Blogging the Bible [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Blogging the Bible

celia
03-03-2007, 03:24 AM
As a Jewish person myself, I find this series of blogs to be just eye-opening. you don't even need to be religious to enjoy it but it probably helps if you have an interest in the Bible, Judaism, or Christianity. And a sense of humor. :D comments?

http://www.slate.com/id/2150150/

dkw
03-06-2007, 12:14 AM
Blogging the Bible??? Yeah because religious freaks have so much trouble getting their message out :rolleyes:

celia
03-06-2007, 12:18 AM
Blogging the Bible??? Yeah because religious freaks have so much trouble getting their message out :rolleyes:

did you actually check it out or are you making assumptions? :confused:

the writing is hilarious and down to earth. there's nothing freakish about this guy IMHO. if he's a religious nut, he masks it well.

Jlee
03-06-2007, 12:19 AM
Blogging the Bible??? Yeah because religious freaks have so much trouble getting their message out :rolleyes:

Thank you, but I happen to be a religious "freak."

It's so funny to me that unique groups of all kinds are protected and it's politically incorrect to disrespect them. This doesn't seem to apply to Christianity, at least in my experience. But sorry, that was a bit off topic. :)

Thank you for the link, it looks interesting.

scarecrows
03-06-2007, 12:21 AM
jeez http://www.ateaseweb.com/mb/style_emoticons/default/doh.gif

dkw
03-06-2007, 12:29 AM
Come on!!! who in their right mind sits down for hours to write about the Bible???

This is just some religious nut/organization trying to get their message out in a trendy new way.

Why is this psalm world famous and the other 149 are not? One reason must be that Psalm 23 is a most pacific and gentle poem. One of the revelations I've had reading the Bible is that its most famous passages are almost always its gentlest and most loving parts.

Who writes like that???

btw yes I am indeed paranoid!

dkw
03-06-2007, 12:30 AM
Thank you, but I happen to be a religious "freak."
Good Luck with that ;)

Jlee
03-06-2007, 12:37 AM
Good Luck with that ;)

Thank you. :p

...and it's quite interesting to me that you took the time to go through it and pick out some sections to make fun of. I don't know that I would have done that, in your situation.

celia
03-06-2007, 12:56 AM
Come on!!! who in their right mind sits down for hours to write about the Bible???

This is just some religious nut/organization trying to get their message out in a trendy new way.



Who writes like that???

btw yes I am indeed paranoid!

yes you are paranoid. :p

i haven't gotten to psalms as yet so i can't comment on the piece you quoted.

i'm actually (for the first time in my life) reading thru the Bible from beginning to end. then i ran across this blog series and found that i enjoyed reading his commentary on what i had already read. i am barely cracking Leviticus (book #3) so we're talking snails pace here.

who blogs the Bible? someone refreshingly creative and original who does not hesitate to criticize it along the way. you really need to quote some of those parts as well. :p

Sparko1030
03-06-2007, 03:04 AM
Thank you, but I happen to be a religious "freak."

It's so funny to me that unique groups of all kinds are protected and it's politically incorrect to disrespect them. This doesn't seem to apply to Christianity, at least in my experience. But sorry, that was a bit off topic. :)

Thank you for the link, it looks interesting.


:yeah: Me too :lol: (although I don't consider myself a freak but I realize some see religious people like that. :p )

Jlee
03-06-2007, 10:12 PM
:yeah: Me too :lol: (although I don't consider myself a freak but I realize some see religious people like that. :p )

LOL. I don't either ;) hehe

Regenbogen
03-06-2007, 10:16 PM
I read part of it, and I thought it was really interesting. And I'm not even what dkw would call a "religious freak" :lol:

uglyamerican
03-06-2007, 10:19 PM
i'm actually (for the first time in my life) reading thru the Bible from beginning to end. then i ran across this blog series and found that i enjoyed reading his commentary on what i had already read. i am barely cracking Leviticus (book #3) so we're talking snails pace here.


Leviticus can be tough going. If you lose steam, you can take a break from Leviticus and read Job. It might be the oldest story in the Bible and it's also in the Koran.

uglyamerican
03-06-2007, 10:21 PM
Come on!!! who in their right mind sits down for hours to write about the Bible???


who sits down and watches the Oscars for hours and hours? Millions of shallow people.

dkw
03-06-2007, 11:45 PM
who sits down and watches the Oscars for hours and hours? Millions of shallow people.
IMO both groups are very similar in that they lack the ability to independently develop a concept of human existence and rely on... in a word - fantasy

And for the record I have nothing against anyone reading the Bible, I myself read it cover to cover when I was 16. But even if eventually you're going to accept the things written in the Bible as "the truth" you owe it to yourself to at least do a comparative analysis of other ideas, other people hold to be "truths". And then synthesize all this information into a personal concept of who and what God is, and if he does exist and did create the world, then what are your individual responsibilities to him and your fellow man.

If the writer of this Blog continues with the Koran, Hindu scriptures etc. and does a similar write-up then he would be encouraging much needed religious exploration. But I doubt this will happen because like I said, Iím very suspicious that this is just another manifestation of the good old fashion "Proselytizing" thatís built into the Christian religion.

celia
03-07-2007, 01:15 AM
IMO both groups are very similar in that they lack the ability to independently develop a concept of human existence and rely on... in a word - fantasy

And for the record I have nothing against anyone reading the Bible, I myself read it cover to cover when I was 16. But even if eventually you're going to accept the things written in the Bible as "the truth" you owe it to yourself to at least do a comparative analysis of other ideas, other people hold to be "truths". And then synthesize all this information into a personal concept of who and what God is, and if he does exist and did create the world, then what are your individual responsibilities to him and your fellow man.

If the writer of this Blog continues with the Koran, Hindu scriptures etc. and does a similar write-up then he would be encouraging much needed religious exploration. But I doubt this will happen because like I said, Iím very suspicious that this is just another manifestation of the good old fashion "Proselytizing" thatís built into the Christian religion.

you may be right about the writer of this blog -- i don't know him personally and will therefore not defend him. but you really need to read his bio and you will realize that he is JEWISH and not Christian. so i don't see where you get the evidence to suggest that he is just another Christian fruit-cake nut-job proselytizing his freakish POV. :p

for myself -- i've never read the Bible. i'm Jewish but my parents were never strong practitioners and so i grew up with a lackadaisical attitude towards religion. a friend gave me a Bible as a Xmas present (yeah i'm flexible that way - i celebrate Xmas) and i thought what the heck, i will read it. it just seems like something i'd like to do at some point in my life. you did it at 16 -- terrific. i'm 22 and now getting started. if i finish it by the time i'm 25, that will be great. i figure that i've made time to read all kinds of other books -- why not read one of the most lasting series of stories ever told? and who knows, i may learn something.

although i'm not sure what so far i'm supposed to learn from Leviticus. i can barely keep my eyes open.

Jlee
03-07-2007, 02:51 AM
IMO both groups are very similar in that they lack the ability to independently develop a concept of human existence and rely on... in a word - fantasy

And for the record I have nothing against anyone reading the Bible, I myself read it cover to cover when I was 16. But even if eventually you're going to accept the things written in the Bible as "the truth" you owe it to yourself to at least do a comparative analysis of other ideas, other people hold to be "truths". And then synthesize all this information into a personal concept of who and what God is, and if he does exist and did create the world, then what are your individual responsibilities to him and your fellow man.

If the writer of this Blog continues with the Koran, Hindu scriptures etc. and does a similar write-up then he would be encouraging much needed religious exploration. But I doubt this will happen because like I said, I’m very suspicious that this is just another manifestation of the good old fashion "Proselytizing" that’s built into the Christian religion.

I'm can't sit here at a computer and try to explain my faith to you. I tend to think that you'll just tack it up as another "nut job" trying to convert you. I can understand that, to a certain extent.

People who watch the oscars and people who read the Bible are actually pretty different ;) Though I have to admit that I watched part of the oscars lol.

