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Old 02-14-2013, 02:07 PM   #426
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I'm gonna go out on a limb with the God construct thing. From the time I was a little kid until now (half a century, still counting, and wondering about it all) I always wondered if God existed, then who created him/her/it? Who created the universe that he/she/it subsequently created Earth in? It's the old chicken-or-egg argument, one which will never be solved unless, as Chrissy (HI!) said, God decides to come down and manifest him/her/itself and say "Yeah, you're all wrong! You're lookin' at the Supreme Deity!"

Or not.

Flip as this answer may sound to some, I can find no reason to believe in a supreme being. I've seen no evidence and going on believer's words really doesn't sway me at all.

I even find the notion that one has to go to a house of worship rather ludicrous. If God is omnipresent, why would going to a house of worship be any better than praying in your house or bedroom or toilet? Is a church/synagogue/mosque a better conduit?

These are just my own personal views. For those who believe in whatever faith they've either been raised in or one they've found, then they have my respect. But the whole God thing just ain't for me.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:02 PM   #427
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I believe in a deity or deities that aren't omni- anything. Also, while I'm not sure I qualify as Christian anymore, I believe that omni-God and infallible God is contrary to most of the Old and New Testament and was never intended to be part of the religion.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:14 AM   #428
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I don't believe in God or any variety of god(s) (surprise, surprise). And I don't mean to sound glib, but I find the very notion of going to church a waste of time. For me, at least. I think religion is great for some people. That person, however, is not me.

Drugs vs God. Well, if I had to pick, I'd pick drugs. But most drugs don't do much for me, anyway. My tolerance is creepily high, and conversely, my stomach is rather weak. If anything, the more I do, the more I'm put off from religion and further experimentation.

Now, some concepts of Buddhism I can get down with. Likewise, some concepts of Christianity. But I don't need a God or god(s) for them to work for me. Nor do I necessarily need to be part of the religion, either. It's like writing or art. Take the best and leave the rest behind.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:14 AM   #429
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For me, there is no such thing as God. There is Tao, but it's not really in the same ball park...

"Tao is beyond words,
And beyond understanding.
Words may be used to speak of it,
but they cannot contain it." - The Tao Te Ching
*shrug*
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:56 PM   #430
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Originally Posted by Crayonz View Post
For me, there is no such thing as God. There is Tao, but it's not really in the same ball park...

"Tao is beyond words,
And beyond understanding.
Words may be used to speak of it,
but they cannot contain it." - The Tao Te Ching

*shrug*
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

That's actually close to how I experience God.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:02 PM   #431
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Sometimes, when I encounter someone talking (or writing) about God, I replace the word "God" with the word "Self". It has gotten me very interesting insights in how and why people think about God.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:27 PM   #432
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What is god to me? Gods are fictional characters, created by man to explain things that he was unable to explain any other way.
For most of those things, we now have better explanations, and the arena of power gods hold appears to be ever diminishing.

I just finished reading the whole thread (*phew*), and I have a couple of points, if I may?
To the people who have postulated the idea that god is energy, or god is the universe, or god is love, I don't get it. Surely we already have perfectly good terms for all of these things? Namely, energy, the universe and love, respectively. Why do we need to tack on a concept of god?

Actually, that's the only one I can think of right now. I'm sure there was something else, but it's slipped my mind. Must be getting old...

ETA: Oh, I think this was actually addressed, but I'm not comfortable with the concept that people's religious beliefs are above criticism, as was proposed at the beginning of the thread. I don't think any idea, no matter how deeply believed, should be above criticism. Especially when said idea can have the sort of profound effects on both believers and unbelievers alike that religion does.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:14 AM   #433
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I just finished reading the whole thread (*phew*), and I have a couple of points, if I may?
To the people who have postulated the idea that god is energy, or god is the universe, or god is love, I don't get it. Surely we already have perfectly good terms for all of these things? Namely, energy, the universe and love, respectively. Why do we need to tack on a concept of god?


I suspect the idea that god is "the universe" probably came long before our modern understanding and whatever current scientific explanation for "the universe" is being used (or, more likely, debated) right now.
So why tack the modern concept of "universe" onto a something "we" already had a perfectly good term for?

(I'm not trying to be antagonistic or flip... I think the answer is that people try to explain what they experience in the best way they know how.)

