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Old 19th February 2019, 03:36 PM   #241
ynot
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Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
the OP is looking for reasons to believe in God, he never said the reasons had to be 'true'.
Any god or gods, not specifically "God".

For me to believe in a god the reasons to do so would either have to be true, possibly true, or untrue with a sufficiently desirable and important end that was justified by the means (if that's possible).
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Old 19th February 2019, 04:54 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not interested in "messing" with anyone. But I do expect an honest debate, not one where you duck behind a silly excuse to reverse the burden of proof. Because that's all that your "just the messenger" dodge seems to be.

And frankly that doesn't make it any less of a fallacy.

If you actually want to propose that Dostoevsky's argument has any merit, then you get the burden of proof for his postulates. It's that simple. You don't get to reverse that by claiming you're just the messenger. Being just the messenger of a load of ipse-dixit nonsense, doesn't mean that then you get to demand that the others show what's wrong with it. Until the burden of proof has been met, there is nothing to debate. That which is asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence, and that's what I have already done repeatedly. (snip)
As I said previously, if the stated purpose of the thread is to understand what reasons others have for believing in God, then the proper response to "This is Dostoevsky's reason" is "Hmm, that's interesting", not "That's invalid because reasons".
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Old 19th February 2019, 05:16 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
As I said previously, if the stated purpose of the thread is to understand what reasons others have for believing in God, then the proper response to "This is Dostoevsky's reason" is "Hmm, that's interesting", not "That's invalid because reasons".
Why would "Hmm, that's not interesting because that's invalid because reasons, but thanks anyway" be any less proper?
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Old 19th February 2019, 06:15 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Why would "Hmm, that's not interesting because that's invalid because reasons, but thanks anyway" be any less proper?
Because, and stop me if I've got you wrong about this, your stated intention in starting this thread is to learn something about why people believe, not to judge them for doing so.
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Old 19th February 2019, 06:37 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Because, and stop me if I've got you wrong about this, your stated intention in starting this thread is to learn something about why people believe, not to judge them for doing so.
Well youíre both right and wrong, so no need to stop from my perspective.

Yes, I want to learn something about why people believe and more specifically why I should believe. In that process I donít want to (and hope I donít) judge the people that offer reasons. I definitely want to judge and challenge the reasons themselves however, because thatís how people actually test and learn things, not by merely passively listening and agreeing ďnicelyĒ.
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Old 19th February 2019, 06:44 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well youíre both right and wrong, so no need to stop from my perspective.

Yes, I want to learn something about why people believe and more specifically why I should believe. In that process I donít want to (and hope I donít) judge the people that offer reasons. I definitely want to judge and challenge the reasons themselves however, because thatís how people actually test and learn things, not by merely passively listening and agreeing ďnicelyĒ.
So your purpose is to evaluate those reasons for their validity? Why? What do you get out of doing that? You're just going to "evaluate" every possible reason as invalid, right?
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:07 PM   #247
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
I see belief more as a gift from God than compulsion from other humans, but since ..........

Well what ynot said above but looking at it from, another angle, I wonder how comfortable you are with the idea that God has given you this gift, but not me. Is this not just more silliness?
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:08 PM   #248
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
So your purpose is to evaluate those reasons for their validity? Why? What do you get out of doing that?
Yes, genuinely evaluate, putting the word in quotes reflects your bias not mine. Because I want to learn and know what is valid/true. Do you want to learn and know what is valid/true?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You're just going to "evaluate" every possible reason as invalid, right?
Wrong! Not if a valid reason is provided. It's not my fault a valid reason hasn't been provided as yet. Your thinly veiled assertion that I wouldn't accept a valid reason if it was provided is wrong, so you can now stop.
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:10 PM   #249
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well youíre both right and wrong, so no need to stop from my perspective.

Yes, I want to learn something about why people believe and more specifically why I should believe. In that process I donít want to (and hope I donít) judge the people that offer reasons. I definitely want to judge and challenge the reasons themselves however, because thatís how people actually test and learn things, not by merely passively listening and agreeing ďnicelyĒ.
Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
So your purpose is to evaluate those reasons for their validity? Why? What do you get out of doing that? You're just going to "evaluate" every possible reason as invalid, right?

