Author Topic: A Few Questions  (Read 3083 times)

Offline Baruch

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #30 on: January 05, 2018, 02:32:20 PM »
I edited my second response to you.  More to come?
שלום

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2018, 07:21:40 PM »
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Blackleaf, thank you for the response! I figured that my past interaction may be mentioned, so that's why I made it known in my original post that I would be asking much the same questions. My first project wound up being very successful, I was examining three groups of different religious backgrounds to find commonalities in stories and oppositions. It was originally intended to refute a scale proposed by a Christian scholar that gauged how far a non-believer was from accepting Christian beliefs, but it became something so much more: something I was unable to fit within the confines of the project. And that is partly why I have returned: to look at these stories from a different angle (and to see how a community like this has progressed in four years). And also, from a personal standpoint, to hear stories of intellectual and personal development. Because they matter! So I really appreciate your honesty and help.

I don't pretend to be any accomplished scholar, just an interested party in your community and the truly incredible stories found here.

Well, you're certainly better mannered than most theists who come here to preach to us. If your goal is to really just to understand, then I can appreciate that. Empathy is the enemy of ignorance.

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Nah. Just that I think that sums it up most easily. If I can expand, I was raised a fundamentalist Baptist (In the traditional sense, not the Westboro image of today. It just meant I ascribed to the fundamentals: the inerrancy of Scripture, the virgin birth, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, etc.), but progressively moved away from it as I got older. Denominations are a very secondary issue and point more toward the diversity of the Church then separation of it--in my experience anyways.

It sounds like we have a few similarities in our church stories denominationally (and that we are both gamers! ha). I too found great joy and comfort in the community offered, and was fortunate to stay in those communities for a very long time.

"Christ Follower" is a more meaningless term than the word Christian. But I figured you were a Protestant, since I've never heard anyone else use the term. As for whether denominations are expressions of diversity or separation, I would remind you that the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants had a very bloody history. While some share a sense of solidarity with those of other denominations (and they certainly prefer other types of Christians over those of any other religion, and especially atheists), they are very much in competition with each other. I was baptized three times because each church didn't think my previous baptisms counted.

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I agree that certain actions may be situationally ethical! You mention that there are no moral absolutes, but also that murder is wrong because of harm. I would assume this is just a phrasing issue, but are certain actions objectively wrong while some are more pliable? I don't mean to put words in your mouth or do a "gotcha!" I am just trying to get a clearer picture of your ethic.

Thank you for your honesty!

A fair question. "Murder" is a more complex word than it initially seems. Is it murder to kill in war? Is it murder if killing the other person was an accident? Is it murder if you were defending yourself? Killing other human beings is never really "good," but there are situations where it becomes acceptable, or at least a gray area. "Murder" by definition is unjustifiable. When there is justification, it isn't called murder, but something else such as self-defense. So there cannot logically be justifiable reasons for doing it.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 08:20:34 PM by Blackleaf »
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #32 on: January 05, 2018, 08:19:45 PM »
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May I ask when you stopped believing in the Christian worldview?
Reading the Bible made me realize that it couldn't be true. I just couldn't believe a God could do no better than that if it wanted to communicate with those it created. I didn't immediately become an atheist, though, since I thought perhaps one of the world's other religions might still be true. But I came to realize that the whole concept of God is fraught with flaws, and is simply not logical. If a thing cannot logically exist, then it does not, in fact, exist.
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What was a question that you struggled with, if you do not mind me asking?
Well, that was a long time ago, so I don't remember anything specific at this point. I was told that all the answers were in "God's Word" so I read it all, the whole thing, three times, and simply could not believe it was either written or inspired by God. It contains too many contradictions - You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login (not an exhaustive list - there are more that I haven't listed), in case you'd like to see what I mean. I know that believers claim all those contradictions can be shown to not be contradictory, by saying that "they're taken out of context" or by using verbal gymnastics to put words and meaning there that just aren't there, but I think they're full of BS.

Also, I couldn't accept that an all-good God was being described by the Bible: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. The God of the Bible is a horrible monster, and even if it did exist it would not be worthy of my praise or worship.
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Why does Trump talk so much about "fake news"? Says Trump:
"You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you."
He's just covering his own ass.