Personally, I don't believe there is an entity that can be called god. But I also don't think humans have very much about existence figured out.
To me religion is a valid means of trying to figure stuff out. Particularly on a personal level, because that is the only frame of existence any of us has any right to assert any authority over.

I use a lot of stuff from various religious traditions and philosophies to navigate life. For example, studying some of the concepts of Buddhism recently has really helped me to start to control my depression.
And, even if I couldn't get the slightest practical use from religious thought, I would still really enjoy the richness of human exploration in this area.

Thanks, ColoradoGuy, for making this thread, not least because I've been inspired to have a look into attending some Quaker meetings. I have been curious about them ever since seeing them portrayed in Six Feet Under.

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Old 02-23-2013, 06:44 AM   #434
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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Personally, I think explaining God intellectually is a waste of time. If you don't experience what many of us DO experience, you aren't going to be convinced by anything we say.

I'm not saying that to be snide. I'm saying that to be practical.

Blessings,

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Old 03-05-2013, 08:10 AM   #435
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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Personally, I think explaining God intellectually is a waste of time.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
This. Religion, God, the powers that be, cheese, whathaveyou cannot be explained on an intellectual level. That defies the whole point of it.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:22 PM   #436
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I suspect the idea that god is "the universe" probably came long before our modern understanding and whatever current scientific explanation for "the universe" is being used (or, more likely, debated) right now.
So why tack the modern concept of "universe" onto a something "we" already had a perfectly good term for?

(I'm not trying to be antagonistic or flip... I think the answer is that people try to explain what they experience in the best way they know how.)
What makes you think that? Surely the original concept of god comes from the days before anyone even knew there was such a thing as a wider universe than the Earth? Or even their particular little bit of the Earth. God then would have been the concept they used to explain the existence of their world, earthquakes and the voices in their head telling them to murder their sons. That sort of thing.

Quote:
But I also don't think humans have very much about existence figured out.
To me religion is a valid means of trying to figure stuff out. Particularly on a personal level, because that is the only frame of existence any of us has any right to assert any authority over.
I agree that we don't have much of anything figured out, but that's not really any reason to make stuff up. We understand a lot more than people did when they had to rely on the idea of a personal god (or gods) to explain things.

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Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Personally, I think explaining God intellectually is a waste of time. If you don't experience what many of us DO experience, you aren't going to be convinced by anything we say.

I'm not saying that to be snide. I'm saying that to be practical.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
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This. Religion, God, the powers that be, cheese, whathaveyou cannot be explained on an intellectual level. That defies the whole point of it.
And that is pretty much my whole problem with it.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:15 PM   #437
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I agree that we don't have much of anything figured out, but that's not really any reason to make stuff up. We understand a lot more than people did when they had to rely on the idea of a personal god (or gods) to explain things.
And that's the difference right there. You believe that religious people are making things up, when in reality, they are drawing conclusions based on what they see and what they think about it. You also have to remember that not everyone agrees with modern explanations for things such as weather, hallucinations, etc. Their argument would be that science has proved itself wrong time and time again, so what's so special about the current theories? Who says that they're actually "right" this time?

Even if our all fancy theories are correct this time 'round; you can tell me that the shift of continental plates is what causes mountains and the lava underneath Earth's crust is what causes volcanoes all you want, but I'm still going to tell you that Mother Nature is just remodeling.

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And that is pretty much my whole problem with it.
Because you are an intellect. Not everyone is though. Some people are perfectly happy to accept that there are things we will never be able to understand.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:10 PM   #438
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I'm an Agnostic Deist because I weighed the Hard Atheist stance to the Deist stance and found them logically equivalent. Based on that, I was an agonistic for a while, but decided I liked the deist stance better.

Thus, I decided to become the opposite of an Agnostic Atheist, an Agnostic Deist.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:25 PM   #439
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Because you are an intellect. Not everyone is though. Some people are perfectly happy to accept that there are things we will never be able to understand.
Except that's what the agonistic does, not what the theist does.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:29 PM   #440
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I am a Christian. I choose to believe the Bible (KJV) I do not force my beliefs on others and will not tolerate them trying to force their beliefs on me.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:14 AM   #441
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Except that's what the agonistic does, not what the theist does.
I'm pleased to admit that I have no idea what that sentence means.

I'm not talking in terms of "agonistic" or "theist" or "padawans" or "cheese and rice," I'm just talking about people. Some people like to have solid evidence, others don't, IME.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:39 AM   #442
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I'm pleased to admit that I have no idea what that sentence means.
Essentially, I was trying to point out inherent difference between a theist and an agnostic. Again--without reading the thread too deeply--it seemed the person you were arguing against--seemed to me-- to be making an Agnostic Atheist argument, not a Strong Atheist argument. Therefor, his stance is closer to “I don’t know” than you seemed to be giving him credit for, IMO.

I admit I didn't do the required reading on this thread. However, my tertiary glance at your last 2 or so posts made it seem as if you were a "Taoist;" in that you take the unknown in the world and define it as "God" or "Tao." It struck me as a god of the gaps type argument: That which is not currently understood is contributed to "God."

While that may or may not be what you were saying--I wouldn't know because what I read wasn't enough to correctly infer your world view--this is NOT a "we don't know" argument--typically associated with "Weak agnosticism" which I colloquial call "agnosticism"--as you claimed it was.

It WAS a "we don't know, therefor aliens" augment. This is because "God" implies certain things about the nature of the object being named--mainly will or intent--as does the term "aliens."

At the time I did not really feel like going into all that, so I favored brevity. But, I hope my point is a bit more clear now. However, your last post seems to be an attempt to undermine all forms of theistic labels. So, I guess--in closing--I should just bottom line it as:

Whatever--man--whatever....

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Old 05-16-2013, 03:27 AM   #443
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However, my tertiary glance at your last 2 or so posts made it seem as if you were a "Taoist;" in that you take the unknown in the world and define it as "God" or "Tao." It struck me as a god of the gaps type argument: That which is not currently understood is contributed to "God."
Nein, I attribute things that are "known" and "unknown" to Tao. I'm sorry if that didn't come across in my posts.

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However, your last post seems to be an attempt to undermine all forms of theistic labels.
Well, yeah, because neither JimmyB27 nor I had used any theistic labels. So, when you did I was confused about what you were referring to since neither of us were putting a label on what our discussion was about. And while our discussion may have been exactly what you say, that's not what I recognized it as. Thus, my confusion.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:06 AM   #444
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Nein, I attribute things that are "known" and "unknown" to Tao. I'm sorry if that didn't come across in my posts.
So, then the question becomes if you think "Tao" has a purpose or objective value, since that normally implies a "will" somewhere.
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Well, yeah, because neither JimmyB27 nor I had used any theistic labels. So, when you did I was confused about what you were referring to since neither of us were putting a label on what our discussion was about. And while our discussion may have been exactly what you say, that's not what I recognized it as. Thus, my confusion.
Fair enough. I should have been reading a bit more closely before jumping in at any rate.
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Their argument would be that science has proved itself wrong time and time again, so what's so special about the current theories?
I don't know if this is your argument or just "theirs" but I wanted to comment on it not being technically correct.

"Science" isn't a theory or something; it's the scientific method, which is--essentially--the philosophy that objective knowledge can be obtained by reputable empirical observations.

When a theory obtained by the scientific method is supersede with a different theory that better adheres to the scientific method, it's not that "science has proved itself wrong," but "science has refined itself using itself."

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Old 05-16-2013, 07:43 AM   #445
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So, then the question becomes if you think "Tao" has a purpose or objective value, since that normally implies a "will" somewhere.
(assuming I'm not misunderstanding you completely )

Of course it doesn't. It just Is. Tao follows its inner nature and has no purpose beyond that.

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When a theory obtained by the scientific method is supersede with a different theory that better adheres to the scientific method, it's not that "science has proved itself wrong," but "science has refined itself using itself."
You call it refining, I call it an oops. No matter what you call it, science has proved that it doesn't know nearly as much as it claims to. Even when it does seem to know what it's talking about, I'm still going to tell you that there's More at work than what meets the (figurative) eye.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:57 AM   #446
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Of course it doesn't. It just Is. Tao follows its inner nature and has no purpose beyond that.
"Following" implies a purpose or intent.
However, this could be an inadequacy in the language and not an inadequacy in the thought behind it. Are you saying that Tao willfully follows its own inner nature?
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You call it refining, I call it an oops. No matter what you call it, science has proved that it doesn't know nearly as much as it claims to. Even when it does seem to know what it's talking about, I'm still going to tell you that there's More at work than what meets the (figurative) eye.
You've been talking to the wrong people about science then. There is a reason they're called "theories." Science is the pursuit of knowledge; if knowledge was actually found, science would be over.

