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Being 'Born-Again' Linked to More Brain Atrophy: Study
Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

Stas B. said:

Whether a scientist who believes in god is a good scientist (in the sense that he contributes something to science) depends on whether he adjusts his god to not conflict with science or whether he adjusts science to not conflict with his god.

Very well said! God is adjustable, science is not! I know this might offend many believers, as many believers have a carved-in-stone viewpoint/relation to faith/God. But many believers have not. Science ends being science, when making it starts to be affected by political or religious or other personal reasons. Different believers understand their personal faith very differently, some of them has a quasi scientific point of view, because that's what religion very often has tended to tell about. This and that created this and that, etc. For some believers these outer world explaining myths are not essential at all. The sad thing is that for some non-believers, all that religion is about is explaining the material world. Well, it's actually far from a sad thing. They have lots of fun laughing at the believers.

About atheism being a belief system. That might be true for some people, maybe people like Dawkins. But mostly I guess it's like me not believing in Potrzebie. I don't believe in Potrzebie, but there's absolutely no involved system in it, nor any belief. Just a void.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

weapon_S
Member #7,859
October 2006
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Evert said:

Both of which are no-brainers. In short, a waste of good reasearch time and money.

Actually it does tell something about stress and belief. Even strong believers get stress, if they find adversity.

SiegeLord said:

as you must to be coherent

It is true that I have a little trouble concentrating right now, but I can't figure out the analogy between selling each other tickets, and choosing a a stand-point (with certain probabilities). Perhaps a more "entry-level" explanation? :-[ It does sound interesting.

Evert said:

I guess the point is that "God did it" typically comes with an implied "and therefore there are no further questions". But of course there are.

But of course there aren't! For a farmer to overthink a unified field theory or a widow to wonder what has happened to their spouse; it is a futile effort. In the same way your understanding of how crops grow might end with cell division, photo-synthesis and basic plant anatomy, while a primitive[1] farmer's "hands on" knowledge makes him better at growing crops, even if at some point he believes God does something. The 'biological knowledge' is a way to understand crops that grow. Most people will not question the matter any further, and it would be unproductive if they did. That doesn't imply there shouldn't be any people at all who question it.

Derezo said:

I think that is why atheism is bigger today than it ever has been (because many people think we can, or do, know everything).

Stas B. said:

So many people who are atheists don't understand the scientific method and put blind faith in anything labeled "science".

That reminds me of BS scientific explanations that go around. I think I've given some myself at one point or another, but in some circles such explanations are common and accepted. I wish I had any hilarious examples... These misconceptions tend to be hilarious.
Because God used to explain a lot, science is naturally His enemy. So in a sense even these misconceptions could be labeled "atheism". You're less likely to get raised eyebrows if you incur words like "ions", or "Coriolis-effect" than "God", when you don't know what you're talking about. Using the word "god" implies having a set of ideas you're not willing to change; no wonder some people react reluctant to it.
On the other hand people who have a religion are like the Emperor in his new clothes[2]; strutting around thinking they got it all figured out. You shouldn't laugh at them, or yell at them, unless you want to hurt them. You should take them in-doors and subtly suggest it might be cold in such fine clothes ;D But of-course, it's not everybody's job to make everyone live in harmony with each other; or more precise: other jobs have priority :P
On the other hand, analogous to what was mentioned before, I think religious people can be more open-minded on some matters (politics), than their atheist counter-parts; sometimes even going against there faith in principal. But I have no examples.
Nice to have a place to summarize my stance on religion once in a while. :P
That pencil sharpening is... total overkill. Unless you want a certified sharpened pencil >_>

References

  1. I'm not saying farmers are primitive; I'm not saying believers are primitive; only for this example I think a big contrast makes it clearer.
  2. You know the story, right?
23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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Stas B. said:

What are the chances that you could change their opinion again by presenting them with valid evidence that challenges their new beliefs?

The same as any other human on any other topic. In fact moreso, since according to the study they're under strong pressure to.

Quote:

Do you know what they call the act of challenging the fundamental concepts of a religion? Heresy.

By "they", I assume you mean the Catholic church alone? Because that word is kinda specific to them as far as religion goes AFAIK. It's also somewhat abused and meaningless nowadays; you use it for the act of challenging fundamental concepts of anything.

Quote:

The moment you start questioning your religion, you are no longer religious by definition.