You've fallen victim to arth's penetrating insight into you're motives ynot.
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:14 PM   #250
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Well what ynot said above but looking at it from, another angle, I wonder how comfortable you are with the idea that God has given you this gift, but not me. Is this not just more silliness?
Very comfortable I'd say (preferable in fact). The smug superiority often expressed by many theists that they are the "superior chosen ones" with a "gift from their god" seems to be one of the "comfort rewards" of believing. Doesn't encourage me to believe however.
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:19 PM   #251
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You've fallen victim to arth's penetrating insight into you're motives ynot.
Peculiar how an "atheist" (see I can do it too) constantly tells atheists they have to be nicer to theist while they are apparently happy being nasty to atheists .
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:57 PM   #252
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Yes, genuinely evaluate, putting the word in quotes reflects your bias not mine. Because I want to learn and know what is valid/true. Do you want to learn and know what is valid/true?
Of course. It is valid and true that Dostoevsky had reasons that he considered worthwhile for believing in God. Whether I think those reasons are valid or true doesn't matter, because they're not my reasons. What is valid and true is that he did. How that helps you is currently unclear to me.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Not if a valid reason is provided. It's not my fault a valid reason hasn't been provided as yet. Your thinly veiled assertion that I wouldn't accept a valid reason if it was provided is wrong, so you can now stop.
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
You've fallen victim to arth's penetrating insight into you're motives ynot.
Oh come on. We all know that none of the three of us will ever consider any reason for believing in God to be a good one, regardless of any pseudo-openness to alternatives. We're right, remember. We have actual reality on our side.

You're claiming to be open to the possibility that fairies really exist. Well, they don't. No evidence has ever been provided that sufficiently proves that fairies exist, and none ever will. Sure, if it ever is, we will change our minds. But it won't. You know it won't, and I know it won't.

Same with God. We can say that we're open to arguments for God's existence, and technically we are, but in reality, we know that no argument will be sufficient to convince us.
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Old 19th February 2019, 07:59 PM   #253
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
So your purpose is to evaluate those reasons for their validity?
Dunno about ynot, but at least in my case, if those reasons are why I should believe X is true, why wouldn't I evaluate them?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Why? What do you get out of doing that?
A little more time before Alzheimer's kicks in? I hear brain exercise does that

I'm sorry, did some memo go around saying that one needs special reasons to turn the ol' brain on?

Plus, then the same would apply to your questions, innit? What do you get from evaluating HIS reasons? Why do you do it then?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
You're just going to "evaluate" every possible reason as invalid, right?
Is he? I don't know about him, but I'm quite open to the possibility that someone might one day actually make a good case. But obviously today isn't that day.
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:13 PM   #254
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Hi all. Been following the thread with quiet interest without having too much to contribute, but thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts. Regarding reasons for conversions (pertinent to the OP and asked specifically by Thor 2), the one I have heard the most is from people who felt badly about themselves or their actions/behaviours and were disappointed with their seeming inability to change. I have heard many "testimonies" from people who felt unlovable and were moved to hear about (and "feel a sense of") being loved by God. I've heard a lot of people accredit that experience, and their response in faith thereto , as being a turning point for them towards realizing and maintaining the positive change they had desired beforehand. I have had similar experiences, though having grown up in a religious household, it wasn't so much from an outside perspective.

I think this is an important caveat to the idea that religion only solves problems it has created; plenty of people have poor self-image/esteem without any religious influence. I think that's also a big reason why religion is more prevalent (and "outreach" more convincing) among low-income/education demographics including those involved with crime. it's a pretty major theme of the new testament gospels as well (i.e., "it is the sick, not the healthy that need a doctor") and I think people's natural tendency to be self-critical and desire self-improvement is part of why christian religious thinking has resonated so strongly and broadly.

Anyway, that's one perspective as to why some people believe. As you can see, it's got nothing to do with the logical feasibility of the existence of god(s), which I think is true for most theists and a "deal breaker" for most atheists. It may also be why it's difficult for a thread like this to have a productive outcome (though hopefully the discussion itself has some value for the participants and audience along the way at least). Cheers!

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Old 19th February 2019, 09:38 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Very comfortable I'd say (preferable in fact). The smug superiority often expressed by many theists that they are the "superior chosen ones" with a "gift from their god" seems to be one of the "comfort rewards" of believing. Doesn't encourage me to believe however.
Also, if you want some feedback, the tone of the thread, the tag-lines on your posts, and the reply above all suggest that Arth's assessment is about right. :/
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:51 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Of course. It is valid and true that Dostoevsky had reasons that he considered worthwhile for believing in God. Whether I think those reasons are valid or true doesn't matter, because they're not my reasons. What is valid and true is that he did. How that helps you is currently unclear to me.
Okaaaay . . .

So what? I already know that people believe what they believe for their own reasons. What has that got to do with accessing whether the reasons they believe are good enough for me to possibly believe in a god? To do that effectively I need to evaluate whether the reasons they believe are true and valid, and whether those reasons are true and valid absolutely does matter to me. It’s the only thing that does matter in fact. That’s the whole object of the exercise. Is that still currently unclear to you?