Science is not about making claims we "know" anything. The scientific method is used to tell us exactly how wrong we are, it never tells us we are "right." You can't reach the 100% confidence interval in anything using the scientific method; however, you CAN use it to say something is more likely than something else, and say exactly how much more likely it is. That is science. We leave absolute statements like "you cannot know everything" to other branches of philosophy. Personally, I find some sentiments defeatist, even if mathematically true.
The issue comes in when you start to presume you've identified what can't be known, and thus give up trying to know it. How could you claim you know what it is that can't be known? This stagnates knowledge, not expands it, which is anathema to science.
"Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
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"Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!"
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"In science, self-satisfaction is death. Personal self-satisfaction is the death of the scientist. Collective self-satisfaction is the death of the research. It is restlessness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, agony of mind that nourish science. "
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:15 AM   #447
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(assuming I'm not misunderstanding you completely )

Of course it doesn't. It just Is. Tao follows its inner nature and has no purpose beyond that.


You call it refining, I call it an oops. No matter what you call it, science has proved that it doesn't know nearly as much as it claims to. Even when it does seem to know what it's talking about, I'm still going to tell you that there's More at work than what meets the (figurative) eye.
Please have a look at this sticky, if you wish to bring science into discussions of religion:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=249614
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #448
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Originally Posted by Mr. GreyMan View Post
"
Science is not about making claims we "know" anything. The scientific method is used to tell us exactly how wrong we are, it never tells us we are "right."

I don't know what you mean by the verb "to know." I guess if you mean that in scientific work, one doesn't claim to have direct access to the ideal platonic form of all archetypical generating schemes for every object for all time in all possible universes, then, as a rule, people working in the sciences tend not to make that claim. On the other hand, if Biff the Scientist says, "we saw three of those yellow fish yesterday," Jack the Scientist might be moved by his intellect to say, "I know." Are they talking about how wrong they are? No. They are affirming that they saw three of those yellow fish yesterday. Does that mean they are wrong about the integer 3, or yellow, or fish or yesterday? Probably not. So they are not talking about being wrong at all, I don't think.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:27 PM   #449
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I don't know what you mean by the verb "to know."
I mean it in the epistemological sense.

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Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
I guess if you mean that in scientific work, one doesn't claim to have direct access to the ideal platonic form of all archetypical generating schemes for every object for all time in all possible universes, then, as a rule, people working in the sciences tend not to make that claim. On the other hand, if Biff the Scientist says, "we saw three of those yellow fish yesterday," Jack the Scientist might be moved by his intellect to say, "I know." Are they talking about how wrong they are? No.
There not necessarily "wrong," but they're also not really making scientific statements.

Not everything a scientist thinks or says is "scientific."
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They are affirming that they saw three of those yellow fish yesterday. Does that mean they are wrong about the integer 3, or yellow, or fish or yesterday? Probably not. So they are not talking about being wrong at all, I don't think.
After reading the sticky Richard Garfield linked--myself--I'm not sure I have much to add on the topic.
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=249614
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:27 PM   #450
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I mean it in the epistemological sense.

There not necessarily "wrong," but they're also not really making scientific statements.

Not everything a scientist thinks or says is "scientific."
After reading the sticky Richard Garfield linked--myself--I'm not sure I have much to add on the topic.
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=249614
So if somebody affirms that he knows that the statement "We saw three yellow fish yesterday" is something he knows we can be pretty sure that that knowledge it is neither epistemologically nor scientifically useful?

Is there anything anyone could say about three fish that might be of scientific or epistemological use?

Or skip the fish (and the question is now -- isn't knowledge of Minoan mitochondria actual knowledge of Minoan mitochondria?) and isn't that scientific and doesn't it exceed 95% confidence? And how is 95% confidence an epistemological measure?):

http://www.nature.com/news/minoan-ci...europe-1.12990
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Last edited by Maxx; 05-16-2013 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Fish = dull Minoans = interesting
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