Asking the right questions of religious believers

Feb 26, 2011 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Mano Singham's Web Journal

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Epicurus

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Mar 2, 2011
 

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There is a common perception that there must be something more to atheism than simply disbelief in gods because of the fact that atheists are so often engaged in debates with theists. The important thing is not to focus simply on their religious beliefs, but instead upon what has ultimately brought them to that belief, and then helping them to adopt a methodology which relies more upon skepticism, reason, and logic.

Simply tearing down religious dogma usually fails because theists feel threatened. The key is to get them to think reasonably, rationally, logically, and critically about beliefs in general. With that, religious dogma will eventually crumble of its own accord.

I have found that most atheists have already done extensive research on theism, which of course, led them to atheism.

Consider...

An invisible creator diety, creates a vast universe, in order to have a personal relationship with one species of primate?

If you can believe this diety on bad evidence you win an eternity of happiness after death?

This is precisely the sort of nonsense you must believe in order to go anywhere in USA politics.
An atheist could be an unprecedented genius, have the looks of (select favorite celeb), a generous billionaire with Oprah’s social skills, and not a chance of being considered for public office.

Why is the bible considered “holy”? Is it because it is a collection of writings that talk about a god? There are many other books that talk about a god, yet they aren’t upheld as the only authoritative book on the subject. I think that over the millenniums the true thrust of the writings has been lost in various interpretations. Even if Jesus had existed, I think he would be astonished at what people call “Christianity”.

What most atheists base their lack of belief in is the overwhelming torrent of confused religions. None of them make any logical sense toward morality or something called god.

If “God” wanted anything to do with how mankind goes about it’s existence, she would need no assistance from organized religion in sending the correct message.
Carnarvon

Bellville, South Africa

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Mar 2, 2011
 

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Epicurus wrote:
If “God” wanted anything to do with how mankind goes about it’s existence, she would need no assistance from organized religion in sending the correct message.
He has. We are however often so committed to our own beliefs and what seems right to us, that we interpret the Bible so as to conform to our convictions (Placing the cart before the horse).
Christianity is not only about a set of beliefs - you accept them and now you are a Christian. You can become anything by accepting what you consider most logical (or whatever criterium you wish to use)-Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, Atheist, Agnostic etc.
Christians have to be "born again" as Jesus explained to Nicodemus - receive a new nature through the work of the Holy Spirit, not based on intellectual assent, but being convicted in our spirit of our sinfulness (the law reveals that) and repenting of it, accept Christ as having paid for our sins, and turning from it.

Epicurus

Eustis, FL

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Mar 3, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>He has. We are however often so committed to our own beliefs and what seems right to us, that we interpret the Bible so as to conform to our convictions (Placing the cart before the horse).
Christianity is not only about a set of beliefs - you accept them and now you are a Christian. You can become anything by accepting what you consider most logical (or whatever criterium you wish to use)-Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, Atheist, Agnostic etc.
Christians have to be "born again" as Jesus explained to Nicodemus - receive a new nature through the work of the Holy Spirit, not based on intellectual assent, but being convicted in our spirit of our sinfulness (the law reveals that) and repenting of it, accept Christ as having paid for our sins, and turning from it.
That dog won't hunt.

“I believe it. I can see the grandeur of God all around me. You’re all deluded.” Such is the lot of the hopelessly cemented human to religion. They would send their children to die in a war over religion (like the WAR ON TERRORISM) to defend their religion and its “good book” and most of them haven’t the foggiest notion of what the book actually says. It’s a vile, misogynistic, racist, sexist, homophobic book that contains so many contradictions that a rookie book editor would get fired for allowing it to go to printing.

What I find most interesting is that virtually any doctrine or philosophy, whether it be of great evil or of great good, can be supported by biblical scripture. It just depends on what verses one choses to “be important” and which ones he or she choses to “reinterpret” in light of those other verses.

