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Ask An Atheist Anything

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posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 11:05 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen

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.)


It's not accurate to claim that "everything supernatural is fictitious in my mind". This depends on what exactly the definition of supernatural is. If we're talking about things or events which violate the laws of physics, i.e. "miracles", then yes I view that as either fictitious or a serious misinterpretation of the thing or event.



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.


Supernatural aspects excluded, Paul and the four gospel writers offer nothing in the way of actual evidence of the existence of god(s) or the son thereof. All that is readily apparent is the need to believe. The "new testament" as it is called rests on the revelations of mostly five people. Facts cannot be derived or ascertained by revelation, no matter how closely each account resembles the other. In fact, I could find over a hundred people that will reveal to us all that Elvis was spotted in a gas station last week. The king lives, because there is a strong need to believe. Revelation establishes no truth as to the existence of either Jesus or the living Elvis.

What do we have in the way of evidence presented in this thread so far? That there were some early christian churches. Okay. There were temples to Athena and Apollo during the same era, yet this does not establish objective evidence that either existed. And the further we go from reality with the "miracles" of Jesus and plain inaccuracies about the physical world (i.e., demons cause disease), the less likely it becomes that there is any truth to the stories at all.




posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:22 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
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.


Supernatural aspects excluded, Paul and the four gospel writers offer nothing in the way of actual evidence of the existence of god(s) or the son thereof. All that is readily apparent is the need to believe. The "new testament" as it is called rests on the revelations of mostly five people.


Saying that these are "revelations" is incorrect, in the context of what it presents itself to be. The NT is testimony, written by those who either were eyewitnesses (Paul and John) or who investigated what happened (Luke,) with Mark and Matthew being one or the other, there's no way to tell for sure. The revelation came from Christ, the depiction in the Gospels and Epistles is the testimony of others as to the events.

I presume that you accept that testimony is evidence, and that the objection is that you simply don't believe it. That's fine, you believe them to be liars.

However, before we close the door and say it's all made up (by the way, in my "mostly accurate", "mostly inaccurate" and "totally inaccurate" options, I do not believe that any case can be made for the middle one,) I point out again that the Church itself stands as another piece of evidence.

Your "Elvis Lives" example is fallacious and embarrassing. That early Church that you dismiss didn't consist of a handful of hangers on and delusional pop fans. To believe in Christ, particularly if you were a Jew, was to commit yourself to death. The claims of Christ, contrary to the human claims of Apollo's followers, were outrageous and blasphemous to the people it was being preached to.

Just the act of listening to someone say that Christ was God was a sin to a Jew. And yet the church thrived, in a time when the eyewitnesses to Christ's miracles, and there were obviously quite a large number of them, were still alive to testify to what they saw. Your "need to believe"? They already believed something! But you say that these people were so shallow that they cast aside a lifetime of belief, for a blasphemy, with the knowledge that they could well die for it, on a whim?

You paint the founders of the faith as liars, which begs the question of why they would want to lie? What did they gain from it? There was nothing but death for the lot of them, Stephen to Paul, and their blasphemy meant that even God would be no consolation.

I'm not saying that any of this is "proof" of anything, but it is certainly evidence. One logically struggles to make the case of the existence of the early church developing as it did, when it did, and under the circumstances that it did, without something more significant than a blasphemous story someone made up for reasons that no one can fathom.

Whether evidence of deities exists to your satisfaction today or not, the only two options that I can come up with for what happened 2,000 years ago is that:

1) It happened pretty much as the testimony says, by known persons who followed Christ to their deaths
2) It didn't happen at all, but was invented by conspiracists, whose identity, motivations and rewards remain unknown to this day

Ironically, of those two options, the second is the one that lacks evidence. Why? Because the only support for it is your belief that, because it couldn't have happened, it obviously didn't.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:23 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Is clear that it's not 100% accurate, that is the easiest and most obvious thing to understand about with any religion that preaches supernatural words to explain what they can't understand. We have science, it doesn't know the answer, but it asks for it, and when data and observation are there, we find more answers as we go along - it is certainly a natural poetry of the universe, spotting patterns, laws, motions etc.