By whos definition? What if you question parts of your religion that are not essential doctrine? What if you find one religion makes more sense than the religion you were brought up in? What about churches that have debates within their own religion for discussing new ideas? Are they no longer religious by definition? What definition are we working with here, exactly?

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

The same as any other human on any other topic. In fact moreso, since according to the study they're under strong pressure to.

I don't think I've ever heard of that, not that it's even relevant to the discussion.

Quote:

By "they", I assume you mean the Catholic church alone? Because that word is kinda specific to them as far as religion goes AFAIK. It's also somewhat abused and meaningless nowadays; you use it for the act of challenging fundamental concepts of anything.

I don't care who this word is specific to according to pop cutlure. I gave you the correct definition. Even if you don't agree with it, it doesn't really matter as long as we both know what I'm talking about. The Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions all specify severe punishments to those who question the foundations of the religion. Furthermore, those religions claim that their teachings are the indisputable word of some infalliable god. It's perfectly clear they deny the possibility of there being evidence against their core teachings. When in doubt, you are required to use blind faith, which is the ultimate achievement and proof of your loyalty to god.

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By whos definition? What if you question parts of your religion that are not essential doctrine?

Questioning any part of a religious doctorine implies questioning the core value of faith. You must accept the parts that don't make sense to you by faith because they are all based on the word of god. Why exactly do religions put such an emphasis on faith if it's perfectly valid to adjust things untill they make sense and no faith is required?

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What if you find one religion makes more sense than the religion you were brought up in?

If you are a Muslim who finds that Christianity makes more sense, you are no longer a Muslim. Clear as day.

Quote:

What about churches that have debates within their own religion for discussing new ideas?

Are you trying to imply that they are actually willing to accept any evidence? The sole purpose of those debates is for the trained preachers to quell any valid arguments using skillful demagogy. Here, have an example:

The Christian Bible says that Jesus very literally promised that if you pray, you shall receive anything you wish for. Well, maybe Jesus was exagerrating a bit. Let's just assume he meant that if you're a honest Christian praying for something reasonable and unselfish, you shall receive it. Scientific studies clearly demonstrate that prayer does not increase the chance of something happening, no matter what it is. Either Jesus lied when he promised your prayers will be answeared or the Bible lies and he never made such promise. Are you willing to accept this evidence and doubt the veracity of Jesus\the Bible and accept the futility of prayer? Let's suppose you do. What do you suppose would happen if you said in a debate "Well, I still believe in God and Jesus, but prayer doesn't work and Jesus was probably lying."

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Stas B. said:

What do you suppose would happen if you said in a debate "Well, I still believe in God and Jesus, but prayer doesn't work and Jesus was probably lying."

That's a self-contradictory statement...

If you question the "foundation" of your religion, then of course you are a "heretic" and don't belong. It's ludicrous for somebody to say, "I'm a Catholic, but I don't believe in the virgin Mary, Jesus, or the authority of the church," because by definition a Catholic is somebody who believes in those things.

A religion must have some set of core beliefs that define what it intrinsically is. If those core beliefs change, then you've got a new religion. Most religious groups are very open to debate and discussions that stem from those core beliefs.

Your arguments are hilarious, as is this entire discussion. Lots of people are here thinking they are very deep and profound, yet are as shallow and ignorant as the rest of us. 8-)

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

Great job missing the entire point, which happens to be identical to the one you're trying to make. It's basic reductio ad absurdum. If you're going to claim that your flavor of religion accepts scientific evidence, it follows that it must accept scientific evidence against its core set of bliefs. That's ridiculous and that's exactly what I'm trying to show. I don't think I am deep and profound. I'm just making simple logical arguments. If my logic is flawed, anyone can point it out.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Well, the Xian church worked closely with scientific knowledge etc. until Copernicus came along and said the Bible was wrong. The Pope just forgave Galileo in the year 2000, apparently because they were tired of being such a laughingstock.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Stas B. said:

If you're going to claim that your flavor of religion accepts scientific evidence, it follows that it must accept scientific evidence against its core set of bliefs.

The point that I think escapes you is that these core beliefs of religions have already stood the test of time. They have already gone through rigorous scientific examination in the minds of the believers.

So when somebody comes by and says "I have scientific proof that praying doesn't work," it's something that has already been heard before and already refuted. There's no point in discussing it again and again. If you don't believe, then leave the church.