I wouldn’t believe in a god merely because it’s valid and true that someone else believes in it, would you?
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Old 19th February 2019, 09:55 PM   #257
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Hi all. Been following the thread with quiet interest without having too much to contribute, but thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts. Regarding reasons for conversions (pertinent to the OP and asked specifically by Thor 2), the one I have heard the most is from people who felt badly about themselves or their actions/behaviours and were disappointed with their seeming inability to change. I have heard many "testimonies" from people who felt unlovable and were moved to hear about (and "feel a sense of") being loved by God. I've heard a lot of people accredit that experience, and their response in faith thereto , as being a turning point for them towards realizing and maintaining the positive change they had desired beforehand. I have had similar experiences, though having grown up in a religious household, it wasn't so much from an outside perspective.

I think this is an important caveat to the idea that religion only solves problems it has created; plenty of people have poor self-image/esteem without any religious influence. I think that's also a big reason why religion is more prevalent (and "outreach" more convincing) among low-income/education demographics including those involved with crime. it's a pretty major theme of the new testament gospels as well (i.e., "it is the sick, not the healthy that need a doctor") and I think people's natural tendency to be self-critical and desire self-improvement is part of why christian religious thinking has resonated so strongly and broadly.

Anyway, that's one perspective as to why some people believe. As you can see, it's got nothing to do with the logical feasibility of the existence of god(s), which I think is true for most theists and a "deal breaker" for most atheists. It may also be why it's difficult for a thread like this to have a productive outcome (though hopefully the discussion itself has some value for the participants and audience along the way at least). Cheers!
Welcome back buddy. Thought you might've given up on us altogether. Don't have time right now but will reply to your posts later.
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Old 19th February 2019, 10:01 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Dunno about ynot
Well, it was ynot that I was asking. But thanks for offering your perspective too.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
...but at least in my case, if those reasons are why I should believe X is true, why wouldn't I evaluate them?
They're not being presented as reasons why you should believe x is true. They're being presented as reasons why Dostoevsky (for example) believes x is true.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Is he? I don't know about him, but I'm quite open to the possibility that someone might one day actually make a good case. But obviously today isn't that day.
Technically, sure. But I'm certain that you, like me, ynot, and Thor2, and others of the usual crowd, don't believe that that will ever actually happen.

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Old 19th February 2019, 10:06 PM   #259
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Okaaaay . . .

So what? I already know that people believe what they believe for their own reasons. What has that got to do with accessing whether the reasons they believe are good enough for me to possibly believe in a god?
Ah, so this thread isn't just an intellectual exercise in finding out the reasons why people believe in God, it's intended as an opportunity for you to strike those reasons down. Sorry, I mean evaluate them.

Do you even want one of those reasons to be valid? Do you really want the world to be such that the God of the Bible really actually exists, as described? I don't.
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:14 PM   #260
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How's this for a reason: God will smite you and everyone and everything you love if you don't believe.
You want to take that chance?
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:45 PM   #261
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Ah, so this thread isn't just an intellectual exercise in finding out the reasons why people believe in God, it's intended as an opportunity for you to strike those reasons down. Sorry, I mean evaluate them.

Do you even want one of those reasons to be valid? Do you really want the world to be such that the God of the Bible really actually exists, as described? I don't.
What in Satan's good name does any of that have to do with anything? Especially WANTING something to be true. I mean, even as inclination to believe something goes, I really want lightsabers to be real, but I'm pretty darned sure they can't be.

But sure, if that's the bar for taking part in such a discussion, I really want the Norse gods to be real. I mean, I've seen the Thor movies, he's FABULOUS. Mmmm... wouldn't you want to touch his... err... hammer. *AHEM* I'm not gay, ok?

Doesn't mean I'll actually accept any nonsense reason for it, but apparently that qualifies as a reason to be in the thread anyway.
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:49 PM   #262
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Hi all. Been following the thread with quiet interest without having too much to contribute, but thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts. Regarding reasons for conversions (pertinent to the OP and asked specifically by Thor 2), the one I have heard the most is from people who felt badly about themselves or their actions/behaviours and were disappointed with their seeming inability to change. I have heard many "testimonies" from people who felt unlovable and were moved to hear about (and "feel a sense of") being loved by God. I've heard a lot of people accredit that experience, and their response in faith thereto , as being a turning point for them towards realizing and maintaining the positive change they had desired beforehand. I have had similar experiences, though having grown up in a religious household, it wasn't so much from an outside perspective.
Hi, thanks for contributing. I’m not sure how much “being loved by God” is an actual factor or whether it’s actually more the religious community itself. Sure, religious communities can be effective at giving those that need it a sense of belonging, companionship, family, personal worth, etc. But so can and do criminal biker gangs, neo-nazi groups, and (less offensively to us I’m sure) social and sporting communities as well. Might we agree that the end doesn’t always justify the means (if ever)?

