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post #151 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ThrillKill View Post
I don't think born-agains realize how uncomfortable they make us feel. I have several neighbors that when we get together, insist that we all hold hands and say a prayer to whomever. I don't like touching other people at all but do so, so as not to appear as a dick. That prayer seems to go no forever and all I can think of is getting Charlie and Charlene Meathooks to unclasp my hands.
My solution to that very problem, when they start this, ask to do the prayer. Be subtle. Really. But make them just uncomfortable enough that when you are in the group they pray silently by themselves, rather than hear about Uncle Bob's hemorrhoids and your niece's lack of normal sized breasts.

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post #152 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GermanStar View Post
That is your definition of atheism. It is, IMHO, not only incorrect, since it categorizes all proponents of Eastern religion as atheists, it is also disrespectful. Yours is not the only god concept, although Christians consistently forward the notion that it is.
Well, if we're going to start redefining words this might go on for quite a while.

It seems like you're trying to paint this as Christian vs. atheist.

The underlying issue is theism vs. atheism, and there are many other religions that are not atheistic. It's not disrespectful to use a defined word in a classic argument, atheists do not believe in god...period.

atheism definition | Dictionary.com


atheism - 4 dictionary results

a⋅the⋅ism
  /ˈeɪθiˌɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ey-thee-iz-uhm] Show IPA
–noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Origin:
1580–90; < Gk áthe(os) godless + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
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a·the·ism (ā'thē-ĭz'əm)
n.

1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.


[French athéisme, from athée, atheist, from Greek atheos, godless : a-, without; see a-1 + theos, god; see dhēs- in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Atheism
A"the*ism\, n. [Cf. F. ath['e]isme. See Atheist.]

1. The disbelief or denial of the existence of a God, or supreme intelligent Being.

Atheism is a ferocious system, that leaves nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us to awaken tenderness. --R. Hall.

Atheism and pantheism are often wrongly confounded. --Shipley.

2. Godlessness.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
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Language Translation for : atheism
Spanish: ate*smo,
German: der Atheismus,
Japanese: 無神論
More Translations »

atheism [(ay-thee-iz-uhm)]

Denial that there is a God. (Compare agnosticism.)
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post #153 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:31 PM
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Since you seem to want some foreshadowing, though, I'm happy to oblige. For the record, I don't think I'm better than anyone else. Indeed, I know I'm no better -- or worse -- than anyone here, and that is actually a Christian viewpoint (all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). A basic tenet of true Christianity is to understand that we're all the same from God's perspective; it is man who establishes various schema and institutions (including of course religious institutions) in order to differentiate between others so as to support various comparisons of "better" and "worse" (and then defines the terms to justify her or his own ends).
So doesn't this nullify the point of the thread?

By stating YOUR beliefs, and starting with a differentiation with Atheists, you are declaring that you wish to move from that "basic tenet of true Christianity that we are all the same from God's perspective" and to redefine in your own terms. I sense conflict.

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post #154 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
Well, if we're going to start redefining words this might go on for quite a while.

It seems like you're trying to paint this as Christian vs. atheist.


The underlying issue is theism vs. atheism, and there are many other religions that are not atheistic. It's not disrespectful to use a defined word in a classic argument, atheists do not believe in god...period.
I am? No, you are.

So, folks who pray to the sun god are or are not atheists in your mind? Folks who believe in a god, but not your god are or are not atheists in your mind? There are billions of people who pray to and worship a god, but not your god, not even a god that fits your narrow definition. Get it yet?

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post #155 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
Aardvark is on the right track, but can we back up? I seem to be extracting a confrontational edge here, and that's not my intent.

The paragraph is again, historical context. It's directed at an atheist audience, because of course you're correct, it's not "Christian vs. atheist", it's theism (of one kind or another) vs. atheism. Those are the opposites. So in the case of an atheist, there is no middle ground, you either accept the concept of a god/creator being (theism) or you reject it (atheism). That is the rejection mindset; I've yet to meet an actual atheist (as opposed to those that just talk the game) who does not plainly REJECT theism. Period. That in fact is what atheism means. The in-between, at least for now, we can think of as the agnostic, those who don't necessarily reject theism, but aren't ready to accept it, either. I suppose these could be considered "fence-sitters" or "wait and see-ers" too, but this part is about atheists, not agnostics.

