Atheism requires as much faith as rel...

Atheism requires as much faith as religion?

There are 258040 comments on the Webbunny tumblelog story from Jul 18, 2009, titled Atheism requires as much faith as religion?. In it, Webbunny tumblelog reports that:

Atheism requires as much faith as religion? bearvspuma : The only problem with this rationalization is that ita s assuming all athiests are so because theya re intelligent in the ways of science and reasoning and all people that believe in a form of god are unintelligent.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Webbunny tumblelog.

Since: Mar 11

Henderson, KY

#172799 Jul 22, 2013
Well said. Sadly he offers no proof but merely his personal biased opinions.
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>If your claim is the existence of a supernatural, then yes, I do want evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. And that has to be established *before* we can take the story of Jesus at face value. If the evidence for Jesus isn't at *least* beyond a reasonable doubt, then it simply isn't sufficient to demonstrate its claim: that Jesus was a deity incarnate.

This is not simply a historical question. The historical question is whether some preacher in the early first century taught the things attributed to Jesus and was then killed by hanging on a cross.*That* requires a much lower standard of evidence than the much more relevant issue of the supernatural claims about Jesus' identity. Whether there were people who *believed* that Jesus rose from the dead is another historical question. But even the existence of people with this belief is insufficient for the proof that they were correct in their beliefs.

So, even if we could prove the historical existence of a preacher that taught as Jesus did in the gospels, and that there were people who honestly believed they saw him alive afterwards, is that sufficient to show that Jesus was, indeed, a divinity made human? No. Far from it. The standards of evidence for the two cases is far different. One, as you say, is a historical question with lower standards of proof (partly by necessity), but also more doubt about the conclusions made. The other is a deep question about the nature of reality and needs to be addressed separately and with a much higher standard of proof.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172800 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
What I have a problem with is the Jesus Mythicist argument because it's lazy. Here's why I think it's lazy. The following is what I heard fellow skeptics say when I was still a skeptic myself.
"If we grant that Jesus lived, then the subject of resurrection is going to be discussed."
"If the evidence in favor of resurrection is more plausible than any competing or alternate argument, then that means there is life after death is possible."
"If life after death is possible, then that means I could be judged for what I do here in this life, and I don't want to be judged."
"If I'm going to be judged for my actions in this life, then I have to change, and I enjoy some things too much to change. I want to be master of my life and not be held accountable for it."
"To avoid the entire afterlife accountability issue, I'll deny that Jesus even existed and look for reasons to justify that position.(Naturalism, materialism, etc.) Problem solved."
That's why it's lazy. It's intellectually dishonest because the skeptic who goes to this extreme is willing to re-write history to escape emotional discomfort.
Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was honest about it when he wrote the following:
"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
(”The Last Word”, Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)
Yes, this argument is intellectually lazy. Truth is not determined by desires, but instead by evidence.

I find many theists to have a similar issue, however (not claiming you do). They say that the do not wish to live in a universe with no deity, or say that their lives would be without meaning if such were true. I find such arguments to be equally lazy. Again, the truth of a proposition does not depend on our desires.

Since: Mar 11

Henderson, KY

#172801 Jul 22, 2013
You cannot show one person questioning the existence of Jesus as making those statements. They are obvious Christian apologetic talking points and you know it. Your own bible says Satan is the father of the lie, so why must you lie so much?
Roman Apologist wrote:
Kudos Polymath. I had to clip some of it for space considerations. I'm sure you understand. This is an excellent thought provoking post, and it deserves respect for the thought process that you put into it. As you say, the burden for establishing historicity is lower than "beyond reasonable doubt." Necessity dictates that this is correct.

But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
I lived for 20 years as an agnostic skeptic, but even then I knew that nobody operates with 100% certainty in every aspect of life unless there are some serious mental health issues going on.

I can respect the fact that an atheist would argue against the deity or supernatural accounts told about Jesus. I think that's a fair and argument. I don't agree, but I can recognize a fair argument when I see one. It's fair to history and it's fair to the investigation of natural causes. What I have a problem with is the Jesus Mythicist argument because it's lazy. Here's why I think it's lazy. The following is what I heard fellow skeptics say when I was still a skeptic myself.

"If we grant that Jesus lived, then the subject of resurrection is going to be discussed."

"If the evidence in favor of resurrection is more plausible than any competing or alternate argument, then that means there is life after death is possible."