Slavery, witch-burning, inquisitions, crusades, hatred of people with life styles different than your own; almost any deviant social or personal behavior is endorsed and/or ordained by god in the bible. Of course, today with our “human enlightenment” christians choose to “reinterpret” or ignore those scriptures that are obviously contrary to good sense or contrary to “their” image of god and only hold to those scriptures that depict a god matching the image of god they created in their mind.
Carnarvon

South Africa

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#4
Mar 4, 2011
 
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
That dog won't hunt.
“I believe it. I can see the grandeur of God all around me. You’re all deluded.” Such is the lot of the hopelessly cemented human to religion. They would send their children to die in a war over religion (like the WAR ON TERRORISM) to defend their religion and its “good book” and most of them haven’t the foggiest notion of what the book actually says. It’s a vile, misogynistic, racist, sexist, homophobic book that contains so many contradictions that a rookie book editor would get fired for allowing it to go to printing.
What I find most interesting is that virtually any doctrine or philosophy, whether it be of great evil or of great good, can be supported by biblical scripture. It just depends on what verses one choses to “be important” and which ones he or she choses to “reinterpret” in light of those other verses.
Slavery, witch-burning, inquisitions, crusades, hatred of people with life styles different than your own; almost any deviant social or personal behavior is endorsed and/or ordained by god in the bible. Of course, today with our “human enlightenment” christians choose to “reinterpret” or ignore those scriptures that are obviously contrary to good sense or contrary to “their” image of god and only hold to those scriptures that depict a god matching the image of god they created in their mind.
And you suggest?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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Mar 4, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>He has. We are however often so committed to our own beliefs and what seems right to us, that we interpret the Bible so as to conform to our convictions (Placing the cart before the horse).
You're going to >>have<< to do better than the Big Book of Hate (BuyBull).

That book is full of evil ideas, commands to murder and other disgusting acts of mayhem.

It cannot >>possibly<< be from an actual.... god.

Too corrupt.

Care to try again?

No?

Thought not.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#6
Mar 4, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>And you suggest?
Why not have your god come to earth, and EXPLAIN it all in person.

Can you do that?

No?

Then your god is just a myth.

Atheism stands.
Epicurus

Eustis, FL

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#7
Mar 4, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>And you suggest?
I suggest that religion be abandoned for REALITY.
The three desert religions have brought nothing but misery and chaos to the human race.

"Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." ~Voltaire

"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." ~Voltaire

"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." ~Voltaire

"The first clergyman was the first rascal who met the first fool" ~Voltaire

"Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." ~Voltaire

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." ~Voltaire

ISLAMIC LAW (Sharia)
Most of us don’t even know what Sharia law is other than perhaps a more rigid and literal sense of the law for Muslim countries. Here are just a few facts taken from Sharia law. Americanthinker.com Gives us the 10 facts taken straight from sharia law and backed up by Muslim Holy Books. They back up their statements referencing all kinds of scriptures from the Quran.

10. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. 9. Islam allows husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives.
8. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge—physical eye for physical eye.
7. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off.
6. Islam commands that Highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated.
5. Islam commands that homosexuals must be executed.
4. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death.
3. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non—Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself.
2. Islam orders apostates to be killed.
1. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad.

Our legal system has been based on a belief in the value of human life, worth under God and the 10 commandments. Someone committing a sin in someone else’s eyes is not a death sentence or crime. We have a system, thank God based on acknowledging everyone’s human rights not ancient traditions and opinions representing oppression against certain questionable behaviors or even against women in general!

The dark side of religion...

http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2010/04/catholic-...

Crimen Sollicitationis
The appalling 39-page document, Crimen Sollicitationis, was issued worldwide in 1962 by then Cardinal Ratzinger, outlining procedures to protect priests accused of sexual abusing minors and sexually propositioning penitents, and how to conceal these violations.

