Wow, I really get a kick out of intelligent dialogues! Jared, Kyle,Borg,you guys put forth convincing arguments and examples of what makes you "believe" what you do. What I like is that you do so in a manner condusive to discussion and it doesn't devolve in to, "well because you can't see my point you're an idiot" like many others on these threads. You three must have some pretty extensive debate backgrounds. Debate making you be able to argue both sides of an argument at a moments notice. Not meant for you to believe one side over another, but being able to posit convincing evidence to support or negate either side. All this glowing praise aside, I would hazard a guess that most people reading and commenting on these blogs are pretty cemented into their respective camps of beliefs.That being said, I'll throw my hat onto Jareds side and say that "atheism" as I understand the term and definition is the "belief" that there is/are no Diety/ies. No matter how one arrived at this supposition (through lack of scientific evidence as Borg states) it is still a "belief" system, and one that acts as strongly on those that believe that there is no diety, as those that believe that there is. As Borg states his beliefs are based on science,logic and reason and the lack of empiracle proof. but they are still beliefs. If you are a student of science then the one great truth is that there are no truths, only facts that we understand at the moment, and that many scientific facts have in the past and will again in the future change as our understanding increases. Which in my mind leaves open the possiblity that perhaps.......there are some things that we just don't understand yet, whether that be a absentia deity or whether that be an interstellar race that has something against bovines, fill in the blank to your hearts content. Not sure who said it but it is one of my favorites, "I know enough to know, I don't know very much" :)
Jared,I don't have a problem with lapses in spelling or grammar. If it weren't for Firefox spell check you could see how badly I spell. Its petty to slam folks for the form of their ideas rather than the content.
You have a great weekend and Merry Christmas!
BorgLord, I am just glad you have patience with my freakin' spelling. Enjoy the weekend.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."~~Carl Sagan
Jared, what we know about the nature of reality has been and is continuing to be, revealed by the scientific method, which is based on logic and reason applied to the investigation of natural phenomena and the almost universal disproving of "supernatural" or "supramundane" phenomena." I agree with all this except the last, because it is outside of science's compentency to judge the supernatural. I stand with you in solidarity for science, my point is that it assumes certain pre-notions like truth is better than its competition, that the scientific method should be followed, that logic is good, that reason means something, that reality is reality.
"If you would like to know more about failure of the supernatural to stand up to empirical methodology, let me recommend the work of James Randi, Michael Shermer and the folks associated with them." I am always up to more reading, but I will say that I don't expect the supernatural to be able to be measured. Proving God in the sense of empiricism is impossible. However, I don't require empiricism to believe in something for I believe in goodness, truth, and beauty all of which science cannot tell me a thing.
"And I would add, that science is not "revealed" like religion claims to be. Science investigates through the formulation of hypotheses concerning natural phenomena and the testing of said hypotheses as to their truth or falsity. If the hypothesis explains the phenomenon in question and is not proven false then it becomes at some point a theory. However, it through experimentation is proven false, it is discarded." Left to scientific things, I cannot see anything wrong with this. Thank God the monks of the High Middle Ages developed the first notions of this method and so has left the West with much to be thankful. (I know, shameful Catholic plug ;).
"Religion has on many occasions been proven false and yet is still extolled as true." If by "proven" you mean by science, then I would have to say it is outside science's boundaries to prove. Science cannot prove J. Caesar existed, but history can.
"For example, how many amputees do you know that god has supernaturally regrown their severed limb? I know many people paralyzed, afflicted with horrible disease, that god has not helped. In fact the only help they have received has been through medical science." I agree, medicine is the normal route to healing. However, I would posit miracle happen when God wants. Every canonized saint is required to perform at least 2 miracles and the overwhelming majority are medical in nature. These must be investigated by competent medical experts (Catholic and atheist) and certify that there was no medical explanation for the cure.
Thankfully, we can have this friendly converation and dialogue.
"...do you have proof that revealed science, logic, and reason are the objective laws we should follow? Where is the proof that shows this?"
Jared, what we know about the nature of reality has been and is continuing to be, revealed by the scientific method, which is based on logic and reason applied to the investigation of natural phenomena and the almost universal disproving of "supernatural" or "supramundane" phenomena. If you would like to know more about failure of the supernatural to stand up to empirical methodology, let me recommend the work of James Randi, Michael Shermer and the folks associated with them. And I would add, that science is not "revealed" like religion claims to be. Science investigates through the formulation of hypotheses concerning natural phenomena and the testing of said hypotheses as to their truth or falsity. If the hypothesis explains the phenomenon in question and is not proven false then it becomes at some point a theory. However, it through experimentation is proven false, it is discarded. Religion has on many occasions been proven false and yet is still extolled as true. For example, how many amputees do you know that god has supernaturally regrown their severed limb? I know many people paralyzed, afflicted with horrible disease, that god has not helped. In fact the only help they have received has been through medical science.
