ALL religions make me want to throw up...

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Yaya

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Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:56 am

Professor Smooth wrote:Theory and practice are two seperate things. You'd do well to recognize that.


I recognize that a religion should not be judged by looking at how the followers of it practice. Particularly in todays world.

If I want to know Christianity, I will read the Bible. Not listen to some maniac who blows people away because he says Jesus told him to do it.

If I want to know Islam, I will read the Quran and Hadith. Not listen to someone who has taken the law into their own hands or killed innocents in the name of Allah.

I do well to recognize my faith for what it is, and don't allow the misdeeds of its followers to taint its principles.

That's the wrong way round. I read this bit in the Koran. It says that if you want to lend someone money, you need a witness of sound mind and body. If you can't get a male witness, get two women because women are liable to forget their minds and one can remind the other:

Teh Koran, 2:284 wrote:
And get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her

Honestly, Yaya, completely pwning you on religious topics has got even more fun since you obviously don't even know your own holy book. If it's that important to you then perhaps you might, you know, actually KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.


Read what I wrote above again MV before getting all excited.

In matters of the household
, the word of a women is worth more. The verse you are mentioning involves matters of business, where the word of a man who is more familiar with things of this matter would be more credible than that of two women who are at home and unfamiliar with business transactions.

I'm not a scholar by any means, but I know what you are talking about.

I don't think there's a Shariah court in the world that has ever convicted a man for that.


What source did you get this from?

Also, did you know that women have an equal right to sexual gratification with their husband that men do? Though the sexual drive of the man has been scientifically proven to in general be stronger, a women who is not satisfied with her husband sexually has the right to divorce on these grounds.

Yes, a women who is not sexually gratified after proper counseling can divorce her husband on these grounds alone.

A women who refuses her husband is putting their relationship at risk, under tension, and the possibility of unfaithfulness.

Aha. This would be the invisible, spiritual reward that you only get after you die. Sorry, I don't believe in that. It sounds like a very good way of telling people "put up with this **** in this life because you'll be rewarded in the next". In other words, it's a load of bollocks.


If I did not believe in God as you, I too would think otherwise. As it is, we can't agree on the reasoning for things because of this difference. In your thought process, man is supreme. In mine, the pleasure of God comes first. We can't get any different than that.

Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them.


Are women stronger than men in the physical sense? If they are equal in every other way, as many want to believe today, then would not this physical strength make them superior to women in this sense? What is your source for women being equal to man in every way?

Islam teaches what works best, for Muslims believe God has this knowledge. "Behind every strong man there is a strong women". This is also true in Islam. A man derives strength from a women who listens to him (when he wants her to do good) , and a husband who is pleased with his wife takes good care of her. This is a symbiotic relationship, not a one-way street.

Also, this verse has always been translated in English versions as "beat them", which implies physical abuse of a court order nature. The Prophet (PBUH) expanded on this verse by saying not to cause physical harm or blemish to women.

I've been invited to become a Muslim a couple of times. I refused for three main reasons:
1. Bacon
2. Beer
3. Foreskin
I was told that the rules about the latter two are flexible, but not eating pork is an absolute, so I still respectfully declined. No bacon? No ham? **** that. It might have been a smart rule when Mohammed lived in a hot country without refrigerators, but it's totally pointless when I grew up in a country where pigs have been farmed for thousands of years.


Bacon, beer, and foreskin? These are issues of obedience, not belief. If you go onto a religion looking at its practical worldly value, its not a religion at all but a philosophy. Even if you did these things, it would not make you Muslim. What makes someone Muslim is that they believe in their heart in One God, and that Muhammad (PBUH) was His final Messenger. That's it. Even if one drinks beer, eats pork, sleeps around, etc, if they believe the above, they are Muslim, albeit disobedient ones.

How about the Hadith found in Sahih al-Bukhari? This has been authenticated by both collections of Hadith as authentic and is therefore mutafaqun 'alayhi, or 'agreed upon':

Hadith wrote:
Allah's Apostle once said to a group of women : 'I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious, sensible man could be led astray by some of you.' The women asked: 'O Allah's Apostle, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?' He said: 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?' They replied in the affirmative. He said: 'This is the deficiency of your intelligence' ... 'Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?' The women replied in the affirmative. He said: 'This is the deficiency in your religion.'


Can you give me the reference for that please.

"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:04 am

Best First wrote:do you think that can be expaned into a more comprehensive secular philosophy?


I'll have a go. Call this the Disaffected Creed:

1- All religions are equally true and equally false; that is, each one will inevitably offer some piece of wisdom or some practice that will benefit individuals and society, but each is false in their claim to exclusivity, because conversion is inevitably predicated upon background and personal yearning.

2- Being that all religions are both true and false, one has a responsibility to gleam for oneself the best of the various religions and philosophies within the world. One should check one's beliefs in healthy debate against friends who share the same principle and even friends who do not. One should be familiar with most modes of religion and philosophy but should feel no need to deeply pursue those philosophies which do not offer something of value, though one should continue to respect them.

3- Other than one's own study, one should accept a healthy level of moral conduct that avoids hurting those around who are not only fellow seekers, but also would allow one to learn from their insights. This moral conduct should include: sexual responsibility to partners and potential unborn, social responsibility to the less fortunate, fair and kind treatment of all fellow humans, and a healthy sense of self-awareness that would allow one to recognize flaws in both personality and philosophy and correct them. Finally, one should express disapproval and disagreement in such a way that one's opponents can retain self-respect while considering one's argument.

Open to debate and editing.

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Metal Vendetta

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Tue Jul 04, 2006 1:43 pm

Yaya wrote:I recognize that a religion should not be judged by looking at how the followers of it practice. Particularly in todays world.

If I want to know Christianity, I will read the Bible. Not listen to some maniac who blows people away because he says Jesus told him to do it.

If I want to know Islam, I will read the Quran and Hadith. Not listen to someone who has taken the law into their own hands or killed innocents in the name of Allah.

I do well to recognize my faith for what it is, and don't allow the misdeeds of its followers to taint its principles.

How very big of you.

So a religion is not responsible for its followers? Does nothing that they do in the real world matter? You say that the most important thing is faith in One God, yet when someone who believes fervently in One God does something that you find distasteful, you shun any responibility for his actions and claim they're not a "true" Muslim. You're cherry-picking the good bits of a religion and conveniently ignoring any spiky edges.

How else should I judge a religion if not by the actions of its followers? Those actions are a direct result of the religion's teaching, if the religion is to have any legitimacy at all. If I started a religion where called Bongoism, and the Bongoist Bible read "Believe in God and be extra-speshul nice to everyone", but all we did at Bongoist meetings was have sex with little kids in the woods out back, would you think that Bongoism was a great religion?

Yaya wrote:Read what I wrote above again MV before getting all excited.
In matters of the household, the word of a women is worth more. The verse you are mentioning involves matters of business, where the word of a man who is more familiar with things of this matter would be more credible than that of two women who are at home and unfamiliar with business transactions.

So women are in charge of everything in the house and men are in charge of everything else? It's astonishing but that's the terribly generalised and simplistic worldview I held when I was four. It's a boil-in-the-bag mummies-and-daddies philosphy, and relies far too heavily on those stereotyped "gender roles" that you firmly believe in.

Yaya wrote:
I don't think there's a Shariah court in the world that has ever convicted a man for that.

What source did you get this from?

Idle speculation, but if you could prove me wrong, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Yaya wrote:Also, did you know that women have an equal right to sexual gratification with their husband that men do?

Of course. All religions are very big on sex within marriage. Keeps the numbers up.

Yaya wrote:A women who refuses her husband is putting their relationship at risk, under tension, and the possibility of unfaithfulness.

Yes, obviously it's a woman's fault if her husbamd is unfaithful.

Yaya wrote:If I did not believe in God as you, I too would think otherwise. As it is, we can't agree on the reasoning for things because of this difference. In your thought process, man is supreme. In mine, the pleasure of God comes first. We can't get any different than that.

No, but surely you could agree that Islam asks women (and men) to live a certain way, potentially suffering great hardship or going against their wishes or nature, on the promise of an intagible reward? Sure, you may be certain that the reward is real, but you still have to accept that there's no proof for it and that you have to die to find out what it is.

Yaya wrote:
Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them.


Are women stronger than men in the physical sense? If they are equal in every other way, as many want to believe today, then would not this physical strength make them superior to women in this sense? What is your source for women being equal to man in every way?

Um, you said that about the Koran, a few posts back. You asked if there was another book that put men and women on equal ground back then. I was pointing out that it says the exact opposite.

Anyway, I know women who are a foot taller than me. I know girls who are so strong they would crush you like a grape. You're applying hackneyed gender stereotypes (again) and using one specific example (physical strength) as if that was the only factor in the world that was important. Neither sex is "superior" to the other at anything, both are collections of individuals who excel at some things and suck at others. You wouldn't win any prizes for "rational argument", for example, while I know plenty of women who are extremely skilled in that area.

Yaya wrote:Also, this verse has always been translated in English versions as "beat them", which implies physical abuse of a court order nature. The Prophet (PBUH) expanded on this verse by saying not to cause physical harm or blemish to women.

Aha, the old dodgy mistranslation again. I notice you don't give your source, either. The Koran still says that men are superior to women and that it's okay to with-hold sex or beat her if you fear disobedience from her. Forget your gender roles, this is just plain sexism, and it's pretty ugly at that.

Yaya wrote:Bacon, beer, and foreskin? These are issues of obedience, not belief. If you go onto a religion looking at its practical worldly value, its not a religion at all but a philosophy. Even if you did these things, it would not make you Muslim. What makes someone Muslim is that they believe in their heart in One God, and that Muhammad (PBUH) was His final Messenger. That's it. Even if one drinks beer, eats pork, sleeps around, etc, if they believe the above, they are Muslim, albeit disobedient ones.

Again, so it doesn't matter what you do as long as you pay lip service to God. What about Muslims who blow up buildings? Surely their faith, if anything, is stronger than yours. Are they better Muslims?

Yaya wrote:
How about the Hadith found in Sahih al-Bukhari? This has been authenticated by both collections of Hadith as authentic and is therefore mutafaqun 'alayhi, or 'agreed upon':

Hadith wrote:
Allah's Apostle once said to a group of women : 'I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious, sensible man could be led astray by some of you.' The women asked: 'O Allah's Apostle, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?' He said: 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?' They replied in the affirmative. He said: 'This is the deficiency of your intelligence' ... 'Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?' The women replied in the affirmative. He said: 'This is the deficiency in your religion.'


Can you give me the reference for that please.

Yes, because I am capable of using the search engine Google: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q= ... n%22&meta=

[edit] srpunker - can we use the Pratchettism that all religions are true, for a given value of "true"? I kind of like that.

I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
Impactor returns 2.0, 28th January 2010

Yaya

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Tue Jul 04, 2006 4:18 pm

Metal Vendetta wrote:So a religion is not responsible for its followers?


A religion stands on its own. Islam should be judged by the Koran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). This is why he was sent in the first place, he is "The Example". The Koran is what, and the Prophet's life is how. A book can convey truth, but it is not enough to show how to live by it. How can a spiritual idealogy, which takes no physical form, be responsible for the misdeeds of those who are making active decisions to create mischief in the which are contrary to the religion they espouse to follow? Its not the religions fault. Its the persons.

Islam teaches that slowly the number of true Muslims will dwindle with time til the point that there are none left. During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), there were people who openly were Muslim, but secretly their enemies. They tried to alter things, create mischief. Is it fair to judge Islam by their words and actions?