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2018, 09:26:44 PM »
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...
ut also believe I have found the most compelling evidence in the God of the Bible.
...
I suspect you have a different definition and different tolerances for the term "evidence".  To test my suspicion, please provide 10 discrete items of the "compelling evidence" upon with you rely to support your belief(s).

Offline Hydra009

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2018, 10:16:50 PM »
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"Murder" is a more complex word than it initially seems. Is it murder to kill in war? Is it murder if killing the other person was an accident? Is it murder if you were defending yourself? Killing other human beings is never really "good," but there are situations where it becomes acceptable, or at least a gray area. "Murder" by definition is unjustifiable. When there is justification, it isn't called murder, but something else such as self-defense. So there cannot logically be justifiable reasons for doing it.
True.  Murder is intentional unlawful killing, as opposed to lawful killings in war, capital punishment, self-defense, and euthanasia.  (Accidental death may or may not be unlawful, depending on the circumstances of the death and the court verdict)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 10:18:57 PM by Hydra009 »

Offline Baruch

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2018, 01:22:00 AM »
I think it is perfectly all right to violate the Ten Commandments ... provided you do if for the right reasons.  But then I am a heretic ;-)  The whole courtroom/throne room model of religion is way overdone.
שלום

Offline Shiranu

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #36 on: January 06, 2018, 01:51:58 AM »
1. Fundamentalist Lutheran for the first 10 years or so... basically Roman Catholic without all the ceremony, but all the guilt and judgement. Then progressive Lutheran until I was about 16, 17 when we changed churches. Attended a private school for 3 years inbetween that was Young Earth Creationist Baptist. Until I was about 14, very fundamental; hated gays, hated minorities, hated "sinners", sex was the worst thing in the world, being happy was the worst thing in the world because it meant you weren't godly. All church at least twice a week, and also things like confirmation, church plays, etc. .

After I became an atheist, I really looked into Buddhism. Still appreciate it, but I much prefer Daoism or Zen. If I had to "choose" a religion, I would say Shinto is probably the most appealing to me; not necessarily because I believe the theology of it, just the discipline and structure... and the reverence for nature and simplicity. I think the West would benefit immensely if we were to incorporate Daoist, Buddhist/Zen and Shinto principles and structure to our life.

2. "God" is imo just a respect and reverence for nature.

3. Cool guy, had alot of great things to say. It's a shame Christians don't live up to his teachings, and alot of that has to do with the shame of failure and the fear of hell attached with Christianity, particularly the more fundamental branches. Being a good person cant be forced on someone, and failing cant be treated as the greatest offense you can do to your god. It's a system that is built to fail.

4. Society. Ultimately the universe has no opinion one way or another, but "good" generally involves caring for the well-being of those around you and the environment, while "bad" damages and harms those things. Ultimately good does alot more... good... in that more people benefit from it and it is less likely to bite you in the ass down the road.

5. The church is an amazing tool, but it's biggest flaw is that it is allowed to be use to spread hatred and fear rather than peace and love. And Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, et. al. can talk about how they aren't like that, but the problem is that it's not just about their congregation, it's about the bigger picture; you have to condemn those who are using your platform for hatred, not share the stage with them.
"I can’t move on, I can’t relax. ’Cause when you're gone... panic attacks." - Elohim

"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny" - Steve Maraboli

Offline SGOS

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #37 on: January 06, 2018, 09:55:31 AM »
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Reading the Bible made me realize that it couldn't be true. I just couldn't believe a God could do no better than that if it wanted to communicate with those it created. I didn't immediately become an atheist, though, since I thought perhaps one of the world's other religions might still be true. But I came to realize that the whole concept of God is fraught with flaws, and is simply not logical. If a thing cannot logically exist, then it does not, in fact, exist.
Rather than write out my "loss of religion" bio once again.  I'll just claim the above as something I wrote. Actually, I have written that several times over the years.  But SB can just enter it into his data base twice.

SB Leader:   Did you read that?  What he said.

Offline Baruch

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #38 on: January 06, 2018, 10:28:42 AM »
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Rather than write out my "loss of religion" bio once again.  I'll just claim the above as something I wrote. Actually, I have written that several times over the years.  But SB can just enter it into his data base twice.

