Porn for Bibles

If you must!

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 9th, 2011, 10:01 pm

Spots wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
people don't always tend to be good. friends can lie, betray, neglect.


Are we not talking in the abstract? I don't know too many people who have faith in humanity for this precise reason. Kurt Vonnegut was in a constant state of depression: "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

When you say "friends can lie, betray, neglect" you are bringing your own subjective experiences into an objective concept. People do or do not have faith in humanity based on past experience.

Children for instance tend to have more confidence and be trusting toward all adults because they have few negative experiences to draw on. You and I might refer to this as naivety.

Do we not call this a "faith in humanity"? Do we not distinguish between this naive faith in strangers with the belief in a higher power?


i'm saying it's all part of the same experience. you don't have faith in humanity SIMPLE because you've seen the good people can do and your friends are trustworthy (that's not faith, that's just responding to stimuli). you also have faith in humanity despite the fact that you've seen the ill people can do and been betrayed. because it's not faith in the immediate reality of humanity but in its potential (belief in things unseen).

which is why cynics and skeptics make the best prophets, if they can endure long enough. ;)

Spots wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:[similar to the] simple love of friends and family. we cannot prove its existence, but we can feel its presence


This is very poetic and I love the passion behind it. I love the argument as well. But in my own narrative, I cannot deny that there are definite signs that indicate family & friends have feelings for me. Humans show emotion, they bleed subtext, they yearn and act on their feelings. Even when my sister lashes out at me and hurts my feelings, through the existence of tendencies I know she does it because she cares for me.

This extrapolation [to me] is very very very different when I've never met said being face to face.


and yet any number of people or scientific theories would argue that those actions and perceptions are the result of tribal instincts, learned behaviors, accepted social cues, chemical response, or even good old psychological projection!

but for all that, underneath it all, you FEEL that love in a real but unquantifiable way. and it's the same with God and God's love...i FEEL it, but i can't prove it. and it's no less real just because there's no face to go along with it. ;) (or, in my own theology, where all of life is the divine manifesting itself and experiencing its own creation subjectively, it has an abundant myriad of faces. lol!)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spots » February 10th, 2011, 12:35 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
but for all that, underneath it all, you FEEL that love in a real but unquantifiable way.


Jordan, I know I grew up as a sensitive, loving child. I know I was very physical, hugging & jumping up on adults. Kissing them, giving and taking raspberries. I was always expressing my feelings. I even wrote them on a weekly basis for my mom's writing assignments. But right about now you have me doubting myself and making me feel as though I'm a sociopath. "Do I feel that love? Do I feel love the same way Jordan does?"

I don't know, I just don't know. Maybe I became a cynic at same point and unlearned that love, the trust that it requires. Maybe I became incapable of feeling this intangible feeling.

Because beyond stimuli and the occasional emotional attachment, I don't feel anything. :(

It's like you have a superpower that I lack. This is one reason I refuse to go strictly with logic. I don't want to fall too far into the void. Humans are emotional creatures. We have to go with our gut. And right now my gut is telling me to give up on the idea of control.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 10th, 2011, 10:54 am

Spots wrote:and the occasional emotional attachment


that. right there. that's all i'm talking about, really. you're fine, brother. ;) the mundane is the mystical, and vice versa. :)

i do feel a bit like i've diverged into arguing semantics, so i'll back out a bit before we all just start whipping our dictionaries out. ;) my essential point is that, yes, there are different KINDS of faith, just as there are different kinds of love (and, indeed, different kinds of fear)...but the underlying emotional and intellectual impulse, the fundamental human drive behind each different kind is primally the same. s'all i'm saying. your mileage may vary (i drive a truck, after all...). 8)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby B. Tribe » February 10th, 2011, 11:28 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:and yet any number of people or scientific theories would argue that those actions and perceptions are the result of tribal instincts, learned behaviors, accepted social cues, chemical response, or even good old psychological projection!

but for all that, underneath it all, you FEEL that love in a real but unquantifiable way. and it's the same with God and God's love...i FEEL it, but i can't prove it. and it's no less real just because there's no face to go along with it.