No, one should stick with the source, the things that are meant to be truly respresentative of the faith. In Christianity, it is the Bible. If I went around judging Christianity by the acts of militant Serbians, that would hardly be fair now, would it? I could say the same thing about blacks, whites, Hispanics, etc.

So women are in charge of everything in the house and men are in charge of everything else? It's astonishing but that's the terribly generalised and simplistic worldview I held when I was four. It's a boil-in-the-bag mummies-and-daddies philosphy, and relies far too heavily on those stereotyped "gender roles" that you firmly believe in.


If the ultimate goal is a peaceful and well funcitoning society, then gender roles are necessary. You, like many today, disagree with that. But the way Islam teaches, you can't have two drivers driving the same truck at the same time. It will surely crash eventually. Such is marriage. The function of gender roles is to delineate responsibility, not to assign status.

Who can say that the raising of children and maintaining the family are responsibilities of inferiority? If you told most mothers that, they would laugh in your face. In fact, because society is built on families, even many sociologist would agree that it is the maintenence of the family that gives stability to the society. In essence, the proper raising of children and maintenence of the home are the most important of responsibilites for the society as a whole. It is believed by Muslims that God knows everything as He created everything. Therefore, He knows who's best suited for what physically, mentally, etc. A man takes on his role in Islam and a women her role because they believe that God knows best what is best for His creation.

A man once came to the Prophet(PBUH) and asked who comes first, the mother or the father? He is the mother. The man asked then who. The Prophet(PBUH) said the mother. He asked a third time, to which the Prophet(PBUH) responded the same, the mother. Then came the father.

So the mother, a women, is three times as important and worthy of a childs love than the father. Just another example that though a women's role may be different, in many ways she surpasses man, and vice versa.


Yes, obviously it's a woman's fault if her husbamd is unfaithful.


At times, it can be, but obviously not always. Though a good man won't cheat, the door is still open to dishonesty, and it doesn't take much for a disgruntled man to overstep his bounds.

No, but surely you could agree that Islam asks women (and men) to live a certain way, potentially suffering great hardship or going against their wishes or nature, on the promise of an intagible reward?


But see, here's the thing. Islam teaches that these gender roles are their nature, not something counter to it. What's best for someone may not be what someone wants necessarily. It's not just the promise of intangble reward, it is also the practical nature. God wants what's best for His followers. He would not ask someone to do something counter to their nature. Even if someone is unhappy with it, even if it runs counter to that persons wishes, in the long run it ends up being the best thing. That is because God knows us better than we know ourselves.

Um, you said that about the Koran, a few posts back. You asked if there was another book that put men and women on equal ground back then. I was pointing out that it says the exact opposite
.

Not equal in every way, equal in reward from their Creator for their good deeds.

Islam does not teach that men and women are equal in every facet of life. Why? Because it simply isn't reality. Women are superior to men in some ways, men superior in others. Biologically, the differences are quite obvious. Yet society wants to force both to fit the same mold.


[/quote]

"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:49 am

Yaya wrote:Do I not have the same right to think that you are wrong too?

Yep.

Yaya wrote:If you want to criticize my beliefs, then I should be given the same opportunity to criticize your disbeliefs.

Yep.

Impactor returns 2.0 wrote:Im surprised Muslim clerics dont come forth and say anyone killing themselves in the name of Jihad will not be going to see Allah.

The fundamental point of militant Jihad (actual war) is precisely the fighting/dying/killing per Allah's will. Spread the faith. They most certainly will be going to see Allah, as martyrs in paradise.

Muslim clerics hardly come forth and comdemn violence/oppression against non-muslims, because Islam is a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a whole, one large Ummah, ... and 'unbelievers' are damned and hellbound. This wider islamic community sticks by one another in deference to Allah, so to speak. The 'unbelievers' outside the Ummah, however, are fair game to be accursed by the Muslim clerics and lay.

Impactor returns 2.0 wrote:Im pretty sure they could twist the rules to turn it against sucide bombers etc?

There are no islamic suicide bombers. There are only islamic martyr bombers. Same this-world effect, better next-world effect. Martyrdom in cause of Allah's lesser jihad is a most wonderful thing, and the afterlife rewards are distinctly indulgent for the martyrs.

Impactor returns 2.0 wrote:It annoys me that all thats ever seen is the evil side, Al Jazzera TV spouts its hate messages, but not the good messages.

Al Jazeera TV isn't reknowned for its 'hate messages', is it? I thought it was known for its exclusive interviews with middle eastern figures, and was regarded as the 'BBC News of the middle east'.

Metal Vendetta wrote:Religion is a bloodthirsty business though.

Quoted for truth.

Yaya wrote:
Metal Vendetta wrote:smite at the necks of Unbelievers? Take their families hostage? Lovely.


Certainly, if a Muslim does not make an effort to understand the context of this revelation and how it should apply, then they might use a twisted interpretation of this to justify their actions of unfounded violence on innocents.


Stop right there. There is no twisting going on here, apart from your sneaky (and totally unoriginal) attempt to paint the numerous calls to go out and kill non-Muslims in the 'holy' Quran as 'out of context' or 'only in defence'. Muhammad, bandit-raider/self-appointed prophet/powermonger/military expansionist/genocidal warmonger, mounted many offensive AND many defensive battles against neighbouring tribes/regions, with the intention of spreading his new faith Islam by force.

Yaya wrote:This particular verse (47:4) addresses the situation of the early Muslims, who were outnumbered overwhelmingly, and were the target of the Meccan pagan tribes. Numerous Muslims had already been taken captive and tortured. Many who tried to flee were killed. Essentially, this verse affirms that "when once the fight is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigor, and strike home your blows at the most vital points, both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with kid gloves."(Yusuf Ali, Quranic exposition).

No. A typical deception from a believer/deluded apologist. Muhammad fought many defensive and offensive battles, and was most certainly NOT the 'benevolent, kindly, defensive' leader you and others take great care to paint him to be. The newly founded Quranic edicts he urged (and are stilled urged and relevant today in the Quran) contained many aggressive, unyielding demands of its followers to claim non-Muslim lands for Islam (forever) and to murder unbelievers who do not submit to Islam. These many vile commands, which utterly supercede any so-called 'honourable' edicts against the unbelievers, are plentiful, remain unabrogated (unlike the 'honourable' ones which are superceded by the unquestionably aggressive and expansionist ones [sidenote: note the muddled mess that are the holy texts of Islam -> they are riddled with contradictions, much like the Bible in that regard]). The Quran's position on unbelievers is most definitely NOT just directed against pagan tribes in the 7th century - it remains a central, living, and ghastly aspect of Islam to this day. It is one of the very core reasons why Islam has a well-deserved terrible reputation in the past and in the present, and unfortunately in the future too. The wicked deeds of Muhammad himself and the wicked 'holy' words he left behind are direct factors in Islam's association with violence, intolerance and expansionism.

That is true Islam, warts and all. In the Quran, in the actions of Muhammad. Unreformable. The only possible 'reformation' is a split away to something that IS NOT Islam, as Islam is immutable.

"Try new NICE-SLAM!:
#
All the nice bits of Islam ... with none of the killing, aggression, bigotry or oppression.
Only helps reduce world conflict as part of a balanced sense of humour.
#
"


Of course no committed Muslim would sign up to such a bastardised blasphemy of the real thing, so the proposition is futile.


Professor Smooth wrote:
Yaya wrote:Can you prove to me God doesn't exist? I mean if my believing in God is baseless as you say, your disbelief in God is no less baseless.

The burden of proof is to provide evidence that something did happen or does exist.

Quoted for [logical] truth.

Professor Smooth wrote:Do you think that your religion can be applied to everyone? Would everyone be happier if they were Muslims?

Dar Ul-Islam (Muslim lands) would have triumphed over Dar Ul-Harb (the unbeliever lands, which Islam wages its war on to convert, subdue or kill the kaffir inhabitants), and so the Muslims' holy goal of total spreading of true faith and total elimination of the unbelieving would be complete. Marvellous!

Yaya wrote:the outpouring of slanderous propoganda into believing that women are poorly treated in Islam.

Now That's What I Call Bullsh1t!: Volume 47
You've definitely been picking up your own faith community's/leaders' propaganda in defence of its more vile teachings. Trying to turn the tables is a nice trick. A magician's misdirection.

Yaya wrote:Women are explicitly mentioned to receive the same reward as men in the Quran

Islam is a faith that sets out for men to have a distinct upper hand in this life for men, at the expense of women, proclaimed by an illiterate 7th century tribal warlord to this own (and his men's) benefit.

You're all too happy to point out the wishy-washy pie-in-the-sky equality of worth 'in the eyes of Allah' and 'in the afterlife', but downplay the tangible this-world barriers that face women under Islam in comparision with men - the general superiority of male testimony, the beating of disobedient wives, the half-inheritance of daughters in comparison with sons, the face-n-hands-only dress directives, the difficulty of divorce for women in contrast to the ease of getting one for men, the restrictions on free travel outside the home, the possibility of having to share a husband with three other women.

Metal Vendetta wrote:Whether or not the Koran is unchanged from the original text dictated by Mohammed or not, it's not a miracle.

Correct, but it's cute how religious people manage to read a miracle into things when the situation arises.

RomCatholicPunter: "Hey mister Pope - that crick in my neck I had last night is gone - and I was only coincidentally thinking of Blessed Mother Teresa a few hours earlier!"
PopeWithTheEvilDarkEyes: "It's a miracle! Welcome to Sainthood, Mother T!"

Impactor returns 2.0 wrote:Women are brought up to feel wrong because they can taint/corrupt or make men think wrong thoughts etc...hence wearing the smock. How male is that! - how human is that?

You've hit on something there.

Yaya wrote:I recognize that a religion should not be judged by looking at how the followers of it practice.

Taking note of Allah's direct rules is enough to see what a hideous, backward pile of crap Islam is. The bits of corn (read: be good to orphans, give to charity, etc. [nice, but common sense really]) do nothing to change that its a big festering, steaming turd (read: slay the unbelievers, oppress women, oppress gays, etc. [amongst other vile edicts]).

Of course, you're in it, you're brainwashed [not that you see it like that - you're enlightened + I'm the foolish damned], so none of that will register with you, or if some does, you'll fall in line, you'll toe your religion's line, and if required you'll spout its hate [not that you'll call it that] (RE: hellbound unbelievers, homos=booooo!, etc.) and deliver its vicious actions [not that you'll see it as that] (RE: spreading the religion by hook or by crook at the expense of Dal Ul-Harb) if the time comes and the circumstance dictates. Like a robot. A darned robot [in disguise]. In some tiny way, I admire Muhammad like I admire other aggressive despots - pulling the wool over so many people with aplomb, forcing a cult of worship around themselves. The fear and the sword. Amazing.

Yaya wrote:Also, this verse has always been translated in English versions as "beat them", which implies physical abuse of a court order nature. The Prophet (PBUH) expanded on this verse by saying not to cause physical harm or blemish to women.

It's often translated into english as 'beat' or 'hit', because it's 'beat' or 'hit' in nature. Duh. You're obviously starting from the premise that an unblemishing/'undamaging' smack is okie-dokie in that circumstance. In a secular western world [where most Transfans readers reside, I suspect], that's a perverse position to be starting from anyway. Of course you subscribe to the doctrine of an offensive tribal warmonger (nay, sorry, his god's message through him), so it makes perfect sense to you and your likeminded brothers and sisters in the faith. Goodness knows what women see in Islam, it's bad enough being a man under it without the extra baggage of crap that it puts on them.

Yaya wrote:Bacon, beer, and foreskin? Even if one drinks beer, eats pork, sleeps around, etc, if they believe the above, they are Muslim, albeit disobedient ones.

