Monday, April 16, 2007

Honor Roll

Two great comments from the forum I'd like to call out:

Russell said...
Here's a thought. Take any natural disaster - the Asian Tsunami, for instance. Now, let's look at the reasons why it happened...

1. God made it happen. Therefore God is a violent, irrational, hateful entity not worthy of worship.
2. It was an act of nature and God decided not to stop it. God is a violent, irrational and hateful entity and therefore not worthy of worship.
3. It was an act of nature, but God couldn't prevent it and therefore he is irrelevant and not worthy of worship.
4. It was an act of nature, and God does not exist.

Glyn said...
Great bit of writing.

Regarding the commments (sic)....Yes we all know that Stalin comitted (sic) crimes agains (sic) humanity in the name of Communism.
But the quesion (sic) is - did Stalin have faith in Communism? Did he believe in Communism?

I'd argue that he did.
The problem is not theism - but faith.
Faith - blind faith. The un-questioning acceptance of something without proof is the mechanism which allows evil to occur.

The solution to theistic faith is not atheism. (Although atheism is a good start)

I'm not posting anything bashing me this time. A really good creative one will make the honor roll in the future. My blog my rules. If you don't like it, start your own blog!

32 comments:

MasterJediDan said...
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Taylor said...
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Taylor said...

That's already been stated in his first post. Pascal's Wager. I don't really have anything else to say, but what you just explained in seven paragraphs was explained in a 3x2 table on the first post.

Jeremy said...

Masterjedidan said... "And if I'm an Atheist, and result number 1 is true, then I will go to hell. Hell is a very real place, you don't want to spend the rest of eternity there."

What Proof do you have that hell exists. How is it very real? Have you been there? Why would you want to follow a god that sends good people to hell? All religion is, is mind control for the masses.

MasterJediDan said...

Hell exists because the Bible says it does. The Bible is supported by many facts and events throughout history, but I won't go there right now. It's not God's intention to let anyone go to hell, but people who reject Him will end up there unless they simply believe in Him and live for Him. You see, the reason people go to hell is because we are all born with sin. The only way to get out of this is to believe in God. I mean, admit it, we've all done bad things in our life, we've all thought bad thoughts. God cannot allow sinful people to enter heaven. So to end my point, God loves you and wants what is best for you, but if you choose in your mind to reject Him, you are destined for hell. I don't like saying this, but as the saying goes, "the truth hurts."

Sincerely,
Master Jedi Dan

darren said...

Jedi, what an awful god you have. He makes you and by default you are damned to the fires of hell. Unless you lick his A** enough for whatever miserable existence he permits you to have.
Hell exists obviously becuause a piece of paper with ink stating the words "HELL EXISTS" exists. Must be true then.
Use the force my son.

ksenofon said...

Well, besides faith, there is another factor: Perception.
http://ksenofon.blogspot.com/2007/04/walking.html

ksenofon said...

To what "MasterJediDan said..."
-->Hell exists because the Bible says it does. The Bible is supported by many facts and events throughout history<--
Ok, but Bible is NOT an historical paper and thus, is NOT more true than any other science fiction book, e.g. "The Lord of the Rings".

Maoumaou said...

It’s interesting to see people believe blindly to other people’s words. Looking for proof in the existence of God, heaven, hell etc. is almost like looking for historical facts. That is where the mistakes begin. History is usually written by those with power on their hands. For example, in the near future the war on terror will be entirely justified and there will be no relation to oil, money or new world order. And that is just because it will be written by those with power.
I’m not an Arab or Christian or atheist. I’m just a guy who seeks reasonable answers through provable facts. Trying to justify the existence of vague things like heaven, hell and afterlife is actually impossible. No one’s ever been there and returned to explain to the rest of us what is going on. I can’t say that God exists but I also can’t say the exact opposite.

Others say that mankind needs to believe in God to explain the unexplainable. For some reason, situations like natural disasters, wars and generally loss of life have to be explained through religion. Why? Why no one understands that we live in an imperfect world, that we humans are nowhere near perfection? Why not just give a simple answer like that and be happy about it?

-You will go to hell if you are not a good Christian. We are born in sin. -
What a fearful way to live! This is what Christianity tells us. We are doomed from the moment we take our first breath. I wonder how the almighty managed to do such a goof, creating mankind that way. Or is it a personal bet? “I will create mankind this way and see if they will make it in the end”.
As so nicely quoted by Jeremy, all religion is, is mind control for the masses. Since there is no hard evidence about God in general, fear is the only way.