So that feeling supersedes facts? Even those feelings are quantifiable by science. There are reasons humans feel like they have a soul, that the mind seems to be separate from the body. Feeling doesn't make it so. That's all perception. You're ignoring facts in favor of your personal truth. And the next thing I say is super douchey: that's willing ignorance. You actually state the provable facts in the first paragraph and then opt for subjective emotional-based decisions. Que?
User avatar
B. Tribe
 
Posts: 309
Joined: June 24th, 2009, 11:23 am

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 10th, 2011, 1:00 pm

B. Tribe wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:and yet any number of people or scientific theories would argue that those actions and perceptions are the result of tribal instincts, learned behaviors, accepted social cues, chemical response, or even good old psychological projection!

but for all that, underneath it all, you FEEL that love in a real but unquantifiable way. and it's the same with God and God's love...i FEEL it, but i can't prove it. and it's no less real just because there's no face to go along with it.


So that feeling supersedes facts? Even those feelings are quantifiable by science. There are reasons humans feel like they have a soul, that the mind seems to be separate from the body. Feeling doesn't make it so. That's all perception. You're ignoring facts in favor of your personal truth. And the next thing I say is super douchey: that's willing ignorance. You actually state the provable facts in the first paragraph and then opt for subjective emotional-based decisions. Que?


i'm not ignoring anything. first of all, many of the things i stated are not so much provable facts as disprovable theories (which are still valid). second, the fact that love has a chemical, biological, psychological and/or sociological component does not deny or disprove any emotional or spiritual component to it. in what way is acknowledging scientific facts and/or theories and reconciling them into my belief system so that they exist side by side with my "personal truth" willful ignorance? if the emotional and spiritual experience of love manifests itself in our physical bodies as chemical reactions, if is filtered through our psychological make up and we actualize it through those learned behaviors and social cues, if the bonds to family and our close "community" are facilitated by ingrained tribal and survival instincts, if it is in turn (sometimes) paired with our biological imperative to reproduce...where is the denial? where is the contradiction? where is the willful ignorance? it is no more difficult for me to accept and believe all of that than it is for me to look at evolution and still see the hand of God as the Creator (though i don't think that aspect needs to be taught in public school science classes, lest we slip into THAT debate. ;) ).

i'm not exalting faith above reason, perception above proof, truth above facts. i'm saying they can and, to my mind, should work together. perhaps i should have stated that at some point before. :P

to digress for a bit, this does remind me of one of my favorite anecdotes (i think i've shared it with Jesse before). Carl Sagan met the Dalai Lama once and asked him, "if science could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that reincarnation does not exist, what would you tell your followers?" the Dalai Lama thinks for a second and says, "well, if you could prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt, i would instruct my followers to no longer believe in reincarnation." Sagan was taken aback as he had not expected such an answer, then leaned back and smiled. the Dalai Lama then leaned in with a smile of his own and said, "So tell me...how would you go about proving that?"

8)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby B. Tribe » February 11th, 2011, 10:09 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:in what way is acknowledging scientific facts and/or theories and reconciling them into my belief system so that they exist side by side with my "personal truth" willful ignorance?


Acknowledging the facts and then adding to them isn't as egregious as completely ignoring them, so you're ahead of a lot of people on that. You're still modifying the facts to fit what you feel, not what is actual. Your personal truth dodges the underlying implications of the evidence; that perception, intelligence, self-awareness fall into the realm of fact and those things are not spiritual or supernatural in origin. They exist regardless of our truths. So any personal truth you feel is still biological/psychological in origin, a.k.a scientific facts.


Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:if the emotional and spiritual experience of love manifests itself in our physical bodies as chemical reactions, if is filtered through our psychological make up and we actualize it through those learned behaviors and social cues, if the bonds to family and our close "community" are facilitated by ingrained tribal and survival instincts, if it is in turn (sometimes) paired with our biological imperative to reproduce...where is the denial? where is the contradiction? where is the willful ignorance?


I bolded 'manifest' because I read that section over and over again trying to figure out what you were getting at since you were stating facts which I agree with. I didn't see what you were getting at until I acknowledged that word. There's a contradiction there because you're attributing a supernatural origin for chemical reactions. You lay something without evidence over something with evidence; belief on top of fact. That is denial in essence because you are denying the implication (I don't think thats the right word) that there is no supernatural hand involved. It's almost "God of the Gaps" as you are creating a gap where there is none. Your added gap is between facts and the reason those facts exist; facts exist because God made them exist. That leads to the "Prime Mover" argument which leads to "Flying Spaghetti Monster".

