Escape Artists
October 23, 2014, 03:36:11 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 8
  Print  
Author Topic: How do you get to heaven split from EP129  (Read 43905 times)
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2008, 01:00:16 AM »


If God were (like Philip Pullman's Authority) just some really big guy, then you'd be spot on.  But if God is the ultimate cause of the Universe and inventor of all the good things in it, then it's a very different story.  In that case, not only is God completely justified in expecting love and worship, it is also the only rational thing for His creations to do.  Loving and worshiping God is not a matter of massaging His ego so He'll like you and do you favors, it's a matter of appreciating, respecting, integrating with and ultimately enjoying Reality.  Conversely, failure to love and worship God constitutes the ultimate rejection of Reality.

Alternatively, one could see that there is good and bad within reality and that, if there were an original maker of the world, we owe thanks for the good things and are in turn owed a big explanation for that bad things. Not recognizing the existence of a maker without proof is not a rejection of reality; just of one possible explanation thereof. Not loving the creator is no more a rejection of reality than not loving ones parents is a rejection of ones own existence.

Quote
Well, I've got lots of reasons.  Convergent lines of evidence, you might say.  I'm not going to enumerate them here for the simple reason that doing so would start its own debate as to their validity.

As to the general question: One must believe something, mustn't one?  As humans, we don't really have to option of having no beliefs in the same way that worms and toads do.  The universe does not permit contradictions: Two things cannot both be true if they oppose each other.  If a person is intellectually honest, they are forced to make an exclusive choice at some point.  You can't have both Jesus and Mohammed.  (This does not, of course remove from other the ability to make their own exclusive choices.)

How convenient. You do realize that saying "I have reasons but I'll not share them with you" is essentially the same as saying that you have no reasons at all. Tango Alpha Delta said it very well - to reject religion is not to lower oneself to the level of a worm or a toad. You've not answered why you find it necessary to believe in a holy book at all, much less the choice of one particular holy book. If you choose not to answer I'll respect that. If you think there is a legitimate reason to consider the bible to be the ultimate truth, then please share it. The only reason I opened this can of worms in the first place is that I grow tired of seeing people state their religious beliefs as if they are facts. The fact that someone so intellectually backward that he publicly stated that he does not believe in evolution actually won a Presidential primary makes me a bit touchy on the topic.

Am I the only person who sees this as a bad thing?

Most likely not. I'll admit that I started this one. The particular story we were discussing was religiously based so this one, unlike the discussion of "Me and My Shadow" for example, was almost appropriate to the story. I am offended and annoyed by people who state religious beliefs as if they are facts. I feel that it is demeaning to people who believe differently or not at all. I most likely should let it slide in the future to avoid going back over the same path again and again.
Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2008, 02:03:19 AM »

I believe in Boolean Faith; and yea, my scriptures are filled with wild-cards.  I can't tell whether or not there is a God, but I can tell you what's wrong with your faith; therefore, I am di-agnostic.

Bravo Smiley
Logged
Simon
Peltast
***
Posts: 117


« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2008, 05:40:35 AM »

I'm just done with all the god threads on this forum. Every time one falls asleep another one gets fired up. They're just isotopes of the god/no god argument, a discussion that has no end. This isn't a comparative religions board and I think that allowing these kinds of arguments to be so prevalent (what is this, the 8th? 9th?) is hurting the forums.
I truly understand the allure of a debate where you can't be wrong and there isn't one better than over the existence and nature of Allah. It's quite seductive to be be in a argument where you are steadfast in your opinion, sure in your convictions, and know that your opponent can never prove you wrong. It's also immature and pointless. No matter how relevant to the human condition it may be, I don't think that a SF Forum is the appropriate place for it to happen.
I stopped posting for a while because I couldn't stand seeing these topics come up and try to "open peoples eyes". But I came back because I love the EP stories, and truly enjoy the depth and breadth of individuals who post here. Although there will always be friction between people with different views, why is it so often about religion here? Am I ignorant of how often these debates go on in other forums?
This time around I've been trying to watch what I say because I don't want to be the next spark in the next pointless ID debate, or be the object of intense scrutiny for my personal decisions but I still want to be a part of the forums. Discussion is great, I'm a pretty open person, but how many threads have been spun off from Episode Comments in to Gallmaufry? How many were religiously based? A disproportionate number I'd bet. Though I've yet to see a show of hands, I know Shwankie avoids the forums for the same reasons and I'm sure there are others.
Is there a solution to this?
Am I the only person who sees this as a bad thing?