How does one develop a concept of human existence without God? It's something that I can't quite get a grasp on. If you really think about life without any moral force, what's the point of anything? It has to be a most depressing state to live in. What would I have to hope for? Temporary pleasures that never seem to fulfil? Is that all that life is? A random sequence of events? We are intricate human beings with personalities and souls.

I agree that it's important to compare several religions. It used to be something that I struggled with, how do I know which is the truth? But in the end, it's not about accepting something as the truth. It's about realizing that the writings in the Bible are based on historical fact! They constantly find older and older texts that support this conclusion. I've heard many stories about people who've set out to disprove Christianity, C.S. Lewis being the most recognized, and have actually ended up becoming Christians! I also can't accept a religion that isn't monotheistic. Thus, the biggest comparisons in my mind are between Islam and Christianity. But I could go into that for hours, and I've already said more than what you're interested in. :)

Proselytizing is part of the Christian belief system.

(Sorry I'm all over the place! I'm really tired lol)

Sparko1030
03-07-2007, 03:57 AM
Great post Jlee :yeah:

I have to admit that I watch the Oscars and read the Bible, I must be very much in need of fantasy! :haha: Really, I love movies and the Oscars are just fun for me. The Bible is the basis of my faith. Two very different things. To each their own opionion I guess. :shrug:

I wonder about people who can't/dont' believe in anything. And how are movies and the oscars different from sports? Its all entertainment and entertainment is fantasy. What does tennis or football or any sport have to do with the real world??? If movies are lame, so are sports ;)

Jlee
03-07-2007, 04:03 AM
Great post Jlee :yeah:

I have to admit that I watch the Oscars and read the Bible, I must be very much in need of fantasy! :haha: Really, I love movies and the Oscars are just fun for me. The Bible is the basis of my faith. Two very different things. To each their own opionion I guess. :shrug:

I wonder about people who can't/dont' believe in anything. And how are movies and the oscars different from sports? Its all entertainment and entertainment is fantasy. What does tennis or football or any sport have to do with the real world??? If movies are lame, so are sports ;)

Thanks, I'm glad it wasn't as unclear as it seemed :lol:

Exactly! :yeah:

Me too. I don't think I could live my life like that. Hahaha yeah sports are similar to movies lol

dkw
03-07-2007, 11:01 PM
How does one develop a concept of human existence without God? It's something that I can't quite get a grasp on. If you really think about life without any moral force, what's the point of anything? It has to be a most depressing state to live in. What would I have to hope for? Temporary pleasures that never seem to fulfil? Is that all that life is? A random sequence of events? We are intricate human beings with personalities and souls.

In a bit of a rush and can't really write much... but yes it is very, very difficult to construct a concept of existence especially when you allow for the fact that there may not be a God and that life could very well be a random series of events. Or alternatively, God may exist but we as human don't fully understand who or what he is so we invent stories - the Bible, the Koran, etc.

But I perfer to struggle with these thoughts than to buy into the wholesale "junk" they sell at my local church while milking me for my money.

Jlee
03-08-2007, 12:21 AM
In a bit of a rush and can't really write much... but yes it is very, very difficult to construct a concept of existence especially when you allow for the fact that there may not be a God and that life could very well be a random series of events. Or alternatively, God may exist but we as human don't fully understand who or what he is so we invent stories - the Bible, the Koran, etc.

But I perfer to struggle with these thoughts than to buy into the wholesale "junk" they sell at my local church while milking me for my money.

How can one develop a concept of existence without realizing there is a higher power? And the Bible actually isn't a collection of made up stories, it's a collection of historical documents. People refuse to see the truth in that. Okay, let's say life is a random series of events. How did it come into existence? Scientists know that something can't come from nothing. Unless you attribute creation to a higher power, how can you explain it? And what about people who've had near death experiences? I recently read a book about a man who was technically "dead" for 90 minutes. How can you explain the description of heaven he gave?

Maybe in your struggles you could investigate the truths in the Bible? People have done it in the past and come out Christians, as I mentioned before. And I'm sorry if that's the attitude of your local church, because they are misrepresenting Christianity. People do that way too often. The problem is, Christians are still people who make mistakes. Others expect more from them, as well they should, but we are still sinful humans.

celia
03-08-2007, 03:38 AM
i have no opinion on whether the Bible is fact or fiction. my guess is that it is probably a mixture of both.

there's a part of me that identifies with dkw's scepticism.

and yet i am reading the 'Good Book'. so there must be another side of me that is looking for something.

i enjoy the blog series because the writer does not ever cross the line into telling me what i should think. at least not so far.

now back to Leviticus :yawn:

Jlee
03-08-2007, 04:10 AM
i have no opinion on whether the Bible is fact or fiction. my guess is that it is probably a mixture of both.

there's a part of me that identifies with dkw's scepticism.

and yet i am reading the 'Good Book'. so there must be another side of me that is looking for something.

i enjoy the blog series because the writer does not ever cross the line into telling me what i should think. at least not so far.

now back to Leviticus :yawn:

Just a tip for reading through the scriptures - don't do it straight through! I used a "read through the Bible" card or something where it gave me about four chapters to read per day. Like, I read two Psalms and then two chapters in Leviticus. I found it much less boring! Maybe you could mix it up like that? One time I tried to read it straight through and I absolutely couldn't, it was so tiring when I got into Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. :)

mtw
03-08-2007, 01:58 PM
In my opinion, the only clever part of the Old Testament is The Book of Kochelet. It was written poetically and it concludes very clever considerations about the fate of people.

Joyce_23
03-08-2007, 07:04 PM
How does one develop a concept of human existence without God? It's something that I can't quite get a grasp on.

For me the opposite it true, I was never a religious person but I've been an atheist for six years now. At the age of eightteen I decided that I just don't believe in any God. Religion makes no sense to me and I finally found the innerpeace that was lacking when I was still doubting what to think. Human excistence is something that is hard to grasp, yes, but God is not an answer for me that clears everything up.
One thing I've enconutered in these six years is a whole lot of hatred. Mind you, a large part of the Christian people I've met were openminded about my way of thinking but I've also met people who weren't willing to look past me being an atheist.
I guess what saddens me most about religion is that you always need to defend yourself. If you're a Christian you need to defend yourself, even if you choose not to believe you need to defend yourself. This thread is a good example of that. What is wrong with someone wanting to write about the Bible? If this guy is happier because he writes these blogs then by all means let him.
To make a long story short I just wanted to share my story from a different point of view since JLee's question made me feel like I had to answer it. Also, JLee, this was not meant as an attack on you or you beliefs. I just wanted to answer your question as honest as I could.

Jlee
03-09-2007, 01:19 AM
For me the opposite it true, I was never a religious person but I've been an atheist for six years now. At the age of eightteen I decided that I just don't believe in any God. Religion makes no sense to me and I finally found the innerpeace that was lacking when I was still doubting what to think. Human excistence is something that is hard to grasp, yes, but God is not an answer for me that clears everything up.
One thing I've enconutered in these six years is a whole lot of hatred. Mind you, a large part of the Christian people I've met were openminded about my way of thinking but I've also met people who weren't willing to look past me being an atheist.
I guess what saddens me most about religion is that you always need to defend yourself. If you're a Christian you need to defend yourself, even if you choose not to believe you need to defend yourself. This thread is a good example of that. What is wrong with someone wanting to write about the Bible? If this guy is happier because he writes these blogs then by all means let him.
To make a long story short I just wanted to share my story from a different point of view since JLee's question made me feel like I had to answer it. Also, JLee, this was not meant as an attack on you or you beliefs. I just wanted to answer your question as honest as I could.

Thanks for your perspective :)

I just don't understand something about atheism. How do you live with no ethical guidelines? Let's assume for a moment that I believe my personal truth is that murder is not "bad." Because, how do you define "bad" or "evil" without God? Perhaps you would say that me going outside and murdering someone in the street is wrong. How can it be wrong if it's my personal truth? We all have our own perceptions of reality that are different. This is me, murder is not wrong.

I feel like that logic just goes in circles. In the end, it's far more difficult to disprove God's existence than it is to prove it.

And I hate what religion has done to God. I believe in God, I believe I have been saved by his grace. The term "religious" seems to ruin the thought of my faith, or at least the way the word is interpreted.