You assume that people blindly ignore the results of your studies. That's where you are wrong. They review the evidence and draw different conclusions than you do.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

So when somebody comes by and says "I have scientific proof that praying doesn't work," it's something that has already been heard before and already refuted. There's no point in discussing it again and again. If you don't believe, then leave the church.

You assume that people blindly ignore the results of your studies. That's where you are wrong. They review the evidence and draw different conclusions than you do.

You can review the evidence and always invent some contrived explanation as an alternative to the obvious one in order to avoid conflict with your predetermined beliefs. That's rejection of scientific evidence that goes against your beliefs, plain and simple, albeit rationalized. You are the one making ridiculous arguments.

[EDIT]

If you want to differentiate the "LALALA I can't hear you" kind of rejection of evidence from the "I'll take the contrived explanation over the reasonable one because that's more convinient" kind of rejection of evidence, no problem. Religions don't reject evidence. (They examine evidence and explain it away.) Religions change based on evidence. (When they can't keep explaining it away without becoming a laughing stock and only when it does not concern core values.) You are right and I am wrong. I am officially an idiot. I think what Siegelord originally meant in his post is that science handles evidence in a way productive for humanity and religion does the reverse. That's a view I agree with and I was trying to protect it.

Tobias Dammers
Member #2,604
August 2002
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You're all skipping a step: Defining what we're discussing about. What is "God"?

Stas B. said:

It's basic reductio ad absurdum. If you're going to claim that your flavor of religion accepts scientific evidence, it follows that it must accept scientific evidence against its core set of bliefs.

Not if those beliefs concern themselves with subjective issues. I believe that it is wrong to hurt others - not out of some sort of utilitarian cost/benefit analysis, but because I believe that it is morally wrong, that all human beings have a fundamental right to be treated respectfully, etc. - basic Humanist values, really. (It stands to reason whether Humanism qualifies as a religion though). None of those are based upon any scientific evidence, and so I don't need any evidence to believe in them, and neither can any scientific evidence disprove them: they are, in fact, arbitrary, which is why I refer to them as beliefs, not facts nor universal rules. I can, however, draw logical conclusions from them and combine them with scientific evidence to make the case that if you agree with me on those values, then it follows that you also have to agree with me on the particular issue we're discussing.

You assume that people blindly ignore the results of your studies. That's where you are wrong. They review the evidence and draw different conclusions than you do.

I have nothing but respect for people who do this, and in my experience, they are perfectly capable of applying common sense and logic, and I've had plenty of fruitful and inspiring conversations with them. But there's also the "La la can't hear you" kind of religious person who does accept or ignore evidence selectively.

Stas B. said:

The Christian Bible says that Jesus very literally promised that if you pray, you shall receive anything you wish for. Well, maybe Jesus was exagerrating a bit.

My take is that Jesus might actually have gotten quite a few things right, but then the Bible authors did a horrible job in writing it down.

Evert said:

I think you can argue that case. If, as a scientist, you truly believe that some things should be explained as special acts of some otherwise unknowable diety, then you do have to ask yourself what exactly you'retrying to do. Why bother trying to understand why supernovae explode if you could just say that every supernova is a special act of God and therefor there is nothing to understand?
However, I do know scientists who are religious, to the point of being lay preachers - quite succesful scientists too. It's not as clear-cut in practice.
I suspect it makes a difference whether the science you do is descriptive or explicative.

I can very well imagine that, as a scientist, one can reach the conclusion that certain things are not explainable through science in principle, and (unless you see no room for a free will) that certain things are arbitrary and subjective (see above). Science won't tell you what the Meaning of Life is; it won't tell you whether it's right or wrong to kill others; it won't even tell you whether you really exist, let alone the outside world. That's where religion and spirituality come in (although it is equally possible to just go with "there is no meaning, everything is arbitrary, it doesn't matter either way" - I'm just not sure what the logical practical consequence would have to be...). And of course, Science is so diverse and spread out into specialties that most scientists are busy working out very specific details of a very specific sub-branch of a branch of a particular discipline; few are actually doing work that could shake the very foundation of how we view the world.

---
Me make music: Triofobie
---
"We need Tobias and his awesome trombone, too." - Johan Halmén

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

Not if those beliefs concern themselves with subjective issues.