SB Leader:   Did you read that?  What he said.

1. Luther thought everyone reading the Bible in their vernacular, would lead to more conversion, stronger belief, better practice.  This didn't always work out.  But he and others did create modern German in the process of making their translation.  Modern English was partly created by the King James Bible.

2. If one is logical, one is a Vulcan, not a human.  Philosophy is fraught with flaws, not just theology.  Materialism and physicalism have lots of problems too, but usually unknown the general public, but know to specialists.  Theologians and Bible scholars in modern times, know all these problems in scripture.
שלום

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2018, 02:28:42 PM »
Quote
Empathy is the enemy of ignorance.
I just wanted to highlight this because I think it is an excellent insight.


Quote
"Christ Follower" is a more meaningless term than the word Christian. But I figured you were a Protestant, since I've never heard anyone else use the term. As for whether denominations are expressions of diversity or separation, I would remind you that the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants had a very bloody history. While some share a sense of solidarity with those of other denominations (and they certainly prefer other types of Christians over those of any other religion, and especially atheists), they are very much in competition with each other. I was baptized three times because each church didn't think my previous baptisms counted.
In case you have heard otherwise from believers, the Crusades were a true travesty motivated by political gain with spirituality used as the cudgel (I dare not say Christianity as it did not adhere to the teachings of Christ). There are distinctions that I do believe are necessary between Christians "sects" especially when it comes to fundamental issues. That's why I may put Catholic belief separate from my own--but also acknowledge that there are Catholics who are saved: followers of Christ and not just the church (not to sound too "squishy" but there are Baptists who would need this distinction as well). A Christian should be a Christ follower first and a member of their denomination second.

Quote
A fair question. "Murder" is a more complex word than it initially seems. Is it murder to kill in war? Is it murder if killing the other person was an accident? Is it murder if you were defending yourself? Killing other human beings is never really "good," but there are situations where it becomes acceptable, or at least a gray area. "Murder" by definition is unjustifiable. When there is justification, it isn't called murder, but something else such as self-defense. So there cannot logically be justifiable reasons for doing it.
Understood! There are ideals, but also possibly, a hierarchy of ideals. I would acknowledge much the same!


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Reading the Bible made me realize that it couldn't be true. I just couldn't believe a God could do no better than that if it wanted to communicate with those it created. I didn't immediately become an atheist, though, since I thought perhaps one of the world's other religions might still be true. But I came to realize that the whole concept of God is fraught with flaws, and is simply not logical. If a thing cannot logically exist, then it does not, in fact, exist.Well, that was a long time ago, so I don't remember anything specific at this point. I was told that all the answers were in "God's Word" so I read it all, the whole thing, three times, and simply could not believe it was either written or inspired by God. It contains too many contradictions - You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login (not an exhaustive list - there are more that I haven't listed), in case you'd like to see what I mean. I know that believers claim all those contradictions can be shown to not be contradictory, by saying that "they're taken out of context" or by using verbal gymnastics to put words and meaning there that just aren't there, but I think they're full of BS.

Also, I couldn't accept that an all-good God was being described by the Bible: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. The God of the Bible is a horrible monster, and even if it did exist it would not be worthy of my praise or worship.

Fair enough. Thank you for the clarification!

Quote
I suspect you have a different definition and different tolerances for the term "evidence".  To test my suspicion, please provide 10 discrete items of the "compelling evidence" upon with you rely to support your belief(s).
This is a good question and one I would like to dive deeper into with you. However, being extremely pinched for time I'll tell the shorter story: I started my search with the large body of evidence pointing toward a historical Jesus. With that assumed, I then asked: "Could the Gospel writers be telling the truth in what they wrote about him?" Two pieces led me to an affirmative: 1. The style of literature they wrote was truly unique: being an eyewitness take and a spiritual story (With miracles and great works... told about people who were possibly still alive to verify). How could fisherman and shepherds write this? Perhaps, because they did see what they wrote about. 2. If what they wrote was a lie, would they really be willing to die for it? Would someone not try to verify the story to see if this was something worth giving your life to? Would a former persecutor of Christians convert without some kind of legitimate reason?

