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Old 10th April 2019, 06:22 PM   #481
GDon
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
It just seems that every topic becomes the same (I don't know what the atheist version of Godwin's law is...maybe something about the Crusades?) even if someone wants to discuss a specific idea, it still comes back to the same thing.
I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.
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Old 11th April 2019, 01:44 AM   #482
IanS
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post

Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
I thought I was clear, I'm fine with the prevailing tendency of this board and there are interesting discussions. It just seems that every topic becomes the same (I don't know what the atheist version of Godwin's law is...maybe something about the Crusades?) even if someone wants to discuss a specific idea, it still comes back to the same thing.

I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.

I don't think any of the above is true at all. If Christians make some argument that's not from the bible, eg if they claim to have good evidence showing that local politicians have misused taxpayers money, or if they say the local bus company cancelled half of the service last Wednesday, then they would not find atheists quoting passages from the bible to dispute what the Christians had said about local taxes or buses or whatever.

The only reason why atheists ever quote passages from the bible in any arguments like that, is because Christians are of course making their arguments from a belief in those biblical passages.

As for why the same arguments keep being made by atheists on forums like this, the reason is entirely because theists keep making the same claims of miracles and supernatural gods from the bible. If Christians stopped making their innumerable and constant religious claims from the bible, and stopped trying to insert those religious beliefs into all aspects of society (ie into government & schools etc), then atheists would not be criticising those Christians for their belief in the bible as a source of divine truth and the miraculous.
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Old 11th April 2019, 04:10 AM   #483
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'd say the Godwin's Law equivalent would be the atheist tying the argument back to the Bible, especially "it's not in the Bible!", even if the argument has nothing to do with the Bible.
Actually, I feel like there should be a "here's your sign" for idiots who claim that they're following the God of the Bible, or that some argument of theirs is supported by said God, but then feel somehow violated when asked to support that it actually is the same entity.

Look, if you want to claim that you follow Dagon or Yog Sothoth, trust me, none of us will ask where in the Bible does it say that Yog Sothoth is the gate, and the key, and the guardian of the gate. We might ask where in Lovecraft does it say that, but not the Bible.

But pretending that you're still talking about entity X, except you're just making up your own version of every defining attribute of it, is not just stupid, it's dishonest too. It's like if I went on a cat fancier forum to discuss my "cat", except it has webbed feet, feathers, a bill, and goes "quack." Then calling it a cat is just dishonest and stupidly so.

Same for these numbskulls' god. If they're so appalled by it being confused with the one in the Bible, then they can stop pretending to talk about the same one. It's that simple.

Words have meanings. "Jesus" is a word too. 'Nuff said.
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Old 11th April 2019, 04:38 AM   #484
GDon
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
But pretending that you're still talking about entity X, except you're just making up your own version of every defining attribute of it, is not just stupid, it's dishonest too.
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's like if I went on a cat fancier forum to discuss my "cat", except it has webbed feet, feathers, a bill, and goes "quack." Then calling it a cat is just dishonest and stupidly so.
A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?

Last edited by GDon; 11th April 2019 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 11th April 2019, 05:19 AM   #485
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?
I have lost count of the number of times you have been asked this question, and failed to answer it.
Both you and TBD seem to think that atheists are not qualified to define god, so perhaps you guys, and any other theists on this forum, should have a go.
It would be interesting to see if any of you agree, by the way.
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Old 11th April 2019, 06:56 AM   #486
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.


A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?
There is no true definition of anything. There are different uses of a word by different speakers. There are definitions that are more or less adequate or more or less useful for certain purposes. Not true or false.

When in doubt, it is advisable for participants in a conversation or debate to clarify how they use the word. But you don't want to. This is not the way to debate.
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Old 11th April 2019, 07:19 AM   #487
IanS
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's also theism. Not necessarily mutually exclusive with stupidity and dishonesty, of course.


A theist going to an atheist forum to talk about God is like someone with a "cat" going to a cat fancier forum? I don't see it.

What is the true definition of God, then? Can we have a cat-fancier-forum agreement on that, please?

He's saying (in that example) the theist goes in to talk about"God", except it's not what everyone else means by God (he's calling it "God", but it turns out he's describing a duck!).
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Old 11th April 2019, 07:44 AM   #488
HansMustermann
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A cat may or may not be the best analogy.

Let's rather imagine that person X goes on the literature forum to post that X fully agrees with count Pyotr "Pierre" Kirillovich Bezukhov, that we should do Y and Z. Well, some smart cookie who's read War And Peace might object that ol' Pyotr said no such thing in the book. And then it would turn out that X has never even read War And Peace, and has just made up a count Bezukhov that agrees with whatever X wants to believe.

And I put it to you that if X did that in a literature forum, and just made up what some character from a book says, everyone might think that X is an idiot, and for good reason.

And doubly so if X were to then proceed to make a fuss about how unfair it is of them -- downright on par with a Godwin, even -- to ask where in the book it says that, instead of just letting X talk out the ass.