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
I think this is an important caveat to the idea that religion only solves problems it has created; plenty of people have poor self-image/esteem without any religious influence. I think that's also a big reason why religion is more prevalent (and "outreach" more convincing) among low-income/education demographics including those involved with crime. it's a pretty major theme of the new testament gospels as well (i.e., "it is the sick, not the healthy that need a doctor") and I think people's natural tendency to be self-critical and desire self-improvement is part of why christian religious thinking has resonated so strongly and broadly.
I know some people that have poor self-image/esteem with religious influence. They tend to believe but not be in a religious community however. I personally knew two religious people that committed suicide (unrelated events).

The more complete quote is “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. So nothing to do with poor self-image/esteem or low-income/education, but everything to do with being “sick” because you’re a “sinner”. I think it’s more likely to be religious community than religious thinking that has resonated so strongly and broadly. Merely a guess from my own assessment.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Anyway, that's one perspective as to why some people believe. As you can see, it's got nothing to do with the logical feasibility of the existence of god(s), which I think is true for most theists and a "deal breaker" for most atheists. It may also be why it's difficult for a thread like this to have a productive outcome (though hopefully the discussion itself has some value for the participants and audience along the way at least). Cheers!
And thanks for that perspective. I agree that’s why some join a religious community and believe in a god (don't know which happens first). I don’t think this applies to the majority of believers however and it’s not something that would inspire me to join or believe. If I ever needed support from a community I could get it elsewhere and without the need to believe in a god with all the unnecessary baggage that comes with doing that. Cheers
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Old 19th February 2019, 11:54 PM   #263
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
How's this for a reason: God will smite you and everyone and everything you love if you don't believe.
You want to take that chance?
As I understand it, my believing will only save me. I will have to try to enjoy Heaven knowing many that I love will be suffering horrific tortures in Hell. If I was in Hell suffering with them I might even feel better about the situation .
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:04 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
What in Satan's good name does any of that have to do with anything? Especially WANTING something to be true. I mean, even as inclination to believe something goes, I really want lightsabers to be real, but I'm pretty darned sure they can't be.
Don't be so sure...

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But sure, if that's the bar for taking part in such a discussion, I really want the Norse gods to be real. I mean, I've seen the Thor movies, he's FABULOUS. Mmmm... wouldn't you want to touch his... err... hammer. *AHEM* I'm not gay, ok?

Doesn't mean I'll actually accept any nonsense reason for it, but apparently that qualifies as a reason to be in the thread anyway.
I'm just trying to get at the reasons that avowed atheists ask questions like this. In my experience it's most often in order to ridicule and debunk, rather than to genuinely inquire and understand. So far I'm not seeing anything to change that impression.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:13 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Also, if you want some feedback, the tone of the thread, the tag-lines on your posts, and the reply above all suggest that Arth's assessment is about right. :/
Always happy to receive feedback about anything, and no one has to tip-toe over broken glass in the process. Being a life-long religious believer you can only view and assess things from that perspective (and myself the opposite). It’s no surprise therefore that you experience and interpret "the tone of the thread, the tag-lines on your posts, and the reply" the way you do, and that I don’t. I don’t mind and I’m not offended in any way by your occasional “tsk, tsk” posts.

ETA - My experience in interacting with many (not all or even most) theists is that they have and display a superior, smug attitude toward myself and other atheists. Given you’ve lived your entire life inside a religious community, that superior, smug attitude may be so normal to you that you don’t/can’t see it as being such. Or it doesn't exist in your particular community. For all I know you may have that attitude yourself to some degree without realising you have it. An “ex-theist” on this forum doesn’t understand why all people don’t accept speaking in tongues as being anything but normal.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:21 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, the burden of proof is on the one who claims that any other kind is.

(...)
Or in more to the point terms, unless you prove that religion-based morality actually has any advantage, you haven't even given a reason for that kind of morality.
(...)
All you -- or Dostoevsky, although he's not the one who brought it here as relevant to the topic -- have done is back out into exactly the faith-in-faith non-sequitur that I've called out repeatedly in the last two pages alone: oh, but how useful it would be if you believed anyway. But that's a fallacy, if the topic is giving a logical reason to believe that any X is true.