We were obviously discussing objective issues. You can't have scientific evidence concerning subjective issues.

Quote:

I have nothing but respect for people who do this, and in my experience, they are perfectly capable of applying common sense and logic

They make stuff up to explain away evidence they're uncomfortable with. They can and do apply common sense and logic, in a way that is selective, unproductive or outright destructive. How is that a good thing?

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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This statement is itself irrational. If you're "born-again" (per the thread title) then logically you must have had your beliefs changed by new evidence. Also, you imply that religious people never change their beliefs within the same religion. Obviously wrong.

Naturally it's a question of magnitudes. Sure they change their beliefs, perhaps even rationally so... but they still remain irrational by seriously entertaining the idea of the supernatural.

Several mentioned that scientists can be religious but still do good science, and they do that by being rational while doing science, but being "irrational" (presumably) in other questions. I can agree with that statement and I'm sure many people are like that. A more interesting propositions is a person who remains "irrational" when doing science by considering the supernatural. I shall claim that that does not happen, having read scores of scientific papers I never see the mention of god or other supernatural things as sources of hypotheses.

God and the supernatural aren't used in science because they are terrible hypotheses and have no predictive or explanatory power. If they did, they'd be rational because by mathematical construction rational beliefs are predictive and useful when going about the world. God and the supernatural don't exist because if they actually did, they'd be used in the scientific context. The absence of god and the supernatural in the entirety of the modern scientific corpus is perhaps the greatest evidence that god and the supernatural don't exist.

Scientists are under pressure both from inside and outside to publish interesting findings about the world. If there were phenomena that were best explained by god and the supernatural, that'd be reflected in the scientific work. It'd be irrational for a scientist to pass by an opportunity to use a great hypothesis which would allow him to satisfy his personal urges to explain the world, get recognition by being published, get funding etc.

Quote:

Of course, the real reason you're saying this is because you think your beliefs are the only rational ones. Well, as long as you aren't religious about it or anything. :)

If the subjective probability framework started giving wrong results, I would reject it. It is by far the most important advancement of the 20th century as far as I'm concerned, because of its success in many fields of science and engineering.

weapon_S said:

It is true that I have a little trouble concentrating right now, but I can't figure out the analogy between selling each other tickets, and choosing a a stand-point (with certain probabilities). Perhaps a more "entry-level" explanation? :-[ It does sound interesting.

The key idea behind those analogies is the idea that if you actually act on your beliefs (e.g. by betting money on unknown events, be they in the future or simply yet unobserved) then the only way your beliefs will be useful (e.g. maximize your monetary gain when you act on them) is if they act like probabilities that are affected by the evidence about the outside world.

Specifically, what they try to do is to match up statements like "I believe strongly that a coin will land heads up when I flip it" with the amount of money you're willing to bet on that, subject to some constraints. Let me give you an alternative "game" than they one they proposed (it is admittedly confusing).

Say we have two coins, one is fair and one is of unknown fairness (it might be fair, it might not be). I will pay you $1 if a coin lands heads up, and you get to choose the coin. Which coin will you choose?

Let's say you believe strongly that the unknown coin will land on heads (perhaps it looks bent in the right way). Thus you'll flip the unknown coin because you think it'll give you more money in the long run. You do that a few times and you never get heads. Thus, you adjust your belief and start betting on the fair coin instead.

The key idea is that the only way you're going to maximize your monetary gain is if the decisions you make based on your beliefs exactly match the decisions one would make if one had access to the exact probabilities.

Dunno if that helps, I spent like an hour crafting this terrible explanation :P.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

furinkan
Member #10,271
October 2008
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I really love religious debates and I love to troll about it (as some of you may remember), but I keep coming back to this thread to watch Mr. Rogers of all things.

I feel that this thread is very much like Jock-itch: it spreads rapidly, annoys everyone, and people just accept its existence as okay, when all we really need to do is just all accept FSM and get over it! >:(

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Stas B. said:

They make stuff up to explain away evidence they're uncomfortable with. They can and do apply common sense and logic, in a way that is selective, unproductive or outright destructive. How is that a good thing?

I assume by "they" you mean every single religious person. If not, what group are you talking about? (Please don't give a useless 'the people who do' type of answer, because obviously there are people of all types of beliefs who do that sort of thing.)

Or you can ignore that question. I'm more curious which scientific discovery you feel absolutely invalidated religion to the point where all "believers" are categorically insane, and those who do apply logic and examine scientific research only do such in a purposefully devious manner in order to trick and confuse the irrational fools.

(Edit: SiegeLord, you can answer that one too!)

furinkan said:

but I keep coming back to this thread to watch Mr. Rogers of all things.

Yeah, I listen to it every time a new post appears. 8-)

SiegeLord
Member #7,827
October 2006
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Or you can ignore that question. I'm more curious which scientific discovery you feel absolutely invalidated religion to the point where all "believers" are categorically insane, and those who do apply logic and examine scientific research only do such in a purposefully devious manner in order to trick and confuse the irrational fools.

Well, being irrational isn't grounds for being insane... but the point I'm making is that why don't those people who are religious use religion in a scientific context? If religion is rational and the supernatural actually affects the real world, where are the scientific papers about it? Why does string theory have no god in it? Where's god in general relativity?

But even ignoring the scientists, if god were real and actually affected something about the world, then even lay people would use that to their advantage. If praying to god actually did something, then everybody would pray because those that didn't would always be at a disadvantage.

I think religious belief persists only to the extent that it somehow meshes with the social structure/biological psyche of humans. Praying makes you feel better, going to church makes you feel better, and feeling better makes your life better, you look at the things happening to you a more optimistic light etc. But you look at it from an objective standpoint and it's clear that no god is required. It's just humans socializing. There is nothing supernatural about the tangible benefits of religion, and that's why not everybody is religious.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."-Ecclesiastes 1:18
[SiegeLord's Abode][Codes]:[DAllegro5]:[RustAllegro]

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

I assume by "they" you mean every single religious person. If not, what group are you talking about? (Please don't give a useless 'the people who do' type of answer, because obviously there are people of all types of beliefs who do that sort of thing.)

By "they" I mean religious people. Yes, every single one of them. Christians need to explain away evidence against prayer to remain Christian, for instance. It's impossible to prove beyond any doubt that all of those explanations are false, but it's just a fundamentally different way of examining evidence. They don't draw different conclusions from the evidence. They don't draw any conclusions from it at all. They believe in prayer a-priori and find a way to rationalize that belief in light of this new evidence.

Quote:

Or you can ignore that question. I'm more curious which scientific discovery you feel absolutely invalidated religion to the point where all "believers" are categorically insane, and those who do apply logic and examine scientific research only do such in a purposefully devious manner in order to trick and confuse the irrational fools.

And I'm curious to find out what in your opinion is the difference between religiosity and any other kind of delusion. Maybe "categorically insane" is a bit harsh, but religious beliefs are irrational and could be harmful. I'm not saying they apply logic in a purposefully devious manner. They just do it in an inconsistent and flawed manner without even realizing that. The more of them you have living in your society, the more they affect your life and the more power they have to enforce their fake and damaging moral code and belifs on you. To take it to an extreme, Christians used to burn people alive and Muslims still decapitate and stone people to death on a daily basis. They don't have debates either. If your version of Islam is a little different from mine, the correct thing for me to do is to murder you. :P

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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But there's also the "La la can't hear you" kind of religious person who does accept or ignore evidence selectively.

I don't get where people keep inserting the word "religious" as a descriptor in sentences like these. Everyone is "La la can't hear you" about some things, from their political views, to social responsibilities, to whether their wife is cheating on them or not. Theists and atheists are no different in this regard; it's part of human nature. I do, you do it (yes you), everyone does it.

Stas B. said:

I don't care who this word is specific to according to pop cutlure. I gave you the correct definition. Even if you don't agree with it, it doesn't really matter as long as we both know what I'm talking about.

I know what you're talking about, I just don't see why it applies here, specifically, and so your point is lost on me.

Quote:

The Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions all specify severe punishments to those who question the foundations of the religion.

Question the foundations of anything and there will be punishment. According to this study, people are punished for leaving Atheism. But, we knew that. Right?

My original comment was people change their minds about big and small things all the time according to new evidence. People also dismiss evidence if it is irrelevant, inconventient, or some other reason. There are social pressures in all things and nothing about this is special to religion. The original study isn't even specific to religion. You could re-write it to say "Being a Hipster Screws Up you Hippocampus". Seems like a severe punishment to me.

Quote:

You must accept the parts that don't make sense to you by faith because they are all based on the word of god.