Please excuse my bad English.

brenden said...

I think a lot of people are missing a very important point about Pascal's Wager. If you believe based on the idea than it's better than not believing, then you have to apply the same principal to every other possible belief that could have good results if they turn out to be right.

An example. Right now I am saying this: if you do not make a daily sacrifice to an invisible elephant that lives in your backyard, you will go to hell. Now, just because you've read this, Pascal's Wager compels you to perform this because the benefits of being right (not going to hell) are better than the risks of not doing it and being wrong (going to hell).

Why are you still reading? I believe you have an elephant to feed.

brenden said...

Also I cannot imagine a God who'd be very happy with people pretending to believe in him "just in case" rather than using their (god given?) powers of logic and reason to come to the conclusion that things require some kind of concrete proof before they believe in it.

An omnipotent god has unlimited energy. It would take precisely zero effort to cause one sizeable miracle and make everyone in the world believe in him. How convenient that he chooses not to.

MasterJediDan said...

@ ksenofon & maoumaou

The Bible can be supported by many facts. For example, maoumaou, the Bible gives many stories of Israel's defeats, shortcomings, failures, and destruction. If the Bible was written purely from the viewpoint that Israel is a great nation, it would not have included all their faults and their ultimate destruction. If you were to write a book about your family, would you write about all their shortcomings? Probably not.

Another point is Jesus. Who was he? We have a few options here. 1.he was a good man 2.he was crazy and had lost his mind 3. he was lying throughout it all 4.he was God. If he was just a good man, then why did he claim to be the son of God? And if all he had to offer was good teachings and morals, then why did his disciples all die horrible deaths because of him? Wouldn't they have repented of their belief in him if he was simply a good man rather than being killed by the merciless romans? If he was an insane person, then why did countless people follow him and die for him? If he was lying and managed to deceive the disciples and everyone else who followed him, then why did he die himself? If he was lying through it all, wouldn't he have repented of it instead of dying on a cross? (dying on a cross is no picnic) So in the end, the only logical conclusion that we have is that he was God.

Klej Society said...

Response to Russell:

It is not that God is a violent, irrational, hateful entity. It's simply that he allows Evil to occur.

The claims that you're making are ones that are highly debated in Philosophy, and the point that you seem to be getting to is that there are unnecessary Evils in the world.

In the case of Natural Disasters, a Theist argument is that Natural Disasters are Necessary for the development of certain moral values and strengthening of the human spirit.

One Example I will use, while not a Natural Disaster is, nonetheless, a good one. 9/11/01, the Attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon were the most terrible event to occur in recent American History. But, take a look at what changed in almost every American immediately and after:

-The Strength and Courage shown by our NY Firefighters and Police Officers
-The greater sense of Unity among Americans
-The Strengthening of Local Communities
-The Dedication to our fellow citizens shown by nearly all Americans at some level

And so you see that only from Disaster, Only from Pain and Suffering do things like Hope, Love, and Courage have any meaning.

For what would Love mean, if there was no Hatred? What would Courage mean, if there was no Cowardice? And what would Happiness mean, if there was no Pain and Suffering?

Marciepooh said...

to kleg society:
Strength and courage are shown by firefighters, police officers, military personal, EMTs, and others EVERY DAY - they don't need a disaster.

Greater sense of unity? What America are you living in? That lasted about a week.

Strengthing local communities - eh, maybe, some. But why'd it take the deaths of so many?

Dedication to our fellow Americans? WTF is that?

The opposite of love is not hate it is indifference. The opposite of courage isn't cowardice but inaction. I'll give you the happiness one.

Robert said...

If I chose to believe in a God of Love, it would not be because I was afraid He'd kill me if I didn't.

The only real (if not intended) outcome of Pascal's Wager is to allow the believer to feel good about a choice already made, rational or not.

Klej Society said...
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Klej Society said...
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Desire said...

I'd like to bring up, just to make it clear, what the difference between 'a philosophy' and 'a religion' is.

A philosophy is a person's key beliefs and moral code. These ethics can come from personal experiences, deep thought, or (more often than these other reasons) are taught by wise men using fiction to illustrate a point. Here, many people would recognize this as a "fable", or "story". Christians would also recognize this as a "parable".

It's important to understand that deriving one's morals and ethical values from a fictional story is perfectly fine. The point of the story isn't that it actually happened, it's a grandiose metaphor for smaller, more mundane life problems.

For example, Star Wars can teach us to believe in ourselves ("use the force"), to not judge a person by their immediate appearance (Yoda, Ben Kenobi, Han Solo), and that moral redemption is possible for anyone (Vader).