And I'm sorry if I sound at all preachy! Totally not the intent. This guy goes a little bit that way, but it was an interesting read for me: http://www.chaim.org/atheist.htm

Sparko1030
03-09-2007, 04:43 AM
I just want to say, nice dicussion going on here. I don't have anything to add really, and would only be repeating myself from another thread. Here is the link to the thread, those who are posting here might find that discussion interesting too.

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=95506

Joyce_23
03-09-2007, 09:31 AM
I just don't understand something about atheism. How do you live with no ethical guidelines? Let's assume for a moment that I believe my personal truth is that murder is not "bad." Because, how do you define "bad" or "evil" without God? Perhaps you would say that me going outside and murdering someone in the street is wrong. How can it be wrong if it's my personal truth? We all have our own perceptions of reality that are different. This is me, murder is not wrong.

I can't speak for all atheists of course but I have the same ethical guidelines that everybody has I guess. I think that most ethical guidelines that were taken from the Bible are good principles. The laws of society are centered around them and I also live my life by those rules and agree with them. I do not dissagree with every single thing that was written in the Bible just because I choose to be an atheist, there are some real wise statements in there. It's just the general principle of a higher being (God) handing them out to us that I don't believe in. I believe that I decide what I do with my life and not some higher force like God but that doesn't give me the freedom to do whatever I want to do.
Man, explaining this is hard but I hope you know what I mean.

celia
03-09-2007, 05:03 PM
Leviticus can be tough going. If you lose steam, you can take a break from Leviticus and read Job. It might be the oldest story in the Bible and it's also in the Koran.

just like that -- Leviticus got exciting last night. bam! slash! burn! -- 2 of Aaron's sons get killed for not following God's exact orders! did not see this coming! Job can wait for now.

you know i've read places that the old Biblical word "fear" is mainly translated as "respect" today. i disagree. the God that i am reading about now wants everyone to know that He is in charge and if He asks you to do something, just do it exactly as he says, to the letter, no changes or short-cuts, or He will slay your ass on the spot!!!

Jlee
03-10-2007, 02:11 AM
I can't speak for all atheists of course but I have the same ethical guidelines that everybody has I guess. I think that most ethical guidelines that were taken from the Bible are good principles. The laws of society are centered around them and I also live my life by those rules and agree with them. I do not dissagree with every single thing that was written in the Bible just because I choose to be an atheist, there are some real wise statements in there. It's just the general principle of a higher being (God) handing them out to us that I don't believe in. I believe that I decide what I do with my life and not some higher force like God but that doesn't give me the freedom to do whatever I want to do.
Man, explaining this is hard but I hope you know what I mean.

I understand, but why? What's the point of doing anything ethical? What is morality? It's impossible to define under atheism. But God doesn't decide what people do with their lives, that's the beauty of free will ;)

I just don't think I could function under the logic that there is no absolute truth. How can you even say that something is a good principle? Maybe my "good" principle is similar to Hitler's. Why is genocide wrong if there is no wrong? If there is no right, and there is no wrong, nothing in the world can be defined.

Joyce_23
03-10-2007, 09:27 AM
I understand, but why? What's the point of doing anything ethical? What is morality? It's impossible to define under atheism. But God doesn't decide what people do with their lives, that's the beauty of free will ;)

I just don't think I could function under the logic that there is no absolute truth. How can you even say that something is a good principle? Maybe my "good" principle is similar to Hitler's. Why is genocide wrong if there is no wrong? If there is no right, and there is no wrong, nothing in the world can be defined.

I guess that main difference comes from the fact that God does not define my wrights or wrongs but I just feel what is right and wrong inside me. Being an atheist is not the same as not having an absolute truth. Your truth is that God excists, my truth is that He doesn't. I think every person knows when he or she is doing something wrong, we are just programmed that way. You believe God gave us that inner warning and I believe that with evolution our general sense of right and wrong also progressed. Some people just ignore that however and do something idiotic anyway. But I get your point since a lot of Christians asked me the same thing, they also didn't understand how I define good or wrong with my principles.
Also, I enjoy this discussion. It's nice to talk about this without judging eachother. So thank you for those honest responses where you make your point of view perfectly clear without attacking mine. I really appreciate that.

celia
03-10-2007, 03:35 PM
I understand, but why? What's the point of doing anything ethical? What is morality? It's impossible to define under atheism. But God doesn't decide what people do with their lives, that's the beauty of free will ;)

I just don't think I could function under the logic that there is no absolute truth. How can you even say that something is a good principle? Maybe my "good" principle is similar to Hitler's. Why is genocide wrong if there is no wrong? If there is no right, and there is no wrong, nothing in the world can be defined.

oh i so disagree with you. i think that it is possible to have ETHICS without having religious morality. my behavior can be guided by ethical principles without any reference to religion. most professions have ethical mandates to do no harm -- without members of that profession being required to endorse or believe in a particular religious perspective. and i wish that morality was a guarantee of proper ethical behavior but the truth is that many of the horrendous wrongs committed in the world and throughout history have been done in the name of religion. it's obe of the reasons why my parents have always been laissez-faire about religion and never stuffed it down our throats. i can totally therefore understand how someone can be an atheist and still be an ethical person. atheism has to do with a non-belief in God. it has nothing to do with how you treat other human beings.

Jlee
03-10-2007, 11:48 PM
I guess that main difference comes from the fact that God does not define my wrights or wrongs but I just feel what is right and wrong inside me. Being an atheist is not the same as not having an absolute truth. Your truth is that God excists, my truth is that He doesn't. I think every person knows when he or she is doing something wrong, we are just programmed that way. You believe God gave us that inner warning and I believe that with evolution our general sense of right and wrong also progressed. Some people just ignore that however and do something idiotic anyway. But I get your point since a lot of Christians asked me the same thing, they also didn't understand how I define good or wrong with my principles.
Also, I enjoy this discussion. It's nice to talk about this without judging eachother. So thank you for those honest responses where you make your point of view perfectly clear without attacking mine. I really appreciate that.

First of all, I agree. Thanks for doing the same with me :) I love having good theological discussions without anyone being attacked :)

Well I'm just wondering how we were "programmed" that way. When something is programmed, something has to be doing the programming. How can we have different truths? I'm afraid I'm just repeating myself, but what if my truth is something that you would consider ethically wrong and harmful?

And also, how did life come into existence? Something cannot be created from nothing. (Unless you take the stand that there is an all powerful creator)

This may sound stupid, but are you willing to stake your eternity on your belief in atheism? Are you so sure? Because if I'm wrong, and there is no God, there is no loss for me. I'll die and be in a state of "sleeping" forever. But if there's even a small chance that I'm right, there's an tiny chance that there's more to life, I gain everything.

oh i so disagree with you. i think that it is possible to have ETHICS without having religious morality. my behavior can be guided by ethical principles without any reference to religion. most professions have ethical mandates to do no harm -- without members of that profession being required to endorse or believe in a particular religious perspective. and i wish that morality was a guarantee of proper ethical behavior but the truth is that many of the horrendous wrongs committed in the world and throughout history have been done in the name of religion. it's obe of the reasons why my parents have always been laissez-faire about religion and never stuffed it down our throats. i can totally therefore understand how someone can be an atheist and still be an ethical person. atheism has to do with a non-belief in God. it has nothing to do with how you treat other human beings.

Sure it's possible to have ethics, but why? I'm not really talking about religion here, I'm talking about the existence of God.

Yes horrendous things have been done in the name of religion. Does that mean that God doesn't exist? Because men take his words and misuse them? I don't think so. And I think the wrong that was done in the name of religion that is most immediately thought of is 9/11. I'm not a Muslim, so I would say that not only were those actions a misinterpretation of a religion, but also the religion itself is flawed.

I have such a problem with what religion has done to God. Please don't confuse religion with the simple, or maybe complex, belief that there is a God. He loves us. He's defined what is right and what is wrong. He has written his very words down for us. And He sent his son to die for us. Religion is just what man has done with that information.

How can atheism not relate to how you treat other people if you believe there is no supreme force for what is right or wrong?

