Advertisement
Private Profiles - an update on how they will be changing here
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.

Michael Nugent speaks for Atheism

15791011

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭ B_Fanatic


    Knasher wrote: »
    The problem I have with your view is that it, seems to me, to leave you more open to be convinced by voices in your head if you ever suffer from mental stability.

    Don't worry. I think it's quite improbable that he will hallucinate to degree that the hallucination can convince him of objective existence. AntiSkeptic clearly states it would take some objective convincing. Or maybe even some ridiculous form of subjective alteration like appearing before you and then agreeing to forever change what you see as red to blue and blue to red. That would convince me. I don't believe someone could hallucinate (god) to that degree and then perform such a ridiculous feat as permanently swapping colours. That was just one example of something inexplainable (that includes the explanation, 'maybe I have a mental illness').

    Edit: Basically it's going to take more than jesus on a burnt slice of toast to convince him to murder people.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    B_Fanatic wrote: »
    If you actually are a theist stating that under conditions given by your deity you'd happily (maybe not happily, but willingly) carry out 'unethical' acts on his behalf I then, as Robindch did, commend you on your consistency. (Forgive me if I misinterpreted how you actually felt about that Robindch) I have enough faith (for lack of a better word) in my mental stability to feel that I was in fact contacted by some higher being provided it was unambiguous and direct. The higher being not necessarily being a god.
    All rests on whether it's God doing the talking or not. If not then I would be psychopathic. If so, then I'm not in the least bit psychopatic.
    What if it was the Devil (impersonating God) or just some alien having a laugh?


    I use the same technique used in deciding whether my computer screen is real or not. That which seems reasonable and fitting to me is considered real.
    :pac::pac: Sounds remarkably like my technique, but oddly your conclusion is completely different! For example I find if I punch the computer monitor, my hand hurts, but if I try to punch God...... or if I ask the person next to me if they can see my monitor, then yes they can see it, but.....

    Also the point still stands; if you have any ethical difficulty at all in carrying out the slaughter, it proves your morality is coming from somewhere else other than the god/devil/alien/psychopathic alter-ego in your head.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    Where the heck is Michael Nugent...
    We are His flying monkey minions. You have to successfully argue against us before we take you to see our Great Leader.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    recedite wrote: »
    What if it was the Devil (impersonating God) or just some alien having a laugh?

    Or some mad scientist with my brain in a jar jamming probes in making me think that if I..
    I punch the computer monitor, my hand hurts

    If you can explain why that possibility should cause me (or you) to lose sleep then by all means go for it.

    or if I ask the person next to me if they can see my monitor, then yes they can see it,

    So what? If your 'proof' that the screen exists depends on the assumption that the person exists then you might as well just assume the screen exists and be done with it.

    Also the point still stands; if you have any ethical difficulty at all in carrying out the slaughter, it proves your morality is coming from somewhere else other than the god/devil/alien/psychopathic alter-ego in your head.


    I didn't recall my mentioning my having any ethical difficulty at all. My regret for the person would probably be a minute shadow of the regret God has in their choice - what with his earnestly desiring that none should perish but that all would come instead (as it's put technically) to repentence.

    But there is no sense that there is anything unethical about God killing them whether directly or though my playing bullet to God's trigger finger.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    recedite wrote: »
    We are His flying monkey minions. You have to successfully argue against us before we take you to see our Great Leader.

    I've just googled him - I didn't realise he had form outside (what I thought was mere) forelock tugging in the direction of His Esteemed Eminence Richard Dawkins (pbuh).

    Oh well..


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    The Euthyphro dilemma is not about whether something is morally good. It is about why something is morally good. It is about defining the fundamental characteristic of moral goodness.

    The argument that something is good because it pleases a god does not address this. It merely creates the following dilemma:

    Option one: Does the god have a reason for being pleased by goodness? If so, that reason is closer to the fundamental characteristic of goodness, and the god is merely observing that something is good rather than causing it to be good.

    Option two: Does the god have no reason for being pleased by goodness? If so, then goodness is arbitrary from the perspective of the supposed god, and the answer tells us nothing about the fundamental characteristic of goodness.

    All of this can be distilled to the question: Does your god have a reason, or have no reason, for being pleased by goodness?

    Antiskeptic:

    Your original argument was that good is a label for “that which aligns with god’s will” and that saying something is good is saying “this is as god wants it to be.” But this does not address why your god wants things to be like this, and so it does not address the dilemma.

    You added that his will stems from his character and his character is immutable. Again, this does not address the dilemma, though it points in the direction of your god not having a reason (or at least not having a reason that is under his control) for wanting anything to be like anything.

    You then said that “as it happens he detests selfishness” but that if he had happened to have had different immutable characteristics, and they had caused him to adore selfishness, then selfishness would be good. But all that this does is push the dilemma onto his immutable characteristics rather than onto his will.

    So the question can be reframed as: Is there any reason, or no reason, that your god happens to have the immutable characteristics that your god happens to have? Depending on your answer to that, we can tease out its implications for the Euthyphro dilemma.

    (Again, with the caveat from my last post on this that the supposed immutability of his will could be challenged based on reading the bible, but that we are parking that - and indeed his supposed existence! - for the purpose of this discussion.)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    The fourth article in the series is published today.

    Faith ceases to be a virtue when it has little connection with facts of reality

    Feedback welcome.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    I don't see how I could a anymore confuse a mental instability voice in my head with God's voice than I could a real computer screen on front of me from an imaginary one.

    Or if I could the one, then as easily the other.

    Since I don't worry about the prospect that the computer screen on front of me might not be real, I can't see myself spending much time worrying about an imaginary Gods voice.
    One preliminary test you might consider is whether or not the vast majority of sane people agree with your assessment. If hardly anyone who is sane agrees that a god is talking to you and many sane people think you are displaying signs of mental instability, and if almost everyone who is sane agrees that there is a real computer screen in front of you and almost nobody who is sane thinks it is an imaginary screen, that's a useful pointer in what is probably the right direction. Not conclusive to the point of theoretical certainty (as nothing is) but useful enough for you to reconsider obeying the voices in your head and instead consider asking a specialist to test your mental stability.

    Edit: that's not a flippant suggestion, by the way, as you have also written about the possibility of you believing that your god was telling you to kill a person:
    I didn't recall my mentioning my having any ethical difficulty at all. My regret for the person would probably be a minute shadow of the regret God has in their choice - what with his earnestly desiring that none should perish but that all would come instead (as it's put technically) to repentance. But there is no sense that there is anything unethical about God killing them whether directly or though my playing bullet to God's trigger finger.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    One preliminary test you might consider is whether or not the vast majority of sane people agree with your assessment.

    Unfortunately this approach suffers from a number of problems.

    The first concerns circles. I can hardly support my suspicion that this computer screen is real by assuming the reality of people I (about whom I have the same suspicion).

    The second concerns bootstraps. Assuming the people exist, all that a number of people observing things in the same way says, in an absolute sense, is that a number of people observe something in the same way. It says nothing about whether their group assessment is a more accurate reflection of the reality than the single, divergent observation*

    This second notion happens to coincide with the Christian claim that men are born 'spiritually blind' (you could insert colour blind in there instead by way of limited analogy). If the "vast majority of sane people" are in fact suffering from spiritual (or color) blindness then it can be expected their collective view on the existence of God (or a red rose) need not accurately reflect reality.


    *a frequent response at this point is ask to I believe in paracetamol and other such products of science - which depend on the very common observance that I'm questioning here. In response I would say that I'm not throwing out the bathwater - I'm just pointing out that there could very well be a baby in it. That baby being spiritual blindness. Just as Christianity argues.

    And so..
    Not conclusive to the point of theoretical certainty (as nothing is) but useful enough for you to reconsider obeying the voices in your head and instead consider asking a specialist to test your mental stability.


    The degree of conclusivity is something which is determined by each individual individually. If God is as real to me as a computer screen or other people then I can't see any particular reason how the one can be used to usurp the other

    Although it must be said that God appears to comment on people with a lot more sense and insight than do people on God. If it became either or in terms of what's real, I know which I'd plump for.

    :)


    Edit: that's not a flippant suggestion, by the way, as you have also written about the possibility of you believing that your god was telling you to kill a person:
    The fact you'd (likely) agree to the possibility of God's existence doesn't mean I'd take your stating that a possibility to be something you seriously entertain or consider managing your life around.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    I've just googled him ...
    Just did the same.... interesting to see in the wiki entry; "In 2000, Nugent helped to stop the Irish government appointing a disgraced former judge, Hugh O’Flaherty, to the European Investment Bank. The Bank accepted Nugent’s argument that they had a statutory duty to consider other candidates, and he forwarded the CV of Irish Senator and business editor Shane Ross. After public pressure, O'Flaherty withdrew his candidacy"
    That is, interesting in the context of his current article which compares unjustified faith in the "secular gods" eg banks to which I will add governments and courts.
    And with the two referendums coming up this week concerning the interference of government in the court system, it's worth reading again this brief summary of the Sheedy Affair.
    So, to Michael Nugent and anyone else of personal integrity who plays their part to improve this world we live in; I say "fair play to ya man."


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8,838 ✭✭✭ ShooterSF


    So if we can't frustrate god's plan what's the story with Eve eating the apple. He seemed pretty P.O'd then?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    Sorry someone explain this to me? Are we saying god is real because computer screens appear to be real? I am losing the thread here I think but if that is essentially where we are going then the attempts to offer arguments for god's existence have reached a comical new low. Exaggerating uncertainties in order to put all uncertainties on a par with the uncertainty of entirely unsubstantiated claims (such as the existence of a god) in order to make the god one seem just as plausible as any other... is a weak approach at best and at worst a canard.

    Also I do not think the color blindness / spiritual blindness comparison is a good one on any level. The fact is that you can still prove the existence of a color to those who are unable to see it. There are experiments, measurements and observations which will all attest to the colors existence regardless of how unable the person is to see it not to mention our capability to render light of one wavelength not visible to us into another.

    This is not so of the “spiritual blindness” claim. With that claim, to continue the analogy, not only can the “mark” not “see” the color (god)… but the person claiming the color’s (god) existence is also entirely unable to offer a shred of argument, data, evidence or reasons to lend even a modicum of credence to the claim it is there.

    So no, I think simply writing people off as “spiritually blind” in some comparison to color blindness is more of a cop out than an actual argument. It is one of the MANY tactics I have seen in my time where the person with no evidence for a claim attempts to make it appear that the problem does not lie with the claimant, but with some deficiency on the part of the “mark”.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Your original argument was that good is a label for “that which aligns with god’s will” and that saying something is good is saying “this is as god wants it to be.” But this does not address why your god wants things to be like this, and so it does not address the dilemma.

    You added that his will stems from his character and his character is immutable. Again, this does not address the dilemma, though it points in the direction of your god not having a reason (or at least not having a reason that is under his control) for wanting anything to be like anything.


    If we consider the second statement first.

    Yes, God's character is said to be 'good' - where 'good' is merely an umbrella term which encompasses what we might call the flavour of that character (whether this involves hating selfishness or loving it, being patient or im, being merciful or not, being brave or cowardly). There is no reason required for his being that way (and so, no dilemma in his being that way). He just is as he eternally is and 'good' is the word used to describe how he is he happens to be.

    Considering the first statement second: God having a reason "for wanting anything (i.e. others who have been made in his image) to be like anything (i.e. like him)". What reason could God have for wanting that we would choose to express outwards, the image of God in which we have been made? Well, if our choosing to align ourselves with God is the only way this God who loves us is able to share our company, then you have a reason why God would want us to be good (i.e. be like him). It is reasonable for a lover to want to share the company of the beloved.



    You then said that “as it happens he detests selfishness” but that if he had happened to have had different immutable characteristics, and they had caused him to adore selfishness, then selfishness would be good.

    Indeed.

    If the ought-to-do-good moral sense that he (is argued to have) installed in us was calibrated against those kind of characteristics, then all the atheists here would be big fans of the Old Testament God caricature (seen regularily both here and at RD.net).

    Further, if that upsidedown calibrated moral sense was installed for the same reasons the currently calibrated sense was installed (i.e. a means of ascertaining our hearts desire w.r.t. what God stands for/against with a view to establishing an eternal realm) then those who love selfishnes would go to be with God for eternity. And those who hated it would go to Hell.

    But all that this does is push the dilemma onto his immutable characteristics rather than onto his will.

    I don't see what the dilemma is given the terms under which "good" is being considered (God's flavour being as it is / a sifting mechanism which searches out our hearts desire).



    So the question can be reframed as: Is there any reason, or no reason, that your god happens to have the immutable characteristics that your god happens to have?

    There is no reason for God having the characteristics he has (you might say that his being love is the reason for his self-sacrifice (in Christ) but it would appear that the truest of loves is, per definition, self-sacrifical. So there isn't actually a reason in a separate sense)

    There is a reason for God desiring others reflect those characteristics.

    It's worth noting that the sense of moral "I ought to" we have been equipped with would appear to be a temporary thing - a device for ascertaining our position w.r.t. God.

    There wouldn't be any need for a moral "I ought to" in heaven since those who occupy that place have availed of God's promise to reconfigure them fully into the image of God. That means effectively that they would have no sinful tendency anymore in order that a moral "I ought" would have anything much to do.



    (Again, with the caveat from my last post on this that the supposed immutability of his will could be challenged based on reading the bible, but that we are parking that - and indeed his supposed existence! - for the purpose of this discussion.)

    Both 'let's' are necessary if we are to hope to retain focus. I'm not assuming any higher ground in your permitting them. Thanks.

    I can appreciate why someone reading the Bible could arrive at a conclusion other than God is good (in the sense we generally understand it to mean back in non-theology land). The problem actually stems from his being white-hot good. When you hate selfishness with a furious, God-scale hatred then the selfish tend to get burned.

    Us? We just put the selfish on our ignore list (understandable, since we're selfish too)


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Sorry someone explain this to me? Are we saying god is real because computer screens appear to be real?

    No. We're saying that the ultimate judge of whether your computer screen is real or not is you and you alone. You can't invoke the opinion of others (who may or may not exist) to add support to your suspicion that your computer screen exists. Well you can, but since it's you being the judge on that matter too, you haven't shifted the burden from you being the ultimate judge.

    The computer screen takes on existance only if you decide it does. Ditto God.

    This, of course, doesn't mean that either does in fact. But what the hell - you can only go so far..



    Also I do not think the color blindness / spiritual blindness comparison is a good one on any level. The fact is that you can still prove the existence of a color to those who are unable to see it.

    That's your fault for turning an analogy into a proof.

    Spiritual blindness need not be demonstrable empirically in order to be so. If folk are then the world operates one way. If they are not, then it operates in another.


    This is not so of the “spiritual blindness” claim. With that claim, to continue the analogy, not only can the “mark” not “see” the color (god)… but the person claiming the color’s (god) existence is also entirely unable to offer a shred of argument, data, evidence or reasons to lend even a modicum of credence to the claim it is there.


    The mark isn't attempting to prove anything. The mark is attempting to stalemate your postion. If you can leverage your computer screen above my God then you'll be on the way to check mate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    And as I said exagerating uncertainties in this fashion is not helpful. There is a common reality you accept, or act like you accept, when you use that screen to contact and engage in discourse with those other minds. If you want to take discourse seriously and accept that common reality then do so. If you want to play this "I doubt anything or anyone exists" style of play then do not expect anyone to take you seriously.... especially when you act like you do not take yourself seriously in that regard by continuing to use the things that might not exist in order to discourse with minds that also might not. In fact given we all just exist in your mind in that case.... it is clearly vast parts of yourself that can not even take yourself seriously! :p

    I can certainly understand the position though. As soon as you accept the common reality we all share, and the minds in it, and the existence of things like computer screens... you are immediately accepting a reality in which you literally have no arguments, evidence, data, or reasons to substantiate your claim there is a god. Or if you do you at least have not yet presented them in your near 4000 posts on these forums.

    So I can at least maintain some level of sympathy for your need to retreat into a reality where the existence of anything at all is in equal doubt and so god becomes just as plausible as any other neurotic fantasy that careens into your consciousness.

    As for spiritual blindness, it is nothing about "turning it into a proof" and is everything to do with simply comparing the analogies. Again with color blindness you can still prove the existence of the color to the person who is unable to see it. With god.... as I said in near 4000 posts.... squat. Diddly. Zilch. Nadda. Nichts. Nothing. Feck all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    And as I said exagerating uncertainties in this fashion is not helpful. There is a common reality you accept, or act like you accept, when you use that screen to contact and engage in discourse with those other minds. If you want to take discourse seriously and accept that common reality then do so. If you want to play this "I doubt anything or anyone exists" style of play then do not expect anyone to take you seriously.... especially when you act like you do not take yourself seriously in that regard by continuing to use the things that might not exist in order to discourse with minds that also might not. In fact given we all just exist in your mind in that case.... it is clearly vast parts of yourself that can not even take yourself seriously! :p

    That's a very long winded way of saying "stalemate".

    I can certainly understand the position though. As soon as you accept the common reality we all share, and the minds in it, and the existence of things like computer screens... you are immediately accepting a reality in which you literally have no arguments, evidence, data, or reasons to substantiate your claim there is a god. Or if you do you at least have not yet presented them in your near 4000 posts on these forums.


    On the contrary.

    The question isn't whether there is or isn't evidence (there clearly is). The question is whether that evidence adds up to the conviction that God exists. I find the combined evidence convincing and the attempts to explain it away unconvincing. Others see things the other way around.




    As for spiritual blindness, it is nothing about "turning it into a proof" and is everything to do with simply comparing the analogies. Again with color blindness you can still prove the existence of the color to the person who is unable to see it. With god.... as I said in near 4000 posts.... squat. Diddly. Zilch. Nadda. Nichts. Nothing. Feck all.

    The analogy illustrates the potential for the problem as laying with the receiver and not the (lack of) transmitter. The color analogy being limited (in that even with faulty equipment, the receiver can 'detect' colour by inferrance) doesn't alter the main point of the analogy.

    It can easily be so that faulty reception equipment results in no reception of any sort being possible for a receiver.


  • Registered Users Posts: 238 ✭✭ dmw07


    The question isn't whether there is or isn't evidence (there clearly is). The question is whether that evidence adds up to the conviction that God exists. I find the combined evidence convincing and the attempts to explain it away unconvincing. Others see things the other way around.

    Hi antiskeptic,
    Can you explain this please as i have trawled books, the internet and had lengthy talks with my former local priest over the years but have never gotten to this conclusion. Not even remotely close.

    A few caveats though, i'll explain my reasons why.

    Outside of;
    The bible. Where to start. Written by men with a primitive understanding of the world, mostly several years after the person now named Jesus died and partly a thousand years before him based on hearsay, imagined scenes where god interacted with humans, previous pagan traditions and the zodiac. IMO, It is all riddled with inaccuracies, mistruths, fables, fantasy, lies and shows god in a very bad light.

    The gospels. All of them. These texts contradict each other. Parts of the virgin birth and crucifixion are completely omitted by key followers and only show up in later gospels written over 100 years after Jesus died. They were strangely all written between 50-150 years after Jesus' died. The later ones, i'm not sure who by. It was not the original follower anyway. And they also tell us that Jesus was taken down from the cross, legs unbroken and had no nails in his hands so there is no evidence he died on the cross in some gospels. They tell us Jesus liked Mary M the most and kissed her all the time. So these are not good books to reference as they can bite back.

    Subjective brain functionality. Wants, wishes, personal experiences etc do not count. They can't be shown or proven to anyone just as much as a psychosis patient can't show someone his/her friend (No malice intended to anyone with this analogy) nor a person suffering from retinal disorder can explain an apparition properly without making it up.

    To sum up, no books written by men many years before or after Jesus (God did not write these) or no personal opinion. I have many such pieces of evidence, i just can't use them outside of my own thinking.

    The reason for this long winded tirade is that I'm currently involved in a talk with my catholic/christian girlfriend and both of us are stuck and unable to come up with any conclusive proof of gods existence outside of a persons mind, or the bible, or what our priests told us. Which when contacted recently were not of great help. One did promise to get back to us with some observations.

    After agreeing that god may or may not exist and that he may or may not have started life/evolution but definitely does not have any influence on it, we moved onto Jesus as god can't be directly proven to be real. Right now we are weeding through possible glimpses of Jesus' supernatural ability other than what has been accredited to many other men before, during and after Jesus' death i.e. healing the sick, dying and resurrecting, born on the 25th just before the three stars known as the three kings line up, died at Easter. We are looking for something like knowledge outside of his time e.g. dinosaurs, non flat earth, earth not being centre of the universe, Nazareth being covered in Ice at one point, multiple universes, cells, mentions of countries not known to people of Galile at the time, mentions of metals or materials not known to people at the time, evolution etc.

    Now I know you can't use the gospel, or bible as reference (To my knowledge Jesus never wrote a passage in these) but surely there are texts or scriptures or clues of some value outside the control of the catholic church. Christianity is bigger than the catholic church.

    Even a steer in the right direction would be helpful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    That's a very long winded way of saying "stalemate".

    Had that been what I intended to say, I would have said it. I was saying nothing of the sort. Try reading it again.

    Simply saying it is "clear" there is evidence does not magically mean there is. It is far from clear to me given no one has stopped to show me a shred of even an iota of it. Least of all on this thread nor any of the near 4000 posts you yourself have posted. It is not simply that I have been shown very little argument, evidence, data or reasons to even lend credence to the claim or to tip the scales of conviction... I have been shown NO arguments evidence data or reasons to even lend credence to the claims. Ever.

    Simply declaring based on nothing that those who have been shown no evidence are just unable to see it due to "faulty receivers" is nothing short of a cop out really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Had that been what I intended to say, I would have said it. I was saying nothing of the sort. Try reading it again.

    I was speaking somewhat tongue in cheek.

    Your 'argument' consists of an enormous special plead. The assumption you make about the nature of reality morphs seamlessly into objective fact.

    My argument begins from first principles. That might not be convenient to you

    Simply saying it is "clear" there is evidence does not magically mean there is. It is far from clear to me given no one has stopped to show me a shred of even an iota of it. Least of all on this thread nor any of the near 4000 posts you yourself have posted. It is not simply that I have been shown very little argument, evidence, data or reasons to even lend credence to the claim or to tip the scales of conviction... I have been shown NO arguments evidence data or reasons to even lend credence to the claims. Ever.
    One clear piece of evidence is the testimony of those who claim they saw and heard what they supposedly saw and heard. And both you and I need to come to conclusions about that. That you write it off doesn't mean it's not true. Nor does my writing it on mean it's true.

    What matters is whether you are convinced by that piece of evidence or not. You don't get to decide whether it is evidence-given-in-consideration or not.


    Simply declaring based on nothing that those who have been shown no evidence are just unable to see it due to "faulty receivers" is nothing short of a cop out really.
    What it is in fact is a dilemma (and a genuine one at that). It can be the way I'm convinced it is. It can be the way you are convinced it is.

    So far so (stale) stalemate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,264 ✭✭✭ nozzferrahhtoo


    I do apologize if I missed the lounge in cheek nature of your comments. Often when discussing the stand points of theism it is difficult to separate humor from what they actually believe. The two are often near indistinguishable and that is in person, let alone on the internet when the only thing one has to go on is text and often people assign the wrong tone to text.

    However none of this deals with the issue that over exaggerating uncertainties in order to put everything on the same level of uncertainty as god… in a vain attempt to make the god idea more plausible… simply is not going to hold water.

    If personal testimony is evidence for you then we have an issue because there are personal testimonies of all kinds of neurotic notions coming from all over the world. I do not accept them if they are unsubstantiated and with most of them you likely do not either. Why therefore you just happen to accept the ones that are convenient to your agenda while rejecting all the rest… likely for the same reasons I reject them… is not clear.

    Making up spiritual blindness and appealing to it does not help your cause either. You simply make up a god, then you make up spiritual blindness in order to explain away your lack of evidence for that god. You can not simply declare a blindness exists if you are entirely unable to evidence the existence of the thing people are supposedly blind TO. It would appear you are simply making things up to support things you have made up. Made up things to support made up things to support made up things could end up being a long chain… but at some time you will have to substantiate one of your claims to hold up the chain or you are simply pulling yourself up by the bootstraps as they say.

    At least if I told someone they were color blind I could prove to them there was actually something there they are blind TO and can convince them therefore color blindness exists. This is not so of your claims as you are not only claiming the blindness exists on no evidence, you are claiming the thing people are blind to exists on no evidence and hence your "argument" (Read: Fantasy) is circular.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    dmw07 wrote: »
    Hi antiskeptic, Can you explain this please as i have trawled books, the internet and had lengthy talks with my former local priest over the years but have never gotten to this conclusion. Not even remotely close.

    Okay


    A few caveats though, i'll explain my reasons why.

    Outside of;
    The bible. Where to start. Written by men with a primitive understanding of the world, mostly several years after the person now named Jesus died and partly a thousand years before him based on hearsay, imagined scenes where god interacted with humans, previous pagan traditions and the zodiac. IMO, It is all riddled with inaccuracies, mistruths, fables, fantasy, lies and shows god in a very bad light.

    I'm a mechanical engineer. When I look at a detailed technical drawing of a complex mechanism I comprehend, I understand, I see beauty and elegance and order and reason. When people who have no mechanical engineering understanding look at the same drawing they see something like you appear to see when you look at the bible. A mess.

    The mechanical engineer (whether by training/gifting or just gifting) has a perception (or a sightedness) that others don't have. The bible itself refers to this when it says of the lost (or the blind)

    Cor 2:14 "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Spiritually discerned = spiritual sightedness. Without it, the bible is meaningless. Once your eyes are opened spiritually however, you'd look at the bible (and the world around you and you yourself) in an utterly different way. Through completely different spectacles.

    The gospels. All of them. These texts contradict each other. Parts of the virgin birth and crucifixion are completely omitted by key followers and only show up in later gospels written over 100 years after Jesus died. They were strangely all written between 50-150 years after Jesus' died. The later ones, i'm not sure who by. It was not the original follower anyway. And they also tell us that Jesus was taken down from the cross, legs unbroken and had no nails in his hands so there is no evidence he died on the cross in some gospels. They tell us Jesus liked Mary M the most and kissed her all the time. So these are not good books to reference as they can bite back.

    There are but 4 gospels - none of which mention Jesus kissing Mary all the time. The existence of other 'gospels' no more impinges on the veracity of the 4 gospels than does the existence of 10,000 other religions impinge on the veracity of Christianity. A smoke screen might mask an object but it doesn't alter the object itself.

    The previous analogy of mechanical engineering comes back into play. When you are sighted and are examining the plan of a mechanism you will notice if someones drawn in a spanner in the works. A spanner in the biblical work is something that interferes with what is otherwise a beautifully crafted and operating mechanism. And is recognisable as such

    I wouldn't be too worried about one gospel not mentioning something that another gospel majors on. At least, not without someone making a case as to why I should worry.


    Subjective brain functionality. Wants, wishes, personal experiences etc do not count. They can't be shown or proven to anyone just as much as a psychosis patient can't show someone his/her friend (No malice intended to anyone with this analogy) nor a person suffering from retinal disorder can explain an apparition properly without making it up.


    Although God is an object in the sense that his is differentiated from what he has created it is not only him as an object I'm am referring to when I say I believe God exists. Everything ... and I mean everything .. requires an explanation. One the one had you have naturalistic explanations (which terminate in a certain amount of mystery) . And so we have biology and sociology and politics and law and chemistry and all the rest: which each examine a sliver of the total that needs explaining and each arrive at various conclusions about those slivers.

    And you have God's explanation: which takes into account the above because they do explain a certain amount. But which adds aspects which the others don't include. And which strike me as a more elegant, more harmonious way of tying in the whole that do all the -ologies.


    To sum up, no books written by men many years before or after Jesus (God did not write these) or no personal opinion. I have many such pieces of evidence, i just can't use them outside of my own thinking.

    The term used of God's authoring the bible is 'inspired'. He inspired those writers as to what it was they would include. But within that, a mans personality, passion and reasoning abilities were expressed.

    When they written is irrelevant for a God who knows the beginning from the end. And so eg: Psalm 22 could be written before a time when crucifixion existed as a form of execution.

    As I said before, you're own thinking won't get you far. You need you're eyes opened by God. Which he is all too willing to do as it happens. In a simple sense, you only need to want to ask.



    The reason for this long winded tirade is that I'm currently involved in a talk with my catholic/christian girlfriend and both of us are stuck and unable to come up with any conclusive proof of gods existence outside of a persons mind, or the bible, or what our priests told us. Which when contacted recently were not of great help. One did promise to get back to us with some observations.


    As I have been pointing out to Nozz above, for all he knows, the whole of reality might not exist outside Nozz's mind ..but that doesn't cause Nozz (or anyone else) to lose sleep.

    The question, I think, is whether you can be satisfied within yourself such that the various arguments posed (such as "what if it's only in your head") can be batted away to your personal satisfaction.

    When my eyes were opened 10 or so years ago it was literally like the light went on. What had previously been an absolute dead dull book (on a par with any number of ancient dull books you could name) came alive in my hands. So to speak. And 10 years of exposure on places like this have done nothing at all to put a dent in the biblical mechanism which I have come more an more to understand.

    Exposure on places like this have brought up the occasional dead-end mystery (such as "what happens to babies who die before they can "believe") but in the main, the examination has only strengthened my faith that the challenge to God's way (which I believe to have something of a handle on) is like throwing ball bearings at an ocean liner for all the sinking that will take place.

    If you were in the same place as I, you would know God exists to levels that are utterly satisfying and beyond reach of arguments to the contrary. If I was in the same place as you and desiring in some way to be in the same place as I, then I would do the only thing you can do. Search, if searching is what you find you drawn to do.

    At the moment I'm involved on an Alpha Course (which was instrumental in me coming to faith (in a last bit in the jigsaw kind of way)). What I notice is the people on it are like I was then. They are searching. Searching not absolutely specifically for God of the bible perhaps. But for something more than they have. For perhaps (as the advertising poster for Alpha puts it) the meaning of their lives. God, I have found, isn't concerned with the outward aspects of a persons search, he's interested in the heart behind it. And he will respond to a heart that is ultimately (even if that hearts consciousness doesn't know it yet) searching for him.

    Guaranteed.


    After agreeing that god may or may not exist and that he may or may not have started life/evolution but definitely does not have any influence on it, we moved onto Jesus as god can't be directly proven to be real. Right now we are weeding through possible glimpses of Jesus' supernatural ability other than what has been accredited to many other men before, during and after Jesus' death i.e. healing the sick, dying and resurrecting, born on the 25th just before the three stars known as the three kings line up, died at Easter. We are looking for something like knowledge outside of his time e.g. dinosaurs, non flat earth, earth not being centre of the universe, Nazareth being covered in Ice at one point, multiple universes, cells, mentions of countries not known to people of Galile at the time, mentions of metals or materials not known to people at the time, evolution etc.

    There is a bit of a fly in the ointment here.

    Think about it, if God is to be found a particular way, if there is but one kind of key to the door then beating down any other path is a waste of energy. What you could be doing in the above is the equivilent of tramping through the woods shouting "HAS ANYONE SEEN A LESSER SPOTTED WIDGERYDOO NESTING IN THESE WOODS" when the lesser spotted widgerdoo is a notoriously shy bird and won't at all be found that way.

    :)


    I mentioned above that eyes opened was the central to God being proven to me. First you need to be able to (spiritually) see the evidence in order that you can evaluate it. And the route to having eyes opened lies in a hearts desire for God. It's certainly not something that an intellectual curiousness will produce results for.

    So I'd examine yourself first. Ask what you motivation is. Ask are you interested in finding God. Ask why you would be interested in finding God. What is it God supposedly says you need him for and do you believe that.
    Ask him to help you in that process since - logically - you are reliant in him to reveal himself to you for want of a known way to be sure of finding him.

    I remember this pray I prayed around the time I was (in retrospect) getting closer to the point of meeting God.

    Lord, I don't love you (alternatively: want to find you)
    I don't even want to love you (or: want to find you)
    But I want to want to love you (or: want to want to find you)

    Read the story of the Prodigal Son. The father is ever looking out and will spot a son who desires to return even from as long a way off as that prayer begins to indicate.

    Now I know you can't use the gospel, or bible as reference (To my knowledge Jesus never wrote a passage in these) but surely there are texts or scriptures or clues of some value outside the control of the catholic church. Christianity is bigger than the catholic church.

    Even a steer in the right direction would be helpful.

    There were all sorts of things I was reading in my search for God which were, I suppose side tracks on the way but in a way helped in their "throwing odd bones" in my direction. A search which produced nothing on the way might be broken off on the way afterall

    But I couldn't recommend anything which doesn't ultimately reference God and the bible as it's ultimate source of truth (even if no biblical references are used) since I don't believe there is any other truth but God's

    There are certainly great apologetics books out there which explain the Christian faith in a way that is not as easily discerned from the bible. Is that what you mean? The likes of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is a classic on the subject, for example.


    The church is most certainly bigger (and other) than the visible Roman Catholic church. If you're not finding answers whether there or anywhere else then consider broadening your search.


  • Registered Users Posts: 238 ✭✭ dmw07


    I'm a mechanical engineer.
    I'm a statistical analyst with a computing background, my girlfriend is a doctor. Nice to meet you. Can we put our job titles away now, or shall we go onto height, weight, looks, education and pay-packet? And don’t make me take out the heavy artillery :)

    Your insinuation that i can’t read, comprehend and logically unravel the mysteries of the world from the bible written in my mother tongue is quite disingenuous and a very poor argument that has been used by priests since the Churches inception.

    "The christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of their little people against the power of intellectuals." - Bishop Ratzinger, 31 December 1979
    Please don’t insult my intelligence in future by attempting to use this argument again. It’s pointless and futile. Especially as people who cover up rapes degraded its value on the not so simple of us.
    Cor 2:14 "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    The bible itself.
    There are but 4 gospels.
    Clearly you have a problem with comprehension of English, please read my post, i asked you to respond specifically outside the realms of the bible, the gospels and one imagination.

    I'm biting and wildly guessing that you are talking about the Canonical Gospels though. I'm not. Christianity is bigger than the vatican. Just because they only like some of them does not mean there are not many more. The Gospel of Judas for one, Gospel of Mary for two. Being one of the few women followers of Jesus you’d have thought the catholic church would have valued her opinion and used it as their 5th gospel but i digress.

    I didn't ask you to comment on my explanations for why i removed certain things from the equation. I've gone over these points with people with a far greater knowledge of religion than you, believe me. I was actually hoping you had something new on the last point but mostly what you did was trod over the same tired tracks many have before you, and i'm not being sarcastic or trying to feel smug. I’m genuinely let down that you have gone this route. I’ll know in future. I'm new to this forum and i'm finding my feet. You just stood on them a little i feel.
    Spiritually discerned = spiritual sightedness. Without it, the bible is meaningless. Once your eyes are opened spiritually however, you'd look at the bible (and the world around you and you yourself) in an utterly different way. Through completely different spectacles.
    The previous analogy of mechanical engineering comes back into play.
    I wouldn't be too worried about one gospel not mentioning something that another gospel majors on. At least, not without someone making a case as to why I should worry.
    Has the thought ever occurred to you that as a mechanical engineer you may think that you are reading C, when in fact you are reading C#. Similar but outdated, perhaps. It still produces a similar output only every now and again your system crashes because it ran out of memory (Unknowns to you the intricate working of C#). You don’t realise this and until someone tells you otherwise, you will happily run the program to completion 95% of the time.

    See anyone can make up claptrap and fancy it up as intelligent discussion. Also, i don’t need a special free pass from an invisible imaginary thing to be able to think spiritually. I can do that myself. It’s not a gift reserved for religious people. People of faith and non faith can invoke spirituality.

    “Think about it, if God is to be found a particular way, if there is but one kind of key to the door then beating down any other path is a waste of energy.”

    Being an engineer you of all people should know there are far more ways to come to a conclusion than just one. And even IF you think there may only be one, there are always other ways to break the door down from within, thus allowing you access via the front to the pot of gold. For instance when indoors, we mere humans still know when it is windy although we see no evidence of the wind itself. Can you tell how?

    Excellent, now onto the part i wanted answered.
    So I'd examine yourself first. Ask what you motivation is. Ask are you interested in finding God. Ask why you would be interested in finding God. What is it God supposedly says you need him for and do you believe that.
    Ask him to help you in that process since - logically - you are reliant in him to reveal himself to you for want of a known way to be sure of finding him.

    The first five sentences i thank you for. They were thought provoking. I sat for hours thinking about this. I know what i want from him/her/it and i know the reverse. I do see god. Possibly not as you know god, and i don’t call it god but for me it carries the same weight. Everywhere is the answer. In the face of people, on the back of my chair, at the water in the sea, on the dust on the moon, on the rings of Saturn, on the unshaven construction worker on the luas this morning, in Intergalactic space, in the words you have wrote to me, at the beauty of lake como (and all nature) and Olmo were i spend a lot of time, technology, when i drive my car, when someone crashed into my car, when i make love to my girlfriend, when i cook a meal, when i fight with my brother, when i curse my rival, the hurricanes, the sunshine, the thousands of diseases, the hundreds of thousands of insects etc etc etc. That to me is god. It’s me. It’s you, it’s every single thing on this planet/solar system/universe. It’s the basic elements in everything. God is not looking for me to do anything. He/she/it can’t/doesn’t communicate with the earth nor does it meddle in its affairs. For me, there is a reason why visions and messages from god stopped pretty much around the same time that science was allowed by the religious community to flourish and it was not because science disproved them nor did god decide to hang up the gloves. For me, anyone who claims they hear god, or see his/her/its work in the world is quite entitled to that opinion but it comes with a sackful of rubbish which most people attribute to humans and a case of psychosis. It’s a defence mechanism. Fear to admit fault in something you are personally involved with. It happens me at times.

    Alas, they were not references or even possibly tangible angles to steer me but i did make me think and that helped. I will continue to think about Jesus and i will continue to think about his brothers and sisters and followers.

    I will pass these questions onto my girlfriend, they may help her as her priest has not come back to her yet on some of these points and perhaps they will invoke something in her that she is looking for.
    Read the story of the Prodigal Son.
    I have. These types of fables do nothing for me besides enjoyment. I understand the obvious meaning the story tries to hide but i respect a book that tells me black is black. It’s not that i want everything simple, i don’t like ambiguity in text especially in something as important as god. Can you image science working like that? We would get nowhere and have all the scientists in the world telling us that it is complicated, too complicated for our little minds to understand! IF, Jesus wanted us to read the bible, and understand all of it, 100% unequivocally. But again Jesus never left a single written word that i know of nor did he ask humans to create an amalgamated book based on a previous book in circulation, which he disagreed with and writings of his followers fluffed up with some extra tales of woe and honour.

    I won’t answer the last bit of your text because it’s pretty wishy washy for me and it doesn’t answer my question unfortunately.
    “Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis”
    On the other hand, I will however give this book a try but reading reviews of it i am not sure what light it can shed for me if an argument for morality is the core theme (Remember the rubbish i mentioned earlier, well that rubbish is the presence of evil). Ethica has been read several times and the zeitgeist is always a willing beacon of moral light for me.

    Although i wish it turned out better, i appreciate the reply and steer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    dmw07 wrote: »
    I'm a statistical analyst with a computing background, my girlfriend is a doctor. Nice to meet you. Can we put our job titles away now, or shall we go onto height, weight, looks, education and pay-packet? And don’t make me take out the heavy artillery :)

    Your insinuation that i can’t read, comprehend and logically unravel the mysteries of the world from the bible written in my mother tongue is quite disingenuous and a very poor argument that has been used by priests since the Churches inception.

    I wasn't suggesting that the analytical qualities a mechanical engineer has were the reason I could comprehend the bible where another wouldn't. I was using mechanical engineering as a metaphor: the sighted person (mechanically sighted in the metaphor) is able to understand a realm (the mechanical realm) which is impenetrable to the unsighted person (mechanically unsighted in the metaphor).

    Similiarly, if spiritual blindness/sight exists and if I am sighted and you blind in that area then it could be expected that the bible would make sense to me whereas the bible appears like this...
    The bible. Where to start. Written by men with a primitive understanding of the world, mostly several years after the person now named Jesus died and partly a thousand years before him based on hearsay, imagined scenes where god interacted with humans, previous pagan traditions and the zodiac. IMO, It is all riddled with inaccuracies, mistruths, fables, fantasy, lies and shows god in a very bad light.


    ...to you. Our professions (and the analytical abilities associated with those professions) having nothing at all to do with it.



    "The christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of their little people against the power of intellectuals." - Bishop Ratzinger, 31 December 1979

    Please don’t insult my intelligence in future by attempting to use this argument again. It’s pointless and futile. Especially as people who cover up rapes degraded its value on the not so simple of us.


    I'm not the greatest fan of the Roman Catholic church on any front so this is a little lost on me. Suffice to say, I'm quite happy to face the power of intellectuals on my own.

    Hopefully you'll see my argument wasn't intended to insult your intelligence. It made a narrow point about spiritual blindness as an explanation for our differing takes on the bible. It's not a proof, it's just a suggestion.


    Clearly you have a problem with comprehension of English, please read my post, i asked you to respond specifically outside the realms of the bible, the gospels and one imagination.

    You hadn't asked me at that point and it's not my practice to respond other than linearally to points made. The verse isn't intended as a proof or support of anything anyway. But I'll desist from 'arguing' from the bible in future.


    I'm biting and wildly guessing that you are talking about the Canonical Gospels though. I'm not. Christianity is bigger than the vatican. Just because they only like some of them does not mean there are not many more. The Gospel of Judas for one, Gospel of Mary for two. Being one of the few women followers of Jesus you’d have thought the catholic church would have valued her opinion and used it as their 5th gospel but i digress.

    It's okay that you view Christianity as larger than the canon of scripture (which is shared by Christianity outside Rome). But there's not much I can do with it - you might as well throw the Koran into the mix for all the relevance it has to me.

    I didn't ask you to comment on my explanations for why i removed certain things from the equation. I've gone over these points with people with a far greater knowledge of religion than you, believe me. I was actually hoping you had something new on the last point but mostly what you did was trod over the same tired tracks many have before you, and i'm not being sarcastic or trying to feel smug. I’m genuinely let down that you have gone this route. I’ll know in future. I'm new to this forum and i'm finding my feet. You just stood on them a little i feel.


    Hopefully you'll have moved back from your (mis, I think) understanding of the mech. eng. metaphor. That said, you may well be as insulted by the suggestion the metaphor was making: not that you are intellectually blind but that you might well be spiritually blind

    No insult is intended :)


    Whilst I think I have certain angles on aspects of Christianity I don't think I'm all that unorthodox (although there can be a fair amount of variation of view within the brotherhood Christianity without anyone accusing the other of being unorthodox).

    Welcome to the forum btw...


    Has the thought ever occurred to you that as a mechanical engineer you may think that you are reading C, when in fact you are reading C#. Similar but outdated, perhaps. It still produces a similar output only every now and again your system crashes because it ran out of memory (Unknowns to you the intricate working of C#). You don’t realise this and until someone tells you otherwise, you will happily run the program to completion 95% of the time.

    See anyone can make up claptrap and fancy it up as intelligent discussion. Also, i don’t need a special free pass from an invisible imaginary thing to be able to think spiritually. I can do that myself. It’s not a gift reserved for religious people. People of faith and non faith can invoke spirituality.

    When you quoted me you omitted this element.

    "When you are sighted and are examining the plan of a mechanism you will notice if someones drawn in a spanner in the works. A spanner in the biblical work is something that interferes with what is otherwise a beautifully crafted and operating mechanism."

    If something is considered perfect (at least, the more I find out about it the more questions it answers) then I don't need to worry whether there is something even more perfect - I've already got my hands full digesting the perfection available to me.

    And when it comes to a host of 'gospels' I've read a little of them and they seem to me spanners. And I'm trusting that if there was anything serious to be considered in them members of the family I belong to would have worked that out a long time ago. You don't have to reinvent the wheel (the canon of scripture)


    “Think about it, if God is to be found a particular way, if there is but one kind of key to the door then beating down any other path is a waste of energy.”

    Being an engineer you of all people should know there are far more ways to come to a conclusion than just one. And even IF you think there may only be one, there are always other ways to break the door down from within, thus allowing you access via the front to the pot of gold. For instance when indoors, we mere humans still know when it is windy although we see no evidence of the wind itself. Can you tell how?


    I said 'if'. If that IF is true then it is so by divine fiat - there is but one way to God. If not true then not.

    I'm suggesting there is but one way. Now that way will have all sorts of variations - some will come to God via the route of drug addiction, others through the despair of hanging on a cross. Some will be atheists, some Christians, some nothing at all.

    But there is a common theme amongst those who come to Christ. It would appear. That theme is, I suggest, the single key.


    The first five sentences i thank you for. They were thought provoking. I sat for hours thinking about this. I know what i want from him/her/it and i know the reverse. I do see god. Possibly not as you know god, and i don’t call it god but for me it carries the same weight. Everywhere is the answer. In the face of people, on the back of my chair, at the water in the sea, on the dust on the moon, on the rings of Saturn, on the unshaven construction worker on the luas this morning, in Intergalactic space, in the words you have wrote to me, at the beauty of lake como (and all nature) and Olmo were i spend a lot of time, technology, when i drive my car, when someone crashed into my car, when i make love to my girlfriend, when i cook a meal, when i fight with my brother, when i curse my rival, the hurricanes, the sunshine, the thousands of diseases, the hundreds of thousands of insects etc etc etc. That to me is god. It’s me. It’s you, it’s every single thing on this planet/solar system/universe. It’s the basic elements in everything. God is not looking for me to do anything. He/she/it can’t/doesn’t communicate with the earth nor does it meddle in its affairs.

    I see things in very much the same way you do. The only difference is that I see it held together, managed and purposed by a personhood and that for a reason. And in all it's wonder and in all it's horror, that personhood plans to bring all this to an end. At which point the beginning will have come to an end and the eternal realm, a realm of union between created persons and their God will be completed. Or not.

    And the choice is yours.


    For me, there is a reason why visions and messages from god stopped pretty much around the same time that science was allowed by the religious community to flourish


    They stopped? I wasn't aware of it.

    For me, anyone who claims they hear god, or see his/her/its work in the world is quite entitled to that opinion but it comes with a sackful of rubbish which most people attribute to humans and a case of psychosis. It’s a defence mechanism. Fear to admit fault in something you are personally involved with. It happens me at times.


    You'd understand that I've heard that view a thousand times before. I mean, I used to evangelize on a bikers forum for crying out loud :)



    I have. These types of fables do nothing for me besides enjoyment. I understand the obvious meaning the story tries to hide but i respect a book that tells me black is black. It’s not that i want everything simple, i don’t like ambiguity in text especially in something as important as god. Can you image science working like that? We would get nowhere and have all the scientists in the world telling us that it is complicated, too complicated for our little minds to understand! IF, Jesus wanted us to read the bible, and understand all of it, 100% unequivocally. But again Jesus never left a single written word that i know of nor did he ask humans to create an amalgamated book based on a previous book in circulation, which he disagreed with and writings of his followers fluffed up with some extra tales of woe and honour.

    The bible is out of bounds. Understood..



    “Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis”
    On the other hand, I will however give this book a try but reading reviews of it i am not sure what light it can shed for me if an argument for morality is the core theme (Remember the rubbish i mentioned earlier, well that rubbish is the presence of evil).

    He does a book called the Problem of Evil too. I suggested Mere C more for his style of writing than that it contains all the arguments (although he deals with more than morality). If you enjoy him then you've access to what are I think a good series of short reads dealing with things from a few different angles.





    Ethica has been read several times and the zeitgeist is always a willing beacon of moral light for me.

    I'm not aware of the former (and being an appalling reader at the present time I'm likely to remain so. But isn't the z.g. a movable feast?


    Although i wish it turned out better, i appreciate the reply and steer.

    My pleasure. Sorry to disappoint where I have and my apologies for offence unintended.


  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭ B_Fanatic


    Forgive me for interrupting. I'm enjoying the discussion so far and intend on continuing to read it (Unless it has been conlcuded of course) so think of this post as a small tangent. Just a few of my own thoughts, asked and answered, in and out again.
    I wasn't suggesting that the analytical qualities a mechanical engineer has were the reason I could comprehend the bible where another wouldn't. I was using mechanical engineering as a metaphor: the sighted person (mechanically sighted in the metaphor) is able to understand a realm (the mechanical realm) which is impenetrable to the unsighted person (mechanically unsighted in the metaphor).

    I won't comment much on this analogy, however I feel it is a little redundant. Anyone you refer to as 'spirtually blind' who attempts to comprehend the bible may first be skeptical because of the presence of contradictions, a lack of consistency between gospels and so on. On the other hand the 'spirtually sighted' see the bible without these contradictions and observe it as evidence of god's existence. From this angle it appears that for the blind to become sighted, they need only ignore all of these faults.

    You might say that in doing so they won't actually be understanding and thus not feel the full effect of the scripture's spirtual power. However, up until I was about 13 I recall returning from mass feeling rejuvenated and spirtually cleansed. At the time I would appreciate the bible, not because I understood it, but because I did not recognise these faults. Now, five years later, I get that same prickly, rejuvenated, spirtually clean feeling from listening to good music, or just walking to the first class of the day while feeling the softness of the grass under foot and taking in the nature all around me. Now, the bible gives me very little. It seems to me that ignorance was the equivalent to understanding the book. (I'm not calling you ignorant. Although I do believe you are (unconsciously or otherwise) ignoring its faults)
    It's okay that you view Christianity as larger than the canon of scripture (which is shared by Christianity outside Rome). But there's not much I can do with it - you might as well throw the Koran into the mix for all the relevance it has to me.

    I think the primary concern here is in fact the reason why these gospels have such little relevance to you (And particular sections of Christianity). It would appear to me (And many others, I hope) that these gospels have been omitted not because they depict Jesus incorrectly, but because they depict the image of Jesus that the Vatican and the Catholic Church has developed over the years incorrectly and the Jesus that they do show is far too obvious of a contradiction to be ignored by the masses of christian followers.
    When you quoted me you omitted this element.

    "When you are sighted and are examining the plan of a mechanism you will notice if someones drawn in a spanner in the works. A spanner in the biblical work is something that interferes with what is otherwise a beautifully crafted and operating mechanism."

    If something is considered perfect (at least, the more I find out about it the more questions it answers) then I don't need to worry whether there is something even more perfect - I've already got my hands full digesting the perfection available to me.

    A suggestion: When you are done digesting the bible as is, maybe you should expand into other gospels and look out for potential flaws. And simply dismissing something because it doesn't fit your current view is a bit menial and defeats the purpose of exploring other works in my opinion, although I'm positive I do it all the time. For example, if I am researching a product and am inclined towards buying it I will search only for positive reviews and dismiss bad ones, unfortunately I can't remember the psychological name for it at this time.

    In hindsight the initial statement "A suggestion: ... " seems snide... Please don't interpret it that way. Honestly, if at sometime in the future you feel fulfilled by the current bible and to have explored it all I encourage you to read into other sources and question why exactly they haven't been included, dismissing because they don't fit the jigsaw as an argument. The jigsaw isn't necessarily an accurate portrayal of the real events.
    And when it comes to a host of 'gospels' I've read a little of them and they seem to me spanners.

    See above please :)
    And I'm trusting that if there was anything serious to be considered in them members of the family I belong to would have worked that out a long time ago. You don't have to reinvent the wheel (the canon of scripture)

    Perhaps they have thought likewise about the generation passed, feeling that the people before them have already performed the job of considering these texts and dismissed them?
    They stopped? I wasn't aware of it.

    Where exactly can I see it continued? Do you believe the pope is anymore in contact with God than others? If so, why is it that he was elected his position by mortal people with the potential to make mistakes, error of judgement?

    Thank you for your time! Was running out of time myself so had to finish it quickly, apologies for any typos or anything not enough time to proof read, bye!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,556 ✭✭✭ Roger Hassenforder


    as i believe in fairies, i look at the world completly different:

    they must get up very early to paint and open the flowers, and its easy to see when one of them is sick, the flower is dusty.

    :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,274 ✭✭✭ Ulysses1874


    When my eyes were opened 10 or so years ago it was literally like the light went on.

    What is (or was) your dad like?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,495 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    B_Fanatic wrote: »
    Forgive me for interrupting. I'm enjoying the discussion so far and intend on continuing to read it (Unless it has been conlcuded of course) so think of this post as a small tangent. Just a few of my own thoughts, asked and answered, in and out again.

    By all means..

    I won't comment much on this analogy, however I feel it is a little redundant. Anyone you refer to as 'spirtually blind' who attempts to comprehend the bible may first be skeptical because of the presence of contradictions, a lack of consistency between gospels and so on. On the other hand the 'spirtually sighted' see the bible without these contradictions and observe it as evidence of god's existence. From this angle it appears that for the blind to become sighted, they need only ignore all of these faults.


    The sighted would say that they don't see the contradictions because they can resolve them. Resolution is not the same as ignore. But I would grant that if unable to resolve then ignoring is the remaining option.


    You might say that in doing so they won't actually be understanding and thus not feel the full effect of the scripture's spirtual power. However, up until I was about 13 I recall returning from mass feeling rejuvenated and spirtually cleansed. At the time I would appreciate the bible, not because I understood it, but because I did not recognise these faults. Now, five years later, I get that same prickly, rejuvenated, spirtually clean feeling from listening to good music, or just walking to the first class of the day while feeling the softness of the grass under foot and taking in the nature all around me. Now, the bible gives me very little. It seems to me that ignorance was the equivalent to understanding the book. (I'm not calling you ignorant. Although I do believe you are (unconsciously or otherwise) ignoring its faults)

    I don't know if you went to sunday school but the kids who do at the church I attend do. And no doubt they hear kid-sized versions of biblical stories which are, in all likelyhood not dealing with the gospel (because the kids are perhaps too young to appreciate it's message) but are in fact being spoon fed biblical stories as one could spoon feed them any happy-ending story.

    Suitably primed, I could well imagine a psychological comfort effect from thinking of "a nice God who loved me no matter what and who forgived all my sins if just asked (that's all she wrote)". And that such a comfort blanket would be outgrown and that the kids go their own way as the kids up at my chuch do as soon as they hit mid teens.

    The born-insighted sinner is emerging from his cocoon. And given that "going to church" isn't the means whereby an unsighted person becomes sighted, no one is too surprised about it. At least not up my way

    -

    I wouldn't say the bible is without flaw or fault. It's a translation afterall and much can be lost in that process. But you're dealing with a monument of a mechanism, the workings and intricacy of which stagger the minds of those who say they are sighted. It would take more, much more than an apparently irreconcilable element here or there (I'm sure there must be a few - though most claims turn out to be spuriously feeble on examination) to begin to unravel it.

    When I say the attempts to dismantle the bible are as ball bearings flung at the side of an ocean liner in the attempt to sink it I am giving you my perspective.

    But let's have a look. Here's a "contradiction" which was presented as a true contradiction by what would appear to be an (unbelieving) theology student. This guy knew the bible inside out OT and NT - heck, he was getting on to being proficient in Hebrew and Greek to boot. It took me about 10 seconds to figure out what the common or garden wisdom contained within the verses was. He just couldn't see it - not even when it was explained to him. He's probably still propagating it as an example of a biblical contradiction. See what you think of the proverb (24:4 & 5). Contradiction or resolvable?


    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.



    -
    I think the primary concern here is in fact the reason why these gospels have such little relevance to you (And particular sections of Christianity). It would appear to me (And many others, I hope) that these gospels have been omitted not because they depict Jesus incorrectly, but because they depict the image of Jesus that the Vatican and the Catholic Church has developed over the years incorrectly and the Jesus that they do show is far too obvious of a contradiction to be ignored by the masses of christian followers.

    And if you're a Christian who thinks Roman Catholicism has more in common with Islam than it does Christianity?




    A suggestion: When you are done digesting the bible as is,

    We were doing a study in the book of Romans a number of years ago. We went at a reasonable clip, one night a week. It took about 4 years. In the process, I bought a 14 or so volume of commentaries on that book: a sober, densely written and argued - yet thrilling exposition of what the argument(s) of Romans were about (although it must be said the authors perspective is but one perspective). 14 books of 250-400 pages each. On a single book in the bible.

    And that's but one perspective.

    One of the many things I learned was that each word Paul wrote had a significance in the argument. Not a one was used with a deliberate eye on how best to propagate and tie together the position. The finest of mechanisms within the overarching mechanism.

    Done? Are you mad!

    maybe you should expand into other gospels and look out for potential flaws. And simply dismissing something because it doesn't fit your current view is a bit menial and defeats the purpose of exploring other works in my opinion, although I'm positive I do it all the time. For example, if I am researching a product and am inclined towards buying it I will search only for positive reviews and dismiss bad ones, unfortunately I can't remember the psychological name for it at this time.

    That's one view and it is sourced on the philosophical position that you can only ever journey but never arrive. There is no truth. In other words.

    I would contest that on arrival at a destination one can step out and examine the lay of the land. If that destination is truth and you find yourelf attracted to it, there is no need to step back on the train. Your journey has ended.


    In hindsight the initial statement "A suggestion: ... " seems snide... Please don't interpret it that way. Honestly, if at sometime in the future you feel fulfilled by the current bible and to have explored it all I encourage you to read into other sources and question why exactly they haven't been included, dismissing because they don't fit the jigsaw as an argument. The jigsaw isn't necessarily an accurate portrayal of the real events.

    I find it astonishingly accurate in explaining that which is most vital and important in the world around me: People and their hearts. It is fitting that that is the only thing that is to continue as it left off when this world is wrapped up.

    If have come to find that truth is always neat (in both senses: tidy and cool!). I don't need to be able to prove it to you in order to be convinced myself.

    See above please :)

    Ditto :)



    Perhaps they have thought likewise about the generation passed, feeling that the people before them have already performed the job of considering these texts and dismissed them?

    That's the argument. All the way back to the embryonic church and what they considered scripture.


    Where exactly can I see it continued?

    In the place where God takes up residence. Your heart. Of course, he has to be invited in first.

    As for supposed visions of Mary and the like? Let's say that the bible takes a dim view of it in predicting such events will occur.


    Do you believe the pope is anymore in contact with God than others? If so, why is it that he was elected his position by mortal people with the potential to make mistakes, error of judgement?

    Is the pope a Catholic? Sure. Is he a Christian? Who knows. Perhaps. If so, he has as much access to God as any other Christian - which is: as much as he is able for. God isn't for the faint-hearted (which stands to reason if you stand back for a moment and imagine how "big" he would have to be to do what it is he would be doing in the case he exists.



    Thank you for your time! Was running out of time myself so had to finish it quickly, apologies for any typos or anything not enough time to proof read, bye!

    Not a bother. Night.


  • Registered Users Posts: 238 ✭✭ dmw07


    I wasn't suggesting that the analytical qualities a mechanical engineer has were the reason I could comprehend the bible where another wouldn't.

    I understand that you were using a metaphor, that was not my issue. I made an attempt at sarcasm about the context of the metaphor to defuse any hostility there might have been about the statement. I did this before i made my true feelings on the matter clear. The crux of your argument was that i was blind to the true workings or flow of the bible because i could not see it for what it really was, due to my lack of faith. Three things, i didn't want to get dragged into this debate, two i have now, and three this assumption is wildly incorrect. As i do see the bible for what it is. In its entirety. I didn't need faith to do so but at one time I had faith. Even that was not enough for me to dispel all i felt wrong with the bible.

    From the beginning of Genesis in the old testament, i understand that the way the world came into being as according to the bible was incorrect and was purely only a fictitious fantasy of how the world might come into existence via mans imagination. Which was bound to his habitat and surroundings at the time, hence all the local references, limited knowledge of the world and universe right through to the very end of the bible. It continues apace with Adam and Eve, the origin of man including the magic of making a women with breasts out of a mans rib and the beginning of original sin. All humans spawned from two humans which amazingly didn't kill out our species within years of incest. They had two sons. One which killed the other, leaving the remaining brother and his mother to create a mutated race. Jesus would later save us from original sin. Now Evolution blows all of that out of the water. It completely negates a main reason for Jesus to ever even come to the earth which was his main goal via being crucified and curing man of original sin and thus allowing mankind entrance into heaven. Now the bibles events are hard to swallow logically and they are ridiculously within the bounds of mans limited thinking that it is almost moronic in comparisons to todays fantasy marvels such as star trek and star wars. Richard Dawkins put the god of the old testament so eloquently when he said this;
    http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2007/02/god-of-old-testament-richard-dawkins.html

    I understand that the new testament is an attempt by the church to show man gods better side. His forgiving and all loving side. It also in part sends us through a quagmire of stories that are indeed fictitious but are there to make us think about personal situations relative to us and our lives today. The bible is merely a guide, somewhat useful at times .

    The problem is, we are basing our everyday decisions and actions based on teachings that are over 1,500 years old. They frankly don't fit today's thinking, they are regressive as time moves on, a repetitive, reactive and an anti-progressive way to live your life. We can learn only so much from fixating on the past. We can mutate this information, add to it, modify it, multiply it, advance it and sometimes slightly evolve it but what we need in this world today is men that can dream of things, things that never were. That is natural progression. That is forward thinking. That is true evolution.

    I might not know why we are here fully but i do know some things for absolute certain. The reasons i know i am on this earth is to one, procreate and two evolve in what ever way possible i can to further myself in this life and in turn pass onto my kids and people close to me.These two things are intrinsically linked. It's only logical for me to fully believe that my reason for being here is completely explainable in a small quantity for me not to necessarily need a god for an understand of this. A theist god at that. I have to be sure though. I find looking at religion and getting different angles on it like a study to make sure that the decisions i make in life are the best ones and are based on logic, reason, good teaching and progressive where possible. If a justification of god came about, then i would like any rational scientist realign my thoughts to that which matched that of the factual data. Right now they are on a different vector.
    Similiarly, if spiritual blindness/sight exists and if I am sighted and you blind in that area then it could be expected that the bible would make sense to me whereas the bible appears like this...
    I understand but have i explained myself on the bible and how we both can see it? I didn't want to get into a detailed conversation over this but there you have it. It's out there now.

    ...to you. Our professions (and the analytical abilities associated with those professions) having nothing at all to do with it.
    I know, it's cool. As previously stated. It was my medium to defuse the situation of a heated debate. I understood your metaphor and felt it was a back handed attempt to negate my position on the bible whilst also referring to my view of the bible as "A mess". Different people can have different opinions on different matters. That's fine. You'll just have to accept my position on the bible be it right or wrong in your mind. Just the same as i have to except your view of the bible no matter how utterly narrowly viewed i see it to be. We all create bubbles around our lives just big enough for us to cope with the realities of life. Some of us extend that bubble too much and suffer but i see believing in god as a way of filling in the gaps and deflating that bubble enough to feel safe.

    The gaps are the unknowns, the hurtful truths and the things you don't want to deal with, like death. He/She/It is going to provide a 5 star luxury resort eternal retreat with all the previously deceased loved ones on some instance of a reality unknown to our spectrum of vision. While i believe that my life will end definitively at some point in time and so too will my thoughts, dreams, hopes, aspirations, memories and cherished feelings. You might think that is a sad outlook on life and death but i put it to you that it only makes life all that much better. It only makes living life with the knowledge of no second chance all that more special.

    That's my take on the bible and such.
    And so endeth the sermon

    Hopefully you'll see my argument wasn't intended to insult your intelligence. It made a narrow point about spiritual blindness as an explanation for our differing takes on the bible. It's not a proof, it's just a suggestion.
    See above.
    You hadn't asked me at that point and it's not my practice to respond other than linearally to points made. The verse isn't intended as a proof or support of anything anyway. But I'll desist from 'arguing' from the bible in future.
    So you make decisions on bodies of text based on a line by line basis. That's pretty linear and strange. Are you and old computer in disguise?;)

    It's okay that you view Christianity as larger than the canon of scripture (which is shared by Christianity outside Rome). But there's not much I can do with it - you might as well throw the Koran into the mix for all the relevance it has to me.
    Sure, ok, i'm not sure of your exact standing in relation to religion, dogma or tradition that you follow but how do you select your information base if it not by the catholic church teachings of 4 gospels?

    No insult is intended :)
    None taken, not now anyway ;)


    Welcome to the forum btw...
    Thanks.

    And when it comes to a host of 'gospels' I've read a little of them and they seem to me spanners. And I'm trusting that if there was anything serious to be considered in them members of the family I belong to would have worked that out a long time ago. You don't have to reinvent the wheel (the canon of scripture)
    Ok, so you have some sort of divine gift for sorting the truths from the untruths based on the bible as you know it. The new information schema does not fit the pattern. I get it. What i don't get is how you use the pattern of the bible as the base template for all other material to fit. Of course nothing is going to fit the pattern of the bible. Nearly everything in modern life is incompatible with the bible, highlighting evolution. But you believe in evolution don't you? Please say you do, please say you do **crosses fingers** If so you believe in the bible and you believe in evolution at the same time while both being incompatible. How is that? You must not have used the bible as a base pattern for your brain (possibly) to decide the correct decision. Should you not do the same for other gospels outside of the bible and see if you still think they are incorrect? Just a half hearted suggestion mind.

    I said 'if'.
    Moot point so, try to avoid these, moving along swiftly.

    They stopped? I wasn't aware of it.
    Well the catholics have invested heavily in Cern for some strange reason and there also was that billion pound disaster private hospital that the catholic church had money in, in Italy. The top dog of the operation, a close friend of a high up priestfella shot himself after discovering the loses the company had made. Hundreds of millions were squandered in what looks like a very costly adventure into science for the holy see. 50% hit rate with Cern so far though. The Muslim community meanwhile extend their run of consecutive run of years as the religions least contributors to modern science of all the major religions so you are right. The muslims haven't stopped. Pardon me for that erroneous statment.

    You'd understand that I've heard that view a thousand times before. I mean, I used to evangelize on a bikers forum for crying out loud :)
    You swing in dark places my friend. ;) Your pretty committed to the cause i see. No offence but if there is a recruitment drive any time soon, i'm hoping you got more than a flyer to convince me to join up :D
    The bible is out of bounds. Understood..
    Well, i read every thing line by li...oops. Yeah, i did see this but Jesus was part of my large brain burp. The bible is out of bounds now:D I think i pretty much wrecked it up earlier in the post.

    I'm not aware of the former (and being an appalling reader at the present time I'm likely to remain so. But isn't the z.g. a movable feast?
    Ethica is by Baruch Spinoza, he's quite the big thing in the world of Philosophy. He might not be your cup of tea though. Zeitgeist is the general consensus or feeling of the people at a period of time. Take Rome in roman times for instance. The coliseum was a blood pit which today they try to paint as a stadium for the Olympics. It was the worst €20 i ever spent on a tour. So humiliatingly ignoring it's birth right. No matter how cruel and inhuman the truth, i'd still rather know tbh. In that time is was quite reasonable for a human to bay for the blood of another man. This was the way, the consensus. As we humans evolved, so did the consensus from brutal death being a thing of joy and reverence, to a thing of bad and shame. The zeitgeist moves with the times, and is the times. It is considered a god like idea or alternative in many circles.



    My pleasure. Sorry to disappoint where I have and my apologies for offence unintended.
    Cool with me.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    See what you think of the proverb (24:4 & 5). Contradiction or resolvable?


    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him
    Hmmm.... does it mean "don't feed the troll who is clogging up this thread with his nonsense"

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
    .....On the other hand, "don't let him go away in the mistaken belief that his proselytising has succeeded".


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭ B_Fanatic


    recedite wrote: »
    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him
    Hmmm.... does it mean "don't feed the troll who is clogging up this thread with his nonsense"

    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
    .....On the other hand, "don't let him go away in the mistaken belief that his proselytising has succeeded".

    I know the, "I'm not stupid, your stupid" argument is a little silly, but I think it's quite appropriate in this scenario... I highly doubt you actually took the time to pan out the last few pages - if you did you'd know that AntiSkeptic is genuinely passionate about his religion. Stop looking for a rise out of him, it's very troll-like behaviour.


Advertisement