"If life after death is possible, then that means I could be judged for what I do here in this life, and I don't want to be judged."

"If I'm going to be judged for my actions in this life, then I have to change, and I enjoy some things too much to change. I want to be master of my life and not be held accountable for it."

"To avoid the entire afterlife accountability issue, I'll deny that Jesus even existed and look for reasons to justify that position.(Naturalism, materialism, etc.) Problem solved."

That's why it's lazy. It's intellectually dishonest because the skeptic who goes to this extreme is willing to re-write history to escape emotional discomfort.

Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel was honest about it when he wrote the following:

"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

(”The Last Word”, Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172803 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
But what drives my inquiry is why does the standard of evidence need to be so high to consider the supernatural as possible or probable?
This is no more than would be required for many other physical effects.

An interesting thing happened in particle physics recently. A team of well-respected physicists at an international lab reported that they measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This was a remarkable claim! Much of the basis of physics in the 20th century was based on special relativity which said that such travel was impossible.

Now, of course when such a measurement is found, the *first* thing you suspect is some sort of measurement error. Were the devices calibrated correctly? Were the neutrinos generated when they thought? Were they measuring the distances correctly? Were their clocks accurate enough for this measurement? And it *was* a very delicate measurement with quite a number of pitfalls that are not obvious to non-physicsts (among such the fact that the source of neutrinos and the detectors are both in a rotating frame of reference).

But these physicists could not find anything wrong with their measurements. So they published their results. I should say that even they did not believe the results. Why not? Because there has been a *huge* amount of evidence for special relativity over the last century and the observed violations would probably (not certainly) have been detected earlier. But perhaps neutrinos were different.

By the way, this is a good example of how biases do NOT determine observations. Nobody expected these results. Everyone expected them to be wrong. Yet, they could find no *reason* to discount them, so they were presented to the larger community for comment and review. This is how science is done.

After a very long procedure, it was found that some wiring added a few nanoseconds to some measurements, and that was enough to invalidate their results. When the experiment was run again (necessary!), the neutrinos were found to respect the light barrier.

Now, in this, the measurements were 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. After all, well-respected scientists were unable to find anything wrong with them for *months* of thinking. But the results were *wrong*. So, yes, at *least* we want 'beyond a reasonable doubt' if not much more *if* we see the possibility of having to rewrite some central laws of physics.

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172804 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, this argument is intellectually lazy. Truth is not determined by desires, but instead by evidence.
I find many theists to have a similar issue, however (not claiming you do). They say that the do not wish to live in a universe with no deity, or say that their lives would be without meaning if such were true. I find such arguments to be equally lazy. Again, the truth of a proposition does not depend on our desires.
Precisely! I find fundementalist-young-earth-cre ationists to be as equally guilty to justify their faith. They take the bible literally in every regard and refuse to listen to scientific logic which is just as lazy as "Jesus Mythicism." It's absurd! I find that wanting something to be true so badly that we exaggerate or deny it with a "blanket statement" such as 'The Earth is 6,000 years old because the bible says so!' or 'Jesus is a myth because Bruno Bauer said so!' is just inviting intellectual disaster.

Liberty, I've already seen your statement that you think this is apologetic posturing. I don't care if you believe me or not. I don't care if it makes you angry or not. But I know for a fact that people really do think that way, some atheists (not all) and some fundamentalists (not all) are guilty of this. I've heard people on both sides say such stupid things.

Since: Mar 11

Henderson, KY

#172805 Jul 22, 2013
Lol so pathetic. Atheists and skeptics all happen to say word for word apologetic talking points.... Or could it be that some people correctly stye that there is no historical proof for Jesus?

Lmfao!

Bart Ehrman is one who says he thinks Jesus existed but the miracles were made up as the majority of secular scholars who reluctantly agree he probably existed. So to say that the only reason you ask for historical proof that he existed is because you are scared of being judged is just childish.