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:it is no more difficult for me to accept and believe all of that than it is for me to look at evolution and still see the hand of God as the Creator.


Bless his noodley appendage.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:Carl Sagan met the Dalai Lama once and asked him, "if science could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that reincarnation does not exist, what would you tell your followers?" the Dalai Lama thinks for a second and says, "well, if you could prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt, i would instruct my followers to no longer believe in reincarnation." Sagan was taken aback as he had not expected such an answer, then leaned back and smiled. the Dalai Lama then leaned in with a smile of his own and said, "So tell me...how would you go about proving that?"


Far be it from me to disagree with Sagan, but he should have replied "How do you go about proving reincarnation does exist?". It's not up to science to disprove reincarnation (or any other supernatural claim). You can't disprove something that has no evidence. Prove that there isn't an invisible, intangible fairy that lives 2 feet behind us at all times and lives off our positive thoughts. Read Sagan's "Dragon in my Garage". Fantastic claims require mundane (a.k.a. provable) facts.

Here's Sagan's take on that conversation (bold mine):

Carl Sagan wrote:By making pronouncements that are, even if only in principle, testable, religions, however unwillingly, enter the arena of science. Religions can no longer make unchallenged assertions about reality so long as they do not seize secular power, provided they cannot coerce belief.

In theological discussions with religious leaders, I often ask what their response would be if a central tenet of their faith were disproved by science. When I put this question to the current, 14th, Dalai Lama, he unhesitatingly replied as no conservative or fundamentalist religious leaders do: in such a case, he said, Tibetan Buddhism would have to change. Even I asked, if its a really central tenet, like (I searched for an example) reincarnation? Even then, he answered. However, he added with a twinkle, its going to be hard to disprove reincarnation.

Plainly, the Dalai Lama is right. Religious doctrine that is insulated from disproof has little reason to worry about the advance of science. The grand idea, common to many faiths, of a Creator of the Universe is one such doctrine - difficult alike to demonstrate or to dismiss.


EDIT: I'd like to add that this has been a lot of fun for me. It's rare for a believer and an atheist to have a calm argument. You make my brain work overtime, Jordan.
User avatar
B. Tribe
 
Posts: 309
Joined: June 24th, 2009, 11:23 am

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 11th, 2011, 11:41 am

B. Tribe wrote:Acknowledging the facts and then adding to them isn't as egregious as completely ignoring them, so you're ahead of a lot of people on that. You're still modifying the facts to fit what you feel, not what is actual. Your personal truth dodges the underlying implications of the evidence; that perception, intelligence, self-awareness fall into the realm of fact and those things are not spiritual or supernatural in origin. They exist regardless of our truths. So any personal truth you feel is still biological/psychological in origin, a.k.a scientific facts.


i consider it highly limiting to look at it as simply one way or the other. why can't it be both? what facts have i modified? what have i altered? i incorporate the facts into my belief system, i accept and embrace that there are biological, chemical and psychological components to something that also has spiritual and "supernatural" components. there is no denial for me. there is no contradiction.

and most importantly, what harm does it do? i am not insisting you believe as i do. so why does it seem so crucial for you to convince me that there is no spiritual or supernatural aspect to the world (when my experience tells me otherwise) and deny my belief system to ONLY recognize and acknowledge that which can be seen and empirically proven? that just sounds...boring. lol!

B. Tribe wrote:I bolded 'manifest' because I read that section over and over again trying to figure out what you were getting at since you were stating facts which I agree with. I didn't see what you were getting at until I acknowledged that word. There's a contradiction there because you're attributing a supernatural origin for chemical reactions. You lay something without evidence over something with evidence; belief on top of fact. That is denial in essence because you are denying the implication (I don't think thats the right word) that there is no supernatural hand involved. It's almost "God of the Gaps" as you are creating a gap where there is none. Your added gap is between facts and the reason those facts exist; facts exist because God made them exist. That leads to the "Prime Mover" argument which leads to "Flying Spaghetti Monster".