Bacon, Beer and Foreskin were a prog rock supergroup in the 70s, weren't they? But seriously, at least two of these things (pigs, and circumcision) are examples of how outdated and downright silly Islam (and other faiths that share the restrictions) is (are). There is no modern-day reason why a pig cannot be safely eaten (not to mention that bacon/ham/pork tastes great) by people. They are no more 'unclean' or unhealthy than cows or birds. Naturally each have their own susceptibilities, and if undercooked or lazily slaughtered, pose risk to humans. Pigs are no different to cows or birds in this regard. Cows are no different to pigs or birds in this regard. Birds are no different to cows or pigs in this regard. As for circumcision (male), barring a tiny minority of cases of medical necessity, there is no sensible reason to deprive a male of the benefits of protective/lubricating/sensual tissue in their nether regions, let alone inflicting totally cruel and unnecessary pain on an infant with no say in the matter. Judaism, is of course, guilty in this regard too (amongst other cultures too). As for the lame defence that "It's cleaner!" - bunkum. A healthy uncut meatwand (another 70s band, that), even crusty and manky 'under the hood', is quite resilient to infection. Men with unmutilated penises should (and by and large do) have the common sense to wash their privates often and enough to prevent any small possibility of foreskin hygiene problems. "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it", but alas religions/cultures do stick their stupid oars in needlessly and foolishly.

Metal Vendetta wrote:You're cherry-picking the good bits of a religion and conveniently ignoring any spiky edges.

That's what religious apologists do. If not keeping hush on the bad PR of the 'spiky edges', then accusing other religions of doing likewise (as if that's a defence for dubious beliefs and practices) is another useful deceptive strategy. Of course, the 'greater good' is the defence of the religion, so any such half-deceit/full-on lie is the lesser of two evils.

.
Finally, criticism of religion, especially large, powerful, expansionist and violent ones like Islam that may still cost you your neck in this day and age, is still a taboo in many ways, but it absolutely should not be.

-
http://youtube.com/watch?v=kkObvXY24tk
Comedian David Mitchell (of 'Peep Show' fame) discusses The Heaven and Earth Show

Metal Vendetta

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:58 am

Yaya wrote:
Metal Vendetta wrote:So a religion is not responsible for its followers?

A religion stands on its own. Islam should be judged by the Koran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH). This is why he was sent in the first place, he is "The Example". The Koran is what, and the Prophet's life is how. A book can convey truth, but it is not enough to show how to live by it. How can a spiritual idealogy, which takes no physical form, be responsible for the misdeeds of those who are making active decisions to create mischief in the which are contrary to the religion they espouse to follow? Its not the religions fault. Its the persons.

So there are no Islamic martyrs then?

Yaya wrote:Islam teaches that slowly the number of true Muslims will dwindle with time til the point that there are none left.

How do you know this time hasn't already arrived? You could be a fake Muslim for all I know.

Yaya wrote:During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), there were people who openly were Muslim, but secretly their enemies. They tried to alter things, create mischief. Is it fair to judge Islam by their words and actions?

No, not at all. But as I noted above, you might be a fake Muslim as well. Your assurances about Islam may well mask a hidden plot on Earth involving a hollowed-out volcano, Pussy Galore's Flying Circus and Fort Knox.

Yaya wrote:No, one should stick with the source, the things that are meant to be truly respresentative of the faith. In Christianity, it is the Bible.

This is the same Bible that condones genocide and incest, right?
But as you said, the Bible has undergone 'translations down the ages and...the very changes going on before our very eyes?', not to mention that you 'simply don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, nor that by his death our actions have been forgiven'.

So which bits of the Bible do you judge Christianity by? Because let's not forget that

Yaya wrote:The Bible was revealed in the time of the Romans, who were very apt to give their gods sons, fathers, daughters, etc. The idea of one God did not appeal to them. And giving that they were the ruling powre, it is possible that Jesus was "made" the son of God by those like Paul to make Christianity more appealing to those of the Roman empire.

So, do you judge Christianity by its standards today? Or by those of the Roman empire, when the Bible was written?

Yaya wrote:If I went around judging Christianity by the acts of militant Serbians, that would hardly be fair now, would it?

Well, not since militant Serbs were fighting for Serbian nationalism, rather than Christianity, no.

It's like blaming Christianity for Hitler. Like then, Christianity just stood by and watched as members of its own religion killed those of another religion. I imagine they were thinking of Moses' example as they did it.

Yaya wrote:I could say the same thing about blacks, whites, Hispanics, etc.

Could you? Could you really? Could you please diresct me to the holy book with rules for white people? I seem to have misplaced my copy.

Yaya wrote:If the ultimate goal is a peaceful and well funcitoning society, then gender roles are necessary.

So you firmly believe.

Yaya wrote:You, like many today, disagree with that.

No, you think? Why is that, I wonder?

Yaya wrote:But the way Islam teaches, you can't have two drivers driving the same truck at the same time.

I never knew Mohammed predicted trucks too. Awesome.

Yaya wrote:It will surely crash eventually. Such is marriage. The function of gender roles is to delineate responsibility, not to assign status.

Except that not everyone drives a truck. Some people might want to drive a motorbike. Some people might want to drive a train. Some people want to fly and some people want a little Renault Clio on their own. Some people might even want to drive a truck with a member of the same sex. Your analogy works perfectly well for a society of (dare I say it?) robots, who have beem programmed to accept their given task, but doesn't account for spontaneity, variety, and all those other words with difficult ie/ei letter combinations. What happens to the lesbians in your world view?

Yaya wrote:Who can say that the raising of children and maintaining the family are responsibilities of inferiority? If you told most mothers that, they would laugh in your face.

Well I didn't. I asked why it's automatically assumed that women are deficient at business and should be in charge of the home instead. Stop sticking words in my mouth.

Yaya wrote:In fact, because society is built on families, even many sociologist would agree that it is the maintenence of the family that gives stability to the society. In essence, the proper raising of children and maintenence of the home are the most important of responsibilites for the society as a whole. It is believed by Muslims that God knows everything as He created everything. Therefore, He knows who's best suited for what physically, mentally, etc. A man takes on his role in Islam and a women her role because they believe that God knows best what is best for His creation.

See above posts RE: religion encourages sex within marriage, keeps numbers up etc. Also "many sociologist" is a great source to quote.

Yaya wrote:...So the mother, a women, is three times as important and worthy of a childs love than the father. Just another example that though a women's role may be different, in many ways she surpasses man, and vice versa.

And you needed a holy book to tell you your mom was special to you? I worked that bit out by myself, thanks. I don't quite understand what this story was meant to illustrate, but I note that again, you didn't include a source.

Yaya wrote:
Yes, obviously it's a woman's fault if her husbamd is unfaithful.

At times, it can be, but obviously not always. Though a good man won't cheat, the door is still open to dishonesty, and it doesn't take much for a disgruntled man to overstep his bounds.

It doesn't take much for him to understep them either. Even for an atheist, it's fairly easy to keep your fly zipped, even when your woman is giving you grief. Blaming her is the coward's way out.

Yaya wrote:
No, but surely you could agree that Islam asks women (and men) to live a certain way, potentially suffering great hardship or going against their wishes or nature, on the promise of an intagible reward?

But see, here's the thing. Islam teaches that these gender roles are their nature, not something counter to it. What's best for someone may not be what someone wants necessarily.

"Shut your face, Sylvia! I don't care if you trained to be a heart surgeon, God meant you to be a housewife!"

Yaya wrote:It's not just the promise of intangble reward, it is also the practical nature. God wants what's best for His followers.

"It doesn't matter if you studied for seven years, looking after the baby is woman's work! Don't disobey me or I'll beat you!"

Yaya wrote:He would not ask someone to do something counter to their nature. Even if someone is unhappy with it, even if it runs counter to that persons wishes, in the long run it ends up being the best thing. That is because God knows us better than we know ourselves.

And we are all exactly the same. All men are good at business and all women (their inferior, of course) are good at raising babies. Riiiiiight.

Yaya wrote:
Um, you said that about the Koran, a few posts back. You asked if there was another book that put men and women on equal ground back then. I was pointing out that it says the exact opposite
.
Not equal in every way, equal in reward from their Creator for their good deeds.

Mmmm. You said:

Yaya wrote:men and women on equal ground, with equal reward

The word "with" there implying that standing "on equal ground" was different to the "equal reward" they would eventually receive. Semantic I know, but I thought I'd pick up every little point, and besides I already mentioned how you have to die to find out what this supposed "reward" actually is.

Yaya wrote:Islam does not teach that men and women are equal in every facet of life. Why? Because it simply isn't reality. Women are superior to men in some ways, men superior in others. Biologically, the differences are quite obvious. Yet society wants to force both to fit the same mold.

I can't necessarily speak for society but I don't evpect everyone to fit the same mould. I'd hope there was a different mould for each different person, rather than the mere two moulds that you seem to think are sufficient. "Are you a woman? Get the mother mould on!" "Ah, a man? Well then, get out there into business! And get yourself a wife!"

There are lots of different people out there. Your model only ccounts for a few of them.

I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:20 am

Metal Vendetta wrote:So there are no Islamic martyrs then?


Certainly there are. But man does not determine who is a martyr and who isn't. Once a man came to the Prophet(PBUH) while he was burying a very loyal companion and upright man who had died in battle. The man commented how he was slain, and stated (paraphrase)"Well, he is in Paradise now." Muhammad(PBUH) asked him "And how do you know that?"

Despite him being a good man, it was not the onlookers place to decide whether he would go to Paradise or not. He had only assumed that the man ended up in Paradise. That is a decision that rest with God alone, because only He has knowledge of what lied in the man's heart when he died.

So yes, there are certainly martyrs, or shaheeds, who die in the path of God defending their religion. Who they are, God only knows.

Yaya wrote:Islam teaches that slowly the number of true Muslims will dwindle with time til the point that there are none left.

How do you know this time hasn't already arrived? You could be a fake Muslim for all I know.


Hope not. Though you are right. You do not know what lies in my heart, only God does. I pray I am not false in faith, but God will decide that.

Yaya wrote:No, one should stick with the source, the things that are meant to be truly respresentative of the faith. In Christianity, it is the Bible.

This is the same Bible that condones genocide and incest, right?
But as you said, the Bible has undergone 'translations down the ages and...the very changes going on before our very eyes?', not to mention that you 'simply don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, nor that by his death our actions have been forgiven'.

So which bits of the Bible do you judge Christianity by? Because let's not forget that

Yaya wrote:The Bible was revealed in the time of the Romans, who were very apt to give their gods sons, fathers, daughters, etc. The idea of one God did not appeal to them. And giving that they were the ruling powre, it is possible that Jesus was "made" the son of God by those like Paul to make Christianity more appealing to those of the Roman empire.

So, do you judge Christianity by its standards today? Or by those of the Roman empire, when the Bible was written?


Let's not forget that Muslims believe a Bible was revealed to Jesus Christ, which like the Koran, taught belief in One God. In essence, Islam teaches that those called Christians of that time were in fact equivalent to Muslims today. However, regarding the religion of Christianity we know today, Muslims believe it to be a very much altered form of the teachings of Jesus, a different religion altogether.

I judge Christianity today by the Bible today, because if they followed the true Bible of Jesus, all Christians would have accepted the Koran and been Muslim. The Bible of Jesus fortold of the coming of a final Prophet. Had the Bible existed in its original form at the time of the Koranic revelation, Christians who believed in One God would have recognized the Koran as being from the same authentic source.

Yaya wrote:Who can say that the raising of children and maintaining the family are responsibilities of inferiority? If you told most mothers that, they would laugh in your face.

Well I didn't. I asked why it's automatically assumed that women are deficient at business and should be in charge of the home instead.