Seems like putting the cart before the horse. If someone is accepting the word of anyone/thing then they already have a reason that makes sense. Otherwise, how were they a part of that religion to begin with?

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It's perfectly clear they deny the possibility of there being evidence against their core teachings.

More like they're past that point of the discussion, as Matthew said. In the same way you don't ask your algebra teacher things like why 2 + 2 = 4. Unless you want to get kicked out of class (hey; punishment!)

Quote:

Why exactly do religions put such an emphasis on faith if it's perfectly valid to adjust things until they make sense and no faith is required?

Something can make sense and still require faith, like if you don't understand how something works or maybe feel like taking a risk (ie: leap of faith).

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If you are a Muslim who finds that Christianity makes more sense, you are no longer a Muslim.

But you're still religious, right?

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Are you trying to imply that they are actually willing to accept any evidence? The sole purpose of those debates is for the trained preachers to quell any valid arguments using skillful demagogy.

Who mentioned trained preachers? These are members of the congregation getting together after service for beers. Your bias is producing a awful lot of assumptions, dude. :) As already mentioned, being religious doesn't mean you're not open to new evidence. Some atheists seem to think that, since I suppose it makes sense to them in line with their own beliefs, but that doesn't mean it accurately reflects objective reality.

Quote:

The Christian Bible says that Jesus very literally promised that if you pray, you shall receive anything you wish for.

Unless you're thinking of a verse I'm not, the word used was "believe", not "pray". And (as a tongue-in-cheek aside) if you check the motivation speaker shelf at your local bookstore, you'll find this has become a secular belief in recent times, too. :)

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
avatar

SiegeLord said:

but the point I'm making is that why don't those people who are religious use religion in a scientific context?

Because they aren't scientists. (Even atheists don't generally apply scientific methodologies on anything unless they are the academic type.)

But exactly what is supposed to be tested? How can you test if Jesus turned water into wine? The believer realizes that breaks the rules of science. I think it's fundamentally very difficult to test these things. Most of it is just historical events.

Regarding the comments about prayer: You cannot just start praying to see if your life gets better. At least from a Christian perspective, praying is something believers do ... not something unbelievers do as a test to see if they should believe. Even Jesus often qualified prayer as something that must be both believed and God's will in order to be effective.

Stas B. said:

And I'm curious to find out what in your opinion is the difference between religiosity and any other kind of delusion.

By the strictest definition, I would reserve delusions to be beliefs stemming from a mental illness that are easily proved to not be real. But I'm not really sure what you mean by the question.

I do think any belief in a god requires some suspension of reality, or at least the acceptance that certain things are impossible to comprehend with finite brains. I could easily engage a knowledgeable Christian in a discussion about a variety of things that he would ultimately say nobody can adequately explain.

But I wouldn't conclude that he is delusional, irrational, or insane because of that. It's very possible that his belief system is not self-contradicting, and serves to benefit him.

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

Question the foundations of anything and there will be punishment. According to this study, people are punished for leaving Atheism. But, we knew that. Right?

Are their punished with death, banished from society or promised eternal torture in the afterlife?

Quote:

If someone is accepting the word of anyone/thing then they already have a reason that makes sense.

Not necessarily. You may accept somebody's word for something even if you don't understand it or if your intuition is opposed to it. You just assume they know better. I know for sure religious people do that because they are often unable to justify aspects of their religion and point me to other sources instead.

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More like they're past that point of the discussion, as Matthew said. In the same way you don't ask your algebra teacher things like why 2 + 2 = 4. Unless you want to get kicked out of class (hey; punishment!)

"Past the point of discussion about the veracity of X" is equivalent to "unwilling to discuss any further evidence regarding the veracity of X". I could ask my algebra teacher why 2 + 2 = 4 and receive a rational proof rather than a punishment. The veracity of 2 + 2 = 4 is not open for discussion because it's objectively undisputable, unlike god or religion. Interestingly enough, challenging your math teacher to give you a rigorous proof of something so important and fundamental is valid and encouraged, in contrast to religion.

I don't even know what we're arguing about any more. If your original point was that some aspects of religion may change based on evidence, you are right and I recognize that. After all, Christians don't claim the world to be flat and the earth to be in the center of the universe like they used to. They still explain away evidence that makes them uncomfortable whenever possible and they are still willing to deny at all cost any evidence that undermines the veracity of their core beliefs.

