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10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - What does it mean that... · 2 replies · +1 points

Thanks for the response, I had to re-read the whole page to remind myself what was going on here. I really wrote a lot didn't I? Apologies for that, I'll try to keep this comment shorter, mostly by skipping whether Jesus was biological and the trinity (I'll check out the links though).

I think my comments on this kind of distracted you from what I really wanted to get at. Your said in your post:
It was a requirement in the sense that sin had to be atoned for. Sin is a word which denotes falling short; we all fall short of God’s perfect standard, because, frankly, we rebel against him. And because God is holy and just, he takes this rebellion seriously. He cannot ignore it, for that would be unjust. Rebellion against God deserves death. Someone has to pay this penalty. It is in this sense that death is required.
1. 'God's perfect standard', is that a standard of perfection or a standard perfect for humanity? If it was a standard of perfection, yet we were created imperfect then that seems unfair and destined to fail, doesn't it (freewill or not)? If the standard was perfect for us, then our design by God, with free will, would surely have the expected consequence of rebellion (or did the omniscience of God not extend to forseeable consequences)? And any perfect standard for humanity would take this into account. I mean this is the problem with an omniscient and omnipotent being, it shouldn't make mistakes and by all accounts in Christian theology God made a very large mistake as best as I can tell.
2. Why does rebellion against God deserve death? And why aren't the parties immediately responsible punished in this manner? If you consider Adam and Eve's eventual death punishment then why the need for Jesus at all, the offending parties had been punished.

In your comment you say the fall was 'our' fault. I had no part in it, and I don't think you did either. I don't seek to imprison the children of murderers. What is just about punishing those who were not even in existence at the time of the offense (if it actually happened... do you think it actually happened?). In any other setting, with any other moral issue God's approach would not be adopted by almost anyone today, including yourself.

I simply can't relate to your concepts of justice and mercy here, I read the sentences, I understand the words but in order for it all to make sense together it just doesn't work. Perhaps God's acceptance of Jesus' death was merciful because it was more of a symbolic death than a real one (Jesus ain't dead no more is he?). How meaningless would an 'eye for an eye' mentality be if we just grew our eyes back?

I still struggle to see how Jesus' sacrifice really was appeasing to God. Ok Jesus died and was resurrected (not resuscitated) but has a life been paid? Has the ledger really been settled? I fail to see how, when that life only ceased to exist for 3 days before it was once again alive, God can really notch his belt. It's like someone looping a string around a coin and using it to fool the vending machine into releasing a can of coke for nothing. Sure they put the coin in the slot, and that's what counts to the vending machine, seems to be what you're saying. Jesus went through the motions, literally died, so what if he came back, that's what gods do.

You know the whole thing just seems like an absurd drama where the whole time I'm shouting at the first scene saying 'just forgive them and move on!'. It would just be a crappy piece of story telling except the central character is supposed to be perfect but has presided over and played an active role in a series of calamities and atrocious pieces of decision making, making it worse than crappy. When a flawed and limited human sees fault in the actions of a perfect being, either I'm missing something (a lot of things) or the perfect being isn't perfect. I know which way you'd swing on that issue but I struggle to find a believable and coherent picture of any god.

Can you blame me though? If you imagine yourself not accepting so many things you need to believe this, does it make sense? Are the characters consistent?

Do you feel as though it all makes sense? Or does some of the theology not sit well with you but you put it to mystery or your own limited perspective? Does the theology undermine your own opinion of yourself in relation to questioning God (do you dismiss human critique of God by default)?

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Atheist converts after... · 0 replies · +1 points

Yes, the likelihood is he will deconvert for an equally poor reason...

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ceiling Cat h8z teh Ye... · 0 replies · +1 points

You're joking! Insanity!

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Ceiling Cat h8z teh Ye... · 2 replies · +1 points

Ok, reading the dilemma in lolcat hurt. I can only imagine how it felt to write.

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Best case for non-belief? · 1 reply · +1 points

I find it pretty difficult to nominate a single book. The obvious are the writings from the 'four horsemen' although I don't actually think Dennett's book (Breaking the Spell) really makes much of a case, that isn't its purpose or focus. I would say of the 3 remaining authors, Harris's 'End of Faith' is the better, to me it is balanced between Dawkins scientific style and Hitchens emotive polemics.

So to name a couple of less obvious recommendations:

'Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness' AC Grayling (worth checking out because Grayling doesn't just deconstruct religion, he offers his own positive case for his view of reality)
'50 Voices of Disbelief - Why we are Atheists' Edited by Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk (a collection of 50 pieces of varying length for a wide array of atheists, some pieces are better than others but over all a good resource)

Having never really believed I'm not sure I'm going to recommend the kinds of sources you're after. I remember Evid3nc3 named several books in his YoutTube video series describing his transition from firm Christian to active atheist. Maybe check out his vids for those titles (I remember that I wasn't familiar with them).

In all honesty Findo I doubt you will find too much in these books you haven't encountered elsewhere.

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Atheist converts after... · 4 replies · +1 points

lol it is a terrible reason, one unlikely event coinciding with a much less unlikely event does not an argument for god make.


10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Krauss vs Craig · 1 reply · +1 points

I think my natural/unnatural criticism derives from a very seperate piece of reasoning which would take this way off topic. I did start typing out an explanation but the further I went I realised just how far I'd have to go to arrive back on point :)

I'm not advocating pan-theism in this perspective of God being natural, without going into it I'll just say I don't distinguish between reality and nature. Now, don't read this as philosophical naturalism, I'm saying whatever exists, is natural not that all of existence is our current understanding of reality (read: science). However, I'm not aware of any better approach to discerning reality other than science.

I think that begs the question - it assumes that nature is the sum total of reality, therefore, anything shown to be real must be a part of nature. It leaves no room for anything that transcends nature (which of course, you won't be able to, by definition, explore via science)

Well, that statement goes both ways. To assume nature is not the sum total of reality begs the question (in a bigger way too because you're actually making a positive claim, I have not made the claim that only nature exists). Furthermore, by defining this realm of existence beyond our best method for discerning the nature of reality it raises a very big question - how do you know the supernatural exists?

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - The problem of Evil, n... · 1 reply · +1 points

I didn't relaise this discussion was ongoing but I'll respond as briefly as possible.

You seem to be conflating perception of justice with conception of justice. Justice is a concept, a construct of minds from value sets. Humans demand justice because of our social evolution and environmental exposure. When we demand justice we do so on the basis of our conception, not perception. We aren't seeing justice, or smelling justice, we are conceiving it through thought. If minds capable of conceiving of justice did not exist I am of the position that justice would not exist, in much the same way that love would not exist if minds capable of conceiving of it did not exist.

Is-ought problem, *sigh*. I'm not sure how many times I've had to say this but I'll do so once more. The is-ought distinction isn't about a divide which cannot be traversed unless your morality is both prescriptive and descriptive (as you claim objective morality to be). Hume simply noted that people tended to move from description to prescription without justification. Not that no justification is possible. So please, please, stop disregarding subjective moral judgements out of hand because of your misunderstanding of Hume's critique.

And I quote:
In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

To emphasise:
'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given

While many have gone on to think this divide is intractable, many others (of similar moral philosophy as yourself) have sought to bridge this gap. The view of Hume's critique that the is-ought divide is intractable is probably the second most frustrating philosophical nugget I encounter (the first would be 'you can't prove a negative').

10 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - I wish we'd all been r... · 1 reply · +1 points

I always found the passage where Jesus is quoted as saying only 'the father' knows when the Son of Man will arrive to judge sinners, etc rather odd.

It certainly was after this comment is recorded the orthodoxy around Christ's divinity (and the trinity) was established in the face of Jesus himself saying he doesn't know something God does, kind of self-contradictory isn't it?

I for one, as a strident atheist, think the whole situation is worthy of mockery. Mock away! However don't think Christians are being singled out, we will in all likelihood be even derisive and petulant come December 2012 or whenever some nut thinks the Myan calender ran out.

11 years ago @ Things Findo Thinks - Bad Sound Bite: You on... · 0 replies · +1 points

I've never viewed the argument as negating someone's reasons for their belief (and I'm not sure Dawkins uses the argument that way too), it is more of a tool to force some people to consider why they believe what they do. You would be surprised the number of Christians I've encountered who literally say 'because I was raised to be Christian', this to me is a big problem. The problem, I think we can agree, is for such people they haven't really critiqued their beliefs.

The same goes for which political party someone votes for, I have a colleague who votes Liberal because that is what her parents vote. She is almost completely ignorant of their policies, their history, their party values (stated and demonstrated), etc. I've encountered similar people who vote Labor, because they're a tradesperson and their union tells them to vote Labor.

To me this is symptomatic of a larger picture, certainly of Australian society, where a large number (the majority?) just don't care enough to give important issues, like religion and politics, the attention and critical thinking they require to make informed decisions. Instead they rely on sources of authority to do their thinking for them such as family, religious leaders, media sources, etc.