As I mentioned above, Muhammad (PBUH) married a business women whom he worked for.

Its not that women can't conduct business. Look here in the US, where for so many years now they have tried to tout how men and women are equal in every regard, yet how many women presidents have held office here? Pakistan and Turkey, both Muslim countries, have elected women to be their Presidents.


Its not that men can't raise children. Its that men are better suited for some things, and women others. From a professional standpoint, women can do what men can do. But can they do that and be good mothers? Hard to do. Very hard. If women become the breadwinners for the family, who will take care of the children, the future? Men can't do what women can. Women give birth and have milk coming from their tits for a reason.

Again, its a matter of belief. What you think works best is not what a Muslim thinks works best.

There are lots of different people out there. Your model only ccounts for a few of them.


Exactly. A Muslim has a model to live by.

The Koran states at the beginning: "This is the Book. In it is guidance, sure and without doubt, to those who fear their Lord, who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend out of what We have provided for them, and believe in that which was revealed to you (Muhammad), and that which was revealed before you (Muhammad), and are certain of the Hereafter.

So if the Koran is for these kinds of people, it really is not guidance for an atheist, agnostic, etc.

Again, we come from different mindsets. We see life completely different. We may both want good for people, but we differ in what we see as our purpose for being here.

"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:35 am

I'm not familiar with the Pratchettism, but it sounds good.

Yaya wrote:Again, we come from different mindsets. We see life completely different. We may both want good for people, but we differ in what we see as our purpose for being here.


So, the remarkable thing that I see over and over again, both here and in other religious discussion, is that it is very easy to prove a religion is wrong. Whether by its followers actions, (ye shall know them by their fruits, after all) or by flaws in the basic foundation of the religion, or simply by the fact that no one religion satisfies all people all the time, one has no problem coming up with compelling and sufficient reasons not to follow a religion.

In fact, it's not hard to poke holes in liberal theology, like my belief in God as a well of creative force. Of course it doesn't make sense. But no matter how many holes we poke in Yaya's argument, or my (much less stringent) one, he and I will still believe.

I don't believe it is, as Yaya says above, that we see life in completely different ways. I grew up in an entirely different culture, country and climate than Emvee, and we still have a lot of common ground, based on our notions of how to treat people. It is not theory that makes one's habits, but practice. If I treat Emvee as a good person because Jesus said so, and Emvee treat me as a good person because his mum said so, we are doing the same thing, no matter who we attribute it to. Mum or Jesus, doesn't matter, both are out of the picture, and what we do is relevant to the moment and the future.

The truth is, Emvee and I are both enacting cultural values. Mum and Jesus both taught the same values because our society put the words in their mouths. Depending on whether one sides with Nietzsche or Kant, these values may just be part of our culture, an arbitrary decision of what is good and what is not, or they may represent a deeper, instinctual moral code that each person knows at some level.

So why is that, despite all evidence, and despite the fact that it has little bearing on our actual actions, we insist on clinging to beliefs that make no sense? And there are even those who would argue that atheists do this as well-- that having complete faith in reason to explain everything is not so different than having complete faith in God to explain everything. Depending on who you are, you could consider that as irrational a construct as a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

So why do people believe? Really. What level of reason-to-emotion construction influences your belief, and why? My belief in the Mormon Church went from being reasonable, when I was younger, to being completely emotional in the last few years, and I finally broke with the Church to find the balance. How does one maintain the balance, and why?

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:13 am

Belief appears to be a part of the human mind. Since, uncommon with most animals, our behaviour is exceedingly fluid and highly adaptable with future preemption based on both past experience and deduction we seem to require the capacity to 'believe' in things even though we cannot prove them or necessarily understand them, it would seem they are part of the human reasoning process and our function.

I don't constantly remind myself how a computer system works, most of the time I switch my mind off and just believe that when I push a key on the keyboard that letter will appear on the screen. Similarly I don't have any knowledge whatsoever of motor mechanics or medicine but I believe that whatever repairs or treatment respectively are prescribed will fix the problems. I don't constantly rethink from first principles all of my assumptions and ideas about the world and the people within it, although they have at varying stages been rethought several times and will continue to be so reviewed, I tend to accept for the present that whatever beliefs I'm not currently reassessing may be considered 'true'. I'd imagine humans need the capacity to do this to avoid endlessly second-guessing ourselves trying to ascertain answers which may be time consuming, require a huge amount of discipline or are just impossible to divine quantifiably.

Dependant on what you believe in tends to decide your 'faith' and its scale, although human minds are constantly changing and can be influenced by new ideas.

Since this would appear to be the foundation for a huge amount of our thought processes, that might explain why Bouncelot seems more than happy to accept that his subscribed doctrine is largely inconsistent, with many glaring faults and based on absolutely nothing but is more inclined to accept that and have something to believe in rather than to rethink the whole package; which may or may not affect different people in different ways.

As humans differ one to the next it may explain the need to hang rigidly to unchanging ideas or the ability in others to reassess them.

Veery interesting. My dialog with Bouncy was quite informative and I hope will continue to be so :)
 

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:29 pm

see, this goes back to my notion of a more secular philosophy - do you think something could be created that sufficenmtly plugs those gaps or this need for belief.

or more accurately what plugs it for people who don't believe?

Or believe a bit.

i don't buy, for one second, the false schism Yaya a keeps trying to maintian that its one or the other. The human mind is not some switch and belief is certainly not a matter of on or off.
 

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:34 pm

Best First wrote:see, this goes back to my notion of a more secular philosophy - do you think something could be created that sufficenmtly plugs those gaps or this need for belief.

or more accurately what plugs it for people who don't believe?

Or believe a bit.

i don't buy, for one second, the false schism Yaya a keeps trying to maintian that its one or the other. The human mind is not some switch and belief is certainly not a matter of on or off.


Yar, I concur. The human mind is incredibly complicated and there are very very few (if any) issues which can ever be purely black and white imo.
 

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Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:27 pm

It's quite obvious that humans are naturally religious creatures - the secular/agnostic/atheist viewpoints that have emerged in the west over the past few hundred years are the exception rather than the rule hen examining human cultures throughout history. I think the problem is largely one of narrative than anything else, when trying to answer the big questions. The section of The Salmon of Doubt that our own Denyer is fond of quoting - when early man looks around at the world and says to himself "Well, who made this, then?" is a good start in answering why people need to believe in a creator, but I think we need to differentiate between how we came to be here and why we are here.

The how is the easy bit. I'm more than happy to accept that we evolved from apes, there's plenty of evidence to support it and it makes a lot more sense than a God who created human beings specially but at the same time made them exactly the same way as every other animal on the planet. How we came to be here is the easy part, because most religious explanations for the creation of humans, or the world, are so far-fetched and primitive, and of course utterly without evidence, that it's easy to dismiss them as Flying Spaghetti Monster-style nonsense.

The why question is the more dangerous of the two, since it doesn't have an easy answer. It's possible to come up with one - "we were put here to serve God", for example - but more difficult to come with an answer that makes any kind of sense. The answer to which I subscribe; that a group of apes with good eyesight, grasping hands and steadily increasing intelligence spread across the globe, wiping out the other large animals and cutting down all the trees; doesn't really answer the question in terms of a satisfying narrative. There's no imperative to behave a certain way. There's no end reward, and there's no unifying doctrine, other than the notion that we are all inter-related in some way. I can understand why people prefer the idea that they have their own personal God who has a plan for them and their lives, and if they live a certain way then they will recieve a magical reward at the end of their life. It makes people feel special. It appeals to the "bias for optimism", the little seratonin-fired part of the psyche that means people always want to see the best in any situation. Instead of saying "you're part of the evolutionary process - you'll reproduce and then you'll die, just like everything else", it says "you're part of something larger, something that is more important than anything else ever. And you won't die, either. In fact, if you spend your time on Earth in a certain way, you'll get to live forever in paradise."

I can see why the religious answer to "why are we here?" is a lot more tempting to believe, because it promises people so much more than "you get born, you keep your head down for a bit, and then you die. If you're lucky." No-one likes depressing news. No-one likes to be reminded of their own mortality. And no-one likes to think that in the grand scheme of things they're insignificant and no more "important" than, say, a squirrel. So people take refuge in their beliefs that they are important, that they have been touched by God, or that God is watching over them. That if they live their lives in the way that God decreed, they are part of His master plan and He will be pleased with them. It's also worth noting that to be part of a church or religion means that you buy into a system that is often much older than you are - the sense of carrying on a tradition and being part of something larger than yourself is reassuring because you know that your values - the values that you were taught by the religion - will go on, and outlive you. It offers a sense of permanance and continuity, while the lifespan of a single person can be fleeting and inconsequential.

So yeah, I can understand why people believe what they do. How they manage to make the final leap, however, and convince themselves that a religion is absolutely true, despite it being self-evidently a pile of contradictory tosh, is totally beyond me. I remember as a child, desperately wanting to believe in heaven because all my friends said that they were going there, but had tremendous difficulty believing in it because even then it seemed like a transparent wish-fulfilment fantasy. Privately I decided that I'd rather go to Cybertron, which seemed far more likely to exist.

I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:32 pm

Metal Vendetta wrote:It's quite obvious that humans are naturally religious creatures - the secular/agnostic/atheist viewpoints that have emerged in the west over the past few hundred years are the exception rather than the rule hen examining human cultures throughout history. I think the problem is largely one of narrative than anything else, when trying to answer the big questions. The section of The Salmon of Doubt that our own Denyer is fond of quoting - when early man looks around at the world and says to himself "Well, who made this, then?" is a good start in answering why people need to believe in a creator, but I think we need to differentiate between how we came to be here and why we are here.

The how is the easy bit. I'm more than happy to accept that we evolved from apes, there's plenty of evidence to support it and it makes a lot more sense than a God who created human beings specially but at the same time made them exactly the same way as every other animal on the planet. How we came to be here is the easy part, because most religious explanations for the creation of humans, or the world, are so far-fetched and primitive, and of course utterly without evidence, that it's easy to dismiss them as Flying Spaghetti Monster-style nonsense.

The why question is the more dangerous of the two, since it doesn't have an easy answer. It's possible to come up with one - "we were put here to serve God", for example - but more difficult to come with an answer that makes any kind of sense. The answer to which I subscribe; that a group of apes with good eyesight, grasping hands and steadily increasing intelligence spread across the globe, wiping out the other large animals and cutting down all the trees; doesn't really answer the question in terms of a satisfying narrative. There's no imperative to behave a certain way. There's no end reward, and there's no unifying doctrine, other than the notion that we are all inter-related in some way. I can understand why people prefer the idea that they have their own personal God who has a plan for them and their lives, and if they live a certain way then they will recieve a magical reward at the end of their life. It makes people feel special. It appeals to the "bias for optimism", the little seratonin-fired part of the psyche that means people always want to see the best in any situation. Instead of saying "you're part of the evolutionary process - you'll reproduce and then you'll die, just like everything else", it says "you're part of something larger, something that is more important than anything else ever. And you won't die, either. In fact, if you spend your time on Earth in a certain way, you'll get to live forever in paradise."

I can see why the religious answer to "why are we here?" is a lot more tempting to believe, because it promises people so much more than "you get born, you keep your head down for a bit, and then you die. If you're lucky." No-one likes depressing news. No-one likes to be reminded of their own mortality. And no-one likes to think that in the grand scheme of things they're insignificant and no more "important" than, say, a squirrel. So people take refuge in their beliefs that they are important, that they have been touched by God, or that God is watching over them. That if they live their lives in the way that God decreed, they are part of His master plan and He will be pleased with them. It's also worth noting that to be part of a church or religion means that you buy into a system that is often much older than you are - the sense of carrying on a tradition and being part of something larger than yourself is reassuring because you know that your values - the values that you were taught by the religion - will go on, and outlive you. It offers a sense of permanance and continuity, while the lifespan of a single person can be fleeting and inconsequential.