ugh...Flying Spaghetti Monster. if you're going to cite theological mockery, can you please use Douglas Adams instead of Dawkins? at least there's some cleverness to his irreverence. ;)

but, more to the topic at hand, my belief does not deny the facts. if anything, the facts i've learned and the experiences i've had have bolstered my faith. i see no implication that a supernatural hand is not involved. i see quite the opposite. let's even take the notion of God out of the equation (since He wasn't part of my initial point on this particular subject to begin with). to say that love is ONLY chemical reaction and learned behavior removes all sense of wonder, everything transcendent about the experience. it reduces it and us down to little more than electrically powered meat. to say that the purely biological component disproves the purely emotional is as false as it is futile. that would be like saying the periodic table of elements disproves Lord Byron. ;)

B. Tribe wrote:Bless his noodley appendage.


now you're making me hungry...

B. Tribe wrote:Far be it from me to disagree with Sagan, but he should have replied "How do you go about proving reincarnation does exist?". It's not up to science to disprove reincarnation (or any other supernatural claim). You can't disprove something that has no evidence. Prove that there isn't an invisible, intangible fairy that lives 2 feet behind us at all times and lives off our positive thoughts. Read Sagan's "Dragon in my Garage". Fantastic claims require mundane (a.k.a. provable) facts.


because reincarnation is an article of faith. it doesn't require proof. you're right, it's no more up to science to disprove reincarnation than it is up to religion to believe in gravity to make it work. they exist in different realms, under separate covenants. but who does the act of belief in reincarnation harm? what fundamental scientific principle does it undermine or deny (if anything, i think it's a pretty nifty spiritual application of the conservation of energy, lol)?

i don't need to prove there isn't a fairy behind us at all times. for all i know, there might be. it's a strange world. i honestly don't care if you believe in fairies, Thor or the Easter Bunny, as long as you're a good person and you don't try to change the science textbooks. ;)

i'll pull another quote from one of my favorite movies, Harvey (about an eccentric drunkard whose best friend is a six and a half foot tall invisible rabbit, so it seems apropos. ;) ): "In this world..you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years i was smart. I recommend pleasant."

which is not to say that intelligence and kindness can't go hand in hand, but more to speak to my underlying belief that religion, science or any other instutition doesn't mean a damn if we're not using them to be good to one another. 8)

B. Tribe wrote:Religious doctrine that is insulated from disproof has little reason to worry about the advance of science.


shifted your bold...there IS little reason to worry. just as there should be little reason for science to worry about the encroachment of faith (note: this is not to say that science and academia should not stand up for itself when the church or rabid fundamentalists come howling for the teaching of intelligent design in science class, the incorporation of scriptural stories into historical textbooks, putting the ten commandments in a high school or decrying the "evils" of stem cell research and birth control. i may be a man of faith, but i've got huge problems with the institutionalization of faith...and nutjobs are nutjobs, whatever flag they're flying. ;) ).

B. Tribe wrote:EDIT: I'd like to add that this has been a lot of fun for me. It's rare for a believer and an atheist to have a calm argument. You make my brain work overtime, Jordan.


oh, for me as well! like i said, i love a good argument and this is one of my favorite topics. i'm so used to arguing with the fundies, though, it's nice to stretch the other muscles too. ;)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby B. Tribe » February 11th, 2011, 4:31 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:i consider it highly limiting to look at it as simply one way or the other. why can't it be both? what facts have i modified? what have i altered?


You are adding something that isn't to something that is.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:and most importantly, what harm does it do?


You don't do any harm because you're a critical thinking believer. This is a separate point: most believers aren't like you; they blindly repeat doctrine and fight for awful, repressive ideas. Those who don't do these things but still identify with a particular religion tacitly support those ideas unless actively fighting against them.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:(when my experience tells me otherwise)


Experience is subjective. Scientology believe their touch can heal wounds; they've SEEN it happen. Doesn't make it real.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:i see no implication that a supernatural hand is not involved.


Which could be rephrased as "I see implications that a supernatural hand is involved." Where are these implications? Where is proof?

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:it reduces it and us down to little more than electrically powered meat.


I like being electrically powered meat! I can't explain that very well, but I do. The truth of it is as glorious to me as religion is to others.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:now you're making me hungry...


I heard somewhere that a Snickers can satisfy you.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:because reincarnation is an article of faith. it doesn't require proof.


So it exists because someone says it does?

