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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

douyang wrote:
Explain to me this then: How is your morality any different from moral relativism, or the idea that morality is whatever a given culture or group makes of it? That if some radical cleric with a barbaric medieval mindset says it's not only acceptable, but our sacred moral duty to Allah to kill people for heresy or apostasy, that it is our duty to "respect" or tolerate or accept this, even when it gets applied to people with western values and a different or no religion in their country, (or even people in different countries with different values, as seen with the Danish Cartoonists) even when it conflicts in deep fundamental ways with our own values and morality?


From one that thinks that moral relativism is not that bad Smile. Judging that radical islamism is "bad" and that we should "prevent" it from happening would be a little pretentious IMO. The western world had its share of inquisition, witch burning and crusades, and maybe that is a necessary step in the evolution of a civilisation so people would be able to appreciate the value of peace (and still, some tends to forget). To take the nazi example again Smile, I'm sure that, moral relativism or not, in 1945, germans understood that their aggressive behaviour had not been good.
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lightice wrote:
If you have been trying to convince me of a faith-based belief, then this whole debate has been pointless. If you believe in a higher, "ideal" level of things, which is impossible to sense or measure, or even imagine, then you are in the same boat with Bible-pushers. It's your opinion against mine with no grounds for a debate. It is belief in the supernatural, whatever you call it as.

I still have to ask: did these values float in space for all those billions of years before the emergence of sentient life? What brought them to being, in the start? Do the quantum particles have a morality? Or physical objects? Or single-cell organisms? The vertebrates? Where does the line start? Sentience is a more difficult concept than we usually understand.


The idea that morality and values are not tangible things and are not testable makes sense to me. However, I believe I can get around this difficulty by noting that when you talk of morals or values you talk about ideas that exist in the human mind rather than anything tangible or observable in the physical universe. Therefore your analogy is flawed in that instead of claiming that there is a physically real being which I call god or the devil or physical realms of heaven or hell, or claiming that any part of the natural universe is created by such beings, (or any of the physical miracle claims of supernatural religion), I merely believe my non-physical ideas that exist in one's mind, my morals, are better than the ones that exist in other people's minds, as far as I understand them.

What worries me and caused me to start in on this thread is the subjectivity of this. How is my preference for one type of morality or values any more important or a basis to build laws, norms, government, or society on than my personal tastes in music or what my favorite color is? I believe you have been ignoring the problem this entire time. Like I said before, without an objective moral standard, all you have to oppose something you find evil or objectionable is your own self-interest, and how does this give you any right to force your values on others or defend the things you find important (like your own life), than the other guy with his self-interest in mind?

Lightice wrote:
But if your values are absolute and undeniable, you cannot back up, no matter what. If you believe that your set of ethics and values is perfect and unchangeable, then no argument can be made against it and anyone trying to question it is a potential evildoer and a threat. Do you see why I think belief in absolute values is not good?

How can you tell between good and bad or even have such concepts if morality is just the dominant set of rules created by whoever has the power to force their self-interest on others? How can you deem the survival or prosperity of society or anything else to be desirable or undesirable?
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Lightice



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

douyang wrote:

The idea that morality and values are not tangible things and are not testable makes sense to me. However, I believe I can get around this difficulty by noting that when you talk of morals or values you talk about ideas that exist in the human mind rather than anything tangible or observable in the physical universe. Therefore your analogy is flawed in that instead of claiming that there is a physically real being which I call god or the devil or physical realms of heaven or hell, or claiming that any part of the natural universe is created by such beings, (or any of the physical miracle claims of supernatural religion), I merely believe my non-physical ideas that exist in one's mind, my morals, are better than the ones that exist in other people's minds, as far as I understand them.


This should work as a good example for cultural values that are difficult, if not impossible to leave behind. Although you've ridden yourself from belief to a certain religion and all things related to it, you can't leave the valueset centered around that religion.
Your dualistic view is flawed, as far as the modern science is concerned - the human mind is both tangible and observable, as it is a part of the physical universe. There are entire schools of science centered around studying the human mind from various viewpoints.