Of course, this can only be verified as being true if the manuscripts can be tracked reasonably back to the 1st or 2nd century. This is where the more in depth analysis needs to be done and this is where Reinventing Jesus (The book linked in my previous post) really helped analyze the evidence and probabilities. Ehrmann, who speaks quite forcefully against textual accuracy, is quoted and addressed at incredible length throughout the text and I believe he is treated quite fairly.

This combined material (And a bit more) led me to believe that there was a historical Jesus and what is says about him in the Gospels is reliable. Thank you for asking me to clarify.

Quote
1. Fundamentalist Lutheran for the first 10 years or so... basically Roman Catholic without all the ceremony, but all the guilt and judgement. Then progressive Lutheran until I was about 16, 17 when we changed churches. Attended a private school for 3 years inbetween that was Young Earth Creationist Baptist. Until I was about 14, very fundamental; hated gays, hated minorities, hated "sinners", sex was the worst thing in the world, being happy was the worst thing in the world because it meant you weren't godly. All church at least twice a week, and also things like confirmation, church plays, etc. .

After I became an atheist, I really looked into Buddhism. Still appreciate it, but I much prefer Daoism or Zen. If I had to "choose" a religion, I would say Shinto is probably the most appealing to me; not necessarily because I believe the theology of it, just the discipline and structure... and the reverence for nature and simplicity. I think the West would benefit immensely if we were to incorporate Daoist, Buddhist/Zen and Shinto principles and structure to our life.

2. "God" is imo just a respect and reverence for nature.

3. Cool guy, had alot of great things to say. It's a shame Christians don't live up to his teachings, and alot of that has to do with the shame of failure and the fear of hell attached with Christianity, particularly the more fundamental branches. Being a good person cant be forced on someone, and failing cant be treated as the greatest offense you can do to your god. It's a system that is built to fail.

4. Society. Ultimately the universe has no opinion one way or another, but "good" generally involves caring for the well-being of those around you and the environment, while "bad" damages and harms those things. Ultimately good does alot more... good... in that more people benefit from it and it is less likely to bite you in the ass down the road.

5. The church is an amazing tool, but it's biggest flaw is that it is allowed to be use to spread hatred and fear rather than peace and love. And Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, et. al. can talk about how they aren't like that, but the problem is that it's not just about their congregation, it's about the bigger picture; you have to condemn those who are using your platform for hatred, not share the stage with them.
Thank you for the detail! I can see where churches like what you describe would push you away from belief! What would be one or two Shinto beliefs you think would help the West?



Today is the day before our end of semester (Bizarre, right?) and I am additionally down with what feels like the flu, my fever has risen significantly since I began writing this, ha! Unfortunate, to be sure, but I wanted to return to summarize a few high level take ways from what has been posted here so far. Feel free to critique these or adjust them if you think I've misinterpreted them.

1. So many of you mentioned a Christian background of significant length. Moreover, questions caused you to search even more passionately for the truth--something your church wasn't always willing to accommodate. I think its especially interesting to see how much Scripture you have read. In my experience, it is a surprisingly compact segment of the church that has read every passage (I have read the large majority, but still have some blindspots in the Old Testament prophets. Perhaps Baruch can fill me in on what I am missing? :P).

2. It seems that for a significant group, what is important is some kind of objective morality. It is tied closely to question 4. Cries that atheists have no morals fall flat hearing you all.

3. Jesus may or may not have been a real historical figure, but the accounts have been hijacked to make him something he was not. The teachings that have survived seem to be good, but his followers don't listen to them well.

4. See 2.

5. The church, at its best, loves. It takes care of the needy and gives rest to the weary. At its worst it holds onto exclusive dogma and is anti-intellectual. Un loving.

Of course, I do not intend to "summarize" the mosaic of the stories presented here, but these are a few themes I found to be personally interesting. I would love to have provided more detail but between 1 and 2 I had to pause to throw up. Thank you for forgiving my depth once again! You all are a group that I believe I would love to get a drink with. :)

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #40 on: January 06, 2018, 03:17:16 PM »
Sorry to hear about you're illness! I've just been reading a book called You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, about a town that tries to quarantine itself against the Spanish flu epidemic of the early part of the 20th century. I hope your flu doesn't get anywhere near that bad! I also wish you better health very soon.