Pure apologetic lies. Oh well great for a laugh :))

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172806 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
This is no more than would be required for many other physical effects.
An interesting thing happened in particle physics recently. A team of well-respected physicists at an international lab reported that they measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This was a remarkable claim! Much of the basis of physics in the 20th century was based on special relativity which said that such travel was impossible.
Now, of course when such a measurement is found, the *first* thing you suspect is some sort of measurement error. Were the devices calibrated correctly? Were the neutrinos generated when they thought? Were they measuring the distances correctly? Were their clocks accurate enough for this measurement? And it *was* a very delicate measurement with quite a number of pitfalls that are not obvious to non-physicsts (among such the fact that the source of neutrinos and the detectors are both in a rotating frame of reference).
But these physicists could not find anything wrong with their measurements. So they published their results. I should say that even they did not believe the results. Why not? Because there has been a *huge* amount of evidence for special relativity over the last century and the observed violations would probably (not certainly) have been detected earlier. But perhaps neutrinos were different.
By the way, this is a good example of how biases do NOT determine observations. Nobody expected these results. Everyone expected them to be wrong. Yet, they could find no *reason* to discount them, so they were presented to the larger community for comment and review. This is how science is done.
After a very long procedure, it was found that some wiring added a few nanoseconds to some measurements, and that was enough to invalidate their results. When the experiment was run again (necessary!), the neutrinos were found to respect the light barrier.
Now, in this, the measurements were 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. After all, well-respected scientists were unable to find anything wrong with them for *months* of thinking. But the results were *wrong*. So, yes, at *least* we want 'beyond a reasonable doubt' if not much more *if* we see the possibility of having to rewrite some central laws of physics.
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.

Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.

“Jon Snow”

Since: Dec 10

The King in the Nor±h

#172807 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.
Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.


"That's why I swear by them."

You swear by complete conjecture and wishful thinking then, and you belief in these things are apparent. But improvisation is needed to make belief into real evidence, so you in fact hold only a hand of three, three dollar bills.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#172808 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I see what you mean and I can agree with your reasoning with regard to a physics experiment. I never really worried too much about what I couldn't see. That's what fascinates me about people who live their lives in such a way that everything has to pertain to the five senses and nothing outside that philosophy is of importance. I've just never understood the big deal behind empiricism as a life shaping philosophy.
It is a mistake to equate empiricism with the claim that everything has to pertain to the five senses, at least if you take that strictly.

For example, empiricism has been used to demonstrate the existence of many things that are beyond our senses: radio, ultra-violet rays, neutrons, neutrinos, ultra-sound, various types of radioactivity, etc. Our eyes can detect only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our ears have a larger range in terms of octaves, but dogs can hear much higher sounds than we can.

With that said, the *starting* point is the five senses. From those, we can learn how to detect things we cannot see or hear.
Now with regard to historic claims and empirical evidence, we have archeology to bridge that gap. As the timeline gets longer between the event and the archeological discovery, we need a methodology to determine what is the most likely scenario, and even then we have to understand that the ravages of time and nature are going to work against us. All historians understand that dynamic. That's where those ten tests of reliability come into play. Documents don't survive carbon dating. So we do need a scientific method to determine reliability. No historian approaches the subject with absolute objectivity. It's impossible and dishonest to say otherwise. that's why the ten tests exist. They can (if done correctly) neutralize the bias of a document's author, and they can also neutralize the bias of the historical researcher to the maximum extent possible. That's why I swear by them.
I missed where you enumerated the ten tests. And yes, archeology can add to the data to consider. By not having the inherent biases of an author, it allows a bit more objectivity, but we still have the biases of the archeologist. The latter tend to be cultural and unintentional, but they still exist, just like the biases of the historians. There is now, at least, a tendency to attempt to point out such biases and learn how to minimize them in professional work.

The links I *did* see were OK as starting points, but they also tend to ignore the context by which we obtain ancient writings. Unless they are written in rock (which has its own set of cautions), ancient writings have been written and re-written by scribes over centuries. We can often even relate the different documents by looking at the errors the scribes made and how they were transmitted to later manuscripts. We can often follow how interpretations have changed over time because of the types of errors that scribes have made.

I would also challenge your assertions about the reliability of oral traditions. While they can be much more reliable than many think, they are definitely less so than written records. The most reliable ones use rhyme in some way as a memory check, but even that allows for large changes over time. It also takes a fairly large collection of people devoted to memorization to maintain reliability over time. And, finally, the subject has to be one that the memory specialists think is interesting enough to *be* memorized. And such considerations change over time. This leads to a situation where oral tradition is more reliable than a simple game of telephone, but much less reliable than written records, which are also not perfect as transmitted over centuries.