(...)
At this point you're confusing what is POSSIBLE with what IS. If you want to find a fault with secular morality, you have to show that it does produce those results more often than the alternative.

(...)
Plus, if we look at history, the ones who REALLY loved Christ, were actually the most inclined to justify violence and coercion in his name. You only need to look at the Spanish Inquisition, for example, since you're from Spain, to see both violence and coercion. In fact the whole POINT of the violence was the coercion part: coercion to be a proper Xian, not some half-assed on-the-fence converso.
(...)There goes that silly assumption that loving Jesus would stop one from using violence and coercion, eh?


Actually, you still have to show that those hold water. So far you've just handwaved, done more ipse-dixit postulates, and unilaterally claimed victory. I'm seriously not impressed.
The burden of proof falls on those who claim the existence of something. If you claim that there is rational evidence that is not subjective in morality or moral rules, you must give that proof.
Dostoyevsky does not believe that such a thing exists. Then it is not he who must prove it, but you.

If you know something about politics or business world you cannot deny that many people behave cynically (Critias). Don't ask me for proof of something so simple.

I think my first three points are solid. Go to the point of loving Christ.

Here Dostoevsky makes a statement of fact.

A statement of fact says something really exists. Dostoevsky asserts that only Love of Christ and belief in immortality can give to men objective reasons to act compassionately (ethically). This is an affirmation that reality is so and must be demonstrated, as you correctly argue by showing facts that contradict it. Dostoyevsky responds to that attack in two ways.

One: he acknowledges that there is no evidence in favor of his theory.
Two: he tries to undermine the counter proofs by changing the concept of Love for Christ. Those who claim to love Christ but behave without compassion are not true Christians. In fact, in his novels appear these false Christians who do not behave compassionately and are repulsive.

However, point two is a persuasive manipulation. Dostoevsky has changed the usual definition of Christian to make it unfalsifiable. Every time that you show a cruel Christian he says: "He is not a true Christian".
Point one is tryng to equalize both options to benefit his own choice. If you want a compassionate morality, you must love Christ and believe in the immortality of the soul. If not you are a cynic ("nihilist", in his words) as Critias.

In this way, Dostoevsky has not maintained his position, but has made the atheist option uncomfortable. How can he present a moral system that offers some kind of objectivity or universal obligation? How can he avoid Critias' cynicism?

This probably won't "impress" a firm atheist, but it is aimed at undecided people who see Critias' position as a catastrophe. Dostoevsky was less stupid than you think.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:26 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by Aridas View Post

This has already effectively been addressed and refuted by prior points made. It fails especially by failing to take into account a fair bit of relevant information. That would be more excusable in the ancient past as they groped around with much less to work with. Not so much these days. There are certainly rational criteria to decide between norms, after all, depending on what values and goals are actually desired.
You promise great things, but you don't show one. What rational criteria of normative certainty do you mean?
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:26 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Ah, so this thread isn't just an intellectual exercise in finding out the reasons why people believe in God,
It is that, but not predominately that, it's more requesting reasons why I should believe (read the title).

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
it's intended as an opportunity for you to strike those reasons down. Sorry, I mean evaluate them.
Evaluating other peoples reasons is an opportunity to assess whether I could possibly accept them for myself or not. If you want to say that's "striking them down" then that's merely your opinion that I'm not interested in.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Do you even want one of those reasons to be valid? Do you really want the world to be such that the God of the Bible really actually exists, as described? I don't.
I there is a valid reason to believe I'd like to know it. If there is an actual god I'd like to know it, regardless that I'd prefer there wasn't.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:29 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
No, everything is not permitted. Even the cynic will feel the wrath of society, they break the norms.
Not if they're smart enough to convince society and hide their cynicism. Don't tell me you don't know enough cases of this.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:31 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm just trying to get at the reasons that avowed atheists ask questions like this.
Perhaps you conflate avowed and dogmatic?

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
In my experience it's most often in order to ridicule and debunk, rather than to genuinely inquire and understand. So far I'm not seeing anything to change that impression.
Pft.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:32 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm just trying to get at the reasons that avowed atheists ask questions like this. In my experience it's most often in order to ridicule and debunk, rather than to genuinely inquire and understand. So far I'm not seeing anything to change that impression.
I'm not sure why you think the two are mutually exclusive. Especially since, yes, you have to understand something before you decide it's bonkers mental.

It seems to me like you're saying I should use my brain only on half of the problem or the other, but somehow have an interlock against keeping it on for both.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:40 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I'm not sure why you think the two are mutually exclusive. Especially since, yes, you have to understand something before you decide it's bonkers mental.
Again in my experience, many atheists do not understand the religion that they are disavowing. They come to atheism via other reasons, and never bother to learn about, for example, the Bible, because "it's all nonsense anyway" so what's the point?