So yeah, I can understand why people believe what they do. How they manage to make the final leap, however, and convince themselves that a religion is absolutely true, despite it being self-evidently a pile of contradictory tosh, is totally beyond me. I remember as a child, desperately wanting to believe in heaven because all my friends said that they were going there, but had tremendous difficulty believing in it because even then it seemed like a transparent wish-fulfilment fantasy. Privately I decided that I'd rather go to Cybertron, which seemed far more likely to exist.


:up: :up: and :up:
 

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:12 am

Who would've thought this little thread on a mere opinion would've sparked such debate? :lol: But in the end, I must say...I was right. All religions do suck. Put down your bibles and pick up some Tom Paine.

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:45 am

man-with-the-dogs wrote: But in the end, I must say...I was right.



prat.
 

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:00 am

It seems like the impulse for faith is a lot like the impulse for chess-- the need to see life as two or three, or even ten, steps ahead. Most of the religious people I know, including me, though I've done this a lot less lately, tend to use their religion for guidance in the future and with hard decisions of the moment. A decision that, for most people, sounds good and feels right could still be the "wrong" one. So they pray for approval.

The idea of a specific plan for your life seems appealing, but I think it actually hamstrings most people. They get to a point where any decision could be the "wrong one" in God's plan, and they drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what is the right thing to do.

To me, if God made plans for people's lives, they would encompass dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of different divergent possibilities, all good, some probably better than others, but certainly not with one right path.

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:17 pm

man-with-the-dogs wrote:Who would've thought this little thread on a mere opinion would've sparked such debate?


This is one topic that time and time again, no matter how many times its discussed, is guaranteed to get a 50-poster thread.

Wonder if it happens on other TF sites, or just this one. I know I've participated in such discussions on tfarchive. Just put me and Denyer in a thread together on any topic, and away we go.

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:08 pm

Well in your defense or to your detriment, depending on your point of view, the only reason this thread HAS gone this far is because of your dissenting arguements against most of the rest of the posters, and you willingness to constructively and consistantly rebutt their counterarguments, so I could see how this might be a common occurance with you.

Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:24 pm

Shanti418 wrote:Well in your defense or to your detriment, depending on your point of view, the only reason this thread HAS gone this far is because of your dissenting arguements against most of the rest of the posters, and you willingness to constructively and consistantly rebutt their counterarguments,


So, uh, is this a good thing? :eyebrow:

"But the Costa story featuring Starscream? Fantastic! This guy is "The One", I just know it, just from these few pages. "--Yaya, who is never wrong.

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Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:47 pm

Yaya wrote:
Shanti418 wrote:Well in your defense or to your detriment, depending on your point of view, the only reason this thread HAS gone this far is because of your dissenting arguements against most of the rest of the posters, and you willingness to constructively and consistantly rebutt their counterarguments,


So, uh, is this a good thing? :eyebrow:


{shrug} sounds like it was intoned in a positive way.
 

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Fri Jul 07, 2006 4:11 am

Yeah, like I said, defense or detriment, depending on your point of view.

Personally, I think it's a good thing. I've seen other people be scared away by far less, and/or respond with far less educated comments and viewpoints.

Best First wrote:I thought we could just meander between making well thought out points, being needlessly immature, provocative and generalist, then veer into caring about constructive debate and make a few valid points, act civil for a bit, then lower the tone again, then act offended when we get called on it, then dictate what it is and isn't worth debating, reinterpret a few of my own posts through a less offensive lens, then jaunt down whatever other path our seemingly volatile mood took us in.

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Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:21 am

Best First wrote:
man-with-the-dogs wrote: But in the end, I must say...I was right.



prat.


Yeah, smart people always have to deal with this kind of crap. It ain't easy...no wonder Hemingway cracked.

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Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:23 am

man-with-the-dogs wrote:
Best First wrote:
man-with-the-dogs wrote: But in the end, I must say...I was right.



prat.


Yeah, smart people always have to deal with this kind of crap. It ain't easy...no wonder Hemingway cracked.


Smart people's opinions have intellectual content. Your contribution to this topic relative to others could probably be best portrayed as pigmy playing Basketball against Michael Jordan.

Smart people also don't have to label themselves as smart, as it is readily obvious. Which points to a rather interesting conclusion about people who do feel the need to label themselves smart doesn't it?
 

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Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:12 am

Yaya wrote:
Shanti418 wrote:Well in your defense or to your detriment, depending on your point of view, the only reason this thread HAS gone this far is because of your dissenting arguements against most of the rest of the posters, and you willingness to constructively and consistantly rebutt their counterarguments,

So, uh, is this a good thing? :eyebrow:

I see it as a good thing. Where else in the world would you find a debate like this? From the diversity of the participants to the relatively civil way it's all carried out, I think this is the sort of thing the internet should be used for. Yes, it's another religious topic on Transfans, and yes, there's always the possibility that it might sprial out of control into name-calling and so on, but posts like this:

Yaya wrote:
MV wrote:How do you know this time hasn't already arrived? You could be a fake Muslim for all I know.

Hope not. Though you are right. You do not know what lies in my heart, only God does. I pray I am not false in faith, but God will decide that.

I think are absolutely fantastic, and one of the reasons I keep coming back here. It's rare (for various cultural reasons, not least blasphemy) to have this kind of open debate about religion in real life, and for me it's a real insight into faith and how it works, something that's hard to grasp if you've never really had much experience of it. As Karlos said:

Karl wrote:My dialog with Bouncy was quite informative and I hope will continue to be so :)

I myself hadn't previously known about the number of true Muslims dwindling and it's an intruiging idea. When I next meet my friends (separately of course, he's quite traditional, she's lapsed to ****) for Koran discussions, I'll bring that up. :)

I would have waited a ******* eternity for this!!!!
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Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:30 pm

I would hate it if Yaya and Bouncelot felt as though they couldn't respect and be respected, thus turning this board into a bunch of angry atheists/agnostics.

Doesn't mean we won't argue with you till we turn blue. But we will respect your right to argue back, also blue.

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Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:34 pm

As I've been away this week, I've got a fair bit to catch up on...

Impactor returns 2.0 wrote:I dont belive in miracles in any way shape or form. everything can be explained using science.

And one other thing - how do u know God di it and not the flying speghtti monster, im serious, prove me wrong.... U cant prove it, thats the point.


Well when, for example, you pray to God rather than the flying speghtii monster and someone is instantly healed, surely it's at least a reasonable assumption that it was God who healed the person. Some examples I've heard first-hand accounts of over the last week:

A lady who had six years of pain caused by cartilege that was missing from her body. After being prayed for she wsa able to dance all night, climb stairs that would have caused her problems, pull leg muscles when her condition caused her pain well before she would have been able to do that. A year later, she's into the second semester of a dance degree her doctors said she would never be able to do.

A baby who had never been able to focus his eyes on anything doing so whilst being prayed for.

A woman who had been unablle to bend her knees for ten years after being pregnant. Her doctors said that it was because of a birth defect which only became apparrent due to the pregnancy. She was able to bend her knees after being prayed for.

A former professional footballer who had had to retire after injuring his knee 15 years ago. He'd had four operations on his knee which had failed, and had been left with a limp. His injury was completely and instantly healed when being prayed for.

Yes, there could feasibly be other explanations for any of these, but they would have to account for very sudden healing happening to co-incide with the person being prayed for.
 

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Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:51 pm

Bouncelot wrote:
Yes, there could feasibly be other explanations for any of these, but they would have to account for very sudden healing happening to co-incide with the person being prayed for.


That's not unreasonably though surely, given the sheer number of people in the world with illnesses, and the number of those who know someone who is or are themselves religious and the number of prayers that must be said for them- statistically you would expect some of the people prayed for to get better regardless of the two factors having any causality? In fact it would be unusual not to, I'd imagine. Again, Doctors are human beings and are entirely fallible and Science does not know everything- therefore you would expect, given those two factors, for events to happen which are not readily understood. None of that indicates divine influence anymore than it does any other possibly explanation, surely it merely indicates a gap in knowledge?

I'd be interested to compare the number of Christians or religious individuals in general who are 'healed' from an illness compared to those who are not (who we obviously don't hear about since they would be rather damaging to the image). I'd be willing to bet the figures would be rather one-sided however.
 

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Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:36 pm

Karl Lynch wrote:
Bouncelot wrote:Well, yes, there could be different explanations for many healings. Take an example I heard today. A lady in my church had had a bone in her elbow break many years ago, it hadn't been spotted at the time, and had healed badly - sticking out in a way that gave her lots of trouble. Last week she had it prayed for, and hasn't had any trouble with it since - including when she had been doing a whole lot of relatively heavy lifting. You could come up with a naturalistic explanation, but once you've accepted the possibility of God existing and answering prayer the explanation that she was healed is a fairly reasonable one. And the example of the deaf man I quoted above doesn't fall into that category anyway.


You're making an erroneous leap- accepting the possibility of God answering the prayer as the explanation for her healing is not an especially reasonable one, or at least no more reasonable than saying it was magic. You've got nothing that says God actually did it, all you know is through some means some ailment ceased being an issue for her- you are interpreting that through your understanding. Seeing the world through red-coloured glasses doesn't mean the world is red, if you catch my drift.


For more examples see my response to Impy's post. It's remarkable how often such massive changes in peoples' conditions co-incincide exactly with people being prayed for.


I was thinking more of Scientific journals and papers, which are published regardless of whether they upset the establishment or may be disproven- Science generally stands to be disproven.

If miracles truly happened, and happened with some frequency and on the small scale you're describing (i.e. individuals being healed from illnesses, rather than continents being reshaped by the hand of God) then somebody would surely have been able to study it I would have thought.


I'm not sure that they would. There have been studies which have looked at people being prayed for remotely by people who have never met them, but how would you establish a control group for people being prayed for in person? I don't think it's the sort of phenomenon that lends itself to proper scientific investigation.


Interesting you mentioned 'remote' healing as I know I read an article on an investigation into that. They were using three groups- one left to heal without intervention, another group who were prayed for at their bedside (with their full knowledge) and a final group who were prayed for remotely (without their knowledge). The results weren't any great shakes if I remember correctly- I think the group who were prayed for in their presence generally did better than the others, but that lends itself open to the obvious placebo effect.


I don't recall there being a group that was prayed for in their presence in studies I'm aware of. Most examples of miraculous healing are people being prayed for in their presence, it's impossible to test it against the placebo effect. Interesting that there is a difference in that group, though.

Again we're coming up against the notion that just because Science doesn't know everything, God must therefore be the answer. In an ironic way I suppose that could be said to be true- God does generally fill the void in between our reasonings on the Universe.

Does that not worry you however that sooner or later the world may discover rational explanations behind these things?


I'm not sure that naturalistic necessarily equates to rational.

And no it doesn't worry me. If someone is healed when they are prayed for, does it matter if it was God acting outside of the way the universe normally works or God acting within the way the universe normally works?


You're making the leap that God is involved at all. If you wish to believe that God may intervene through entirely natural effects (that is to say, he's not turning up and literally healing someone with a flash of lights but perhaps working metaphorically with their immune system, doctors, family and wellwishers etc.) then that's reasonable I suppose. One may consider the Almighty to be a first cause of the Universe, in which case all things descending from it (including the human immune system for example) is 'His' healing.