And, once again, we always have the issue of whether the stories in the writings are believable to begin with. For example, do we really think that the god Pan lead Julius Ceasar across the Rubicon?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172809 Jul 22, 2013
macumazahn wrote:
<quoted text>Yes.
There's something fatally wrong with the underlying notions.
Yes there is...

... the children **ought** to be at the top of the top-most-top list.

Any list, but especially government's lists.

..ugg.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172810 Jul 22, 2013
ChristineM wrote:
<quoted text>
I was in Paris, walking from the hotel for a little sight seeing at le Place de la Concorde and watched in fascination as two tractors towing trailers of manure trundled up the busy road. You can imagine the scene of two big heavy tractors rolling along side by side at around 10kph in a busy Paris street – honk, honk.

The tractors pulled up outside a newly opening McDonalds, grinding traffic to a complete standstill, crowds gathered (both pedestrian and frustrated drivers) to watch them very efficiently dumped the lot in the doorways then they drove off to cheers and applause.
I don't give a damn if your story is real, or a lovely-lovely bit of hyperbolic prose.

I loved reading it either way!

So funny, the scene you painted into my mind's eye.

:D

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172811 Jul 22, 2013
ChristineM wrote:
<quoted text>
Don't Panic
... indeed: Earth is **mostly** harmless.

:)

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172812 Jul 22, 2013
Thinking wrote:
How very French... however McDonalds are still expanding in France, whilst they are shutting outlets in the UK.
<quoted text>
McD's is closing it's doors in the UK?

What? Not bland enough?

<laughing my azz off-- sorry about the joke on UK cuisine...>

:D

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172813 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm not trying to deflect Bob. Allow me to explain.
I think the word faith has been given multiple definitions over the years based upon mistaken perceptions. My blunt opinion is that faith=trust.
I do not, in principle, disagree.

But trust is based on ... what?

In my case? I freely admit I have faith in chair-shaped objects: my faith extends such that I freely sit on these things, without checking them first (to see if they will hold me up).

That is faith and trust too-- but it's based on **life** experiences of actual sitting on actual chairs.

So my faith in chairs is based on real world experiences-- which I can easily repeat at any time, if I need to.

Can the same be claimed about gods?

No.

Why?

Because the faith/trust **must** come **first** with respect to all gods.

Always.

Without this faith/trust? YOU DO NOT BELIEVE.

It really does boil down to that one.

My faith in chairs? Is **not** the same as your faith in gods.

Not at all--

-- for one thing? I keep confirming my chair-faith, every time I sit down and **do not fall**.

You have nothing even remotely similar, with respect to your faith in gods-- moreover, you **had** to create your god-faith **prior** to "experiencing" any god phenomena.

Again, in contrast to my chair-faith--which I can start out as 100% skeptical about chairs-- and then? I can test my skepticism, by-- at first-- gently pushing on the chair, then gingerly sitting.

Viola! My skepticism with regards to the chair was unjustified.

And my faith/trust comes **after**, my real-world experiences.

Your god-faith? Cannot possibly come after.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172814 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
I firmly believe that the early church fathers (the Apostles and their disciples) used the word faith in the way I do. Trust. They trusted because they honestly believed they had seen the risen Christ.
When I look at the total body of evidence, the big picture, I see how it all comes together, and how I can trust (have faith) in the probability. I think that the Christian church of the 21st century is starting to realize this mistake, and is replacing the word faith with trust. For many of us, they are one and same.
And I? Looking at the **exact****same** body of "evidence"?

Have concluded the exact opposite-- as have a large number of bible scholars and historians.

... not that it's a popularity contest--it's not-- reality doesn't care one way or the other, of course.

I have no faith, you see-- in contrast to you, who does.

So your faith **demands** that you reshape what you percieve, to support the faith.

But I am able to see the inconsistencies for what they really are-- inconsistencies.

And I then ask:

"What sort of deity-- who CARES-- would allow such mistakes to creep in?"

"If, as they all claim, the consequences are **infinite** in scope?"

"Then-- it **behooves** said deity to ensure CONSISTENCY."

Alas, that is **not** the case at all.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172815 Jul 22, 2013
macumazahn wrote:
<quoted text>Wait, I got red-flagged by the effing robocensor for my last post???
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
The robocensor is kind of an idiot... in case you haven't already figured that one out...