Joyce_23
03-11-2007, 12:33 PM
This may sound stupid, but are you willing to stake your eternity on your belief in atheism? Are you so sure? Because if I'm wrong, and there is no God, there is no loss for me. I'll die and be in a state of "sleeping" forever. But if there's even a small chance that I'm right, there's an tiny chance that there's more to life, I gain everything.

I am willing to stake my eternity on my believe in atheism. Like I tried to say before, atheism is a believe just like having a religion is. I don't doubt my beliefs and I also don't feel like I'm putting anything on the line here.
You also asked me who I think programmed us. I believe in the theory of Darwin and how we all evolved into the beings that we now are with emotions that guide us through life and form our ethical judgements. Of course there is always the question that it had to begin somewhere and to be honest with you, I don't have a theory about how life began or how the universe began. I do think God is a pretty simple answer however and it feels just as wrong to me as a big bang that sounds just as simple. Scientist still have a lot of work to cover to ever figure out how life began and I don't think they ever will but religion is not a plausible answer for me.
To me religion is something that people made up because we are all afraid of dying. Nobody wants to die and so we created something in which we could all life forever. The Romans, Egyptians and Greeks did it. They had a very different believe system but it was based on the same thing, the idea of a life after death. Those people believed in their Gods like we do now believe in our religions, they also didn't doubt their beliefs and now we consider their stories to be myths so why is our idea of religion suddenly true then?
To put an end to a long post, I don't doubt my beliefs but I don't disrespect or dismay anyone who does believe either since it's a very logical and human thing to do. It's just not the answer that I'm searching for in life.

celia
03-11-2007, 03:28 PM
...
Sure it's possible to have ethics, but why? I'm not really talking about religion here, I'm talking about the existence of God. ...How can atheism not relate to how you treat other people if you believe there is no supreme force for what is right or wrong?

Your point of view is based on a fundamental assumption that people cannot (or ought not) to have ethics if they do not have religion. because that is your underlying assumption, it becomes impossible to argue with it.

i'd like you to imagine a parallel universe in which religion and ethics occupy separate but not necessarily intersecting paths. If you can visualize this, then you can visualize a world in which people can treat each other ethically without needing to rely on religion as their motive for doing so. If you can visualize this, then you will understand my POV. If you cannot, you will ask questions like "Sure it's possible to have ethics, but why?" The "why" has to do with human decency. One can be a decent human with or without religion. It may be easier to do with the Ten Commandments as your guide. But it is not impossible without them.

kapranos
03-11-2007, 04:16 PM
How do you live with no ethical guidelines?


Buddhists don't believe in the God presented by the abrahamic religions and they seem to do fine.

I feel like that logic just goes in circles. In the end, it's far more difficult to disprove God's existence than it is to prove it.

It's more than difficult to disprove God, it's impossible. But just because you can't disprove something doesn't mean it exists. How do you disprove there is a non-material monster under your bed? You can't. That doesn't mean there is one.

kapranos
03-11-2007, 04:22 PM
This may sound stupid, but are you willing to stake your eternity on your belief in atheism? Are you so sure? Because if I'm wrong, and there is no God, there is no loss for me. I'll die and be in a state of "sleeping" forever. But if there's even a small chance that I'm right, there's an tiny chance that there's more to life, I gain everything.

If you don't give me 1000$ right away, you will become blind tomorrow. Are you willing to sacrifice something so precious as this for an insignificant 1000$? What are you waiting to send me money?

kapranos
03-11-2007, 04:37 PM
He's defined what is right and what is wrong.

You have the choice: either all your friends and family die
OR
you save 10 000 children from death.

What do you choose? Where in the Bible does it say what is the right ethical choice?

Jlee
03-11-2007, 07:10 PM
You have the choice: either all your friends and family die
OR
you save 10 000 children from death.

What do you choose? Where in the Bible does it say what is the right ethical choice?

I don't know what exactly you're saying. You're giving me random situations lol. Are you asking how the Bible answers every ethical question? Maybe you could help me understand?

If you don't give me 1000$ right away, you will become blind tomorrow. Are you willing to sacrifice something so precious as this for an insignificant 1000$? What are you waiting to send me money?

But your assertion is so entirely different. You're just randomly making something up. For me, it's logically impossible that there isn't a God. Ancient texts (the Bible) show us the path to knowing him. I have faith in him, and I believe that all people who have faith in him will be saved from eternal punishment.


Buddhists don't believe in the God presented by the abrahamic religions and they seem to do fine.

It's more than difficult to disprove God, it's impossible. But just because you can't disprove something doesn't mean it exists. How do you disprove there is a non-material monster under your bed? You can't. That doesn't mean there is one.

I honestly don't think I'm qualified to discuss buddhism. I'm just trying to establish that life and society are not possible without absolute truth, and are therefore not possible without a higher power.

LOL you're right. I guess I'm just looking at it as there being much more evidence in support of God than not. :shrug:



I am willing to stake my eternity on my believe in atheism. Like I tried to say before, atheism is a believe just like having a religion is. I don't doubt my beliefs and I also don't feel like I'm putting anything on the line here.
You also asked me who I think programmed us. I believe in the theory of Darwin and how we all evolved into the beings that we now are with emotions that guide us through life and form our ethical judgements. Of course there is always the question that it had to begin somewhere and to be honest with you, I don't have a theory about how life began or how the universe began. I do think God is a pretty simple answer however and it feels just as wrong to me as a big bang that sounds just as simple. Scientist still have a lot of work to cover to ever figure out how life began and I don't think they ever will but religion is not a plausible answer for me.
To me religion is something that people made up because we are all afraid of dying. Nobody wants to die and so we created something in which we could all life forever. The Romans, Egyptians and Greeks did it. They had a very different believe system but it was based on the same thing, the idea of a life after death. Those people believed in their Gods like we do now believe in our religions, they also didn't doubt their beliefs and now we consider their stories to be myths so why is our idea of religion suddenly true then?
To put an end to a long post, I don't doubt my beliefs but I don't disrespect or dismay anyone who does believe either since it's a very logical and human thing to do. It's just not the answer that I'm searching for in life.

I understand what you're saying and it's definitely a logical argument, to some extent. You said before that there is a difference between your beliefs and the concept of absolute truth. I thought about it later, but there really is no absolute truth if everyone has their own truths, right? Absolute means definite, and for everyone. So this is an issue of absolute truth. I just wish you could explain to me how there can be any definition of right or wrong if there is no higher power? Because if we're all allowed to believe different things, I could believe that mass genocide is my truth. I'm so sorry to be repetitive, but I feel like you haven't really answered that.

Yes people have always wanted to have a form of religion. It's because that's how God made us, with a hole that can't be filled by anything but him. We can disagree on that, but I just don't see how someone can argue that everyone has their own truth.



Your point of view is based on a fundamental assumption that people cannot (or ought not) to have ethics if they do not have religion. because that is your underlying assumption, it becomes impossible to argue with it.

i'd like you to imagine a parallel universe in which religion and ethics occupy separate but not necessarily intersecting paths. If you can visualize this, then you can visualize a world in which people can treat each other ethically without needing to rely on religion as their motive for doing so. If you can visualize this, then you will understand my POV. If you cannot, you will ask questions like "Sure it's possible to have ethics, but why?" The "why" has to do with human decency. One can be a decent human with or without religion. It may be easier to do with the Ten Commandments as your guide. But it is not impossible without them.

I'm definitely not saying that people can't have ethics without religion. They can, but how can they impose those on other people? When it comes to violent actions like murder, how can you (who has your own personal truth that it's wrong), if there is no higher power, tell them that what they're doing is wrong?

I'm so sorry if I'm not making myself clear. I'm trying! I do see your POV, but I wish you could see mine. Yes, as I've said. A person can be the most giving person in the world, they might devote their lives to helping the homeless etc. Someone else may have murdered 10 people. Under the assumption that there is no absolute truth, neither of those people is better than the other. Are you sort of following my logic? I'm sorry again if I'm misrepresenting myself somehow.