I would like to say seconded to everything written above... Many of youl know me and my opinions, so I don't really feel the need to bang my head against this wall.  I would be a lot happier if all this god stuff went away.

I'm also a bit baffled that there is the idea that this is a science fiction type discussion.. I've always thought that SF tends to reject any view of an interventionist superior being (too much of science is based on observation of the present, where the divine hand isn't visible, as key to the past).  So banging on about any of these intensely human faiths always strike me as bizarre.

I will admit my heart fell when I saw yet another god/no god thread on this place...  Ah well.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2008, 06:13:46 AM by Simon » Logged
eytanz
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4685



« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2008, 06:15:01 AM »

I'm also a bit baffled that there is the idea that this is a science fiction type discussion.. I've always thought that SF tends to reject any view of an interventionist superior being (too much of science is based on observation of the present, where the divine hand isn't visible, as key to the past).  So banging on about any of these intensely human faiths always strike me as bizarre.

But if SF does that, it's taking an opinion, isn't it? And the point isn't "SF = religious literature", but "SF often plays with themes of religion", even if it does so by rejecting them.

And besides, this discussion didn't stem out of a general SF talk - it arose out of the thread for EP129, which is a story explicitly about the notions of afterlife, judgement, and the place of religion in a man's life. So even if it were true that most SF was religion free, the SF that shows up in Escape Pod isn't always.

That said, I think this meta-discussion of the threads and their place in the forums is a far bigger danger than the actual threads. It serves no purpose other than pit forumites against each other as they argue about what sort of threads they want here. So, while I'm happy to discuss the place of religion in SF (which perhaps is a more interesting discussion than the place of religion in the lives of forum members), I'm not going to discuss the implications of that on the place of religion on these forums, or indeed any sort of discussion about whether these threads are good or bad, anymore.
Logged
Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2008, 06:46:56 AM »

If anyone has anything to say about this thread not belonging here, just send me a PM.  I split it off as soon as I saw it would have a life of it's own.  I checked and the last straight out religion thread died back in October.  I don't think one of these threads evey few months is all that bad. 

If you're sick and tired of them, go start your own amusing non-religious thread.  I will be far more likely to post there than here.  That's probably why I try to start so many silly threads myself.

If we do get another religious thread in the near future, I'll probably just merge it into this one and rename it "Warning: Religious Discussion Thread".
Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
******
Posts: 3789


Cool story, bro!


WWW
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2008, 08:57:40 AM »

I'm just done with all the god threads on this forum.
Don't read or post to them, is my suggestion.
Logged

"Nerdcore is like playing Halo while getting a blow-job from Hello Kitty."
-- some guy interviewed in Nerdcore Rising
Mr. Tweedy
Lochage
*****
Posts: 497


I am a sloth.


WWW
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2008, 09:38:37 AM »

If God were (like Philip Pullman's Authority) just some really big guy, then you'd be spot on.  But if God is the ultimate cause of the Universe and inventor of all the good things in it, then it's a very different story.  In that case, not only is God completely justified in expecting love and worship, it is also the only rational thing for His creations to do.  Loving and worshiping God is not a matter of massaging His ego so He'll like you and do you favors, it's a matter of appreciating, respecting, integrating with and ultimately enjoying Reality.  Conversely, failure to love and worship God constitutes the ultimate rejection of Reality.

Alternatively, one could see that there is good and bad within reality and that, if there were an original maker of the world, we owe thanks for the good things and are in turn owed a big explanation for that bad things. Not recognizing the existence of a maker without proof is not a rejection of reality; just of one possible explanation thereof. Not loving the creator is no more a rejection of reality than not loving ones parents is a rejection of ones own existence.

Okay, you've got to realize the difference of perspective here.  You aren't a Christian, so of course the idea that rejecting God is rejecting reality is absurd to you.  We have different idea of what the Universe looks like.  Take my statements in the context of "if God is, then..."  If God is, then rejecting God is rejecting reality.