Take the example of the parting of the Red Sea [actually it was the Reed Sea, but if I'd said that you'd be less likely to be recognise the example] from the Bible. There's a naturalistic explanation for the miracle - that the right kind of wind could leave a portion of the sea exposed so you could cross it. However, the story very clearly says that the sea parted when Moses raised out his hands over it and closed again when he did the same from the other side. Does that count as a miracle or a co-incidence? If someone is instantly healed when they are prayed for to be healed, as has happened in many cases, does it make the healing any less an act of God if there is a naturalistic explanation available?

However isn't that at odds with Biblical teachings, that God is actively afoot in the world?


Actively afoot in the world doesn't exclude working through the laws of nature as we understand them. The Bible teaches that God created and sustains the world. He's the one who makes sure the Universe functions as it does. It doesn't say that He cannot or will not work through the natural order.

Doesn't the evidence rather stand up against that however? The manner in which these healings are only reported (seriously) in the religious establishments they're a part of? It seems rather convenient to me. Especially considering God will happily heal someone's inner ear when they're prayed for, but does nothing for the millions of children (Christian children, I might add) dying of HIV in Africa- despite them praying and being prayed for quite regularly by a huge number of people. Whatever explanation may or may not account for it, the idea that God will heal people with trivial illnesses and that this is entirely accurate but has never been investigated and found to have a shred of proof by any impartial analyst sounds a bit like... a conspiracy subculture. I mean it does, doesn't it? Whether you believe it or not you have to agree it certainly sounds pretty dodgy in that light.


Actually, there are many many more reports of healings coming out of African, Latin American, and Chinese churches than there are from Western churches. By all accounts there are more modern-day miracles in countries where they are most needed than there are in countries where they are not.


But you're not disputing the fact that thousands of children died today with HIV who prayed to God for their salvation? My conundrum is how a God who will happily descend a cure someone's earache because it was prayed for could turn a blind ear to all those children.

Naturally that can be despatched with "Ah, but we cannot hope to understand the mind of God", but I think you are more than smart enough to know that is a non-answer- as we said before, the ability for faith to paper over obvious glaring issues with a doctrine.


Well you have two options - either you assume that God has to answer every prayer for healing, or you assume that He will answer prayers for healing as and when He decides to do so. The Bible is quite clear that not everybody gets healed. There's one story from the gospels where Jesus goes to a pool that is believed to offer healing - when the waters were stirred up the first one in the pool gets healed - and He heals just one person there. Your take on the issue assumes that God should heal whoever we ask Him to whenever we ask (or something close). It's essentially saying "I know better than God does". If God does heal, He is free to do so in a way that doesn't align up with our preconceptions about how it is supposed to work.

So what kind of evidence would you consider to be actual evidence of God?


God spent most of the Old Testament appearing in fireballs, wiping cities off the earth with brimstone and sulphur, flooding the world and killing everyone except for Noah and his brood (plus a few animals), sending tablets of stone to Earth and unleashing plagues of locusts upon his people's enemies.

He hasn't done a huge amount of that recently, in fact not since Man generally speaking became able to accept more down-to-earth explanations for world events.


He didn't do a lot of that in the Old Testament either. The big earth-shattering type of miracles were quite rare. It feels like there are a lot of them simply because the Bible naturally focuses its narrative on the times when stuff happened rather than when it didn't, but within the period covered by the Old Testament such in-your-face miracles happened every few centuries at best.

Quantifiable evidence of God would simply be thus:

We have an empty box. We know it is empty. We have measured it, weighed it, analysed it. Empty. We put it in an empty sealed room, nobody is allowed in. We get someone to pray for God to influence the box, and we then detect a change in the box. God heats the box up, cools it down, rips it, makes a tiger appear in it. Whatever. Why the Almighty considers giving us proof of his existence to be a sin is something I cannot grasp, similarly how a character who spends so much time interfering in the world in such obviously Godlike ways can suddenly totally withdraw and be reduced to dubious healing ceremonies.


If you look at the miracles in the Bible not one of them was about God proving that He exists. All of them were about something else. There is no example of a miracle that is purely intended to convince someone that God exists. They are all for a specific purpose - whether to authenticate a particular messenger, to prove a point about God's character to those who already know Him, to move His people to the next stage (like leaving Egypt), to preserve someone's life, to judge people for their sins or whatever. So that kind of experiment (which, incidentally, nobody has ever tried) isn't in keeping with the pattern of divine intervention shown in the Bible.

Why can't God influence the world in such a fashion if he has no problems interfering in it?


That's one way of looking at it. The other is to ask why should He bother? Should God pander to our every desire for a sign. It reminds me of a former housemate's conversion story. He asked God for a sign that He existed and a Bible reference flashed into his mind. He looked it up, and it was the verse that said "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it."

So since your personality was already established your faith would be something of a bolt-on to it? Unless perhaps there's a genetic influence, which some Scientists have theorised there might be... how would you feel about your faith being influenced by your genes? How do you feel that might influence ideas of universal truth, if not everybody would be able to see them? It's entirely hypothetical naturally, I'm just curious.


Well it would seem to fit to a certain extent to some of what the Bible seems to teach about predestination if you only came to faith through certain genes. Of course someone being blind to the truth doesn't change the truth being true.


You're assuming that there is an objective truth outside of your own personal agenda. However, if God's truth were always true, objective and all-encompassing... shouldn't anybody be able to see it regardless of genetics? Considering God in theory also created our DNA.


Why would everybody necessarily be able to see it? If the Bible is true, then humanity has been tainted by sin and some people are spiritually blind, unable to see what should be staring them in the face.

I see, rather than being someone who just goes along to church with the 'rents and ends up being part of it, the distinction you're trying to make is you had a moment where you actually said "Okay, I'll go along with this".


And that the moment I did so wasn't because I was being prompted to, or pushed towards, that decision at the specific time I made the decision.


OK, let's break this down a bit more into different types of evidence:
1) The Bible being an accurate record of what people believed they had experienced. This stands on its own independant of any other evidence.
2) The authors of the Bible being right in their interpretation of what they had experienced. Yes, this is backed up by what I see today, but it isn't entirely based on it.
3) Things I see around me. I wouldn't need to believe the Bible to be convinced that something supernatural was happening amongst the church I belong to. Exposure to it is sufficient on its own. Yes, it reinforces my belief in the Bible, as it's all happening as a result of people believing the Bible, but I don't think that it's entirely dependant on it.
4) The way the world in general seems to work matches the teachings of the Bible. Another corroborating piece of evidence that is fairly independant.


You're assuming independence where none really exists. Human beings acquire knowledge through their senses, not directly. The world is filtered through these and goes to make up our personalities and understanding.

Essentially what you're telling me is logically impossible:

You were involved in your church and saw 'things' through its (rather tinted) lens and you also see the word of the Bible at work in the world.

However this is not a result of you believing the teachings or the word of the Bible, as that came after (since these affirmations are your reason for believing the word of the Bible).

You must first believe these things to see them and believe them, how can they then stand as proof for your beliefs?

Essentially you cannot escape that human beings filter the world through our minds and not directly- to see 'evidence' for the Bible, one would first need to believe the Bible.

Your faith must therefore be an internal quality, rather than external. It's no great biggie, but it's the leadup to the following:


I'm not sure I entirely follow the logic of what you're saying. The evidence I see for the Bible being an accurate depiction of events is not dependant on the evidence for supernatural events happening around me. The evidence for supernatural events happening around me to people who believe in the Bible is not dependant on the evidence for the Bible. Yes, they point in the same direction, and ultimately reinforce each other, but either is capable of standing up as evidence in its own right.

Bearing this in mind, and that we perceive the world we wish to see since it is filtered through our understanding and beliefs, we have a situation where the truth you are in fact subscribing to is internal. You are believing because you wish to believe.

I wish to know what bits of Christianity you wish to believe. Is it the afterlife, the character of the God? The teachings of this God? Which teachings in particular? My quesiton was intentionally oblique, I'm afraid.


I don't think I can realistically answer that question. Separating out any one part of my faith as being something I want to believe more than another part really doesn't fit the way I think about it. I guess my favourite part might well be God's grace just because it's particularly wonderfuil, but that's utterly intertwined with pretty much every part of my faith that's actually important.


Oh not one bit, multiple bits will do fine. So you like God's 'grace'? I'd like you to tell me more about that... by grace you mean the way his works all fit together and interact? Erm, elegant I think is perhaps the word- the workings of the world are elegant?


Nope. Grace is essentially God giving us the opposite of what we deserve - eternal life when we deserve eternal damnation and the like. It's a wonderful concept that basically underpins Christian theology.

I've not physically heard God, though I've known people who have. My experience is that there are a range of ways of hearing God. There have been two or three times when God's voice has been utterly unmistakeable - it's the mental equivalent of someone shouting in your ear, and there's no way it could possibly be your own thoughts. Other times, I've been reading the Bible and verses have directly leapt out at me, and there are other times where I've had a definite "impression" of something God wants to say, it doesn't resemble any of my own thoughts, and isn't exactly words. It's the sort of thing that's difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't experienced it.


I'm firstly greatly interested in how you believe others to have physically heard God when you have not heard him yourself? How do you know that they are not merely externalising the same internal thoughts and ideas you have?


The particular example I was thinking of was someone who audibly heard God before he became a Christian. He wasn't externalising any religious thoughts because he had none.


How do we know so? I appreciate he may not have accepted Christ, but supposing faith is something in the mind (or the genes perhaps?) Therefore whether someone subscribed to the faith or had even considered it before, the building blocks of that faith (i.e. the capacity to believe in it without proof and to ascribe physical events to that particular theory) may already be in place.


So a non-Christian whose attitude to God at the time was "If I ever meet him I'll thump him one" audibly hears God's voice?


Why shouldn't he? If the mechanisms are already built in his brain for such a belief and he is in fact expressing other thoughts and feelings (sounds like frustration) through his words?

Let's put it this way, if he plots to thump God one he must first be open to the idea of his existence :) So maybe there were whole areas of his brain and psyche just waiting to kick into action, perhaps therefore creating 'fulfilment'? An interesting idea! :)


I'm not sure he did actually believe in God at the time. I know people who have gone from not believing in God at all to becoming Christians. How would they fit into your model?

So he may well in fact have been externalising thoughts which were his own through a dormant belief in 'something'- that something was later attuned to Christianity. Veery interesting... or perhaps I should say as is my theory that his 'something' happened to be attuned to Christianity more than any other (as he discovered upon investigation) and therefore aligned himself to that faith.


The voice in question told him to go and listen to a man who happened to be reading his bible. Hardly the sort of thing you'd expect from a genetic tuning.


Hm sounds good to me- part of his mind needed something to believe in, best place to start is someone who knows a thing or two about religion. It'd be probably such a man might be reading his Bible at the time.

Minds are incredibly complicated, subtle impulses are built on and joined to thoughts and feelings which can then become words and sensations in our mind. Maybe your friend felt such a thing? Maybe if God were a 'first cause' he might well be behind them (ultimately).


Possible. Though, knowing the man in question, I'm not convinced about your explanation.

Do you think it may be some form of survival instinct? Humans have the capacity to leap beyond logic and reasoning and to see more in the world than there is- our ability to predict future events is essentially this capacity and to make decisions based on things which are factually sketchy or may never happen. Perhaps it is an extension of that to believe in something which an impartial observer from Mars (for argument's sake) would probably observe very outlandish?


Surely that would be a negative trait for survival.


I can't see why, it helps the grieving process and allows humans to function extraordinarily well despite perhaps knowing virtually nothing about how their world works. The brain's way of joining the dots to make a picture so we at least have something to work with :) Naturally we'd have to believe it too, otherwise it wouldn't be of much use... I could see that being quite important in fact to early humans and beyond.