Taking this brand of ethics one step farther, and a person could even say that they believe in Star Wars. Perhaps they could even call themselves Jedis.


So, what's the difference between Jedists and Christians? Both have fantastical stories about magic and Prodigal Sons. The difference is slight, but it is all at once, the most inportant thing:

Jedists don't actually believe in the Force. They don't really think that Luke Skywalker existed "long long ago". They don't believe that there was ever an actual Death Star.

It would be crazy if they did. It would make Jedism a religion.

Klej Society said...

@ Desire

I'm unclear of your point, yes there is a distinction between philosophy and religion but I don't think anyone here said that they are the same thing!

Religion in this case is Theism and Atheism

But Philosophy is a tool we use to debate such things as the existence of God

I don't think anyone here has been confused about the difference

Klej Society said...

@marciepooh

Here's a direct quote you just made:

"Strength and courage are shown by firefighters, police officers, military personal, EMTs, and others EVERY DAY - they don't need a disaster"

So How then do they show courage? Because I'm pretty sure it takes a fire to have a firefighter show courage! But I guess that's just my idea.

And Yes the opposite of Love is hate and the opposite of Courage is cowardice, indifference and inaction are the middle grounds!

Love and Hate, Courage and Cowardice are extremes, and Indifference and inaction require neither of both parts,

Sorry!

Robert said...

> Hell exists because the Bible says it does.

So convince me that I should buy into the Bible in the first place.

> The Bible is supported by many facts and events throughout history, but I won't go there right now.

OK, I will.
To restate the comment:
1: If parts of something are supported by facts, then all of it must be factual.
2: The Bible contains some things which are factual.
Ergo, the Bible must be completely factual.

I don't buy this. At best, the reasoning is inductive. Although it may be valid, it is not sound. Writers of historical fiction could make the same argument, and start calling their work History.

Ship builders could similarly claim that, since there are no leaks in the front of the boat, then there can't possibly be leaks in the rest of the boat.

--Rob

MasterJediDan said...
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Taylor said...

@ dan


didn't you just say that? I mean, it took you seven paragraphs to state pascal's wager and now you're just repeating yourself. We are all capable of reading.


Perhaps he was neither of those four. Maybe he had a disorder that made him believe A. there was a god and B. he was god's son.

It may appear logical to one that is already a christian and believes in a god, but it doesn't appear at all logical to me. I'm sure there are countless things that seem logical to christians, but not others.


A 6000 year old Earth?
Parting bodies of water?
To name a couple.

Mike said...

> 1. God made it happen. Therefore God is a violent, irrational, hateful entity not worthy of worship.
<

Violent, yes (but on what scale? to an omniscient god able to take in a whole universe of activity at once it could go virtually unnoticed...). Hateful, possibly (maybe he loves every tsunami victim now in heaven?). I don't think you can make a determination about rationality given the premises of god's existence and natural disasters occouring.

> 2. It was an act of nature and God decided not to stop it. God is a violent, irrational and hateful entity and therefore not worthy of worship. <

I don't think you could say that non-action on God's part is violent or irrational. As far as the determination on hateful, see above.

> 3. It was an act of nature, but God couldn't prevent it and therefore he is irrelevant and not worthy of worship.
<
Hey, if it could be proven there was a god and all he did was give free coffee to his faithful it'd be worthy of worship.

>4. It was an act of nature, and God does not exist.
<
Indeed. I think it's strongly indicated by the total-lack-of-any-evidence-to-the-contrary.

Sarah said...

I am typically not one to post on these things, but this comment really stuck out to me.

masterjedidan said: "If he was an insane person, then why did countless people follow him and die for him? If he was lying and managed to deceive the disciples and everyone else who followed him, then why did he die himself? If he was lying through it all, wouldn't he have repented of it instead of dying on a cross? "

Have you never heard of cults - say Jim Jones and The People's Temple. People followed him, even though I would venture to say he was insane. They died for him, killed for him, and he eventually died himself. This is just one example. I could go on. The point being - at one time over 900 people thought that this "religion" was right and believed in it enough to die for it.

There is nothing wrong with faith. I have faith in people and things everyday. Religion just doesn't happen to be one of them. If following the word of the bible to the letter and denouncing everyone who does not makes you happy - well good for you. I prefer to live my life enjoying things I can actually see and touch.

P.S. My elephant died, now what??????

MasterJediDan said...

@ sarah

Yes, I have heard of cults. But how many of them have lasted 2000 years? Every one I have heard of has died away pretty quickly.