How convenient. You do realize that saying "I have reasons but I'll not share them with you" is essentially the same as saying that you have no reasons at all.

Yeah, that does sound like a cop-out doesn't it?  Bad on me.  I'd would be glad to share my reasons, but time and tangents are the concern.  For instance, if I told you that I think biology points the existence of God, you'd say "Posh!  Biology points to blind evolution!" and that would be it's own (probably ugly) tangent.  If I told you that I think God has directly communicated with me on at least two occasions, you'd want to psychoanalyze me and figure out the "rational explanation" for my experience.  If I told I find Christianity to be eminently logical, we'd have to hash out logic.  If I we were going to spend the next three hours nursing drinks, that would be just fine (even fun), but I don't think it would work well here and now.

That sounds like a cop-out too.  Crap.   Sad

Tango Alpha Delta said it very well - to reject religion is not to lower oneself to the level of a worm or a toad.

NO NO NO!!  I didn't say that rejecting religion makes you a toad!  Nothing of the sort!  I said that toads and worms have no beliefs.  Humans are not like toads because humans must believe something.  Complete non-belief isn't an option for us.  Rejecting God does not make you a toad: Toads can't reject God.  Only people can.

You've not answered why you find it necessary to believe in a holy book at all, much less the choice of one particular holy book. If you choose not to answer I'll respect that. If you think there is a legitimate reason to consider the bible to be the ultimate truth, then please share it.

Argh!  I'm at work.  I have work to do.  Curse work!

As concise as possible: If God exists and if God wants to tell people about Himself, then a Book is really the only viable option for doing that.  Any other method you can think of has prohibitive drawbacks.  Personal revelation?  Anybody could lie about their revelation and there'd be no way to tell who was telling the truth.  Revelation to everybody?  Negates free will.  If God said to everyone "Here I am, in the room!  It's me, God!  See!" then the option to disbelieve would not be viable.  We'd be back to being toads.  Endless succession of prophets?  Works to an extent, but a prophet can only speak to so many people, and you've got to watch out for false ones.  A Book that anyone can read for themselves is pretty much a necessity if God wants to communicate with people at large.

Why the Bible?  Again, the cop-out "lots of reasons."  But I will admit that it is not primarily objective, verifiable evidence that convinces me on this front.

Alas, now I must earn some salary.

But I'm not calling anybody a toad!  Please don't misunderstand that!
Logged

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!
Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2008, 09:43:53 AM »

I'm just done with all the god threads on this forum.
Don't read or post to them, is my suggestion.

OK, I'll try again.  There is no need to comment in the threads about the viability of threads and whether or not this is the right place for them.  This is also not the place to comment on the comments that were already here.  We are making a place here for this topic and the rest of the forums for every other topic.  If you have anything else to say on either side of this issue, say it to me in a PM. 

Both sides are right.  This isn't a topic for the whole forums.  If you don't like this topic, don't come here.  Done.

Now you can go back to arguing over superstitions.
Logged
Darwinist
Hipparch
******
Posts: 700



« Reply #48 on: January 14, 2008, 11:01:57 AM »


As concise as possible: If God exists and if God wants to tell people about Himself, then a Book is really the only viable option for doing that.  Any other method you can think of has prohibitive drawbacks.  Personal revelation?  Anybody could lie about their revelation and there'd be no way to tell who was telling the truth.  Revelation to everybody?  Negates free will.  If God said to everyone "Here I am, in the room!  It's me, God!  See!" then the option to disbelieve would not be viable.  We'd be back to being toads.  Endless succession of prophets?  Works to an extent, but a prophet can only speak to so many people, and you've got to watch out for false ones.  A Book that anyone can read for themselves is pretty much a necessity if God wants to communicate with people at large.


Wouldn't it be more effective to perform some crazy visual miracle like writing his name on the moon or something?  That would do it for me.  A personal revealation of some sort would be great, but like you said, that only works for one person.  I was never sure about the Bible, there were some books left out of it and interpretations/ translations of it have been debated.   