Expending energy on something that's constructed to fit non-existent patterns seems to me to be something that would be less useful as a survival trait.

That's entirely speculation on your part. My mind works in an identical way (merely in the opposite direction) when I'm on a mania. I've decomposed the personalities of several other (normal?) individuals who have similar interpretations to their mind's 'voices' as I do. Unless you want to pull up a couch and psychoanalyse me for a month or two you're not likely to know the cause of most of my mental activity or indeed how it might compare to a 'regular' person :)


So it basically comes down to a matter of interpretation? My experience of such things leads me to believe that the voices I've experienced are from God, I've not had an example where there's been one pointing in the opposite direction, which if it's just me, surely should have happened at least once.
 
Last edited by Bouncelot on Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:54 pm

Yaya wrote:And who works righteousness, male or female, and is a faithful one, so We will give them life a good life, and We will pay them their wages for the most beautiful of what they were working (16:97)

Find me a book from 1400 years ago that specifically mentions men and women on equal ground, with equal reward. Find me one passage in the Bible that spells out women's being equal to men like this one verse of the Quran does.


Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

OK, so the full teaching of the Bible is that men and women are actually equal in status but different in role rather than the simplified version you might get from this verse in isolation, but that's pretty much what Yaya's claiming about Islamic beliefs on the issue, anyway.

Let's not forget that Muslims believe a Bible was revealed to Jesus Christ, which like the Koran, taught belief in One God. In essence, Islam teaches that those called Christians of that time were in fact equivalent to Muslims today. However, regarding the religion of Christianity we know today, Muslims believe it to be a very much altered form of the teachings of Jesus, a different religion altogether.


How so? The Bible we have today is from manuscripts which predate Mohammed. The key creeds that define (mainstream) Christianity were written centuries before Muhammed.

Ny the way Yaya, I notice you haven't responded to a post I made a couple of pages back where I asked where you got your claim about the Bible being altered and asked how Islam reconciles justice and mercy, which you had said were central concepts. I'm guessing you just missed it, because I often do that.

Metal Vendetta wrote:It's like blaming Christianity for Hitler. Like then, Christianity just stood by and watched as members of its own religion killed those of another religion. I imagine they were thinking of Moses' example as they did it.


Just to bung in a couple of points of fact:

There were quite a lot of Christians who did act to oppose the holocaust by sheltering Jews or, in one case, a Bishop in one of the conquered countries (I'd have to look it up to check which) saved the entire Jewish population of his country by publicly insisting that whatever happened to the Jews should also happen to him.

Also, the SS who actually carried out the holocaust were most definitely not Christians. They had their own religious beliefs which were a variation on paganism. Himmler, in particular, was very opposed to Christianity, as were many other members of the Nazi hierachy.
 

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Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:34 pm

Bouncelot wrote:
Karl Lynch wrote:
Bouncelot wrote:Well, yes, there could be different explanations for many healings. Take an example I heard today. A lady in my church had had a bone in her elbow break many years ago, it hadn't been spotted at the time, and had healed badly - sticking out in a way that gave her lots of trouble. Last week she had it prayed for, and hasn't had any trouble with it since - including when she had been doing a whole lot of relatively heavy lifting. You could come up with a naturalistic explanation, but once you've accepted the possibility of God existing and answering prayer the explanation that she was healed is a fairly reasonable one. And the example of the deaf man I quoted above doesn't fall into that category anyway.


You're making an erroneous leap- accepting the possibility of God answering the prayer as the explanation for her healing is not an especially reasonable one, or at least no more reasonable than saying it was magic. You've got nothing that says God actually did it, all you know is through some means some ailment ceased being an issue for her- you are interpreting that through your understanding. Seeing the world through red-coloured glasses doesn't mean the world is red, if you catch my drift.


For more examples see my response to Impy's post. It's remarkable how often such massive changes in peoples' conditions co-incincide exactly with people being prayed for.


I already did and answered it :3 In short, given the sheer number of religious people and the sheer number of people in the world with illnesses, it would be highly unusual if some people who were prayed for didn't improve. That doesn't mean the two are causal, as FSM observed: the rate of global warming has increased with the decrease in the pirate population.

I was thinking more of Scientific journals and papers, which are published regardless of whether they upset the establishment or may be disproven- Science generally stands to be disproven.

If miracles truly happened, and happened with some frequency and on the small scale you're describing (i.e. individuals being healed from illnesses, rather than continents being reshaped by the hand of God) then somebody would surely have been able to study it I would have thought.


I'm not sure that they would. There have been studies which have looked at people being prayed for remotely by people who have never met them, but how would you establish a control group for people being prayed for in person? I don't think it's the sort of phenomenon that lends itself to proper scientific investigation.


Interesting you mentioned 'remote' healing as I know I read an article on an investigation into that. They were using three groups- one left to heal without intervention, another group who were prayed for at their bedside (with their full knowledge) and a final group who were prayed for remotely (without their knowledge). The results weren't any great shakes if I remember correctly- I think the group who were prayed for in their presence generally did better than the others, but that lends itself open to the obvious placebo effect.


I don't recall there being a group that was prayed for in their presence in studies I'm aware of. Most examples of miraculous healing are people being prayed for in their presence, it's impossible to test it against the placebo effect. Interesting that there is a difference in that group, though.


You mean in their absence I assume? I don't see why praying for someone in their presence or absence would make any difference if prayer was truly the means to that person's recovery. Prayer is prayer, surely? If God fancies healing that person then he'll do so.

Annoyingly I can't find the paper (although I'm only making a cursory google against it) but did find this -> http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0403/p13s02-lire.html

It's from a Christian website, but interesting highlights that in fact in one study those who were prayed for did worse!

Again we're coming up against the notion that just because Science doesn't know everything, God must therefore be the answer. In an ironic way I suppose that could be said to be true- God does generally fill the void in between our reasonings on the Universe.

Does that not worry you however that sooner or later the world may discover rational explanations behind these things?


I'm not sure that naturalistic necessarily equates to rational.

And no it doesn't worry me. If someone is healed when they are prayed for, does it matter if it was God acting outside of the way the universe normally works or God acting within the way the universe normally works?


You're making the leap that God is involved at all. If you wish to believe that God may intervene through entirely natural effects (that is to say, he's not turning up and literally healing someone with a flash of lights but perhaps working metaphorically with their immune system, doctors, family and wellwishers etc.) then that's reasonable I suppose. One may consider the Almighty to be a first cause of the Universe, in which case all things descending from it (including the human immune system for example) is 'His' healing.


Take the example of the parting of the Red Sea [actually it was the Reed Sea, but if I'd said that you'd be less likely to be recognise the example] from the Bible. There's a naturalistic explanation for the miracle - that the right kind of wind could leave a portion of the sea exposed so you could cross it. However, the story very clearly says that the sea parted when Moses raised out his hands over it and closed again when he did the same from the other side. Does that count as a miracle or a co-incidence? If someone is instantly healed when they are prayed for to be healed, as has happened in many cases, does it make the healing any less an act of God if there is a naturalistic explanation available?


We're assuming the Red Sea ever in fact parted at all, but even so aren't we rather defocussing the point? You're beliefs are mounted in large part on a belief that God is behind these healings and that they have no rational explanation, is this the case or is God now benig demoted down to a sort of 'first cause'? i.e. he created the Universe and is therefore responsible for everything anyway, such as the human immune system is an extension of God (for example)?

However isn't that at odds with Biblical teachings, that God is actively afoot in the world?


Actively afoot in the world doesn't exclude working through the laws of nature as we understand them. The Bible teaches that God created and sustains the world. He's the one who makes sure the Universe functions as it does. It doesn't say that He cannot or will not work through the natural order.


So God works as a first cause then? Rather than a constantly interfering, meddling deity?

Doesn't the evidence rather stand up against that however? The manner in which these healings are only reported (seriously) in the religious establishments they're a part of? It seems rather convenient to me. Especially considering God will happily heal someone's inner ear when they're prayed for, but does nothing for the millions of children (Christian children, I might add) dying of HIV in Africa- despite them praying and being prayed for quite regularly by a huge number of people. Whatever explanation may or may not account for it, the idea that God will heal people with trivial illnesses and that this is entirely accurate but has never been investigated and found to have a shred of proof by any impartial analyst sounds a bit like... a conspiracy subculture. I mean it does, doesn't it? Whether you believe it or not you have to agree it certainly sounds pretty dodgy in that light.


Actually, there are many many more reports of healings coming out of African, Latin American, and Chinese churches than there are from Western churches. By all accounts there are more modern-day miracles in countries where they are most needed than there are in countries where they are not.


But you're not disputing the fact that thousands of children died today with HIV who prayed to God for their salvation? My conundrum is how a God who will happily descend a cure someone's earache because it was prayed for could turn a blind ear to all those children.

Naturally that can be despatched with "Ah, but we cannot hope to understand the mind of God", but I think you are more than smart enough to know that is a non-answer- as we said before, the ability for faith to paper over obvious glaring issues with a doctrine.


Well you have two options - either you assume that God has to answer every prayer for healing, or you assume that He will answer prayers for healing as and when He decides to do so. The Bible is quite clear that not everybody gets healed. There's one story from the gospels where Jesus goes to a pool that is believed to offer healing - when the waters were stirred up the first one in the pool gets healed - and He heals just one person there. Your take on the issue assumes that God should heal whoever we ask Him to whenever we ask (or something close). It's essentially saying "I know better than God does". If God does heal, He is free to do so in a way that doesn't align up with our preconceptions about how it is supposed to work.


That's basically a fancy way of saying "We cannot hope to understand the mind of God", isn't it? ;)

So does it not concern you that there is this omission in your belief and that you need to essentially paper-over it using the desire to believe in your belief?

So what kind of evidence would you consider to be actual evidence of God?


God spent most of the Old Testament appearing in fireballs, wiping cities off the earth with brimstone and sulphur, flooding the world and killing everyone except for Noah and his brood (plus a few animals), sending tablets of stone to Earth and unleashing plagues of locusts upon his people's enemies.

He hasn't done a huge amount of that recently, in fact not since Man generally speaking became able to accept more down-to-earth explanations for world events.


He didn't do a lot of that in the Old Testament either. The big earth-shattering type of miracles were quite rare. It feels like there are a lot of them simply because the Bible naturally focuses its narrative on the times when stuff happened rather than when it didn't, but within the period covered by the Old Testament such in-your-face miracles happened every few centuries at best.


Yar, I appreciate that, you've got to admit he's been a little bit quiet for the last couple of millennia though hasn't he? Even allowing for one or two miracles every two hundred years you'd have expected a few by now.

Quantifiable evidence of God would simply be thus:

We have an empty box. We know it is empty. We have measured it, weighed it, analysed it. Empty. We put it in an empty sealed room, nobody is allowed in. We get someone to pray for God to influence the box, and we then detect a change in the box. God heats the box up, cools it down, rips it, makes a tiger appear in it. Whatever. Why the Almighty considers giving us proof of his existence to be a sin is something I cannot grasp, similarly how a character who spends so much time interfering in the world in such obviously Godlike ways can suddenly totally withdraw and be reduced to dubious healing ceremonies.


If you look at the miracles in the Bible not one of them was about God proving that He exists. All of them were about something else. There is no example of a miracle that is purely intended to convince someone that God exists. They are all for a specific purpose - whether to authenticate a particular messenger, to prove a point about God's character to those who already know Him, to move His people to the next stage (like leaving Egypt), to preserve someone's life, to judge people for their sins or whatever. So that kind of experiment (which, incidentally, nobody has ever tried) isn't in keeping with the pattern of divine intervention shown in the Bible.