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:it's no more up to science to disprove reincarnation than it is up to religion to believe in gravity to make it work. they exist in different realms, under separate covenants.


I can't refute that because that different realm is fantastical so I'm unable to root any scientific principles there. You've created an arena I can't fight in because it's an idea.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:but who does the act of belief in reincarnation harm?


Belief harms in that it shuts down critical thinking, producing ignorance.

Belief harms when those who believe cause violence to those who disagree with their perception of reality.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:what fundamental scientific principle does it undermine or deny?


The Scientific Method.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:if anything, i think it's a pretty nifty spiritual application of the conservation of energy


That presupposes the soul is quantifiable energy... but that's a whole 'nother thing.

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:my underlying belief that religion, science or any other instutition doesn't mean a damn if we're not using them to be good to one another. 8)


I hear that!

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:oh, for me as well! like i said, i love a good argument and this is one of my favorite topics. i'm so used to arguing with the fundies, though, it's nice to stretch the other muscles too. ;)


It's good to be prepared. We're the Boy Scouts of theological debate.

Also, a lot of what I say above are generalities and aren't directed at you. You're obviously a critical thinker who looks beyond doctrine to find a positive truth that works for you. We're on the same page with social issues and we probably dovetail politically. Plus you're a dope-ass improvisor. And tall. And blond. And viking-like.

Why aren't you worshipping Thor? You've been made in his image.
User avatar
B. Tribe
 
Posts: 309
Joined: June 24th, 2009, 11:23 am

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 11th, 2011, 5:09 pm

B. Tribe wrote:You are adding something that isn't to something that is.


except that i believe it is. the mere fact that it can't be empirically proven does not change that for me.

B. Tribe wrote:You don't do any harm because you're a critical thinking believer. This is a separate point: most believers aren't like you; they blindly repeat doctrine and fight for awful, repressive ideas. Those who don't do these things but still identify with a particular religion tacitly support those ideas unless actively fighting against them.


i don't agree. i think most believers are more like me than you give them credit for. but since we're combining faith with reason, we tend to not shout crazy shit quite as much so we're not the ones you hear from as much on the news. ;)

B. Tribe wrote:Experience is subjective. Scientology believe their touch can heal wounds; they've SEEN it happen. Doesn't make it real.


of course it's subjective. that's why i said MY experience, and not THE experience. ;)

B. Tribe wrote:Which could be rephrased as "I see implications that a supernatural hand is involved." Where are these implications? Where is proof?


well, the fact that any girl could ever fall in love with me is clearly proof of some kind of divine intervention. ;) beyond that, faith requires no proof. and the only proof i could attempt to offer can be written off as experiential and anecdotal. prove love has a spiritual component? i've felt it. that's good enough for me. the only way someone else could be convinced is to feel it themselves.

B. Tribe wrote:I like being electrically powered meat! I can't explain that very well, but I do. The truth of it is as glorious to me as religion is to others.


i like that we're electrically powered meat. i like that we're energy slowed to a solid vibrational frequency. i like that we're one intrinsic electromagnetic field away from having our atoms fly apart. but i don't believe that's ALL we are.

B. Tribe wrote:I heard somewhere that a Snickers can satisfy you.


only for a little while...before the craving returns and i must return once more into the night...

B. Tribe wrote:So it exists because someone says it does?


i don't know if it exists. i BELIEVE it does. as we've noted elsewhere, those are two separate but often complementary things. :)

B. Tribe wrote:I can't refute that because that different realm is fantastical so I'm unable to root any scientific principles there. You've created an arena I can't fight in because it's an idea.


so why fight? let's just get a beer... 8)

B. Tribe wrote:Belief harms in that it shuts down critical thinking, producing ignorance.


it clearly does not. am i without critical thinking? is the Dalai Lama? was Martin Luther King, Jr.? faith doesn't shut down critical thinking. human arrogance and laziness do that (and plenty of times those properties can be just as abundant in so called "men of science").

or...