And the same point pertains regarding "understanding"; "comprehend" might have been a better choice of words. I certainly didn't intend to mean that I "understood" anyone reading the paragraph in the sense of a mind-reader, but I see it can be read that way. All I can do is restate that it was not my intent, but rather, in all, the paragraph is descriptive of my former mindset, offered merely because quite often people hear the word "Christian" and immediately formulate a picture in their head of whatever they consider a "typical Christian". Since I have no idea what that might mean to anyone reading the post (or indeed, what it means to anyone or in the abstract) it made sense to me to provide the historical context to get away from the idea perhaps that I was just some uneducated goober who was home-schooled and raised in an immersion of some sect-or-other of Christianity.
Possibly the THREAD TITLE is misleading. Now we have another complete path to address. Are you suggesting a theism and atheism issue, in which you are not so much a Christian but rather a Theist?

And at that point, are you fully accepting of Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Jewish and other faiths as part of the Theist tableau?

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post #156 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
My solution to that very problem, when they start this, ask to do the prayer. Be subtle. Really. But make them just uncomfortable enough that when you are in the group they pray silently by themselves, rather than hear about Uncle Bob's hemorrhoids and your niece's lack of normal sized breasts.
I'm sorry to do this instant replay, but have to give that the kudos it deserves.

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post #157 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post

..........There is certainly no doubt that living things adapt to their environment and that there are certain genetically-related factors that may prove beneficial and may therefore be more likely to be passed on to their offspring (a delightful tautology at the root of the definition of the theory), but that is a small part of what is taught about evolution. The more I studied macro evolution (instead of just having it crammed down my throat), instead of answers I found more questions. In part that was because many of the answers were nonsensical. (As a singular example, Dawkin’s opinion that perhaps other life forms visited here and deposited the building blocks of all life is far more laughable to me than the idea of a creator…plus it still sidesteps the question of the origin of life.)
If we are going to get beyond a superficial review of what people believe or understand or think they believe or think they understand, we will need to set some ground rules. If the subject of the theory of evolution is going to be reviewed, we need to get our terms straight as well as agree on what the theory consists of, sort of establish limits based on creditable contributors to the theory Darwin started.

In the paragraph I quoted above, you start out agreeing with the basic mechanism of the theory of evolution, natural selection, and then make a sweeping unspecific dismissal of the theory by suggesting the part you agree with is merely a small part. Then you go on to discuss "macroevolution" and imply something about this aspect of the theory causes you distress, but you don't identify it - you merely go on to suggest "many answers were nonsensical." Then you cite Dawkins' musings on the subject of aliens seeding earth with engineered life forms that subsequently evolved into humans as part of an intelligent alien design as your main beef, all the while still presuming to be speaking of Darwin's theory of evolution.

First, let's agree on what the theory of evolution is - and if you think there is some creditable contribution made that pulls the deus ex machina of aliens seeding the earth with engineered life forms that would evolve into humans at the center of Darwin's theory, we have a problem. Darwin's theory is summed up, concisely by the phrase "natural selection" and if you buy that but feel the theory gets off the rails somewhere inside the actual scope of the theory, lets talk about that. One of the issues that will come up is how old is the earth. If you think it is 6,000 years old when faced with clear scientific evidence that suggests that figure is off by something like 7 orders of magnitude we are going to have some issues with the mechanisms in Darwin's theory of evolution.

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But here is just one further thought about the brain: if you analogize the brain as the ECU in your car, perhaps billions and billions of years of random chance could result in it. However, it still needs to be programmed with a stunning amount of information. Where does the programming come from? And it can’t all be schooling and upbringing and responding to one’s environment (nature vs. nurture) because we’ve all experienced that even identical twins (and even from a very tender age) can exhibit very different personalities and bents. And that doesn’t reach the larger issue of how the brain developed beyond it’s limbic systems, including the ability to reason and contemplate one’s own mortality – and reason for being in the first place.
I like the model of the brain as a version of a complex Intel chip running on a program. I find the concept a good place to start trying to understand the brain, and how its operating system works.

When you observe humans from all over the globe with no prior interactions with similar responses to stimuli, it would seem logical that those kinds of responses are pre-programmed. Like the perception of colors and the emotional response to colors - if we all experience the same sensations when we see the color red, it is likely that sensation is in the "firmware" part of the brain.

Then there are operating system features that control the workings of various other responses - the primary feature of the program it seems to me, is to survive. This survival program makes use of many subroutines, the most phenomenal of which is the one for pattern recognition. Babies know little else other than the patterns they recognize early - sounds and smells at first, then visuals later as those sensors come on line. This subroutine is used extensively through childhood to hone skills needed to survive - always being stimulated by the survival program.

The musings you find so unique are little more than the survival program using whatever capacity we have for sorting patterns to look for ways to survive - in the near term and the far term, and after "death" as we know it. The survival program does not know any limits - there is nothing to tell it imagining about why we are on earth is any less valuable to understand than any other pattern recognition exercise it might have you running when you are not in immediate danger.

All this is my theory of how the brain is set up. Many of the routines the brain runs come from other species we share certain DNA with - recall that 80% or so of the brain is "unused" stuff in the minds of some. I see it as a huge hard drive with encoded or programmed responses to all kinds of shit that worked for our ancestors - the stuff they did that helped them survive. Simple stuff like jealousy. Comes from the same place the big cats' program to kill off the offspring of the prior Alpha male comes from as it is way too similar to be a new program. Mating rituals. Not strictly human stuff - been going on for a long time.

Just set aside the arrogant belief that humans are the end of the evolutionary chain, or the ultimate of god's creations (he would be a third class apprentice mechanic if he all powerful and what he created as his masterpiece is as flawed as humans) and look at it like humans are a few links in a longer, bigger chain of events, all of which are related.

Now, the question of why humans or anything else exists is not one that any scientific theory is trying to explain. In that arena God is as good an explanation as any other. It is just unrealistically arrogant to presume we are actually made in his likeness and that he listens to us and that he didn't do the same thing millions of times on other planets. We have no evidence for that, but we do have all kinds of evidence of where we came from in the history of the earth.

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Originally Posted by gregs210 View Post
......Jim raised a couple of other issues and attributed to QBN about the words of Christ. Curious, because one of the precipitating factors of these threads was the unrestricted and unmitigated attacks on Christians. Sure this is in a sense personal (as I stated at the outset), but so what? Everyone else comes on here and posts all sorts of things that are important to them, true? If I posted a bunch of threads using jump-off articles about how bad smoking was, how it contributes to global warming, etc., and from them attacked smokers generally and personally, I would expect a few people to respond in different ways.

.......!
I have no idea what that paragraph means.

Jim
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post #158 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 07:58 PM
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All this is my theory of how the brain is set up. Many of the routines the brain runs come from other species we share certain DNA with - recall that 80% or so of the brain is "unused" stuff in the minds of some. I see it as a huge hard drive with encoded or programmed responses to all kinds of shit that worked for our ancestors - the stuff they did that helped them survive. Simple stuff like jealousy. Comes from the same place the big cats' program to kill off the offspring of the prior Alpha male comes from as it is way too similar to be a new program. Mating rituals. Not strictly human stuff - been going on for a long time.
If you're interested in expanding your horizons along this front, pick up Temple Grandin's book, Animals in Translation. A fascinating perspective on the workings of the human mind from a mind that is quantitatively damaged (moderate autism).

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post #159 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 08:45 PM
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Really? That's the best you can do? I'm impressed (and grateful) that you did more than simply spew obscenities at me, but if you want to trade insults I'm certainly capable of that. But it wouldn't be the Christian thing to do.

Moreover, you're not following classic debate and argument, but rather heading down a tangent with a little ad hominem thrown in for good measure. That's okay, and I'll digress there with you for a bit, but you're not fooling anyone by trying to turn this into a "I, Qubes, am smarter than you" track simply by posting a snide insult with your sidetrack. (Well, you might be fooling some, but you're not fooling me.)

So, to briefly join your digression: Have you noticed that it is called the THEORY of evolution? It is a decent theory, and parts of it have been well-documented, but overall it has yet to be PROVEN. However, that doesn't alter the reality that all of the theory (including macro evolution) is taught in public schools is as FACT, not THEORY. The holes in the THEORY are not discussed or even mentioned, much less taught; and in fact if a teacher attempts to question the THEORY or to teach about any of the places the theory is weak or empty, they'll typically find themselves in hot water, even at the higher educational levels.
Again, your absolute rejection of anyone or anything to do with theism reveals your own blindness and ignorance, because it's not an all-or-nothing proposition as GS noted in his rebuttal. Or perhaps you were shooting for hyperbole?

Contrary to what you apparently believe, I don't want our public schools to teach creationism (or flat-earth perspectives). What would be nice to see is them teaching evolution as what it is, a THEORY, not as scientific fact. It would be nice if teachers were free to instruct children about all of the aspects of evolution, including the places scientists are unable to explain it, as well as the cutting edge science that is striving to plug some of those holes (like the large Hadron collider) instead of just glossing over things and teaching them as fact.

At some level that's just as misguided as telling an adolescent "that mommy and daddy love one another and then a baby grows in mommy's tummy" -- because there are actual FACTS that could be taught. Of course in the evolution context in public education, positive facts are taught and reinforced, and negative facts are ignored.
I don't know whether your highlighted paragraph is an intentional attempt to confuse, or just ignorance, Either way, this should clarify the issue for you:


Evolution is a Fact and a Theory

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" - Seneca
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post #160 of 171 (permalink) Old 06-08-2009, 09:02 PM
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"Yes" those who believe in other gods are not considered as atheists.
Correct as the definition goes.

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