By the strictest definition, I would reserve delusions to be beliefs stemming from a mental illness that are easily proved to not be real.

Delusion is defined as holding on to a belief despite strong evidence to the contrary. It's officially a mental illness. Lack of any valid evidence to support a belief is considered strong evidence against it.

If I told you I believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, you'd think that I'm delusional, even though I can counter any argument or evidence your bring up without using logical fallacies.

Specter Phoenix
Member #1,425
July 2001
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Evert said:

That really has very little to do with being an atheist or not. There are Christians (for example) who "believe" those things and I'm sure there are atheists who don't. An atheist is someone who does not believe in God(s). No more, no less.

That in itself makes no sense. If you are Christian, you believe in God but you can't believe in the Big Bang Theory as the creation of everything is accredited to God. Religion is full of contradictions anyways.

"If you break any of the 10 things you shouldn't do, He will send you to Hell to burn, suffer, and be punished for all eternity, but He loves you." God is all knowing and all powerful, and against homosexuals, but if He is all knowing and all powerful, then why did he allow them to come into existence as he already knew what they would become?

I think if there is a God, He doesn't give a sh!t about what we do or don't do. The Bible and every religion is governed by what man says God commands. We have books that say Jesus lived, but how do we know those weren't all just created by the church a one great big bullsh!t story to feed the masses that want to believe.

"Can't a man even talk to himself without being interrupted?" -Krull(1983)
"Through vengence I was born. Through war I was trained. Through love I was found. Through death I was released. Through release I was given a purpose." -- Specter Phoenix
"Programming == AWESOME the rest is just tools to accomplish it."
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23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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Stas B. said:

Are their punished with death, banished from society or promised eternal torture in the afterlife?

Depends on the atheist, I suppose. Also depends on the religion. In both cases, these are extreme outliers anyway. Should we really be using this as our baseline for discussion?

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You may accept somebody's word for something even if you don't understand it or if your intuition is opposed to it. You just assume they know better.

Right. There's your reason, and it is completely divorced from religion. Of course, you may not assume they know better based on what they're telling you, as well. That's a likely possibly outcome as well, right?

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They still explain away evidence that makes them uncomfortable whenever possible and they are still willing to deny at all cost any evidence that undermines the veracity of their core beliefs.

If you don't know what we're arguing anymore, I'll try to make it clear: the meaning of the word "they" in that sentence. You seem to think it mean "religious people". I'm saying it means "the human race". Again, that includes me, that includes you.

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

A very important core belief in Christianity is god's omnipotence. Basically, god can do absolutely anything he wants. In that case, god should be able to create a rock so heavy he can't lift it. Omnipotence creates logical paradoxes. What stronger proof can you possibly have against an omnipotent god? So what does a Christian do when faced with this fact? "God is supernatural! Why would he be subject to the laws of nature?" If that's not mental deficiency, I don't know what is.

Depends on the atheist, I suppose. Also depends on the religion. In both cases, these are extreme outliers anyway. Should we really be using this as our baseline for discussion?

Yes, we should because the murder of dissenters happened in the past and is still happening as we speak. The religions involved are not fundamentally different from modern Christianity and the people involved are not fundamentally different from you and I. The difference is merely circumstential, so it's relevant to the discussion.

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If you don't know what we're arguing anymore, I'll try to make it clear: the meaning of the word "they" in that sentence. You seem to think it mean "religious people". I'm saying it means "the human race". Again, that includes me, that includes you.

It does not include me as far as I know. If it does, I admit to being delusional and mentally ill. How do you know it includes me?

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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Stas B. said:

A very important core belief in Christianity is god's omnipotence. Basically, god can do absolutely anything he wants.

According to the Bible, there are specific things God is listed as unable to do (like deny himself, for example). Therefore, God's omnipotence is not a core belief of Christianity. It does seem to be a core belief of athiests about Christianity for some reason though. Maybe you could explain that first.

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--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Stas B.
Member #9,615
March 2008

According to the Bible, there are specific things God is listed as unable to do

At the very same time, according to the Bible, god is omnipotent. That makes it all the more hillarious. :P

That's irrelevant. I'll take your word for it that not all Christians believe in the omnipotence of god, though I've met quite a few who do. Don't you think those were delusional?



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