Joyce_23
03-11-2007, 08:55 PM
I just wish you could explain to me how there can be any definition of right or wrong if there is no higher power? Because if we're all allowed to believe different things, I could believe that mass genocide is my truth. I'm so sorry to be repetitive, but I feel like you haven't really answered that.

I will try to explain it again although it's hard, next time can't we exhange phonenumbers or something to make this easier? :lol: I'm not exactly used to discussing religion in a language that isn't my own which is probably why I have some trouble explaining myself at some points.
I think that we all know what is right or wrong, just because you know. Which doesn't make any sense to you because you connect that to God but I connect it to simple human emotions that were evolved as time went by. For instance, I was once in Berlin where I got trapped in a mass of people who all got violent. In front of me a woman was holding a baby and I jumped in front of her to protect her and her baby while it harmed me. I don't believe that was God, it was my instinct telling me that is was the right thing to in that situation. Why else would an atheist even do such a thing? It wasn't God telling me to do that since proclaiming that God doesn't excist is a sin and therefore the big man is not following my life anymore should he excist.
We can all proclaim to have our own truths, yes, but we know when we do something that is wrong or good.
Mass genocide for instance happpens but I've never heard of a mass genocide that was announced in public before it happened because people thought they were doing the right thing. Even participers in a genocide know that they are doing something that is wrong but fear and mindgames can lead to a lot of awful things.
As a history student I studied the Holocaust and found that even the people who killed were not all bad, they were people who did what they did because they were scared, because they were made to believe that they did the right thing, because they had a wife and a kid at home and needed to provide for them, etc, etc. It was easy to see them as monsters when I started the assigment and I was still not a fan after I was done but what shocked me was that I learned that they were people just like you and me, who had started out with the same definitions of right and wrong that you and I have. Again I feel it's pretty simple to say that it was just the Devil getting to those guys and that is why they went bad all of a sudden. Some cried while they killed, some didn't want to do it anymore and got killed themselves. To me there is no fine line between good and wrong like you see it, I believe it can get blurry and we are all capable of doing bad things but even then we still know that it is wrong.
I still don't think I made my point clear to you so I guess we just have to agree to dissagree. ;) But if you're ever in Holland, drop me a line! Maybe I can manage to explain it then when I don't have to write it down. :)

celia
03-11-2007, 09:01 PM
Some of the worst killers ever in history have been able to admit that their actions were wrong. moral education does not always influence our actions and choices.

Jlee
03-11-2007, 09:42 PM
Some of the worst killers ever in history have been able to admit that their actions were wrong. moral education does not always influence our actions and choices.

What do you mean by moral education? I'm glad that those killers have seen that they've done something wrong. I'm confused I guess :lol:. How does this relate? How are you defining wrong? How can you define right or wrong if there is no absolute truth? That's my point, we can't tell a murderer that what they did was wrong if they say they don't believe it was.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for the take over of your thread! Sorry!!!

I will try to explain it again although it's hard, next time can't we exhange phonenumbers or something to make this easier? :lol: I'm not exactly used to discussing religion in a language that isn't my own which is probably why I have some trouble explaining myself at some points.
I think that we all know what is right or wrong, just because you know. Which doesn't make any sense to you because you connect that to God but I connect it to simple human emotions that were evolved as time went by. For instance, I was once in Berlin where I got trapped in a mass of people who all got violent. In front of me a woman was holding a baby and I jumped in front of her to protect her and her baby while it harmed me. I don't believe that was God, it was my instinct telling me that is was the right thing to in that situation. Why else would an atheist even do such a thing? It wasn't God telling me to do that since proclaiming that God doesn't excist is a sin and therefore the big man is not following my life anymore should he excist.
We can all proclaim to have our own truths, yes, but we know when we do something that is wrong or good.
Mass genocide for instance happpens but I've never heard of a mass genocide that was announced in public before it happened because people thought they were doing the right thing. Even participers in a genocide know that they are doing something that is wrong but fear and mindgames can lead to a lot of awful things.
As a history student I studied the Holocaust and found that even the people who killed were not all bad, they were people who did what they did because they were scared, because they were made to believe that they did the right thing, because they had a wife and a kid at home and needed to provide for them, etc, etc. It was easy to see them as monsters when I started the assigment and I was still not a fan after I was done but what shocked me was that I learned that they were people just like you and me, who had started out with the same definitions of right and wrong that you and I have. Again I feel it's pretty simple to say that it was just the Devil getting to those guys and that is why they went bad all of a sudden. Some cried while they killed, some didn't want to do it anymore and got killed themselves. To me there is no fine line between good and wrong like you see it, I believe it can get blurry and we are all capable of doing bad things but even then we still know that it is wrong.
I still don't think I made my point clear to you so I guess we just have to agree to dissagree. ;) But if you're ever in Holland, drop me a line! Maybe I can manage to explain it then when I don't have to write it down. :)

Oh my word, English isn't your first language? :eek: Well I'm impressed ;)

Why would we ever learn rights and wrongs through evolution? Wouldn't we naturally be interested in personal survival if evolution was the only thing that had an influence on our behavior? Wouldn't our instinct for survival be the only thing that matters? Why would we have compassion for others?

Wow, that study sounds so interesting. I don't really see that as going against what I believe though. I mean, that's saying that we all inherently know what is right and what is wrong. How did we all acheive that common knowledge? I don't believe that it was just the devil getting into those guys. It was fear and mindgames, like you said. And good and bad can sometimes get blurry, but that doesn't mean that there aren't certain lines. Maybe mass genocide was a bad example, but my point is that someone could proclaim something as being their personal truth and if everyone believed in personal truths (instead of absolute truths) they could get away with almost anything.

God doesn't love those people any less for what they did, just like he doesn't love you any less because of your belief. Sometimes he doesn't like our actions, but that doesn't decrease his love for us.

Yes, we might :) I hope I'm not coming across as preachy. I'm not trying to "convert" you, just trying to understand atheism, what you believe and how you can work it out logically in your mind :) I wish I was in a cool place like Holland to discuss it with you :lol:

Joyce_23
03-11-2007, 10:03 PM
Yes, we might :) I hope I'm not coming across as preachy. I'm not trying to "convert" you, just trying to understand atheism, what you believe and how you can work it out logically in your mind :) I wish I was in a cool place like Holland to discuss it with you :lol:

You never came across as preachy and the interest was mutal. I'm also interested in what Christians/ people with any religion believe and why they feel like that so this was interesting. :) And if you're ever near by then let me know, we can talk history and religion all day. :lol: Provided that we get some dinner eventually, no food makes me crappy.
Ok people, I'm returning this thread to you guys. The orginal topic was 'blogging the Bible' and not 'Atheists versus Christians' so enjoy the rest of your discussions in here.:wavey:

kapranos
03-11-2007, 10:13 PM
But your assertion is so entirely different. You're just randomly making something up. For me, it's logically impossible that there isn't a God. Ancient texts (the Bible) show us the path to knowing him. I have faith in him, and I believe that all people who have faith in him will be saved from eternal punishment.

I made a parallel to show that for a non-believer, Pascal wager doesn't make any sense. You're willing to take the chance to become blind simply because you don't believe what I say. We live according to what our belief are; not according to fear of losing something, even eternal life.

How do you know those who don't believe won't be saved anyway? That's certainly not the belief of every theologian.

I honestly don't think I'm qualified to discuss buddhism. I'm just trying to establish that life and society are not possible without absolute truth, and are therefore not possible without a higher power.

It's entirely possible as there are and were societies who were able to function without believing in a higher power. I'm not an expert on buddhism as well, but they are atheist regarding to the Christian God for example.

kapranos
03-11-2007, 10:35 PM
How can you define right or wrong if there is no absolute truth?

You can in one million different way, it's just that there's never going to be a consensus.

But every theist doesn't have the idea of what is the absolute truth. So what's the difference, concretely, between a bunch of atheists who have all their own notion of right or wrong, with a bunch of theists who have all their own notion of right or wrong? I've never seen 2 theists with exactly the same idea of what is right and what is wrong.