Yeah, now you know, how this kind of "like nailing jello to a wall" woowooists... err... I mean theists come across to me.

Ditto for any other form of fandom. Like if X went on a Dr Who forum to discuss about how Dr Who supported the right to use guns, and then got offended when they ask in which episode does he defend guns, again, they might think X is just an idiot poser. And be right in that situation. Or if X went to a comic book forum and proceeded to drone about how Batman is the best because he has a big skull on the chest and is deadly with a sniper rifle, again, the words that would be on everyone's mind are "idiot poser."

Only for religion, it seems, you can pretend to talk about a character like "Jesus" from a book like "the Bible", while just pulling your own version from the butt. And then be righteously offended when anyone asks where does the book actually say that.
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Old 11th April 2019, 11:25 AM   #489
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I am not a theist, but I am surrounded by them day to day.

I have on many occasions entered into amicable discussions with them.
I usually begin with my difficulty in deciding which deity is THE ONE. I am at a loss to choose among them. Generally, the theist is not interested in the possibility that he/she may have made the wrong choice, but is quite interested in helping me to understand that their choice is the only possible correct one.

I am overrun with offers to help me understand the benefits of believing in THE ONE (Obviously this doesn't apply to the Hindu or Buddist), and with kind offers to help me overcome my "problem".

The christian theists (with whom I am most familiar) are not generally interested in discussing textual criticism, nor swayed by the scientific contradictions inherent in a modern life of posting religious memes denying evolution on the internet, using hand held mini-computers.

Their "faith" comes first. They "know" GOD from within, are personally familiar with "him". He gives them "strength", "calm", or whatever they want from "him". They feel "him" inside of themselves.

The following is an excellent description of such a theist from earlier in the thread:
Originally Posted by attempt5001 View Post
Okay, here's an example description (one of many along the same lines) of someone I know well and personally. Middle aged woman, mother of 4 very kind and well-adjusted children, married ~20 years, medical doctor, generous, kind and considerate towards people of all sorts. Raised in a Christian home, became more involved in and committed to her faith as a young adult. Knows that faith and science are sometimes at odds, but has found intense peace, comfort, joy, hope, inspiration etc. in times of prayer and other expressions of her faith, both privately and within her community. As such, she is not concerned about trying to define her belief in ways that are congruent with "all current knowledge and understanding of reality", but is very happy to continue to explore and express her faith within the context of Christianity.
Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.
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Old 19th April 2019, 03:32 PM   #490
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post
I am not a theist, but I am surrounded by them day to day.

I have on many occasions entered into amicable discussions with them.
I usually begin with my difficulty in deciding which deity is THE ONE. I am at a loss to choose among them. Generally, the theist is not interested in the possibility that he/she may have made the wrong choice, but is quite interested in helping me to understand that their choice is the only possible correct one.

I am overrun with offers to help me understand the benefits of believing in THE ONE (Obviously this doesn't apply to the Hindu or Buddist), and with kind offers to help me overcome my "problem".

The christian theists (with whom I am most familiar) are not generally interested in discussing textual criticism, nor swayed by the scientific contradictions inherent in a modern life of posting religious memes denying evolution on the internet, using hand held mini-computers.

Their "faith" comes first. They "know" GOD from within, are personally familiar with "him". He gives them "strength", "calm", or whatever they want from "him". They feel "him" inside of themselves.

The following is an excellent description of such a theist from earlier in the thread:


Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.

Yes, how true this is.

The author of "A Manual For Creating Atheists", Peter Boghossian, writes:


Quote:
Almost everyone can relate to having had conversations with friends, family, coworkers, where you are left shaking your head and wondering how in the world they can believe what they believe—conversations where they fully and uniformly dismiss every fact and piece of evidence presented to them.

I most certainly can relate to this after many discussions, mainly with extended family members. Peters suggestion however is:


Quote:
When speaking with people who hold beliefs based on faith, don’t get into a debate about facts or evidence or even their specific beliefs. Rather, get them to question the manner in which they’ve reached their beliefs—that is, get them to question the value of faith in appraising the world. Once they question the value of faith, all the unevidenced and unreasoned beliefs will inevitably collapse on their own.

Peter claims some success with this approach - although fairly modest I sense. It is quite difficult to do I find, when presented with that seemingly impenetrable wall of, "I know because I have this relationship with Jesus", or other words to that effect.
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Old 20th April 2019, 04:30 AM   #491
IanS
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Originally Posted by MuDPhuD View Post

Given the theist's position that they know GOD personally, can feel his presence inside of themselves, there is no rational argument regarding the Bible or science which will convince them otherwise.
Everything is posthoc rationalization from the point of "God is real, I know him".

I have on occasion attempted to address this by pointing out that these feelings, the inner presence they feel, are common to all theists.
The Muslim, Hindu, Jew, and Christian are all utterly convinced that their personal experience of God represents THEIR OWN Gods, not any one else's, to the point of slaughtering one another to prove the point.