Robert said...
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Sarah said...

@dan

Not calling Christianity a cult - just saying people have been wrong before and it's not a really sound basis for an argument that they have been wrong longer.

Joshua said...

Masterjedidan:

"1.he was a good man 2.he was crazy and had lost his mind 3. he was lying throughout it all 4.he was God. "

There are other options there, such as that he was misrepresented, either innocently or with the intention of misrepresentation.

Robert said...

@Dan...
Interesting. I have a few responses.
> Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without him, we wouldn't exist.
Mohammad was the founder of Islam. Gautama Siddhartha was the founder of Buddhism. Karl Marx was the founder of Communism. Without them...

Does being the founder of a religion that still exists qualify one for being God, or the Son of God? What about L. Ron Hubbard?

Regarding the four possibilities listed, I would add a fifth: he was divinely inspired, yet still human.

After the list, there follow a long list of questions. The overall assumption of your argument by using these questions appears to be that there is only one possible answer: that "he was God." I disagree with that assumption.

What other answers could there be?

"If he was just a good man," why would anyone suffer all that? The assumption here is that people only die for heavenly, religious ideals. People also willingly die for their country. And for other causes as well. God does not have a corner on the market for martyrs. And what about the martyrs of the other religions as well? Is their martyrdom any less because it wasn't Christian?

> If he was just a good man, then why did he claim to be the Son of God?

That sounds like a very literal interpretation.
So bear with me here. Taking a side trip, but I'll come to the point shortly...
I Kings 7:23 says, measuring a basin, 10 cubits from rim to rim, and 30 cubits around. A literal interpretation here dictates that the whole and complete value of pi is 3. Not 3.14159... The Bible is wrong. However, we can help this interpretation. Culturally, the Hebrews didn't know the value of pi as well as we do. They just got as close as they could. Granted, this is a trivial example. But if a literal interpretation doesn't work for such a tiny detail, then I believe we should look VERY closely at any claims in the Bible attributed to Jesus to be the Son of God. For example: Jesus was a Jew, first and foremost. Everything he did was within the context of 2000-year-old Judaism. How well-versed are you in that culture? What was the then-current understanding of the concepts of Christ and Messiah? Were they the same person, or two? There are many other such questions.

> If he was an insane person, then why did countless people follow him and die for him?
Hitler. Mussolini. Jim Jones. David Koresh.

> If he was lying...
I don't think he was lying. I believe that we don't fully understand what he was saying.

Cheers,
--Rob

Warren said...

Dan

the reason people go to hell is because we are all born with sin.

I have a few fundamental problems with this. The first issue involves infants and children, if we are born into sin then what happens to an infant or child that dies before they are able to fully understand what god is and accept Jesus as their lord and savior? From your statement it would seem that they would go to hell based solely on the fact that they were born with sin and were never able to repent.

The second issue is Africa, or Mongolia, or Australia, or the Native Americans. Countless numbers of these people died before they ever came into contact with even the idea of Christianity. Would all of them have gone to hell? If so why? I mean, if God really cared about all of his children wouldn't he have gone about letting the world know of Christ's divinity at the same time. It's not like he would have been hampered by the communication technology (or lack thereof) available while Christ was alive. It really makes no logical sense.

Also you asked about cults lasting for 2000 years. Well, I think that maoumaou said it best when he spoke of history being written by the winners, or the people in power at the time. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree with this. So then wouldn't make sense that religion is spread by the people in power at the time? Christianity is widespread because it was the religion of Europe and they took it with them every time they colonized a new territory, they paid no mind to what the indigenous people believed they just wanted to teach them it was wrong and convert them, by any means necessary. The same is true of Islam and the Ottoman empire, which was massive and powerful at one point in time, the were an Islamic people and they brought their religion with them everywhere they went so it spread. In both cases the colonizers/oppressors faith was the only one that mattered and the colonized/oppressed beliefs mattered little, in many cases it was convert or die, or convert or receive no aid, or convert or don't go to school. It seems to me that in the case of both Christianity and Islam they spread not because of their innate truth but because of the relative power of their believers.

John said...

@dan & Sarah

All this talk of cults, lets define it.

Religious Cult: The church down the street from yours.

That pretty much sums it up. But lets look at the official definition.

–noun
1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
7. the members of such a religion or sect.

How does "_____" religion not adhere to any of these definitions?

Clearly anyone that is not a member of of religion X will consider it to be false. An no matter which religion you choose - there are more people on the planet that do not believe it than do.

etc.. etc..