is not as good as today's film industry and the dramas coming through Christianity. Some of these Christian passion plays, can really make a person want to be a believer.

 

In conclusion Duinysus has much to tell us about our human nature.

 

I am not sure Islam forbidding alcohol is equal to Islam having different morals from Christianity. The US also had a period of alcohol being illegal, for the same moral reasons, Muslim countries make alcohol illegeal. The US however, had a different understanding of morals and freedom, and were never as obedient to authority, as Muslims, except in Germany, the Christian country we imitated when we replaced our liberal education with education for technology. Whatever, the US could not effectively enforce the law and gave up. It is the cannibolism issue. The morals are the same, but the method of enforcing them is different. We can also add the effect MADD has had on drunk driving law. In the US people did not go to prison for driving drunk and killing someone. That was an accident not murder. MADD changed our point of view. Murder was always illegal, so the morals didn't change so much as the point of view and understanding of drunk driving.

 

What is important here is our ability to reason. I believe the US, because of Athens, puts far more importance on individual, indpendent thinking. While Islam puts all the importance on being obedient to religious authority. The problem with individual indpendent thinking, is it requires education for good moral judgement, and the US replaced that with education for technology, and left moral training to the church. The result is devastating! Among the problems is people absolutely can not comprehend a God without religions defining God. This is extremely unfortunate! And they do little better with morals. Arguing that we do not have shared morals is an indication of how poorly we are doing. We have shared morals, because a moral is matter of cause and effect and is not dependent on religion, and bad reasoning, the inability to reason through cause and effect, has devastated our morality. So someone reasons, it is okay to kill someone who is dying, because the person is going to die anyway, and ignores the reasoning against this argument. Without education for good moral judgment, people just don't have good moral judgment.

 

PS, including Satanism as religion is interesting. I do not believe Satanism can claim to have God's revelation laws, as do the God of Abraham religions. At best Satanism can be man's reasoning, but this not a revelation religion. However, it is dependent on the superstitution of the revelation religions.

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What can Atheism offer me except the grave?

atheists don't say "oh you're selling eternal life? well take me off your list!"

they say "you say you're selling eternal life and all i have to do is live as you say i should! well i don't believe you"

 

what atheism can offer is life in a world that seems determined to prevent people from living

it is arguable that the quality of life is far more important than the length of life

so it does not really how long you have on this world if you don't LIVE a day of it.

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Living as honestly as possible in a world which is undoubtedly real is much more valuable to people accustomed to setting a high value on intellectual self-respect than believing in any soothing but obviously irrational theories about reality. I am certain that I would feel better about losing my tooth if I believed that the Tooth Fairy would take it from under my pillow and someday give me money for it, but my intellectual self-respect, personal integrity as a rational human, and sense of human dignity is more important to me than whatever reassurances about the world I can buy for myself by believing in the Tooth Fairy, forty doe-eyed virgins awaiting me in the Afterlife, or the world being securely supported by resting on the back of a giant turtle.

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  • 1 month later...

so how is atheism better than the cookie god thing?

why not?

why not believe total Bull just because it makes you happy?

 

Would you be happier if you had a million dollars (which you could donate if you wanted to instead of keeping it, of course)? I for one would feel pretty good about myself if I donated a million dollars last year to charity. Should I believe that I in fact did because it would make me happy? Should I believe I will be given a beautiful beachside home in the Bahamas to live in when I retire, because that would make me happy?

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" I do not believe Satanism can claim to have God's revelation laws, as do the God of Abraham religions. "

I doubt the Satanists care what you believe or, logically, about God's laws.

 

" I do not believe Satanism can claim to have God's revelation laws, as do the God of Abraham religions. "

I doubt the Satanists care what you believe or, logically, about God's laws.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now I am really impressed. That was some awesome reasoning, and I can see I have logically undisciplined. Rarely does anyone even attempt to argue with me in these debates and you have taken everything to a higher level. I very much appreciate that.

Sorry for my delay in replying (I have a chronic pain condition and it has been difficult for me to reply).

 

I so have to continue my efforts to grasp math. It would be so cool if I could use B is not equal to A

A is not equal to B to work through this problem of religious cannibalism. Christians begin with an of cannibalism, eating of the body of Christ and drinking his blood, but this ritual is symbolic. The Aztecs literally practiced ritual cannibalism. Christians have a God who wants the first born sacrificed to him, and later have to make a point of God saying he does want fathers to literally sacrifice their sons to him, and finally, everyone stops sacrificing animals including the Jews who do not consider Jesus their savior, and yet a religion that revolved around such rituals continues as though nothing has changed. :huh: How does one get this to fit into B is not equal to A and A is not equal to B formula?