B. Tribe wrote:Belief harms when those who believe cause violence to those who disagree with their perception of reality.


but that is not the act of belief. that's our baser human instincts causing us to lash out in fear at that which is different, which challenges us. if there were no faith or religion, we would find some other excuse to do so.

in either case, the fault in people who use faith as a crutch or a bludgeon lies in the people, not in faith. and, more to my original point, faith joined with reason neatly circumvents much of this. 8)

(and to tie it into one of my later points, it often falls on the church and the institutional authority keeping people from using their rational faculties in tandem with their faithful ones because to do so keeps them, as you say, closed minded and reliant upon the institutional authority itself...which is true of almost all institutional authority. ;) since i discovered my faith, i've always been more drawn to churches and organizations that encourage those rational faculties and questioning properties of our human spirit and gather more for fellowship and community than tribal exclusion and pack mentality.)

B. Tribe wrote:The Scientific Method.


that's a mode of investigation, not a fundamental law of the universe. if i don't experiment and confirm a hypothesis every night before bed, it's not going to undo any thermodynamic laws. ;)

B. Tribe wrote:That presupposes the soul is quantifiable energy... but that's a whole 'nother thing.


of course not. how do you quantify the infinite? 8)

B. Tribe wrote:I hear that!


well, don't start agreeing with me now, that'll just undo everything! ;)

B. Tribe wrote:Also, a lot of what I say above are generalities and aren't directed at you.


well, damn it, now my indignant outrage over it is highly undercut!

B. Tribe wrote:You're obviously a critical thinker who looks beyond doctrine to find a positive truth that works for you. We're on the same page with social issues and we probably dovetail politically. Plus you're a dope-ass improvisor. And tall. And blond. And viking-like.


awww... :oops: i'd say God bless you, but i don't want to patronize, so...may the statistical likelihood of favorable circumstances actualize in your temporal frame of reference and bring about a positive neurochemical response in your lightning powered meat carriage. 8)

B. Tribe wrote:Why aren't you worshipping Thor? You've been made in his image.


my hair's not red. and i can't grow a beard. though my hammer does grow larger when you rub it.

....

...the hammer is my penis. :P
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spots » February 11th, 2011, 5:15 pm

Jordan you did relate the Dalai Llama anecdote, and to be honest that whole "disprove my mythology" argument is one of the reasons I turned to atheism. As you told the story, it made me lose a bit of respect for the Dalai Llama. I've listened to that argument my whole life, and when I hear the anecdote it sounds like an ultimatum:

"I believe ____ but since you don't believe ____ ultimately YOU'RE more responsible for it. Prove to me ____. "

I understand why this anecdote exists. It tends to shut up nonbelievers. But it never adds anything to the debate (unless you've got a nonbeliever who is civil & intelligent like Brett. ) This is a tiring, circular argument. A believer can simply waive responsibility for any belief under the Sun. Because it's easier to put that responsibility on any nonbeliever present.

(The existence of multiple religions is evidence in itself. They conflict in detail with each other. Furthermore each religion ends up with forever increasing sects. They can't all be right. Not even a tenth of them can be right. )

Yet I've personally never heard Christians and Jews using this circular argument against each other. "Well you think Jesus didn't die & return for your sins? PROVE that he stayed dead. You can't, can you???"

What the person is saying defies all logic. Nobody has ever returned from the dead. But here all of a sudden the Jew in the conversation must provide evidence for something completely arbitrary to him. It's as if the Christian just wants a little respect but has no other means of getting it than providing an ultimatum. (to be fair, James Cameron DID try to prove this very thing and nobody paid attention.)

I argue that believers (of anything) maintain a bit of respect for those who have conflicting beliefs due to something like suspension of disbelief. "I'll respect your silly beliefs if you respect my beliefs." But us atheists don't have any silly beliefs to wager of our own.

[I know that beliefs ARE in conflict all the time. Extremists kill for their beliefs. States are in perpetual conflict. Etc. This is simply my explanation for the mutual respect believers share, while atheists are treated as the ultimate buzz kill.]

I second "The Dragon In My Garage".


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJRy3Kl_z5E[/youtube]
Last edited by Spots on February 11th, 2011, 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Postby Marc Majcher » February 11th, 2011, 5:40 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:who does the act of belief in reincarnation harm?

Nobody, if you're a white guy living comfortably in a first-world country who enjoys dabbling in a little Eastern Mysticism on the side.

When it's used to bolster an oppressive caste system by tricking the (primarily native, and, coincidentally, darker-skinned) underclass into believing that maybe, just maybe, if they work hard enough and pay proper respect to their betters in this this life, they might just have a shot at being reborn into a higher station, then, well...