I get a kick out of people who have weeping statues or see Mother Teresa in a sticky bun or on a dirty bank window.  Some people are just grasping for straws.   I can appreciate people that keep their faith personal and not try to make bombastic claims about their rosaries turning to gold or NFL quarterbacks (Kitna) claiming that God healed their concussion at halftime.  Pretty much everyone in my family has a strong belief in Christianity.  Maybe something will happen to me to get me back on board.   
Logged

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan
Mr. Tweedy
Lochage
*****
Posts: 497


I am a sloth.


WWW
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2008, 02:10:13 PM »

On the surface of the moon, in huge letters legible to anyone with a pair of binoculars, the words "Yo, it's me, God.  This here is my autograph," suddenly appear.  What an interesting idea.  How would people react to that?  And how would people seeing the letters 1000 years after the event perceive the inscription?

Sounds like a story to me.....
Logged

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2008, 06:25:20 PM »

Okay, you've got to realize the difference of perspective here.  You aren't a Christian, so of course the idea that rejecting God is rejecting reality is absurd to you.  We have different idea of what the Universe looks like.  Take my statements in the context of "if God is, then..."  If God is, then rejecting God is rejecting reality.

That doesn't follow. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the universe exists because your God created it. That means that in addition to everything nice in the universe that everything bad from cancer to poverty to the mess that is the human reproductive system also comes from God. One can appreciate the good in reality without worshiping its creator as perfect an all-knowing. Likewise, one could appreciate reality without an understanding or even with a misunderstanding of its origins.



You've not answered why you find it necessary to believe in a holy book at all, much less the choice of one particular holy book. If you choose not to answer I'll respect that. If you think there is a legitimate reason to consider the bible to be the ultimate truth, then please share it.

Argh!  I'm at work.  I have work to do.  Curse work!

As concise as possible: If God exists and if God wants to tell people about Himself, then a Book is really the only viable option for doing that.  Any other method you can think of has prohibitive drawbacks.  Personal revelation?  Anybody could lie about their revelation and there'd be no way to tell who was telling the truth.  Revelation to everybody?  Negates free will.  If God said to everyone "Here I am, in the room!  It's me, God!  See!" then the option to disbelieve would not be viable.  We'd be back to being toads.  Endless succession of prophets?  Works to an extent, but a prophet can only speak to so many people, and you've got to watch out for false ones.  A Book that anyone can read for themselves is pretty much a necessity if God wants to communicate with people at large.

Actually, in retrospect a book seems to be a spectacularly bad way of getting the message across. First of all, much of it is allegory which people are free to interpret or misinterpret to reflect their own prejudices (such as bias against homsexuality). Think of the myriad interpretations we have here over short fiction of two to five thousand words and multiply that by the difficulty of communicating much deeper and more important messages through a longer, more difficult work. Secondly, one has to deal with translations, mistranslations, and the mounting errors which occur with even copying - especially before the invention of movable type. Do you know, for instance, that the famous story ending with the line "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" was added in transcription and not in the earliest texts? It certainly adds a different shade to the meaning of the phrase "gospel truth", does it not?

Also, how long did it take for the Bible to be translated into Chinese, Swahili, English, Navajo, Russian, Japanese, or any other language? If He really thought a book was the only viable way to spread his message, couldn't He have at least supplied simultaneous translations, or are we to believe that God cared more about spreading his word to semitic people than to Swedes, for example?

Why the Bible?  Again, the cop-out "lots of reasons."  But I will admit that it is not primarily objective, verifiable evidence that convinces me on this front.

I respect that and am perfectly willing to let the discussion end on this note if you don't care to argue the merits of various means of revelation aside from books. The only thought I'll add is that if it is not primarily objective, verifiable evidence that leads you to your conclusion than those following other traditions can be just as "right" as you are.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 04:42:30 AM by Russell Nash » Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
DDog
Matross
****
Posts: 185



WWW
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2008, 06:59:29 PM »

On the surface of the moon, in huge letters legible to anyone with a pair of binoculars, the words "Yo, it's me, God.  This here is my autograph," suddenly appear.  What an interesting idea.  How would people react to that?  And how would people seeing the letters 1000 years after the event perceive the inscription?