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It seems to me like you're saying I should use my brain only on half of the problem or the other, but somehow have an interlock against keeping it on for both.
I'm just trying to nail down the purpose of the thread. If you are learning only to ridicule, then I don't think that's a good use of your time. Spend time learning other things.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:46 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The burden of proof falls on those who claim the existence of something. If you claim that there is rational evidence that is not subjective in morality or moral rules, you must give that proof.
Dostoyevsky does not believe that such a thing exists. Then it is not he who must prove it, but you.
Nobody claimed that it's not subjective, so what you're repeatedly doing is creating your own STRAWMAN and demanding that someone defend it. Which is patently nonsense.

But the point is that you haven't showed that the religious one isn't. And until you make and support that claim, then just harping on some form of "but secular morality is subjective", is meaningless. And by now stupid, since that point was addressed repeatedly already.

Again, it's like saying that Leghorn roosters are the worst, because they don't lay eggs. Well, as opposed to what? What other roosters do lay eggs? Until a claim is made and supported that some other roosters do lay eggs, harping on the fact that Leghorn ones don't is just bloody nonsense.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
This probably won't "impress" a firm atheist, but it is aimed at undecided people who see Critias' position as a catastrophe. Dostoevsky was less stupid than you think.
I don't care if he's stupid or not, he's for a start a textbook case of appeal to false authority. Even if I were to allow, for the scope of this argument, the informal logic heuristics for just trusting a source without looking at what's their data for it, Dostoevsky just isn't a relevant source for statements about sociology and psychology. He doesn't have a degree in either (unsurprising, since the disciplines didn't even exist yet), he has done NO proper studies, he has published NO papers, has NO peer review in the relevant fields for his claims, and his data sample is of exactly ONE. And even that one isn't a random guy, but someone who self-admittedly has mystical feelings when his epilepsy aura strikes. Waving HIM around as some authority, that I need some special reason to disagree with, is a textbook fallacy.

Second, even smart people and on their own domain make mistakes. Behe, for example, actually has a Ph.D. in biology, IIRC, but his arguments for intelligent designs are flat out wrong anyway. So even if Dostoevsky had a Ph.D. in philosophy or sociology, he'd STILL have to show the data that supports those assertions. He'd have to show that he cleared the bar for disproving the null hypothesis in that case, as well as competing hypotheses, such as that, you know, his really talking about his epilepsy auras rather than about how a normal human operates.

In any case, he doesn't get to be automatically right, just because he's a smart cookie.
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:56 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Again in my experience, many atheists do not understand the religion that they are disavowing. They come to atheism via other reasons, and never bother to learn about, for example, the Bible, because "it's all nonsense anyway" so what's the point?
Many do, but as you well know, many on this board have studied the Bible enough to be ordained if we so wished. I for one have repeatedly provided not only exact verse numbers, but also the mainstream theological interpretations (well, mostly the Catholic ones) on occasion, and even occasional Midrash and Talmud interpretations for the OT.

And not just Xianity. I also have at least read the Quran and several other religious texts, and can even tell you mainstream fatwas (interpretations) for the former.

So while I understand your concern about SOME unspecified atheists out there that aren't even in this thread, I think that I'm qualified enough to make fun of religion.

And on the topic of Dostoevsky's assertions about how humans work, I did study anthropology for a year. Well, that's not much, and you definitely shouldn't take me as an authority on that field, but it's still:
A) one more year than Dostoevsky had,
and more importantly,
B) enough to know that there are valid ways of collecting such data, and that one guy rationalizing his own epileptic experiences is not it. Basically enough to ask "where's the data" and "how was it obtained."

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm just trying to nail down the purpose of the thread. If you are learning only to ridicule, then I don't think that's a good use of your time. Spend time learning other things.
Even if that were the case -- although, as I was saying, I'm actually more than open and willing to be given a reason to believe in the Norse gods -- what's the problem? Humour is a useful tool. If I actually learned to take the piss better from such a thread, it seems to me like it would be time well spent
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Old 20th February 2019, 12:58 AM   #275
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post

So you can turn belief on and off at will? Maybe raise money by starting a bidding war over whether or not you'll believe or not, because you can choose either way?

Ridiculous.