You have some theists who support the death penalty, you have theists who are against it. You have theists who support abortion, you have theists who are against it. Etc.

Bush is responsible for thousands of death for the Iraq war. Was he "right", was he "wrong"? Some theists think he is right, some thinks he is wrong.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Jlee
03-11-2007, 10:37 PM
I made a parallel to show that for a non-believer, Pascal wager doesn't make any sense. You're willing to take the chance to become blind simply because you don't believe what I say. We live according to what our belief are; not according to fear of losing something, even eternal life.

How do you know those who don't believe won't be saved anyway? That's certainly not the belief of every theologian.



It's entirely possible as there are and were societies who were able to function without believing in a higher power. I'm not an expert on buddhism as well, but they are atheist regarding to the Christian God for example.

Okay, I see your point. :) Probably a bad argument on my part.

Sure there are and were, but I don't see how it works out logically. I guess what I'm really interested in talking about is absolute truth. And yes I suppose that buddhists are atheists...I don't remember where we were going with that though. That they are able to acheive inner peace?

Well I disagree with (I'm assuming, Christian) theologians who say that every path somehow leads to God. In my opinion, it's just their way of avoiding conflict :shrug: Very wishy-washy.


You never came across as preachy and the interest was mutal. I'm also interested in what Christians/ people with any religion believe and why they feel like that so this was interesting. :) And if you're ever near by then let me know, we can talk history and religion all day. :lol: Provided that we get some dinner eventually, no food makes me crappy.
Ok people, I'm returning this thread to you guys. The orginal topic was 'blogging the Bible' and not 'Atheists versus Christians' so enjoy the rest of your discussions in here.:wavey:

I'm glad. :) Ohhh goody :D haha. Yes, without food I don't think (or debate about religion) very clearly :lol:

Same here! :wavey:

kapranos
03-11-2007, 10:55 PM
Well I disagree with (I'm assuming, Christian) theologians who say that every path somehow leads to God. In my opinion, it's just their way of avoiding conflict :shrug: Very wishy-washy.

What about those who were born before Jesus? What about those who've never heard of God? What about those who died quickly after they were born? I don't think that's wishy-washy to think those who didn't believe during their material life won't automatically be rejected eternal life, especially given our belief are strongly dependant of factors we don't choose. (Geographical location for example).

Jlee
03-12-2007, 01:55 AM
What about those who were born before Jesus? What about those who've never heard of God? What about those who died quickly after they were born? I don't think that's wishy-washy to think those who didn't believe during their material life won't automatically be rejected eternal life, especially given our belief are strongly dependant of factors we don't choose. (Geographical location for example).

Well I was talking about people who were born after Jesus's time. For those that were born before, it's a bit unclear to me how everything worked because it was more complicated then. People who weren't Israelites could become followers of God if they chose. It was a different process though.

The question of those who've never heard of God is very good one. I've heard stories of tribes of people in 3rd world countries travelling to meet missionaries because they knew something was missing in their lives and were desparate to hear the story. Maybe they didn't know the story, but they somehow sensed that there was a higher power, but do I believe that that alone will help them to acheive salvation? I don't know how I can. Here's a page with some references to some Biblical verses (I'll just give them to you in case you might be interested) http://www.carm.org/email/skep_neverheard.htm

I believe that young babies must reach an age of accountability before they are able to choose God. Therefore, if they die before that age, God doesn't prevent them from entering heaven. I think that's a HUGE question within the church. Most sects of Christianity believe that one must be baptized to acheive salvation. I believe that baptism is the outward symbol, but you can become a Christian and acheive eternal salvation without it. Like when Jesus told the sinner on the cross beside him, "Today you will be with me in paradise." But you've hit on something that's a matter of debate within Christianity, so I answered it the way I believe. Other Christians definitely disagree :)

And I guess I meant wishy washy in the sense that they avoid all conflicts with adult people who have heard the gospel. They don't believe that Christianity is the only true way, so I don't see how they can be Christians. Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through him. I feel like that's pretty clear, but people disagree I guess. I guess I wasn't thinking about those scenarios you presented as much as people who follow a different path by choice.

kapranos
03-12-2007, 02:11 AM
I guess I wasn't thinking about those scenarios you presented as much as people who follow a different path by choice.

But do we choose a different path? Most of the time we don't. I don't think North Korea "choose" not to be Christian for example, they're atheist almost by force. They can't hear about Christianity, they're cut from the rest of the world.

do people from Islamic countries "choose" to be muslims... Seriously?

Not to mention atheists are "victim" of the "materialistic", "rational" time we live in.

The idea of judging people by their faith is flawed, on every level. It's very nice in theory, but realistically it's an unfair and silly system. The only way it makes sense is if EVERY human is offered the eternal life after death.

Jlee
03-12-2007, 03:25 AM
But do we choose a different path? Most of the time we don't. I don't think North Korea "choose" not to be Christian for example, they're atheist almost by force. They can't hear about Christianity, they're cut from the rest of the world.

do people from Islamic countries "choose" to be muslims... Seriously?

Not to mention atheists are "victim" of the "materialistic", "rational" time we live in.

The idea of judging people by their faith is flawed, on every level. It's very nice in theory, but realistically it's an unfair and silly system. The only way it makes sense is if EVERY human is offered the eternal life after death.

Many people choose a different path. It's possible to be a Christian in a non-Christian country. People have died for their beliefs. Christian faith calls us to be willing to die for it. Am I saying that I would personally be able to stand up for my faith in that situation? I hope so, but that's really hard.

Yes they choose to be Muslim. I mean, if they've heard the message of God. I know of people who've become Christians after converting from Islam.

If I'm understanding you correctly, yes they are. But that's still their personal choice.

It's not about you or I judging people, it's about how God judges people. EVERY human being is offered life after death. Jesus told us to go out and tell people about him. God accepts every person who comes to him through Jesus. It's more fair than any of us deserve.

(When I'm discussing with you now, I'm operating under the assumption that we both believe that there is a God.)

uglyamerican
03-12-2007, 09:43 AM
Hmmmm. I'll have to think about the past few pages of comments, and try to come up with something intelligent to say about ethics and religion.

For now, I'll say that it's certainly okay to believe that one might get a chance to alter their beliefs ("repent"--if you will) after their material life is over. Christians do not have to agree on this point.

oz_boz
03-12-2007, 10:42 AM
The idea of judging people by their faith is flawed, on every level. It's very nice in theory, but realistically it's an unfair and silly system. The only way it makes sense is if EVERY human is offered the eternal life after death.

YOU of all people saying that :crazy:

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=70838

celia
03-12-2007, 01:53 PM
And I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize for the take over of your thread! Sorry!!!


It's not my thread. It's for everyone to share as they see fit. I'm happy to have inspired a discussion that I find interesting.

You're not coming across as preachy but as pleasantly resistant. Whenever anyone answers your question, you then shift angles and say that the question was not answered.

Like I said before, I think the difference between yourself and myself comes from the different fundamental assumption from which we both start. You assume that there has to be an "absolute truth" for morality to exist. I do not. I do not believe that the opposite of absolute truth is an empty vacuum. I think that the opposite is a different kind of truth much too humble to call itself "absolute".

Jlee
03-12-2007, 08:54 PM
It's not my thread. It's for everyone to share as they see fit. I'm happy to have inspired a discussion that I find interesting.

You're not coming across as preachy but as pleasantly resistant. Whenever anyone answers your question, you then shift angles and say that the question was not answered.

Like I said before, I think the difference between yourself and myself comes from the different fundamental assumption from which we both start. You assume that there has to be an "absolute truth" for morality to exist. I do not. I do not believe that the opposite of absolute truth is an empty vacuum. I think that the opposite is a different kind of truth much too humble to call itself "absolute".

Good :)

I don't feel like I'm shifting angles. I feel like I'm repeating myself because you aren't really answering my question about absolute versus personal truth. Yes there is an obvious difference in our assumptions and that affects how we approach this discussion.