... <laughing>

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172816 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
People claimed to have seen Elvis after he died. More relevantly, they also claimed to have seen David Koresh.
<quoted text>
When I look at the 'big picture', I see the case for Christianity fall apart in many ways.
I see the growth of a legend and its interaction with a larger society that was superstitious and prone to mystery cults. I see the mass production of stories that were back-attributed to the apostles and carried the biases of later believers. I see a dynamic between the Jewish and the Roman cultures that began long before Jesus supposedly existed and continued long after. I see the adoption of the cult a few centuries later by an emperor looking for a base of power. I see the books of the Bible chosen to support the power of the emperor. I see a battle early on between those who believed in a divine Christ who became human and those who did not think he was actually human. I see a previous battle between those who were Jewish and saw Jesus' message as directed to them, and Paul who wanted to spread the message to the Romans.
In all of this, power and superstition were dominant considerations. Hardly the way to preserve truth.
I see much the same things.

Which forces me to ask what sort of deity would have suffered all of the above, to mangle his "message", if said message was so all-fired important?

I mean... really?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

#172817 Jul 22, 2013
Roman Apologist wrote:
<quoted text>
I never said that faith is evidence. Evidence is what supports faith. Evidence is what supports the decisions that a jury makes in a court case. The jury doesn't deliberate until all the available and reasonable evidence is in and the attorneys submit their closing arguments. The jury can't say "We find the defendant guilty/not guilty" and then go looking for reasons to justify it. That wouldn't be justice. That would be foolish. Likewise, it's supposed to work the same way with Christianity. We're supposed to ask questions and weigh the merits of the total argument, not just small pieces and sound bytes.
The stereotype is that Christians say "Yup we believe" and then go looking for reasons to believe. That is just stupid. And it's equally stupid (no offense intended) to apply that stereotype to all Christians. Some of us really do think and consider the evidence.
That brings me to the next point. What is and isn't evidence?
That is undoubtedly a major point of contention. What is the standard of evidence? Is it the preponderance of the evidence which is 51% or higher, or is it beyond reasonable doubt? With all due respect to the uninitiated in legal and historical matters, the higher standard is only applied in criminal cases. Not civil cases or historical research. Certainty isn't the goal in presenting evidence for the spiritual seeker. Certainty would have us all in Vegas or never leaving the bathroom.
The Christian church is undergoing a radical change in which discussion about doubt and church history is being encouraged instead of discouraged. People want real answers before placing trust in Jesus, and I think it's right that they do. Trust shouldn't be blind as has been the attitude. Neither should people be told "Well just believe first and then we'll give you the reasons why later." No. That's dishonest. That's why you're seeing a sharp decline in mainline church populations. But that doesn't mean Christianity is declining. It means that the traditional view of church and the Christian faith is changing. House churches are on the rise. With a house church, most if not all of the funds collected go directly towards charitable causes right in the local community, because there are no administrative costs associated with the church.
Sorry to be so long on this post, but the old stereotypes are being challenged. Perceptions are being challenged in both believers and skeptics.
My faith didn't come first. The evidence built my trust from the ground up because I was willing to follow the evidence wherever it took me. And where it took me was to the probability that Jesus is who he claimed, and that all my old perceptions of an old angry petty cosmic tyrant were false because I hadn't allowed for the cultural/historical differences, and because I was too proud to admit being wrong. It took me 20 years to come to this conclusion. It couldn't happen overnight, and that's why I don't try to convince you in one argument. I give you small snippets to mentally chew on. Only you can decide if your mind is open enough to consider putting your stereotypes aside. I can't decide for you or tell you what to do. I can only tell you what worked for me.
Well, you are fairly unique among theists.

Most will do and think whatever they need to, to preserve their faith.

In short? The faith that was instilled into them as defenseless children, is what drives their thoughts-- and so they are quite willing to re-twist what they see, to "justify" that deeply ingrained faith.

I tried to cling to mine for years, by going more or less deist.

But eventually, even that nebulous faith died on the vine--for lack of supporting *facts*.

I look around the world? I see atrocity happening to little innocent kids?

God-preventable atrocity? Some of it even due to purely natural causes?

And I **have** to conclude: there cannot possibly be a god who gives a rat-fink about the fate of humans.

“Jon Snow”

Since: Dec 10

The King in the Nor±h

#172818 Jul 22, 2013
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
It is a mistake to equate empiricism with the claim that everything has to pertain to the five senses, at least if you take that strictly.
For example, empiricism has been used to demonstrate the existence of many things that are beyond our senses: radio, ultra-violet rays, neutrons, neutrinos, ultra-sound, various types of radioactivity, etc. Our eyes can detect only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our ears have a larger range in terms of octaves, but dogs can hear much higher sounds than we can.
With that said, the *starting* point is the five senses. From those, we can learn how to detect things we cannot see or hear.
<quoted text>
I missed where you enumerated the ten tests. And yes, archeology can add to the data to consider. By not having the inherent biases of an author, it allows a bit more objectivity, but we still have the biases of the archeologist. The latter tend to be cultural and unintentional, but they still exist, just like the biases of the historians. There is now, at least, a tendency to attempt to point out such biases and learn how to minimize them in professional work.
The links I *did* see were OK as starting points, but they also tend to ignore the context by which we obtain ancient writings. Unless they are written in rock (which has its own set of cautions), ancient writings have been written and re-written by scribes over centuries. We can often even relate the different documents by looking at the errors the scribes made and how they were transmitted to later manuscripts. We can often follow how interpretations have changed over time because of the types of errors that scribes have made.
I would also challenge your assertions about the reliability of oral traditions. While they can be much more reliable than many think, they are definitely less so than written records. The most reliable ones use rhyme in some way as a memory check, but even that allows for large changes over time. It also takes a fairly large collection of people devoted to memorization to maintain reliability over time. And, finally, the subject has to be one that the memory specialists think is interesting enough to *be* memorized. And such considerations change over time. This leads to a situation where oral tradition is more reliable than a simple game of telephone, but much less reliable than written records, which are also not perfect as transmitted over centuries.
And, once again, we always have the issue of whether the stories in the writings are believable to begin with. For example, do we really think that the god Pan lead Julius Ceasar across the Rubicon?
Snort, ha hahah We are not limited to our human ability.
We indeed have developed super ability to detect things beyond those limitations. This has been a prerequisite since before radar even, but infrared and gps to new horizons we go.

“a.k.a. GhostWriter2U”

Since: Jul 13

Location hidden

#172821 Jul 22, 2013
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
And I? Looking at the **exact****same** body of "evidence"?
Have concluded the exact opposite-- as have a large number of bible scholars and historians.
... not that it's a popularity contest--it's not-- reality doesn't care one way or the other, of course.
I have no faith, you see-- in contrast to you, who does.
So your faith **demands** that you reshape what you percieve, to support the faith.
But I am able to see the inconsistencies for what they really are-- inconsistencies.
And I then ask:
"What sort of deity-- who CARES-- would allow such mistakes to creep in?"
"If, as they all claim, the consequences are **infinite** in scope?"
"Then-- it **behooves** said deity to ensure CONSISTENCY."
Alas, that is **not** the case at all.
I can certainly understand your point of view. But I thought I saw inconsistencies too. They're only inconsistencies in text. Meaning, we have to delve deeper than just the font in front of us. There are vast cultural differences that kept me from understanding.

I asked you what the fear factor would be if God was to suddenly show up in His true form in such a way that His identity as the creator and rightful king would be unmistakable. You answered that if He was the petty, angry, jealous God you were picturing Him to be, that the fear factor would be very high. And if He was the tyrannical monster you describe, I would agree. People would be committing suicide in droves. Much worse than the 1929 Wall Street stock market crash. But that's my point.

Maybe God isn't the angry petty God we humans imagine Him to be. Maybe it's our perception that's inaccurate. If He really is our judge, maybe it's better that He doesn't appear just yet. Maybe it's better that He give everyone a fair chance to accept or deny freely.
For if He did appear, our perception of Him would have us scared shitless, and any effort to placate Him wouldn't be out of respect, but out of fear. And when something is done on the basis of coercion, intimidation, fear-mongering, then it's not worth having.

In retrospect, I think He doesn't show a massive sign directly because skeptics wouldn't believe it anyways, and those who were convinced would be reacting out of fear and not love. I think that the resurrection was the only sign we were going to get, and that He did *update* His message to all of us through all the various periods of transition and translations of the bible.

And if He did show us directly, then He wouldn't be acting through humanity. In other words, humans need to experience God's influence while still retaining their individual identity. And I believe that's how men were influenced to write the bible.

Maybe His absence from our sensory capabilities is a gift in it's own right. That's the way I think of it.

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