Furthermore, by saying both that morality is a phenomenon created by the human mind, but that some ethics are better than other means that there has to be an objective scale that isn't bound to any one of these minds. Since no tangible scale of morality exists, you must set it into the realm of supernatural and thus, faith.

Quote:
What worries me and caused me to start in on this thread is the subjectivity of this. How is my preference for one type of morality or values any more important or a basis to build laws, norms, government, or society on than my personal tastes in music or what my favorite color is?


Your preferences are for most part irrelevent. Morality is not a matter of individuals, but whole societies and cultures. They have been formed in processes that take thousands of years and they shape the ethics and values of their members, although they also evolve and change to respond to changing circumstances. In a sense you can say that there are some forms of morality that are better than others, because they are more functional than those around them and are more capable of responding to the challenges of the enviroment. However, that is not the same as the concept of absolute morality - the slave-using strict theocratic class-society of ancient Egypt lasted for thousands of years, being the most succesful culture of that era.

Quote:
I believe you have been ignoring the problem this entire time. Like I said before, without an objective moral standard, all you have to oppose something you find evil or objectionable is your own self-interest, and how does this give you any right to force your values on others or defend the things you find important (like your own life), than the other guy with his self-interest in mind?


Well, for one thing, I have the sense of empathy, that allows me to feel for other people. That is the basis of building functional morality and thus also the society. Only through a functional society we can achieve our full potential. Therefore having a society is benefical, all around. And within society various codes are neccecary and once again, benefit all. "Do not kill" is good for all because it protects all the members of the society from a violent death, which nobody wants to face. As you can see, self-interest in this form is no different from common interest. Indeed, in most issues they are the same thing.

Quote:
How can you tell between good and bad or even have such concepts if morality is just the dominant set of rules created by whoever has the power to force their self-interest on others? How can you deem the survival or prosperity of society or anything else to be desirable or undesirable?


I need nothing more than the enlightenened self-interest I described above. I don't want to die. I want to live comfortably. I want a minimal amount of restrictions on my actions, while keeping the two earlier issues in my mind. I understand with my sense of empathy that the same applies to the grand majority of the people around me. Therefore it is to my best interest to be a part of a society that allows me both to live safely and express myself freely.
You see? There is no need for any magical absolute measure of morality to create a perfectly comfortable and functional society, just with self-interest, empathy and common sense.
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douyang



Joined: 18 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lightice wrote:
Your preferences are for most part irrelevent. Morality is not a matter of individuals, but whole societies and cultures.


But morality certainly exists on the individual level as well. How else could there be debate or disagreement, and people who do things against the morals set by the people in society with the power to determine morality for an entire culture? And how would a change in popular morality occur except through new ideas spreading from the mind of one individual or a relatively small group in society to others?

Also, I believe it is a delusion to think that morality comes from the consensus of people in a society. Even the briefest of surveys spanning Americans of different politics, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, race, sexual orientation, etc., will reveal a wide variety of different views on any number of ethical issues. There simply cannot be a consensus on how a society should be, given both the human nature to base their values off their personal experiences, knowledge, and circumstances; and the fact that like you said, science can't give us any objective measure of the quality of any given value or moral system. Even with crimes like rape or murder, there will be some small minority that believes such things can or are justified for some reason or another, ranging from Christian fundies that kill or call for the death of abortion doctors, to NAMBLA, a group which openly advocates legalizing and legitimizing sex between grown men and young boys. What is the so called moral consensus other than what the strongest group (or collection of groups/people with common interests) forces on the others?

I still can't see how your description of morality as the system created by "enlightened self-interest" , which I presume is the idea that you should treat others the way you want to be treated so as to live safely, freely, and comfortably, is different from moral relativism or no morality at all. You make the entirely unwarranted assumption that in order to secure ones' own interests, you have to allow or help others secure theirs. I come from a country where people of one skin color enslaved, exploited, discriminated against and abused and generally shit on people of darker skin colors, among others, for their own benefit and self-interest, naturally at the expense of that of their victims. And evils like this obviously happen every day of human history the world over.

Even if morality comes from self-interest that actually protects or benefits others, how can you say this is real morality in any way? Self-interest by itself is only about self-interest, not about doing the right thing by others, and if that's all morality is based off of, than actions that harm others but ultimately land you on top in the long run are moral. For example, a corporate CEO defrauding the stockholders and employees to enrich himself while ruining their lives when he is sure he will never see trial for his crime.


Last edited by douyang on Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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-Animae-



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 22
Location: Ascending

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

douyang wrote:
This makes no sense to me. It seems you are saying that you somehow believe but not believe something at the same time. And it makes it so that I at least cannot make heads or tails of what position you represent or want to argue for, or what your real opinion is on anything. And it makes my previous comments about how to oppose things you find immoral or go against your values more relevant.

Just because you donít understand does not mean it doesnít make sense, if you want me to show you how it works you just have to pm me, because I donít think it really belongs in this tread. Unless of course you prefer that I explain it in this tread I donít mind, your choice.
Lightice wrote:
I know that you're not religous, but earlier you seemed to view the religion as an absolute value that a society can't be without. That would imply at least some sort of belief into absolutes, even if you don't specify their nature.

There are some things that we as humans, need to survive. Food, sleep, other people are all requirement, irreplaceable elements.
So what am I arguing about anyway? That people need religion?
I believe that people need purpose, something that unfortunately not everybody is capable of achieving on their own. Just see how fast people throw themselves at whatever explanation that does not directly contradict their ideals. Thatís what religion preys on, thatís what attracts people to sects and ideologies. Our thirst for meaning.

On the death issue
While I see the reason in your opinion that the ďrightĒ to live is not debatable I found such an opinion problematic. I am a bit interested to probe further into this opinion of yours (with your consent of course). Perhaps you could answer the following questions for me:
First of all a more general question: Are we only responsible for what we do, or are we also responsible for what we donít do?
Now the questions regarding justification of killing:
Is it justified to kill as an act of self defense?
Is it justified to kill as to save others?

There are many problems with a pacifist point of view here is a couple I could think of:

In a state such as Iraq before the American ďliberationĒ, should citizens just accept the oppression or should they try to free themselves? If no one is ready to set their life on the line, and if no one is prepared to kill to be freed, the situation is in a stalemate, no change of state can occur. Any peaceful protests are likely to result in punishment, therefore no citizen unwilling to offer his life for the cause would participate.

If you knew that you could save a lot of people by killing someone what would you do?

Would you sacrifice someone to save a thousand others?

Would you sacrifice a thousand people to save someone you really care about?

Itís of course nice that we live in such a peaceful world that we donít have to make these choices, but I think that itís important that our ethics are consistent in any possible scenario, not only our wishful thinking scenarios. I donít really understand how you can believe that the values of life is not debatable when you donít believe in objective ethics.
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Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the harvest.
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Lethagrin



Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 9
Location: eastern part of New York

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Faith has no place in being proven. I will not imply my religious view however, it is ironic to discuss and try to show evidence for or against something which is meant to be followed blindly.

If you truly believed in this then you would have not created this topic and you would have not minded anyone else's view regardless of it's hostility.
However one cannot simply end a discussion so therefor I will pose my view

I agree that some positions which were taken on the pro religious side have been extremist and seemed improperly defended. However, would it make a difference if the person supporting this idea were simply explaining their view rather than mocking other ideas.


Yes it is true that religion has been used as a mass control mechanism for as long as man has formed communities and had a culture. It is also true that because of religious extremists our modern world faces many problems concerning peace.

On the other hand religion is also something that brings communities together, giving people something in common. Even though modern society provides morals for us without the help of religion, you cannot tell me that believing in something that may or may be real causes any harm in itself against that.

I know the happiest family in the world who go to church every Sunday. I also know another family who's children hate waking up at five in the morning to go to early seminary and don't believe a thing which is lectured. It does not matter to some people weather what they believe in is true or false, if they feel better as a whole out of it then why not follow the alpha male. If not then do your own thing.

What is true or false are the effects these ideas have on people. I could have a hat, as I wear this hat probability has it that a course of lucky things happen to me. I then believe that it is the hat which is causing this luckiness. The next day I wear the hat again and I feel happy and therefore more confident and with my confidence may come greater happiness. Likewise the opposite could happen. Obviously this is a crude attempt to boil a vast idea down to a half paragraph.

Weather this type of idea could happen is depending on what you are looking for. Truth or blind happiness. My guess that most people on this forum would choose Truth for it is my choice as well.
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sonic
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I say! I thought people would be sick of religion because of all the posts I made elsewhere, only to discover this whole thread about it! I must say, I am a little bit sad and dissappointed to see the kinds of responses there are... And I agree that there is a lot of poorly thought out logic in some of the posts. But it's funny because I found so many different beliefs that I used to hold at different stages of my life in this thread, and it feels so weird to hear all these different people saying them. I don't think I'll really contribute as I don't see a place where I can, but I did want to comment on several random points:

Quote:
I don't see why you think a world without gods is devoid of value. What could be of more value than a world we make for ourselves, with our own values and our own aims?


Hmm... I think it was said a couple of times but in less straight-forward ways, but isn't the world of gods that we make sort of like making a world with our own values, aims and morals? I mean, if people made up the concept of god (which, if you don't believe in such things, usually means that you think that it's something that people made up), then they made it up to reresent all the things that they believed at a given time, and it changes as their society changes unless there is something unusual stopping it from doing so (like, "On pain of death/unishment, you shall not change this doctrine!"). The point is that no, the world is not valueless without it, but with it it can provide a lot of the value that many people need who still are unable to find it... Actually, even if they can acknowledge the value of the world without it, a belief in it nevertheless can enhance the value of life for them. The problem, as you are leading towards in that statement, is when a belief in the world's value is only through God and thus detracts from what value all humans can find without it. Sort of like a helpful concept now getting in the way. I got angry about this too from time to time, particularly at a person who showed up and posted here a couple of years ago claiming that once you "find God", then you will be good (the logic is just sooo... gah); and also because some theologians believe that conscience, the ability to tell right from wrong, is a gift bestowed only by God (or alternatively, that conscience is innate, but that one's ability to use it -what was the term for that... syneuresis?- is God-given). Which is a ridiculous explanation for morality, however you cut it; and totally takes away from the great things that people can do. Yeah Emmanuel Kant, I'm chastising you. Those are some terrible ideas... had you no faith in your fellow man without God being his pilot?

Quote:
What is true or false are the effects these ideas have on people. I could have a hat, as I wear this hat probability has it that a course of lucky things happen to me. I then believe that it is the hat which is causing this luckiness. The next day I wear the hat again and I feel happy and therefore more confident and with my confidence may come greater happiness.


If that was a part of someone then I would love it as though it were one of their endearing personal quirks (as long as the hat didn't say, "Kill all who wear a different kind of hat or who don't wear hats at all"). I would not want to take that quirk away from them unless it was seriously doing them some bad, and I would not take everyone else's hats away from them just because I saw some that made me think that all hats were bad. I wouldn't take somebody's precious and innocent, child-like beliefs away from them, but I might expand their horizons by introducing them to more great ideas, and let them decide for themselves whether or not to wear the hat and how to wear it. I believe in kindness and gentleness (when I'm not rudely making fun of people Embarassed ).

Quote:
Just because you don't live in another person's country doesn't mean that you can't understand what they go through, does it? Certainly there is some merit to saying that "we must talk from experience," but it's also very limiting to think that way. There's something to be said for informed empathic understanding.


Yeah, certainly; empathy is very important. It bridges the vast differences between us. I have to say though, I really didn't know anything real about the USA before I went there and made it a part of my life. I don't think I could have possibly understood the country and why many people thought the various things they might tend to there, until I was forced to live there by circumstances. In fact, I would have avoided it my whole life and never wanted to know it better (though bizarrely I always said I wanted to live in New York as a child, because I thought it was like London but further away and therefore more exotic and interesting). But because I made friends with Americans and even fell in love with one (while in England), I had no choice but to get to know them better and understand them- otherwise, how could I be so rude and shun something that is a part of what makes my friend the person that they are, like their upbringing or culture? Now, I daresay I am still not really liking much of America and its ways that much (sorry to all the people from over here reading, I know there's a bunch of you... some of you may not like my country either or our ways, or perhaps feel that way about a different country), but I at least feel like I can understand them better. It's been kind of enlightening, learning things like the phrase, "as American as apple pie" (we think of apple pie as being a very English dessert!), learning what a burrito is and that there's a huge Mexican culture (I had NO idea! I was like, "Jeff, why are there so many people speaking Spanish here?", learning that so many people are obsessed with this weird thing that they call 'football' (we call it American football, and for some reason I just assumed that people in the states did the same, but duh of course they wouldn't), learning that people think of turkey as something traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving, and not at Christmas... and that a few people are so funny that they even think that the rest of the world celebrates Thanksgiving, too! I also learnt that politics is a bit like sports- incredibly polarised and a case of "go my team! Blue!/Red!"... and then that actually most educated Americans don't believe this is how politics here normally is or should be, it's just been that way for the last four years. Wow! Learnt lots of stuff! Most importantly, you guys are completely not stupid! We like to call you that occassionally (okay all the time) because of your president and US foreign policy, and because we stubbornly dislike the way you talk or the way you spell things, but the country is packed with wonderfully intelligent souls, really. I can get annoyed with a lot of "American" things, but if I leave with one thing it's that I can never think you're all idiots ever again or be manipulated by my own cultural bias to make "stupid American" jokes. Now I don't fit in back home because I'm always telling people off for doing that (got one friend who does it just to annoy me, and I'm like, "Don't talk about my friends that way! " Ah, but she has a US equivalent in my friend who delights in going on about the English in front of me... I think it'd be funny to get them both going at the same time :)

Well, the point is that if I didn't have this kind of experience with real Americans rather than just my bias, I think I'd be standing up here having a go at people for their anti-religious sentiments and completely unable to believe what their problem was, rather than realising why people felt that way (because of nutters in the religious right being the main aspect of religion that people know about; because of anti-evolutionists, because of jihadists...). I mean, how can I expect any of you to understand the world I know, when so few would have experience of it? For us, that kind of thing was so far away... I mean, I first heard about the push for creationism in America in a history class (taught by a man who was well-travelled around the US), and we all laughed at it in shock and horror as another example of "stupid Americans" and all the weird things about the country... like capital punishment...

You know, I hate to go on about this cultural racism and stereotyping, but I think it is important that we know the kinds of awful things we think about each other's cultures. Jeff's friends wanted to know how bad my teeth were because I was English. Huh? There isn't an epidemic of bad teeth (or bad cooking) in the UK! But we were always told that Americans were obsessed with having a fake white smile, and though at first there were so many more whitening products in the US (recently the UK got more into it though, I think), I really have to say that I haven't noticed weird, fake, shiny white smiles everywhere! Well, it is good to know these things, and what is true and what isn't, otherwise you can't experience getting past them enough that you can be friends. "Yah peanut-butter loving, jello-eatin', SUV (space wagon) lovin' weirdoes who pronounce Notre Dame 'noder dayme', Moscow 'moss-cow' and Iraq 'eye- rahhk'... And spell everything with a z(ed) ('zeeeee!')!"

Quote:
my justification of the death penalty is basically 1)justice 2)detterrant(sp, early in the morning)


I feel uncomfortable with the death penalty, and it bothers me to be in a country that endorses it (USA, though actually six states). I am not a compassionate enough person to feel that some people don't deserve to die (I'd like to be more Christ-like, but I just can't and it doesn't feel entirely possible for me in the world we live in)... In fact, I know that if somebody did something terrible to me (like try to murder me or torture me) I would believe that it was my personal right to kill them, even if it wasn't my legal right. That sounds terrible, but it is very human. Not only that, but if you were the victim you might feel like it was your obligation to destroy the evil you faced by your own hands there and then, so that it couldn't harm anybody weaker than you. However, the conflicts of emotions and desire for revenge will be what they are within us, and the law should show some compassion to those who harbour such things and cannot stop themselves from acting on them, because they cannot be blamed for being put in that position (I'm talking about really serious things, not just "You dissed my music so I'll kiiill youuu, scumbag!" attitudes that the local hoods might have). And I believe that the death penalty should not be legal. Like I said, I'm not compassionate enough to not think that some people deserve it, but I believe that having the death penalty brings out something barbaric in "normal" people; negative and damaging feelings that cause more damage than the situation already has. You cannot have the state gruesomely execute or torture people on your behalf... It is twisted.

The people who have done the most terrible things should be forced to live out the rest of their natural lifespans in a cell, given the chance to face it in their minds until the day they die; for better or ill. They should have the chance to develope a conscience over it, and to learn to live with that. Those that don't care should be made to care, even if that means giving them the mental help that they need to be whole enough to realise that they should care about it. And those that are pure evil and just don't give a damn can rot with their pure evil, away from the eyes of society where they cannot hurt a soul. To end their life gives them a way out. I believe that life should mean for their whole life, not just 12-20 years; and I think it is something that all criminals who have comitted inhumane acts like the kidnap and torture innocent people, rape, cruel murder, genocide, etc. should be given if you can irrefutably prove that these things were done by them. This is because they have turned; it proves they are a danger to society and people who need to be protected from them should be put first. I also believe that more crimes need to be defined as being a mental illness, and that say, people who commit rape (though not the poor idiots that get classifed as rapists because they slept with someone under the age of 16 even though it was consensual- e.g. teachers and their 15 year old students) should undergo mental help for life as well as be imprisoned. I think the law should be as hard as it needs to be to guarantee the protection of innocent people from these types of criminals once they've been identified by comitting one of the said crimes, but that the people we put in charge of implementing the law (i.e. prison staff, police officers, etcetera) should be compassionate and just people (and not the sadistic prison guards of the movies and sadly sometimes real life). Those two things are very important to get down. And as it is, our societies largely do neither on of them correctly, letting serial rapists get out after 5 years in jail at a time so that they can destroy several more people, while letting barbaric acts of cruelty go on behind the closed doors of many prisons. Hmm, our justice should be one that heals the evils of the world by gently trying to understand and repair evil minds put away from the world's tired eyes, while simultaneously recognising that you csn never let these people back out into the world, where they can have the opportunity to hurt innocents again. Even this would not be a popular view though, from either side (humanistic rights advocates or die-hard "Kill the bastards!" mindsets). What instead then? Well if you are going to keep current UK and US laws as they are (I don't know other countries very well), then for one certain kind of crime the least you could do is castrate them, which is sort of gory but practical. They should do that anyway. I think it is an appropriate for someone that obviously gets wrong enjoyment out of it, to prevent them from ever having such a thing again; and if you are going to release people in 5 years so that they can commit the crime again, well it makes it a lot more difficult for them to do so, really. Not sure what you would do to women who commit that crime, but that doesn't happen very often in society because it is harder for them to do for obvious anatomical reasons. Er gee, that was gross; sorry for the small crime and punishment rant, none of what I said will ever happen of course because people are too extreme one way or the other, so dont get too upset about all of what I've said. It's just in a world where I was in charge of making the laws, has no bearing on reality unless you want to elect me ruler of the Earth. Please do. I mean, please don't. Shocked I think my heart would be broken in that job.

Err... yeah. Carry on with lively discussion.
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base of the pillar



Joined: 23 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until now I've held off posting on this particular thread. Mostly because I've grown up in an area of the country where people are exceedingly devoted to their religions and it looked like the views expressed on this thread were of the same caliber. Everyone rooting for their own beliefs and unwilling to to give any of the others some credence.

I am a christian. I feel that needs to be said or the christians posting here will believe I'm an atheist nutbag and ignor everything I say. (Don't deny that a persons beliefs cloud your judgement.) I, however, do not subscribe to the cannonical, "Bible Beater", belief set. I grew up in a town where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting three churches, no cats were harmed in the making of this expression, and most of them were everyone's most biased ideas about churches.

That said. There was a time that I was a real bible thumper, but my own mind would not allow me to blindly follow the herd, so I began to think about my religion, and I realized that some of what is considered cannonical doesn't fit with the overall christian ideology.

Taking Christianity as black and white is a mistake. All religions mean different things to different people. Why do you think there are so many sects of all faiths? I personally believe that God and all other ideas of faith, on some level, are your own ideas and your own views, and one is not necessarily mor right then the other.
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"And if we spirits have offended think but this and all is mended. That you have but slumbered heree while these visions did appear."--A Midsummer Night's Dream

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
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rcog3



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
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Location: Montreal

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I though I would bring two points I find interesting.

I think we all more or less agree on that faith is a very personal thing and that you can't prove if you are right or wrong, thus the very idea of faith. However, where I see a problem is that, when you believe something to be true (God sends lightnings from the sky, killing is wrong, etc.) you prevent yourself from learning things. To continue with my first example, a "bible thumper" would never had had the idea for a lightning rod. While this is obvious (I don't think today's christians believe in God's justice to the point of not having one), it is when you begin to think about more sensitive things (like my second example) that interesting things happens. Sometimes, we realize we have a lot of beliefs that we didn't even knew about. I'm not saying that (back to lightnings) electricity is more true than God's justice, merely that beliefs can sometime jail someone into his own preconceptions.

That brings me to my second point. As "base of the pillar" put it, black and white is not good: a good christian must protect his house Smile. But then, what are the things you believe? If to keep an open mind, you must challenge everything, even the right/wrong of killing, what are you left with? As Carl Sagan put it, "The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity."

To answer Animae's question at the origin of the thread, I think this is the source of religion (belief) bashing. While believing that today's science is the truth is arrogant, one has to make the difference between that and simple skepticism.
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Epiphany



Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 260
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what I believe. I change direction so often about religion that it sometimes gives me a headache. I think I want there to be a god, or at least some form of life after death. But taking anything on blind faith is difficult. The biggest problem I have with faith is all the damage that we do to each other based on who's version of god we're looking at. From burning witches and the enquision's, to the catholics ignoring the jews fate in WW2. We have Islamic extreamist's saying love god, but kill in his name. The United States was founded by people trying to escape religious persicution. Only to bring that narrow mindedness with them. I can't see the belief in god surviving cybernetics. Religion seems to exist because of our fear of death. Remove that fear and there is no need to believe.

The bible and most religious writings have been so preverted that the real meaning have been distorted beyond anything even remotely resembling reality. The non-cannonized texts make much more sense than the small fragments that make up the new testiment. But then that is kind of what faith is. Pick the parts you like, ignore the rest.

If the big bang theory rules out the biblical version of creation. were did the things that went bang come from. If natural selection rules out gods hand in our creation. again were did the first cell come from.

If there was ever a god, has he given up on us. I know if I were god, I would have. If you look at all the crap done in the name of god. I personally would have flamed the planet a long time ago.

The best explaination of our existance I ever heard is that we're a 7th grade science project, sitting on a closet self somewhere. Forgotten and ignored. by the way i would have only given it a C+

I just reread this. I should not post when I've been drinking. To many Coronas make for some bizarre and rambling posts
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funknotik



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

douyang wrote:
If anyone's interested, they should take a good look at just how evil and destructive of human freedom, life, and happiness blind faith can be. Read "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris.

Also, check out www.infidels.org.


First of all thats a great book. Second welcome me to the forum, I'm glad to be here and I have alot of questions about GITS. Third I would like to say religion has been the most destructive idea, meme, irrational thought pattern in my life. It has set me back a few years, but thanks to Ghost in the Shell which got me started reading philosophy I was able to escape the clutches of indoctrination at the age of 15. I encourage as "Douyang" did, for everyone to read The Sam Harris book "The End of Faith." It really brings to light the idea of conversational intolerance. He promotes a conversational intolerance, in which personal convictions are scaled against evidence, and where intellectual honesty is demanded equally in religious views and non-religious views. This is to say we should be free to say that although faith is a personal belief it does not prevent me from saying it is indeed a bad thing to believe. IF you will notice as Bertrand Russell did that no one speaks of faith when reffering to things like electricity or gravity, rather people refer to faith only when evidence or logic fails. Also to the original poster, what exactly are you referring to when you use the term "God." Which one?
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