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Old 6th January 2018, 08:50 AM   #241
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Oh well, now I have to define the term HE used in HIS claim ("You know, I get tired of the whole "you can't examine love with science!" argument. And I think many miss the obvious response to it. It can absolutely be tested with science.")

And I guess energy is a "group" of "behaviors" or something which is simply another terrible analogy like the speed of light analogy that I demolished by showing that speed is measured using OBJECTIVELY verifiable standards.

have a super weekend, tho.
Heh. I did define it, and you told me that wasn't a good definition.

Let me try explaining this a different way.

If something can't be meaningfully defined, then it doesn't reflect reality. Period. If you insist that love must be a single, united thing, then you aren't reflecting reality. Your arguments so far show that you agree with this view: a child's love is different from a girlfriend's love is different from a parent's love is different from love for a friend, etc.

When I say "love can absolutely be tested", I'm not saying love is a single, united thing. This is you confusing the map for the territory.

The word "love" is used to describe a collective grouping of behaviors that include a multitude of things: affection, dedication, loyalty, trust, dependency, habit, and probably a lot more (varying depending on the kind of love one is discussing).

If you insist that I must test this single thing, love, and that the definition must cover everything in the grouping, then this is you confusing the map for the territory. In that sense, I'd respond that what your looking for doesn't exist in reality in any meaningful sense. Although the common thread I'd put in love is affection, and that can be tested for by various means (behavioral observation, case studies, likely by fMRI at some point in the future if they haven't gotten it there already).

IN any case, for all the multitude of things we group under the term "love"; the actual reality behind the label; we can design tests to look for them, or to study them. For any part of "love" that has a meaningful definition or a meaningful impact on reality, we can examine it. Such examinations are already being done in medicine and psychology.

Heck, we can chemically create love now (Ecstasy, anyone?). Now, you can make a "No true Scotsman" argument there, but that goes back to definitions.

I've given you one definition for love, and a test for it. And frankly, I wasn't the one who brought love into this conversation; my initial post that you keep pointing to was a response to those who said that love and belief were outside science. They aren't; they are amenable to testing just like anything else.

And no, energy isn't a group of behaviors, it's a number of different things that share one trait: the ability to do work. In the same manner that love is a group of behaviors that share one trait: affection. We can't measure potential energy like we do kinetic energy. We can't measure heat energy like sound energy. We can't measure electrical energy like nuclear energy. There is no single definition of energy that is both explicit and all-inclusive; that would cover all the attributes of every energy type. Yet we can still study each type of energy, and relate them by their common thread.

Likewise, we can study love, in each of it's types, and relate it by the common thread (affection). Just because a particular test doesn't cover everything that could ever possibly be included under the label love, doesn't make it an invalid test, or not scientific. It's just looking at one particular aspect.

AS to "not defining the term", I've told you, repeatedly, how I'm using it. Love is the word we used to describe a group of related but different behaviors. There's nothing to prevent us from testing those. You keep rejecting this definition, or any definition I propose, which is why I ask you to define yours.

I've told you what I meant, repeatedly. You refuse to tell anyone what you mean in any clear sense, and your primary objection seems to be that because you use the word in a way that doesn't reflect reality, it's something that can't be tested. Again, map and territory. If it doesn't reflect reality, it doesn't exist in any meaningful sense. TO the extent that it does exist (as that group of related behaviors), it can be tested.

If you were more interested in discussion than being right and winning points, this would've been been over long ago.

I've given multiple examples of how you can design tests to look at aspects of love. You've simply rejected them out of hand, or fallen back on ":but that's not how I define it, or someone else defines it!" For any definition: mine, yours, or Joe Smith's, there are two options: It isn't a meaningful definition (doesn't reflect any reality), or it can be tested.

One counter-example is all I ask: A meaningful definition of love that can't be tested. Because every definition I can come up with can be tested. And I've asked repeatedly for one that can't, and just get obfuscation, insults, fallacies, and a lot of assertions without any reasoning or evidence behind them.
'
ETA: Eh, it was a slow morning. Just don't expect too much 'til Monday

Last edited by Hellbound; 6th January 2018 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 6th January 2018, 09:32 AM   #242
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Heh. I did define it, and you told me that wasn't a good definition.

Let me try explaining this a different way... <snip>

...ETA: Eh, it was a slow morning. Just don't expect too much 'til Monday
Well said, thank you. Bet me that the very next response will have a repeated claim of victory in it?
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Old 6th January 2018, 09:51 AM   #243
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Oh vey, so many words, so little substance.