I'm sorry if I'm shifting angles here but...how would you define truth? Is it a personal thing for each of us to choose? Is that what you would say? I'm trying to understand :)

celia
03-12-2007, 09:33 PM
Good :)

I don't feel like I'm shifting angles. I feel like I'm repeating myself because you aren't really answering my question about absolute versus personal truth. Yes there is an obvious difference in our assumptions and that affects how we approach this discussion.

I'm sorry if I'm shifting angles here but...how would you define truth? Is it a personal thing for each of us to choose? Is that what you would say? I'm trying to understand :)

Shifting...repeating...whichever

Bottom line is this. If I do not believe in an absolute truth, then I cannot answer questions based on that as a fundamental premise. Because you believe in an absolute truth, you cannot contemplate questions that do not posit this as a given. Consequently we end up going around in circles. Pointless really.

Jlee
03-12-2007, 09:43 PM
Shifting...repeating...whichever

Bottom line is this. If I do not believe in an absolute truth, then I cannot answer questions based on that as a fundamental premise. Because you believe in an absolute truth, you cannot contemplate questions that do not posit this as a given. Consequently we end up going around in circles. Pointless really.

I feel like there's a difference :shrug:

Can we assume for a moment that I believe nothing about truth, and that you're going to explain it to me? I'd just love to hear how you would define it. Absolute truth is not the fundamental premise. There is no fundamental premise. Let's say nothing is defined at this point. Define truth.

kapranos
03-12-2007, 09:45 PM
Many people choose a different path.

My point is that many take a different path because they have no choice but to follow that path.

It's possible to be a Christian in a non-Christian country.

Not always.

Jlee
03-12-2007, 09:53 PM
My point is that many take a different path because they have no choice but to follow that path.



Not always.

I'm addressing the other significant group that does have that choice.

I just found this article about the group who maybe hasn't heard the story. I'm not sure if everyone (Christians) would agree but it is one perspective:
http://www.iamnext.com/spirituality/condemn.html

When would they not? If they have heard the story, they have a choice. The worst thing a country can do to you if you believe in a religion/God it doesn't is kill you. I've already addressed that Christians are supposed to be able to die for what they believe if they need to.

Again, it's easy for me to sit here and say it. Don't misunderstand and think that I'm saying it isn't a difficult thing to do. It's just something that God expects, according to the Bible.

kapranos
03-12-2007, 10:32 PM
It's not a matter of being easy or not... Most people adopt the religion of their culture, it's the reality of life. If you're being teached that Jesus was "just" a prophet (Islam), it becomes your reality. For most people it's not a "choice". We have to remember also a lot of uneducated people are being teached religion and they accept whatever people teach them as the truth. If they're being told something, they take it as the truth. You can't really blame them for not believing in Christianity.

celia
03-12-2007, 10:38 PM
.. Define truth.

Do you have a definition of truth that works for you? Terrific. Then I am truly happy for you. I don't have one and I don't feel a pressing need to define one. It's not a question that is important to me or that makes a difference in my day to day ethical choices regarding how I treat people. If you need a definition of truth in order to be a good person, then I fully respect your path. Please respect (if you can't understand) that I don't.

kapranos
03-12-2007, 10:45 PM
Like I said, every theist has a different idea of what is the absolute truth, morality or whatever. So every theist has its own belief system, just like every atheist has it's own belief system.

I recall reading countries with the most atheists are the ones with less murders commited, or something like that.

Jlee
03-12-2007, 10:45 PM
It's not a matter of being easy or not... Most people adopt the religion of their culture, it's the reality of life. If you're being teached that Jesus was "just" a prophet (Islam), it becomes your reality. For most people it's not a "choice". We have to remember also a lot of uneducated people are being teached religion and they accept whatever people teach them as the truth. If they're being told something, they take it as the truth. You can't really blame them for not believing in Christianity.

But there are plenty of instances where people who grew up with a different religion became Christians. Sure there is a tendency to believe the way your culture does. But how did Christianity become so popular then? There was a time when people believed in a multitude of gods and Christianity was just a small sect of "crazy" people. It has spread from that - HUGELY. Thus, it's not impossible.

If they have been told the truth and reject it you're right, it's not my responsibility to judge them (whether or not that involves blaming). It's God's.


Do you have a definition of truth that works for you? Terrific. Then I am truly happy for you. I don't have one and I don't feel a pressing need to define one. It's not a question that is important to me or that makes a difference in my day to day ethical choices regarding how I treat people. If you need a definition of truth in order to be a good person, then I fully respect your path. Please respect (if you can't understand) that I don't.

I respect that you believe something different than I do. You're also reading through the scriptures, so you're exploring. I hope I haven't turned you off from doing that.

I need a sense for where my ethical guidance originates. How can someone say that they make choices that are ethical if they don't define ethics?

Jlee
03-12-2007, 10:52 PM
Like I said, every theist has a different idea of what is the absolute truth, morality or whatever. So every theist has its own belief system, just like every atheist has it's own belief system.

I recall reading countries with the most atheists are the ones with less murders commited, or something like that.

It's hard for me to understand what we're talking about. First, I was talking with someone who was an atheist. Thus, I was trying not to insert assumed Christian doctrine into the discussion and was just focusing on my belief that there has to be a God for there to be reality.

Now I feel like we've been talking about Christianity specifically. Do you want to compare the differences in religions? Theism is a VERY broad category that covers millions of people who don't believe things that are very similar at all. Atheism is far more specific to a group of people and I have to assume that their beliefs are similar.

Some random statistic that could be influenced by millions of factors isn't going to disprove the truth of Christianity in my mind :shrug:


And to any Christians, or even theists out there - any help/corrections are appreciated. I feel like I'm trying to represent a big group of people with my personal beliefs that may not be widespread among either groups.

celia
03-12-2007, 10:59 PM
I respect that you believe something different than I do. You're also reading through the scriptures, so you're exploring. I hope I haven't turned you off from doing that.

I need a sense for where my ethical guidance originates. How can someone say that they make choices that are ethical if they don't define ethics?

It's not that I don't define ethics -- it's that I don't need to refer to religion to do so. My sense of ethics originated with my parents and their fundamental goodness and decency (of which I can boast many examples). Neither of them felt that they needed religion to be their compass. Having absorbed many of their values, I feel that I am capable of sound ethical behavior, and can define it as a personal coda that guides my personal choices. Notice that I make no reference to religion but this is not to say that you cannot use Christianity to help guide your definition of ethics. But people with other religious beliefs, or with no religious beliefs do not necessarily have a lesser definition of ethics -- in fact, in many respects our definitions may actually overlap.

Here are some standard definitions/references: ETHICS =

1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. (usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
5. The branch of philosophy dealing with the concepts and principles of morality, and including such theoretical questions as the source and foundation of morality, the status and justification of moral rules, the relationship between moral and other human objectives, and the nature of responsibility. Ethics has various subfields of application, such as medical ethics and business ethics, and its meaning shades into the more everyday, descriptive sense of ‘a set of standards’.

As for my reading the Bible, I believe that I explained in an earlier post that I felt that I had read many many other books and could see no reason not to read this one having been given it as a gift.

Jlee
03-12-2007, 11:10 PM
It's not that I don't define ethics -- it's that I don't need to refer to religion to do so. My sense of ethics originated with my parents and their fundamental goodness and decency (of which I can boast many examples). Neither of them felt that they needed religion to be their compass. Having absorbed many of their values, I feel that I am capable of sound ethical behavior, and can define it as a personal coda that guides my personal choices. Notice that I make no reference to religion but this is not to say that you cannot use Christianity to help guide your definition of ethics. But people with other religious beliefs, or with no religious beliefs do not necessarily have a lesser definition of ethics -- in fact, in many respects our definitions may actually overlap.

Here are some standard definitions/references: ETHICS =

1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. (usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
5. The branch of philosophy dealing with the concepts and principles of morality, and including such theoretical questions as the source and foundation of morality, the status and justification of moral rules, the relationship between moral and other human objectives, and the nature of responsibility. Ethics has various subfields of application, such as medical ethics and business ethics, and its meaning shades into the more everyday, descriptive sense of Ďa set of standardsí.

As for my reading the Bible, I believe that I explained in an earlier post that I felt that I had read many many other books and could see no reason not to read this one having been given it as a gift.