I have not had an amicable discussion with a theist go any farther than this, but I feel that this is the sticking point. When a person can recognize that their inner feeling of their deity and the emotional support that provides is actually the same as every theist's experience in every religion through all of human history history, then that person may be open to see that these internal states, common to us all, are no more than internal states, do not represent "god" but represent the working of their own individual mind.

Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Yes, how true this is.

The author of "A Manual For Creating Atheists", Peter Boghossian, writes:

Quote:
Almost everyone can relate to having had conversations with friends, family, coworkers, where you are left shaking your head and wondering how in the world they can believe what they believe—conversations where they fully and uniformly dismiss every fact and piece of evidence presented to them.


I most certainly can relate to this after many discussions, mainly with extended family members. Peters suggestion however is:

Quote:
When speaking with people who hold beliefs based on faith, don’t get into a debate about facts or evidence or even their specific beliefs. Rather, get them to question the manner in which they’ve reached their beliefs—that is, get them to question the value of faith in appraising the world. Once they question the value of faith, all the unevidenced and unreasoned beliefs will inevitably collapse on their own.


Peter claims some success with this approach - although fairly modest I sense. It is quite difficult to do I find, when presented with that seemingly impenetrable wall of, "I know because I have this relationship with Jesus", or other words to that effect.


Just re. The above 3 highlighted parts and what Mr Boghossian says - in those two quotes, as presented, there is actually no evidence, data, or facts to support Mr Boghossian if he is saying that (1) explaining to theists how and why all the evidence from science (it is virtually everything ever investigated and explained by science) is not effective to dissuade people from religious belief, but that (2) it is instead effective to present theists with arguments that question "the value" of their religious faith. Unless he's offering some good data & evidence to back that up, then as his mere opinion it isn't worth very much.

When I have said here (many times) that the discoveries of science (especially evolution, but in fact everything ever investigated by science) really show that religious belief in supernatural gods and miracles is no longer credible, that does not necessarily mean that I'm in the business of trying to convert theists away from religion and claiming that science is the best way to do it.

On the other hand, afaik, it's a fact that in educated parts of the world eg in most of Europe, starting from around the time of Galileo with the emergence of what we now recognise as “modern science” (as distinct from what certain ancient philosophers were doing as an early form of scientific approach), belief in religion has increasingly declined as the public awareness and understanding of science has increased, ie over the period from 1600 to the present day.

It's also a “fact”, that today, according to all sorts of opinion polls, people who are more highly educated in science (ie core science, not the more vague fringe stuff), are very significantly less likely to believe in a literal god, miracles, or heaven etc. So that is clear evidence of how increased understanding of science does directly decrease peoples belief in religions.

Although I'm not really in the business of trying to convert theists to atheism or agnosticism, I think science offers by far the best method of doing that, simply because science is presenting absolutely unarguable evidence and indisputable explanations – eg the evidence from evolution is completely overwhelming.

Whereas any other approach that relies on such ideas as trying to tell theists that various sentences and words in their ancient holy books are incompatible with such things as cruelty to children or that they are expressing unaceptable homophobic or misogynistic passages etc., is I think, quite obviously, wide open to all manner of theist rebuttals about what the words really meant, whether or not modern translations are accurate, whether or not such unacceptable sentences are contradicted by other biblical or koranic sentences that say something less objectionable, whether or not the copies that we have today are accurate to what the original “prophets” really said (since no originals exist for any of that biblical writing). That sort of approach against theism is quite obviously filled from end-to-end with all manner of vagaries and subjective claims and counter-claims. To me that seems a very weak and indecisive approach from it's very beginning.

All that said – of course religious creationists will simply deny such science as human evolution. But that does not mean they have any good honest argument against it. It just means they are left making claims that any honest objective person can see as immediately dishonest and/or religiously delusional … and that's not exactly a good advertisement to any others who may be in the early stages of trying to decide whether or not that faith is presenting honest educated information … and that may be why today in many countries religious belief is afaik declining amongst younger people.

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Old Yesterday, 03:21 PM   #492
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I have no argument with what you are saying, about scientific progress eroding religious belief. The evidence in support of this is overwhelming as you suggest, and not refuted by Peter Boghossian.

Peter is talking about the best way to talk a welded on theist out of belief and his approach seems somewhat amicable.

If someone is not that strong in belief and wavering, an appeal to reason supported by scientifically arrived at facts, can be an effective approach. I have used this myself and do claim some success, in converting the not so faithful, faithful.

From my experience this approach has very limited success with the strong, "I have a relationship with Jesus.", folk. Boy, have I tried this over, and over, and over. My emails too and from my nephew would fill a book. Every time I have him backed into a corner the ultimate, "I know because Jesus tells me." and "This stuff is beyond our understanding cause we can't know the ways of God.", is pulled out. Where do you go from here?
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