Kyle, my bad, that last question was meant to go to BorgLord, mea culpa.
BorgLord, as I said semantics. If you want to hold Cambridge's definition, so be it. I am merely saying that atheism is a belief system or as Cambridge recognizes, "someone who BELIEVES that God or gods do not exist" the emphasis on "believe" is mine, not shouting, just stressing the word to show that it to is a belief.
Kyle, do you have proof that revealed science, logic, and reason are the objective laws we should follow? Where is the proof that shows this?
ZaPaTeRoChUpA,I would hardly call quoting the definition of religion from a dictionary maintained by Cambridge University "cherry picking." And as for functional vs substantive definitions of religion, I thought we were speaking of religion in its normal usage in general conversation. If you want to have an anthropological, sociological discussion of religion we can go that route, but it really does not enlighten the real issue: when most folks talk about religion--whether substantively or functionally--they are speaking of their set of beliefs in a person or persons or forces that act in a supramundane fashion immune to empirical investigation. My "beliefs" as an atheist are based on what can be actually known about reality as revealed by science, logic and reason--not on a hoary old book or possibly schizophrenic visions concerning some deity or deities.
BorgLord claims that Jared is manufacturing facts, then cherry-picks a definition that supports HIS point of view. Bogus, indeed.
People have been arguing about the definition of 'religion' for years. There are two basic approaches to defining religion: a substantive approach, which focuses on the content of belief; and a functional approach, which focuses on what the belief system does for the individual or community.
The substantive model generally delimits religion to the range of traditional theism: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and so on. The functional model, in contrast, is more inclusive. By defining religion according to its social function, the functional model treats religion largely as synonymous with such terms as cultural system, belief system, meaning system, moral order, ideology, world view and cosmology.
In other words, a functional definition describes religion as "a set of beliefs, actions and emotions, both personal and corporate, organized around the concept of an Ultimate Reality. This Reality may be understood as a unity or a plurality, personal or nonpersonal, divine or not, and so forth, differing from religion to religion."
Atheism fits neatly into the functional definition of 'religion'.
I like this one:
“In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.” - Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
Jared,That "atheism is a religion" line is so specious as to not be worth refuting. But let me say this. Boooooooooooooogus! This is the definition: "the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship--the Christian religion" (Definition of religion noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Jared, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
If religion is "a system of belief" and atheism is "belief that there is no God" then it follows that atheism is a religion, a system of belief that there is no God. Like I said, probably semantics if by religion you mean "belief system with at minimum a belief in deity(ies)."
However, I take the literal meaning of "belief system" to mean any belief that binds (Latin, re + ligare).
"atheism is a religion"
Prove this, please.
game05, atheism is a religion and typically fundamentalist at that, but that is semantics for this conversation. Unbelief in god still being a belief, Stalin, Mao, et al., Mussolini, acted upon what their belief system told them. My belief system informs us that man is fallen and there is not a system that will cure this falleness, utopia does not exist on this side, but rather is a longing aching for fulfillment.
BorgLord, thank you for considering. I would hold to the historical prop. that the State (rudimentary as it was) and Church was separate more so in the High Middle and Renaissance Ages. The fact that the State understood some heresies as socially problematic is understandalbe; the Albi would be considered detrimental even today with their sanctioned sacramental suicide and the practice of the pure evilness of material world.
Re: the founders and their writings for the Declaration, I cannot read their hearts or minds, but only their writings. I can only assume that what they put down on the most important document of their careers was intentional. They never mentioned a name of God and it would be out of their compentency to do so, but I think they saw that inalienable rights must be attributed to a Creator or Designer that trumps the State or solely positive law. The other option is Mussolini:"Everything I have said and done is these last years is relativism, by intuition. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology, and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories, and men who claim to be the bearers of an objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than fascism."
Forced conversions is definitely not in the repetoire of Christian thinking, it must be a free consent like love. Hence, it would a sin of the gravest sorts for me to compel your conversion which is what I mean as religious freedom.
I cannot sit back and allow you to trash religion. Without religion, man may never have the curiosity to explore the world, the universe, and inner depths of humanity. And maybe to grasp the understanding of what cannot be explained. You focus your attention too much on those who want theocracy like the author of this piece or the right wing Glenn Beckian view of the world. There were people who have a religious faith who change history for the betterment of man, yet you with Game05 denied that fact. I am not here to attack you, but I am saying you putting all of your eggs in basket. Whatever you believe in, and then more power to you, that is between you and the higher power. However don’t try to suggest that everyone who have worship or believe in a creator are sheep to be controlled or have backwards thinking.