The thing is ritual is a cultural phenomena. There are many such rituals we have that are completely dependent on the culture.

 

A good example is when we touch glasses as part of a toast. We, in modern western cultures, see this as a polite ritual. But, this originated to demonstrate to your drinking partner that you have not poisoned their drink (as the aim of it was to spill drink from one glass to the other). SO asking someone to "clink glasses" in a toast is actually saying that you don't trust them because you think they could have poisoned your drink.

 

But of course, the culture has changed and so too the meaning of the ritual has been down graded to a polite gesture of friendship (when it was originally the exact opposite - one of distrust and enmity).

 

Thus, ritual and culture does not come down to a simple A B formula. You need to look at the culture the behaviour originated in, modern culture and the journey that behaviour took through the cultural continuum to reach modern times.

 

I think the basic morality of religion is the same, but now we have a taboo on cannibalism, unless it is completely symbolic, using a wafer for the body and a sip of wine for the blood. Yes, we are cannibalizing someone but we are not cannibalizing someone. How different is this from the reasoning of cannibalism?

There are no absolute morals. Even just reading the bible show this to be the case. The early stories (eg: old testament) has a completely different set of morals to the new testament. In other words, the bible proves that not even God has absolute morality.

 

So, if morality is not absolute, then what is it and how can we determine what is moral or not? It is a common claim by the religious that Atheism has no moral groundwork (however, it does - it is just not an absolute morality), or that you can call anything moral if you don't have a groundwork for morality (this is not true either).

 

Morals are behaviours that allow groups of people to trust each other and to work together for common gains. Thus behaviours that cause disruption to the greater benefit of the group are immoral. This is why stealing and murder are immoral because they don't (usually) give a benefit to the group.

 

However, war is really just murder, but even the bible calls this moral when done for the benefit of the group (and there are passages in the bible where God aids war and even genocide - and if God is moral then these must also be moral according to the bible). War only becomes universally immoral when one thinks of all people as belonging to the same group.

 

However, if the belief is that cannibalism benefits the group (eg: part of war, or to appease a God), then you can see it as moral (as doing so avoids a greater harm - but what is wrong is the belief that it is necessary).

 

Over time the beliefs changed, which made the actual act of physical sacrifice as being bad for the group (the society). However, the rituals still were needed as they were still part of the religion. By abstracting the ritual from a physical sacrifice to a symbolic one, the society could still keep the religion, and not violate their morality.

 

What I find interesting (anthropologically) is how such rituals developed in the first place. What leads a society to institutionalise a behaviour that would otherwise be considered bad for it into something that is believed to be good for it, but that is a whole other discussion...

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In all cases of cannibalism, the desired goal is to be better people and maintain law and order. So the morality is the same, but Christians who discovered the cannibalism of the Aztecs, did not appreciate their method of maintaining this morality. And today Christians object to Muslim honor killings, although they are very effective in maintaining morality, and Muslims object to the liberalness of Christians and the lack of morality in Christian dominant countries. Perhaps my logical error was not separating out the method for maintaining a shared moral code, but then, this is also about sanctioning cannibalism or honor killers, or holding both as taboo. How does the B does not equal A and A does not equal B formula work here? Serious, I really want to know. And is there a multidimensional math, the is different from the a and b math, that might perhaps work better? For sure using math for such problem solving is a great discipline in logic. I just don't know how to do it.

And this is the discussion :D;) .

 

When you have done something to annoy someone, you try to do something to appease them. This might be a gift, and apology, or some other action that you hope will show that you are sorry for what you did.

 

In societies where the causes of natural phenomena are unknown, it is human nature to try and explain them. Thus these events and even other things (like animals, and such) become anthropomorphised. We give them human characteristics (think of the pet rock craze a few decades ago).

 

Now, imagine you believed your pet rock had the power to make it rain. Perhaps there was a long drought and one day you spilt water on your rock and the next day it rained. This could lead to the belief that pouring water on your pet rock caused it to rain.

 

So, the behaviour develops that pouring water on the rock, will make it rain. But as it has been anthropomorphised, it is not as simple as this. The anthropomorphising of the rock gives it emotions. So even though pouring water on it might usually cause it to rain, if you have said or done something that might have displeased it, then it might be angry with you and this might require a greater payment to give rain.