The ridiculous thing is the absolutely false claims that there were “several” methods to design tests (there might have been one) and the false claim that I rejected them out of hand (I explained in detail what was wrong with the test, that it was not scientific and that you never explained what one was to do with the data once it was counted)

Listen, if you can’t define the damn term you can't scientifically test for it.

A claim was made, the claim is false. It is fine, hopefully some people learned critical thinking along the way.
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Old 6th January 2018, 01:53 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
Oh vey, so many words, so little substance.

The ridiculous thing is the absolutely false claims that there were “several” methods to design tests (there might have been one) and the false claim that I rejected them out of hand (I explained in detail what was wrong with the test, that it was not scientific and that you never explained what one was to do with the data once it was counted)

Listen, if you can’t define the damn term you can't scientifically test for it.

A claim was made, the claim is false. It is fine, hopefully some people learned critical thinking along the way.

So I noticed you did not answer my post about children love, (not surprising as I noticed you avoid the hard ones), and wonder now how you will handle the situation, when you're kids start asking questions about some of the dodgy, (theism fail), parts of the Bible. Ducking and weaving and obfuscation may not cut it when they start asking questions. Mind you it doesn't work here either which is something you seem to be blissfully ignorant of.

You must be aware of the high rate of defection of the young from your "One True Church" aren't you?

Better brush up on your arguments and start answering questions. This forum is a good place to start and may be a good training ground for you.
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Old 6th January 2018, 04:39 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by applecorped View Post
Define love.
You've never learned what love is? It's a 2nd hand emotion.
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Old 8th January 2018, 06:56 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You've never learned what love is? It's a 2nd hand emotion.
That's been the problem in this whole thread.

I wanna know what love is. I want you to tell me

Seriously, if it can't be defined to any extent, then it can't be said to have a meaningful existence. But it can be defined...even if that definition is just on an individual basis (i.e.-one definition per person).

And if you can define it, it can be tested for.

For that matter, you could even use scientific methods to determine a definition. The word love is used to define concepts, and language being nothing more than the mass agreement that certain sounds represent certain concepts, various methods of polling and statistical analysis could come up with the common definition (i.e.-the properties of love common to most people's individual definitions).

For any definition, it's either testable, or non-existent.

The argument being made, although TBD doesn't realize it, is that he can't recognize love. That no one can. But we do; we each have our own criteria, our own definition. That can be used to develop a testing procedure.

We test the subjective all the time: that's how we find pain remediation drugs, many psychiatric drugs, and similar. We use different metrics and methods to test the subjective and place it into a more objective framework. Just like the example I gave earlier, taking a testable, objective behavior to determine if the subjective (internal) behaviors are present. Just like pain management: we use objective criteria to test a person's level of pain (reactions to stimuli, facial expressions, and similar).

In any case, I don't see much point in continuing this. I've made my case, repeatedly, and keep getting a refusal to engage form the other side. Without anything substantive, this basically comes down to a lot of 6-year-old "Does not!".

Not worth my time
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Old 8th January 2018, 06:59 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
...
Try here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=325895 whole thread
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Old 8th January 2018, 07:05 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You've never learned what love is? It's a 2nd hand emotion.
What's love got to do with it?
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Old 8th January 2018, 09:29 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
Do you know where you are? Do you need someone to get you home?

I can only assume some sort of confusion, as you posted a link to the thread we're all currently in
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Old 8th January 2018, 09:49 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post

The argument being made, although TBD doesn't realize it, is that he can't recognize love. That no one can. But we do; we each have our own criteria, our own definition. That can be used to develop a testing procedure.


https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof
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Old 8th January 2018, 10:07 AM   #251
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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord..


https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof
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Old 8th January 2018, 10:24 AM   #252
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https://news.syr.edu/2010/10/the-neuroimaging-of-love/

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard...love-and-brain

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/20...companionship/

I'll just leave these here.
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Old 15th January 2018, 06:30 AM   #253
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-Is your atheism atheism/non-theism/postheism predominately a science success or a theism fail?
-Neither one nor the other. In my case there never was a "theism" that could've fail later (other than "believing" that there's a God and there's a Santa Claus, call it "candid period"). And my scientific training came after the brief moment I became an Atheist.

I think the reason is nobody forced me to go to any church -nobody in my family went-. Besides, I always felt very uncomfortable in the ritualistic (obsessive-compulsive) stride of masses and religious gatherings.

At age 8 my mother spared me of going to church school and belonging to the Catholic church, and her reason was imagining all the troubles I would have put the priest through with my inquiries and my sarcastic remarks. She imagined herself being called apart and told "take your kid and go away".

From age 8 to 10, subjectivity -other's- become patent to me. That was the beginning. From age 14 to 17, subjectivity -mine- become patent to me. That was the end of it.

I didn't become publicly a non believer until I was 22 or 23, just because I didn't pay much attention to it. One advantage of non-theism is it taking very little time from you, so you can remain 5 years in sort of a a limbo just because you wouldn't add 10 hours of religious thinking and activities during that period.

The fact that I consider some religious people to be immoral comes from Jehova's Witnesses disturbing my door chime with their dirty fingers.
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Old 4th February 2018, 05:06 PM   #254
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Is your atheism predominately a science success or a theism fail?

Theists often defend their god beliefs by attacking science with silly comments like - “Science doesn’t know everything, Science isn’t always right, Science can’t explain love”, etc. My response is usually - “So what? I’m an atheist mainly because theism has failed to convince me any god exists. Take away science and I would still be an atheist. Don’t blame science for the failure of theism”.

As I’ve never had a god belief (or any paranormal belief) I’m wondering if others are atheists predominately because of the success of science or the failure of theism.

Both of them. But decisive was the fall of theism (the one based on an omni-all, all good personal Deity), especially due to the problem of evil. If some sort of Creator does exist it is unlikely that it is the omni-all variant, as Arthur C, Clarke put it well 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'. If we talk about an ultimate level of reality I'd say that some sort of pantheism is much better placed than the personal god variant. So I am some sort of atheist in the omni-all personal God problem but I am much more open than other atheists to the possible existence of some Demiurges or that consciousness is much more than the neural network of the brain (more generally to the possibility that some sort of teleology is 'at work' at the level of all that is).

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Old 4th February 2018, 05:48 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by metacristi View Post
Both of them. But decisive was the fall of theism (the one based on an omni-all, all good personal Deity), especially due to the problem of evil. If some sort of Creator does exist it is unlikely that it is the omni-all variant, as Arthur C, Clarke put it well 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'. If we talk about an ultimate level of reality I'd say that some sort of pantheism is much better placed than the personal god variant. So I am some sort of atheist in the omni-all personal God problem but I am much more open than other atheists to the possible existence of some Demiurges or that consciousness is much more than the neural network of the brain (more generally to the possibility that some sort of teleology is 'at work' at the level of all that is).
Why is the human created abstract concept of "evil" a problem?

Demiurge - A being responsible for the creation of the universe.

Teleology – The doctrine that there is evidence of purpose or design in the universe, and esp that this provides proof of the existence of a Designer.

Seems to me you are perhaps some sort of theist rather than some sort of atheist.
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Old 5th February 2018, 03:49 PM   #256
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In my case I would say it's largely a failure of theism. I've known plenty of people who could reconcile theism with science (granted that there's a leap there, but it happens), and plenty of people whom I respect who are theists, but when it came down to it, I simply could not reconcile the presence of a personal god with the way the world actually is. I tried throughout my youth to stay connected with religion, which I found comfortable, but prayer always proved an obstacle, and once you start applying scrutiny to religion there's little that holds up. One can, for a while, ignore some of the issues, and assume someone knows better than you how it all goes together. But if you eventually realize that everyone who ought to know is just guessing too, it's over.
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Old 7th February 2018, 11:44 AM   #257
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For me it was both. Religion contradicted the science I knew.

But my atheism increased the more theism failed.
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Old 7th February 2018, 12:18 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by Jagermeister View Post
But my atheism increased the more theism failed.
I'm not sure how to parse that statement correctly. Do you mean, you were increasingly unwilling to consider theist arguments as you accumulated instances of theism being contrary to fact, logic or common sense?
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Old 7th February 2018, 09:28 PM   #259
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Of course things are subject to change, and maybe I just haven't connected with the right brand of theism. I found a new contender here, though:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 7th February 2018, 11:44 PM   #260
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Religion failed for me first. But I wasn't an atheist for a long time after that. It was science that brought me to that realisation.
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Old 8th February 2018, 01:02 AM   #261
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Theism fail. Yahweh fell flaming in disgrace. Poetic justice.
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Old 8th February 2018, 02:18 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Theists often defend their god beliefs by attacking science with silly comments like - “Science doesn’t know everything, Science isn’t always right, Science can’t explain love”, etc. My response is usually - “So what? I’m an atheist mainly because theism has failed to convince me any god exists. Take away science and I would still be an atheist. Don’t blame science for the failure of theism”.

As I’ve never had a god belief (or any paranormal belief) I’m wondering if others are atheists predominately because of the success of science or the failure of theism.
For me you could call it a fail for religion because they missed me. My parents were probably default atheists. I mean religions and the associated dogma never came up in my family. Was just never a thing we talked about.

Growing up I had an odd distrust of anything that was institutionalized. It wasn't a conscious decision, but church's and prayer and priests used to make me uneasy for some reason. (not because they were religious necessarily, but because they stunk of rules and hierarchy and conformity I think). Anyway, that made be an atheist by default.

It wasn't until I was researching anthropogenic related global warming after reading Michael Crichton's novel “State of Fear” I came across JRef and conspiracy theories and a way to start thinking about claims and the world which led me firmly to atheism.
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Old 8th February 2018, 04:40 AM   #263
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I don't ever remember a time when I took the claims of theism seriously.

In the UK, when I grew up, we had religious assemblies all the time. Group prayer, hymns, etc. I never really thought about it as something real. It was just another thing the adults made you do, like wearing a uniform or going to classes. So I'd say the lord's prayer, but the idea that there actually was a lord as a serious proposition just never really occurred to me. And the little speeches they'd give were about stuff like being a nice person, being honest, etc. Not particularly religious.

I don't recall anybody ever sitting me down and trying to convince me that this stuff was real, and I had to believe in it. My parents pretty much just ignored religion.

By the time I got to an age where I started to grasp that people really did think there was an actual real god, I was old enough to think that these people were doing something strange and a bit daft.

So I'd guess you would call that a theism fail. Without parental indoctrination, nobody else caught me early enough and hit me hard enough with it.

Science played a part too. As I learned more about science, it became rather obvious that there isn't a god, or at least, there isn't a god that is particularly interested in humanity. The scale of the universe alone makes the idea that we are special to it utterly preposterous.
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Old 8th February 2018, 06:50 AM   #264
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That sounds so nice, I had religion in my life since I could remember, every day. What is even worse is it was not just my family but the whole community.
Every white Afrikaner family took pride in their religion and kids went to Sunday school and at least the morning service literally every freekin Sunday and preferably to the evening one as well. School was full of it as well.
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Old 8th February 2018, 07:23 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Of course things are subject to change, and maybe I just haven't connected with the right brand of theism. I found a new contender here, though:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
Superb!
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Old 8th February 2018, 08:54 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Of course things are subject to change, and maybe I just haven't connected with the right brand of theism. I found a new contender here, though:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
Absolutely hilarious, thanks! I've sent it off to my (almost 22 year old) daughter hoping she hasn't seen it yet. She sees all the fun crap that I seem to catch usually years after.
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Old 8th February 2018, 09:02 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
That sounds so nice, I had religion in my life since I could remember, every day. What is even worse is it was not just my family but the whole community.
It's often hard for people from strongly religious countries to really grasp just how irrelevant religion is to most people in the UK. Admittedly, most people self-identify as religious. But there are millions of people who would say they are Church of England, say, who never go into a church in their lives. Except maybe for the "big three" of christenings, weddings, and funerals.

I've heard Americans say that "What church do you go to?" is a common 'getting to know you' kind of question there. I've literally never been asked that in my entire life, and never heard it asked of anybody else either. I've only ever met three of four people who mentioned that they go to church regularly at all. As a matter of day-to-day practicality, for most people religion is really just a complete non-issue here.

Hell, just look at Tony Blair. The man was probably the most religious politician in living memory, and when Paxman asked him straight out if he and George Bush had prayed together, Blair positively squirmed in embarrassment as he said "No!"
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Old 8th February 2018, 09:07 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
That sounds so nice, I had religion in my life since I could remember, every day. What is even worse is it was not just my family but the whole community.
Every white Afrikaner family took pride in their religion and kids went to Sunday school and at least the morning service literally every freekin Sunday and preferably to the evening one as well. School was full of it as well.
That sounds so nice! Pride in religion and building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
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Old 8th February 2018, 09:24 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That sounds so nice! Pride in....building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
FTFY.

You don't have to be a victim of myths and lies to enjoy good projects and communities.
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Old 8th February 2018, 09:28 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That sounds so nice! Pride in religion and building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
I suppose it depends a little on how old Cheetah is, but I think it possible that you missed a little irony here.

Membership in a church community can certainly be beneficial and nice, but you must surely be aware that the trappings of religious belief can be turned to other purposes too. Here's an anonymous letter my sister got when she was marching for civil rights oh so long ago. Many well meaning and sensible people saw the need for civil rights in their religious principles, but many others saw the opposite in theirs. It's straight Bible here:

anonymous letter0002.pdf
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Old 8th February 2018, 11:02 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
It's often hard for people from strongly religious countries to really grasp just how irrelevant religion is to most people in the UK. Admittedly, most people self-identify as religious. But there are millions of people who would say they are Church of England, say, who never go into a church in their lives. Except maybe for the "big three" of christenings, weddings, and funerals.
You could replace "UK" with "Buenos Aires and mid-class Argentina" and it would be as true. I'd personally erase christenings from that list because I find it to be pretty disgusting for my taste. Both in weddings and funerals the priests here are prudent to keep the religious bits to a minimum (like Father Brown's), except in the rare cases of weddings with mass and the less uncommon masses in commemoration of the departed.

I have to say that the existence of religiosity, circumcision, bible belt, creationism and all the crap that exists in the USA really baffles me: it's something extremely alien to my cultural bracket, and I'm not particularly "a British Argentine" but a run-of-the-mill "white Argentine" to this matter (Juan Pueblo is far more interested in the pope to be an Argentine and fan on San Lorenzo Athletic Club than he being the pope)
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Old 8th February 2018, 11:05 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by bruto
Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That sounds so nice! Pride in religion and building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
I suppose it depends a little on how old Cheetah is, but I think it possible that you missed a little irony here.
provided "little" was intended as litotes
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Old 8th February 2018, 11:15 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That sounds so nice! Pride in building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
FTFY.

You don't have to be a victim of myths and lies to enjoy good projects and communities.
It was very hard for me to leave my church. I had grown up in the church and saw other members of the church as almost family. The one thing church does provide is community. It also allows one to climb beyond being self centered. It makes your own needs as a secondary concern for yourself. It's the one aspect I miss.

But the price was too high for me. I felt like an idiot pretending that almost any of it was true and real. It also left me believing that an actual afterlife was impossible for me if it was true because I could never get myself to actually believe these stories were true. God is the greatest most powerful being in the universe and he can't find an easier way to forgive man then to come down to earth in human form and be tortured for 3 days? The being supposedly created the world and life on it in 6 days? It's absurd. So if there is this God that actually knew what I thought he would KNOW that I was carrying on a charade. I feel like I understand to a small degree what gay people must have felt like when they were in the closet.

There ARE so many good things about church but demanding people believe bs is not one of them. I tried for a long time to stay in the church. I verv much wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water. But i came to the conclusion I really wanted to throw out the baby and keep some of the bath water.

But that's not allowed. One must pretend that nonsense is true to keep the community.
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Old 9th February 2018, 04:16 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by The Big Dog View Post
That sounds so nice! Pride in religion and building and maintaining communities? Fantastic. I bet you got to participate in so many worthwhile projects, both fun and charitable.

So nice.
There are always nice aspects, but you cannot believe how incredibly difficult it can be to rid yourself of all the nonsense after a lifetime of indoctrination, or maybe you can, no you cannot, can you?
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Old 9th February 2018, 08:03 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
-snipped-
I've heard Americans say that "What church do you go to?" is a common 'getting to know you' kind of question there. I've literally never been asked that in my entire life, and never heard it asked of anybody else either.
-snip-
Not common in my experience. I've spent over fifty (of sixty-two) years in the US, and have not been asked that question since first grade. That may be, in part, from growing up in Oregon, where tolerance and respect for privacy are more common. However, seven years in the 'Bible Belt' country of North Carolina in the '90s didn't see the issue raised either.

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Old 9th February 2018, 08:09 AM   #276
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I get asked it occasionally, though mostly older people.
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Old 9th February 2018, 10:07 AM   #277
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I get asked it occasionally, though mostly older people.
Most people don't bring up religion unless you are outwardly religious. Another Christian might ask someone else who is obviously Christian where they attend church but even most Christians aren't out there pushing God unless they are Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.
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Old 9th February 2018, 10:07 AM   #278
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Originally Posted by Seismosaurus View Post
Admittedly, most people self-identify as religious.
Not even that is true any more

I'll back up the rest of what you said, though. As an anecdotal example, I worked with a guy for 5 years before I had any idea he was even vaguely religious. I only found out because he was a scout master and, on a long drive, I asked him about the requirement in scouts to have prayers, etc. as that was something I'd heard about recently but which hadn't previously informed my view of what scouts was about (not even reported by my brother, who was one). His reply was that he just ignored all that side of it, because he didn't think it was useful, and he didn't consider his own beliefs that important.

And that last part of that last sentence, I think, generally sums up the religiosity of most Christians in Great Britain. I don't have any personal experience of Northern Ireland, but I have no doubt that Christianity is more significant over there, and not just for historically.
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Old 9th February 2018, 11:28 AM   #279
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The one thing church does provide is community. It also allows one to climb beyond being self centered. It makes your own needs as a secondary concern for yourself. It's the one aspect I miss.
I know plenty of people who are "religious" solely for the social contact. They couldn't tell you -- or probably care less -- what their church taught on any particular subject beyond common-knowledge Christianity. For them it's just the Sunday morning coffee klatch. And that's absolutely fine with me, since those are the people who seem least likely to do anything to which others might object.

However if, like me, you live in a state dominated by a particular religious sect, that sense of community has a dark side. Mormons express a tremendous sense of community, much of which has positive outcomes. But it's such a proportionally large community that non-Mormons easily feel like second-class citizens.

That's merely a social consequence, but here the community leaks over into things like employment, housing, social services, etc. that really need to be free from interference. At places I've worked, it's not uncommon to see employees at various levels of the company talking openly about church activities, participation, etc. to the extent you suspect that work and church are really just facets of the same community. This makes it hard to have confidence in employment-related decisions -- hiring, firing, promotions, etc. Though not universal, it happens often enough that firms would rather hire, and landlords would rather rent to, people "from within the faith." And while that's illegal, it's easy to get away with. And with our legislature currently in session, most relevant conversations revolve around what the Mormon church is going to say about each bill, which has historically correlated with whether the bill passes. There is widespread suspicion that some state legislators simply do what their church leaders say, though that's denied from both directions.. But it sure doesn't help that the capitol building is just a couple blocks away from Mormon HQ.

That's my particular experience living in a highly religious area. I've heard similar stories from other places in the U.S. where religion is dominant for social and community reasons as well. I wouldn't say this is the same everywhere I've lived.

My atheism comes from simply not believing in the religion. The religion doesn't have to "fail" per se in any colossal or embarrassing way for me to arrive at that decision. But in my case, where religion often flexes its muscles in ways I find inappropriate, I become a more active atheist. Which is to say, I oppose the inappropriate intrusion of religion, not for what is believed, but for what is done. You could probably chalk that up as a "theism fail," but I think it has more to do with ordinary community behavior. People can act like jerks without it being related to a belief in God.

The success of science doesn't really affect my atheism. I work with dozens upon dozens of scientists and other scientifically-minded people who are also active Mormons (and not jerks about it). Their theistic beliefs don't affect, or seem affected by, their ability to be good scientists. Granted the science we do doesn't really get into places where science and Mormonism would clash. But I think one's adoption of science and a scientific mode of thinking doesn't really necessitate some particular theistic or atheistic belief.
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Old 9th February 2018, 02:47 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
It was very hard for me to leave my church. I had grown up in the church and saw other members of the church as almost family. The one thing church does provide is community. It also allows one to climb beyond being self centered. It makes your own needs as a secondary concern for yourself. It's the one aspect I miss.
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I know plenty of people who are "religious" solely for the social contact. They couldn't tell you -- or probably care less -- what their church taught on any particular subject beyond common-knowledge Christianity. For them it's just the Sunday morning coffee klatch. And that's absolutely fine with me, since those are the people who seem least likely to do anything to which others might object.

Having never been part of a religious community this social aspect is not something I am familiar with.

Although my parents were not church go-ers, I was subjected to religious indoctrination as a child when dragged off (heals making furrows in the ground), to church and Sunday school, as a guest of parents of friends who were church go-ers. My parents had the idea (fairly common at the time), that some religion wouldn't do me any harm.

More than disliking the experience, I felt repelled by the church atmosphere. The harm was done none the less and I was convinced of the existence of Hell. How could I not believe Hell to be real as a child when everybody else did? How could I not be convinced this was my ultimate destination, when I felt such a repulsion of the institution that would save me.

My relief when I read Bertrand Russell was profound. For the first time in my life I found the existence of God, the Devil etc to be in question, and in fact defied basic reason.
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