For every King Henry VIII uses religion to dishonor his marriages, there was a Martin Luther King uses his faith to bring justice to the oppressed. For every Spanish Inquisition there was a first amendment.
The problem is greed, jealously, stupidity, hate, fear, lust, and bitterness, not one’s faith or lack thereof.
Game 05,You are absolutely right about religion being the ultimate in control mechanisms. An excellent book on this topic is "The God Virus" by Darrell Ray. He describes religion as a meme that acts like a virus in the way it spreads, infects and controls people. It is well worth your time.
Jared,I have considered much of what you said and I still hold the same opinion. When you talk about the pope protecting my rights to have separation of Church and state I can only presume you are talking about the thin veil of deception used through a good part of the Middle Ages wherein the Inquisition rooted out the heretics and infidels and then the state executed the punishment for this "civil" offense of heresy that "threatened" the state. Or perhaps you are referring to the Pope appointing the bishops in a Catholic country as opposed to the monarch doing so. I'm not sure, but the Pope only became a defender of human rights in the previous century when it was forced upon him and so John XXIII opened the windows of the Church to let in the fresh air of the holy spirit. The deistic, agnostic and even atheist Enlightenment brought the first real concern for civil liberties and human rights. And even if the founders used God language in the Declaration, they never call it Jesus, Jehovah or the "God of the Bible." Jefferson while not quite a deist was very much a unitarian and probably included such language as a matter of polite convention and to cover the real radicalism of what he and the other founders were proposing.
the ideal of Socialism doesn't harm anyone, and the millions of Soviet deaths during and after WWII had far more to do with the poverty of reconstruction and the Stalinist purges. Stalin wasn't a Socialist but a dictator. it had little to do with religion. and atheism isn't a religion.
all of the Popes during the Enlightenment were specifically chosen for their business and economic acumen, not for any special connection to God. their job was to build the church and fill its coffers. if you really want to control people, history has proven it's most effectively done through religion and not through any governmental system.
what are we talking about again?
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“The Pope and the religion he heads is responsible for more ignorance and suffering than anything else the west has produced save perhaps the enslavement of non-white peoples.”Lest we forget that the religion of atheism as followed by some adherents in Communism has killed far more, 10 of millions, in USSR and China. We in the enlightened days also change definitions of “person” and therefore we should include the millions of babies unborn that were killed in the name of “individualistic privacy.” It seems that many more have been killed by other religions, specifically atheism. Now, I bring this to rebuttal, not as proof that atheism is wrong. Can you give me a source that shows Catholicism has killed more people?
“Please go back and read some of the works of Pio Nono and see how much he appreciated liberty and separation of Church and state--he didn't.” I am not familiar to Bl. Pius IX’s writings, please point me in the right direction to what you reference.
“Liberty as presented in the enlightenment and in our founding documents is not the product of a god or any religion, but rather springs from the recovery of the learning of antiquity that began in the Renaissance and reached its apogee in the 17th and 18th centuries--the Enlightenment. Religion represents everything that would destroy and denigrate the truth that came from this true opening of the human mind.” Antiquity? St. Augustine’s use of Plato, Aquinas’ use of Aristotle are these not examples of antiquity and used pre-Renaissance? Our founding fathers actually coined the “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It seems those founding fathers you see enlightened understood that this liberty you speak of is because we are “endowed by a Creator.”
Concerning this last thought. I ask you to consider who was writing and when. These founding fathers were trying to practice liberty from a theocratic government of England which had the King as the head of the Church of England. They were not escaping God, rather they were escaping the State. In England’s rule, the State decided who had human rights. Our founders understood that these rights precede the State, because they are “endowed by their Creator” vs made up, left up to relativism, produced by democracy, or allotted by a collective.
I hear you, I just want to say that the word Religion just means; a covering. Religion & its many forms is normaly a far cry from the true freedom we get when we are set free from our old sinfull nature that we were all born with.
God (Jesus) made us, & thanks to Eve the human race fell, now it is the Lords responsibility to make a way of escape. There is salvation available to all that are intrested by acepting the sacrifice of Himself. He took our place on the cross.
This true story that I am sharing with has nothing to do with greedy/carnal religious men who want to control govts & there peoples.