[edit on 29/7/10 by awake_and_aware]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by awake_and_aware
reply to post by adjensen
 


Is clear that it's not 100% accurate, that is the easiest and most obvious thing to understand about with any religion that preaches supernatural words to explain what they can't understand. We have science, it doesn't know the answer, but it asks for it, and when data and observation are there, we find more answers as we go along - it is certainly a natural poetry of the universe, spotting patterns, laws, motions etc.

[edit on 29/7/10 by awake_and_aware]


As I'm not a fundamentalist, I agree with that. The critical point of disconnection, though, is that saying (or agreeing) that the Universe wasn't made in six days doesn't make a case for anything other than saying that the Universe wasn't made in six days. Too many people point to errors or misinterpretations in the Old Testament and proudly proclaim it as proof that "the whole thing was made up."

My belief is simple. I believe that there is a creator, that he loves me and he wants me to love other people, and that he came here as Christ to fulfill the law and to be an example to follow. Period. Everything else is dogma and doctrine that muddies that up. I don't believe that the Universe was created in six days, but it doesn't make any difference if it was or wasn't, because it has no impact on that simple faith statement.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:45 PM
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reply to post by ChickenPie
 


1. I don't want people screwing with me, and I am willing to give others the same respect in exchange.

2. Its good because it makes me feel good; I am the one who decides.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 12:58 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Saying that these are "revelations" is incorrect, in the context of what it presents itself to be. The NT is testimony, written by those who either were eyewitnesses (Paul and John) or who investigated what happened (Luke,) with Mark and Matthew being one or the other, there's no way to tell for sure. The revelation came from Christ, the depiction in the Gospels and Epistles is the testimony of others as to the events.


Again, just because a few people said so doesn't make it so. Testimony, including eyewitness testimony, relies simply on a person's claims. It has no value unless it can be corroborated with objective evidence.


I presume that you accept that testimony is evidence, and that the objection is that you simply don't believe it. That's fine, you believe them to be liars.


I do not believe any of their testimony has any particular value as evidence of anything beyond their opinions.


However, before we close the door and say it's all made up (by the way, in my "mostly accurate", "mostly inaccurate" and "totally inaccurate" options, I do not believe that any case can be made for the middle one,) I point out again that the Church itself stands as another piece of evidence.


Frankly, I believe "mostly inaccurate" to be the best choice of the three. Still though, the existence of churches also has no value. Sure, it establishes that people believe in the christ story and choose to exercise that belief. It still offers no proofs of the fantastical, impossible and inaccurate claims in the christ story.


Your "Elvis Lives" example is fallacious and embarrassing. That early Church that you dismiss didn't consist of a handful of hangers on and delusional pop fans. To believe in Christ, particularly if you were a Jew, was to commit yourself to death. The claims of Christ, contrary to the human claims of Apollo's followers, were outrageous and blasphemous to the people it was being preached to.


The Elvis story is an excellent parallel. It displays that the same kinds of people exist today that did in the first century - those who need to believe will invent fantastic, unprovable claims in order to sustain those beliefs.

Point two: the claims of the bible are outrageous and "blasphemous" to the mind of any rational person who realizes that those things I listed as fictional are physically impossible and profoundly incorrect. Still, people accept them because they need to believe. Modern day people still believe impossible stories and it's evidence of nothing that first century people believed them also.


Just the act of listening to someone say that Christ was God was a sin to a Jew. And yet the church thrived, in a time when the eyewitnesses to Christ's miracles, and there were obviously quite a large number of them, were still alive to testify to what they saw. Your "need to believe"? They already believed something! But you say that these people were so shallow that they cast aside a lifetime of belief, for a blasphemy, with the knowledge that they could well die for it, on a whim?


Sure. They also believed a messiah was coming and the christ story could fulfill the so-called "prophecies" in the offensively titled "old testament". It would take already believing in one set of impossible stories to readily accept the next impossible messiah story.


You paint the founders of the faith as liars, which begs the question of why they would want to lie? What did they gain from it? There was nothing but death for the lot of them, Stephen to Paul, and their blasphemy meant that even God would be no consolation.


Why speculate on the motives of fanatics? The four gospel writers simply recall the story. Paul was the one with something to lose and he does describe what could only be described as hallucinations and delusions prior to his transcendental experience. Such people also exist today and often times care little for their freedom or even in some cases, their own life.


I'm not saying that any of this is "proof" of anything, but it is certainly evidence. One logically struggles to make the case of the existence of the early church developing as it did, when it did, and under the circumstances that it did, without something more significant than a blasphemous story someone made up for reasons that no one can fathom.


It is evidence that someone was finally willing to write the ending to the old jewish tales and produce the messiah. This is not particularly hard to fathom at all.


Whether evidence of deities exists to your satisfaction today or not, the only two options that I can come up with for what happened 2,000 years ago is that:

1) It happened pretty much as the testimony says, by known persons who followed Christ to their deaths
2) It didn't happen at all, but was invented by conspiracists, whose identity, motivations and rewards remain unknown to this day

Ironically, of those two options, the second is the one that lacks evidence. Why? Because the only support for it is your belief that, because it couldn't have happened, it obviously didn't.


Well, there is evidence that people do not return from death, that people cannot resurrect and reanimate dead people, walk on water, turn water into wine, cure disease by exorcism, curse away a storm, etc. etc. etc. In presenting your two options you seemingly disregard gulfs of present day, commonly accepted and testable knowledge in favor of considering the claims to be nearly completely accurate simply because some people wrote it down, and just making up a tale like that would be just crazy because you can't personally determine the motivation for it. If four people make the same claims which involve the repeated violation of physical laws and incorrect assumptions about the causes of disease it will take MUCH more than similar testimony to present a convincing case as to the accuracy of their stories.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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Well, you and I obviously come to different conclusions of what evidence might be, but again, thank you for the civil conversation. I do need to respond to these two points, though.


Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen

Just the act of listening to someone say that Christ was God was a sin to a Jew. And yet the church thrived, in a time when the eyewitnesses to Christ's miracles, and there were obviously quite a large number of them, were still alive to testify to what they saw. Your "need to believe"? They already believed something! But you say that these people were so shallow that they cast aside a lifetime of belief, for a blasphemy, with the knowledge that they could well die for it, on a whim?


Sure. They also believed a messiah was coming and the christ story could fulfill the so-called "prophecies" in the offensively titled "old testament". It would take already believing in one set of impossible stories to readily accept the next impossible messiah story.


Unfortunately, what happened to Jesus was NOT what any Jew expected the Christ would do. The Christ would kick out the Romans and restore the kingdom of David. They wanted and expected a political messiah, they got a spiritual one instead. Jesus' rebuke of Peter shows the difference between expectation and reality.

You also seem to diminish the significance of a faithful community not merely turning away from their beliefs, but embracing the exact opposite, but as you lack faith of any kind, that's understandable.



Whether evidence of deities exists to your satisfaction today or not, the only two options that I can come up with for what happened 2,000 years ago is that:

1) It happened pretty much as the testimony says, by known persons who followed Christ to their deaths
2) It didn't happen at all, but was invented by conspiracists, whose identity, motivations and rewards remain unknown to this day

Ironically, of those two options, the second is the one that lacks evidence. Why? Because the only support for it is your belief that, because it couldn't have happened, it obviously didn't.


Well, there is evidence that people do not return from death, that people cannot resurrect and reanimate dead people, walk on water, turn water into wine, cure disease by exorcism, curse away a storm, etc. etc. etc.


You see, I presume, the reason that such evidence does not pertain to those two options. You are correct, people do not return from death, people do not turn water into wine, and so forth. But there is still no evidence for option #2, aside from your lack of belief.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
1. I don't know. They seem to represent Paul's fanaticism at very least.


Scholars who are believers and unbelievers believe that Paul wrote between 6-8 of his letters.
Paul was a fanatic because he had an encounter with Jesus.


Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
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.


There is no historical data for "myths in circulation at that time".

100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:
Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
Jesus’ disciples believed He appeared to them.
Jesus’ brother, James, went from being a pre-crucifixion skeptic to post-crucificion church leader.
The Apostle Paul believed Jesus appeared to him.

75% of the same scholars agree that the tomb was empty.


Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
3. People who needed to believe in such a story made it up.


There were no people at that time who needed to believe in such a story.


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


Do you have any info I could get on that?



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Unfortunately, what happened to Jesus was NOT what any Jew expected the Christ would do. The Christ would kick out the Romans and restore the kingdom of David. They wanted and expected a political messiah, they got a spiritual one instead. Jesus' rebuke of Peter shows the difference between expectation and reality.

You also seem to diminish the significance of a faithful community not merely turning away from their beliefs, but embracing the exact opposite, but as you lack faith of any kind, that's understandable.


Just as today, some people view christ as the messiah, some people don't. What matters is that we've established motive for the christ story: the fulfillment of the alleged messiah of the jewish religious texts.


You see, I presume, the reason that such evidence does not pertain to those two options. You are correct, people do not return from death, people do not turn water into wine, and so forth. But there is still no evidence for option #2, aside from your lack of belief.


Not establishing proof of your second option doesn't render the first option true by default. Although it could be said that there is evidence favoring option two simply because penning the "new testament" provides the jewish messiah.

Still, neither option - particularly number one addresses the physical impossibilities you've just admitted to above. By your own admission you've nullified the claim that it "happened pretty much as the testimony says".

I'd say we need a new set of options. Let's explore some I propose. 1. It happened and it's supported by objective evidence. 2. It did not happen because there is no supporting objective evidence and it refers to impossibilities and incorrect assumptions about the physical world.

I'd go for number one, personally, though I'm sure you knew this.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by texastig
There is no historical data for "myths in circulation at that time".

100% of historical scholars from 1975 – present agree with the following statements:
Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.


These are patently false claims. We know of many myths from that era and there is much dispute over the literal existence of Jesus.


There were no people at that time who needed to believe in such a story.


Yes there were.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 01:53 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
Unfortunately, what happened to Jesus was NOT what any Jew expected the Christ would do. The Christ would kick out the Romans and restore the kingdom of David. They wanted and expected a political messiah, they got a spiritual one instead. Jesus' rebuke of Peter shows the difference between expectation and reality.

You also seem to diminish the significance of a faithful community not merely turning away from their beliefs, but embracing the exact opposite, but as you lack faith of any kind, that's understandable.


Just as today, some people view christ as the messiah, some people don't. What matters is that we've established motive for the christ story: the fulfillment of the alleged messiah of the jewish religious texts.


Only, perhaps, if those who are making it up, lying about God, somehow benefit from doing so. We've seen that all they managed out of it was death, a horrible death in most cases. Stephen was an eyewitness to Christ's miracles, and he was stoned to death, while continuing to profess his faith. Doesn't sound like much motivation to me, particularly when just shutting your mouth would have saved you.

Again, logic. You make leaps in it without thinking through whether your supposition makes sense. If one was making up a story, in total, why would you make it contrary to belief? Why would you make it heretical in the worst way? Why would you depict yourself in such a poor light (if you believe that the 12 Apostles are the culprits)?



You see, I presume, the reason that such evidence does not pertain to those two options. You are correct, people do not return from death, people do not turn water into wine, and so forth. But there is still no evidence for option #2, aside from your lack of belief.


Still, neither option - particularly number one addresses the physical impossibilities you've just admitted to above. By your own admission you've nullified the claim that it "happened pretty much as the testimony says".


Sorry, I thought that you saw the mistake in your statement. Let me highlight it for you.

You are correct, people do not return from death, people do not turn water into wine, and so forth.

Christ was not a person, so pointing out that human beings do not do something has no bearing on whether God can. There remains no evidence for option #2, but historical and documentary evidence for #1. The fact that you don't agree with it or believe it has no value to anyone but you.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 02:02 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

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.


Why should you care about humanity?

Why should you concede to the moral standards of your culture?



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
These are patently false claims. We know of many myths from that era and there is much dispute over the literal existence of Jesus.


Do you have any historical data on many myths that that is peer reviewed?
How can you have a dispute over the literal existence of Jesus when
all scholars believe that He existed and died on a cross?


Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
Yes there were.


What historical data do you have that people needed to have a story like that?
The New Testament speaks that the Jews were looking for a conquering king to get them out of Roman suppression. But Jesus didn't come for that. He came to be slaughtered like a lamb. The Jews weren't looking for that.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by C09JayLT
reply to post by ChickenPie
 


1. I don't want people screwing with me, and I am willing to give others the same respect in exchange.


Why do you want people not "screwing" with you? Why do you presume that others would want the same?


2. Its good because it makes me feel good


Yes, but what is "good" exactly? You could very well be saying so-and-so is bad because it makes me feel bad; therefore, I do it. In other words, why do you side with what is "good" and not what is "bad?" And why is feeling good a "good" thing?


I am the one who decides.


So, somebody could have a moral standard completely opposite of yours, and you'd have to acknowledge it as an equal? After all, you say it's up to the individual to decide.





[edit on 29-7-2010 by ChickenPie]



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 02:24 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
If one was making up a story, in total, why would you make it contrary to belief?


The messiah story is NOT contrary to what you'd already believe.


Christ was not a person, so pointing out that human beings do not do something has no bearing on whether God can. There remains no evidence for option #2, but historical and documentary evidence for #1.


No, there actually is extremely little historical evidence for anything in the "new testament", particularly the most fantastic claims of which you give the god character license. This also fails to address why and how such a powerful god treated disease by exorcism of demons when clearly there are no demons involved with any of the problems of those afflicted in the bible stories. This glaring flaw alone indicates that we're dealing with a story sourced to men who had only the first century understanding of the universe, and not the understanding of a god who allegedly reveals truths about the universe.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:36 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer

Originally posted by adjensen
If one was making up a story, in total, why would you make it contrary to belief?


The messiah story is NOT contrary to what you'd already believe.


Yes, it is vastly contradictory to the Jewish belief and expectation at that time. Last time I looked, it's still contradictory.


Most significantly, Jewish tradition affirms at least five things about the Messiah. He will: be a descendant of King David, gain sovereignty over the land of Israel, gather the Jews there from the four corners of the earth, restore them to full observance of Torah law, and, as a grand finale, bring peace to the whole world.


(sourced from www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...)

Yep, that seems mighty contrary to the Messiah ingloriously dying on a Roman cross.


This also fails to address why and how such a powerful god treated disease by exorcism of demons when clearly there are no demons involved with any of the problems of those afflicted in the bible stories. This glaring flaw alone indicates that we're dealing with a story sourced to men who had only the first century understanding of the universe, and not the understanding of a god who allegedly reveals truths about the universe.


Let's see. 2,000 years ago, someone sees Jesus "driving an illness" out of someone. Not having a clue what the nature of illness was, they testify that he "drove out a demon". Damning evidence of the inaccuracy of the whole New Testament. Or, are you complaining that Jesus healed people without sitting down and explaining what a bacterial infection or virus was?

You claim that it is not up to you to prove God doesn't exist. I agree. You say that it's on me to prove that God does exist. I'm not so sure about that, but okay. Doesn't the same logic apply to your conspirators? That I need not prove that they don't exist, and you need to show that they do?

You mentioned earlier in the thread that if you had incontrovertible evidence that God existed, if he were to, say appear before you and a couple of other people and make some sort of show for you, that's what it would take to change your mind.

Doesn't it occur to you that you're demanding exactly what the Bible says happened to these people? Paul encountered God, with two other people, on the road to Damascus. Shared hallucination? If you had such an experience, would you tuck it away, say "oh, okay, I guess he does exist" and go on with life? Or would you run around telling people?

The people of that time converted, in large numbers, to a religion that not only seemed to fail to meet their expectations, but threatened their lives. Given the choice that they were somehow snookered into it, for reasons that you can't come up with (didn't "need to believe in something," they already believed in Judaism, didn't "need to find the Messiah", the Messiah they were being offered had failed by their standards, etc) or that there was enough proof of supernatural events and/or eyewitnesses to proof, I'll take the latter.

I'll further the conversation:

TD: But I don't believe in God or miracles

Me: Which is why you'll never see any evidence to the contrary. Not because it doesn't exist -- people see God every single day, in the scripture, in the world, and in other people -- but because you blot it out, whether with sensible thinking or, as above, illogical arguments.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 03:57 PM
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reply to post by ChickenPie
 


1. Why don't I want anyone to keep me from doing whatever I want, provided that I don't keep someone from doing what they want? ..... um, because I want do as I please.... I don't know about you, but I like being free to choose my own actions...

2. It is good because it makes me feel good and happy... and I don't care what makes others happy so long as they follow rule 1. I accept anyones actions so long as they don't force it upon another.

Really, you are trying to make this more complex than it needs to be. Are you trying to prove that one can't be moral without god or something? Good luck with that if so, it isn't true.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by C09JayLT
 


I see his point. If do what thou wilt is the law of the land, eventually someone will infringe on your rights. Somebody out there may just want to get rid of you because they don't like what you are doing, or what you look like. You could say morals keeps people in line which has been a product of prosperous civilizations in the past and groups of people working together, however some people don't like to operate in groups. There has to be some underlying "golden" principle in that which defines us all. If not then survival of the fittest has never rang truer, in that sense.



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by ChickenPie
Why should you care about humanity?


Why shouldn't I? Atheism is not nihilism


Why should you concede to the moral standards of your culture?


Why would I not want to?



posted on Jul, 29 2010 @ 05:40 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Yes, it is vastly contradictory to the Jewish belief and expectation at that time. Last time I looked, it's still contradictory.


Most significantly, Jewish tradition affirms at least five things about the Messiah. He will: be a descendant of King David, gain sovereignty over the land of Israel, gather the Jews there from the four corners of the earth, restore them to full observance of Torah law, and, as a grand finale, bring peace to the whole world.


(sourced from www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...)

Yep, that seems mighty contrary to the Messiah ingloriously dying on a Roman cross.


And that's why the jews remain jewish and the christians found enough of the "prophecies" fulfilled to consider him the messiah.


Let's see. 2,000 years ago, someone sees Jesus "driving an illness" out of someone. Not having a clue what the nature of illness was, they testify that he "drove out a demon". Damning evidence of the inaccuracy of the whole New Testament. Or, are you complaining that Jesus healed people without sitting down and explaining what a bacterial infection or virus was?


You said the story relates things "how they happened". If we know demons do not cause disease and someone's interpretation is incorrect, then it's not accurate nor is it how it happened. Let's say we attribute other things in the bible to someone's poor, incorrect interpretations, such as resurrecting the dead, turning water into wine, etc., what we have here is a highly inaccurate account across the board by a series of either patently ignorant or unbelievably credulous people.

And yes, the fact that god was allegedly here and did not tell the people, let's say, something to the effect that 'you may not understand this now but wash your hands before eating', is criminally ignorant. This would have prevented the spread of disease and saved many more people than the ones he allegedly healed himself.


You claim that it is not up to you to prove God doesn't exist. I agree. You say that it's on me to prove that God does exist. I'm not so sure about that, but okay. Doesn't the same logic apply to your conspirators? That I need not prove that they don't exist, and you need to show that they do?


The logic one must apply is that the numerous stories related in the bible consistently violate the laws of physics and relate inaccurate descriptions of the world. Just because you believe a conspiracy would otherwise have to be involved in the creation of christianity does not mean I am required to prove you wrong.


You mentioned earlier in the thread that if you had incontrovertible evidence that God existed, if he were to, say appear before you and a couple of other people and make some sort of show for you, that's what it would take to change your mind.


No, I did not. I said I would have to question any experience that was solely subjective.


Doesn't it occur to you that you're demanding exactly what the Bible says happened to these people? Paul encountered God, with two other people, on the road to Damascus. Shared hallucination? If you had such an experience, would you tuck it away, say "oh, okay, I guess he does exist" and go on with life? Or would you run around telling people?


People still hallucinate things -even mass delusions - and run around telling people. It doesn't make it factual. Also, second-hand revelation is still subjective and carries no value.


The people of that time converted, in large numbers, to a religion that not only seemed to fail to meet their expectations, but threatened their lives. Given the choice that they were somehow snookered into it, for reasons that you can't come up with (didn't "need to believe in something," they already believed in Judaism, didn't "need to find the Messiah", the Messiah they were being offered had failed by their standards, etc) or that there was enough proof of supernatural events and/or eyewitnesses to proof, I'll take the latter.


People still convert to other religions even when faced with death. This establishes no proof as to whether the religion is accurate or that its godhead is real.


I'll further the conversation:

TD: But I don't believe in God or miracles

Me: Which is why you'll never see any evidence to the contrary. Not because it doesn't exist -- people see God every single day, in the scripture, in the world, and in other people -- but because you blot it out, whether with sensible thinking or, as above, illogical arguments.


There is nothing illogical about my arguments. You seem satisfied with the stories in the bible and whatever subjective experience you had. I find nothing but problems with the credibility of the bible's authors and see no objective evidence that corroborates any of it. The fact that I retain different standards of evidence from you is not illogical nor does it mean I will never see evidence to the contrary.



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