 

This kind of behaviour is not just limited to people. There have been experiments done with pidgions where they randomly dropped food into a hopper for the pidgion to eat. However, the pidgion was usually doing something unrelated at the time (maybe just turning around, or pecking at something). However, if the random drop of food just happened to occur when the pidgion was doing the same thing again, it would quickly develop a superstition that it was that action that caused the food to drop.

 

When the food didn't drop when the pidgion did this action again, the pidgion didn't just stop the behaviour, they became obsessed by it and increased the intensity of the action. This is the exact same effect that I am describing for the pet rock example, and also can be used to explain the development of sacrifice and even cannibalism rituals and beliefs.

 

But as I said above, cultures change. It might go noticed that the effect (eg rain) still occurred even if the "payment" (sacrifice) didn't occur. However, it is still useful for the subgroup (the priests or whoever decides who gets sacrificed) to continue the acts of sacrifice. So the culture changes and the action (sacrifice) becomes necessary for the benefit of the group (to maintain the social order - and cynically - to eliminate those that question why things are done the way they are).

 

Now for the point you made about the difference between reality and truth. That is beautiful as it forces me to think, but I am not making the deisred progress with that thinking. I want to just give up and agree with you, without doing the necessary thinking, as you have said Christians might do. But_

 

Robin Willians once said, "Reality, an interesting concept". Religion defines reality for religious people. What possible redeeming truth is there in that, when it means rejecting history and science as the work of Satan? Religion is about at least two supernatural beings, one of good and one of evil. It leads to all kinds of ideas about reality that are far from truth, such as believing there is special power in a finger bone, or silver cross, or rabit's foot, and that there are witches who can defy the laws of nature by casting spells. It begins with a God who can rule by whim depending on if he is pleased or displeased, and capable to violating any law of nature he chooses to violate. For many people this is reality, and what is reality? How do we define it? For a religious person it is not history and science that defines their reality, but their holy book.

Ahh, this is truth vs reality again and the confusion between them.

 

Religion defines its own truths, but it doesn't define reality.

 

For example, history books. The reality is that they exist. No matter how much somone might not want them to have existed, the realirty is that they did (or do).

 

Religion might not don't accept history books because they believe it is the work of Satan. To them it is true that Satan wrote the history books and so they can't trust that the history books reflect reality.

 

However, if you don't ascribe to that belief, you don't have to accept their conclusions. You might have real reasons to not trust everything in the history books (eg: they believed in things that were not real - for example the belief that everything is made up of only 4 elements, or that Gods live on a mountain, etc).

 

So in both cases the reality is that the history books might not be able to be trusted to reflect the reality that existed in the past. But, the truth can be different. In one the truth is that the history books contradict what is believed to be true and thus must be rejected least that make people believe in untrue things (and disrupt society), and the other is that the history books contradict what is believed to be true, but might still contain something of value (and thus add to society).

 

It comes down to what is valued (stability or change).

 

If you doubt that religion defines reality, shall we consider Israel and Palistine and Islam and the condition of China. All these are people have created Internationally important realities based on their religious understanding of reality. The Jews were told they would be hated for their love of God and sure enough this has been their reality. Now the Christians have taken up the cause of God, and some of them also believe they will be hated because of their love of God, and they know an evil power has turned some from the true God, and we have a criminal justice system based on this belief in a punishing God and evil supernatural being. Please, religious mythology is not harmless and but leads people to believe things that are not true and from their they create a reality based on a faulted perception of reality.

 

In mathematical terms using Set theory:

 

Truth is a sub set of Reality. That is all Truth must be real, but what specific parts of reality and what they mean is not necessarily part of reality. As an example:

 

It might be true that two countries exist. However in reality, there is no line that really separates them.

 

It is true that the land the countries occupy exists, each country occupies only a subset of that land. It is up to the people (of both countries) to define what part of the set of all land is part of their country and what is part of the other (and I suppose what is part of neither), and what those subsets mean to them.

 

In another way: Reality does not care for or influenced by humans (it is agnostic to us). Truth, on the other hand is a subset of reality defined by humans, and finally, there is the interpretation of that truth.

 

Thus no religion can define reality. Either their beliefs are real or they are not. Just believing them to be true, no matter how strong the belief, can not make them real. However, their beliefs define what subset of reality they accept (truth) and how they interpret it.

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