Oh Please Jared.The Pope and the religion he heads is responsible for more ignorance and suffering than anything else the west has produced save perhaps the enslavement of non-white peoples. Please go back and read some of the works of Pio Nono and see how much he appreciated liberty and separation of Church and state--he didn't. Liberty as presented in the enlightenment and in our founding documents is not the product of a god or any religion, but rather springs from the recovery of the learning of antiquity that began in the Renaissance and reached its apogee in the 17th and 18th centuries--the Enlightenment. Religion represents everything that would destroy and denigrate the truth that came from this true opening of the human mind.
Game05. WriteinHave you notice the quietness when you post those quotes?
Ahhhh beilive it or not I do have a life besides trying to help you guys problems on the Vicad
Actually yawll might be rite, I am a litle confused; Sometimes/most times I am told by many here to get off this site, so I try to obey them, & then I am scolded for not respponding to the many coments.
And futher more if yawll want me to come out & play, your going to have to be nice, The CRISTmas season is officially on & I hearby declare that we all should love & care for one another despite our many differences. After Christmas, well we see how things go.
If I dont love you folks, then it could be said I dont love the Lord either,
What do you get for Christmas when you stop beliveing in Santa Clause? underware,
God Bless GW
Gary, please tell me you are not speaking for all Christian people.
Gary is an uneducated man. You have just made my day, thankyou.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
I have to admit the idea of "Christian bigots" goes against everything I have learned and been taught in my seven decades. After reading some of these comments it appears it is very common and sad beyond belief.
Love your fellow man....only if he is a ____________.
"Et al. That evil Prince in Rome has protected the innocent and ensured you freedom of conscience to freely choose."
“Surely you jest? In Catholic school do they remove all references to the harm Popes throughout the ages have confirmed upon others? From lusting for power and wealth to instigating religious genocide, the history of the papal see is littered with the detritus of very "ungodly" actions.”
Kyle, I don’t know what Catholic school you attended, but I was given a good education that studied heroic men and women many religious and non-believer backgrounds. I also studied the depraved actions of many men and women of religious and non-believing backgrounds. I also hold to a theory of philosophical argument that can spot the fallacy of “Guilt by association.” The history of popes is scattered much like our common fallen human nature: saintly popes and sinful popes, popes that have or will reach heaven and popes may or may not be in hell.
“Popes were Kings with real power.” Source please? I am not familiar unless you refer to Papal States or today’s current Vatican City.
“Today, that power has a different dynamic - plant yourself in parts of Africa where the war for souls is fought between Christianity and Islam, where teachings against contraception can mean death to some.” Do you know another 100% method to prevent STD’s other than chastity? I can give secular sources that rate consistent life-long monogamous relationships are as safe as any contraceptive you will offer.
“The edicts, bulls and archaic rules are enforced by this person and his cohorts. Even today, when the Pope visits other nations, it is paid for by taxpayers, and he is treated like royalty to the disgust of many.” Forced? I recall the Holy Father visiting Spain where security was given for him, like any other spiritual or worldly leader would get. The event was paid for by participants that wanted to go. Maybe I am mistaken to which trip you mean. “I'll leave you with one to Google: Banquet of Chestnuts” Serious? Really Kyle, you can do better than this. I am sure there are popes that plotted much worse things than some sexual orgy, I mean come on, that banquet today can be rented online to view. How about this, let’s go back to the beginning of the Church when the first pope denied even knowing Christ. That is a pretty horrible action considering 2000 years later these Catholics are supposed to listen to the spiritual relative of that Christ rejector, a scandal if ever there was one.
Surely you jest? In Catholic school do they remove all references to the harm Popes throughout the ages have confirmed upon others? From lusting for power and wealth to instigating religious genocide, the history of the papal see is littered with the detritus of very "ungodly" actions.
Popes were Kings with real power. Today, that power has a different dynamic - plant yourself in parts of Africa where the war for souls is fought between Christianity and Islam, where teachings against contraception can mean death to some. The edicts, bulls and archaic rules are enforced by this person and his cohorts. Even today, when the Pope visits other nations, it is paid for by taxpayers, and he is treated like royalty to the disgust of many.
I'll leave you with one to Google: Banquet of Chestnuts
BorgLord, funny you mention freedom of conscience and liberty, care to expound where these come from or quote from the scientific study that shows they exist? I wonder because Kyle seems pretty convinced that he will be paying taxes that will lock up theistic believers which sounds rather against a free conscience and liberty. Kyle is beginning to sound rather fundamentalist here by forcing people to accept something he cannot prove or lock them up.
Et al. That evil Prince in Rome has protected the innocent and ensured you freedom of conscience to freely choose. Have you read anything regarding moral law or acceptance of faith? Those theocracies thrown about were not from Rome, granted the Papal States were at a time larger in Italy, but Europe was run by kings and often at odds with the Bishop of Rome. Rather, theocracies were found in Geneva and England mid 1500s. That Bishop in Rome has followed that teaching of a poor carpenter which said "give to Caeser...give to God" which was pretty novel and a pretty simple way of saying "separation of Church and state."
Game05.Have you notice the quietness when you post those quotes? I bet Gary will email or post on your wall telling you to stop trying to show him how smart you are. He had done that to me a few times. Gary is an uneducated man who has nothing to offer but to preach Fascism and ignorance.
Game05,Good quotes all. Those of the religious right persuasion will use whatever half truths, distortions or outright lies they require to gain what they really want--a Jeezocracy run by them, for them and against us. They have no real interest in the enlightenment notion of liberty--freedom of conscience etc; they only want the freedom to force everyone else to follow their god.
what's so amazing is all this Founding Fathers/Constitution malarkey being used runs so contrary to what those Founding Fathers actually believed in and why we broke from England in the first place. sometimes people can get so absorbed in the finite details of writings such as the Constitution (or, say, the Bible) that they lose the real meaning of the text.
just some fun quotes:
Let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religions. --George Washington
[Washington was asked what workers to get for Mount Vernon] "If they are good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa or Europe; they may be Mahometans, Jews, Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists..."
The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind ... to filch wealth and power to themselves. [They], in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ. --Thomas Jefferson
The people you have mentioned are generally here of late, And are mostly here to use America for what they can get out of it. Those who want to come & put there shoulder to the wheel & support what had originaly been a great nation along with its principles then great. Or if they just want a beter future for there families, great. Why do many feel they have it beter in our nation then else where? Because of the blessings of God, A God that at one time many served & loved.
Wobble! Gary are you saying all budist, Muslims,etc are here to rebel?off your first statement about not knowing any groups having a hand in developing this country to a beacon of hope....besides business leaders, health care professionals,etc many of died FOR this country. Wow.
"Like it are not up untill the rapture or untill we are put in prison, we will be a voice against you & your Elton John/ Lady GaGa utopia."
I don't care who you are, that's funny.
My tax dollars will be paying for your involuntary stay in the local psych unit at some point in the near future, so don't be too quick to rapturize me!
I dont know of any of the groups that you mentioned that has a hand in making America a beakon of hope, If our founding fathers were so narrow minded then how did these unbelivers get here? We welcome them here, but if they are just here to rebel against our nation & its values then I would agree they are not fit to rule.
If there ways & former countries are so great & corect then what are they doing here? I would call them enemies who like you are anointed to tare down the very fabric of a descent,moral & Godly nation.
Like it are not up untill the rapture or untill we are put in prison, we will be a voice against you & your Elton John/ Lady GaGa utopia.
Yes, Kyle, it is a source of the greatest discomfort to our conservative friends that the Constitution only obliquely mentions God once--"Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names." Not even the phrase "so help me God" is actually in the constitution. For a "divinely inspired" document it certainly disses the supposed "inspirer."
Does Mr. Smith want more government control (FCC) or less (get rid of the bad judges)?
Gary spelled correctly: "When our founding fathers ruled there was no push for a theocracy, rather a hunger & desire was present in there hearts to lead wisely & to serve the Lord." ...by creating a secular Constitution.
It is the height of arrogance to state "I am absolutely convinced that the future of our country lies in the hands of Christian people." In fact it's absolutely disgusting to read that, in this man of God's opinion, only Christians have the ability to maintain and grow what is great about this country. Tell that to the millions of Buddhists, Hindu's, Sikh's, Muslim's, Atheist's, Agnostics and others that struggled, fought, changed, shaped, and paid the price for making America a beacon of hope around the world.
Raymond Smith is cowardly standing on the shoulders of giants.
You folks need to learn that there is a great distinction between the Vicar of Christ (so called) & Godly men who used to be president over a people who generaly shared the same convictions & revelations. When our founding fathers ruled there was no push for a theocracy, rather a hunger & desire was present in there hearts to lead wisely & to serve the Lord.
True, but this is not a condemnation of religion by Jefferson, but instead a historical analysis of past governments and pointing out that theocracy has not worked in the past. He later rights that whatever the end results of different revolutions are and whatever governments get set up (not even closing the door on theocracy) they would be American governments.
Italy--as is all too obvious--has yet to recover from its former bondage to the "Vicar of Christ", "Bishop of Rome," "Prince of the Princes of the Earth."
Yeah kyle...not much on a papal state as well...it didn't work to well in Europe.
Yer darn tootin' there Kyle!
Jefferson also said "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." - Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813
You just can't make this stuff up...well actually, YOU CAN.