Now, I do agree that someone's beliefs may change over time, they're not immutable, but the possibility of changing over time is not the same as belief being a simple matter of choice.
Arguments that are not strictly scientific do not lead to immediate persuasion. Even among scientists things are not so simple. It would be absurd to pretend that I am going to convince someone in this forum by giving a definitive argument against or in favor of the existence of God. Dostoevsky's intention is to undermine the trust of the atheist of good will or the undecided. He tries to change his point of view on something fundamental - of course, not suddenly - so that he himself gets closer to Dostoevsky's point of departure.
So all atheists who respond with contempt or intransigence are losing the battle from the beginning. The cases in which a furious atheist ends up asking for Viaticum are not few and demonstrate that the loudest positions are not always the most solids.
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:03 AM   #276
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Dostoevsky's intention is to undermine the trust of the atheist of good will or the undecided.
Yes, I think that was clear to everyone. Because we've all seen others do the same attempts at spreading unfounded fear, uncertainty and doubt, when they don't actually have a logical argument for their religion. And not even just another case of fear, uncertainty and doubt, but the SAME one over and over again. It's always the SAME assertions that you should fear the atheists, because they have no morals, and nothing stops them from deciding to kill or rape you or whatever. As Aridas too has said before, it's actually mainstream for religious propaganda these days.

Even Dostoevsky, I'm pretty sure I've heard for example William Lane Craig quote the Brothers Karamazov quip that "without god, everything is allowed", when it served his purposes. So, you know, it doesn't come as as much of a total intellectual surprise when you pop up with Dostoevsky. Heard that position before.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
So all atheists who respond with contempt or intransigence are losing the battle from the beginning. The cases in which a furious atheist ends up asking for Viaticum are not few and demonstrate that the loudest positions are not always the most solids.
Oh gee, fantasies about how anyone who doesn't play by your strawmen and ipse-dixit assertions have already lost. Just when I was thinking your arguments can't get any more crackpot.

You first get to show that your arguments are in fact SOUND, before deciding who lost. Not INSTEAD of showing a sound argument. Fantasies about how someone has lost if they don't play by your redefining the rules, that's... just bloody sad, that's what it is.
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:07 AM   #277
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Nobody claimed that it's not subjective, (...)

But the point is that you haven't showed that the religious one isn't. And until you make and support that claim, then just harping on some form of "but secular morality is subjective", is meaningless. (...)
By now you should know what my posture is and what Dostoevsky's posture is. Fine-tune your reading, please.
Dostoevsky does not claim that all atheists are bad people. He claims that they don't have the intellectual weapons to defeat Critias, the cynic. Therefore, their position is weak.

Therefore, he tries to convince that if we consider Critias to be the main enemy, we will have to renounce atheism.
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:11 AM   #278
Aridas
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I fail to see how statements boiling down to "atheists have no morals, everything is permitted" or "atheists live every day in abject terror of eternal death" would be exempt from such standards. If one makes clear statements about other people, then they better show the study that showed that.
Minor correction. The argument is more along the lines of "atheists should live in unending abject terror of eternal death and, if they aren't, are inauthentic losers."

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Hi all. Been following the thread with quiet interest without having too much to contribute, but thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts. Regarding reasons for conversions (pertinent to the OP and asked specifically by Thor 2), the one I have heard the most is from people who felt badly about themselves or their actions/behaviours and were disappointed with their seeming inability to change. I have heard many "testimonies" from people who felt unlovable and were moved to hear about (and "feel a sense of") being loved by God. I've heard a lot of people accredit that experience, and their response in faith thereto , as being a turning point for them towards realizing and maintaining the positive change they had desired beforehand. I have had similar experiences, though having grown up in a religious household, it wasn't so much from an outside perspective.

I think this is an important caveat to the idea that religion only solves problems it has created; plenty of people have poor self-image/esteem without any religious influence. I think that's also a big reason why religion is more prevalent (and "outreach" more convincing) among low-income/education demographics including those involved with crime. it's a pretty major theme of the new testament gospels as well (i.e., "it is the sick, not the healthy that need a doctor")
I think that this is a pretty fair assessment.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
and I think people's natural tendency to be self-critical and desire self-improvement is part of why christian religious thinking has resonated so strongly and broadly.
I think that you're a little bit off track here, though, much as my objection here has more to do with the emphasis implicit in singling out a single reason. I would rate that as, at best, a minor factor or derivative from more important factors overall.

Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Anyway, that's one perspective as to why some people believe. As you can see, it's got nothing to do with the logical feasibility of the existence of god(s), which I think is true for most theists and a "deal breaker" for most atheists. It may also be why it's difficult for a thread like this to have a productive outcome (though hopefully the discussion itself has some value for the participants and audience along the way at least). Cheers!
For a discussion like this to actually convince people to believe or not to believe, it would likely need to address the underlying values that are being invoked. Otherwise... a Mormon complaint rises to mind. "Just let us have our stories! What does it matter if they're true or not, when they offer us and each other an amazing, friendly community and happy lives that lead to positive impacts on the world?"


Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Hi, thanks for contributing. Iím not sure how much ďbeing loved by GodĒ is an actual factor or whether itís actually more the religious community itself. Sure, religious communities can be effective at giving those that need it a sense of belonging, companionship, family, personal worth, etc. But so can and do criminal biker gangs, neo-nazi groups, and (less offensively to us Iím sure) social and sporting communities as well. Might we agree that the end doesnít always justify the means (if ever)?
Feel free to throw out the "being loved by God" as an actual factor, I'd say. What matters more is the set of beliefs that are actually being embraced. "I am loved. I am worthwhile. I am special (in a good way)." If you truly believe things like these, obviously, life will be much more attractive than if you don't. The effect is dramatically more noticeable and desirable for those who aren't doing so well on that front, as is to be expected. Having community is also a beneficial thing, though, yes, as you noted. It's worth noting to your generalization that different communities offer different benefits and drawbacks to people and thus some will be notably more attractive to people than others.

Originally Posted by ynot View Post
The more complete quote is ďIt is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentanceĒ. So nothing to do with poor self-image/esteem or low-income/education, but everything to do with being ďsickĒ because youíre a ďsinnerĒ. I think itís more likely to be religious community than religious thinking that has resonated so strongly and broadly. Merely a guess from my own assessment.
Your assessment... would be more on point for those already heavily influenced by that faith more or less. When you have cases of people simply feeling that "something is wrong here" and subconsciously groping about for answers and preferably a solution, sin doesn't factor in so much.
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:16 AM   #279
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I don't care if he's stupid or not, he's for a start a textbook case of appeal to false authority. Even if I were to allow, for the scope of this argument, the informal logic heuristics for just trusting a source without looking at what's their data for it, Dostoevsky just isn't a relevant source for statements about sociology and psychology. He doesn't have a degree in either (unsurprising, since the disciplines didn't even exist yet), he has done NO proper studies, he has published NO papers, has NO peer review in the relevant fields for his claims, and his data sample is of exactly ONE. And even that one isn't a random guy, but someone who self-admittedly has mystical feelings when his epilepsy aura strikes. Waving HIM around as some authority, that I need some special reason to disagree with, is a textbook fallacy.

Second, even smart people and on their own domain make mistakes. Behe, for example, actually has a Ph.D. in biology, IIRC, but his arguments for intelligent designs are flat out wrong anyway. So even if Dostoevsky had a Ph.D. in philosophy or sociology, he'd STILL have to show the data that supports those assertions. He'd have to show that he cleared the bar for disproving the null hypothesis in that case, as well as competing hypotheses, such as that, you know, his really talking about his epilepsy auras rather than about how a normal human operates.
I don't know what data you're asking for.
Your claim that what has not been published in a scientific journal is false is absurd. There are important questions for humanity that are not purely scientific.
95% or more of the things we discuss in this forum have not been published in any scientific journal.

Let's discuss what Dostoevsky said, please.
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Old 20th February 2019, 01:19 AM   #280
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
By now you should know what my posture is and what Dostoevsky's posture is. Fine-tune your reading, please.
Dostoevsky does not claim that all atheists are bad people. He claims that they don't have the intellectual weapons to defeat Critias, the cynic. Therefore, their position is weak.
Again, first you have to show that theists do, before it means anything. Otherwise again, it's like saying that Longhorn roosters are useless because they don't lay eggs, as opposed to the other roosters, which also don't.

And it seems to me like Dostoevsky himself has put a lot of effort in showing that no, religion doesn't stop people from bending the rules to their own ends. In fact, he outright has a problem with organized religion, as one way to bend those rules in a pretzel. Read the chapter titled "The Grand Inquisitor" for example.

And sure, you could do a "No True Scotsman" and claim that, yeah, but that's because those who bend the rules aren't True Scotsmen... err... True Christians, that just weakens that position even more. Because if you can't tell whether your Critias has actually become a True Scotsman... err... Xian or not, then the whole idiocy of defeating him by religion has failed. Epically. So epically in fact that future bards might sing a National Epic Fail about it.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Therefore, he tries to convince that if we consider Critias to be the main enemy, we will have to renounce atheism.
Which, as I already addressed repeatedly, is illogical nonsense. Even if some belief would be useful -- though again, I don't see you showing any evidence even for that -- it does not make that belief true. I.e., it's not evidence for that belief. As such, no, it's not a logical reason for that belief.
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