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I started my search with the large body of evidence pointing toward a historical Jesus. With that assumed, I then asked: "Could the Gospel writers be telling the truth in what they wrote about him?" Two pieces led me to an affirmative: 1. The style of literature they wrote was truly unique: being an eyewitness take and a spiritual story (With miracles and great works... told about people who were possibly still alive to verify). How could fisherman and shepherds write this? Perhaps, because they did see what they wrote about. 2. If what they wrote was a lie, would they really be willing to die for it? Would someone not try to verify the story to see if this was something worth giving your life to? Would a former persecutor of Christians convert without some kind of legitimate reason?

Of course, this can only be verified as being true if the manuscripts can be tracked reasonably back to the 1st or 2nd century. This is where the more in depth analysis needs to be done and this is where Reinventing Jesus (The book linked in my previous post) really helped analyze the evidence and probabilities. Ehrmann, who speaks quite forcefully against textual accuracy, is quoted and addressed at incredible length throughout the text and I believe he is treated quite fairly.

This combined material (And a bit more) led me to believe that there was a historical Jesus and what is says about him in the Gospels is reliable.

I'm just wondering what evidence there is that the gospels were actually written by eyewitnesses? I don't think anyone really knows just who wrote them, since they were all written at least many decades after the events they claim to portray.
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Why does Trump talk so much about "fake news"? Says Trump:
"You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you."
He's just covering his own ass.

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2018, 05:24:03 PM »
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1. -How would you describe your religious background and church involvement?

2. -To you, what is God like? Describe God. Or if you do not believe in God, then: what is important in life?

3.-Describe what the term Jesus Christ means to you.

4.-What defines what is good and bad? How are we able to know?

5.-What to you is the most significant issue with the Christian church? The most significant benefit from the same church?

1. I was born into and spent my whole life in a Baptist church. I started working with the sound system in 1989 and kept at it until just a couple years ago. There were always a few questions at the back of my mind and a few things that just didn’t make sense. I got a different perspective around 1994 when I was invited to meet with a group from the Church of the Recovery. (they certainly were more lively than Baptists). I spent some time trying to learn the things that I didnt know; had some improvement. No matter how much I learned or improved, I couldnt help but notice that none of my prayers were ever answered. When I was young I just put it out of my mind. Later I started rationalizing why my prayers didnt get answered. Then I went to thinking that I was praying in the wrong way. As I said in another post with Drich I took things to an extreme. I thought what I was doing was ridiculous but I tried it anyway. I came to the well- founded conclusion that the Christian god doesnt give a rat’s-ass about me. About 6 months after that is when I found this website.

2. I would say that “God” is some vague mythical creature. Some people are born into this life wanting the existence of a higher power. They go looking for it and they find it. Some people; like me; are born into this life without any desire for a higher power. I was forced into it by my parents, but it would neither give me any satisfaction for some one to prove god exists, nor would it make me afraid if someone proves that god doesn’t exist. I would compare it to going to another country. They have all these things that are important to them but you as an outsider look on and say “ That’s important? Ok. If you say so”.

3. The description of Jesus in the Bible is very limited. I always questioned why anything that Paul wrote was in it because the words of Paul are clearly not the words of Jesus. I always found it offensive that in the gospels one of the authors made the ridiculous statement that if someone wrote down everything that Jesus said there would not be enough space in all the world for the books you would have to write. Whatever Foolio. If you’re running out of paper borrow some. Its not every day that the son of a god talks to you....
The short answer is that what the Bible says about Jesus is so short that its difficult to know who he is.

4. What we think of as good, bad, or acceptable is defined by the society we live in. (I was thinking about making a thread on this particular subject) in the US we do things that other nations find offensible. and they also do things that we find offensive. Just to name a few: hunting whales, 14 year old girl married to 40 year old man, selling daughters to brothels for cash, killing elephants for ivory, eating the brain of a monkey while it is still alive, deep frying the body of a fish while keeping its head alive, etc.

5. The most significant issue of the current Christian church in U.S. is their constant whining about suppression of religion freedom. Anyone who studies the issue honestly must come to the conclusion that not only are Christians the people that complain the most about suppression of religious freedom, but they are also the ones that have historically and presently doing the most suppression of religious freedom
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 05:27:52 PM by fencerider »
not expecting god to show up, but if he does we’re going to have to beat the prick up.

Offline Baruch

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2018, 06:25:53 PM »
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Sorry to hear about you're illness! I've just been reading a book called You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, about a town that tries to quarantine itself against the Spanish flu epidemic of the early part of the 20th century. I hope your flu doesn't get anywhere near that bad! I also wish you better health very soon.

I'm just wondering what evidence there is that the gospels were actually written by eyewitnesses? I don't think anyone really knows just who wrote them, since they were all written at least many decades after the events they claim to portray.

My grandmother's oldest sister may have died from the Spanish flu.  Currently Spanish flu is being weaponized in a new biological cold war between China, Russia and the US.  SARS and Bird flu are also being investigated, particularly by China.  This is quite clear if you read between the lines of recent news over the last 10 years.

Both theist and atheist commit the fallacy of historicism.  Historicism is an extension of Platonism; that people of the past, exist in a timeless present, which we can partially examine, in the past, relative to us here in the present, and others exist in the timeless future, which we can partly project, relative to us here in the present.  In a psychological way, no person of the past exists today, not even yourself (it is impossible to dispel the potential for false memories), but more easily to imagine, a person who was once alive, and now has died is clearer example, since we can ignore The Self, and restrict ourselves to The Other.  Atheism understands this, within its particular framework.  Similarly a future person not born yet.  Are future people actual or potential?  Psychology is not reducible to materialism/physicalism, that is the fallacy of reductionism.

As far as history goes, history isn't objective, unless you have two or more witnesses who can cross-examine.  In this case, not an aspect of nature (measuring the weight of something) but examining another person.  Persons, not things, are the basis of psychology.  So basically Jesus doesn't exist as a historical person, nobody of the past does.  And claims that we can Platonically examine these dead people, thru our Platonic genius (Latin for guardian angel), are false.  History isn't a science, it is a form of art, most commonly used for political propaganda.  The influence of Herodotus and Plato are immense, and it is impossible for a Western person to escape their cultural influence, anymore than a mono-lingual person can escape their own language.

In an immaterial way, just space and time, we say that space and time exist as a continuum, everywhere and every-when, and we or a particle makes up a world-line.  This is regular Special Relativity theory.  But per General Relativity, from which we deduce two things, it isn't true, first the Big Bang ... space/time has a beginning at the initial singularity, and secondly many endings, at the final singularity (inside black holes).  And General Relativity isn't even correct, because it doesn't include Quantum Mechanics, or what lies beyond (string theory etc).

In Buddhism, these two concepts (personalism and im-personalism) are compared, and the conclusion is drawn that no person exists, including yourself.  Of course the atheism of Buddhism, was based on meditation, not physics.  And some Hindus are atheist for the same reason.  But somewhat like wave-particular duality, in Buddhism personhood both exists and doesn't exist, it depends on how you examine reality.  So Hinduism is theism leading to atheism, and Buddhism is atheism leading to theism ... and that is why Hindus regard Buddhism as a Hindu heresy.  Applying this to history, we can perhaps say that historical people both exist and don't exist, it depends on how you examine the question.

It would appear that reality isn't any definite thing, nor just anything, but a spectrum of somethings, that have an ambiguous existence ... like quarks do in quantum chromodynamics (modern nuclear theory).  The spectrum isn't arbitrary, but follows certain rules, we call physical laws, when we are examining things from a materialistic perspective.  Like in Quantum Mechanics, a thing is more wave or more particle, due to the experimental setup.  So a historical person or your living self, is relative, not absolute ... relative to how you examine the question, and therefore not objective.  But then objective/subjective can be deconstructed the same way.  In my experience, Jesus exists as a historical person, when Jesus as a Platonic archetype exists, as a relationship between two people in the Christian community (originally Jewish, not Gentile).  But it is we who choose consciously or unconsciously to manifest that archetype.  There are no Platonic forms, except as ephemerally created by self- and inter-human relationship.
שלום

Offline Baruch

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2018, 06:55:01 PM »
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I just wanted to highlight this because I think it is an excellent insight.

In case you have heard otherwise from believers, the Crusades were a true travesty motivated by political gain with spirituality used as the cudgel (I dare not say Christianity as it did not adhere to the teachings of Christ). There are distinctions that I do believe are necessary between Christians "sects" especially when it comes to fundamental issues. That's why I may put Catholic belief separate from my own--but also acknowledge that there are Catholics who are saved: followers of Christ and not just the church (not to sound too "squishy" but there are Baptists who would need this distinction as well). A Christian should be a Christ follower first and a member of their denomination second.

The Crusades and the Jihad aren't travesties.  Unless you are a pacifist.  You are simply anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim.  And Protestants engaged in Crusades also, during the Reformation.  Orthodox and Catholic Christians have also engaged each other, in E Europe.  Your theological prejudices are clear (but that is OK, prejudice is the normal human condition).  Violence is well justified, throughout history.  And excellent example of how the Ten Commandments can and should be transcended, if you do it for the right reasons ;-)

Understood! There are ideals, but also possibly, a hierarchy of ideals. I would acknowledge much the same!

Ideals are self and group delusion.  They psychologically identify both self identity and group identity.  Compare the gay question between D and R.

Fair enough. Thank you for the clarification!

This is a good question and one I would like to dive deeper into with you. However, being extremely pinched for time I'll tell the shorter story: I started my search with the large body of evidence pointing toward a historical Jesus. With that assumed, I then asked: "Could the Gospel writers be telling the truth in what they wrote about him?" Two pieces led me to an affirmative: 1. The style of literature they wrote was truly unique: being an eyewitness take and a spiritual story (With miracles and great works... told about people who were possibly still alive to verify). How could fisherman and shepherds write this? Perhaps, because they did see what they wrote about. 2. If what they wrote was a lie, would they really be willing to die for it? Would someone not try to verify the story to see if this was something worth giving your life to? Would a former persecutor of Christians convert without some kind of legitimate reason?

Human beings are irrational.  Some of the so-called martyrs were clearly psychologically disturbed.  Suicide by Roman cop.  I will rhetorically deny all of history (I love the subject).  Unless Dr Who can kidnap George Washington, bring him here and now, where his identity can be confirmed and he can be cross-examined ... I deny you or I can say anything objective about him.  Evidences of the past are corrupt, and beyond use.  I am not saying you are irrational, nor that your conventional reasoning is without merit.  But it is what it is.  A subjective opinion.

Of course, this can only be verified as being true if the manuscripts can be tracked reasonably back to the 1st or 2nd century. This is where the more in depth analysis needs to be done and this is where Reinventing Jesus (The book linked in my previous post) really helped analyze the evidence and probabilities. Ehrmann, who speaks quite forcefully against textual accuracy, is quoted and addressed at incredible length throughout the text and I believe he is treated quite fairly.

Sorry, if you had the alpha manuscripts, signed by Jesus, Paul or had a group selfie of the Disciples ... it has no merit as evidence.  Ever hear of forgery or Photoshop?  You admit you have a belief.  I have a belief too, that humans are irrational, particularly the geeks who most claim to be rational (they are autistic males usually).  The fictional portrayal of a Jesus type person in "Last Temptation of Christ" is much more realistic than the Gospels can hope to be.

This combined material (And a bit more) led me to believe that there was a historical Jesus and what is says about him in the Gospels is reliable. Thank you for asking me to clarify.

Thank you for the detail! I can see where churches like what you describe would push you away from belief! What would be one or two Shinto beliefs you think would help the West?

Technically, to be Shinto at all, you have to be racially Japanese, born in Japan, and live there your whole life.  Shinto can't exist outside of that ... as at one time (before the Babylonian Exile) could Judaism exist outside of Judah.

Today is the day before our end of semester (Bizarre, right?) and I am additionally down with what feels like the flu, my fever has risen significantly since I began writing this, ha! Unfortunate, to be sure, but I wanted to return to summarize a few high level take ways from what has been posted here so far. Feel free to critique these or adjust them if you think I've misinterpreted them.