Sounds like a story to me.....
Isn't there something like that in a Douglas Adam's book? Only it's in giant neon letters...
Logged

Ask a Tranny Podcast
"Watching someone bootstrap themselves into sentience is the most science fiction thing you can do." -wintermute
Czhorat
Peltast
***
Posts: 135


« Reply #52 on: January 14, 2008, 07:27:42 PM »

On the surface of the moon, in huge letters legible to anyone with a pair of binoculars, the words "Yo, it's me, God.  This here is my autograph," suddenly appear.  What an interesting idea.  How would people react to that?  And how would people seeing the letters 1000 years after the event perceive the inscription?

Sounds like a story to me.....
Isn't there something like that in a Douglas Adam's book? Only it's in giant neon letters...

If I recall correctly it was God's final message to his creation which read "We apologize for the inconvenience".
Logged

The Word of Nash is the word of Nash and it is Nash's word.
Tango Alpha Delta
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1189


Drawn to the forum...


WWW
« Reply #53 on: January 14, 2008, 09:10:02 PM »

Apologies to Czhorat and Mr. Tweedy if I botched your quotes; apologies to Thaurismunths for continuing my participation at all (but I'd rather talk about this than do what I'm supposed to be doing right now):

...Loving and worshiping God is not a matter of massaging His ego so He'll like you and do you favors, it's a matter of appreciating, respecting, integrating with and ultimately enjoying Reality.
... Not recognizing the existence of a maker without proof is not a rejection of reality; just of one possible explanation thereof. Not loving the creator is no more a rejection of reality than not loving ones parents is a rejection of ones own existence.
   (and from another part of the thread)
Quote from: Mr. Tweedy
Okay, you've got to realize the difference of perspective here.  You aren't a Christian, so of course the idea that rejecting God is rejecting reality is absurd to you.  We have different idea of what the Universe looks like.  Take my statements in the context of "if God is, then..."  If God is, then rejecting God is rejecting reality.

I really like Mr. Tweedy's definition of "worship" -- appreciating (etc.) reality does not require a complete understanding of it, fortunately; nor does it require any particularly firm belief regarding the origin of Reality.  I perceive the world around me -- which is not proof that it exists -- and I get a kick out of it.  If there is a creator, and she feels compelled to reveal hirself to me, I'll say Thank you, I've really enjoyed your work.

But my "lack" of faith shouldn't have any bearing on your understanding or appreciation of Reality.  However...


Tango Alpha Delta said it very well - to reject religion is not to lower oneself to the level of a worm or a toad.
Quote from: Mr. Tweedy
NO NO NO!!  I didn't say that rejecting religion makes you a toad!  Nothing of the sort!  I said that toads and worms have no beliefs.  Humans are not like toads because humans must believe something.  Complete non-belief isn't an option for us.  Rejecting God does not make you a toad: Toads can't reject God.  Only people can.

I understood what you were getting at with the toad thing, but... (to use a phrase I heard once) I don't must nothing!  Many people of faith make the simple mistake of equating a polite "no thank you" to their proposed system of belief -- with all of the behavioral quid pro quos and associated doctrinal baggage -- with a rejection of God.  You've made the mistake of equating my reticence to buy into a particular lifestyle with non-belief.  Why do I need an explanation for Reality, anyway? 

And for those who hold to Atheism... that IS a form of belief.  I won't give them the satisfaction of joining their little club, either, but most of them are cool with that.

Quote from: Mr. Tweedy
... if I told you that I think biology points the existence of God, you'd say "Posh!  Biology points to blind evolution!" and that would be it's own (probably ugly) tangent.

I think biology does point to the existence of God.  And I think biology points to evolution.  "Points to" doesn't prove anything, though.  Evidence a few hundred years ago "pointed to" the body being controlled by a balance of Four Humours.  Then we figured out DNA.  Scientific method requires a lot more testing on the origin question, and no one can say for certain either way... there's no reason God couldn't have used evolution as the tool for creating everything; and there's no particular reason to believe in God based on the evidence at hand.  The ugly tangent comes in when people start jumping the gun and insisting on taking sides in the matter.

Quote from: Mr. Tweedy
But I'm not calling anybody a toad!  Please don't misunderstand that!

Seriously... my name is "Tad"... do you think I haven't been called a toad before?  And survived?   

I know you weren't calling anyone names, so no worries here.
Logged

Now on  FaceBook, and Twitter. Not as productive as I used to be!
Windup
Hipparch
******
Posts: 962



« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2008, 12:03:47 AM »


While not explicitly about masturbation the story of Onan has been interpreted by christian scholars to mean that masturbation is bad, because of the "useless" spilling of his seed.


I don't like disagreeing with the Church Fathers, but I have to say that saying Onan is about masturbation seems to require an almost willful misreading of the text.

What Onan is supposed to be doing is impregnating the wife of his dead brother -- his father, Judah, has instructed him to do this as a duty, "...live with her and raise offspring for your brother."  The children of the union will be considered those of his brother, and will inherit his brother's property and name. At least, that's how it works out in the Law, when it gets articulated several books later.  (No word on how the widow feels about all this, though she's got to be socially better off with a son than without; just the way that part of the world worked at the time.)

So, faced with the possibility of raising children that literally aren't his, to inherit property that would otherwise go to his own children, Onan engages in a little Patriarchal-period birth control -- "spilling his seed."  ("Kids, ask your mother to explain...")

"...And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He slew him also." (Gen 38:10)

Now, which would logically seem like a bigger deal in the Old Testament moral framework:
1) Disobeying your father and cheating your dead brother and his widow out of their just inheritence,
OR
2) Making a small mess.

And, no matter HOW you look at this, it isn't masturbating...

(OK, got that out my system for a while...  It's just that those sort of widespread and widely-backed beliefs that aren't supported by the text really bug me.  Don't even get me started on the whole Sarah/Hagar/Jewish/Arab thing...)

(Apologies to the moderator for another potential thread split that probably shouldn't happen.)

(Off to seek forgiveness and rest...)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 12:14:57 AM by Windup » Logged

My whole job is in the space between "should be" and "is."  It's a big space...
Mr. Tweedy
Lochage
*****
Posts: 497


I am a sloth.


WWW
« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2008, 01:21:05 PM »

But, TAD, you do believe something concerning the nature and purpose the universe, don't you?  ("Something" doesn't have to be limited to the most famous or popular options.)

Before you say "not really," take a minute to think about why you do things, like, say, post in a forum.  If you really ask why and keep asking, you'll find it's really a pretty big question (as are all questions).  For instance, the fact that you bother to write words in response to me shows that you, in some way, care about what I think and feel.  Why do you care?  Probably because you consider understanding and appreciation of persons to be good and know that communication facilitates those things.  Why do you think those things are good?  Probably because you believe that people have inherent beauty and value.  And why do you believe that?  Because...

I would contend that any such line of inquiry, if pursued honestly, will very quickly lead to exclusive assertions about the purpose and nature of the Universe.  (Which is what I call "religion," but I know my use of the term is unorthodox.)  People don't always know that they have these assertions in the back of their minds, and the assertions often don't make any sense on examination, but they're always there.  Every human act stems from a worldview.  (Ayn Rand's got my back on that one, for whatever that's worth.  Smart woman, Ayn Rand.)

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the universe exists because your God created it. That means that in addition to everything nice in the universe that everything bad from cancer to poverty to the mess that is the human reproductive system also comes from God.

Well, no I'd say God is not to blame for the bad.  When God made the world, it was all good.  Since then things have gone south because of sin, whether because of the direct consequences of sin (destruction caused by human misdeeds) or because sin exerts some kind of corrosive ontological influence on the world.  Essentially, good is what God intended and bad is what has been perverted and turned away from His original purpose.  (That's what Christianity teaches; I'm not, at this time, offering evidence that it's true.  Just FYI.)

One can appreciate the good in reality without worshiping its creator as perfect an all-knowing. Likewise, one could appreciate reality without an understanding or even with a misunderstanding of its origins.

Do you have a wife?  Try appreciating the stuff she does for you without acknowledging its source.  Doesn't work very well.  You can certainly enjoy the good stuff she does for you without giving her thanks or acknowledgment, but 1.) that would be very rude and degrading and 2.) you'd miss out on a lot if you only recognized, for instance, sex as something fun for you and not also as an act of love and trust from her.  The ability to appreciate things is greatly limited by not knowing or caring why they are.  That goes for anything, not just God.

Actually, in retrospect a book seems to be a spectacularly bad way of getting the message across. First of all, much of it is allegory which people are free to interpret or misinterpret to reflect their own prejudices (such as bias against homsexuality). Think of the myriad interpretations we have here over short fiction of two to five thousand words and multiply that by the difficulty of communicating much deeper and more important messages through a longer, more difficult work.

I've got to disagree with you there.  People are jerks, but they don't like to admit it, so when they go about their evil deeds they like to attach some noble name to it.  ("I will kill you because doing so protects my personal power and social status!  Er, I mean, because God wills it.  Yeah, that sounds better.  God wills it!")  People will willfully misinterpret any message presented in any way to suit their biases and selfish interests.  (Just look at the Constitution.)  That doesn't mean the message is flawed.

If you actually read the Bible, you'll find almost none of the various evils carried out in God's name over the years find any justification therein.  People pull verses out of context or just make shit up (masturbators go to hell!) and then tack God's name on after the fact.  If you read the Bible, it's really pretty clear on a lot of things.  Like "love your enemies."  Yeah, lots of people supposedly doing God's will have forgotten that one over the years.  And some like to quote Ephesian 5 where it says that women should submit to their husbands while totally ignoring the very next paragraph where it says husbands should love their wives more than themselves.

You can't fault a book because people deliberately, maliciously take parts of it out of context or assign obviously stupid interpretations to it (masturbators go to hell!).

As for it being obscure and difficult: How would you go about creating a book that is intended to be relevant for all people of all cultures at all times and primarily concerns the infinite, the transcendent and the unfathomable?  It's going to be obscure and difficult.  If the Bible were in FAQ format, wouldn't that be proof positive that it was made up?  What you have is something that does not easily lend itself to misunderstanding (if taken as a whole), becomes increasingly comprehensible as one devotes time to understanding it, but retains elements of mystery no matter how much one understands.  Which, I think, is just what you'd expect if it were authentic.

Secondly, one has to deal with translations, mistranslations, and the mounting errors which occur with even copying - especially before the invention of movable type. Do you know, for instance, that the famous story ending with the line "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" was added in transcription and not in the earliest texts? It certainly adds a different shade to the meaning of the phrase "gospel truth", does it not?

Yes, I did know that.  I learned it in church.  It also says so in my Bible: That particular passage is offset and has a disclaimer in the NIV and most other translations.  Ditto for the last few verses of Mark.  Those exceptions prove the rule, I think, that the text is generally quite faithful to what the originals said.

At any rate, my faith in the validity of the Bible (as I alluded to earlier) is not primarily dependent on empirical data.  I believe that God had His fingers in things, making sure the message was preserved accurately.  But that I obviously can't prove.

Boy, that got long...  You can tell today is a slow day at work.
Logged

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!
Russell Nash
Guest
« Reply #56 on: January 15, 2008, 01:38:31 PM »

But, TAD, you do believe something concerning the nature and purpose the universe, don't you?  ("Something" doesn't have to be limited to the most famous or popular options.)

Before you say "not really," take a minute to think about why you do things, like, say, post in a forum.  If you really ask why and keep asking, you'll find it's really a pretty big question (as are all questions).  For instance, the fact that you bother to write words in response to me shows that you, in some way, care about what I think and feel.

I think he just likes a good arguement.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the universe exists because your God created it. That means that in addition to everything nice in the universe that everything bad from cancer to poverty to the mess that is the human reproductive system also comes from God.

Well, no I'd say God is not to blame for the bad.  When God made the world, it was all good.  Since then things have gone south because of sin, whether because of the direct consequences of sin (destruction caused by human misdeeds) or because sin exerts some kind of corrosive ontological influence on the world.  Essentially, good is what God intended and bad is what has been perverted and turned away from His original purpose.  (That's what Christianity teaches; I'm not, at this time, offering evidence that it's true.  Just FYI.)

So people are born into poverty, because they have sinned?  Generations of families and communities have lived without clean water and enough to eat, because some ancestor told Yahweh to fuck off?  I've done that and live quite well.

One can appreciate the good in reality without worshiping its creator as perfect an all-knowing. Likewise, one could appreciate reality without an understanding or even with a misunderstanding of its origins.