Note also that the Brahmins, the predominantly Aryan priest caste (who likely came up with this nice little system when they decided to muscle into the subcontinent) are up at the tippy top of the reincarnation ladder, there. Nifty coincidence, huh?

(See also "your reward in heaven is great!")
The Bastard
Improv For Evil
"new goal: be quoted in Marc's signature." - Jordan T. Maxwell
User avatar
Marc Majcher
 
Posts: 1621
Joined: January 24th, 2006, 1:40 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 11th, 2011, 5:50 pm

Spots wrote:Jordan you did relate the Dalai Llama anecdote, and to be honest that whole "disprove my mythology" argument is one of the reasons I turned to atheism. I've listened to that argument my whole life, and when I hear the anecdote it sounds like an ultimatum:

"I believe ____ but since you don't believe ____ ultimately YOU'RE more responsible for it. Prove to me ____. "

I understand why it exists. It tends to shut up nonbelievers. But it never adds anything to the debate (unless you've got a nonbeliever who is civil & intelligent like Brett. ) This is a tiring, circular argument. A believer can simply waive responsibility for any belief under the Sun. Because it's easier to put that responsibility on any nonbeliever present.

(The existence of multiple religions is evidence in itself. They all conflict in detail, hence why you end up with sects.)

Yet I've never heard Christians and Jews using this circular argument against each other. "Well you think Jesus didn't die & return for your sins? PROVE that he stayed dead. You can't, can you???"

I argue that believers (of anything) remain a bit of respect to people who have conflicting beliefs due to something like suspension of disbelief.

I second "The Dragon In My Garage".


shift the perspective. the Dalai Lama didn't walk up to Sagan and say "so, you think reincarnation doesn't exist? Prove me wrong!" no, it was Sagan who came with the accusatory question, "would you still believe this if science said it didn't exist?" the implication being, "your beliefs are silly because they can't be empirically proven," which since empiricism is not required for faith is Sagan imposing his own criteria onto everyone and everything else. the Dalai Lama, in typical marvelous Buddhist style, bent to the question while remaining planted. "if you could prove it, i would stop believing. but at least for the moment you cannot do so. so for the moment, here we are."

my sympathy will always lie with the person being "attacked," either for belief or lack thereof. i have plenty of atheist friends who have encountered more zealous believers who have demanded they explain how they couldn't believe in God and been subjected to forceful proselytizing. likewise, i've had plenty of spiritual friends who have been mocked as irrational and idiotic for their beliefs by smug and self superior atheists, along with demands that they prove beyond the shadow of a doubt what they believe or abandon it. for my part, i've encountered similar experiences from both sides so i really can't win. ;)

for me, i don't need to know why you do or don't believe, unless you want to share your story with me and hear mine in return. we're all walking our own roads out here. so as my Lord and Saviour might have said...let's not be dicks to each other, aight? 8)
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spaztique » February 11th, 2011, 6:01 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:i don't agree. i think most believers are more like me than you give them credit for. but since we're combining faith with reason, we tend to not shout crazy shit quite as much so we're not the ones you hear from as much on the news. ;)


Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:faith doesn't shut down critical thinking. human arrogance and laziness do that (and plenty of times those properties can be just as abundant in so called "men of science").


Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:but that is not the act of belief. that's our baser human instincts causing us to lash out in fear at that which is different, which challenges us. if there were no faith or religion, we would find some other excuse to do so.

in either case, the fault in people who use faith as a crutch or a bludgeon lies in the people, not in faith. and, more to my original point, faith joined with reason neatly circumvents much of this.

(and to tie it into one of my later points, it often falls on the church and the institutional authority keeping people from using their rational faculties in tandem with their faithful ones because to do so keeps them, as you say, closed minded and reliant upon the institutional authority itself...which is true of almost all institutional authority. since i discovered my faith, i've always been more drawn to churches and organizations that encourage those rational faculties and questioning properties of our human spirit and gather more for fellowship and community than tribal exclusion and pack mentality.)


I wasn't going to touch this thread with a 98 and a half foot pole, but I think this just about nailed it.

Going back to the original topic, I think these people are simply going by shock tactics rather than practicality: Bibles are nearly a thousand pages long, so they better have enough porn to compensate. Besides, what if a non-denominational Christian prayed, "God, I need some porn and I need to trade in my old, worn-out Bible since I got that new one as a gift," and he just so happened to pass by the Porn for Bibles stand? His faith for be strengthened!