Please take care and get well.  Empathy is the basis for all good things, antipathy the basis for all bad things.  But indifference is the betrayal of both.

1. So many of you mentioned a Christian background of significant length. Moreover, questions caused you to search even more passionately for the truth--something your church wasn't always willing to accommodate. I think its especially interesting to see how much Scripture you have read. In my experience, it is a surprisingly compact segment of the church that has read every passage (I have read the large majority, but still have some blindspots in the Old Testament prophets. Perhaps Baruch can fill me in on what I am missing? :P).

All human organization is group think of like minded people.  You can only be publicly skeptical within the confines of the culture of that group.  And even skeptics can't escape their own selves, though Buddhist may try.  Please ask specific questions about specific scriptures (prophets).  And no, they don't presage Christianity, that is retrojection ... a fallacy, and supercession, a primary violence toward Jewish people

2. It seems that for a significant group, what is important is some kind of objective morality. It is tied closely to question 4. Cries that atheists have no morals fall flat hearing you all.

Morality is begging the question, a fallacy.  All human thought can be broken down into a spectrum of fallacies, with different personalities and groups showing prejudice for their particular fallacies.  Morality is subjective for the individual.  For the group it is politics.  So goes the gay question for R vs D.

3. Jesus may or may not have been a real historical figure, but the accounts have been hijacked to make him something he was not. The teachings that have survived seem to be good, but his followers don't listen to them well.

All historical people are partly fictional, were created for political reasons, and modified to suit changes in politics.  Please see Emperor Constantine.  Yes, there is much to be admired in ancient Jewish writings ;-)  And even Jews tend to ignore them.

4. See 2.

5. The church, at its best, loves. It takes care of the needy and gives rest to the weary. At its worst it holds onto exclusive dogma and is anti-intellectual. Un loving.

I would agree, but I don't see intellectualism as other than mental corruption, and elitist.

Of course, I do not intend to "summarize" the mosaic of the stories presented here, but these are a few themes I found to be personally interesting. I would love to have provided more detail but between 1 and 2 I had to pause to throw up. Thank you for forgiving my depth once again! You all are a group that I believe I would love to get a drink with. :)

We are the best group of non-theists around.  We even allow theists, if you are heretical enough ;-)

« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 07:07:21 PM by Baruch »
שלום

Re: A Few Questions
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2018, 09:41:35 PM »
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I just wanted to highlight this because I think it is an excellent insight.

In case you have heard otherwise from believers, the Crusades were a true travesty motivated by political gain with spirituality used as the cudgel (I dare not say Christianity as it did not adhere to the teachings of Christ). There are distinctions that I do believe are necessary between Christians "sects" especially when it comes to fundamental issues. That's why I may put Catholic belief separate from my own--but also acknowledge that there are Catholics who are saved: followers of Christ and not just the church (not to sound too "squishy" but there are Baptists who would need this distinction as well). A Christian should be a Christ follower first and a member of their denomination second.

Actually, I had in mind the British crown, who flipflopped from being in support of Catholics and Protestants. When the leadership changed sides, there was always bloodshed. Christians haven't been getting along with themselves until recent history, when law prevented them from killing each other. Even now, they're still in competition, and often describe those of other denominations as fake Christians. I can appreciate the sentiment, that people of different beliefs should find solidarity, but I see the friendly relations between those of different denominations as being very fragile.

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Understood! There are ideals, but also possibly, a hierarchy of ideals. I would acknowledge much the same!

I don't know if it's a hierarchy of ideals. If I had to think of one measure of goodness, it would be the maximization of happiness and the minimization of harm, and "evil" would be the opposite. There are a million shades of gray, however, which is why I think every situation has to be considered individually.

Also, just a friendly suggestion. It gets confusing when you reply to multiple people in the same post. I think most would prefer that you reply to one person at a time. It's fine to double post when you're replying to more than one person.

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You all are a group that I believe I would love to get a drink with. :)

Just as long as the wine stays wine and not blood, I'm cool with that.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 09:43:07 PM by Blackleaf »
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

 

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