Religion = Organized Superstition

It is the 21st century... you know its a myth...;-)
Carnarvon

South Africa

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#8
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Morality from reality? Please explain. Please explain the underlying rationale.
Carnarvon

South Africa

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#9
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
Why not have your god come to earth, and EXPLAIN it all in person.
Can you do that?
No?
Then your god is just a myth.
Atheism stands.
Atheism being belief in what? No God or not sure? If not sure = Agnostic.
Carnarvon

Bellville, South Africa

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#10
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
You're going to >>have<< to do better than the Big Book of Hate (BuyBull).
That book is full of evil ideas, commands to murder and other disgusting acts of mayhem.
It cannot >>possibly<< be from an actual.... god.
Too corrupt.
Care to try again?
No?
Thought not.
Your suggestion for morality?
Carnarvon

Bellville, South Africa

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#11
Mar 5, 2011
 
Bob of Quantum-Faith wrote:
<quoted text>
You're going to >>have<< to do better than the Big Book of Hate (BuyBull).
That book is full of evil ideas, commands to murder and other disgusting acts of mayhem.
It cannot >>possibly<< be from an actual.... god.
Too corrupt.
Care to try again?
No?
Thought not.
Your post has really no relevance to the quoted text. Try again?
Carnarvon

Bellville, South Africa

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#12
Mar 5, 2011
 
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
I suggest that religion be abandoned for REALITY.
The three desert religions have brought nothing but misery and chaos to the human race.
"Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." ~Voltaire
"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." ~Voltaire
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." ~Voltaire
"The first clergyman was the first rascal who met the first fool" ~Voltaire
"Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror." ~Voltaire
"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities." ~Voltaire
ISLAMIC LAW (Sharia)
Most of us don’t even know what Sharia law is other than perhaps a more rigid and literal sense of the law for Muslim countries. Here are just a few facts taken from Sharia law. Americanthinker.com Gives us the 10 facts taken straight from sharia law and backed up by Muslim Holy Books. They back up their statements referencing all kinds of scriptures from the Quran.
10. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. 9. Islam allows husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives.
8. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge—physical eye for physical eye.
7. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off.
6. Islam commands that Highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated.
5. Islam commands that homosexuals must be executed.
4. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death.
3. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non—Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself.
2. Islam orders apostates to be killed.
1. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad.
Our legal system has been based on a belief in the value of human life, worth under God and the 10 commandments. Someone committing a sin in someone else’s eyes is not a death sentence or crime. We have a system, thank God based on acknowledging everyone’s human rights not ancient traditions and opinions representing oppression against certain questionable behaviors or even against women in general!
The dark side of religion...
http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2010/04/catholic-...
Crimen Sollicitationis
The appalling 39-page document, Crimen Sollicitationis, was issued worldwide in 1962 by then Cardinal Ratzinger, outlining procedures to protect priests accused of sexual abusing minors and sexually propositioning penitents, and how to conceal these violations.
Religion = Organized Superstition
It is the 21st century... you know its a myth...;-)
And your view on reality and its moral implications?
Epicurus

Eustis, FL

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#13
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>And your view on reality and its moral implications?
Morality...Bible God Style

[Christian statement:
Without a belief in and a LOVE FOR GOD, you cannot establish a totally moral society.

The reason for this is that without God, men simply have no defense against the errors, temptations, and pitfalls of this world, and most of them quickly fall into sin.
God is the only firm basis for morality, and humankind as a race must see that before there is to be any ultimate improvement in human behavior.

God will eventually tire of men shunning him, and will draw the Earth to a close, taking only the good people with Him to heaven.]
When a person reads declarations like this, they must always keep in mind that to a zealous Christian, all other belief systems are false by definition.

Nothing moral exists outside of the theological cocoon Christians reside in.

There are many examples of God's "morals" which are anything but moral according to modern "civilized" societies.
Perhaps the most obvious example of God's questionable morals can be found regarding the issue of slavery.

The Bible God endorsed slavery. That's a fact according to the Bible. Christians however, don't like this to be pointed out about their God so they'll attempt to dilute this ugly fact by claiming that God simply "tolerated" slavery but never endorsed it. A few quotes from the Bible dissolve this cozy notion and rather lame attempt to wash God's hands of this ugly doctrine.

