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Old 1st December 2019, 02:49 PM   #81
ynot
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I think dann missed the point in spectacular fashion ynot.
I often wonder if "they" miss the point or ignore it willfully for the sake of bloody-minded argument.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
There are male, female and even transgender atheists. Big ones, little ones, white ones, black and brown ones. Need I go on?
Also atheists that believe there are no gods or claim to know there are no gods. So many types of atheists, too many theists .
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Old 1st December 2019, 03:13 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
No - Ever wondered why people don't go to sleep as theists and wake up as atheists? Hint - They never lose their belief, they merely temporarily lose their consciousness of it, but they retain it subconsciously.

No, I never wondered at all about that. But then again, I'm not the one who accepts only this defintion of atheism as valid: "Doesn't believe in a god or gods."
So apart from the addition to your silly definition: "Has a human brain and doesn't believe in a god or gods," I guess that you will now also have to add: "except when they are sleeping, but not if they're in the REM phase and happen to dream about gods. However, in that case they'll revert to atheism when they wake up."

(By the way, I wouldn't have any problem at all with calling an alien who didn't believe in gods an atheist, not even a transgender alien, and I'm pretty sure that it would be easier to have a sensible conversation with it than with the two of you, but I could say the same thing about somebody who's comatose. I still have to meet an atheist alien, though.)
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Old 1st December 2019, 03:56 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, I never wondered at all about that. But then again, I'm not the one who accepts only this defintion of atheism as valid: "Doesn't believe in a god or gods."
Sorry my mistake. That should read "Atheism = No/lack of belief in a god or gods". Atheism is a concept. It's an atheist that "doesn't believe".

Originally Posted by dann View Post
So apart from the addition to your silly definition: "Has a human brain and doesn't believe in a god or gods,"
"Has a human brain" obviously only applies to humans like theists and atheists, not to concepts like theism and atheism.
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Old 1st December 2019, 06:47 PM   #84
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I think a bunch of people here are concentrating on the wrong question. Whether a baby is born atheist or not is irrelevant. What we actually want to know is whether human beings have an innate tendency to see supernatural agency. And I think the fact that there has never been a human civilisation which has not had some sort of supernatural belief system strongly suggests that they do.
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Old 1st December 2019, 08:05 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think a bunch of people here are concentrating on the wrong question. Whether a baby is born atheist or not is irrelevant. What we actually want to know is whether human beings have an innate tendency to see supernatural agency. And I think the fact that there has never been a human civilisation which has not had some sort of supernatural belief system strongly suggests that they do.
Yes. A very strong tendency to posit a transcendence of the mere empirical and give that personal content.

Even many Atheists functionally do that by identifying with their own consciousness as a persisting entity, even if mortal. I've often seen people on this board declare matter the substance or substratum of their self. (Materialism being a metaphysical or ontological assertion of what that which is behind the empirical is made of.) Or by insisting upon a metaphysical, above-animal Free Will. Self as a spirit, or something in the mode of spirit is the root of the concept of gods, even if you're an atheist but unconsciously regard your self as one.

So as I've said, self is projected upon natural objects, processes, and elements. Self is projected as a spirit that transcends the empirical form.
A Great Spirit is projected for Nature as a cosmic body. Or the objectified Transcendence becomes a content outside the physical world: a tinkerer, designer, or creator in the image of Human activity and interaction.

This is especially strong, because storytelling is older for our species than rational explanations. The temptation to posit a Protagonist is very strong and takes a good deal of awareness to counter.

Personally, I've felt the presence of God many times. I can at will put myself in such a state of consciousness. I can also at will feel the spirit of a tree.
It's in knowing what I'm doing that these experiences don't still make a theist of me. I have a felt sense of those personal feelings having such a stamp of reality that I know better than to argue with a person who cites them as their reason to believe. Until they invest in some self-scrutiny, they will believe, rationalize that belief, and force fit empirical fact to it. The story is too enchanting.

BTW fear of thunderstorms and waving a magic feather at the clouds to produce rain was never the cause of my theism. Though I confess it was comforting to turn my worries over to a heavenly parent. Since those days I've learned accept reality.
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Old 1st December 2019, 09:37 PM   #86
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_detection

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Agent detection is the inclination for animals, including humans, to presume the purposeful intervention of a sentient or intelligent agent in situations that may or may not involve one.
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Old 1st December 2019, 11:47 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think a bunch of people here are concentrating on the wrong question. Whether a baby is born atheist or not is irrelevant. What we actually want to know is whether human beings have an innate tendency to see supernatural agency. And I think the fact that there has never been a human civilisation which has not had some sort of supernatural belief system strongly suggests that they do.
Who made you the authority on what's right or relevant in this thread?

Obviously they DID in more ignorant and superstitious previous civilizations, but they DO so far less in more educated and knowledgeable current civilizations (western at least). I think god beliefs are more a tendency to adopt a current cultural belief system than they are an innate tendency we are born with. I and others I know have no such innate tendency. If a thousand modern truth/science driven atheists started an isolated civilization I don't see any reason to expect it would every become theistic.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 12:23 AM   #88
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Old 2nd December 2019, 12:28 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Nothing to do with god beliefs . . .right?
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Old 2nd December 2019, 06:44 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
If a thousand modern truth/science driven atheists started an isolated civilization I don't see any reason to expect it would every become theistic.
Certainly not as long as long as the kept the momentum of Science and Rationalism, and maintained a single culture. I'd expect outliers, individuals who made of their mystical experiences something more than scientific explanations for such. Some individuals would certainly gravitate toward notions of a reality outside Science and find their own religious terms to speak of that. And a charismatic guru could find a following of people so inclined. But if the culture maintained a solid education in rational thinking and the suspension of narrative (mythical) thinking, it would not go Theistic.

(Though if the outliers went off on their own to another continent …)
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Old 2nd December 2019, 06:58 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I think we must really qualify here what kind of god.

The omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent god of Xianity for example not only isn't a default, but it's a maximally counter-intuitive proposition that not even the xians can really work with. It gets twisted into something that isn't more than one of those at a time, or even none. E.g., god couldn't save those kids from the tsunami because he was busy fixing a football match across the globe. That's denying not just omnipresence, but even omnipotence (if he can't do two things at the same time, he isn't.) Or something happened because God wasn't paying attention. The moment you have to drop most attributes to make it work in any particular situation, it tells you that it's a concept that you can't fully wrap your head around even when you want to, much less have it as a natural a default.

At the other end of the spectrum, though, animism in various forms and to various degrees seems rather natural. And not far away from one of the child mental development stages. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the absence of other information, people would default to some form of it.
I have always hated the term Xtian.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:08 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think a bunch of people here are concentrating on the wrong question. Whether a baby is born atheist or not is irrelevant. What we actually want to know is whether human beings have an innate tendency to see supernatural agency. And I think the fact that there has never been a human civilisation which has not had some sort of supernatural belief system strongly suggests that they do.
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Who made you the authority on what's right or relevant in this thread?

Obviously they DID in more ignorant and superstitious previous civilizations, but they DO so far less in more educated and knowledgeable current civilizations (western at least). I think god beliefs are more a tendency to adopt a current cultural belief system than they are an innate tendency we are born with. I and others I know have no such innate tendency. If a thousand modern truth/science driven atheists started an isolated civilization I don't see any reason to expect it would every become theistic.

Well as the starter of this thread I suppose I have some authority about what questions are relevant.

I think that a baby starting off as an atheist is relevant and the environment the child is born into relevant also. I am sure Muslims will think the obvious default is to believe in God as described by Mohamed - the proof being that almost 100% of children in Islamic countries do so. Likewise Christians in overwhelmingly Christian countries (not that easy to find anymore) think the same in Christ God favour.

We find now however, in the newly emerging secular countries, that children are defaulting to zero belief in any kind of god, in increasing numbers. This I think is what Clive was inspired by, when he made the statement.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:12 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, not at all. If people lead fulfilling, comfortable and secure lives, i.e. when they don't have the need to invent and believe in supernatural things, they don't do so. When people's basic needs are met - and being able to feel safe and sound is a very basic need - they aren't tempted to look for imaginary comfort. When they are properly fed, the don't dream of pie in the sky.
A lot of wealthy people are superstitious.

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That's the reason why God is dying. It's not because our genes have suddenly changed.
Fulfilling, comfortable, and secure lives are not a default condition. The kind of luxury we take for granted today is a fairly recent development. Our genes haven't changed, which suggests that as a species we're no more than one catastrophe away from a superstitious default state.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:20 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Added for more correctness and relevance.

A default behavior isn't a default belief.
Your addition is incorrect.

"Religion" is not necessarily a supernatural belief. For example, communism is not a supernatural belief, but devotion to the ideology of communism can lead a society to all the same excesses as an entrenched theocracy: Dogma. Totalitarianism. Ideological persecution. All kinds of oppression and torture. Etc.

Historically, humans have often based religious practices on theistic or other supernatural beliefs. But even in modern societies that have rejected theism, we still see religious behavior.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:26 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I would add ynot that any posting here who suggest that atheism is not the default position must be suggesting that theism is the default.
I'm suggesting that neither are present at birth, but that as humans develop their default tendency is to develop some form of religion. It may be simply a vague and unexamined set of supernatural axioms. It may be a more explicit kind of superstition. It may even be a full-blown theism. If it lasts long enough, over several generations, it will likely evolve into a full-blown theism.

And I'm suggesting that even among humans who reject theism and superstition in all its forms, the default tendency is to develop some other kind of religious practice or belief system, and indulge to some degree in all the same behaviors as the religious theists.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:28 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well . . .

Heavily implies at the very least that somebody must be born with religion.
Here, let me make it explicit: Everybody is born with a default tendency towards religion (and probably theism) as they develop.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 02:46 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm suggesting that neither are present at birth, but that as humans develop their default tendency is to develop some form of religion. It may be simply a vague and unexamined set of supernatural axioms. It may be a more explicit kind of superstition. It may even be a full-blown theism. If it lasts long enough, over several generations, it will likely evolve into a full-blown theism.

And I'm suggesting that even among humans who reject theism and superstition in all its forms, the default tendency is to develop some other kind of religious practice or belief system, and indulge to some degree in all the same behaviors as the religious theists.

Your making a lot of suggestions here. Some evidence would be welcome.

Re the highlighted: What sort of "behaviors as the religious theists" are you talking about? Hatred of others who don't believe exactly the same way as they themselves don't believe perhaps?
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Old 2nd December 2019, 04:21 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Your making a lot of suggestions here. Some evidence would be welcome.

Re the highlighted: What sort of "behaviors as the religious theists" are you talking about? Hatred of others who don't believe exactly the same way as they themselves don't believe perhaps? : confused :
My evidence is the same as yours: general review of humans through history.

Hatred, persecution, suppression, criminalization... Look at communism. Not a theistic ideology. But it has inspired religious fervor on par with the worst of the Catholic Church. Complete with crusades, inquisitions, and even anti-popes. All done not in the name of any god, but done in the name of a religion all the same.

Even if you get rid of the theos, if you don't get rid of the religious impulse, you haven't gotten rid of the problem.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 04:38 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
No, I don't think that atheism is a religion.
You are the one who makes the mistake of thinking that there is only one kind of atheism, and you argue from the point of view of the most absurd one of them: an absence of belief.
I have no belief in any god or gods. You are telling me I am lying? Really?


Originally Posted by dann View Post
According to your definiton, anybody in a coma is an atheist: They have no consciousness, so they have no idea of anything at all, so they don't believe in gods.
Now that is absurd. You are claiming that someone in a coma is secretly harbouring beliefs. Please provide evidence of such. You cannot.

If that person recovers, then one could check. So long as they do not, no statement can be made either way. But you seem to think you can.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
The faith of some atheists comes very close to religion!
Atheism is a position on a single issue, the existence of a god or gods. It says **** all about any other beliefs any given atheist may hold. This is not rocket magic.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 04:41 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Here, let me make it explicit: Everybody is born with a default tendency towards religion (and probably theism) as they develop.
If true, why don't muslims spontaneously give birth to catholics?
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Old 2nd December 2019, 04:59 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My evidence is the same as yours: general review of humans through history.

Hatred, persecution, suppression, criminalization... Look at communism. Not a theistic ideology. But it has inspired religious fervor on par with the worst of the Catholic Church. Complete with crusades, inquisitions, and even anti-popes. All done not in the name of any god, but done in the name of a religion all the same.

Even if you get rid of the theos, if you don't get rid of the religious impulse, you haven't gotten rid of the problem.

Now we are classing communism as a religion - careful you will get Karl Marx haunting you.

I embrace the religion of democracy then if you are going to play fast and loose with the definition of religion.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 06:18 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Now we are classing communism as a religion - careful you will get Karl Marx haunting you.

I embrace the religion of democracy then if you are going to play fast and loose with the definition of religion.
I wouldn't call communism a religion per se, there are however folks who are effectively religious commies. Maoist seem particularly prone to that kind of thinking, there are at least two historical cults based on Maoism. The Birchers and Objectivists are the only similar movements based on political philosophies I'm aware of. Really, its that humans can make a religion out of just about anything, which is pretty much all the prestige was saying.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 05:17 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
I wouldn't call communism a religion per se, there are however folks who are effectively religious commies. Maoist seem particularly prone to that kind of thinking, there are at least two historical cults based on Maoism. The Birchers and Objectivists are the only similar movements based on political philosophies I'm aware of. Really, its that humans can make a religion out of just about anything, which is pretty much all the prestige was saying.
Which lends weight to the argument that the tendency towards religious thinking is innate in humans.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 10:02 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If atheism is such an obvious default, why is human history full of societies that settled on some form of theism? Do we even have historical examples of societies defaulting to atheism?
Probably because they didn't know as much about the world as we do. The more you understand of, well, science and the natural history of the universe as revealed by science, the less compelling ancient myths become as a competing worldview.

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Too, there's the problem of ideologically atheist societies still committing the worst sins of religion. Avoiding the theos doesn't avoid the problem. So atheism probably isn't the solution
Humans are still humans after all. I don't consider my atheism to be of the "ideological" sort, but rather of the empirical sort.

As to the question posed by the OP, whether or not atheism is the "default" isn't really a big concern of mine. To me, the default is agnosticism. But from the starting point of agnosticism, given the complete lack of any compelling evidence for the existence of deities (outside of myth), it's not far to atheism.
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Old 3rd December 2019, 10:46 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
As to the question posed by the OP, whether or not atheism is the "default" isn't really a big concern of mine. To me, the default is agnosticism. But from the starting point of agnosticism, given the complete lack of any compelling evidence for the existence of deities (outside of myth), it's not far to atheism.
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Old 4th December 2019, 12:33 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If atheism is such an obvious default, why is human history full of societies that settled on some form of theism?
Because in the prescientific era "some form of theism" was the only way to explain the otherwise inexplicable - i.e. the god(s) did it.

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Do we even have historical examples of societies defaulting to atheism?
In a sense we do. There are many Post-Christian societies where there is the loss of the dominance of the Christian worldview in public affairs. And disused churches being used for other purposes such as restaurants.

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Too, there's the problem of ideologically atheist societies still committing the worst sins of religion.
No, they are committing the "sins" of humanity. Religion or no religion makes no difference - which is an indictment of religion.

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Avoiding the theos doesn't avoid the problem. So atheism probably isn't the solution
"Isn't the solution" to what - false beliefs? Of course it is.
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Old 4th December 2019, 08:11 AM   #107
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Obligatory American cultural reference nobody has yet posted:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...7&&FORM=VRDGAR

(OK, gratuitous.)
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Old 4th December 2019, 09:31 AM   #108
Darat
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Originally Posted by rockysmith76 View Post
I have always hated the term Xtian.
It's a strange one, it goes back at least 400 years and was in common use for centuries by Christians so it's only recently that Christians seem to find it disparaging. It is by the way the same formation as Xmas.
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Old 4th December 2019, 09:32 AM   #109
theprestige
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
If true, why don't muslims spontaneously give birth to catholics?
Already addressed.
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Old 4th December 2019, 09:35 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Now we are classing communism as a religion - careful you will get Karl Marx haunting you.
Not just "now". I've been classing it as such for longer than I've been a member here.

But note: I've been classing it as a religion, but not as a theism.

Quote:
I embrace the religion of democracy then if you are going to play fast and loose with the definition of religion.
Treating any ideology with religious fervor is a problem. I hope will embrace democracy as an ethical system of government, but that you do not treat it as a religion.
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Old 4th December 2019, 09:37 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It's a strange one, it goes back at least 400 years and was in common use for centuries by Christians so it's only recently that Christians seem to find it disparaging. It is by the way the same formation as Xmas.
Evidence?
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Old 4th December 2019, 10:00 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Evidence?
Evidence of what? The 400 year claim? It does seem my recollection was slightly out, the OED reference is 1634 so just under 400 years.

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Xtianity#English
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:06 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Evidence of what? The 400 year claim? It does seem my recollection was slightly out, the OED reference is 1634 so just under 400 years.

https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Xtianity#English

Thanks!
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Old 4th December 2019, 12:04 PM   #114
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The basis of the practice goes back even farther when such abbreviations as Χος appeared in the Greek manuscripts of NT books, very long ago. Often there would be a textual apparatus such as a superscript bar to indicate that it was intended as an abbreviation, and a similar abbreviation for the given name Jesus was used that employed the uppercase iota. The letters following iota or chi were needed in some cases to provide grammatical coherence. But the notion that I stands for Jesus and X stands for Christ, and that these particles may be suffixed to indicate any word containing their principal, is an extremely old practice.

It really only becomes important when people take offense under the wrong reasons. If the claim is that these abbreviations were invented by non-Christians with the intent to deprive words of their original etymology, there's simply no historic basis for that claim. But of course that doesn't stop someone from naively using the abbreviation today with exactly that intent.
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Old 4th December 2019, 12:13 PM   #115
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Here's my reason for not believing in god summed up in 2 words "childrens hospital" what did children do to deserve cancer, tumours, leukimeia etc ?? Where is your god when children are dying from these horrible things?? Meanwhile we have scumbag criminals walking the earth , murderers, paedos, robbers, drug addicts that have never paid a penny into society, Open your eyes sheeple, The Vatican alone could cure world hunger tomorrow without denting it's bank account, But they always need more, More for them and less for you (they have been doing this for centuries by the way) all tax free, Plus they ferried the Nazis out of Europe (see ratlines) **** ALL RELIGIONS.
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Old 4th December 2019, 02:25 PM   #116
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I can see and understand your passion Guido and you will find many here have a similar view. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 4th December 2019, 02:30 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Not just "now". I've been classing it as such for longer than I've been a member here.

But note: I've been classing it as a religion, but not as a theism.


Treating any ideology with religious fervor is a problem. I hope will embrace democracy as an ethical system of government, but that you do not treat it as a religion.

Yes I know, just about everything is a religion by your definition.

What is your definition thereof incidentally?
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Old 4th December 2019, 03:47 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Guido Fawkes View Post
Here's my reason for not believing in god summed up in 2 words "childrens hospital" what did children do to deserve cancer, tumours, leukimeia etc ?? Where is your god when children are dying from these horrible things?? Meanwhile we have scumbag criminals walking the earth , murderers, paedos, robbers, drug addicts that have never paid a penny into society, Open your eyes sheeple, The Vatican alone could cure world hunger tomorrow without denting it's bank account, But they always need more, More for them and less for you (they have been doing this for centuries by the way) all tax free, Plus they ferried the Nazis out of Europe (see ratlines) **** ALL RELIGIONS.
Keep in mind, that's only an argument against a just god, it doesn't rule out an unjust god.
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Old 4th December 2019, 03:57 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Keep in mind, that's only an argument against a just god, it doesn't rule out an unjust god.
It is for this reason that the idea of a "divine plan" exists. All those terrible things happen for a reason. God wants you to suffer so that... something something something mysterious ways.
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Old 4th December 2019, 11:53 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Not just "now". I've been classing it as such for longer than I've been a member here.

But note: I've been classing it as a religion, but not as a theism.


Treating any ideology with religious fervor is a problem. I hope will embrace democracy as an ethical system of government, but that you do not treat it as a religion.
"Religion" is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as: "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. "ideas about the relationship between science and religion".

So, your use of "religion" might be correct at a colloquial level but no more than that. It is a "theism".
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