I don't see why he shouldn't do it though. Why is it anathema for God to do such things, he can do anything he likes and is all powerful so technically it's impossible to waste his time since he has an infinite quantity of it to waste :)

Plus the number of problems it would solve if God just appeared, cleared his throat and announced "Alright, I appreciate the last few messengers didn't do much of a job (3,445,098+ contradictory religions and counting... case in point... only one God, people!) so here's the ground rules..."

I see nothing even vaguely silly or impractical about that at all. If God's quite happy to turn up and heal [random] people why not interfere in a slightly bigger way and let everyone know the real scoop?

Why can't God influence the world in such a fashion if he has no problems interfering in it?


That's one way of looking at it. The other is to ask why should He bother? Should God pander to our every desire for a sign. It reminds me of a former housemate's conversion story. He asked God for a sign that He existed and a Bible reference flashed into his mind. He looked it up, and it was the verse that said "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it."


But that is in and of itself a sign, isn't it? o.O Is God into recursive irony now? Yikes.

Why shouldn't God do so though? As I said, he's all powerful- it's not as if we can physically waste his time. We're in theory his number one priority, and if he gets it right this time (instead of fudging his message like last time through a load of vague writings) he wouldn't need to appear again.

So since your personality was already established your faith would be something of a bolt-on to it? Unless perhaps there's a genetic influence, which some Scientists have theorised there might be... how would you feel about your faith being influenced by your genes? How do you feel that might influence ideas of universal truth, if not everybody would be able to see them? It's entirely hypothetical naturally, I'm just curious.


Well it would seem to fit to a certain extent to some of what the Bible seems to teach about predestination if you only came to faith through certain genes. Of course someone being blind to the truth doesn't change the truth being true.


You're assuming that there is an objective truth outside of your own personal agenda. However, if God's truth were always true, objective and all-encompassing... shouldn't anybody be able to see it regardless of genetics? Considering God in theory also created our DNA.


Why would everybody necessarily be able to see it? If the Bible is true, then humanity has been tainted by sin and some people are spiritually blind, unable to see what should be staring them in the face.


Well it doesn't sound very fair for a start- everybody should have the same crack of the whip, surely? Else God doesn't sound like much of a deity worth worshipping if you're going to be screwed for all eternity just because the dice fell that way.

The true irony I continue to smile at however is that you're fully aware that I'm not inventing these faults with your understanding and that we've exposed it's essentially your faith self-sustaining your faith against what most people would consider to be normal reasoning- an intentional decision not to look facts in the face and instead to retreat into belief because the process of assimilating these understandings would be too upsetting- yet you're implication is that it's everybody else who is blind. You know this to be true, you're intentionally ignoring it :) That's the most fascinating thing about this.

Not that it matters one iota, but if as I suspect we only get one shot at life with nothing coming after don't you think you might be rather wasting time you can't afford to waste?

I see, rather than being someone who just goes along to church with the 'rents and ends up being part of it, the distinction you're trying to make is you had a moment where you actually said "Okay, I'll go along with this".


And that the moment I did so wasn't because I was being prompted to, or pushed towards, that decision at the specific time I made the decision.


As I said, I didn't expect anybody to hold a gun to your head :)

OK, let's break this down a bit more into different types of evidence:
1) The Bible being an accurate record of what people believed they had experienced. This stands on its own independant of any other evidence.
2) The authors of the Bible being right in their interpretation of what they had experienced. Yes, this is backed up by what I see today, but it isn't entirely based on it.
3) Things I see around me. I wouldn't need to believe the Bible to be convinced that something supernatural was happening amongst the church I belong to. Exposure to it is sufficient on its own. Yes, it reinforces my belief in the Bible, as it's all happening as a result of people believing the Bible, but I don't think that it's entirely dependant on it.
4) The way the world in general seems to work matches the teachings of the Bible. Another corroborating piece of evidence that is fairly independant.


You're assuming independence where none really exists. Human beings acquire knowledge through their senses, not directly. The world is filtered through these and goes to make up our personalities and understanding.

Essentially what you're telling me is logically impossible:

You were involved in your church and saw 'things' through its (rather tinted) lens and you also see the word of the Bible at work in the world.

However this is not a result of you believing the teachings or the word of the Bible, as that came after (since these affirmations are your reason for believing the word of the Bible).

You must first believe these things to see them and believe them, how can they then stand as proof for your beliefs?

Essentially you cannot escape that human beings filter the world through our minds and not directly- to see 'evidence' for the Bible, one would first need to believe the Bible.

Your faith must therefore be an internal quality, rather than external. It's no great biggie, but it's the leadup to the following:


I'm not sure I entirely follow the logic of what you're saying. The evidence I see for the Bible being an accurate depiction of events is not dependant on the evidence for supernatural events happening around me. The evidence for supernatural events happening around me to people who believe in the Bible is not dependant on the evidence for the Bible. Yes, they point in the same direction, and ultimately reinforce each other, but either is capable of standing up as evidence in its own right.


Unless you believed what you were seeing was the work of God you wouldn't see it as the work of God. I rather fancy I've probably seen some things in this life you might undeniably attribute to God yet I do not qualify them as such. If you didn't already believe they were the work of God surely you'd say it was something else?

Hence you must first believe before you can see the 'evidence'. Otherwise why don't I see this same evidence, if it's apparently there in such obvious quantities that anybody who can't see it must be 'spiritually blind'?

Bearing this in mind, and that we perceive the world we wish to see since it is filtered through our understanding and beliefs, we have a situation where the truth you are in fact subscribing to is internal. You are believing because you wish to believe.

I wish to know what bits of Christianity you wish to believe. Is it the afterlife, the character of the God? The teachings of this God? Which teachings in particular? My quesiton was intentionally oblique, I'm afraid.


I don't think I can realistically answer that question. Separating out any one part of my faith as being something I want to believe more than another part really doesn't fit the way I think about it. I guess my favourite part might well be God's grace just because it's particularly wonderfuil, but that's utterly intertwined with pretty much every part of my faith that's actually important.


Oh not one bit, multiple bits will do fine. So you like God's 'grace'? I'd like you to tell me more about that... by grace you mean the way his works all fit together and interact? Erm, elegant I think is perhaps the word- the workings of the world are elegant?


Nope. Grace is essentially God giving us the opposite of what we deserve - eternal life when we deserve eternal damnation and the like. It's a wonderful concept that basically underpins Christian theology.


Why don't we deserve nice things? God made us, made our universe, made all the laws that Govern it and is the first cause for all things- if God is responsible for all things then he is responsible for us and our behaviour. If we do bad things, isn't that the fault of the individual who not only made us but made all the things that influenced us to do bad?

Is a vicious dog a 'bad' creature or is the person who whipped it, starved it and generally mistreated it to make it so 'bad'? Or are they both dislikeable entities? Now there's an idea... maybe God could really be like mankind- faults and all! Which would explain his picking-and-choosing over who to save from dreadful illness.

I've not physically heard God, though I've known people who have. My experience is that there are a range of ways of hearing God. There have been two or three times when God's voice has been utterly unmistakeable - it's the mental equivalent of someone shouting in your ear, and there's no way it could possibly be your own thoughts. Other times, I've been reading the Bible and verses have directly leapt out at me, and there are other times where I've had a definite "impression" of something God wants to say, it doesn't resemble any of my own thoughts, and isn't exactly words. It's the sort of thing that's difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't experienced it.


I'm firstly greatly interested in how you believe others to have physically heard God when you have not heard him yourself? How do you know that they are not merely externalising the same internal thoughts and ideas you have?


The particular example I was thinking of was someone who audibly heard God before he became a Christian. He wasn't externalising any religious thoughts because he had none.


How do we know so? I appreciate he may not have accepted Christ, but supposing faith is something in the mind (or the genes perhaps?) Therefore whether someone subscribed to the faith or had even considered it before, the building blocks of that faith (i.e. the capacity to believe in it without proof and to ascribe physical events to that particular theory) may already be in place.


So a non-Christian whose attitude to God at the time was "If I ever meet him I'll thump him one" audibly hears God's voice?


Why shouldn't he? If the mechanisms are already built in his brain for such a belief and he is in fact expressing other thoughts and feelings (sounds like frustration) through his words?

Let's put it this way, if he plots to thump God one he must first be open to the idea of his existence :) So maybe there were whole areas of his brain and psyche just waiting to kick into action, perhaps therefore creating 'fulfilment'? An interesting idea! :)


I'm not sure he did actually believe in God at the time. I know people who have gone from not believing in God at all to becoming Christians. How would they fit into your model?


Not believing in God is not the same thing as the capacity to be able to believe in God, I believe is the distinction I'm making.

So he may well in fact have been externalising thoughts which were his own through a dormant belief in 'something'- that something was later attuned to Christianity. Veery interesting... or perhaps I should say as is my theory that his 'something' happened to be attuned to Christianity more than any other (as he discovered upon investigation) and therefore aligned himself to that faith.


The voice in question told him to go and listen to a man who happened to be reading his bible. Hardly the sort of thing you'd expect from a genetic tuning.


Hm sounds good to me- part of his mind needed something to believe in, best place to start is someone who knows a thing or two about religion. It'd be probably such a man might be reading his Bible at the time.

Minds are incredibly complicated, subtle impulses are built on and joined to thoughts and feelings which can then become words and sensations in our mind. Maybe your friend felt such a thing? Maybe if God were a 'first cause' he might well be behind them (ultimately).


Possible. Though, knowing the man in question, I'm not convinced about your explanation.


{Shrug} You're perogative if you believe you know another man's mind that well :) From an unbiased, practical perspective it's no more unlikely than God talking to him though, is it?

Do you think it may be some form of survival instinct? Humans have the capacity to leap beyond logic and reasoning and to see more in the world than there is- our ability to predict future events is essentially this capacity and to make decisions based on things which are factually sketchy or may never happen. Perhaps it is an extension of that to believe in something which an impartial observer from Mars (for argument's sake) would probably observe very outlandish?


Surely that would be a negative trait for survival.


I can't see why, it helps the grieving process and allows humans to function extraordinarily well despite perhaps knowing virtually nothing about how their world works. The brain's way of joining the dots to make a picture so we at least have something to work with :) Naturally we'd have to believe it too, otherwise it wouldn't be of much use... I could see that being quite important in fact to early humans and beyond.


Expending energy on something that's constructed to fit non-existent patterns seems to me to be something that would be less useful as a survival trait.


Patterns may be extremely complicated- to ellucidate the point, wise women used to make crazy potions for fixing all manner of illnesses. Believing they were expunging demons, or evacuating humors or any other amount of what we know today to be total nonsense. However, nobody would deny that often their remedies might work- they wouldn't be handed down one generation to the next as cures if they consistently failed.

Certain herbs, plants and animals may contain chemicals with restorative and healing properties, hence assisting the body in dealing with the illness.

The understanding is nonsense, but the pattern derived by the human brain may be more effective than seeing no pattern at all.

Does it still sound as if expanding this energy in such a fashion is of no benefit? Why shouldn't we scale this model up to include a philosophy of all things, considering it's highly unlikely human beings can switch this capacity on and off at will?

That's entirely speculation on your part. My mind works in an identical way (merely in the opposite direction) when I'm on a mania. I've decomposed the personalities of several other (normal?) individuals who have similar interpretations to their mind's 'voices' as I do. Unless you want to pull up a couch and psychoanalyse me for a month or two you're not likely to know the cause of most of my mental activity or indeed how it might compare to a 'regular' person :)


So it basically comes down to a matter of interpretation? My experience of such things leads me to believe that the voices I've experienced are from God, I've not had an example where there's been one pointing in the opposite direction, which if it's just me, surely should have happened at least once.


Interpretation sounds like a good word for it to me :)
 
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