The Bible God gave instructions on how his chosen people should wage war against their various neighbors:
Deut 20:10-11
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries(forced laborers) unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

Notice that if the people of the attacked city accept the "offer of peace" they will become slaves of God's chosen people. Forced labor is slavery.

Deut 20:12-16
And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

Notice that God instructs his people to completely annihilate nearby nations, killing anything that "breathes", while nations further outside an immediate zone of holiness will have their men killed, their women, children, livestock and everything else taken as plunder by God's chosen people.

Does any of this actually sound "moral" ?

This is the same Bible God which Christians say that society must believe in and love in order to have a totally moral society. Are slavery and mass genocide "moral" just because this deity commanded it?

Ironically, this was the same justification used by Southern Christian clergy during the American civil war to argue for the institution of slavery. According to these devout God-fearing believers, who were just as filled with the Holy Spirit as any Christian today, the barbaric godless African slaves through God's grace, as overseen by his chosen people(the Southern Christians), had their heathen ways exchanged for the blessings and security of Christianity.

One can rest assured that whatever rationalization is needed to sanitize the Bible God's endorsement of slavery and the outright command of slavery for certain populations, it will be produced by the faithful.

The "Word of God", far from being inerrant, has always been a work in progress.
Carnarvon

South Africa

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#14
Mar 5, 2011
 
Epicurus wrote:
<quoted text>
Morality...Bible God Style
[Christian statement:
Without a belief in and a LOVE FOR GOD, you cannot establish a totally moral society.
The reason for this is that without God, men simply have no defense against the errors, temptations, and pitfalls of this world, and most of them quickly fall into sin.
God is the only firm basis for morality, and humankind as a race must see that before there is to be any ultimate improvement in human behavior.
God will eventually tire of men shunning him, and will draw the Earth to a close, taking only the good people with Him to heaven.]
When a person reads declarations like this, they must always keep in mind that to a zealous Christian, all other belief systems are false by definition.
Nothing moral exists outside of the theological cocoon Christians reside in.
There are many examples of God's "morals" which are anything but moral according to modern "civilized" societies.
Perhaps the most obvious example of God's questionable morals can be found regarding the issue of slavery.
The Bible God endorsed slavery. That's a fact according to the Bible. Christians however, don't like this to be pointed out about their God so they'll attempt to dilute this ugly fact by claiming that God simply "tolerated" slavery but never endorsed it. A few quotes from the Bible dissolve this cozy notion and rather lame attempt to wash God's hands of this ugly doctrine.
The Bible God gave instructions on how his chosen people should wage war against their various neighbors:
Deut 20:10-11
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries(forced laborers) unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
Notice that if the people of the attacked city accept the "offer of peace" they will become slaves of God's chosen people. Forced labor is slavery.
Deut 20:12-16
And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
Notice that God instructs his people to completely annihilate nearby nations, killing anything that "breathes", while nations further outside an immediate zone of holiness will have their men killed, their women, children, livestock and everything else taken as plunder by God's chosen people.
Does any of this actually sound "moral" ?
This is the same Bible God which Christians say that society must believe in and love in order to have a totally moral society. Are slavery and mass genocide "moral" just because this deity commanded it?
Ironically, this was the same justification used by Southern Christian clergy during the American civil war to argue for the institution of slavery. According to these devout God-fearing believers, who were just as filled with the Holy Spirit as any Christian today, the barbaric godless African slaves through God's grace, as overseen by his chosen people(the Southern Christians), had their heathen ways exchanged for the blessings and security of Christianity.
One can rest assured that whatever rationalization is needed to sanitize the Bible God's endorsement of slavery and the outright command of slavery for certain populations, it will be produced by the faithful.
The "Word of God", far from being inerrant, has always been a work in progress.
You referred to reality as basis. I would you to discuss it please.

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#15
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>Atheism being belief in what? No God or not sure? If not sure = Agnostic.
False.

Atheism is >>lack<< of any belief in supernatural woo.

Agnostic is the understanding that it is impossible to >>know<< for certain.

You can easily be an atheist-agnostic: you lack all belief in supernatural sh!t, and you think it is impossible to know anything about supernatural sh!t.

Or, you could be a believer-agnostic: you believe there is a god, and you recognize that belief is not knowing, because you think it is impossible to >know<. Yet you believe anyhow, because you >like< it that way.

Or, you could be a believer-dogmatic: you think you >know< all about god, and you believe in that god, because you have an ego the size of Jupiter.

Does that help?

“Quantum Junctn: Use Both Lanes”

Since: Dec 06

Tulsa, Oklahoma USofA

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#16
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>Your suggestion for morality?
What's yours? The Big Book of Hate (Bible)?
Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>He has. We are however often so committed to our own beliefs and what seems right to us, that we interpret the Bible so as to conform to our convictions (Placing the cart before the horse).
Here, you make an oblique reference to the BuyBull as if it was some sort of yardstick.

That is clearly a failure on your part-- you can find within the BuyBull pretty much >>anything<< you like-- to justify >>any<< sort of behavior you want to justify.

For example. Here in the USA, the collective will of the people have (more or less) agreed that slavery is Right Out.

But in the BuyBull, you can find example after example saying that not only is slavery Just Fine, it is a MANDATE from the BuyBull's god to not only OWN slaves but you MUST take slaves when you win a war of conquering.

Thus, the US Army is in violation of the BuyBull even now: when we went in and conquered Afghanistan, we failed to take slaves. We committed the same "error" (as commanded by the BuyBull) when we conquered Iraq.

Moreover, it's not just slaves, but war-brides too: according to the BuyBull, what US soldiers should have done, was murder all the males in those countries, and kept the unmarried women (virgins) as victory prizes, where they can be concubines, to wait hand-and-foot on the conquering soldiers.

These rules are all clearly written in the bible, here.

That's but one of many examples of the BuyBull's "morality".

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#17
Mar 5, 2011
 
Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>Atheism being belief in what? No God or not sure? If not sure = Agnostic.
Atheism is NOT "belief in" anything.

The term "atheist" is a catchall created by theists to describe anybody (and everybody) who is NOT a theist. Nothing more.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#18
Mar 5, 2011
 

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Carnarvon wrote:
<quoted text>And your view on reality and its moral implications?
The morality accepted among modern people, among 21st century people includes ending slavery, equality for women, not killing witches … these are all things which are entirely recent.

They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy.

They do not come from religion. The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include stoning people for adultery, death to witches, punishment for breaking the Sabbath…these are all things which are religiously-based absolute moralities.

To the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scriptures, you have to cherry pick. You search your way through the Bible (or Koran) and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality and you say ‘look at that, that’s religion.’ And you leave out all the horrible bits and you say ‘oh we don’t believe that anymore, we’ve grown out of that.’ Well of course we’ve grown out of it. We’ve grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#19
Mar 5, 2011
 
“The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath…these are all things which are religiously-based absolute moralities.

"I don’t think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based upon, I’d almost say ‘intelligent design.’ Can we not design our society which has the sort of morality, the sort of society we want to live in?

"If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people, among 21st century people, we don’t believe in slavery anymore, we believe in equality of women, we believe in being gentle, we believe in being kind to animals … these are all things which are entirely recent. They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. They do not come from religion.

"To the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scriptures, you have to cherry pick. You search your way through the Bible or Koran and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality and you say ‘look at that, that’s religion.’ And you leave out all the horrible bits and you say ‘oh we don’t believe that anymore, we’ve grown out of that.’

"Well of course we’ve grown out of it. We’ve grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.”~ Richard Dawkins

“ecrasez l'infame”

Since: May 08

Atlanta, Georgia

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#20
Mar 5, 2011
 
Sorry about the screwed up double post ... I was transcribing a live discussion and got things all mixed up. The last post is the full text of the talk.

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