Do you have a wife?  Try appreciating the stuff she does for you without acknowledging its source.  Doesn't work very well.  You can certainly enjoy the good stuff she does for you without giving her thanks or acknowledgment, but 1.) that would be very rude and degrading and 2.) you'd miss out on a lot if you only recognized, for instance, sex as something fun for you and not also as an act of love and trust from her.  The ability to appreciate things is greatly limited by not knowing or caring why they are.  That goes for anything, not just God.

So you run out to the curb and hug your garbage man?  Bake cupcakes for the local police?  How many visits have you made to the water treatment plant to thank the folks who give you clean water?  What about your noble Illinois corn growers?

Your examples are always picked just to prove your point, but they are always far narrower than your original statement.  If my wife did all of those things without ever talking to me and never acknowledged my exist, I just might treat her like that.
[/quote]
Logged
Mr. Tweedy
Lochage
*****
Posts: 497


I am a sloth.


WWW
« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2008, 03:18:08 PM »

So people are born into poverty, because they have sinned?  Generations of families and communities have lived without clean water and enough to eat, because some ancestor told Yahweh to fuck off?  I've done that and live quite well.

If by "telling Yahweh to fuck off" you mean that people in their ancestral past made harmful choices, then yes.  Sin is a corrosive cycle and the sins of past generations continue to destroy us today.  If our collective ancestors had all loved their neighbors (as Christ commanded) then there would certainly be far fewer people in the world today without food and water.

If you mean that being born poor is God's vengeance against the children in question, then no.

Do you always tell fictional characters to fuck off?  Seems like an odd habit.   Wink

So you run out to the curb and hug your garbage man?  Bake cupcakes for the local police?  How many visits have you made to the water treatment plant to thank the folks who give you clean water?  What about your noble Illinois corn growers?

Eh?  Are you saying it would be bad for me to hug my garbage man or that I shouldn't be thankful to the people down at the treatment plant?  Seems like the world would be better if we all showed each other more appreciation.  Maybe I should thank my garbage man.

If my wife did all of those things without ever talking to me and never acknowledged my exist, I just might treat her like that.

Heh.  Um...  This is the same wife you've told to fuck off, right?

Nice iguana.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 04:33:44 PM by Mr. Tweedy » Logged

Hear my very very short story on The Drabblecast!
qwints
Peltast
***
Posts: 143


A fine idea, but who bells cat?


« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2008, 07:59:18 PM »

Wow, no south park reference? "Mormons, Mormons were the correct answer"

Philosophy and theology are fun discussion topics anywhere and anytime. That said, how much can really be said about how one gets to heaven. The Catholics are crystal clear (the sacraments), and most protestants are equally clear (No man comes to the Father except through me - Jesus.) The existence and nature of heaven and hell are much tougher questions, but any such talk requires common theological ground to go anywhere.

Mr. Tweedy, I don't think it's fair to say God revealed himself in a book for Christianity - that's Islam's thing. The Bible is a record of the actions of prophets and personal revelations, and only rarely the direct word of God.

"It's a funny thing, but why is it that the heathens and the barbarians seem to have the best places to go when they die"
"A bit of a poser, that. I s'pose it makes up for 'em ... enjoying themselves all the time when they're alive, too? "
Logged

The lamp flared and crackled . . .
And Nevyrazimov felt better.
DDog
Matross
****
Posts: 185



WWW
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2008, 08:10:19 PM »

"It's a funny thing, but why is it that the heathens and the barbarians seem to have the best places to go when they die"
"A bit of a poser, that. I s'pose it makes up for 'em ... enjoying themselves all the time when they're alive, too? "

And to that, all I have to say is:

Quote from: Taylor Mali, "Tony Steinberg: Brave Viking Warrior," http://www.taylormali.com/index.cfm?webid=31
He died with his sword in his hand and so went straight to heaven,
which the Vikings called Valhalla.

Mr. Mali, if that's true, that you would go straight to Valhalla
if you died with your sword in your hand,
then if you were an old Viking
and you were about to die of old age,
could you keep your sword right by your bed
so if you felt like you were going to die
you could reach out and grab it?


I don't know if their gods would fall for that,
but it sounds like a good idea to me.
Logged

Ask a Tranny Podcast
"Watching someone bootstrap themselves into sentience is the most science fiction thing you can do." -wintermute
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 8
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!