I don't doubt that both you and your parents are very ethical. Thanks for the definition. But my issue is that there has to be a reason that humans feel the need to have ethics, and a reason why our ethics overlap. How does having ethics contribute to our survival?

I'm not questioning the ability to have ethics without "religion." I'm simply wondering how someone that believes there is no God or absolute truth explains the human tendency for basic ethical behavior. It has nothing to do with "survival of the fittest."

Okay, sorry. :)

celia
03-12-2007, 11:20 PM
I don't doubt that both you and your parents are very ethical. Thanks for the definition. But my issue is that there has to be a reason that humans feel the need to have ethics, and a reason why our ethics overlap. How does having ethics contribute to our survival?

I'm not questioning the ability to have ethics without "religion." I'm simply wondering how someone that believes there is no God or absolute truth explains the human tendency for basic ethical behavior. It has nothing to do with "survival of the fittest."

Okay, sorry. :)

Please read my answer carefully and don't go shifting shapes just because I answered you clearly and fully.

Scientists have proven conclusively that a huge component of our survival as human beings stems from what appears to be an innate drive for altruism. We humans are innately motivated to look out for and take care of each other. It's fairly easy to see how ethical behavior could have evolved from such innate altruistic instincts. Over time, this becomes encoded as a system of rules and regulations. Adopted by most, it works in the best interest of society in general. Hence our survival as a species.

Jlee
03-13-2007, 12:35 AM
Please read my answer carefully and don't go shifting shapes just because I answered you clearly and fully.

Scientists have proven conclusively that a huge component of our survival as human beings stems from what appears to be an innate drive for altruism. We humans are innately motivated to look out for and take care of each other. It's fairly easy to see how ethical behavior could have evolved from such innate altruistic instincts. Over time, this becomes encoded as a system of rules and regulations. Adopted by most, it works in the best interest of society in general. Hence our survival as a species.

You have only now answered me clearly and fully. What are rules and regulations and how can one have a basis for them? Perhaps you would say that we naturally tend to do things that benefit society as a whole. But there are plenty of examples of people who haven't complied with those innate altruistic "instincts." Look at Hitler or other "evil" (however you're defining that) world leaders. How does what they did demonstrate this innate altruistic instinct?

It's pretty obvious that we're going to have to agree to disagree. I'm going to quote a source that makes sense to me, partly because I'm having trouble stating it my own way without making you think I'm "shifting shapes". You can choose to read it or not.

Atheists' morals are not absolute. They do not have a set of moral laws from an absolute God by which right and wrong are judged. But, they do live in societies that have legal systems with a codified set of laws. This would be the closest thing to moral absolutes for atheists. However, since the legal system changes the morals in a society can still change and their morals along with it. At best, these codified morals are "temporary absolutes." In one century abortion is wrong. In another, it is right. So, if we ask if it is or isn't it right, the atheist can only tell us his opinion.

If there is a God, killing the unborn is wrong. If there is no God, then who cares? If it serves the best interest of society and the individual, then kill. This can be likened to something I call, "experimental ethics." In other words, whatever works best is right. Society experiments with ethical behavior to determine which set of rules works best for it. Hopefully, these experiments lead to better and better moral behavior. But, as we see by looking into society, this isn't the case: crime is on the rise.

There are potential dangers in this kind of self-established/experimental ethical system. If a totalitarian political system is instituted and a mandate is issued to kill all dissenters, or Christians, or mentally ill, what is to prevent the atheist from joining forces with the majority system and support the killings? It serves his self-interests, so why not? Morality becomes a standard of convenience, not absolutes.


But, to be fair, just because someone has an absolute ethical system based on the Bible, there is no guarantee that he will not also join forces in doing what is wrong. People are often very inconsistent. But the issue here is the basis of moral beliefs and how they affect behavior. That is why belief systems are so important and absolutes are so necessary. If morals are relative, then behavior will be too. That can be dangerous if everyone starts doing right in his own eyes. A boat adrift without an anchor will eventual crash into the rocks.


The Bible teaches love, patience, and seeking the welfare of others even when it might harm the Christian. In contrast, the atheists' presuppositions must be constantly changing, and subjective and does not demand love, patience, and the welfare of others. Instead, since the great majority of atheists are evolutionists, their morality, like evolution is the product of purely natural and random processes that become self serving.


Basically, the atheist cannot claim any moral absolutes at all. To an atheist, ethics must be variable and evolving. This could be good or bad. But, given human nature being what it is, I'll opt for the moral absolutes -- based on God's word -- and not on the subjective and changing morals that atheism offers.


http://www.carm.org/atheism/atheistandethics.htm

Or this source in general:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/8449/ethics.html

kapranos
03-13-2007, 12:49 AM
the atheist can only tell us his opinion

That's exactly the same for a "non-atheist", which was my point in post number 61.

I won't answer to post number 62, this is going into circle. Honestly you have to live in a non-Christian country to understand the power of some non-Christian cultures, no amount of discussion will give a different perspective.

I don't understand a word of 63.

Regenbogen
03-13-2007, 12:51 AM
You have only now answered me clearly and fully. What are rules and regulations and how can one have a basis for them? Perhaps you would say that we naturally tend to do things that benefit society as a whole. But there are plenty of examples of people who haven't complied with those innate altruistic "instincts." Look at Hitler or other "evil" (however you're defining that) world leaders. How does what they did demonstrate this innate altruistic instinct?



I was reading through this thread and *thought* I knew where you were coming from, till here. If it's not an innate altruistic instinct, then what would you say it is?

Jlee
03-13-2007, 01:04 AM
That's exactly the same for a "non-atheist", which was my point in post number 61.

I won't answer to post number 62, this is going into circle. Honestly you have to live in a non-Christian country to understand the power of some non-Christian cultures, no amount of discussion will give a different perspective.

I don't understand a word of 63.

I'm sure I do, you're right. But it isn't as if I've had no contact with people in those situations. :shrug:

What don't you understand? I was trying to figure out if we were talking with the assumption that there is a God and we were debating aspects of Christianity, or if we were still discussing the possibility of atheism. I think it's pretty clear.


I was reading through this thread and *thought* I knew where you were coming from, till here. If it's not an innate altruistic instinct, then what would you say it is?

I'm sorry, I was confusing myself mostly :lol: Plus I was up until about 3 AM last night so being short on sleep doesn't help!

I believe that we have a natural tendency to sin/to do things that are evil, but we also have a conscience that comes from/is God. All of us fall short of His and our own ethical standards. Thus, we need God to redeem us.

I'm sorry again for my response. Reading it again it doesn't make nearly as much sense as I intended it to.

I think I'm going to try to leave the discussion alone now. I feel like I've given logical reasons and stated by beliefs pretty clearly and any argument/discussion is going in circles. In the end, there is a certain amount of faith involved in the belief in God. That's the essence of the process. I can't logically reason a way to prove God, just like no one can logically disprove Him. I personally don't understand how anyone can function in a world without absolutes, which is the essence of fuctioning under the belief that there is no God, but no one can force their beliefs on someone else.

I hope I haven't misrepresented God or Christianity in any way. Thank you for the respect that you have shown to me and my beliefs and I hope I've shown the same to you. :)

celia
03-15-2007, 01:13 PM
OK, so I think I get the point of Leviticus. I've delivered you guys, I need you to know that I am your God and that you must workship Me. Which suggests to me that the Israelites must have been living in a non-monotheistic setting and God wanted to make sure that they did not get influenced by other beliefs -- hence the strict rules and rituals about focusing only on Him.

now let's see if the blogger guy has a similar interpretation.

but my question is this -- with all those blood sacrifices, I can't imagine any amount of incense making the Tabernacle not smell to high heaven. that place must have ranked.

dkw
03-19-2007, 02:39 AM
Where the hell have I been?? I swear my job is rudely cutting into my MTF time.

...Not much to add, I'm just glad we can talk about our views in a reasonalbe manner (and those crazy Mods didn't have to come shut us down).

Religion... Didn't some one say "if God didn't exist, he'd have to be invented" :tape: