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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 26 2010 @ 11:36 AM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 


The benefit of religion, for a lot of people, is that it helps them find meaning in their lives, helps them understand that there is a lot out there beyond themselves. For some, this is an important thing, for others, not so much. Some will find meaning in their relationship with God, I know that I do. Others find meaning in things that have nothing to do with God, and so long as they're not harmful, there's nothing wrong with that. I have never really sorted out why some, like me, gravitate toward faith, and would feel empty without it, while others have no interest, or even disdain for the whole idea.

Different strokes, I guess. It is patently unfair to call you an "oppressor" for not believing in God. Belief or non-belief is not oppressive, intolerance is what brings that to bear.




posted on Jul, 26 2010 @ 05:12 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



It is patently unfair to call you an "oppressor" for not believing in God


Yes it is, because me being an Atheist and not believing in God doesn't cause me to preach to people how they should live their lives (or even think negative things of someone without good reason) it doesn't cause me to resent my child if he turned out to be a homosexual.

My non belief doesn't cause me to believe i am perfectly "morale" because there is no such thing.Morale is a matter of opinion, depending on what your social views are on things. God's rules in an old text are socially and intelligently out of date and people cling onto them and preach them to our future generations.

Morales depend on the authoritive figures moral code being preached to the followers, like our goverments (its "wrong" to drink under 18, but to me that isn't wrong, it just depends what you think, i think with reason). But at least with our goverment we can question, we can protest, we can make a change. Religion is absolutist and finds ignoramouses often preaching things like "EVOLUTION" is the devil's work and such other crazy accusations against science which have long been laughed at by the rationalising human being.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 07:11 AM
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Originally posted by mhorndisk
Do you have no concept of what God is with which to not believe in, or are you a nontheist, someone with no concept of God?


I have many concepts of what god could be.

I believe your definition of "nontheist" is factually incorrect. The word has many meanings though I do not believe the one you've presented is accurate. Either way, I am not someone with no concept of god.



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 01:41 PM
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I'd like to follow up with something that you said in another thread, but it's a question specific to you, so I thought this thread would be a better place.

Before I ask it, I realize that it may sound accusatory or hostile, and I apologize for that, and I'll give you an "out". You can skip the whole thing by saying "I don't believe in the existence of deities in the whole, so I don't feel like I need to investigate and refute any purported 'evidence'."

Okay, with that in mind, I will draw you to one piece of evidence, which is the Church itself. It came from somewhere, and if one is to trace it back, there is a dwindling wealth of evidence of its existence back to the Pauline Letters, in the 50s AD. However, even absent historical evidence prior to that, the Church in Paul's day was substantive and widespread.

So, the questions:

1) Do you believe that the Pauline Letters represent evidence of the state of the Church at the time it is believed that they were written?

2) Do you believe that the New Testament is a complete fiction, that the events (all of them) and people depicted are made up?

3) If yes, who do you think made it up, and what would you guess their motivation might have been? It's perfectly fine to say "I don't know" or "I don't care".

4) If no, would Jesus' Apostles be included as "real" figures? Were Peter, James, John and the rest actual historical figures?

5) Do you accept, as a fact, the persecution of the early Church, including the "Great Persecution" under Diocletian and Galerius?

Part of this is to determine what you accept to be evidence, as opposed to supposition or assumption. Nothing religious at this point, just historical.

Thanks!



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Can't be trusted as a history book, its a book based on biased philosophy all abdecating power from the 1 dictator it claims is in charge of us. Thats not to say all of its ramblings don't count for history in terms of seing how people spoke, and wrote, or at least how intelligent people at the time wrote and spoke. But the rules and demands are all subjective in terms of "right" and "wrong" and there so far has been no evidence to back up any of the supposed historical events that take place in the bible.

History books back up data with primary evidence, collaborated knowledge, this seems to have an agenda of control, of submission, no matter how bad you think God may be, be scared of him, be fearful and live by his demands. That is a viewpoint that cannot be trusted or admired.

At the time, man knew little, information was scarce and intelligence uncommon, we knew nothing of what was above the sky, we knew not what earthquakes and hurricanes were, so instead of seeking evidence, we infer the unknown to God, God has punished us etc.

It cannot be trusted, not in this day and age, not in the age of intelligence, logic and reason when we know more, and God has had to find a new hiding place everytime science reveals something new.



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by awake_and_aware
 


It might surprise you, but I agree wholeheartedly that we must recognize the "taint" (or potential taint) of human intent. There is obviously a philosophical aspect to the New Testament, but there is also an historical aspect as well. I'm just asking if you (well, TD, actually) throw the whole thing out as "made up".

As I see it, there are four options, as I personally toss out the "it's 100% accurate" as an impossibility.

1) The New Testament is mostly accurate
2) The New Testament is mostly inaccurate
3) The New Testament is wholly inaccurate, having been "made up"
4) One refuses to consider the question, because of the lack of evidence of deities anywhere else



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by traditionaldrummer
 


What is your morality based upon?

[edit on 28-7-2010 by ChickenPie]



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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reply to post by ChickenPie
 


2 rules:

1: One can do anything, so long as it doesn't affect another's right to do as they please.

2: If it feels good, its good. If it feels bad, its bad.

I am sure its not bulletproof, but it works for me.



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 09:28 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I personally would go with mostly inaccurate for a few reasons: translation issues (finding the right words), translater/transcriber bias, early church selecting what went NT out of many options, and massive cultural and scientific differences over the course of two centuries. Worth reading for studying some of the ideas, but caution has to be used due to the above effects of time and people.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:20 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
reply to post by mhorndisk
 


Hooray, my translation (NIV) starts "God presides in the great assembly" (read: it doesn't say "I, God, stand in the great assembly") "he gives judgement among the 'gods'." (read: "he", not "I", and "gods" lower case and in quotes.)

Stop trying to find vindication for your goofy theories in the Bible. It's either clear, or it's a matter for interpretation, in which case an interpretation that is counter to the rest of accepted interpretation is obviously wrong. There is no mainstream support for any of your theories in scholarly readings and study of the scripture.


MMkkkkk, which of the 32 translations did you find that from? The NIV? Lord help you! What a joke.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:23 AM
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The theory of the big bang is not proven, and the evidence you speak of is contradictory. The theory itself still does not answer many important questions , such as, "Where did all the matter in the universe come from?" If all the matter in the universe was compressed into a small dot, what caused this to happen? Where did gravity come from that held it together? If this "dot" spun rapidly until it exploded., then where did the energy come from to start the spinning? Also, in an environment without friction you would have this spinning dot going so fast it would then explode. If this happened, then all of the particles and matter being expelled from this "spinning dot" would all have to spin in the same direction as the dot they exploded from. This is a known law of science, which those who believe in Evolution cannot do away with. It is known as the Conservation of angular momentum. This matter which is said to have created the planets would all need to spin in the same direction as the object it came from. So therefore, all of the planets should be spinning in the same direction. However two of them are not. Venus and Uranus spin backwards. Some planets even have moons that not only spin backwards, but travel backward around their planets. The Big Bang theory also ignores the First law of Thermodynamics, which says: "matter cannot be created or destroyed." Those who believe in the Big Bang theory are also either unaware of, or ignore the "Second Law of Thermodynamics" which says:
"Everything tends towards disorder," so rather than the chaos (big bang) becoming ordered (our universe), just the opposite would be true. If I told you that thousands of pieces of timber were set in motion by a tornado in a lumberyard and this ultimately resulted in the amazing design and complexity of the house you live in, you would think this was absurd to say the very least, yet in essence this is what the big bang theory teaches. Even if millions of years of tornados did somehow randomly land in a complex pattern thus assembling your room, this would still not explain where the trees came from that were made into the lumber.

Such theories do not give an absolute answer of truth. As absurd as the "Big Bang" theory is, it is widely accepted because the only other choice is a Divine Creator, and some people will believe the most ridiculous theory, rather than even entertaining the possibility that there could be a Creator. Either someone created the Earth, or the Earth created itself.. (despite all the known Laws of Science saying it couldn't have happened this way).

The best evidence against the Big Bang is the existence of Polonium Halos.
American physicist Robert V. Gentry's research shows that rocks known as Precambrian granites were created almost instantly as a part of the creation (as recorded in Genesis 1:1) and "are not the product of the evolution of the earth." He says "the Big Bang version of primordial polonium is without any scientific basis." In addition, Paul LaViolette is the first to definitively disprove the expanding universe hypothesis by comparing its performance against the tired-light alternative using multiple sets of cosmological test data.

Like I said, there is plenty of evidence and logic against the THEORY of the big bang. Maybe you've just taken everything you've been told for absolute fact. For all you know, we could be riding on the back of a giant turtle.


As far as your theory of evolution that you so trust, It is bull#. There was a fossil of a human child found in a cave in Spain that was 800,000 years old. The skull was exactly the same as a normal child of today. Just as there are different types of humans today, some with smaller skulls, some with larger skulls, there were back then to, some of which are now extinct. There are many species of apes as well, and there were many species of apes thousands of years ago to. There is no such link for this half man half ape being. It is a hoax. The Piltdown Man Hoax is pretty famous. For 40 years the scientists fooled everyone into believing they discovered a missing link because they couldn't find one; they manufactured one and claimed it was proof, until it was discovered as a lie. Then there was the Nebraska man hoax. There is no proof whatsoever. All your evidence is a bunch of fraudsters finding an ape or human skull that looks different than what we have today and claiming its proof. It's not. It's just easy to fool people.

Are you even aware of Ardi, the 4.4 million year old human?

WASHINGTON -- Kent State University Professor of Anthropology Dr. C. Owen Lovejoy was among several authors who revealed findings today of Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid (human) species that lived 4.4 million years ago. (2009)

"Ardi" is the nickname given to a shattered skeleton that an international team of scientists believes is a major breakthrough in the study of human origins.

Her skeletal remains were recovered from the Ethiopian desert, along with bones from at least 35 other members of the species (species of human).

The 15-year investigation of "Ardi" ended today (Oct. 1) with the publication of papers, as well as dual press conferences in Washington and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

One of Lovejoy's most recognized achievements is the reconstruction of the skeleton of "Lucy," a fossil of a human ancestor that walked upright more than three million years ago.

"'Ardi' is one million years older than 'Lucy,' more informative than 'Lucy,' and 'Ardi' changes what we know about human evolution."

If the scientists who found Ardi are correct, she represents a transitional figure -- a tree creature who could carry food in her arms as she explored the woodland floor on two legs.

Lucy is the name given to a 3.2 million-year-old skeleton found in 1974 that is the best example of Australopithecus afarensis, a small-brained primate (species of ape).

Lovejoy helped unveil the oldest homind skeleton that revises how we should think of human evolution.

"People often think we evolved from apes, but no, apes in many ways evolved from us," Lovejoy said. "It has been a popular idea to think humans are modified chimpanzees. From studying Ardipithecus ramidus, or 'Ardi,' we learn that we cannot understand or model human evolution from chimps and gorillas."



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:24 AM
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In conclusion all they have done is taken one of the several species of ape skulls, and one of the several species of human skulls and said, oh look, they look similar, so this is proof of evolution. It's bull#. And to your claim that devolution is impossible, horses are a perfect example, once having splint bones that were useful to them, now being shriveled and useless. This is not evolution, it is devolution.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:31 AM
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Originally posted by C09JayLT
reply to post by ChickenPie
 


2 rules:

1: One can do anything, so long as it doesn't affect another's right to do as they please.

2: If it feels good, its good. If it feels bad, its bad.

I am sure its not bulletproof, but it works for me.


Two things:

1: Why should it matter if you negatively affect other people? Who's to say affecting somebody negatively is "bad?"

2: Who's to say "good" is preferable to "bad?" And who's to say what is "good" and what is "bad?" To use your example, why should feeling good be considered good and not bad?

[edit on 29-7-2010 by ChickenPie]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:07 AM
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Funny. I started a thread called, ask a Luckiferian anything and guess what? It was elimintated by the "ptb" homos. Too bad..



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen

1) Do you believe that the Pauline Letters represent evidence of the state of the Church at the time it is believed that they were written?

2) Do you believe that the New Testament is a complete fiction, that the events (all of them) and people depicted are made up?

3) If yes, who do you think made it up, and what would you guess their motivation might have been? It's perfectly fine to say "I don't know" or "I don't care".

4) If no, would Jesus' Apostles be included as "real" figures? Were Peter, James, John and the rest actual historical figures?

5) Do you accept, as a fact, the persecution of the early Church, including the "Great Persecution" under Diocletian and Galerius?

Part of this is to determine what you accept to be evidence, as opposed to supposition or assumption. Nothing religious at this point, just historical.

Thanks!


1. I don't know. They seem to represent Paul's fanaticism at very least.

2. I believe the story of Jesus is typical of other myths in circulation at the time (such as Apollonius of Tyanna). There may have been an actual Jesus - though no hard evidence of him exists - but many of the salient parts of the bible are definitely fiction.

3. People who needed to believe in such a story made it up.

4. It's possible they were real or based on real people. We do know people similar to Jesus in that time had followers.

5. I do accept that early christians were persecuted.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:29 AM
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Originally posted by ChickenPie
What is your morality based upon?


My morality is based on social contract derived by the aspects of my culture and punctuated by my care and concern for humanity.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 06:37 AM
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Originally posted by mhorndisk
In conclusion all they have done is taken one of the several species of ape skulls, and one of the several species of human skulls and said, oh look, they look similar, so this is proof of evolution. It's bull#. And to your claim that devolution is impossible, horses are a perfect example, once having splint bones that were useful to them, now being shriveled and useless. This is not evolution, it is devolution.


No, that is evolution. Also, your screed regarding evolution, the Big Bang and the laws of thermodynamics are laden with severe misconceptions. Without categorically addressing them I must implore you to do at least some cursory research on these subjects. At very least this will save you from the mistakes you've made in this thread and even better, perhaps it can help you reformulate a world view that would not be based on denial of things of which you have an egregious misunderstanding.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen

1) Do you believe that the Pauline Letters represent evidence of the state of the Church at the time it is believed that they were written?


1. I don't know. They seem to represent Paul's fanaticism at very least.


The question was whether it was evidence of the state of the Church, not Paul's fervor or theology. His letters indicate that he was writing to fairly sizable congregations, geographically dispersed.

Perhaps I should have been clearer in that, sorry. Do you believe that there really was a church in, say, Corinth, and that it was dealing with the issues Paul addresses in his letters, or do you believe that it was "made up" and he was writing to no one, about things that he thought were important, but weren't real issues?




2) Do you believe that the New Testament is a complete fiction, that the events (all of them) and people depicted are made up?

2. I believe the story of Jesus is typical of other myths in circulation at the time (such as Apollonius of Tyanna). There may have been an actual Jesus - though no hard evidence of him exists - but many of the salient parts of the bible are definitely fiction.


While Apollonius of Tyanna had a few things to say about God, I'm not aware of him claiming to be God. His miracles are few, if any, and little of his story is reflective of the story told in the New Testament. The claims that Jesus made are not "typical" of other myths in circulation at the time, they are, in fact, ridiculously outrageous claims, particularly in the context and culture in which he made them.

For purpose of our discussion, I am limiting discussion of fiction/non-fiction to the New Testament, but if there are "salient parts" of that which you find to be "definitely fiction", please share.

Okay, we'll leave #3 and #4 go for now, as your answers were about what one would expect, though I would point out that, given the volume of work, both canonical and not, and the number of authors, would indicate a fairly large conspiracy, and of fairly learned people.




5) Do you accept, as a fact, the persecution of the early Church, including the "Great Persecution" under Diocletian and Galerius?

5. I do accept that early christians were persecuted.


Okay. We'll have to wait on your answer to #1 up there before proceeding further, but we have, at least, established that we both agree that there was a church, with a large number of members, who were around to be persecuted by the Romans by the mid 60s AD. In addition, we can note that the Romans were generally by tolerant of other religions, even allowing the Jews to continue to worship their God and not the Emperor, and yet they really seemed to have issues with Christians.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Do you believe that there really was a church in, say, Corinth, and that it was dealing with the issues Paul addresses in his letters, or do you believe that it was "made up" and he was writing to no one, about things that he thought were important, but weren't real issues?


Sure, I have no reason to doubt that he was writing to actual churches.



For purpose of our discussion, I am limiting discussion of fiction/non-fiction to the New Testament, but if there are "salient parts" of that which you find to be "definitely fiction", please share.


Jesus' resurrection, the dead walking around town, virgin birth, the desert temptations and angels nourishing him, all of the disease-curing miracle "exorcisms" (including the casting of demons into a group of pigs which then drown themselves), Jesus resurrecting the dead, turning water into wine, the feeding of thousands with a few loaves and fishes, walking on water, calming the storm, transfiguration. Need I go on?


Okay. We'll have to wait on your answer to #1 up there before proceeding further, but we have, at least, established that we both agree that there was a church, with a large number of members, who were around to be persecuted by the Romans by the mid 60s AD. In addition, we can note that the Romans were generally by tolerant of other religions, even allowing the Jews to continue to worship their God and not the Emperor, and yet they really seemed to have issues with Christians.


I don't find that unusual in the least given the nature of the religion and the potential political dangers of a new sect spreading within the empire. Furthermore at that time there was a wide variety of sects that resemble in no way the 4th century or modern concepts of christianity. Paul was forced to instruct various churches on his "proper" interpretations of the christ myth.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 10:20 AM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
For purpose of our discussion, I am limiting discussion of fiction/non-fiction to the New Testament, but if there are "salient parts" of that which you find to be "definitely fiction", please share.


Jesus' resurrection, the dead walking around town, virgin birth, the desert temptations and angels nourishing him, all of the disease-curing miracle "exorcisms" (including the casting of demons into a group of pigs which then drown themselves), Jesus resurrecting the dead, turning water into wine, the feeding of thousands with a few loaves and fishes, walking on water, calming the storm, transfiguration. Need I go on?


No, that's cool. Everything supernatural is fictitious, in your mind. (By the way, you never did answer my question earlier as to whether your disbelief in deities also includes disbelief in all things supernatural, but I suppose this answers that question. Please correct me if I'm wrong in my assumption.)



Okay. We'll have to wait on your answer to #1 up there before proceeding further, but we have, at least, established that we both agree that there was a church, with a large number of members, who were around to be persecuted by the Romans by the mid 60s AD. In addition, we can note that the Romans were generally by tolerant of other religions, even allowing the Jews to continue to worship their God and not the Emperor, and yet they really seemed to have issues with Christians.


I don't find that unusual in the least given the nature of the religion and the potential political dangers of a new sect spreading within the empire. Furthermore at that time there was a wide variety of sects that resemble in no way the 4th century or modern concepts of christianity. Paul was forced to instruct various churches on his "proper" interpretations of the christ myth.


That's very true. There were a lot of various interpretations of what had happened at the time, and Paul (and, one would assume, others) needed to kind of steer the ship. Efforts by the Gnostics, for example, to incorporate Christ into their belief systems needed to be staved off, since the two religions are based on wildly different origins and premises.

While Paul has more than his share of controversy, he remains largely an interpreter of the words and acts of Christ, not an originator of new truths. Paul's letters remain consistent with the Gospels, so we must conclude that something, whether fiction or not, existed prior to Paul's letters, and on which he based his theology. The mere existence of the churches also testifies to something being out there. It seems rather far fetched that Paul would write letters to create theology, and then the Gospels would be written from scratch to conform to it.

Barring additional documentary evidence (the "Q" document, or proof that John's Gospel was written in the 50s,) one presumes that either Paul made the whole thing up, or Paul learned it directly from Jesus' followers, or Paul received it through divine revelation.

You discard the last, so I'll leave it as well. Logically, Paul being the source of the entire theology has a few problems that make it very unlikely to be correct. Without the possible "Q" document, the earliest Synoptic Gospel, Mark, is generally believed to have been written after the destruction of the Temple, in 70AD, three years after Paul's death. Matthew and Luke appear to be derivative of Mark, but supplementary, as one would expect if they came from corroborating evidence gathering. In addition, Paul had very little to do with the establishment and growth of the Jewish Christian churches, so they are kind of off in a vacuum that precedes Paul, and exists beyond him.

So we're left with Paul working from a source that most likely was the testimony and eyewitness of Jesus' followers (bear in mind that Paul became a Christian a couple of years after Christ's crucifixion, though his letters are dated a couple of decades later.) Contrary to your vagueness, I see no reason at all to doubt the veracity of the claims that Peter, James, John, Stephen, and all the rest were real people, who followed Christ and were with him during the events at the end of his life. There is no point to his followers being Bill, Ted and Karl, and just having them be renamed. This is validated by other Epistles, such as Peter and James, which, whether actually written by them or not (it's likely that, as fishermen, neither Peter or James was literate,) reflect their actions and words in other parts of the Testament.

If you're still following (and apologies if you've given up, lol) we are still at the point of not knowing whether this whole "Jesus is God" business is fiction or not, but it seems, logically, to have come from his "inner circle", not Paul, and not someone unnamed who made the whole thing up, then vanished without a trace. And, whatever this information happened to be, it had built a following among the Jews (and, later, Gentiles) that was sufficient to threaten the Roman Empire.

Logically, are you still with me? We're not dealing with any supernatural aspects here, just historically demonstrable things (the Epistles, Roman history) and some logical supposition to move a little further up the tree.







 
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