Really, the only strategy these guys have is equating what they don't like to pornography. It works with anything, really.

Porn for Cigarettes: Because smoking is just as bad, if not worse, than reading pornography.
Porn for Self Help Guides: Because the writing of Dale Carnegie and Anthony Robbins are just as bad, if not more dangerous, than pornography!
Porn for Science Books: Because books on how the universe works are just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for History Books: Because documented history is just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for Autobiographies of (political figure): Because the writings on (political figure) are just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for Guns: Because guns are just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for Voting Registration Cards: Because voting is just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!

Just equate it to porn, and the possibilities are endless!

Porn for Ice Cream: Because ice cream is just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for Pets: Because owning a living animal is just as bad, if not worse, than pornography!
Porn for iPhones: Because a smart phone produced by Apple is just as bad, if not worse, than owning pornography!
Porn for Mass Effect: Because this graphic sex simulator is just as bad, if not worse, than regular pornography!
Porn magazines for porn videos: Because watching porn is just as bad, if not worse, than reading porn.
Last edited by Spaztique on February 11th, 2011, 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-New and improved for 2014: coming to a theater near you!
-Advice-A-Day: Daily advice on everything.
User avatar
Spaztique
 
Posts: 821
Joined: November 26th, 2006, 6:30 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » February 11th, 2011, 6:03 pm

Marc Majcher wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:who does the act of belief in reincarnation harm?

Nobody, if you're a white guy living comfortably in a first-world country who enjoys dabbling in a little Eastern Mysticism on the side.

When it's used to bolster an oppressive caste system by tricking the (primarily native, and, coincidentally, darker-skinned) underclass into believing that maybe, just maybe, if they work hard enough and pay proper respect to their betters in this this life, they might just have a shot at being reborn into a higher station, then, well...

Note also that the Brahmins, the predominantly Aryan priest caste (who likely came up with this nice little system when they decided to muscle into the subcontinent) are up at the tippy top of the reincarnation ladder, there. Nifty coincidence, huh?

(See also "your reward in heaven is great!")


i would call that a corruption of the belief system to serve the ends of the status quo (see my earlier comments on institutional authority exploiting faith). that was one of the main things Siddhartha sought to reform (though, as these histories often go, Buddhism itself would later be guilty of the same thing). the actual belief in reincarnation and the karmic cycle of samsara would call upon the higher castes to help those in need, lest they come back as dung beetles or something. ;)

and how DARE you disparage Richard Gere with that first comment? :P
Sweetness Prevails.

-the Reverend
User avatar
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell
 
Posts: 4215
Joined: March 17th, 2006, 6:50 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby Spots » February 11th, 2011, 6:05 pm

Jordan, the unsolicited ultimatum would be the attacker in any situation, I suppose I agree.

One thing about being a nonbeliever (and it would be great if Brett or somebody could relate their own experience) is that I never became one until I figured out my role in the world AS an atheist.

My brain craves story and it often craves fantasy. When I receive a letter in the mail that says "You just won!" I tend to believe it for a tenth of a second. I also had irrational thoughts after I learned my friend had died. I found myself thinking often about parallel worlds where he still lived & breathed. Because I want to believe. We all want to believe fantastical things, don't we? That's why we used to run around as kids saving the babes from the underground dungeon lords.

Those things are still true for me as an atheist. When I made it official I had to find my role. I had to find a narrative that was still positive that allowed me to function in society & find hope everywhere I looked.

I guess I settled on the role of an educator, of a communicator. As someone who had studied filmmaking & writing, I felt like atheism really meshed with me because I could explore those themes & find narratives to share with others. I knew many atheists were intelligent & had better explanations than I could ever fathom. And that I could act as a go-between because I deal in the abstract. I can dabble in metaphor & make concepts click with a greater number of people. That's ultimately how I made atheism "work" for me.

"Finding your role" may not be necessary for someone who had atheistic parents. I'd be curious to hear. Likewise, I remind myself of my role so that I don't press others too hard. I tell myself "let them find their own narrative, if any".
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

PreviousNext

Return to Politics and Religion and Stuff Like That

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron